Thursday, February 14, 2008

Alex Tsakumis on the NPA and Ladner in Friday's 24 Hours


By A. G. Tsakumis 'Rebel With A Clause'

With His Worst-ship's minions spinning the Mayor's mind-numbing performance at a blinding clip, trying desperately to resurrect Sir Spamalot's fortunes, out from the comforts of the NPA silo sprang one Coun. Peter Ladner, this week.

It turns out that it only recently occurred to Mr. Ladner – bright light he – that the railroading of an undemocratic nomination process by those seated at the Civic NPA's boardroom table, was unacceptable. But is this really the case?

In the last few months, I've written several times about these 'greenlight' rules that the NPA have concocted and Coun. Ladner knew full well sometime ago of the manipulation of the board by the Mayor's henchmen. But the rules chosen by the NPA Board, on further observation, are only a rubber-stamp for those who are seated as the Mayor's partisans.

Otherwise, if the current polling returns what is expected to be dismal results for Citizen Spam, he will find himself parked, with good reason, before a big red stop sign, and hardly a greenlight.

For how do you approve a candidate whose numbers are in the urinal?

On Wednesday night, the NPA meeting was an uncomfortable mess. All of NPA caucus was invited but only Coun. Ladner, commissioners Houghton, Robertson and Trustee Gregory attended. Amusing, too, that the Mayor, who you would think would be pulling for a fight, sent, instead, Stephen Rogers and Chris Bennett, his co-chairs to plead his case.

In the end, all caucus members in attendance upheld their beliefs that open contests would be best. Only Rogers and Bennett whined about switching (read: optimally righting) the process.

But in the end, no decision was made.

And wasting no time at all, Georgie Higgins, the Mayor's chief political operative was trying to publish a list of caucus members who supported the Mayor and the offside process. That must be in addition to the most recent list of reported endorsers, most of whom would be big names if this were 1985.

But how 'bout just reporting that at this point in 2005, the NPA had more than 2,500 members? Today's tally? About 800.

The silliness of the details and the players notwithstanding, the bigger picture here is unmistakable. The NPA have little leadership, if at all.

If Sam Sullivan was, as he says, "ready to take on all comers", he wouldn't cower from any fight. But like the washed-up prizefighter, whose manager must protect him, he talks tough – while hiding from legitimate opponents.

And Coun. Ladner's appropriate objections with his party are ultimately assailable by his incredibly poor execution. He's been foolishly coy with the media this week, about his clear mayoral ambitions, breeding accusations of cowardice instead of courage.

Mind, this is the same Peter Ladner who could have landed the NPA Mayoral nomination in 2005, were it not for his embracing of a bloody bike lane for the Burrard Bridge (think of the environmental impact of fumes from delayed traffic, oh, but Peter doesn't want the Port Mann twinned). The flood of emails, at the time, to the NPA from angry westsiders wanting to burn Park 'n' Ride Pete in effigy, was remarkable.

It has yet to arrive to Coun. Personal Landmine that people don't give a rat's derriere about community gardens and bike lanes, before the safety of their families and how the NPA increased their tax burden.

But it will, one day.



V.I.P. - Very Important Post

Earlier today I posted a story about the University of Kentucky removing Holocaust studies lest they offend Muslim students.

I have now learned - thanks to a good friend and regular commentor - that this is yet another urban myth.

Please go here at once and read the true story.

Steve Offers Another Perspective on Anglicans and Gays

Gotta comment on this one. And I know I'll be flamed. But there's a lot of misunderstanding, and people are misinformed. I attended the church at the center of this controversy, and followed carefully the battles that were fought.

I have gay friends, I like them, I work with them, I sit next to them, I have nothing against them, and the vast majority of people in these churches feel the same. Including the clergy. In fact, intolerance is heartily discouraged.

The Anglicans in question are not against sitting in the pew next to a gay couple (and often do). They are against being forced to perform gay marriages. Which is what was really happening here.

But that's not all there is to this issue. There are also other issues of faith where the local archbishop insisted that he was right and the Bible was wrong, and was actually locking congregations out of their churches until they caved in to his demands.

The local archbishop also was going against historic Anglican doctrine, as well as the majority of Anglicans in the world to push through his own personal brand of new theology.

This issue was about the core of our faith - the truth of the Bible, and went a long way beyond gay marriages, and was never about homophobia or a dislike for gay people.

It WAS (at least partly) about the definition and sanctity of marriage, however.

But to say that Anglicans cannot tolerate gay couples is completely misrepresenting the facts. It was never about that.

It was about a single archbishop trying to bully an entire diocese into changing their belief in the Bible. Unfortunately, he knew how to play the media, and the churches in question were naive in that respect.


The Following was written for Friday's Province but will not run because it conflicts with editorials and other pieces on the same subject.

I wrote it, so I thought someone aught to read it.

Tuesday was a big day for criminal justice in this neck of the woods.

Surrey Provincial Court Judge Ken Ball sentenced 18 year-old Enrique Quintana to 10 years in an adult prison for his part in the vicious and unprovoked hatchet attack that left Michael Levy incapacitated for life. Levy, 19, is now a quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair. He requires daily care, lives on painkillers and depressants and his lungs function at 50% normal capacity. Judge Ball called the attack an act of “such brutal savagery as to be difficult to comprehend."

On the same day, Lt.- Gov. Stephen Point delivered Premier Gordon Campbell’s throne speech. Among the shopping list that included trans-fats, smoking restrictions, pharmacy refills and nurses’ roles was this gem.

“British Columbians want to understand why sentences in their province tend to be shorter than in other provinces for crimes such as homicide, theft, property crimes, fraud, impaired driving and drug possession. A comprehensive review of sentencing practices in B.C. courts will address these questions.”

No sooner were the words uttered than the knives came out.

NDP MLA Mike Farnsworth, the opposition’s public safety critic, said immediately that the government should act, not launch another study. And while thousands of us would agree with Farnsworth, he knows as well as any that “study” is usually the safe euphemism for taking no action. Doing things, after all, can draw attention.

Meanwhile, in the nation’s capital, also on Tuesday, the Hon. Gerry St. Germain rose in the Senate to speak in support of Prime Minister Harper’s Bill C-2, the Tackling Violent Crime Act, which consists of five bills dealing with violent crimes, dangerous offenders, and the age of sexual consent.

Here is some of what St. Germain, a former police officer, said.

“Canadians want criminal justice reform and they want it now. Canadians are not just appalled at the extent to which our criminal justice system has eroded – they are scared, angry and fed up. Violent criminals walk the streets free. Drug dealers ply their trade without restriction. Gangsters shoot at each other in our streets. Hard core sex offenders are released from prison while still a serious threat.

Victims of crime suffer while the legal elitists who have claimed the judicial system as their own exclusive domain play an endless game of plea-bargaining, legal hair-splitting, and meaningless justification of atrociously illogical decisions.

They hide behind the unjust principles inherent in the Charter of Rights—a charter of terrible wrongs in the minds of most Canadians.”

Last week, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce declared a police search of a grow-op unconstitutional. Apparently the cops didn’t knock loud enough or long enough for the alleged crook to flush or burn the evidence.

I am a simple person. I understand the need to protect our privacies. But, like you, I also have a straightforward idea of what constitutes criminal justice.

When will the courts be so endowed with common sense?

Politiical Correctness as Pure Evil

Eisenhower in Dachau

It is a matter of history that when SupremeCommander of the Allied Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower, found thevictims of the death camps, he ordered all possible photographs to betaken, and for the German people from surrounding villages to be usheredthrough the camps and even made to bury the dead.He did this because he said in words to thiseffect: "Get it all on record now - get the films - get the witnesses -because somewhere down the track of history some bastard will get up andsay that this never happened"

.. All that is necessary for the triumph ofevil is for good men to do nothing.

Edmund BurkeIn Memorial

This week, the University of Kentucky removed TheHolocaust from its school curriculum because it 'offended' the Muslim population which claims it never occurred.

This is a frightening portent of the fear that isgripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it. It is nowmore than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended.This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, inmemory of the 6 million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christiansand 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned,starved and humiliated with the German and Russian peoples looking theother way!Now, more than ever, with Iran , among others,claiming the Holocaust to be 'a myth,' it is imperative to make sure theworld never forgets.

Build it and They Will...Arrive

Rich Coleman's mega-plan for the Riverview property is not bad at first blush.

I have nothing against development or large development. Such initiatives can be exciting and welcome, as this one may in time prove to be.

But there are already some questionable aspects to today's announcement.

- Coquitlam Mayor Maxine Wilson knew nothing about this huge plan. Now, I appreciate that the boys in Victoria see little local mayors as non-players, but would it have hurt to involve local people?

- The announcement includes this bit of mysterioso: "Newer specialiazed mental health centres in health authorities acorss B.C." Really? Where is this?

- The former Winnilington youth detention centre is now being refitted to be a place for mentally ill and the addicted? Really? More news. Who? What? How? When? This is all so much bs.

- The Riverview plan is modelled after "Springfield" in England, where two middle-class home owners have been murdered by mental patient neighbours. This information is most helpful to the NIMBYs. What, if any possible, precations are included in Coleman's plans?

- Whose cousin gets the contract? Buildings, cement, wiring, plumbing...a very small large fortune is represented here. It will be hard to believe that open tenders will be the rule on all aspects of this scheme.

The Local Anglicans are Wrong

It is a shame that local Anglicans have voted overwhelmingly in favor of splitting with their own local authority over saame-sex blessings.

The issue of same-sex relationships/marriages/unions is so enormously minuscule it always amazes me that anyone can get their knickers in a knot over it.

Let me ask you this:

If you can't tolerate Bob and Ted sitting the pew next to you, what can you handle?

Somehow you put up with all the rude offensive people who dash through your lives on a daily basis. (Yesterday, during my BIg Walk, a pleasant-looking woman driving her little boy home from school, absolutely made the clear decision to NOT stop from a considerable distance and drive practically over me. I was close enough to pound on her passing car. I didn't.)

So if you can tolerate all the idiots in your community and you know how shaky your own marriage/relationship/union is, what's the problem with putting up with Jane and Carole?

You don't have to dance with them, break bread or drop by for tea. All you have to do is LIVE AND LET LIVE. Or, DO UNTO OTHERS.

Not new ideas.

Volunteer, My Ass

The Victoria idea to pay snivel servants to leave their desks and "volunteer" for the Olympic stag is offensive on many levels.

I should pay taxes for workers who under-achieve at the best of times so that they can hang out at Whistler and watch the luge?

Real volunteers who actually you know, like, VOLUNTEER, as in give of their time and energies, should get in line behind paid "volunteers?"

And finally, the community needs volunteers by the thousands on a daily basis for hospitals, children, education, the elderly, immigrants, physically and mentally impaired and people stuck at home for one reason or another. Every volunteer who puts time and energy into the Big Bash would dp better service by volunteering today for something substantive and real and valuable.

Quote of the Day

"It’s hard to believe you, sir. I hate to say that because you’re one of my heroes, but it’s hard to believe you."REP. ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, to Roger Clemens after his testimony before a Congressional panel.

Graceland-Paul Simon Concert in Zimbabwe

One of the great pop geniuses...Simon has said he always starts with rhythm...was he ever better than in this lovely tune?