Saturday, May 3, 2008

Falsehoods on a Moibus Strip

The Nutty Mayor has called Courier editorial writer Allen Garr a liar, and has accused Garr of writing falsehoods.

But, as Garr reveals so clearly in yesterday's Courier
, it is the Nutty One who is messing with the truth.

The matter at hand is how Nutty tried to trademark the word Ecodensity and then has tried ever since to deny that he did.

No great number of denials will change the facts.

Nutty continues to be self-serving entirely and as dissembling as a certain English King.

"Now is the winter of our discontent..."

The Righteous are Wrong - Over and Over and Over Again

So many righteous people are lining up.

Neil Boyd, Debra Macpherson, a hundred imminent scientists, and yesterday, the Sun Editorial.

They are all casting Prime Minister Harper as the devil.

And the Insite safe injection place as a saviour of humankind.

And they are all honorable men and women.

And they are all wrong.

The studies on which they base their claims are bogus and political and wrong, exactly the charge they lay at Harper.

The real studies have clearly revealed that Insite is eating up $3 Million a year and accomplishing next to nothing.

Anyone in the know will assure you that the addicts who shoot up at Insite are shooting up in the alley a few hours later.

That almost no one is referred to real treatment because so few real treatment beds exist and because it is a fact of life that you cannot talk to a stoned junkie about cleaning up.

All of these people are so sincere and so caring and so knowledgeable.

Let one of them extend his hand to an addict and offer real help - quitting.

Anything less is enabling, cruel and detestable.

Almost Good News

One piece of good news...sort of...

Premier Campbell announced $9Million for the National Maritime Centre in North Van.

I say, "sort of," because, while any money is welcome for this worthy and important cause, $9 Million should cover a few windows but not many walls, floors, roof or chairs.

No doubt further funds will flow from on high as we sail along.

Keeping the Pressure on the Gov't

So now it's official, Canadian incomes, save for the very few at the top of the economic food chain, have been stagnant or in decline for the past 25 years. Worse yet, incredibly, in BC median incomes have fallen a staggering 11.3% over the past quarter century. Meanwhile, an inexorably rising CPI has eroded the purchasing power of our significantly diminished incomes. And, yes, property taxes, collected from after tax income, have climbed dramatically, especially in certain areas of Metro Vancouver and Greater Victoria.
What's happening recently in West Vancouver? Well, between 2000 and 2005, the median income of "economic families" [formerly known as "household income" I believe] fell from $99,207. to $84,672, or by 14.7%. The median income of individual West Vancouverites fell from $66,278. to $59,914, or by 9.6%. Given that our District is home to many of the economic elite of Metro Vancouver, it is clear that the vast majority of local residents have seen an even greater decline in their individual and family incomes than the aggregate census numbers reveal.
Meanwhile, the taxes on our modest, by West Vancouver standards, property rose by 57.8% over the same time period. How about the taxes on your property? And let's not forget the ever-increasing cost of utility bills and of various adminstrative licences, fees, permits, etc. Can you say "financial squeeze-play"? I thought you could.
Well, where are all these West Vancouver tax dollars going? You don't have to look far. According to DWV "schedules of remuneration", between 2000 and 2005, the number of District employees earning in excess of $75,000 [ie. the reporting threshold under the provincial FIA] rose from 41 to 139, or by an incomprehensible 339%. Over that five year period, the cost of remunerating these employees, exclusive of their apparently "to die for" benefit plan [not to mention various perks such as car allowances and the like], rose from roughly $3.8 million to approximately $12.8 million, or by an equally appalling 337% [For each of 2006 and 2007, for reasons that ITAC intends to challenge in due course, the numbers relating to WVPD members have been removed from the District's schedule. ITAC has requested aggregate figures and expects to have them shortly so that we can do an "apples to apples" update]. Oh yes, then there are the growing legions of retired municipal employees whose pensions we are obliged to pay. Are you getting the picture, boys and girls? Ugly, isn't it?
The ranks of senior bureaucrats, at all levels of government across Canada, are swelling. By virtue of their relatively generous incomes, benefit and retirement plans, these individuals are becoming increasingly insulated and isolated from the realities that afflict the people for whom they allegedly work. For example, in the five years between 2002 and 2007, eleven senior DWV managers received, on average, a 39% increase in remuneration, or some 7.8% per year. Given the realities faced by many if not most of those who pay for such excess, this is a trend that needs to be reversed and soon.
Only purposeful political action will bring about the necessary change. West Vancouverites will most likely have their next opportunity to do something to protect their wallets on November 15th, the date set for local elections. ITAC will be working hard to ensure that the financial administration of our District is a central public policy issue during the upcoming municipal election campaign. We will be encouraging fiscally responsible candidates to seek election to DWV council. There is a beyond urgent need to pare the District bureaucracy and put an end to the fiscal incontinence that afflicts our local government. Your support for our efforts and your vote for economically enlightened candidates next November 15th will do much to turn things around and allow West Vancouver residents to rest easier when the taxman comes calling each year.
Please forward this e-mail to all those you know resident in West Vancouver who you think would benefit from receiving this information, with the request that they do the same.
Keep visiting ITAC's blog-site,, for regular updates concerning the use and abuse of your hard-earned tax-dollars. We've had over 6,500 visits to date.

Persistence is one of the Greatest Virtues

Re: SNC Lavalin reports huge profits - Lori McLeod Globe May 2/08
Isn't it interesting that on the very day that our Vancouver SUN reports a dramatic decline in wages and earning power, coupled with a massive development boom - the Globe features the climbing profits of SNC Lavalin.
As the bulilder of the several billion dollar Canada Line here in Vancouver, SNC has syphoned away our equity in our independant businesses, and fattened its bottom line at our expense. Any and all profits to SNC have come directly out of the pockets of the blindsided families that run all the small businesses along it's route.
The secret decision by the RAV/Canada Line and SNC to dig a massive canyon for the past two years from one end of Cambie street to the other, instead of boring underground as was proposed and approved; has created a kind of hardship that is unimaginable for most people, both financial and personal.
People's life's work - their livelihoods - have been ruined, and the project and all it's corporate and government partners have turned a blind eye.
We've been offered not a penny in financial relief or compensation for this shocking abuse of power, and the project itself is making millions at our expense.
I have spent 25 years building my successful Maternity and Women's clothing business. I design and manufacture with local labour just for my own shop. I'm a single parent. I signed a long-term Lease based on what turned out to be a lie.
I have re-mortgaged my house twice now, and have lost $500,000 in revenue.
For the past three years I have done everything I can think of to bring justice and compensation to our devastated community - many of whom do not speak english.
So. What's a girl to do? Why - take all levels of government and all project partners to court, that's what.
My case is proceeding against all odds. Examinations for Discovery are being set. Full compensation is required. It's only money, and all partners have truck fulls of it. What is sadly lacking, is any integrity from the project or from our government.
Premier Campbell could turn this around in a heartbeat. Does he have one?
Three years of this human rights violation caused by the Canada Line is justice denied, and an open contempt for democracy. Our livelihoods have been expropriated.
As a society, it is more than outrageous that small independant businesses have been forced to take our own government to court to seek a remedy for the devastating consequences of this government funded and driven project.
Our hope is to have this abuse of power made right with full compensation before we are forced to take further legal action. Any project profits derived under these circumstances are nothing to celebrate. It is unconscionable.
Susan Heyes
3190 Cambie Street
Van BC V5Z 2W2
604 687-0721

Marilyn & Tony