Monday, July 28, 2008

Lovely Ferry Service

We had the great displeasure of taking two trips with BC Ferries this weekend.

On Friday, we travelled on one of the big, new ships from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay. On Sunday, we returned on a much smaller, older boat.

Dare I list the insults and discomforts?

How about $93 each way for a small car. That's because I made reservations ($15) and then changed the route ($9), albeit with two weeks notice. How much of an inconvenience was that to an electronic service, and why should I pay another $9?

The return trip ran 20 minutes late, which meant little to us, but the lady sitting next to me had to catch a bus which she was sure to miss.

The boat was one usually used for Gulf Islands service, which means that it was way too small and sardine-packed.

As long as we're raising prices every twelve minutes, maybe we could think about running more boats, more often and bigger.

Isn't it convenient for a government to make these basic services arms-length corporations run by former Americans?

Oh, I'm getting old.

I asked that same question last week.


Telling Letter to Liz from a parent

25 July, 2008

'Morning, David:

Yesterday, I copied the email I wrote to you on this subject, to neighbours who have an intellectually-challenged son.

They are a senior couple who, not only have cared for that son for his entire life, they have worked with several groups in the wider community to provide housing, care, education and other services to people who similar problems to their Michael. They have more than pulled their community weight, in ways that you and I can only imagine.

This is the email I received in reply; perhaps your readers might find it of interest --

Hi, Liz:
Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of all the Michaels in this fair land.
Few people will care, but this war has been going on with us in BCACL (parents advocacy group) for several years.
Recently a government agency was developed - Community Living BC. This agency now has a budget to fund/serve people like Michael - but they never have enough funding,
We have some school-leavers here on the North Shore that do not have any funding as yet, and the IQ situation is yet another problem complicating the issue.
We do not have enough developmental psychologists to test most of the people. This is not an intellectual/sickness/illness we can cure. It is a developmental "how you function" condition which usually lasts a lifetime.
Educational psychologists who work in this field are few and far between. All of them will tell you that an IQ can be interpreted in lots of different ways. It is not an exact science that can be measured to produce an "OK, this is the cutoff point" decision.
Therefore - what we should be asking instead, is: "How does this person function in today's complex society/community?" and, "What safety net do we need to put in place for this person, or these people?" Parents cannot do it all, especially as they get older.
Just do not get me started.
Heaven help us and the developmentally-delayed people, - but perhaps every politician, every family needs a kid who is different - and then see the tables turn! (Somewhat along the lines of the current television ad by Children's Hospital - "If it was your child, we wouldn't need to ask." Liz)
I am pleased, though, that some people in the community can be aroused.
Regards T.

Secure Games? From a reader....

Hi David

Recommend reading local author Christopher Shaw's "Five Ring Circus" to get
a more realistic idea of what is required by VANOC et al to secure the 2010
Games and how badly officials have deliberately underestimated the security
costs of the GAMES.

Some of my thoughts...

The only port city to host the Winter Olympics...three major railway lines
pass by many of the Vancouver venues, both support venues and sporting
venues and major hotels...20% of the workers in the region work downtown...a
mountainous corridor stretching 120 kms...a nightmare...what will they do,
shut down rail operations, shut down the port? Will every container need to
be opened and investigated arriving at port? What will the cost be to the
economy if they have to shut the port or the railways?

Here's what CBC reported during the 2005 trucker's stike at the Vancouver

"B.C.'s business community is demanding that the federal government end a
paralysing and sometimes violent truckers' strike at Vancouver-area ports
that is costing an estimated $75 million a day."

Just how will the security measures for the 16 day 2010 Games impact the
normal economy of BC and Canada? February is a very busy month for grain
shipments at our ports, will these shipments be delayed by security
Getting to and from places of work will be impacted by road closures and
usual transit systems will be overloaded by visitors. But it may all even
itself out if we look at Salt Lake City's (SLC) example. At SLC airport,
more people left the state of Utah during the Games period than came in.
Sales tax revenues for the month of February in 2002 to the state seem to
show that revenues were flat in comparison to previous year revenues for the
same period in 2001. A modest .6% increase in sales tax revenue was felt in
SLC only.

Imagine thousands of security officers, armed forces and secret service
agents from over 20 countries floating around...the security cost in Salt
Lake City 2002 was over $350 million in US dollars, the CAN dollar traded at
62 cents during that time. SLC is not a port city and mountain events for
the 2002 Winter Games was only 15 km from the city core and SLC had no major
railroads adjacent to any of the Olympic venues.

Security costs are being hidden in local, provincial and federal budgets
much the same as Colin Hansen tried to hide the costs of the Olympic
Secretariat office in Victoria saying they shouldn't be included in the 2010
Olympic costs. The indirect costs to our economy need to factored in. The
government is all too quick to inform or disinform us of the 2010 Games
benefits but dead in the water when it comes to informing us of the full
costs of hosting the Games.

Johnny Griffin, R.I.P.

Johhny Griffin, who played here in Vancouver a number of times in recent years to wowed audiences, has died.

A solo is playable below, and the NY Times obit can be read here.

Johnny Griffin