Monday, September 1, 2008

How LRT was Sabotaged in Favor of SkyTRain

A much more complete story on SkyTrain vs. LRT has become available through one man's Freedom of Information pursuits.

This is a lengthy document, but it is real and it is very much worth your reading.

Camp No Pot Luck

This extraordinary letter to the editor in the Langley Times was brought to our attention thanks to a diligent commenter. Note especially the last paragraph with which many of us can identify.

"Experience the difference." Indeed.

Ferries can’t handle emergencies

Editor: I was recently on the Coastal Inspiration ferry with my three baby girls, young niece, and much of my extended family including our children’s grandmother and their 82-year-old great-grandfather.

Unfortunately, it was the trip where there was a truck fire on the car deck.

I would like to start with compliments to the staff on board who seemed to do a good job organizing people into one area of the ship calmly. It seemed there was a lot of confusion, but the on-board staff did a good job keeping people calm.

However the rest of BC Ferries’ staff should be fired; especially whoever is in charge of emergency response.

After walking off ship, we were all corralled into a concrete area for four to five hours.

It was over one hour before anyone even came to talk to us, telling us they had no idea what was going on.

One person was handing out free water bottles and cookies — thanks; not much good for my twin one-year-old girls though. I looked around at the two-hour mark for elusive BC Ferries employees and could find none.

There were none. No BC Ferries people were with us for hours.

I called BC Ferries on my cell phone and got no further. The lady basically ignored me, and in the courtyard we sat — uninformed, with no food, no milk and no place for my kids to nap. That’s right; I called from the courtyard we were stuck in, and was still ignored with undue diligence.

By now my three girls, my niece, and my 82-year-old grandpa were all getting tired and hungry. The twins had proceeded to throw themselves on their backs on the concrete surroundings and scream. I asked everyone I could find (which totalled the cookie and water guy) “was it going to be one hour or five hours?”

The point was that, if I had some idea, I could take my family somewhere to eat. No one knew, no BC Ferries employees were to be found. All I found were some girls selling walk on tickets for the other ferries, and they were no help at all.

At the two and one-half hour mark, the spokesperson wandered back, talking about tour buses coming for people to rest in. These buses never appeared. He then disappeared again.

I found the one BC Ferries employee, the cookie and water guy again, and asked if we could just leave since my kids were now in hysterics, hungry and way over tired. He told me I might get a fine for leaving my van on the deck of the ferry.

I would like to say to BC Ferries — you terrorized my family more than the fire did.

You left my family, old and young, sitting on a concrete pad helpless, told we can’t leave, and offered nothing in the way of help.

Special high pay for special training you always claim, but when it comes down to it you suck and a private company could do no worse.

Try providing food for kids, a nap place, and let us know about how long so we can not feel stuck there helpless, with hungry screaming tired kids. It is obvious you have no plan for handling emergencies properly. How about at least one employee staying with the people for five hours?

BC Ferries, not the fire, terrorized my family, forcing us to sit in a concrete area. There were two one-year-olds, a two-year-old, a five-year-old, four adults, a grandma and our 82-year-old great-grandpa.

By the way, we were going to look at buying a cabin on the Island, but decided BC Ferries is too incompetent to depend on. Instead, we spent some time looking at the MLS website for cabins in the Interior of B.C.

Mike MacDonald,


Province Letter Writer Spills the Insite Beans

Monday, Sept. 1/08

Letter writer Callum Milne of Prince George would like some "evidence" to support David Berner's assertions that Insite has not been telling the truth about its operation.

Here's one: Not every injection supplied by Insite is supervised.

As the former partner of a heroin addict, I can tell you that Insite routinely gives out handfuls of needles to its "clients" to take home, or wherever, to help them shoot up.

That is not what Insite says it does.

As much as it was against my better judgment, I would drive her to the facility and she would run in and be back in five minutes with a handful of needles. I did it to ensure she was safe because she was going to do it anyway.

But how is handing out handfuls of needles to addicts helping them?

If you want to know why Insite is still around, just follow the money. Those running the facility are stuffing their pockets with our tax dollars and will never tell you how much they are making to see addicts strung out all over the city. ,

Nelson Thomas Reekie

Sailing Away

Excellent short editorial on today's Province about the dangers - read "scam" - hands-off crown corporations, so perfectly exemplified by BC Ferries.

Read it here.

From a Commenter on Palin/McCain

"So now we have Gov. Palin, whom evidence suggests may have abused her power as governor of Alaska to fire the state’s public security director after he blocked her efforts to destroy the career of a low-level state trooper who happened to be her former brother-in-law, because she wanted to avenge a sister engaged in an ugly post-divorce custody dispute.

Published allegations would show that both Gov. Palin’s husband Todd Palin, and members of her staff, repeatedly called and harangued state Public Safety Director Walt Monegan, who says he was “pressured” to fire the brother-in-law, Officer Mike Wooten. The Palins have charged that Wooten drank beer in his patrol car, hunted moose illegally and that he once fired his taser at his 11-year-old step son—charges that Wooten has denied. They have also claimed that Wooten threatened Sarah Palin’s father—also denied by Wooten.

Also interesting—the charges that were made against Wooten were for things that he allegedly did years before, and for which, where appropriate, he had already been disciplined or exonerated by his employer. That taser incident, if it happened, was when the stepson was 11. The boy, now 17, reportedly lives these days with the allegedly trigger-happy step dad. The alleged beer and hunting incidents also predate the divorce, which raises questions of why, if those charges warranted Wooten’s firing from the police force, the supposedly ethics-obsessed Palin would not have raised them back at the time with his superiors.

Palin has improbably denied that she had “anything to do with” her husband’s calls to Monegan. She subsequently fired Monegan and got his successor to fire her sister’s ex from the police force. (Her pick to replace Monegan is being accused of sexual harassment!).

The Republican state legislature has voted $100,000 to fund an independent investigation into the abuse of power charges against Palin, and there is talk of a possible impeachment proceeding, too. Palin has denied that she did anything wrong. The investigation, which is expected to take three months to complete, will drag on through the entire presidential election campaign.

One thing is clear: Whatever Palin’s troglodyte social and political views, Americans don’t need another vice president who views public office as an opportunity to abuse his or her power for personal or political vendettas.

The other thing that is clear in all this is that McCain, who is running for president in part on a claim of competence, has certainly demonstrated a lack of same in his naming of Palin, whom he reportedly only decided on this past week and after only speaking with her last Sunday by phone. (His campaign says he also met her once briefly last February at a state governors’ convention in Washington.)

The Alaskan “troopergate” abuse of power scandal, which will now play out through the coming weeks, clearly was not vetted by McCain and his staff, and no doubt will turn off a lot of one natural Republican constituency: law enforcement officers, who expect to have any charges leveled against them handled by due process.

If even some of the charges against Palin are true, her actions should make her unfit for the office of vice president, particularly on the ticket with a man who is pushing the actuarial envelope in running for president."

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006). His work is available at