Friday, October 31, 2008

Healthy Disagreement #1

Hi David
I respect you for your strongly held opinions, and appreciate hearing all
sides of many issues. Thank you for caring enough to take a stand.

However - I am profoundly disappointed with this endorsement for Peter
Ladner, and the implied consent for Ladner's council decisions -
particularly to leave the Canada Line merchants to bleed a slow financial
death, voting against every initiative to assist our community with
financial relief.

Again - if just one NPA City Councillor had voted with the several motions
to assist the families along Cambie, we would not have suffered such
preventable, fatal harm.
Peter Ladner had further opportunities to rectify this as a member of the
TransLink Board, and did not.

Ladner slammed the door on any kind of financial relief for the small
businesses along the Canada Line repeatedly for the last 3 years, dismissing
our claims for compensation out of hand. The City regularly compensates
citizens and businesses for a variety of 'disruptions'. The level of harm
caused by Canada Line is unprecedented and wrong.

Peter Ladner was on Council when the City voted it's conditional approval
for the RAV project as a bored tunnel under the Cambie Village. We were all
lied to.
These imposed conditions have never been met, and the consequences of this
have needlessly devastated our community for the past three years.

A person with integrity and an understanding for fairness would have called
for a further review of the project when it became clear that what they had
voted on was not the project being built. Our government failed us

Sullivan, Ladner and Campbell had the opportunity to do the right thing and
instead, they turned a blind eye.
No meaningful consultaion. Behind closed doors meetings. Blatant conflicts
of interest.

I am aghast at this kind of thinking.

It is unconscionable for elected representatives to ride rough-shod over our
rights and our livelihoods in this manner, for known harm they and their
Provincial counterparts have forced upon citizens and communities, that they
could have prevented.

This is not confidence - this is arrogance and self-interest.
And a bent moral compass. Shame on them for allowing this to happen.

Campbell and Ladner to lead by example? Now that's really scary.

The precedent this sets - that our life's work can be expropriated without
compensation, that our livelihoods may be destroyed with impunity, is

This is not a partisan position. It's called justice and fairness, and
should form the foudation for policy making and conduct from those we elect
to serve the people.

Not how good an actor or politicians are.


Healthy Disagreement #2

31 October, 2008
David Berner! As one so skilled in the art of theatre, you well know that gift of the gab does not a good politician make. And many a bridge has been sold by "self-assured" salesmen who later ended up mired in controversy, even scandal.
I, too, enjoyed the scripts played out by Kennedy and Clinton, but I also recognized that any truths they, and other such eloquent politicians, spoke, was often one they created themselves; and so it is with Peter Ladner and his provincial mentors. To cite but two expensive examples --
His record on TransLink and Council has been of the usual GVRD/Metro variety; go along to get along. Vote, not just with fellow committee members but, far worse, to validate the SkyTrain-Canada Line and Convention Centre dicates of the provincial government - the overruns on which would pay twice over for solutions to the real problems of the city, albeit they are problems without "heft."
Furthermore, Ladner's council, rather than standing up for the "economic welfare of its community," allowed the Campbell government to download the cost of a SkyTrain station onto property taxes.
Yes, Robertson seems to favour a continuance of Insite. But in the media interviews I saw, he also stressed it was only one of ten pillars - the need for treatment being paramount. If it's theatre that's required, then I'm sure the super-bowl of the Downtown Eastside can supply it in spades - and the eloquence of the mentally-ill on those streets will bring tears to your eyes.
Me? Were I a Vancouver voter, I'd rather see a little honest hesitancy about the enormity of the clean-up that's required, than the same old self-assurance of the status quo.
Elizabeth James
Box 16090, RPO Lynn Valley,
V7J 3S9


Ladner's self-assurance convinces me he's best choice as Vancouver's mayor

David Berner,

The Province
Published: Friday, October 31, 2008

My vote for mayor of Vancouver goes to Peter Ladner.

I have nothing against Gregor Robertson. He is a fine fellow.

Both Ladner and Robertson have been described repeatedly as near-twins. Decent men, with silver-spoon backgrounds, young families, brushes with bohemia and small business, they are equally bright, pleasant and somewhat bland.

Either might make a perfectly good mayor, as I said in this space months ago, in the stamp of Philip Owen. They are well spoken and sufficiently versed in the vagaries of public office to do just enough to let people warm to you without making too many enemies.

No question that Gregor Robertson is right out of central casting. Jack Kennedy, Clinton, Barack Obama. He has "the look," but he doesn't have "the gift."

Of course, it is terribly unfair to compare mere mortals to great, natural orators like Kennedy, Clinton and Obama. Nor is it fair to compare what is at stake in these contests. The American leaders play cards at the Big Table -- world economics, war, the struggle for hearts and minds.

The mayor of Vancouver deals with homelessness, addictions, crime, transit, and small business. These matters are not nothing, for sure. But they don't have the same heft.

As the campaign began here, Robertson was accused, with some justification, of lacking substance and specifics. He spoke often of change and hope (like a mini-Obama), but was decidedly short on the rich details that make a story compelling. Now, as we inch closer to Nov. 15th, the Vision team has given Robertson some real grist for his mill -- affordable housing, the arts, and 56 other promises.

Ladner, as well, began with a few microwaved platitudes and declarations of his record. Thankfully, he and the NPA team have also moved on and given us some talking points -- a cap on property taxes, more police and only 54 other undertakings.

Both men are highlighting their commitments to cleaning the streets of crime and homelessness, although in slightly different ways. Ladner, for example, recognizes the contribution of Insite, but wants to find new treatment beds for addicts. Robertson thinks the safe injection sites are marvellous and wants to see more of them throughout the city.

I'm aghast at that kind of thinking, but that's not my reason for endorsing Ladner. My reason isn't a reason at all; it's a gut feeling, a pure instinct, and I've been running on instinct my whole life.

There's a certain hesitancy about Robertson that worries me. He seems to not be quite sure that he wants to be mayor or will know what to do with the role if he wins it. I may be wrong. He may grow into it. That happens to some leaders.

Ladner, on the other hand, has never seemed more relaxed or self-assured in all the years I've known him. He looks ready to be mayor. In fact, he is acting as if he is already mayor. That's how you win pennants and Super Bowls.

© The Vancouver Province 2008

Pay up

A year after the B.C. government promised a crackdown on transit cheats, about 11,500 passengers are still taking a free ride on transit every day, costing taxpayers as much as $10 million or more each year.

Yet, when I pointed this out at a debate on Wednesday evening to Gregor Robertson and Peter Ladner, Robertson actually claimed that it has not been proven that turnstiles pay for themselves. He wanted another study.

This is one of several reasons why he does not qualify for the job of Mayor at this time.

My son told me yesterday over breakfast that his step-son, David ( a father and step-son both named David Michael - nice serendipity!), doesn't want to take money for the SkyTrain because none of "my friends pay. Why should I?"

Transclunk wants to raise more tax revenue to pay for its relentlessly bad management, but they don't want to collect fares like every other system in the world.

We are the only public conveyance known to humankind that operates on the so-called honor system, and it's only costing us millions a year.

Add to that how Tranlink has aided and abetted the spread of addictions and crime.

"How is that?" you ask.

Because all the scofflaws and low lifes love the FOR FREE SkyTrain. They have now spread their contagion to Broadway and Commercial, Metrotown, Surrey and points in between.

When will Translink pay its fair share of cleaning up crime and addictions?

The Slow Goodbye to Newspapers

OK. I admit it. I'm not very bright.

Sometimes I have to be smacked upside the head a few dozen or eighteen times before I get it.

But now I got it.

The Vancouver Sun doesn't want to print newspapers any more.

The other day the venerable Pulitzer-Prize-winning Christian Science Monitor announced that it would cease paper versions at once, head to the Internet and print only once a week.

Clearly that is where the local paper is going.

Every day, as they print less and less news and more and more columns about nothing, they direct my flagging attention to their blogs and website.

Read this, that and the other thing today on our website.

Interact live at noon with Marty, the Catfish about smelt and all its relatives.

The Real Housing Solution

BC Fed President Jim Sinclair has hit a few nails on the head in his op-ed column in the Sun today.

In particular, he says, "Institute a massive public works program to build supportive housing for the homeless and affordable housing for thousands of others."

This is finally the only way that we will address homelessness and affordable housing.

All the posturing in the world by civic and municipal leaders will come to naught.

It will take the senior governments to step up and actually start the real work and building housing.

Plain and simple.

But do Campbell and Harper look like the men possessed of that kind of vision and courage?

Be Scared, Be Truly Scared

Talk about unholy October Deal with The Devil...

Gary Lunn, MP for Saanich-The Gulf Islands, is now Minister of State for Sport.

Lunn falls quickly behind Hedy Fry as the Second Worst Parliamentarian in living memory.

Almost as adept as the Great Dr. F herself at talking a lot and doing nothing.

All the people I know in his riding detest the poor fellow. See him for the hollow man he is.

Who the hell voted for him? Who voted for Hedy?

Forget cancer and outer galaxies -these are the true mysteries of life.

Now, as the empty vessel "responsible" for Sport, Lunn's entire gig will consist of getting fat at the many banquets leading to, during and from a certain 2 week party in these parts about 14 months from now.

What was Harper thinking?

Gary Lunn!?!