Thursday, January 15, 2009

SHOOT THE MESSENGER, or, How Lo Can They Go?

In Ibsen's "An Enemy of the People," one man with an unhappy message is isolated by the community.

In Steven Spielberg's "Jaws," the same message is played out in cartoon fashion with nobody at a resort wanting to hear about a dangerous shark. Bad for business, don't you know?

In Vancouver, at 12th & Cambie, when the Chief Financial Officer raises a number of questions about a large and costly development project, she is told, "Resign or be fired."

Not much new in the world.

Gary Mason continuing his first-rate coverage of the Olympic Village fiasco got his hands on the damning memo that reveals just how political City Hall really can be.

"The financial viability of the developer of the Olympic athletes village, the future of the city's credit rating, the increased risk to taxpayers and soaring construction costs were among the many concerns the city's former chief financial officer had months ago about the project, The Globe and Mail has learned.

In an extraordinary memo Estelle Lo sent to then-city-manager Judy Rogers in October, 2008, the since-departed CFO outlined a string of worries she had about the project - many of which have since been validated.

A couple of weeks after sending the memo, Ms. Lo was approached by Ms. Rogers and given an ultimatum: resign or be fired. Ms. Lo would resign with a one-year severance package, and Ms. Rogers would be removed on Dec. 12, 2008, by newly elected Mayor Gregor Robertson."

Globe writers Ian Bailey & Justine Hunter further report that Mr. Campbell will convene the provincial legislature a bit early to have a vote on amending the City's charter so that it can borrow money to cover this sinkhole.

"Government lawyers are drafting amendments to the Vancouver Charter to allow the city to borrow the money."

Is my cynicism showing when I ask the following?

Amend the City Charter to borrow money?

Is this an elaborate pea-and-shell game to amend the Charter to borrow money for many things many times because we are broke or going broke or afraid of going broke?

Is this the not-so-cleverly disguised license to institutionalize deficit financing to Vancouver?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Watch for double digit property taxes and user fees increases for Vancouver.

From one of the most livable, the Olympics will turn Vancouver into one of the most unlivable cities in North America.