Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tastee Freeze

The City of Vancouver, exactly like every other government in the world, is a grossly bloated bureaucracy.

When I said in a Province newspaper editorial some months ago that close to 50% of the employees and departments could be slashed with no noticeable effect on the lives of its citizens, the outrage was loud.

This morning, as I learn that the City has given the City Manager powers to slash and cut and freeze wages, I stand by my original position.

Spend some time around City Hall and then tell me different.

50% of every employee's day is given over to lengthy gabfests called "meetings," at which every participant's every subtle need must be met. The favorite song around these costly affairs goes, "I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that idea."

Meetings are followed by write-ups of the meetings followed by follow-up meetings.

For this my property taxes are going to go up 10%?

The arts and culture department is a fiefdom run by a totally obscure but power-mad shrike who operates entirely on her own agenda.

The drug office has accomplished exactly what? Any clean and sober recovering addicts? I don't think so.

Now, Council wants a mental health advocate? To do what?

The same marvelous job that Mr. Civil City has been doing?

Drugs and alcohol and mental health are not civic responsibilities. These are offices of the provincial and federal governments, who do a bad enough job on their own, without wasting my tax dollars on ineffective boobs at 12th and Cambie.

The simple truth is that City Hall could realistically cut current expenditures by hundreds of millions of dollars and you would not see a single sign of deprivation, other than the oxygen-sucking mandarins on the employment lines.

Of course, flag-waving and tap-dancing aside, the City will never do this.

Governments are perpetual swelling machines.

They give birth to eight babies a day.

They sit around all day dreaming of ways to re-generate, duplicate, obfuscate and add to our woes and costs.

Remove the snow. Keep the sewers running. Pay the firefighters and the police.

Otherwise, be quiet and stop spending our money.