Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bureaucrat Wages Increased by 38 per cent since 2001

Has your personal income increased by 38 per cent in 11 years?
Probably not.
Mine certainly hasn't.

Municipal wages exceeded increases in the cost of living by a whopping 15 per cent in that period, according to a report by Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation.

"Labour costs are the number one cause pushing municipal property taxes out of control," states B.C. Director Bateman.

Municipalities are also overpaying the provincial government for "technical expertise".

Jordan Bateman will be speaking in Kelowna on October 7th at 7:30 p.m. at the Century 21 Meeting Room located at 251 Harvey Avenue.

"The meeting is sponsored by a group wanting to freeze property taxes in Kelowna.  While the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation is non-partisan and does not endorse specific candidates in any election, we do make ourselves available to speak at events like these to spread our message of lower taxes, less waste and more government accountability.  And, put simply, you cannot freeze taxes without controlling a city's top cost driver:  labour", states the release.

"Municipalities pay more than their share:  study"

Mayors and Councillors will be quick to remind residents that Victoria has downloaded a lot of costs onto cities and municipalities, which is true.    A September 19th, 2014 heading in The Province caught my eye with the heading:  "Municipalities pay more than their share:  study"

The article continues:  Munis are paying more than fair share of policing, housing, waste and water-treatment costs as the federal and provincial governments funnel the financial burden downward, says a report released Thursday. 

The report, from the Vancouver-based Columbia Institute, is titled Who's Picking Up The Tab -- Federal and Provincial Downloads onto Local Governments.

It concluded that local governments have shouldered about $4 billion in reduced federal and provincial transfer payments.

The release of the report comes just days before B.C.'s municipal politicians gather in Whistler for the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.  Premier Christy Clark is scheduled to address delegates September 26th. 

"In spite of limited means, local governments are picking up more and more services and more and more of the tab," the 44-page report said.  Local governments are finding themselves picking up the slack on housing, mental health, addiction, social services, waste water treatment, diking, flood management, water and recreation infrastructure."

Columbia Institute stated that municipal governments rely on two methods to raise money:  property taxes and user fees, and they aren't permitted to run deficits.  But from 2001 to 2010, sewever-service costs grew 173 per cent, police costs increased 134 per cent, waste water services went up 130 per cent, and park recreation and culture services costs grew 108 per cent. 

"Wow...add those monumental cost changes to the wage increases of bureaucrats (and consultants) and it's no wonder we residents can't afford all this stuff any longer," says Kia.

The guts to make hard decisions

...and intelligence.
Ask yourself who among your local candidates possesses those attributes.
Or who simply leans whichever way the wind blows that day.
Or which councillors and mayors believe everything bureaucrats say to further their agendas...because it's easier than challenging them.

J.V. Methot deserves accolades for his letter to the editor, published in the Morning Star today:

"...since 2004 we have ... been electing, appointing
and hiring all of the wrong people."
J.V. Methot

"Back on February 7, Gyula Kiss (Coldstream councillor) wrote you a letter outlining the area water plan history.

After reading this, I thought to myself that some of what he said must be wrong.  Nobody in their right mind would be stupid enough to change the plan we had in 2002 and 2004.

Well guess what -- $70 million more and counting and what have we really got?

Mr. Kiss, you are a voice crying in the wilderness.

You have known and stated all along the mess that's become of our present water plan but nobody was or is listening to you.  What a shame on us.

It's now quite plain to me, and I hope to a lot of other people, that since 2004 we have with a few exceptions, been electing, appointing and hiring all of the wrong people with the hope that they would use their God-given common sense to run this fabulous place we live in with a modicum of intelligence at least.  What's wrong with this picture?

Let's start with the next two elections -- civic and federal.

Try and elect people with the guts to make the hard decisions, which they won't be afraid to voice loud and clear, are truthful and honest, not prone to spin-doctoring and never use the phrase, "We're working on it," write all of their own material and tell it like it is, and not be afraid to rock the boat.

Let's hope that some people like that run for office and that we have the good sense to who who they are and elect them."
J.V. Methot

"Councillor Kiss deserves credit for not calling bureaucrats, colleagues, and the public stupid," offers Kia, "even though he'd be correct if he did."

Document reference:
2012 Master Water Plan
Financial Strategies to Support the 2012 Master Water Plan, 51 pages, by Consultants
Financial Plan, 21 pages, marked "Final"...(blog note:  oddly enough, the link failed...twice.  Hmmm.)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bureaucrat-recommended OCP Changes to Coldstream Council

Coldstream's website states that the public will have an opportunity to review the Draft plan for the changes to the Official Community Plan (at top left, here), under Next Step.

At least, that's what it says. 

But nowhere on that OCP review page--among its dizzying number of documents--is there a link so that residents can read what staff is proposing to have Council consider.

But here is the 69 page report of DRAFT changes to the OCP, by M.Reiley.

If the above link doesn't work, here's the URL to the document: 


This mayor and council are pushing through RU10/RU30, despite opposition by the Coldstream Acreage Owners' Association.

Read the 69 page DRAFT.
It'll take only half an hour.

It's in YOUR best interest to do so.

"Brought to you by our 'pragmatic socialist' mayor," offers Kia.

MP Colin Mayes and C-587

Okanagan-Shuswap member of parliament Colin Mayes deserves a huge Thank You for his Private Members' Bill (C-587) which would amend Canada's Criminal Code and increases parole ineligibility for horrific and abhorrent crimes such as abduction, sexual assault and murder.

"This is about victims and their families, not the offenders."
Conservative MP, Colin Mayes, Okanagan-Shuswap

"This enactment amends the Criminal Code to provide that a person convicted of the abduction, sexual assault and murder of the same victim in respect of the same event or series of events is to be sentenced to imprisonment for life without eligibility for parole until the person has served a sentence of between twenty-five and forty years as determined by the presiding judge after considering the recommendation, if any, of the jury."

The Bill's full text is here.

The Morning Star reported Mr. Mayes' comment:  "My bill has merit and will provide guidance and accommodation to our judiciary to further protect victims of violent crimes," said Mayes.

"This is about victims and their families, not the offenders.  Once a parole hearing has been given and denied, the whole process starts over again.  Making murderers ineligible for parole for up to a maximum of 40 years could save families approximately eight unnecessary parole hearings."

...eight exruciatingly painful and emotional parole hearings.

"A sincere thank you, Mr. Mayes for this Bill on behalf of victims," nods Kia.

...a welcome change to Canada's Criminal Code.
About time.


Winfield Gas Prices Help Kelowna's Retailers Winfield and Kelowna anyway.

Winfield's fuel price is $124.9 versus Vernon's $131.9.

Folks drive to Winfield to save 7 cents a litre, then "make a day of it" by heading to Kelowna to shop.

The timing seems to always be impeccable--approaching a weekend, when people have more time.
Especially this time with school children finally heading back to classes.

Vernon's retailers were again moaning about slow business.

"Retailers here should have a meeting with gas station owners," suggests Kia.

Payers versus Payees

This anonymous internet document reflects what more and more Canadians are discussing openly.

A nation of sheep breeds a government of wolves 

The folks who are getting the free stuff don't like the folks who are paying for the free stuff , because the folks who are paying for the free stuff can no longer afford to pay for both the free stuff and their own stuff.
And the folks who are paying for the free stuff want the free stuff to stop.
And the folks who are getting the free stuff want even more free stuff on top of the free stuff they are already getting!
Now... The people who are forcing the people who pay for the free stuff have told the people who are RECEIVING the free stuff that the people who are PAYING for the free stuff are being mean, prejudiced and racist.
So... The people who are GETTING the free stuff have been convinced they need to hate the people who are paying for the free stuff by the people who are forcing some people to pay for their free stuff and giving them the free stuff in the first place.
We have let the free stuff giving go on for so long that there are now more people getting free stuff than paying for the free stuff.
...great democracies have committed financial suicide somewhere between 200 and 250 years after being founded.
The reason?
Voters figured out they could vote themselves money from the treasury by electing people who promised to give them money from the treasury in exchange for electing them.
The number of people now getting free stuff outnumber the people paying for the free stuff ..
BORDERS:  Restricted
LANGUAGE:  English 
DRUG FREE:  Mandatory Drug Screening before Welfare
NO freebies to: Non-Citizens

"It obviously wasn't written by our 'pragmatic socialist' mayor," asserts Kia.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Trash Haulers Fined $450,000 for Banned Recyclabes

The stuff doesn't go away.
It's clogging boxes in corners and the residence, in the clubhouse, in the shop.

When you work 7 days a week for 6 months as I do, there's no time to drive to a recycling center and drop off the stuff that used to be picked up in clear bags before the onset of Multi-(Mini) Material's new recycling plan.

This overwrap, accumulated in the clubhouse, isn't eligible for Emterra's recycling boxes!

A Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 story in the Vancouver Sun may be just the tip of the iceberg to give us all an inkling of what may occur (recycling police?) as more and more acceptable recyclables unfortunately make it back into the waste stream (where it was formerly segregated for recycling).

Private trash haulers are fined for having forbidden recyclables in their loads.
Recent fines on the Coast were:

"Waste Management topped the list at $82,437, followed by Smithrite Disposal at $75,083; Northwest Waste $38,596, BFI Canada (Progressive Waste) $37,854, Super Save Disposal $34,509, Maple Leaf Disposal $17,891, City of Burnaby $17,443, and Waste Control Services $11,625," reports writer Larry Pynn of The Sun.  A $74,298 fine was levied at the City of Vancouver's transfer station and landfill in Burns Bog in Delta.

How about residents?
"Residential drop-offs, typically pickup trucks and vans, were responsible for $22,511 in surcharges," states the writer.  It was reported that "inspectors 'eyeball' garbage from a distance and make a percentage calculation if there is a violation, adding that because Metro controls the only local disposal facilities, they can act as judge, jury and executioner, with impunity."

When the "recycling cop" tells a pickup truck owner he can't unload that portion of his load without a fine of, say, $50, the homeowner generally takes the offending article--usually corrugated cardboard, etc. --back home.

Paddy O'Leary's letter to the editor today (excerpts reprinted below) is simply one more of many complaints about it, but no-one listens.
Nobody in government anyway.
They don't care because each regional district (there are 18 in British Columbia) received one million bucks ($1,000,000.00) to implement the program. 

So government did implement it.
And won't revisit it to address the problems residents face.

To hell with public input, to hell with seniors not being able to carry the heavy containers down stairs and down icy driveways (versus the previous plastic bags that could be bounced down stairs).
That's apparently government's stance.

"This new Emterra system is not so good...what I find offensive is that we have been manipulated.  Our leaders know that over the years, we have learned the benefits of recycling and it has become a habit.  We are victims of bait and switch. I now have to do a lot more sorting than before.  The homeowner does more work so Emterra doesn't have to.  

Plastic (over)wrap as used in toilet paper and paper towel packaging is not allowed so we must package it up and deliver it to a collection depot in our gas-guzzling car.

...We can't put paperback novels in the recyclng bins but phone books are OK.  At first I couldn't see the difference between paperback novels and paperback phone books.

Then I started thinking that maybe numbers break down easier than words.  Yup, that makes sense."
Paddy O'Leary

"Yes, numbers (dollars) do break down faster than words (complaints from residents) with government", grins Kia.

Note:  Pen Plast Environmental is the maker of the Emterra recycling lid-less, wheel-less containers we must all use.

You'd think Emterra would've bought us all the nicer ones with lids and (hidden) wheels, made by the same company!

At least these can be wheeled to the curb, and prevent rodents gaining access.

Seems Emterra is like the B.C. government.
They don't care either.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Only in Kelowna? Pity.

Kelowna residents have a new option for this Fall's municipal elections.

Calling themselves TaxpayersFirst, these candidates have the courage to recognize and state aloud the problems that residents in the Okanagan face.
Not just Kelowna residents.

Their premise is that there remains today only one taxpayer.
And that taxpayers are totally strapped and at their limits.
Their statements are compelling.

"Since 2008 Kelowna has suffered immensely from  the recession.  Property values are down, businesses have shut down, incomes have suffered and many have left for jobs in Alberta.  For a time our population actually shrank.  Through all this hardship, there has been no recession at City Hall. Property taxes continue to steadily increase, City Hall budgets continue to bloat and pay scales in the upper ranks of the administration continue to rise to unacceptable levels, infuriating the voters.
Our elected officials seem unconcerned with this reality.
 Currently, Kelowna property taxes are projected to rise over 23% in the next four years
(quote: Keith Grayston, City Financial Director).
Local governments have a license to take your money at will.
This has to stop."

I'm reminded of an anonymous comment attributed to an hourly civic worker in Kelowna:

"(There are) 500 bosses and only 100 workers to do it."

If any North Okanagan residents feel our area is better off, they are sadly mistaken.
Misguided, actually.
Out of touch, really.

Their Mission Statement contains some interesting plans, excerpted here:

  • enact a Bylaw requiring Zero Property Tax Increases at City Hall for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018.
  • order an Outside Audit of City Hall.
  • honour decisions made by the current council providing they make economic sense.
  • arguments about "competing with the private sector for wages" are old; almost 300 of the 700+ city employees earn over $75K a year, not counting benefits, which is the average income of an entire Kelowna family.
  • benefits to our top bureaucrats, including pensions, are far beyond those commonly received in the private sector.   Top Kelowna bureaucrats have awarded themselves the most lucrative public pension plan found anywhere in Canada, even better than the top provincial and federal employee pensions.
  • red tape continues to make doing business not only difficult but expensive.  The immense cost of this excessive administration is an unnecessary tax burden for our citizens;
  • firmly believing in less expensive government, it's time for a municipality in B.C. to provide leadership on the issue of rising taxes and excessive red tape.

The North Okanagan's residents can only hope the group's focus is contagious, and spreads northward.
And very very soon.

"The best reason for cloning I've ever heard of," asserts Kia.

Their group would shudder at the bureaucracy the North Okanagan faces!

Good luck to them.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Garlick Runs Again

Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick has now indicated he will seek a third term as mayor, reported in The Morning Star today.

He describes himself as a pragmatic socialist, a label that provides an Aha! moment to irate residents who feel this mayor's focus and policies--to pull a quote from an unrelated story in the same issue: "smack quite decidedly of bullying of the worst governmental kind".

To others, it's an oxymoron.

Pragmatism, simply defined, is a practical approach to problems and issues.
In Coldstream, it has come to mean a mayor who appears to grudgingly recognize that his idealism isn't enough to make a community sustainable.
Socialism, on the other hand, is a way of organizing an entire society, which can run the gamut of no privately-owned land and everything including production being controlled by government, to choosing what a modern, educated electorate will actually allow government to control.  Or the majority--non acreage owners anyway--on voting day.

Where am I going with this?

Well, incumbent Garlick says he'd:
 "like to continue with the progress made so far in areas such as parks management, the sports facility which is expected to be completed in spring, water, OCP housekeeping, some regional land acquisitions and a contentious issue in Lavington..." (the pellet plant)

No, this entry isn't about the proposed pellet plant.
It is about the deceptive phrase "OCP housekeeping" in the list.

Yes, it's deceptive.

Last year, a consultant was hired to overhaul Coldstream's Official Community Plan.  After several months--and near completion of the plan by the consultant--it had been rumored that the consultant--and the plan--were shelved, ostensibly because Coldstream had now filled a vacancy whose role included reviewing and rewriting OCP's.  I say rumored because nothing official was released by Coldstream; it was only discussed among residents, including the thought-to-be $40-60,000 fee for the consultant's work.  Shelved, with the new bureaucrat now proposing to council his thoughts on what should and shouldn't be in the OCP review....a second review within a few months.
Both paid for.

How can Garlick call a virtual re-write (or two) of an OCP housekeeping? 
How can Garlick call that kind of wasted money housekeeping?

Unless he wants to downplay some of the OCP's changes.
The socialist changes.

Coldstream Acreage Owners (the association formed to fight the sinister--yes, sinister--changes to the OCP) can tell you what the socialist changes are.

Or I can tell you.
Remember RU10/RU30?
Refresh your memory here.  And here.  And here.  And here.

Yes, RU10/RU30 is being pushed through by Garlick's administration.
That's socialism, not housekeeping.

Garlick says it's important to "see the positives".
But only if positives exist.

Again quoting from the same unrelated story in the Morning Star today, I'll add a succinctly phrased paragraph that exactly mirrors the thoughts of Coldstream Acreage Owners:

"For most of us, our home and property is our primary asset and financial nest egg necessary for comfortable retirement living...(but) to have the property values of any number of ... properties ... destroyed just to serve the interest of...(blog insert --> "socialist leanings of local government"...defies any definition of fair play and common sense." 


That's the pragmatist Garlick relying on the numerical majority for his socialist ideals.
Acreage owners' property values will be destroyed.

"He's counting on the larger group--residential residents--to help him push RU10/RU30 through," suggests Kia.   

Coldstream's Acreage Owners aren't asleep, Mr. Garlick.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It's Still Poop

...and all that denotes, despite the modern approach of calling it by its plural noun "biosolids", decidedly gentler on the imagination, if not the nostrils.
Its apparent benefits are now often used in the same sentence as the word "natural".
That couldn't be further from the truth.

It's still poop.
Human poop.
And a whack of other bad stuff.
Very bad stuff.

First the newspaper story.
Followed by the bad news...very bad news.

Today's "Biosolids help with landfill closure" story in the Morning Star explains the Regional District of North Okanagan plan to close a landfill in Vernon.  (Reference links added by blog author).

"The Regional District of North Okanagan will be using Metro Vancouver biosolids as part of an innovative process for closing the Pottery Road Landfill.  The use of biosolids and yard waste compost will add important plant nutrients and organic matter to quickly establish grass over the site.

Additionally, these materials contain natural soil microorganisms that convert methane gas from landfills into carbon dioxide thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 21 times.

Metro Vancouver and the RDNO have partnered for this project because it offers unique opportunities for both regions to participate in a landfill capping (closure) process using conventional waste products as resources to sustainably manage the final closure of the site.  This partnership also allows the RDNO to control project costs.

Fabricating the topsoil instead of purchasing it ready-made saves the project more than $400,000 and allows the RDNO to use locally made yard waste compost and local mineral soils in the fabrication of the topsoil.  

These biosolids, approved for landfill closure use, meet the strict requirements of the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation which was developed jointly by the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Health.

The resulting topsoil will be thoroughly sampled before it is applied to the landfill and will achieve the standard for Urban Parkland Use.  This nutrient rich material will be mixed with RDNO yard waste compost and local mineral soils to generate approximately 12,000 cubic metres of topsoil, which will then be hauled to the Pottery Road Landfill.  The biosolids mixed with the compost and mineral soil will provide the nutrients that are needed for grass growth in the spring of 2015.

The Ministry of Environment has been working with the project team to ensure odour is mitigated and the biosolids are managed in accordance with appropriate regulations.  For further information, contact the RDNO at 250.550.3700 or by email at"

That all sounds very, well, flowery, doesn't it?
Just smoke 'n mirrors, folks, from bureaucrats.

Now for the bad news, the very bad news (and an earlier blog story about biosolids in the Valley).

"Anytime a public agency or any other entity proposes
spreading human waste, bacteria, viruses and other toxic contaminants
over the landscape, regardless of the purpose,
eyebrows are going to go up."
J.Preston Smith, Sound Consumer, March 2012

We humans flush all manner of unwanted and dangerous items down toilets besides deceased goldfish and turtles:  expired pharmaceuticals such as hormones and antibiotics, paint and its petroleum-based thinners, pesticides, industrial effluent (heavy metals), stormwater (containing road-oil and brake "dust"), disinfectants, anti-foaming agents and flame retardants, synthetic fragrances, detergents (Environmental Science & Technology, Feb. 20, 2008).  The list isn't complete because it omits human pathogens and E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Norwalk viruses (and potentially others), etc.
See also the Centre for Disease Control Fact Sheet on Biosolids (study 1996 to 2008).

"...earthworms in soil plots amended with biosolids had bioaccumulated
multiple human-manufactured compounds"

Looking at U.S. regulatory policy, it's immediately found lacking.
Probably because "A minimum of 30 and a maximum of 45 [wastewater contaminants] were detected in any one biosolid," the scientists noted in a 2006 study by Eastern Washington University.

"...the data used (in part) to develop EPA's biosolids guidelines were
"unreliable, incomplete and in some cases, fudged ..."
U.S. federal court Judge A. Alamo

As recently as 2008, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and Colorado State University found that earthworms in soil plots amended with biosolids had bioaccumulated multiple human-manufactured compounds...a "politically correct" way of saying earthworms were loaded with contaminants that they did not themselves produce, and could not--and did not--expel in their normal processes. See the link for Wiki definition.

In February that same year, U.S. federal judge Anthony Alamo concluded the data used (in part) to develop EPA's biosolids guidelines were "unreliable, incomplete and in some cases, fudged ..."

The court case was based on a lawsuit:  Several farmers alleged that biosolids shipped from a nearby wastewater plant had contaminated their jointly owned farm, killing several hundred cattle and forcing closure of the farm.  Andy McElmurray and other farmers ultimately settled out of U.S. District Court for $1.3 million after arguing that high levels of chromium and molybdenum in biosolids were responsible for the cattle deaths, and for the loss of their livelihood.

In 2009, EPA's Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey Report found 28 metals in every biosolids sample from 74 randomly selected water treatment plants in 35 states. The samples, collected in 2006 and 2007, also contained 72 pharmaceuticals, 25 steroids and hormones, flame retardants, and a variety of "semi-volatile organics and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons."

EPA's regulations do make an attempt to minimize human contact with biosolids, by regulating how much time has to pass before crops in contact with biosolids can be consumed. The time lag is meant to allow a natural die-off of whatever pathogens remain in Class B biosolids. The regulations, however, don't set limits on any manufactured organic compounds in biosolids.

To learn more, read the story by pcc natural markets, from which above excerpts were copied.

The scariest sentence in that entire article is this:

"Eventually we will run out of resources and disposal space,
 so we must redefine our definition of what is disposable ..." 
Washington State Dept. of Ecology

That may be called manipulating and "suiting" rules to new conditions, inherently wrong in even a lay person's definition.

Other references:
  Georgia study, Public Health Assessment, Centre for Disease Control
 Hazard Alerts, see Page 3 Biosolids, Centre for Disease Control
 Fecal Coliform Count, see page 12, lower right of page, Centre for Disease Control, on the "amplification of microorganisms" from letting sludge pile sit for several days.

The Pottery Road Landfill closure will lead to it becoming a park.
...a park where children will play on the grass.

"The back yard is the only place I want to be," says Kia, "and that's where children should play."
I don't even want to research biosolid regulations for British Columbia.
Guessing that it may have been written by the same bureaucrats as the "innovative process for closing the Pottery Road Landfill".

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Auditor General Drags Heels

That's okay though, because it was known at the outset that the auditor general has no clout other than to review.  It's simply another smoke-n-mirrors government department.

Vernon is one of 18 B.C. municipalities whose budgets and financial positions are being reviewed.
Ostensibly to ensure they fall in line with what government -- and generally accepted accounting principles -- allow.

Frankly, it's ridiculous that Vernon's audit will be delayed until after the November municipal elections!

Even Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation said so.  "What better time to give the public information than in an election when they can act upon it in an expeditious manner?" (The Morning Star, Sept. 14/14).  Good question.

For an idea of what a community could expect once audits are completed, the AG's 2013 audits are listed here
(Was that a loud yawn that was heard?).  The AG even allows for self-assessments (another loud yawn!) by the very agencies they've assessed.

Want an interesting juxtaposition?  You can read between the lines--as is the phrase--in The Morning Star's story "Vernon city audit experiences delay" (page A10).
Look at what else is listed on that page:  "City of Vernon Notice of Tax Sale" for 38--yes, thirty-eight--addresses whose owners defaulted on their property tax payments by the deadline, and which are now subject to forfeiture by public auction on September 29th.

Does that give anyone an indication how things are going in Vernon?

Back to smoke-n-mirrors.
Further on in the same newspaper's issue is the heading:  "City nominated for award".

Applicant municipalities are judged on how well they promote the principles of the B.C. Small Business Accord.
Just for the heck of it, search-word Google "2014 Open for Business Awards" and up pops a whole whack of communities eligible to win (Grand Forks, Delta, Kelowna, Parksville, Smithers, Langley, Port Coquitlam, Salmon Arm, Revelstoke, Whistler, Surrey, Nelson, etc.)  (Yawn? maybe they only had to apply to be nominated, as many such "recognitions" are conducted).
More smoke 'n mirrors from Victoria's bureaucracy.

"It's nice to be recognized," gushes Vernon's economic development officer, Kevin Poole.

As to the apparent success of the small business accord here, wonder if some of the 38 tax-default addresses are small businesses.

Also wonder whether any of the judges will drive through the streets of Vernon--counting the For Sale, For Lease, For Rent signs--on commercial, small business properties.

"Heaven forbid the judges would ask commercial realtors how friendly the town is toward small business," offers Kia, "they obviously don't want to hear the truth."

Tax 'em until they drop seems to be the plan in the North Okanagan.
Ask any small business owner...yes, do that, if you dare.
They--we--all have considerable issues with government and bureaucracy in general.
The only segment growing is bureaucracy, both here and in Victoria. 

If It's All About the Kids

With this morning's news that a tentative deal has been reached between the B.C. Government and teachers, one parent had an interesting comment: 

"If it's all about the kids,
add the 5 missed weeks
 to the school curriculum in 2015.

Allow kids the education to which they are entitled
by extending school until the first week of August
to make up for what was lost
during this--and any--BCTF job action."
Anonymous, a parent whose child is in Grade 12

The parent made a valid point.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pattulo Bridge Wannabe

Shrink roads?  And then what?

Typical of bureaucrats' plans, Vernon's public servants have recommended a novel way of saving road maintenance costs. 

Today's Morning Star story entitled "Vernon Roads to Shrink", Vernon's CAO Will Pearce gushed effusively at the concept.  "In my 30 years of experience, this is the most comprehensive, forward-thinking plan to protect publicly owned assets."


Let's see ...

The article continues:  "To find savings, a number of initiatives are planned, including reducing road lane widths from 3.5 to 3.25 metres."  Just as excited as Pearce, public servant and colleague Mark Dowhaniuk, Infrastructure Engineer, has found a new honeypot by planning to charge large trucks with permits if they regularly travel along 27th Street, "our busiest and most expensive road", as he calls it.


Apparently decreasing road widths alone could save $0.3 million a year.
Sounds like a lot.
But it's only $300,000.

"That's probably equal to the annual salary of Pearce and Dowhaniuk,"  sniffs Kia.

Anyone who grew up in Vancouver, or indeed still lives and works there, is familiar with the Pattullo Bridge, an old span whose narrow lanes have historically been responsible for thousands of crashes, up 32 per cent last year alone.  Today--with the new Port Mann Bridge and its tolls--traffic over the Pattullo Bridge continues to increase.  Big trucks, small trucks, commuters in vehicles travel the span daily.

Pattullo Bridge, built in 1936-37

Wonder how narrow Pattullo's lanes are.
Maybe 3.25 metres.

Wonder how ICBC feels about the proposed lane narrowing on 27th Street.
Maybe it's a cash cow to raise rates.

Wonder how Roko Service's owner feels when businessowners on 43rd Avenue successfully opposed the plan to reduce their street's number of lanes several years ago.  At that time it was called a "road diet".
Business owners told Vernon's bureaucrats what they could do with their Diet.

Wonder how Tolko's logging truck drivers feel about the planned "issuing permits to large trucks that cause wear on 27th Street" (link is to a Kamloops accident, but note width of the road...).
Maybe truckers will feel another impact on their wallets.

So, shrinking roads is what Pearce and Dowhaniuk feel is forward-thinking.
But what about when the $300,000 savings is gone?
Then what?

Bureaucrats will have to don some long-range glasses.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Churchill on Islam

...Talk about prophetic!
Especially since he made this speech in 1899. 
Yes, 1899...115 years ago.

Winston Churchill was one of the most eloquent speakers ever.

"Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it.  No stronger retrograde force exists in the world."

Unbelievable, but the speech below was written in 1899.  (Wikipedia - The RiverWar).
The attached short speech from Winston Churchill, was delivered by him in 1899 when he was a young soldier and journalist.  It probably sets out the current views of many, but expresses in the wonderful Churchillian turn of phrase and use of the English language, of which he was a past master.  Sir Winston Churchill was, without doubt, one of the greatest men of the late 19th and 20th centuries.

He was a brave young soldier, a brilliant journalist, an extraordinary politician and statesman, a great war leader and British Prime Minister, to whom the Western world must be forever in his debt.  He was a prophet in his own time.  He died on 24th January 1965, at the grand old age of 90 and, after a lifetime of service to his country, was accorded a State funeral.


"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries!  Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.

A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity.  The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it.  No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.  

Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith.  It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome."
Sir Winston Churchill; (Source: The River War, first edition, Vol II, pages 248-250 London).

Churchill saw it coming.