Monday, April 20, 2015

Mr. Adey Has Something Important To Say On The Book Of Faces.


Longtime reader, and oft-times Twittmachine wurlitzer of goings on round here, Merv Adey, points out on Facebook that something significant happened in the Ledge during question period earlier today. 

Given that you probably won't see or hear about this on local newscasts we thought we'd bring Merv's message to you by way of the bloggodome:

In question period today, BCLiberal cabinet minister Virk is nailed for hiding the existence of public documents. The NDP tabled briefing notes the govt denied existed, emails the govt denied existed. Much was redacted as "advice to cabinet" which is fair enough, but if those emails were deleted by the sender, Nick Facey, who was involved in reviewing Mr. Virk's role in a salary scandal at Kwantlen College? Then Nick Facey may have breached the Freedom of Information Act.

It seems like our provincial govt is involved in serial, intentional cover ups. But the reporters on the TeeVee news still quote their press releases as fact.

Check the Hansard link above and scroll down to Question Period. It really is unbelievable...


Background on what went down at Kwantlen, for context, can be found...Here....And...Here.


Friday, April 17, 2015

The Thing I Learned Today...


Today I learned that, no matter how old you are, partaking in Ska-Punk is pretty much guaranteed to make you feel like a kid all over again.

What the heckfire am I going on about this time?

Well, the Geezers are getting ready for their biggest show of the year....

And the rhythm section has decided that we should give Rancid's 'Time Bomb' a try.

For real.

So, given that, does anybody have any tips on how to play a super low-strung vertically-oriented guitar while screaming and twirling at the same time?

Don F?




I sure hope no one mentions The Pixies anytime soon.

All joking aside, Time Bomb is a straight-up, super infectious tune to mess around with no matter how you do it...And, while I'm not sure Mr. Beer 'N Hockey would agree, it almost seems like a Post-Hip-Hop-A-Lyptical westcoast-destylized version of Springsteen's New York City Serenade, at least from a lyrical POV....But don't quote me on that in Greasy Lake circles whatever you do....
Interestingly, Rancid's front man Tim Armstrong/Timebomb, who is on the front porch of geezerhood himself now, is still up to some most interesting DIY stuff on the side, a lot of which you can find....Here.
And, in the interest of full disclosure...We lived right up the street from where the two then young Armstrong's, Tim and that other guy, as well their two crews were honing their craft in the Berkeley flats as kids back in the early '90's...But as a junior science geek with a then newly born tiny e. in tow I really had no idea what was truly going on at 924 Gilman on the other side of San Pablo at the time.


The Golden Era's (Very) Long Tail...Mr. Coleman Celebrates Another Failure.


It never ceases to amaze me how, if you just pay attention, you can see the real and true failures of BC Liberals coming from miles and miles and miles away..

And I'm not just talking about the cronification of everything.

Instead, I'm talking about the ideologically-driven policy failures.

This time I'm specifically talking about the original Brownian/Campbellerian plan to get public housing off the public's back by selling all the public housing land to private developers to generate capital.

Which is exactly what the executor of the original plan, Rich Coleman, did with all that land at the foot of Little Mountain in Lotsuland's near Eastern Townships almost a decade ago now.


I remember it like it was yesterday.

And even then the kicking out of all the families and the tearing down of all that public housing when there was no plan in place seemed like madness.

And, according to Daphne Bramham in the VSun in it is still is.

Utter madness I mean.

Here is the lede of Ms. Bramham's latest on the matter:

Housing Minister Rich Coleman celebrated last week’s official opening of 53 units of seniors’ housing on Vancouver’s Little Mountain as “a milestone” and “a rebirth of a community.”

But a better description of the long-stalled redevelopment of Vancouver’s largest social housing site might be a disgrace or, at very least, an embarrassment to the province and the city.

Far from addressing the enormous problem of housing affordability in Canada’s most expensive city, the province’s sale of the Little Mountain site may have exacerbated it.

No one knows when — or even if — the site will be fully redeveloped. Yet, even if it is fully redeveloped, the net gain may be as few as 10 social housing units and, at most, 60.

For 50 years, the site that stretches from 33rd Avenue to 37th between Main and Ontario streets had 234 units that provided affordable housing to families and seniors.

Eight years ago, the first tenants began moving out with a promise that they would have first right of refusal when new units were completed in 2010.

BC Housing had sold the property for $300 million to Holborn Properties on the condition that it build 234 new units of social housing and an additional 10 for Musqueam band members. Fewer than a quarter have been built.

The old homes were demolished even though Holborn has yet to gain approval from the city for the redevelopment...


If it was only lemonade stands that these people can't run...

We might not be in such trouble.

Funny thing about Big Rich's big plans for public housing....Back in the days when he was still running with Mr. Coleman, the CTF's man against transit mega-projects (who was, of course, for them before he was against them) Mr. Jordan Bateman used to argue with folks on various and sundry comment threads (back in the day the then Langley Township Councillor was a blogger too) about how Big Rich was going to transform everything for the better if we would just give him the chance...
The real kicker in Ms. Brahman's piece is the fact that Big Rich's original sell-off deal included no increase in actual public housing units despite the fact that the actual density of the planned private build up was something on the order of a seven fold increase...The City of Vancouver is actually trying to address that in its permitting process...Again, another epic fail for the Martyn Brown/Gordon Campbell doctrine of 'privatize everything!'


This Day In Clarkland...But Will There Be Sparkles On That Tiger?


And she should know.

After all, she once saw Maggie Thatcher from her dorm room.

In Scotland.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Joni Mitchell's Pre-Blue Muse.


As you may have heard Ms. Mitchell was hospitalized a few weeks ago.

What you may or may not have heard about are the specifics of Ms. Mitchell's health problems, which are, unarguably, debilitating.

The cause of those problems, however, have led to considerable argument, the best and most balanced description of which that I have read come from Stassa Edwards writing at Jezebel.

Although, to be very clear here, I have, essentially, no expertise in such matters so you might want to read Russell Smith's take in the Globe as well if you are interested.


Regardless all that, there was a most interesting piece in, of all places, the Wall Street Journal by Marc Myers last week describing the inspiration for at least two of Ms. Mitchell's songs on the album 'Blue'.

Essentially, this is the story of a young kid who met Mitchell on the island of Crete at the end of the sixties whose first name is Car(e)y and who she once described as her 'Mean Old Daddy'.

It's a great read for all kinds of reasons, including for the anecdotes about Ms. Mitchell's songwriting process and the stories about just how different the world was for carefree kids who wanted to travel the world on a shoestring back then.

And reading such a piece it would go very well with, say, this...

Above linked-to piece is built from Cary Raditz' recollections...Ms. Mitchell's are...Here.


Translink Referendum Shuffle...Pouring More Untendered Gasoline On The Bonfire Of The Flack-Hackeries.


As I've mentioned numerous times before, the only sure winners in this entire endless plebiscite thingy will be the members of the Flack-Hackery.

And now, thanks to the initial digging and Freedom of Information (FOI) requests of Bob Mackin and the follow-up work of Laila Yuile we know that even the contract extensions of the Flack-Hackery are untendered and, essentially undefined:

...The FOI on this contract is rather open-ended,with few concrete deliverable in place other than what is dictated in the Schedule A ( pg 8) and a proposal letter sent from Counterpoint to Translink VP Bob Paddon in June of 2014 ( Pg 9)

The timeframe for the original contract was June 2014 – December 2014 for $70,000 fees and &4,000 expenses.

An amendment to that contract was signed December 31st,2015 ( pg 15) extending the contract to July 31st 2015, for an additional $100,000 dollars.

No further changes to services were amended.

All of which leads Laila to wonder:

...What exactly is Translink paying for? Conversations? Meetings? Tweets?...

All of which are very good questions.

Perhaps folks should start asking them of  Counterpoint principals Bob Ransford and Bruce Rozenhart the next time they bump into them on the Twittmachine.

And here's something that, in my opinion at least, doesn't get said enough...Which is that this plebiscite thingy is non-binding...
In the interests of showing our work....Previous posts on Counterpoint's 'contract' can be found....Here....and....Here.


Cronification In Clarkland...Has The Lede Buried In Burke Mountain Been Split In Two?


To his credit Les Leyne of the VTC has partially unburied a lede on the Clarklandian Crown Asset Sales Bonanza by writing about the leaked Emails that indicate both the speed at which this was (and presumably still is being) done and why:

...In a note from June 2013, a month after the election, to a team tasked with selling a parcel directly behind the legislature buildings, an official said that to be part of the sale and development “is a once in a lifetime opportunity. An opportunity that normally would warrant years of planning and preparation.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have unlimited time — our goal is to have For Sales up by Oct. 31 with sale proceeds in the bank by March 31 [of the next year].”....


...Another email read into the record was from an assistant deputy minister, written in May 2013, just days after the election. It was addressed to dozen officials charged with asset sales across government. It makes crystal-clear what various cabinet ministers are having trouble this week confessing. “As you are aware, asset sales is a key initiative for the government to balance the budget in fiscal 2013/14. The fiscal plan includes a net gain of $350 million from this initiative this year which we are collectively committed to achieve.”...

But here's the thing.

When it comes to the big sales atBurke Mountain, which Mr. Leyne talks about specifically as well, there is not one mention of who actually bought most of the land for, as the buyer claimed yesterday, 'fair market value'.

Curious that, no?

And, for the record (and, yes Record Store Day Is Coming!), some idiot bloggers lacking in establishment credibility saw this exercise in budgetary ponzification for what it was BEFORE the last election.


This Day In Clarkland...The Simultaneous Dissing And Word Salading Of The Supreme Court Decision.


First, as recorded by Sean Leslie of CKNW, the 'Dissing':

Premier Christy Clark says there are no plans to phase out the daily prayer that opens each sitting of the legislature.

This after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled a municipality in Quebec can no longer open its meetings with prayers, as the state must remain neutral on religion...

Next, as also recorded by Mr. Leslie, the 'Salading':

...“You know the thing in British Columbia is, the prayer is sometimes it’s a prayer that’s completely non-religious. Sometimes it does refer to God or Allah or Jehovah, or any of the other names that people use for God.” (said Clark)...


I suppose we shouldn't be surprised by this.

After all, it's not like the good premier hasn't dissed the court before while dribbling  the lettuce and the dressing out of both sides of her mouth.

And just so you know, it would appear that the good Mr. Leslie  kinda/sorta sees a method in Ms. Clark's madness salad given that he ends his piece with the following: "In fact, some MLA’s who deliver the daily prayer don’t mention God at all."....Hmmmm...I wonder if Mr. Leslie though to ask any of those MLA's if they did that on purpose to, for example, make a point?


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mr. Khosrowshahi's Wesbild 'Fully Stands By The Integrity' Of Its Burke Mountain Transaction With The Clark Government.


How do I know this?

Because Wesbild has released a statement to that effect:

Posted Apr 15, 2015

In March 2014, Wesbild purchased 370 acres of land in the Burke Mountain area of Coquitlam via a competitive and public tender process administered by Colliers International on behalf of the Province of British Columbia. Our firm submitted a bid for 14 of the 21 parcels that were on offer, and we were the successful bidder for these lands. We paid fair market value and fully stand by the integrity of this transaction.

Wesbild has also participated in other provincial land sale competitions in British Columbia with unsuccessful bids.

Fair market value on all 14 parcels that the very fine Wesbild bid on?


Does that mean that Wesbild knows what all the other bids were?

And, more to the point, I suppose, is a question we have for the fine Clarklandian minister responsible, the good Mr. Virk.

Which is...

We're there any other bidders on each of those 14 parcels?

And we very much thank the fine folks from Wesbild for letting us know that they have had unsuccessful provincial land sale bids in the past, although it would have been most helpful if they had let us know if they have lost any such bids since, say, May 14th, 2013?
Tip O' the Toque to Cassidy Olivier on the Twittmachine for the heads-up.


The Bard Of Sliverville Weighs In On The Recall Thing.


From Mr. Beer 'N Hockey's latest:

...Elections are best left to election time. Takes a lot of steam to build up enough pressure for people, in their masses, to change a government. Recall campaigns allow some of that steam to blow off.

Not a good idea in my opinion.

Hard to argue with that, I reckon.