Thursday, December 18, 2014

Is It Possible That BCUC Hearings Could Have Told Us What Site C Is Actually For?


All right.

I'll admit it...

I've been hanging back, waiting to see, hear or read a cogent argument on why we actually need Ms. Clark's really big boondoggle. 

And now, after reading Damien Gillis' recent piece over at the Common Sense Canadian, I'm not sure there is one to be found.


...(Credit rating concerns will) be compounded by the lack of need for the project, as we learned throughout the JRP’s hearings. This notion has been reinforced by both the premier and BC Hydro’s confused messaging around the project.

At first, Site C was to power BC’s homes, but when we became a solid net exporter of power in recent years – according to BC Stats – the rationale morphed into powering energy-intensive LNG projects. But BC Hydro undermined that statement during the JRP hearings, saying it was instead to export excess power to California – likely a money-losing proposition for BC.

Then, just last week, Christy Clark went back on her LNG argument, admitting that Site C was notin fact required for that industry. Even Hydro acknowledges we won’t need the power from Site C until 2022 at the earliest, but the crown corporation has a long history of exaggerating demand, and, thanks to improved conservation, BC’s power consumption has barely risen since the early 2000s and shows no signs of increasing – an important fact Hydro ignores...

Oh boy.


The Transit Tax...Making Poor People Pay To Help...Poor People?


Interesting perspective in FABula's Globe piece and her blogpost from Los Angeles where an increase in the sales tax is already being used to pay for transit improvements:

...(While in Los Angeles I) had a chance to interview one of the architects of the coalition that helped get 67-per-cent approval for a half-per-cent sales tax in LA in 2008 to pay for $36 billion in transit improvements.

Denny Zane is one of those great old-fashioned American leftists, still fighting for the people. In his downtown office building, complete with a giant photo of a young Cesar Chavez, he talked for an hour about how to win the transit fight and why it’s important. Interestingly, there was a lot more focus, when he talked, about how important transit is to working-class people than I hear in debates around Vancouver (where the left and the NIMBY right seem to view it currently as some evil developer plot)...

All of that sounds good and is hard to argue with on a number of levels.

But one has to realize that in California, and especially SoCal, all pretence of a progressive tax system is long gone.

Have we really been pushed that far down the Prop 13 rabbit hole by the longtail of the Golden Era?

And, as someone who crosses Cambie, twice, everyday in the high '20's, even if it is not an evil developer plot, why shouldn't they pay too?

The developers I mean.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What To Be Looking For In The Tubes With You...


From the NYT's Listings section:

*Rufus and Martha Wainwright's Noel Nights (Wed/Thurs Dec 17/18)
The prodigious siblings revive their giddy, glittery collaborative holiday show in New York after a three year absence. The yuletide offerings will include performances by them and several members of their talented folk-pop family: At 8pm, Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street.

I figure there will be lots of stuff up by midnight.

In the meantime...


Us?....Tonight we go to the train....The Stanley Park Train!


How Much Lower Can The No-Longer-So Giant '98 Go?



In response to this.....

There was the following:

And just who is this good Mr. Drex fellow?

Well, he is the formerly obscure radio guy toiling away on the mid-island who, it would appear, at least in part, was able to parlay the notoriety from a little bout of jock-schlocky milfyness into, wait for it...

An evening gig on CKNW.



How Far Has The No-Longer-So Giant '98 Fallen?


This far:

What was posed as a joke on CKNW’s morning show today ended up greatly offending many people listening.

“What are the three names on the “F***, kill or marry? Rona Ambrose, yes, Laurine Harper – so disrespectful – they can’t do that – and Michaëlle Jean.”

That’s what listeners heard this morning on a simulcast with CFOX host Jeff O’Neill...

{snippety doo-dah}

CKNW Brand Director Ian Koenigsfest has apologized for the comments heard on the simulcast.

“I personally don’t find that funny….I think it’s offensive to women, and at the first opportunity I have now I want to apologize to women, and men, who listen to CKNW who heard that this morning.”

Please note, that the cross-over zoo-jock concerned is the same fine fellow that was previously involved in....


And you want to know what is doubly egregious?....Well, if you go and read the entire piece linked to and quoted from above, which is from CKNW itself, you will see that the writer of the piece has actually attempted to dress this up as a news story with comments from members of public interest groups for 'context' and everything...Heckfire, as late as last night they were even labelling it as 'Breaking News', bolded and encased in red....Shameful in my opinion.... Really shameful.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This Day In Clarkland...What Else Will Be Dumped On 'C' Day?



Apparently Ms. Clark's minister responsible is going to make an announcement on the site C dam today.

And who knows what he's going to say given the bizarre increasing of the price tag last week and the even more bizarre 'Coal for Christmas' follies over the weekend.

After all, it's not like the fine folks of Clarkland have given us a coherent policy framework to follow or anything.

But here's what I'm really wondering....

What trash will be dumped by the government behind the huge media spin cycle that will be cranked up by this announcement so that no one will really notice.

A huge cut to a social program?

An announcement that all school trustees will immediately be replaced by factbending missionaries?

News that BC Ferries will now be subsidizing helicopter routes to make British Columbia's bureaucrats even more efficient?


Maybe something that really matters like, say, oh I dunno....

The dumping of documents about those Health Ministry firings?


Monday, December 15, 2014

Podcasts At Ten...Which Ones Are Best?


Slate has their Top 25 list out. 

They figure the top single episode of all time is Maron's 2010 interview with Louie C.K.

It really is successful on a whole lotta levels, from the personal to the biggest of themes, show business or otherwise.

And you can hear both guys go through how they grew up and started making stuff/art they could really call their own.

As you might expect Maron responded by re-releasing the entire thing, which is two hours long, today.

And in so doing he actually pre-empted today's interview.

Which will be out tomorrow - Annie  Clark (a.k.a. St Vincent).


History Belongs To Those That Write It.


If history really does belong to those that write it I, for one, sure am glad that an excellent blogpost from  Jim Quail, prompted Charlie Smith of the GStraight to take a good, hard look at the record of the BC Liberal's 'Mr. Competence', Rich Coleman:

Here are a couple of snippets, but the entire thing is worth reading (note the echoes, also, of the digging of Norm Farrell):

...(W)here the deputy premier really risks embarrassment is with LNG.

As I reported earlier this year, the B.C. Liberal government woefully missed the mark on its forecasts for natural-gas revenues. That's because politicians like Coleman and senior bureaucrats misread the impact of America's fracking boom.

Here's a figure that highlights the level of incompetence: in the 2010–11 budget forecast, provincial natural-gas revenues were expected to reach $1.25 billion by 2012–13.

The real figure turned out to be $144 million. That's a $1.1-billion forecasting error by the B.C. Liberal government!

{snippety doo-dah}

...Lawyer Jim Quail wondered in his blog post how the media would cover an NDP government promising that a "wonderful new industry" would "eliminate the provincial debt", only to see companies "dropping out of the game one at a time", with the biggest "shelving their plans, probably for up to 10 to 15 years".

He then urged his readers to imagine if this NDP government were still claiming that this new industry "was a done deal and would be operating in full gear by 2020", and "if the press still covered this fiasco as though the NDP government knew what it was doing and might be telling voters the truth".

"But that's what's happening in British Columbia in the Liberal government's LNG fantasy," Quail noted. "If they were the NDP, they would be laughed out of office."

And this is why Coleman can expect much rougher treatment from historians than he'll ever receive from the B.C. media...

As for Mr. Smith's dig at the 'B.C. media'?


You know.


Why, Exactly, Do We Want Those Amongst Us Who Can Least Afford It To Pay The Most For Transit?


Awhile back I agreed with Vancouver city councillor Andrea Reimer when she said, essentially, that it seems like we don't really want poor people to take transit.

And this morning, when I read her 24 Hrs column, I found myself agreeing with Laila Yuile when she made it clear that it is not fair for us to force the poor, and especially the working poor, to pay disproportionally more to fund the new transit initiatives if the 'referendum' passes:

Let’s face it, for most people tax is a four-letter word. Say it and people scowl as if you’ve said something offensive and inappropriate. However painful it is to hear, the truth is that taxes are a necessary evil. For every level of government, from municipal through to federal, taxes are vital revenue streams that help pay for the services and infrastructure we rely on.

Having said that, I don’t think an increase in the provincial sales tax within Metro Vancouver to fund transit improvements alone is the solution...

{snippety doo-dah}

...I can’t help but feel it’s terribly short-sighted to approach the funding solution for transit on its own when the province is clearly in need of a solid revenue stream for all of these challenges.

While the premier often boasts about our low tax rates, the cost has been steep. What isn’t mentioned is that the series of cuts to both personal and corporate taxes since 2000 created a devastating hole in provincial revenues that has never been adequately replaced. We’ve been left with a regressive tax system that hurts the people who can least afford it - just like this sales tax increase...

I mean, seriously....

Now that we've turned ourselves into Victorian England, why don't we just open a few 'workhouses' where those of lesser means can, essentially, do all of our work for almost free.



I forgot....


The Golden Era's Long Tail...Legacies Now(!) At The Richmond Oval.


Well, well well...

Looks like things at the community center that once was the Olympic speed skating oval are being privatized.

And to heck with the folks that have public memberships, especially those who can't afford to pay for fancy-schmancy value-added extras.

The Richmond News' Graeme Woods has the story:

The Richmond Olympic Oval is embarking on its first public-private partnership and it has some members steaming mad.

The Oval has decided to terminate all of its membership yoga classes in order to accommodate YYoga, a private yoga company, at the large, converted fitness facility initially built for speed skating for the 2010 Winter Games...

And the rationale?

Well, as you might expect the 'enterprise' has a spokesthingy/marketer to explain:

...Oval marketer and spokesperson Aran Kay said YYoga can offer better yoga classes throughout the entire day. He said YYoga will have hot rooms, hot yoga classes and tea service, among other things.

In turn, the Oval will eliminate its existing yoga services, which constitute about seven classes a week that serve roughly 200 members, according to Kay...

And as for future programs at the Oval?

Well, the spokesthingy/marketer has the perfect answer/non-denial denial for that one also:

...Kay said he wasn't aware of any future initiatives in which the Oval would shift more services over to a private company...


Ms. Rogers and her former mentor, the Hatman, must be so proud.

After all, everybody needs a 'Lift' (feel free to compare the 'Boards') now and then.

'Future Initiatives', indeed.