Can't fix stupid in Northeast False Creek

With an election less than two weeks away, The NPA-controlled City Council has passed a 'revitalization' plan for Northeast False Creek, including a retractable roof for B.C. Place, a new home for the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the obligatory condo towers. Particularly galling to this page is that the plan lets the developer (ie. the Province of British Columbia) off the hook for affordable housing commitments or any public space within the project. This is an example of why the City of Vancouver simply doesn't work. A magnificent waterfront stadium in Gastown, paid for with Vancouver Whitecaps owner Greg Kerfoot's money is tied up in red tape while Victoria opts to change the lids on the B.C. Place white elephant with Taxpayers' money. A destination art gallery in its historic courthouse setting that also serves as a social hub and civic rallying point gets bulldozed and relocated to the shadows of yuppie indifference in Yaletown.

This page agrees that something should be done to revitalize the Northeast False Creek, but having spent enough time at Seattle Center, the legacy site of the 1962 World's Fair, it becomes very much apparent as to how Vancouver blew it with the site of our 1986 Expo. Seattle Center has established a variety of community and cultural spaces with sporting venues under the iconic Space Needle. By contrast, Vancouver neglected to do anything around False Creek because the powers that be thought it would be better to leave it paved over for the high-octane alcohol-fuelled stupidity that was the Molson Indy. Converting the B.C. Pavilion to a second-rate casino was another less than brilliant idea. If the folks at 12th and Cambie and in Victoria have blown it this many times in getting it right on Northeast False Creek, why should anyone trust them now?


I Get the Byelections Wrong. Yes!!!

This page congratulates BCNDP candidates Spencer Herbert and Jenn McGinn for their victories in yesterday's byelections in Vancouver-Burrard and Vancouver-Fairview.

Although byelections traditionally break against the party of government, this page was not convinced it would be the case in these two ridings, as a result of voter burnout from the federal election (both B.C. ridings are in the hotly-contested federal riding of Vancouver Centre), and the presence of two 'star' candidates for the Liberals, Arthur Griffiths in Burrard and Margaret McDiarmid in Fairview. This page should have known better than to give that much credence to two candidates who have never held public office (the B.C. Medical Association is a private organization, try joining without getting your M.D.) and whose combined residency in both ridings amounted to little over two years (that would be McDiarmid, Griffiths still lives in Point Grey).

For those of you scoring at home, this page met Spencer Herbert on the #9 bus in 2005 when he was preparing to run as a COPE candidate for the Vancouver Parks Board. He was taking part in a 'fare strike' organized by the Bus Riders Union against Translink's perpetual fare increases and creeping privatization. He struck me as bright, personable, and caring about what happens to the least of us in our community. For the voters in Vancouver-Burrard, Herbert is a major trade up from the vicious grandstanding tomfoolery of outgoing Liberal MLA (and failed federal Tory candidate) Lorne Mayencourt.

As for the Liberals...blame the Unions...blah, blah, blah...Fast Ferries...blah, blah, blah...Glen Clark's deck...blah, blah, blah...could it actually be that right-wing revisionist history and vote-buying won't cut it with voters on May 12, 2009?


Endgame 2008

America's Presidential Election is less than a week away, and while a number of sources are predicting a commanding victory for Senator Barack Obama, this page is not going to make any kind of projection until all the votes are stolen. We've seen this movie before - CNN projected Al Gore winning Florida in 2000, and exit polls showed John Kerry winning most of the swing states four years ago. If there's anybody capable of swiping victory from the jaws of defeat, it's a GOP aided and abetted by partisan election administrators.

The clock has run out for muckraking - Jeremiah Wright didn't stick to Barack Obama, and neither has Bill Ayers. The goofy populism of Sarah Palin and John McCain's invocations of 'Joe the Plumber' have held the Republican base, which now faces an avalanche of new Democratic voters. If there's going to be an October surprise that turns things around for McCain, it has to be of Osama Bin Laden proportions, but its highly unlikely given that Al-Qaida 'endorsed' McCain and won't do anything to promote four more years of the Bush Doctrine.

At this point in time, this page sees two scenarios, so feel free to choose your own adventure:

1. Obama wins walking away: The current polls show Obama leading in just about every state still in play, and given that he skews towards younger, urban voters who may be less likely to respond to telephone opinion polls, the lead may be bigger than we think, and absorbs any GOP jiggery-pokery at the polls or the so-called 'Bradley Effect'. Jubilation in the streets of Chicago and New York (ABC has already booked Times Square for the occasion). Wednesday's USA Today runs the headline 'YES HE DID'. Global financial markets give off a sigh of relief. Bill O'Reilly has a stroke. Sarah Palin gets offered a reality TV series. Militia groups start recruiting disaffected Republicans.

2. Too close to call: Obama voters mysteriously don't get their text message alerts. GOP attorneys blockade the polls in Florida and Ohio. Voter ID database crashes in other battleground states, disenfranchising more new voters because of 'perfect match' ID requirements in the so-called Help America Vote Act. Diebold voting machines work "perfectly". Obama appeals for calm after Poll Riots in Philadelphia. ABC shuts down its Time Square election night broadcast after shots are fired. Polls shut down in California as Governor Schwarzenegger declares a State of Emergency. Fox News projects a McCain victory, but the President-Elect won't address the nation until 'things settle'. It's Watts, 1968, Kent State, Stonewall, Rodney King, and the Seattle WTO riots all happening at once. Global financial markets collapse as China freezes credit to the U.S....


America's New Normal gets Old

This page was alone with his thoughts last night, the biggest one of which I'm discussing today is: Wow. where does the time go? Remember when 'crisis' meant that if Americans didn't support the troops and kept on shopping, the terrorists would win? Remember the Homeland Security 'Terror Alerts' with all those nifty colours? For some reason, Hawaii was always blue. Rudy Giuliani? Freedom fries? It all seems so long ago, especially since the movie biography of George W. Bush arrived at cinemas last week.

These days, it's all Barack Obama this, and Sarah Palin that. People go to the airport and worry more about what extra items the airline will make them pay for, not which extra items won't make it past the security gate. There are more worries about Homeowner security than Homeland Security. Baseball telecasts cut to commercials at the 7th inning stretch instead of showing American-Idol dropouts warbling God Bless America. Everyone remembers Heath Ledger for his role as a criminal psychopath in The Dark Knight rather than as a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain.

This would be why this page would be having trouble getting worked up about the current economic 'crisis'. The boy's been crying wolf for the better part of decade, and the bark's been worse than the bite: What's wrong with letting sleeping dogs lie?


10 Points Down....Time Out!

After last night's 3-2 win by the Philadelphia Phillies against the Tampa Bay Devil* Rays in Game 1 of the World Series, this page went to the video tape and reviewed last night's televised address by B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell. Campbell's 10-point plan is drawing rave reviews from the Vancouver Board of Trade, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and the horde of hate-mongering B.C. Lieberal trolls still screaming about the Fast Ferries. Leaving the right-wing 10 pounds of sh*t in a five pound bag aside, there's nothing for the reality-based community to get excited about in the Premier's response to the current economic situation:

1. Fast-tracking a 5% personal income tax cut retroactive to January 1 - That's a lot of vote-buying for what's supposed to be a 'deficit-free zone'. Why wasn't this tax cut increased and targeted at low and middle-income earners, who will only see their paltry reduction swallowed by Campbell's pet Carbon tax?

2. A 2.5% tax cut for small businesses - Aside from the chi-chi boutiques and restaurants that Campbell and his Point Grey neighbours frequent, most small businesses in B.C. do their business with low and middle income earners. A tax cut doesn't help if their customers don't have any money to bring through the door with them.

3. Reducing Corporate income taxes to 10% - As this page's masthead recently read: Socialism - It's not just for poor people anymore. Does anyone else see a problem with small businesses getting 2.5% and The Royal Bank, Imperial Oil, CanWest Global and Wal-Mart getting 10%? I mean, besides the fact these large corporations bankroll the Campbell Liberals? Mmmmmm...that's gooooood corporate welfare!

4. A new private pension plan for British Columbians without a group pension plan - This seems suspiciously like Preston Manning's idea to replace the CPP with government-mandated RRSPs. The Province could be getting pummelled by the hijinx on Wall Street, but Campbell wants some poor suckers to bankroll more misadventures in the Stock Market.

5. 33% reduction of B.C. Ferry fares during December and January - What? B.C. Ferries couldn't figure out a low season promotion by themselves? That 2.5% tax cut isn't going to warm the hearts of small business people on Vancouver Island watching their customers line up at Swartz Bay and Duke Point to sail for bargains in the Lower Mainland.

6. Unlimited deposit insurance for deposits to B.C. credit unions - News to this page, I thought my deposits were protected through the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation. Of course, I also thought they locked the money in a vault and no one could figure out the PIN number for my ATM card.

7. Rebate of 50 % on all school property taxes to light and heavy industry - One would think maintaining a stable funding base for education would be important, as better education leads to skilled and better paying employment. Maybe these light and heavy industries will spend it on hiring a fresh batch of high school dropouts.

8. Doubling the commission paid to businesses for collecting the provincial sales tax and hotel room tax - Also news to this page. Why should any commission be paid? Seriously, How much can it actually cost to program a cash register to calculate the PST?

9. Speeding up public investments in capital infrastructure projects - Wow, cutting taxes AND increasing spending when a recession is on the way. Now, that's leadership....of a sort. I guess Kevin Falcon can step out of his panic room, since his beloved little corrupt environmental disaster, The Gateway Project, will be going ahead after all.

10. Re-evaluating spending priorities and scaling back unbudgeted increases - See items 1 through 9. Gordon Campbell may have 10 points, but these 10 points don't make up a plan. A plan incorporates vision, compromise, and tough choices. Anyone can resort to Stephen Harper style divide-and-conquer cherry picking masquerading as a plan, and the Premier forgets that on October 14, 55% of B.C. voters saw through the disguise and didn't vote that way.

*The Central Florida Fundies who demanded the name change (dropping the 'Devil') to just 'Rays' can suck it.


What else is on?

In British Columbia, Legislature proceedings are broadcast live on a cable channel throughout the province. When the Legislature is not in session, the channel is handed back to the cable company, who usually run another service on it until the next session - where this page lives in Vancouver it's a scrolling news ticker. When the BC Liberals cancelled the fall session of the Legislature, that didn't happen this time. Instead, viewers looking for headlines and a quick forecast have been treated to idyllic shots of the Legislature in Victoria and the caption 'THE BRITISH COLUMBIA LEGISLATURE IS ADJOURNED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE'.

Notice comes tonight at 6:15 PM when Premier Gordon Campbell uses the Legislature Channel to broadcast his government's response to the current economic situation. The Liberals didn't buy time on the private networks because the Opposition and their allies are still frothing over Bill 42, and the CBC (apparently not being leaned on by former boss Carole Taylor) is refusing to carry Campbell's address live.

If Campbell refers to the state of B.C.'s economy as a crisis, this page calls bullsh*t - a crisis is something you deal with by recalling the Legislature, not posturing about how the 'fundamentals are strong' and how the province is 'on track' after the so-called 'decade of decline'. What can Campbell say in the vacuum chamber of a TV address that's going to make any kind of a difference? More tax cuts for the rich? More intellectual fraud like the Carbon tax? More shipping of shipbuilding jobs to Germany? Another unconstitutional scheme to bust a public-sector union? More fiddling while the forestry industry burns, gets eaten by Pine Beetles and is stripped of its value one raw log export at a time?

Speaking of being on track - it looks like the Basi-Virk trial will going ahead in January, so maybe the Premier may have something meaningful to say after all tonight: maybe something about resigning before having to testify, and packing his martini shaker for that permanent Hawaiian vacation he's always wanted. For those of you scoring at home, this page will actually be watching the opening game of the World Series and not holding his breath.


The Tail wags the Mermaid

Daniel Gross has proposed the Starbucks Theory of International Economics. In his online Newsweek column, Gross postulates that "the higher the concentration of expensive, nautical-themed faux-Italian branded frappuccino joints in a country's financial capital, the more likely the country is to have suffered catastrophic financial losses. "

This page is intrigued, and wonders if Gross' theory might not be expanded to cities which aren't financial capitals. Vancouver is Canada's hub for Asia-Pacific trade and had its own stock exchange not so long ago. Every industry in British Columbia is reeling, from forestry and mining to tourism and film & television production, as commodity demand falls and the dollar rises. The credit crunch is biting down on chunks of local real estate from condominiums to ski chalets. For those of you scoring at home, Metro Vancouver has 135 Starbucks locations and counting...


Harder than it looks.

Vancouver's Pollapalooza rolls on. Sandwiched between last week's Federal election and the November 15 Civic election are two Provincial byelections in Vancouver-Burrard and Vancouver-Fairview. While this page was pleased with the 37 seats won by Jack Layton and the Federal NDP on Tuesday, and expects the Vision-COPE alliance to take back 12th and Cambie from the NPA next month, I am less than optimistic about Carole James and the BCNDP sending a message to Gordon Campbell with the next provincial election six months away.

Vancouver-Burrard is made up of two distinct groups: the transient renters of the West End and the owner-occupiers of overpriced condos in Yaletown. Thanks to the Liberals writing a blank cheque to landlords and developers through their amendments to the Landlord & Tenant Act, the former group has been vanishing while the latter group has seized the balance of power, allowing back-to-back terms for BC Liberal Lorne Mayencourt, the only MLA this page is aware of who is so beloved by his constituents that they punched him in the face. This riding is going to be split in two for the 2009 election, but the contest will be staged under the current boundaries. The other problem with transient voters is that they tend to be less informed about the issues, and leads them to vote for 'name' candidates. The BCNDP, candidate, Spencer Herbert, may be doing an outstanding job on the Vancouver Parks Board, but has never owned the Vancouver Canucks like BC Liberal candidate Arthur Griffiths did.

The BC Liberals have another 'name' candidate with Margaret McDiarmid, the former President of the British Columbia Medical Association. Is Health Care going to be the major issue in the next Provincial election, given the state of the economy? Highly unlikely, but Health Care is always an issue in the riding which has Vancouver General Hospital, The B.C. Cancer Agency, a sizable number of seniors' homes and the highest concentration of medical professionals in B.C. I don't expect McDiarmid to have any good ideas about Health Care given that she'll be parroting the privatization line of her party, but her candidacy gives the appearance of the Liberals being concerned. Meanwhile, the BCNDP is going with Community Activist' Jenn McGinn. This page has met McGinn on a couple of occasions and believes she would be a great MLA, but Fairview has too high a concentration of voters who believe that success can be read off someone's financial receipts, and can't be bothered with someone who works for a living unless her name is followed by the initials "M.D." It's an NDP riding, but remember that Gregor Robertson won in 2005 because of his reputation as a 'green entrepreneur' not because anyone thought he was a champion for social justice. Robertson also received a lot of support from Greens, who will more than likely be returning their votes to Party Leader Jean Sterk, who's also running in Fairview.

The 2004 byelection win by Jagrup Brar in Surrey-Panorama Ridge kick-started the BCNDP's comeback from political oblivion, but this time Carole James faces the prospect of the NDP's recent momentum coming to an abrupt halt in less than two weeks. Besides the mismatch of candidates, the Carbon Tax, which is being reviled in other parts of British Columbia, is not an issue in two ridings where voters are centrally located and don't commute. The CanWest-dominated Pro-Liberal media in B.C. will browbeat the public into thinking that Liberal wins in two of the most elitist, well-to-do ridings in the Province reflect a 'stay the course' mood across the Province, even if no one knows what that mood really is, given that the Province's elected representatives didn't sit in the Legislature this fall.


'U' can shut up now.

Backstabbing egomaniac and apparent Vancouver South MP Ujjal Dosanjh thinks he could be the next Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. This page says when 'U' threw the 2001 Provincial Election for B.C. New Democrats a week before the polls closed, he should have also given up on being taken seriously by anyone who actually has progressive values. Spiteful bastard this page is, here's hoping the recount underway in Vancouver South goes to Tory candidate Wai Young - better to have an MP representing the Government side of the House in Vancouver than a pompous little self-righteous hypocrite who's going to vote with the Tories almost all of the time anyway.

If 'U' really believed that token Liberal backbencher was a trade up from Premier of British Columbia, picking out new drapes at 24 Sussex Drive isn't that far of a stretch. He actually believes that he could take down Michael Ignatieff and that other Premier turned corporate stooge, Bob Rae, and lead the Liberals back into government. The Grits just had their asses handed to them with a well-meaning nerd at the helm, and picking a narcissistic vicious little nerd in Dosanjh isn't going to make for a better result. If 'U' miraculously did find himself in the big chair, the Liberals would more than likely find themselves with a minority of their own, depending on support from the Bloc Quebecois and/or the New Democrats. 'U' thinks that Quebeckers would make an exception for a Prime Minister who doesn't speak French, which leads me to believe he has different memories of Prime Minister Preston Manning than the rest of us.

'U' also is on record attacking Jack Layton, calling the leader of one of the parties who GAINED seats on Tuesday as 'delusional' and accused the NDP of driving voters to the Tories over Stephane Dion's carbon tax. Guess what, 'U', a New Democrat is a New Democrat, whether their sitting in Victoria or Ottawa, and New Democrats realize that carbon taxes amount to intellectual fraud. 'U' don't get that because you were a right-wing Liberal pretending to be a New Democrat.

Here's hoping Young knocks 'U' off the stage, because it's not Jack Layton who's delusional.


Stick around, I have notes.

This page chimes in with my thoughts on last night's election of a Conservative Minority Government:

Note to Stephen Harper & the Conservatives: Remember the 1995 Quebec referendum, when Confederation as we know it was on its deathbed? Remember the slogan that Canadians were sticking to their bumpers as a show of misguided solidarity with the 'No' side: MY CANADA INCLUDES QUEBEC? I know, Mr. Prime Minister, that you're still making your way through French for Curmudgeonly Bullies, but not every translation is a literal one. The actual slogan in Quebec was: MON CANADA COMPREND QUEBEC, which means 'includes', but also means 'understands'. When you started bellowing about elitist cultural industries and locking up young offenders for life, it proved que vous ne comprenez pas absolument de Quebec. To put in terms a hockey fan from Calgary can appreciate, you had a shot at a majority, and you and your team choked. A la prochaine.

Note to Stephane Dion & the Liberals: Monsieuer Dion, it's been fun with the green scarves and the Green Shift and your dog Kyoto, but it's time to move on. Your party needs a new leader, who needs to be selected the way other parties do it: one member, one vote. Also, your the campaign finance reform laws that were recently passed now place an emphasis on individual donations rather than corporate ones. This is not the 1970's and to be blunt, Pierre Trudeau's been dead for eight years. If it's any consolation, neither Bob Rae or Michael Ignatieff are the answer, their attempt to outmanly-man each other in the 2006 leadership race is how you could win on the final ballot. Frank McKenna? Nope. Fils Trudeau - not if you're serious about winning seats in Western Canada again. Actually, if your party is looking for someone from Western Canada, has a national profile, can get the pundits drooling like Belinda Stronach did, and has some experience with trying to sell a carbon tax, allow this page to recommend former B.C. Finance Minister Carole Taylor. I don't like her, but your party will.

Note to Jack Layton & the New Democrats: You said you were running for the Prime Minister's job, and the NDP won 37 seats. Maybe next time, tell people you're running to be the Undisputed Ruler of the World, and the Law of Diminishing Returns might relegate you back to, say, Prime Minister of Canada. Either that or wait out how Buzz Hargrove reacts to Prime Minister Bob Rae. It's great that the party won seats in Alberta and Quebec, but does it not gall you that New Democrats were once again shut out in the birthplace of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, the New Jerusalem Tommy Douglas built, the Great Province of Saskatchewan? You also dropped a seat in B.C. when there pickups to be made, largely by winning over people who drive pickups and would have appreciated a harsher tone on the Liberals' carbon tax.

Note pour Gilles Duceppe & Le Bloc Quebecois: Ne changez rien, mes chers. Le Quebec n'est pas de 'province' comme les autres, et quelqu'un doit seriat la conscience sociale-democratique dans la Parlement avant le NPD gagnerait plus deputies en Quebec que Thomas Mulcair. This page has run out of embarassingly broken French and will stop now.

Note to Elizabeth May & the Green Party: You need to seek out Deborah Grey and ask her about the value of putting one's foot in the door, because the genealogy of last night's Tory victory can be traced all the way back to her byelection win in Beaver River, Alberta for the Reform Party 20 years ago. Also, as someone who judges others by the company they keep, this page has no clue about what your party stands for other than it has something to do with the environment. I've met Green Party members with a background as union activists, and I've met Green Party members who think the Labour Movement should be crushed into a finely ground paste. Until you decide that you can't be all things to all people, accept the reality of the left-right dichotomy in Canadian Politics, and keep butting heads with the McKay family, you're not going anywhere.


Here. We. Go.

Today is Election Day. Polls in British Columbia open in 56 minutes, and close at 7:00 PM tonight. After a campaign which the Prime Minister claimed was absolutely necessary because his Minority Government was making Parliament 'dysfunctional', Stephen Harper has resigned himself to another Minority. Wow. That's all almost two years of attack ads buys the Tories?

With respect to a projection, this page will concur with what's coming out of the final polls: Stephen Harper returns to power with a slightly enlarged caucus, but will continue suffer from long-term electile dysfunction. Bloc blunts the Tories in Quebec. Liberals dig in by their fingernails, more than likely in the backs of each other. New Democrats become almost ready for prime time, and seething Greens, held seatless as their traditional bump in the polls evaporates, gripe to no one in particular about proportional representation and how Jack Layton 'used to be cool'.

As for my own predictions, this page says there will be a legal challenge coming out of the new ID requirements, which will inevitably disenfranchise aboriginals on reserves and the inner-city homeless. The broadcast networks will call a Conservative Minority at 8:12 PM. Calling ridings in this page's field of vision: Bill Siskay in Burnaby-Douglas, Don Davies in Vancouver-Kingsway, Libby Davies in Vancouver East, Hedy Fry in Vancouver Centre, Ujjal Dosanjh in Vancouver South, and Joyce Murry in Vancouver-Qudra. Your mileage may vary as a result of Strategic Voting, which over time, could develop the same reality-warping effect on results as Diebold voting machines wield over returns in Ohio and other parts of the U.S.

I'm assuming that RevMod will have some kind of blow-by-blow take on the proceedings tomorrow night (I'll be flipping channels to and from the baseball playoffs, priorities dammit.), and be sure to see this page for a post-game wrap-up on Wednesday.


In search of the first green president

This page tuned in to the Second Presidential Debate last night, which, like everything else these days, focused on the economy to the relegation of other issues, including environmental issues. However, while John McCain and Barack Obama did make a few points about America's energy security, it became quite apparent how far back the environment has been relegated in this campaign.

Senator Obama can be credited for stating the value of creating 'green' jobs. Senator McCain can be credited for being a Republican who doesn't regard global warming as an urban legend. However, hearing both candidates touting clean coal technology and nuclear energy as environmentally-friendly sources of energy is disturbing. So-called 'clean coal' technology produces a product with 12% more CO2 emissions that gasoline and requires tremendous amounts of water to process, If a second Great Depression is in fact imminent, why does America need another Dust Bowl to go along with it? As for nuclear power, it's extremely expensive, creates tremendous amounts of lethal waste, and no nuclear power plant is ever going to be 100% safe - just ask the people who are still dealing with aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Obama did make a vague remark about reducing America's dependence on foreign oil as a means to bolster national security, but for a candidate who believes in a 'national call to service', he seems very reluctant to suggest how Americans can reduce that dependence, i.e. abandoning the archaic equation of automobile ownership with personal freedom. How about putting down the car keys and walking, cycling, or using public transit? How about some sensible urban planning which encourages those low-impact transportation methods? How about viewing high gas prices as an opportunity to drive an economic and cultural shift in the population, rather than a crisis? How about treating driving like the it's the new smoking - has Obama quit either?


Bailout this.

Thanks to cost overruns and the U.S. credit crunch, the Vancouver City Council is giving serious consideration to bailing out the Olympic Village.

This page says that City Hall, Millennium Development, and VANOC are getting what they deserve. The original bid for the 2010 Olympics called for one third of the residences in the Village to be converted to below-market affordable housing once the Games were over. That allocation, and other socially conscious initiatives from the previous COPE-controlled City Council made some of us a little more comfortable in casting our ballots in the 2003 referendum on hosting the Olympics. After the NPA stole the 2005 Civic election, that figure was slashed to 20%, which, along with other developers' stampede to bulldoze Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels in the Downtown Eastside, aggravated Vancouver's ongoing Social Housing problem to the crisis point it's at now.

Should the City of Vancouver bail out the real estate robber barons? This page says yes, and don't go looking back to the top of the masthead, because here's the deal: At present, only 60% of the Athlete's Village/Millennium Water developments are sold. Any bailout would be conditional on Millennium forgoing sales of the other 40% and allocating those units for affordable housing. If they don't like it, they can cut their losses and sell their whole project back to the City, who for those of you scoring at home, don't have the same financing problems given the large tax base. Gawd forbid that tax money go towards providing shelter for people in most need of it, as opposed to say, more Olympic junkets for 'Wheels' Sullivan or the NPA picking more fights with CUPE. As for the people who've already bought a property and don't like the prospect of renting neighbours drawn from ranks outside the apparent social 'elites', they can suck it up or move.

Of course, this won't happen, given that both major parties at City Hall are bankrolled by Developers who want to see Vancouver become another San Fransisco where anybody who actually has to work for a living is shoved to the suburban fringe thanks to gentrification, perpetually flipping properties, and a total disregard for any real notion of community. It's the same kind of fake economics which have terrorized Wall Street and threatened the Olympic Village's financing in the first place.


If you don't have anything nice to say, make something up.

This page is sure that there is all kind of analysis, paralysis, dialysis, and Sisyphus about what was said at last night's Leaders Debate. I'm going to chime in on something that was not said at the round table which would have involved NDP Leader Jack Layton, which for those of you who regard this page as an unrelenting partisan New Democrat shill, may find something of a surprise.

It's a little thing, but for the undecided voters in the ABC crowd, it could have meant a lot. During the debate last night, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May did make a number of salient points (particularly around national industrial strategy), a few of which were in tune with what Jack Layton was espousing on behalf of his party. Given the brouhaha over May's exclusion from/inclusion in the debate, this page contends that Layton could have pulled several of these voters over with a few simple words:

"I agree, you're right Elizabeth. I'm glad I changed my mind about your participation in these debates."

What would those magic words have done? Well, for starters, they would have added "ability to change one's mind to reflect the popular will" as part of The New Strong (tm). They also would have left Stephen Harper choking on the role of blackhearted oil sands tycoon who's too much of a dick to recognize the Greens. Most importantly, Layton positioning himself next to May would have muddied the Dion-May alliance in the minds of a lot of voters, and that New Democrats aren't a party of bulldozing, clearcutting toxic troglodytes either.

Anyway, that's the view from The bear604 Show 20-20 Hindsight Cam. If the New Democrats don't capitalize on their unprecedented poll numbers and aspirations to become the Official Opposition, it may be because of missed opportunities like these.


Go have some fun.

This page is muddling through a sick day, and is want for any insightful polemic to post. Here are a few things for readers to entertain themselves with while I gather my recuperative energies:

The AP 2008 Interactive Electoral College Map: It's like CNN's 'Magic Wall' without having to do much with CNN. Stake out Obamanation or McCainia across all 50 states, or being boring like this page and use the most recent poll results in each state - at press time my map reads Obama 328, McCain 218.

The UBC 2008 Election Stock Market: This page isn't sure whether this project is meant to teach something to UBC students about business or politics, or if it's just the only place I've come across where people can legally bet on a federal election. Either way, election stock markets have developed a reputation for calling an election results better than opinion polls, as investors literally put their money where they're mouth is.

The Revolutionary Moderation Gaffe-O-Meter: Don has been running the Gaffe-O-Meter for a few Federal Elections now, and while this page has never mastered his state of the art .sig/.prom scoring system, a lack of mastery has never stopped me from enjoying a lot of things. It's also a good archive of all the stupid/mean-spirited campaign hijinks.