Dude, where's my second term?

Outgoing Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan says that if he had been the Mayoral candidate for the so-called 'Non-Partisan' Association, the NPA could have won last Saturday's civic election.

For those of you scoring at home, when Sam Sullivan was a City Councillor, he studied the City's drug addiction problem by giving money to addicts to buy drugs and watching those addicts do drugs. Unless Sullivan had lined up a few running mates named Greg Robertson or Gregor Robinson, what happened with the leftovers from Sullivan's experiments is pretty much obvious.


No Reverand Phelps, God Hates YOU

America's leading pack of psychotic fascist troglodyte mouth-breathing hatemongering fuckwads, The Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka, Kansas, is coming to Commerical Drive next week. The Havana Theatre is staging a play entitled 'The Laramie Project', based on the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, who was killed just because he was gay. Westboro Baptist picketed Shepard's funeral, and the funeral of other members of the GLBT community to remind us that they are of the opinion that 'God Hates Fags'.

If everyone was killed because they were gay, this page would be looking for a new boss, a new resident manager for my apartment, and new friends to play poker with. It's not just gays and lesbians that Westboro has a problem with, they also hate Asians "vile oriental ingrates", Roman Catholics "Deal with it, you idolatrous morons! The pope is in Hell", and Jews "the only true Jews are Christians". If these monsters had their way, Vancouver would look like something out of Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, there would be no one around, and you wouldn't want to meet up with whoever's left either, kind of like a lot of cities in Europe in the early 1940's.

By no means should Fred Phelps and his band of evil, sick and twisted idiots masquerading as Christians be allowed into Canada, and Vancouver East MP Libby Davies has called Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan on it. Stockwell Day did try to stop them from picketing Tim McLean's funeral last August. Day was smart enough to put his own Conservative views aside and separate his opinions on homosexuality from the tragedy of a Greyhound Bus beheading. Unfortunately, some the Westboro members did make into Canada that time, and if Van Loan throws up his hands this time and says there's nothing that Ottawa can do, it will clearly illustrate just how beholden the Harper Conservatives are to the emerging right-wing religious fanatics on this side of the border.


Schaudenfreude ins Meer

Gordon Campbell and his B.C. Liberals fall further behind the BCNDP in an Angus Reid poll released last week. They also watched in dismay last Saturday as their municipal right-wing spear carriers were crushed in civic elections throughout the Province. Meanwhile, the Liberals' corporate cash cow may be drying up as financial markets drive down donations from the usual gang of neanderthal free enterprisers. Wow - can things get any worse for everyone's favourite trickle-down drunk driving privateer psychopath?

To paraphrase the immortal Palin, you betcha! Reports are emerging that the new Super-C Class Ferries contracted by the Liberals from a German shipbuilding firm (and which now B.C. shipbuilders were prohibited from bidding on) may have considerable technical difficulties, particularly that the allegedly 30% more efficient engines actually take 20% more fuel to cross the Georgia Strait. How much of that do they think than can recoup of that with carbon tax? Personally, this page doesn't find much fuel efficiency in running them from Duke Point to Tsawwassen with the passenger compliment of a Translink Seabus either, as I noticed on a trip a few weeks ago.

This page encourages its readers not too let David Hahn, Kevin Falcon and Gordon Campbell off the hook and put the blame on the Germans. It was the Liberals who screamed up and down about the Fast Ferries project under Glen Clark's administration, and turned them into the propaganda centrepiece of the 2001 election. The Liberals then turned around and sold those ships for a pittance of what the ships were actually worth to the Washington Marine Group. By no means are the FastCats perfect, but at least they were made in British Columbia, and would have gone a long way to provide limited vehicle or passenger-only service in the run-up to the 2010 Olympics. For those of you still deluded and myopic enough to believe the lies of the Public-Private Partnership-Wrecked, whatever happened to Harbourlynx?

Now the 'New Era', 'Best Place on Earth', 'Free Markets fix Everything' crowd has their own nautical disaster, one they went all the way to Europe to set in motion. Hopefully, this turn of events will mean that the Liberals' overblown horror stories about the Fast Ferries will be shoved back down their throats, just like the Basi-Virk trial shut them up about Glen Clark's patio. Is getting them to stop lying about the 'deficit' they inherited in 2001 too much to ask? This page can't help but remember an election day conversation from three years ago with NDP MLA Jenny Kwan, who told me that for whatever abuse she put up with the Liberals, it was worth it because she remained confident that "what goes around, comes around". Here's hoping in the case of Gordon Campbell and the Liberals, it just sinks to the bottom and stays there.


The Good Enough Guys Win

This page congratulates the People of Vancouver for reducing the so-called 'Non-Partisan' Association to a bloodied electoral stump in Saturday's municipal elections. Peter Ladner's arrogance has been punished, but by his own admission, he had nothing pressing to do if he had been elected Mayor anyway. With the exception of Suzanne Anton, Sam Sullivan's henchmen have been kicked to the curb and hopefully won't be getting up anytime soon. Already the chatrooms and discussion boards are lighting up as inconsolable right-wingers fling their invective at Union workers (particularly members of the CUPE Vancouver Civic Locals) as the cause of the overwhelming NPA defeat. To these disgusting little animals this page says: Who was it that refused to bargain two years ago after every other Lower Mainland municipality had an agreement with their Civic Locals? Who opened the Orpheum for some high-profile picket line crossing by the Vancouver Symphony? Suck it right-wing bitches, you got what you deserved.

A caveat to the victorious Mayor-Elect Gregor Robertson and the newly elected Vision Councillors: Play nice, and check your egos at the door. The last thing Vancouver needs is another Larry Campbell who thinks he's bigger than the game and starts looking around for another job when things don't go his way. Robertson didn't finish a full terms as Vancouver-Fairview's MLA, and people will be looking for some serious commitment to the new job at 12th and Cambie. I know there's a provincial election in six months, but this page won't look too kindly at any Councillors who bolt up from their seats for the bright lights of Victoria - Tim Stevenson, I'm looking at you.

Our new Mayor is absolutely right in that ending homelessness in the leading city of "The Best Place on Earth" is priority one for the new Council, but this page will take this opportunity to suggest some other priorities that will help make this city actually livable, as opposed to fulfilling the phony rankings of corporate travel magazines:

-No unconditional bailout for the failed Olympic Village project. If Millennium Properties wants to go forward with taxpayers' money, they go forward with all remaining suites in the project, above and beyond those already set aside,to be allocated for affordable housing. Social housing on False Creek was the spoonful of sugar in the Olympic medicine that Jim Green and Larry Campbell shoved down our throats in 2003. Their Vision successors can finally adjust the palpability of that dose five years later.

-Refuse to meet with any so-called 'Business Improvement Associations'. BIA's are little more than a Mafia for absentee landlords and NIMBY capitalists to systematically override the interests of the people who actually live in those communities. Security guards should not be harassing homeless people in Grandview Park on Commercial Drive. Street banners on Davie Street should not have the Pride rainbow airbrushed out. Rent-a-Cops dressed as hotel doormen should not be doing work normally conducted by police officers. Enough is enough - now that Sam Sullivan is safely back in his cage it's time to start again with advocating for a Ward system that allows for real community representation and shuts up self-righteous and self-serving BIAs.

-Mayor Robertson needs to sit down with his re-elected colleagues in Surrey and Burnaby, Diane Watts and Derrick Corrigan, and have a serious talk about Gordon Campbell. B.C.'s major cities need a united front against the systematic stupidity that comes out of Victoria, particularly the string of failed Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) and the Premier's inability to remember that he hasn't been Mayor of Vancouver for well over a decade now. Start talking about taking Vancouver, Surrey, and Burnaby out of Translink. Vancouver needs more buses, Surrey wants a light rail link with the rest of the Fraser Valley, and Kevin Falcon offers up The Gateway Project - what's wrong with this picture?

A couple of other points to wrap up the Civic election - this page was heartened to see a progressive sweep of the Parks Board and School Board. Vancouverites have been saved from animatronic dinosaurs in Stanley Park, and overpriced A-list bistros won't be supplanting beachside snack bars. It's also good to see a school board that's more interested in lobbying Victoria to fund improvements public education rather than lobbying parents for more user fees. As for Ellen Woodsworth and David Cadman, the two Councillors elected from the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE): Don't play too nice. There are still far too many Liberals lurking around Vision, and the closer you guys push the beds together, the more people like me start thinking warmer thoughts about the Work Less Party.


Stamp of Conditional Approval

As the masthead on this page indicates, Saturday is election day in Vancouver. I have been mulling over endorsements, and to be honest, haven't been all that motivated. This will be the third civic election for this page in Vancouver, having previously lived in Calgary. Many readers view the City of Calgary as a little more than a right-wing backwater laced with fossil fuels, testosterone and bullsh*t, and the spiritual home of the Conservative Party of Canada. However, having lived for almost a decade in both Calgary and Vancouver, this page can declare with certainty when it comes to having actual democracy in civic politics, Cowtown crushes Terminal City.

Calgary figured out a long time ago how to use a Ward system, whereas Vancouver uses the retrograde At-Large approach to civic elections. In a Ward system, the power resides in neighbourhood and community organizations to put an Alderman into City Hall, not a secretive cabal like the so-called 'Non-Partisan Association'. When I lived in Calgary's Ward 7 and I had an issue, I knew the person to talk to would be Alderman Bev Longstaff. She may have been a moderate Tory, but because she was elected as an independent her first priority was her constituents, not like how NPA City Councillors have to the line of their party, the B.C. Liberals and the Federal Tories.

People have approached this page in the last week asking me who to vote for, and unlike Provincial or Federal elections, that's a tough question given the mismatches and mishmashes of a manipulative and overfinanced party system in Vancouver. I don't like being told to vote for slates where Socialists in the Coalition of Progressive Electors are listed with Federal Liberals - one voter's progressive is another voter's patronizing. Unfortunately, this is not about what I like or don't like, because the alternative is the NPA, which does not mean 'Non-Partisan Association'. It mean 'Nasty, Petulant, and Arrogant' or 'No Poor Allowed'. It's time to flush these bastards once and for all: Peter Ladner claims that Vancouverites don't have the right to know the details of the Olympic Village bailout, and has told debate audiences that there's nothing really that important to do after he claims the big chair at 12th and Cambie. We don't need that kind of Mayor, and we don't need myopic cheerleaders like Kim Capri on Council backing him up either.

I'm not completely happy with the list of candidates that's been distributed by the Vancouver & District Labour Council and Vancouver's New Democrat MLA's. Some were key players in the rift among the COPE-dominated City Council during Larry Campbell's term as Mayor which led to the creation of Vision Vancouver. Some seemed to be biding their time on Council until Lorne Mayencourt could steal another Provincial election from them. Some have an unsettling gun fetish. However, votes for independent candidates or the Work Less Party will make it that much easier for the NPA, who are encouraging their affluent and arrogant legions in Shaughnessy and Point Grey to vote the straight party ticket. When you go to the polls on Saturday, please cast your votes for:

Gregor Robertson (Vision Vancouver)
David Cadman (COPE)
George Chow (Vision Vancouver)
Heather Deal (Vision Vancouver)
Kashmir Dhaliwal (Vision Vancouver)
Kerry Jang (Vision Vancouver)
Raymond Louie (Vision Vancouver)
Geoff Meggs (Vision Vancouver)
Andrea Reimer (Vision Vancouver)
Tim Stevenson (Vision Vancouver)
Ellen Woodsworth (COPE)
Patti Bacchus (Vision Vancouver)
Bill Bargeman (COPE)
Al Blakey (COPE)
Jane Bouey (COPE)
Ken Clement (Vision Vancouver)
Sharon Gregson (Vision Vancouver)
Mike Lombardi (Vision Vancouver)
Alvin Singh (COPE)
Allan Wong (COPE)
Constance Barnes (Vision Vancouver)
Sarah Blyth (Vision Vancouver)
Raj Hundal (Vision Vancouver)
Aaron Jasper (Vision Vancouver)
Stuart McKinnon (Vancouver Green Party)
Anita Romaniuk (COPE)
Loretta Woodcock (COPE)

Information about how and where to vote can be found at www.municipalelections.com After Saturday, let's start working on meaningful electoral reform to make Vancouver a real democracy.


Sign Here

This page is annoyed by the campaign signs of one Michael Geller, an NPA candidate for City Council. It's not what on the signs (it's his name photo, and party), nor the size of them (if it snowed, you could use one as a toboggan for an entire Grade 3 class). What ticks off this page is that Mr. Geller has been putting his signs in front of rental apartment buildings to give the impression that everyone living in those buildings supports him and the NPA.

I don't have a problem with campaign signs on commercial property. If a business owner is dumb enough to put up an NPA, Liberal, or Tory sign in their window, then they will probably won't notice that I'm not patronizing their business anymore. However, people don't have that much of a choice as to where they live (not at these vacancy rates anyway), which is why the common areas of an apartment building are supposed to be neutral territory. Nothing says 'contempt for any notion of contemporary democracy' by assuming that the opinions of property owners are more important than those who rent from property owners - WTF is this: 2008 or 1808?


The Dark Knight Prevails

Thoughts from America's election night:

-Walnut Boat visited Grant Park in Chicago a couple of years ago, and described it as 'super huge', making the turnout for Barack Obama's victory celebration that much more impressive.

-The repeated use of the term 'historic' to describe Obama's win: For this page, it ranks with the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Like the Wall coming down, Obama's victory opens a lot of possibilities for a lot of people who didn't have any up until now.

-This page swears that John McCain looked about 10 years younger in his concession speech. Senator McCain sold his soul to the most sinister elements of the Republican Party to win their nomination, but was smart enough to keep the receipt.

-Still holding out for Al Franken to beat Norm Coleman in Minnesota. As much as it was good to hear discussions of ending polarization and healing divisions, the Democrats still need a few attack dogs to keep barking about how 'Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot'. Unfortunately, Franken did not get that big a boost from the Democratic Party: Nancy Pelosi decided after the 2006 elections that impeaching George W. Bush was not on the table, even if it was in the final chapter of Franken's most recent book, 'The Truth: With Jokes'.

-This page can trace his family roots to Nebraska, Arizona, and Minnesota. I prefer the World Series to the Stanley Cup Finals. I find Tim Horton's coffee overly sweet and never dark or strong enough for my taste. An Obama victory is not that big an adjustment for me, but it will be for many on the left in Canada who've been indulging in reflexive anti-Americanism for the better part of two decades.

-Christine Gregoire remains the Governor of Washington State. Living in British Columbia, this page has to endure the neo-con creepiness of Gordon Campbell, so it's good to know that voters in the state next to us didn't embrace the neo-con creepiness of Dino Rossi. Also good to see that Seattle voters opted to resolve their gridlock by passing Proposition 1 to expand public transit and dump Initiative 985 which would have opened HOV lanes and discouraged Puget Sounders from getting out of their cars.

-This page finds it surprising that no one on CNN mentioned Democratic National Committee President Howard Dean in relation to the Democrats' big night. Dean was the first Democratic Presidential candidate to harness the organizing power of the Internet in 2004 (before the manipulated and overblown "Dean Scream" incident), setting the stage for the Obama campaign's master of it in 2008. Dean was also a strong advocate for the '50-State strategy' which saw Republicans struggling to fend off Democratic incursions in the Red States while Obama snapped up Florida and Ohio.

-It's not all bad for Sarah Palin: she was cleared in the Troopergate affair, and she did do a lot to raise the profile of the sport of picking off defenceless animals from a helicopter.

-Note to White House staff: keep Bush away the pretzels, and Cheney away from the ammunition for the next 10 weeks. Disconnect the big red button.


If it IS broke...

Tomorrow is election today in the United States, as voters line up at the polls in the hopes that their votes will actually count. In many parts of the country, many voters will be asking if their votes will actually even be counted, thanks to defective, if not rigged voting machines, and the legalized franchise suppression of the so-called Help America Vote Act. Given that these tactics clinched the White House for Republican candidates in 2000 and 2004, one would think that a Democratic candidate would have a lot to say about the issue of electoral reform, but to date the response of Barack Obama's campaign has been to send out a rapid deployment force of lawyers in the event election 2008 devolves into another judicial fistfight.

If any Americans are reading this page, could you explain to this page (and my readers) why America can't administer Federal (i.e. Presidential) elections through an independent, non-partisan agency similar to what your northern neighbours have in Elections Canada? Is it because of the principle of States' rights? Is it the institutional entrenchment of the Democratic and Republican parties to the exclusion of all others? Are political leaders afraid to advocate for standardized election procedures lest they be accused of being paranoid and less than confident of their electoral prospects?

The lack of fair and effective electoral oversight changed the course of American history for the worse over the past eight years, and may do so yet again tomorrow. This page finds it disturbing that voter supression and electoral fraud are regarded as so instrinsic to American elecations that jokes can be made about it on The Simpsons: