Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Last Word

At the end of the day nothing written in the last few weeks has changed my mind, and no-one has stepped up to take over, so I am preparing to let the North Vancouver Politics blog disappear.

If you would like to share some fond memories, now is the time.  Later this month we'll turn off commenting.  Once we've backed up and archived the content, and allowed the Wayback Machine to give it one more capture, we'll put it to rest.

Believe it or not, I actually think that there is merit in preserving what's been posted here in the last few years, and will make sure that happens.    Surely future historians will want to have access to things other than Council minutes and North Shore News archives.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Call For Volunteers

Folks, I remain unconvinced that the North Vancouver Politics blog serves a useful purpose any more.   I'm at one of those points where I need to abandon or hand off a few projects to better focus on core activities, and this is a job that I'm giving up.

If you would like to step up and take a shot at running this place, just email me and I'll hand over the keys to the kingdom.   

My parting advice to anyone who steps in to manage this place is straightforward:  It's of little value to have the same dozen people making the same dozen arguments about the same dozen topics.  Echo chambers never changed anything.

If you want this site to have real value, and to have real influence in the governance of our communities, you'll need to find a way to reach a much larger audience, to get them excited about local politics, and (perhaps most important and difficult) convince them that their opinions and actions will actually make a difference.

Ultimately that's why so few people use this blog, why voter turnout is so low, and why the default in North Vancouver is just to complain about any and all new ideas.  People feel disconnected from their local governments, just as they feel disconnected from senior levels of government, and from the corporations that loom over so much our lives.

That sense of powerlessness is not accidental, and affects each and every one of us. (book recomendation)

If there is one reason to keep this blog alive, it is the continued dismantling of the traditional news media in Canada.  As the giant media conglomerates shut down more and more newspapers, and reduce the actual reporting at those that remain, it is even more important that we develop alternatives.

To be blunt: for the vast majority of North Vancouver residents all news about their local government comes from two sources: The North Shore News or word of mouth.  That's not enough.  The former has too few resources, and the latter is too unreliable.

The challenge here, as in almost every community in Canada, is to find a vehicle that will allow everyone in our community to be well informed in an easy and trustworthy fashion.  A lot of smart people are working on that, but thus far they haven't found the magic formula.

So step up and offer to take over,  If there's no serious interest I'll archive the content and turn out the lights.

Otherwise, so long, and thanks for all the fish.

Friday, November 24, 2017 Why continue all this nonsense?

In February of 2005 this blog was founded with the following words: Why start all this nonsense? 
Quite simply because as residents of North Vancouver there are several layers of political activity that can have a dramatic impact on our lives. Many (If not most of us) tend to leave the goings on a City Hall, the provincial legislature or Ottawa to the political junkies and those with an immediate vested interest in a particular decision or initiative. We believe there is a need for an open forum for all of us to share our thoughts on the local political scene, and over time, make them available to others. We will put the topics forward, propose different points of view, and let everyone jump in. Right or wrong. We'll see if it works, but there will be no harm done in giving it the old college try. North Vancouver needs to be heard!
This was almost to the day when Facebook was launched at Harvard, and a year and half before Facebook opened their doors to people other than students.  It was a year before Twitter launched. five years before Instagram, and two years before the iPhone appeared.  It was eleven years before Russian trolls  started flooding social media with Fake News about Hillary Clinton.

At that time blogs and forums were the platforms of choice, and email lists still ruled the Internet -- as well as Usenet.

Times have changed in in cyberspace, and the way that people discuss politics has changed with it.

After many months of moderating this blog I have to ask the question: does it still serve a purpose?  Local politicians avoid it like the plague, as do most informed and thoughtful people in the local political scene.  The number of non-Anon participants can be counted on one hand, and my suspicion is that even the Anons number less than two dozen people.

On one hand I'm pleased that we've managed to greatly reduce the flame wars, trolling, and one-issue content that made the blog so unpleasant.  I'm glad to see the end of inflammatory and unfounded allegations about our elected officials.  But although the quality of discussion has improved greatly, the volume of traffic has slowed to a crawl, and even that tends to repeat a handful of themes over and over.

In looking at archived pages over at the Internet Archive it's apparent that is nowhere near the thriving place that it used to be.

I emailed John Sharpe and Barry Forward a while back, suggesting that maybe it's time to wrap up the site.  No word from them, but I'm still feeling that way.  I'm also open to handing it over to someone with more time and connections who can, just possibly, revitalize it.

So folks? What say you?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Jane Thornthwaite, Champion of Transit!

The North Shore News reports that MLA Jane Thornthwaite is now a proponent of a Skytrain line to and across the North Shore.  She has even come up with a map.
It would have been nice if our MLA had championed this level of transit improvement when her party was in power. As far as I know Thornthwaite never so much as made a peep while the Liberals underfunded transit in favour of bridges.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Real Estate Prices, Here and There.

Who says Vancouver real estate is out of control? In much of the Vancouver region you can pick up a habitable house for around 1.3 million.

Then again, if you spend the same amount in Normandy you can get:
Spacious 18th Century 6 Bedroom Petit Chateau with Coach House and Stables and Dovecote set on 7.4 acres of Garden and Grounds with orchard, small Lake and far reaching Views. Approached over it's own tree lined private driveway this superb property offers 300 m² of living space with the potential to create further accommodation in the attic and lower ground floors. Located 45 minutes from the regional capital of Caen and 15 minutes from a town with main line railway connections to Paris (2 hrs). The property which provides a large comfortable family home has huge potential to create a Chambre d'Hotes and Gite accommodation if required. Many original features are retained including Parquet floors and Marble fireplaces. 

Are we mad to live here?