Monday, February 20, 2017

Administrative Note

Today's email included the following:

A few weeks back someone came to me with some information. The information was that last fall (a council member) made the rounds to various social media administrators requesting that content referring to him in even a remotely negative way be suppressed if not outright deleted.

I paid little heed to the information at the time. Then it was absolutely confirmed to me by a party.

I trust you understand the problem.  (a council member) is ultimately responsible for issuance of your commercial dog walking license, and for you position on the DNV's transportation committee.

If (a council member) did visit with you, and you did suppress content, it would very problematic. In fact it may well be a crime by (a council member) or at least border on same.

I would appreciate it if you could be forthright and disclose any visit by (a council member) or the equivalent, and whether, in response, you edited content on northvancouverpolitics at the time or going forward.

I will take a nil response as confirmation of (a council member)'s attendance and a response by you to edit content in concern for your dog walking license etc

Reality is often more mundane than you might imagine. No member of any council has approached me, phoned me, or even tweeted at me, although I did go a for group bike ride around Lynn Valley with Mathew Bond a year or two back as part the Transportation Committee. It was fun.

It is my understanding that one council member from the North Shore approached my predecessor to ask if offending comments could be removed. That was before my time, but if I get details I may report further.

Since taking the reins of this site I've been a more active moderator and have removed perhaps two dozen comments that were either totally off topic, or which amounted to unfounded personal attacks on either forum users, or elected officials.  In two cases groups of off-topic comments were moved to their own new threads where there seemed to be interest. What has been left untouched were some pretty substantial discussions about possible influence of local politicians by donors and others, descriptions of behavior during public meetings that could be confirmed, and some occasional comments that, while pointed, were at least good natured and funny.

I've also heard directly from some forum members, via email, with specific concerns or questions.  I'm easy to find at barry.rueger@gmail.com.

In defense of any elected official who wants to contact me, or any other publication, that is entirely reasonable, especially if what's printed is not true.  I would think that anyone who is a serious follower of our local politics would want to separate fact from fiction.

This is especially important on-line, where the most outrageous and dishonest claims will stick around forever, only one Google search from returning.  For someone who is building a career in the public eye, it's part of the job to try and manage how you're portrayed on-line.

My business is licenced in West Van, not North. The District's Transportation Consultation Committee, of which I'm part, is actually undergoing some kind of restructuring along with several other committees, so the future of that activity is up the air anyhow.

I'm turning off comments for this note, but as always feel free to email me directly with any suggestions, or offers of bribes.

Addendum: just to be really, really  clear, as far as I know no content has ever been removed at the request of any politician. That's one conspiracy theory you can strike off your list.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Discussion topic: Why should we vote NDP?

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of the Clark regime, and as seems to be the case with every election in recent years, I'm struggling to figure out who I will mark my ballot for.  I suspect that I'm not alone.

Liberal fans at least have the government's track record (alleged or otherwise) to point to when making their case, but what can the NDP do to sell their brand?  Can a member of the party faithful step up and make the case for voting NDP? Jim Hanson? You out there?

All that I ask is that we avoid rehashing events of twenty or thirty years ago - the fast ferries are ancient history, as is Vanderzalm.  Even Gordon Campbell is arguably now irrelevant. And let's agree that "Well, we're not the Liberals" is not really a valid argument either.  Let's try to keep the discussion to what's happening now, and to concrete policies.

I'm ignoring the Greens right now. Although they actually have had excellent candidates in recent elections, and I've even voted for some of them, they don't have a realistic chance of forming a government.

Then again, you can argue that neither does the NDP.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

VCH Office for Youth with Addictions

It's election time, and once again the Liberals are just brimming with money to help people that they've ignored for the last four years. This week Christy (and her local North Shore contingent) really, really care about kids with substance abuse problems, and really, really really want to help them.
If you follow such things you'll know that the provincial government has grossly underfunded services for at-risk youth, and that treatment for addictions in particular has been lacking to a frightening degree. (see also below)


(Moved from the previous topic)


Anonymous said...

A North Shore resident, and journalist Bob Mackin has a new topic for discussion:

".... January 9th in North Vancouver with the four North Shore BC Liberal MLAs Jane Thornthwaite, Naomi Yamamoto, Jordan Sturdy and Ralph Sultan - to announce a new Vancouver Coastal Health office for youth with addictions will be opening in May.

The 9,000 square foot Foundry North Shore is described on a VCH website as a "one-stop shop for youth needing easy access to mental health, drug, and alcohol services and social services on the North Shore."

Sounds like a step forward. Except the building next door is a liquor store. ...."
Wednesday, February 08, 2017 11:07:00 pm

Anonymous said...

The real objection to the location is from the owner of the liquor store: Riedlinger said. “It’s not going to help our business in any way. It’s going to make it more difficult to operate there.” First it's wine sales in grocery stores, then liquor sales in hair salons. Now he wants to opposes services to at risk youth. Maybe its time for him to move out of the neighbourhood if he feels he can't be a good neighbour. It's a bit late for him to be sounding so concerned now that the building is constructed.
Thursday, February 09, 2017 9:28:00 am 

Anonymous said...

One can buy smoking cessation aides at the prescription desk of the pharmacy and, at one time, pay for them at the front cash while buying cigarettes. The liquor store and the office for addictions story is simply the private sector model of revenue and profit maximization applied to the public sector as promoted by the Alt-Right.
Thursday, February 09, 2017 10:59:00 am

The Tyee today looks at the case of Alex Gervais, who committed suicide while in the care of the Province.
There is no guarantee bad things won’t happen to children and teens, in or out of care. Mistakes will be made, warnings missed.
But Alex didn’t end up in that motel, desperate and a mess, because a mistake was made. The government had set up an underfunded, dysfunctional system that failed him repeatedly, even when the need for help was obvious. ... 
Minister Stephanie Cadieux reacted in the usual way, with sympathy, claims work is already under way, promises of action and some misdirection. 
The problem was not a lack of resources, she said. But that’s not true,  ... If the ministry was adequately funded, ...  Alex would not have been shuffled from placement to placement. He would have had an effective care plan, regularly updated. ... His life could have turned out very differently. ... 
In 2009, when 12-year-old Alex was moving into his fifteenth placement, the ministry budget was $1.4 billion. This year, it’s $1.45 billion. If funding had simply kept up with inflation, the ministry budget would be $51 million higher.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bygone Days in Lynn Valley

There are actually some pretty big things going on - more pre-election announcements from the Liberals, who suddenly have gazillions of dollars for all sorts of things like bridges and... bridges, but in the meantime check out this gem of a report The Lynn Valley Local Plan - Planning Report from back in 1998.

It's fascinating to see how this might of led to the current Official Community Plan, but also how priorities have changed in that time.  There was a strong emphasis on maintaining single family homes, but they also saw a need to protect existing rental housing - something that lots of Lynn Valley renters would  appreciate today.

My favorite part though was about the lack of entertainment in Lynn Valley:
"The lack of entertainment in Lynn Valley was a common concern expressed by people of all ages; the suggestions included a theatre, cinema, bowling alley, a dance club and a pool hall (the last two coming from youth). As well, people of all ages expressed the need for more gathering places. Youth desire affordable places to meet their friends; older people have requested restaurants and attractive resting/seating areas. Private enterprise should be encouraged to provide restaurants and entertainment venues."
A pool hall for Lynn Valley! Love it! Those crazy "youth!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

NSN on Population Changes

If you don't rush to the door each week to breathlessly peruse the North Shore News you may have missed today's lead story by the prolific Brent Richer: West Vancouver’s population shrank in 2016 and the accompanying editorial titled: Blame game(The image above is from the story, and obviously is property of the North Shore news)

In a nutshell, despite the outcry about increased density, the populations of the two North Vancouvers have only seen marginal increases, and West Vancouver has actually lost people.

In their editorial the News makes a very specific and succinct point:
The most commonly blamed culprits are our growing population and residential redevelopment. But, it seems we may have made a wrongful conviction. According to stats released by the province ...  there are fewer people living on the North Shore today than there were a year ago. 
According to BC Stats, in a region where growth and densification are the norm, we’re the laggards despite how it may appear. ...  
It’s time we started having a more evidence-based debate about the problems of and solutions for the North Shore.
If the North Shore is actually losing people it's a significant story, and  one that should frighten any of our local politicians.  I don't think it impossible that the population decline in West Vancouver could make its way across the Capilano River.

As the story in the News suggests, we still need to wait for next batch of statistics to emerge if we're going to have better idea why these changes are happening.

In the meantime, I'm going to agree with the News: lets make decisions based on facts, not emotion, and in the context of this site, let's debate facts, not speculation.