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.


Hazen Colbert said...
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Anonymous said...

All of which has nothing to do with this blog closing down.

Sorry Barry that you have made the decision to move on and hope that someone else with some computer skills and extra time will step in. Thanks for what you have done for us.

Regards. Anon.

Hazen Colbert said...

I call 'em as I see 'em, right down the middle, as honest as the day is long, as straight as a hound's hind leg and as sober as a judge. So I do not appreciate you looking at me in that tone of voice.

Anonymous said...

Again, we see the behaviour that put Hazen in last place when he ran. Nobody likes a 'politician' who thinks, or behaves like, he's above the hot polloi.

Anonymous said...

Turn out the lights its not worth it.

Anonymous said...

But but my morning coffee break....

Hazen Colbert said...

Anon 6:52

My "behaviour" is intentional to reflect the opinions and beliefs of the majority. Knowing that 80% of people feel disenfranchised with the existing form of municipal democracy at least in the DNV, I used, and continue to use on these political blogs the cynicism, harsh critique etc that they hold toward their elected officials and the municipal process.

I knew I could not sway many of the 20%. They are, for the most part, long bought and paid for by the incumbents through municipal hall. Many of the 20% are good and honourable people. They are not bought by cash, but by the nudge-nudge-wink-wink of municipal hall's largess through committee appointments, community service awards, recognition of community associations, single lot infill bylaws that increase the value of their property, community grants, new community centers etc etc. Some are not so honourable. They voted for the person who promised them $100,000 a year in perpetuity for keg parties and flash Friday group rides. He delivered. He has doing else but he delivered the cash.

I thought that by mirroring the 80% who feel disenfranchised and ignored I could get them out to vote, and specifically for me. I was incorrect. They will never vote at the municipal level as they believe their votes do not count. They are the people forced to ride on a sub-standard transit system which treats them like cattle, rely on an ever disappearing supply of affordable housing, want to see their dog run free in parks, are People of Colour and/or are LBGTQ. They have tried to speak at public input and been shut down. They have seen their homes bulldozed and been told they are not welcome. Since 2014 they are well over-represented among the people forced off the North Shore for a variety of reasons.

The 20% are obsessed with their reputations and images in the community (and perhaps in their workplaces). They frown on those who are not the same as they want to appear - upstanding, middle class or upper middle class, Caucasian, heterocentric, old-stock Canadians. Byt like Peyton Place...well Ye Gods if we could peek inside their front door.

There is perhaps an irony to the 2014 municipal election in light of the 2015 federal election. I campaigned during both. The 20% who voted in the municipal election came out during the federal election strongly in favour of the Conservative Party. But that time around, more than half of the 80% did vote, and voted for change - most voting Liberal. I talked to many of the same people during both election campaigns. The 20%, who are very well represented on this blog had and still have a disdain for me. One actually threw a cup of coffee at me. The remainder - well I can't be sure what to think, but some sent me birthday cards last week. Yet I know they are never going to vote in a municipal election.

I believe that one cannot make an omelette without cracking a few eggs. But after 2014, I have given up on omelettes. And I have given up on municipal change from within. It must be imposed in one form or another. Until it is imposed I will be on the sidelines showing up only to give examples of my own municipal experience, and just to counter the |mutual admiration society" absent debate and inclusiveness that presently characterizes our form of municipal democracy.

Anonymous said...

Goodness! You do like the sound of your own voice. Don't you?

Hazen Colbert said...

Anon 9:04

Why not address the issue of why 80% of the electorate does not vote.

Also what about the issue of demovictions and the forced displacement of people seeking affordable housing off the North Shore. Or do you not care because like everyone else on this blog (except for Matt Bond) you own your home and do not give a rat's ass for someone who cannot afford to own.

Oh and another thing - being LBGTQ is not a choice. But being a greedy tax cheat and singing Kumbaya in municipal hall with a false face, making friendly with people you don't know except for your work keeping People of Colour (and non locals) from being first in line to buy new homes - that is a choice. Even if you and the existing elected miscreants are in institutional denial :-)

Anonymous said...

"People of Colour"

Hmmm... alright I will bite.

Councillor Muri's motion which was generally supported by the council was to give locals a chance to by new units before they were advertised outside of the community. You have decided to pervert that to imply that anyone who supports local ownership must all be racists. I believe her motion excluded 99% of the Caucasians in the world too, but that's not the point.

I don't support the six week locals first idea, but I believe for the health of the community it is not unreasonable for the local developments to give a two week window of local sales so people can reasonably have a chance to downsize within the community at a full market price. Also, I think it is fishy when a developer charges a lower price for foreign buyers. The only reasons that would make sense is because they are avoiding some tax program or buying some off-book benefit abroad or possibly in some cases they are facilitating immigration for some perceived benefit. That should be stopped too. One price.

Anonymous said...

Get down off your cross. You're not the only person who cares. You're also not the only LGBTQ person on this blog. Many of us work silently behind the scenes without looking for attention. You on the other hand seem to want the spotlight on you. You can keep it. Just stop thinking that your opinion matters more than anyone else's. Your major loss at the polls shows that nobody is listening to you.

Hazen Colbert said...

The vitriol and invective could not get more personal against me. I have seen it all before.

The Chinese Head Tax was not racist either when it was implemented.

Again, get educated re why developers are charging lower prices to foreign buyers. It is because these buyers are buying BEFORE the project is even submitted to city or municipal hall. These are foreign buyers' clubs (an example being the Crown and Mountain 47/48-unit strata which was sold to Mid East investors months before first reading of the bylaw, the profits from sales funneled through Iran to Hezbollla - look it up posssums), being sold condos in tranches, then the condos are flipped for profit to local buyers. A municipal bylaw does no apply to sales that occur BEFORE a development permit is issued. Those prices will NEVER be offered to locals.

I have no worries about someone selling a $1.8 million dollar home tax free that they paid $85,000 for 30 years ago, then moving into an $800,000 condo lol. One can live darn well on $1,000,000 with no mortgage :-)

My opinion does not matter more than any other person's. My facts do matter. Just ask Doug Curran (and another) what happened to him when he challenged my facts :-)

Anonymous said...

My vote would never be cast for any person who denigrates segments of the populace based upon their race or sexual orientation. Mr Cobert's "cynicism" toward the heterosexual caucasian electorate is unacceptable. If anyone wrote similar unsubstantiated generalizations regarding minorities they would be castigated.

Supporting minorities is laudable but doing so by denigrating or dismissing others is exactly the type of behaviour that is objectionable to minorities. Does he not understand that if minorities object to that type of behaviour so does everyone else? Does he not understand that it is entirely acceptable to represent minorities and ensure that their rights and access, as entrenched and protected by the Canadian Charter, are upheld - and that type of action is widely supported by all thinking people of every type?

Racist heterophobic behaviour by politicians of any persuasion will never succeed. Yes, facts do matter so stick to them and give up the absurd speculation and assumptions regarding what you call "old stock Canadians". Ranting about the increase in value of a long-time resident's home over 30 years seems bit unbalanced. I would seem to me that the real question is Who is buying these homes at inflated prices and driving pricing ever higher and should that be tolerated?

Anonymous said...

So according to Mr. Colbert the development at Crown and Mountain is directly sponsoring terrorism. Wow.

Hazen Colbert said...

Anon 10:44

No not according to me.

According to the US Attorney General.

The person wanted in California owns the West Vancouver development company that is backing the Crown/Mountain project. Since it does not appear you know google, here is the link.

Please do not tell me that the money going to Iran is to build orphanages.

BTW this occasion is exactly why I say that the electorate, for the most part, is ignorant of the issues and even more ignorant of the details.

jack willium said...
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