Of the many regressive steps taken at Vancouver City Hall since Penny Ballem became City Manager, arguably the worst was the elimination of line item budgets and the introduction of departmental and program lump-sum budgets that hide all the details. That is the purpose, of course: to hide the details from the people who pay for everything — that would be you and me.
We must immediately return to detailed line-item budgets being submitted by the City bureaucracy for Council’s approval, with Council having the ability and duty to review and if required amend individual line items in the budget.
But we need to do more, much more.
We need to make all payments made by the City openly available within a short period of time, online, searchable by payee and program identification. All payments, including salaries, wages, expenses and fees should be made available.
It’s our money. We should be able to see exactly where it is going, in virtually real time.
So-called No Public Disclosure clauses should be made illegal and invalid in all transactions involving public money. You want our money, then play by our transparency rules and needs, not yours.
I have had several breakfasts at Adeline’s recently, and mighty fine they have been. I stick to ordering the Traditional English breakfast which is actually a sort of Americanized version of a Traditional English Breakfast. And that’s OK; I can grill tomatoes and mushrooms, and heat up some baked beans at home anytime. They get the bacon and the sausage and the country-fried potatoes and they get the eggs any way you want them. Tastes good and the coffee’s fine.
The ever-loving has never been there for breakfast, and so today was to be the day. Off we went into the chill way-too-early-for-summer sunshine and hiked around the corner. Only to find that Adeline’s had chosen today to shut for renovations!
Oh well, Skylight is only half a block from there, and thus we ended up at our usual haunt. No problem with that rebound. And we got there to find the place almost empty. But within ten minutes the place was crowded, all tables used up. Apparently, Good Friday means it is OK to take your mawkish kid to the local diner to test out their lungs. Oh well, it is good to see the place lively and keeping everyone busy.
So today I had two breakfasts: the expectation of one at Adeline’s and an actual one at Eva’s. Pretty good morning, I’d say.
Adriane Carr, the Green Party Vancouver City Councillor, has been hitting the high notes since she pushed the party into an early 2014 campaign launch with three other nominees. Getting a proactive handle on the aquarium debate is a good idea, and a natural for her. Suggesting a plebiscite, bringing the public into the process, challenges Vision’s fine words with genuine action.
Once the additional nominees are acclaimed as Green candidates in May, then it will be interesting to see whether the Greens can properly display the bench strength that many of us feel they could put out with that team.
Those involved in local civic activism know that getting younger residents involved is one of the genuine barriers to full integration of community with group.
Here is a fascinating look at why youth today are not engaging in the process, not swamping the political channels available to them today.
This video was a class project this year at SFU. This is youth (with the occasional old fart or two) thinking about youth, and all the more valuable for that.
Definitely worth watching!