Poem: Birth

August 31, 2015


We begin our progress

by passing

through a passage,

the passing through of which

seems like a lifetime

to both passenger

and bearer

Image: The River at Dusk

August 31, 2015


Night Music: America

August 30, 2015

Wise Words

August 30, 2015

Wise Words

Image: Lines & Shadows #1

August 29, 2015

Lines and Shadows

Night Music: Summer In The City

August 28, 2015

Image: Making Waves

August 27, 2015

making waves

Taking A Flyer

August 27, 2015

Yesterday, some people in the neighbourhood started receiving flyers in the mail from the Boffo-Kettle consortium that wants to build a huge and inappropriate tower at the corner of Commercial and Venables.  (Note, I am calling it the Boffo-Kettle consortium because they now have a shared logo and because of the email nonsense that will be discussed below).

The flyer, which looks thrown together rather than carefully composed, is, as usual, full of error and distortion.  For example, they continue to claim that Adanac Towers — the 100% low-income supported housing unit on Adanac built some 40 years ago — is 14 storeys tall when in fact it is only 12.  They know it is only twelve — having been told so many times (and it is easy enough to count the floors) — and yet they want to make their own monster look better by comparison and so they continue to try to mislead the public in this way.

Once again, their flyer only includes “conceptual” drawings — which is odd given they have been working this project for four years now. You’d think they were better organized than that.

They also have a bizarre paragraph entitled “Have you consulted with the community?” to which they respond with a loud “Yes” and list what they have done:

“In 2015 we presented our preliminary ideas  to the Grandview Woodland Citizens’ Assembly (March 28), attended the city-led Open House (May 4), participated in a Citizens’ Assembly Roundtable discussion (May 5), and presented at a Grandview Woodland Area Council Meeting (May 11).”

I don’t think any of that counts as “consultation”, but let’s look at their claims individually.

  • On March 28, Boffo and the Kettle presented ideas to the CA. The presentation (rather than consultation) took about 30 minutes.
  • They attended the Open House on May 4 but refused to identify themselves (almost as if, someone commented, they were embarrassed to be attached to the project). The Open House lasted perhaps two hours. It should be noted that neither Boffo nor the Kettle arranged this meeting and no definite ideas were presented by the City on their behalf.  The City has not yet released details or even tabulated results from the residents’ comments — will they ever release these?
  • Some — again unidentified — people from Boffo and the Kettle attended the CA Roundtable on May 5. This was NOT a presentation or consultation on the Boffo-Kettle project but on the CA’s recommendations for the neighbourhood as a whole.  It was at this meeting that Daniel Boffo was asked who he was and said, “I’m just a local businessman.”  Once again, was he embarrassed to be linked to his own project?  That meeting lasted about two hours.
  • On May 11 Daniel Boffo and Ken Paquette attended the GWAC meeting. They did NOT make a presentation and their attempt at “consultation” consisted of answering four of five questions over a 30 minute period. (By the way, I spoke with a couple of residents not involved with the NO TOWER Coalition to check my memory of that meeting.  They both agreed with my characterization and both, unprompted, called the attitude of the tower promoters “aggressive” and “bullying”.

So that’s it.  If we are generous and call all of this “consultation”, it comes to a grand total of five hours.  This needs to be compared and contrasted with the fifty-seven hours the NO TOWER folks have been at Grandview Park chatting to all comers about this specific project.  And that doesn’t count the 15-20 additional hours of door-to-door discussions the volunteers have undertaken.

The result:  Boffo-Kettle is scrambling for any support they can muster, while the NO TOWER folks have collected more than 2,300 signatures on their petition to oppose the tower.

Finally, on the Boffo flyer there is an email contact address:  renewal@thekettle.ca.  I wrote to them to complain about the Adanac Towers inaccuracy.  I got a reply — but not from Boffo and not from the Kettle. It was from their high-priced manufactured-consent public relations specialists Pottinger Bird:

VB email

I have written about these guys a couple of times (here and here).

By not even answering their own emails, it seems clear that, if they ever had it, the Kettle has lost all control over this process and thus their own future.  Does their Board understand this?


A Video Snapshot

August 26, 2015

I was working the NO TOWER Coalition table at Grandview Park this afternoon when I was approached by talented local blogger Theresa McCarthy.

She has begun a new series of video portraits of locals in the Grandview neighbourhood, and she decided to kick off the series with me.  I’m always scared my face will break the camera, but it was great fun!

Thanks, Theresa!

Night Music: Give Me Love

August 26, 2015

Image: Childhood

August 25, 2015


Night Music: Boomtown Rats

August 24, 2015

Poem: Forward

August 24, 2015


The forked tongue of the future lies ahead

Beckoning us forward. Advance! Progress!

Regardless of the perils and our dread


Of failure, ever onward must we tread.

And no matter how much we feel the stress,

The forked tongue of the future lies ahead.


And whether we fly the black flag or red,

The same indignations we must address

Regardless of the perils and our dread:


The starving masses, children barely fed;

And even for those who have even less

The forked tongue of the future lies ahead.


So throw away your doubts; let us instead

Rejoice in future’s coming, and impress —

Regardless of the perils and our dread —


Our generation’s mark. Let it be said

We lived, loved, built, and understood that, yes,

The forked tongue of the future lies ahead

Regardless of the perils and our dread.

Image: Red Wood

August 23, 2015


The Murder of Sacco & Vanzetti Remembered

August 23, 2015

This is the 88th anniversary of the murder by the State of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti.


What from the splendid dead
We have inherited –
Furrows sweet to the grain, and the weed subdued –
See now the slug and the mildew plunder.
Evil does not overwhelm
The larkspur and the corn;
We have seen them go under.

Let us sit here, sit still,
Here in the sitting-room until we die;
At the step of Death on the walk, rise and go;
Leaving to our children’s children this beautiful doorway,
And this elm,
And a blighted earth to till
With a broken hoe.

— Edna St Vincent Millay “Justice Denied in Massachusetts”

Lest we forget.

Night Music: In The Summertime

August 22, 2015

The NO TOWER Perspective

August 21, 2015

The NO TOWER Coalition, formed to oppose a massive tower at Commercial & Venables and to work on suggestions for alternatives for that site, has issued a major new Statement.

The Statement (“Our Perspective“) goes into some detail as to why the tower is a terrible planning option, questions the essential negativity of the tower proponents’ “campaign”, and introduces some ideas on alternative proposals to expand the Kettle’s services.

Well worth reading.

Image: Rose With Rain

August 21, 2015

Rose With Rain

Night Music: Only The Lonely

August 20, 2015

A Good Full Day

August 19, 2015

Another blazing hot day, and a busy one.

We went to Western Lake for dim sum.  Everything was excellent as always, but the fried squid in sea salt and garlic in particular was so fresh and hot — wow!  Plenty of dumplings, some hot and sour soup, and jellied lychee and goji berries to finish.  Such a feast!

We were scheduled to meet with others at Grandview Park at three, but managed to find ourselves back on the Drive by two. So, we spent a delightful hour people watching on Turk’s where the “medium” coffee was strong enough to grease a truck (not complaining, though I may never sleep again).

From three to five we crewed the NO TOWER Coalition information table in the Park, collecting signatures on the petition.  It’s a wonderful and powerful experience chatting and debating with residents of the neighbourhood about the development proposal.  Some disagree with us, which is to be expected, but the vast majority who stop by are opposed to the tower project and more than happy to sign the petition.

This afternoon, a large number took window signs and it is gratifying to walk the neighbourhood and see the NO TOWER signs all over the place.  After a couple of hours, the next crew came, and we strolled home.

But not before we shopped at the newly opened Bosa store where Dream Design used to be. It is a marvelous space for them, roomy, airy, and light, especially compared to the old Victoria Drive store.  The staff was friendly and they were giving away jars of pasta sauce for first-day shoppers.  We are so glad it is open.

All in all, a full and satisfying day.