At the next Vancouver Council meeting our elected reps will be voting on a staff plan to introduce new city-wide parking fees including a sliding scale of pollution surcharges based on the type of vehicle. Staff claim that the anticipated revenues of up to $70 million would be used to pay for for some elements of the city’s Climate Emergency Action Plan.
Green Councillor Adriane Carr called the idea “a necessary step” and suggested it would go toward “changing consumer behaviour.” The pollution surcharge could be up to $1,000 a year for high-end vehicles, and Carr commented: “If you can afford to buy an SUV or high-end sports car that may well run you over $100,000, but certainly $80,000 and up, I think a $500 or $1,000 fee is not very much.”
That sounds reasonable but ignores the fact that many if not most of those who can afford such cars have garages and therefore will escape paying any part of the fees or surcharges. Because they will not have to pay, it will have no effect on the behaviour of the owners of the worst-polluting vehicles and thus will have little or no environmental impact.
In fact, the main burden of this new taxation will fall on the low-and-middle income workers in the city who have no garage and who need a vehicle for work. It is a situation that will get progressively worse as more people move into new apartment developments that, under this Council’s zoning policies, include fewer and fewer parking spaces.
This proposal is weighted in favour of the rich and will do very little to improve the environment. It is, in fact, a classic case of a greenwashing cash grab. I empathize with the policy’s declared purpose of moving people out of their cars and onto transit (or bikes or walking) but this is not the way to achieve those ends.
A far better solution, I believe, is to lobby the Provincial government to include a sliding scale emissions tax onto auto insurance. That way would oblige the worst polluters to pay in a way that cannot be avoided just because they are fortunate enough to have a garage.
Earlier today I published the media release for the new TEAM party that is gearing up to fight the 2022 Vancouver civic election. Regular readers will be aware that Councillor Colleen Hardwick, the driving force behind the new party, has spent the last two years battling the entrenched interests at City Hall to improve the governance of our city which, many of us believe, has been failing the citizens in so many ways.
She worked tirelessly for months — and against bitter opposition from city staff — to get us an Auditor General, one of the keys to improving efficiency and delivery of services to us all. And she has continued to press staff to justify their housing policies which, it is now shown, they developed without adequate data and which appear to be aimed at grabbing CAC revenues rather than meeting the needs of the majority of Vancouver’s working population.
I declare an interest here: I have spent a few weeks working with the new TEAM to help develop the guidelines for their policies on community and neighbourhood representation. I very much like the transparent way in which they plan to develop policies (there will be a full-on policy development conference in the next few weeks), and I greatly respect the talents of the group that Hardwick has put together, many of whom I have worked with over the years and some who are new to me.
We can certainly do a lot better than the Vision 2.0 coalition we have on Council today (or even a revival, God forbid, of the former Vision). In the next short while a website will be available for those interested in joining TEAM, in helping develop the policies we need to solve the city’s problems and move us forward into the future. I encourage everyone to take a look and join in.
This morning, Councillor Colleen Hardwick issued the following media release:
Vancouver, B.C. (September 29, 2021): Councillor Colleen Hardwick today announced that she has joined TEAM for a Livable Vancouver, a new citizen-based movement. Hardwick resigned from the NPA in May and has been sitting as an independent.
“Effective immediately I will be sitting on council as a member of TEAM for a Livable Vancouver,” said Hardwick. She said that like the original TEAM (The Electors’ Action Movement) founded by Art Phillips and her father Walter Hardwick in 1968, the new TEAM will put Vancouverites at the centre in tackling the key issues of our time. “The first TEAM united residents to defend their neighbourhoods from demolition, stopped plans to run freeways through downtown Vancouver, and created the award-winning False Creek South neighbourhood, an inspiring legacy worth fighting for,” Hardwick said.
“I look at city hall today and what I see is a city government that treats Vancouverites like ATMs while ignoring the issues that are most important to Vancouver’s families,” added Hardwick. “Too often residents are simply seen as a source of more and more revenue for a bloated city government that takes too long to get things done and sidelines the valuable opinions of citizens. Meanwhile, small businesses are buried in red tape, renters are stressed, neighbourhoods and parks are neglected.”
Hardwick said citizens are right to be feeling ignored, as there are fewer and fewer opportunities for real public input. “City advisory committees are deliberately stacked and filled with the ‘right’ people. Neighbourhood opinions are regularly dismissed. In fact, just recently the city canvassed Vancouverites on its new ‘climate emergency’ parking plan that imposed additional fees. When 19,000 people taking the survey overwhelmingly said no, the city hired a market research firm to get the answer it wanted.”
“TEAM then and now share a community-based approach, one that appeals to people of every political persuasion who are committed to putting Vancouver, its people and its neighbourhoods first,” said Hardwick. “Being focused on our citizens first and foremost is an approach that makes sense, and something that will always stand the test of time. In fact, as we head towards the next municipal election, I have just one question for every Vancouverite: Do you like what’s happening to your city?”
“Too many politicians have a knack for talking about the need for more affordability, then out of the other side of their mouth they’re jacking up city costs and taxes that make our city less affordable,” said Hardwick. “There is an incredible disconnect between city hall and Vancouver’s working families, and the
gap is only getting wider as the city ignores the fundamentals of running a city for people who live and work here. That’s what happens when politicians don’t listen and get caught up in their vanity projects, while ignoring the very people who live and operate businesses here …”
Besides Hardwick, the founding board of TEAM for a Livable Vancouver Association includes award-winning filmmaker David Fine, information technology consultant and SFU student Sean Nardi, retired educator Sal Robinson, and architect David Wong.
“This new party was created by people from different backgrounds, but we all have a common concern about our city’s current direction,” explained Fine. “Our goal is to offer our fellow citizens a better, progressive and forward-thinking option in the 2022 civic election.” Wong said “the group has been meeting for several months, looking for better ways of dealing with issues such as Vancouver’s deteriorating livability, the ongoing housing crisis, the ever-increasing cost of living, the increase in crime and growing concerns about public safety in many of the city’s neighbourhoods.” “TEAM is built around the belief that Vancouverites need to be heard, particularly when it comes to how our city is run and what its future should look like,” noted Robinson. “Vancouverites deserve a city council, school and park board with an agenda that puts citizens front and centre: people who listen to the residents that elected them.”
“Our policies are still being formulated and we consider our launch as an open invitation to our fellow citizens to join us in shaping them,” added Hardwick. “Our aim is to create a broad-based coalition of people with innovative ideas that will fix what’s broken in our city. Vancouver is rife with division and anger, and we need to respond better and address issues that people really care about: livability, fairness, safety, and a truly sustainable and affordable city.”
Scot Hein is a retired architect, former senior urban designer at the City of Vancouver and the University of British Columbia. An adjunct professor of Urban Design at UBC, lecturer at Simon Fraser University, founding board member of the Urbanarium, and excellent conversationalist, he has now created a graphic novella called “What About Me?” that is available at spacing in two parts. It is primer on how Vancouver has historically regulated a for-profit—now over-heated—housing market.
He has followed this up with an essay in several parts called “Zoning Must Evolve” which begins here.
““You Forgot About Me” is offered as a backgrounder that introduces development regulation concepts that the City of Vancouver has relied upon for many years. It is intended to stimulate a conversation towards new approaches to address affordability—including the delivery of non-market housing better tied to income—by changing existing zoning.”
Together, these are an excellent way to start thinking about what we need to do in Vancouver to sort out the mess we are in. Thoroughly recommended.
Here are the final figures issued by Elections Canada for the 2021 Federal election in Vancouver East:
- NDP, Jenny Kwan, 27,969 votes (or 56.4% of votes cast)
- Liberal, Josh Vander Vies, 9,797
- Conservative, Mauro Francis, 5,399
- Green, Cheryl Matthews, 3,826
- PPC, Karen Litzcke, 1,382
- Libertarian, Golok Buday, 831
- Communist, Natasha Hale, 387
There were 528 rejected ballots, and the turnout was 54% (49,591 of 91,133 electors)
The graphic above is from the always interesting Visual Capitalist site.
The numbers speak for themselves: Poverty for the masses is a choice by the rich.
in the chair
in a game of
why did you
tend:er is the night
did you watch
no, I was crazy
to have missed it
they make me
Regular readers will know that I like my sleep, especially in the form of naps. I don’t really need “experts” to tell me how useful naps can be, but it is pleasant, I guess, to have one’s self-knowledge confirmed. Sleep scientists have confirmed that naps beat coffee hands down for restoration and memory retention:
In this study, we find that a moderate dose of caffeine impaired motor sequence learning and declarative verbal memory compared to placebo and daytime sleep. These decreases were found despite the fact that caffeine increased subjective alertness, suggesting that the caffeine dose was sufficiently high to have some psychoactive effect. An afternoon nap, on the other hand, improved free recall memory relative to the caffeine group after both a 20min and a 7hr retention interval and produced greater learning on a motor sequence task than caffeine … Overall, a daytime nap generally improved performance across three different learning paradigms, while caffeine impaired (or at least did not benefit) performance.
The nappers win — hooray!
On a similar note, this graph shows the daily routines of a variety of creative people. I was surprised to see so few naps but Balzac, Darwin, Mann and Kafka obviously knew what was good for them!
I am, apparently, what is known as an “intactivist”. That is, I am totally opposed to the medically-unnecessary genital mutilation of infant boys in the procedure known as circumcision. I have been writing about this on and off since at least 2004.
At the beginning, let me be clear that I am not opposed to circumcision for, say, religious or cosmetic reasons; but this should be a conscious choice made by the man when he is an adult, not something forced on an unwitting child by others simply to satisfy a prehistoric tribal rite or to make the child look like his father.
This distasteful business was brought to mind by my reading of a new study that links infant circumcision to autism. The researchers studied the life histories of 340,000 boys before reaching their conclusions.
“Possible mechanisms linking early life pain and stress to an increased risk of neurodevelopmental, behavioural or psychological problems in later life remain incompletely conceptualised,” said Professor Frisch. “Given the widespread practice of non-therapeutic circumcision in infancy and childhood around the world, our findings should prompt other researchers to examine the possibility that circumcision trauma in infancy or early childhood might carry an increased risk of serious neurodevelopmental and psychological consequences.”
In no way would I equate the cruel barbarism of female genital mutilation to the removal of the male foreskin, but child mutilation of all kinds is still child mutilation and all such practices should be banned immediately.
On this day in 2001, I wrote my first blog post.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, I had been running a few BBS systems, both for myself and for a couple of organizations I was involved with. Looking back on it, they sure were primitive compared to what we have today.
Later in the 1990s, I was heavily involved in some early online communities — Utne Café and Howard Rheingold’s Brainstorms in particular. They were great fun and of immense value in opening up channels of intelligent communication. I also met people there (including the Everloving) with whom I am still in touch.
Finally, in 2001, I discovered Blogger and jaksview v.1 was born. A couple of years later I switched to Typepad for v.2 in which my entries were heavily weighted toward international politics. Unfortunately, I ran into some heavy-duty far right SOBs who started threatening me and my family and in February 2008 I felt it was the better part of discretion to scrap version 2. I started again with WordPress for version 3 — and here we are today.
I have been a writer in one way or another for most of my life and having a blog has allowed me to inflict my views, my poems, my art on a much wider audience than I might have had in any other way. Thank you for reading and for continuing to visit jaksview.