Is there really a civic election in Vernon this year?

MaryG
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Joined: Feb 13th, 2011, 9:47 pm

Re: Is there really a civic election in Vernon this year?

Post by MaryG »

This election seems to be turning into a defacto referendum on bike lanes and a proposed widening of 43rd. Are we all really this stupid? Specifically, our candidates?

Scott - I just wanted to know WHO the special interest groups are....your answer implies that anyone who shows up at City Hall has a special interest. So really, we're all special, aren't we? We all have an equal opportunity to run in an election, vote in an election, write to the editor of a paper, write on a Castanet forum, write to City Hall, speak at Council. We're all special interest groups.

Please, just cut the BS and list about 25 of your views on how the City could change for the better and how you would seek to have it implemented or supported.

In fact, all candidates should do so, don't rely on a randomly selected one line quote in the VSM by Rolke that supposedly should tell us all we need to know about you.

Here's your Forum.
Putz
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Joined: Apr 18th, 2009, 1:45 pm

Re: Is there really a civic election in Vernon this year?

Post by Putz »

MaryG you sound bitter, maybe you should run? Everyone is a special interest group? Perhaps. Then there are the SPECIAL interest groups. The Biking group is certainly special, but if the rest of the city is happy with the status quo, why form a group? Then you have environmental groups, groups promoting harm reduction (a worthy cause, but is distributing needles harm reduction or facilitating), dog groups, etc.. In my mind these groups can be polarized and loud. I would love to see a method by which all citizens could have input on ideas which would not be costly, but that doesn't seem to be an option. So elections it is, with topics in the news being the soup de jour at political forums. Unfortunate for sure, but the way its done, I guess.
On a side note, I think that a person's position becomes clear when you listen to them. If they are talking fiscal responsibility, they are likely not looking at bike lanes. (I might be wrong)
Check this site out, imagine raising taxes as little as possible.
http://taxpayer.com/british-columbia/bc ... -tax-hikes
The career chemophobes are universally afflicted with a peculiar myopia that allows them to hallucinate molehills of bad consequences of the use of chemicals while totally ignoring the mountains of benefits from their use. (From JunkScience.Com )
JohnD
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Joined: Dec 3rd, 2007, 8:35 pm

Re: Is there really a civic election in Vernon this year?

Post by JohnD »

I'm puzzled as to why the "Change" candidates and their supporters get so upset by actual change, and why they feel so threatened by some bike lanes? There seems to an effort to brand any person on two wheels as an "environmentalist." Patrick Davies mentioned it last night at the VPAC forum, and Scott is saying here on the Castanet forum. Have these candidates ever considered that many people use a bicycle as their main mode of transportation for the majority of the year? And that perhaps it's either for the enjoyment of cycling, or even by necessity? Have these candidates considered the economic, medical or even legal reasons why these cyclists are on the road?. Should the cyclists have to risk their lives to go to work or shopping simply because somebody feels they have no rights to the road? Yes, shock of all shock, cyclists have jobs, shop and contribute to the economic well being of our community.

Perhaps if these candidates stopped feeling threatened by change and got out of their cars to ride a bike, they might understand what it is like out there. They might even find they like riding a bike. They might even end their day with a smile on their face.

Hey, it's a nice thought.
MaryG
Posts: 19
Joined: Feb 13th, 2011, 9:47 pm

Re: Is there really a civic election in Vernon this year?

Post by MaryG »

Hey Putz,

I'm not bitter, I just want someone to name the coalition, group or society that some feel are the Special Interest(s) who are running roughshod through City Hall. You vaguely mentioned biking and dog organizations. Do you have the names of them?...as you can imagine...I own one of each and may like to join.

Really though, let's just stop BS-ing ourselves that the City of Vernon is being overrun by "Special Interest Groups" - no it isn't.
Putz
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Joined: Apr 18th, 2009, 1:45 pm

Re: Is there really a civic election in Vernon this year?

Post by Putz »

Section 183 of the BC Motor Vehicle Act allows for bicycles to be on the road, so essentially bike lanes are not needed. I have biked for a good portion of my years on the road, including Hwy 97 and not found it to be a problem. Odd thing now is that I have driven behind bikes that were on the road when there is a bike lane. I don't know if they feel that section 183 is to be used, and therefor they can use the road (and they are allowed)? At any rate it now means that I have to be aware of the biker on the road, the pedestrians on the sidewalk, and the biker in the bike lane who might pass me on the right as I'm making that right hand turn.
The special interest groups are probably not running roughshod but are likely taking up a fair bit of City time. I guess that it generally takes a group to have city hall take notice, yet dialogue between city hall and the person(s) footing the bill needs to be addressed as well. Besides, if there's only $10 in the safe, and the project which might be nice, but not immediately necessary, is going to take $50, waiting might be good. If infrastructure is in dire need of repair, perhaps that needs to be addressed first. I know, that water main is deep in the ground, and could last another year, why change it when some nice antique looking lights will really spice up my neighbourhood.
The career chemophobes are universally afflicted with a peculiar myopia that allows them to hallucinate molehills of bad consequences of the use of chemicals while totally ignoring the mountains of benefits from their use. (From JunkScience.Com )
ScottSA
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Re: Is there really a civic election in Vernon this year?

Post by ScottSA »

Hey, I bike all the time too...it's not an either/or proposition. Like most people, I bike when I have time to kill - I usually bike from my house on the landing to the gym and back, and it takes about half a day to do the whole trip. Most of the time I don't have the luxury of that much time.

I know a couple of people who bike to work and one who does so all winter long. That works well for those folks who have 9-5 jobs in one location, but it obviously doesn't for anyone else. The question is whether those few people who ride bikes as a primary form of transportation take priority not only over the roads, but the businesses who are convinced they'll go broke if their roads are torn up and modified. I would argue that they don't. I'm not against bike lanes where they make sense, but I certainly am where they don't. On 43rd Avenue they don't make sense at all.
JohnD
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Joined: Dec 3rd, 2007, 8:35 pm

Re: Is there really a civic election in Vernon this year?

Post by JohnD »

First of all, 43rd will not be torn up for months on end. Secondly, if not 43rd, then where?
ScottSA
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Re: Is there really a civic election in Vernon this year?

Post by ScottSA »

JohnD wrote:First of all, 43rd will not be torn up for months on end. Secondly, if not 43rd, then where?
I question your assertion that it won't involve months of construction. In every other case it takes months on end; why would it take less time on 43 Avenue?

Your question also presupposes that a street needs to be torn up at all. If a street needs to be remodeled to include giant sidewalks and a bike path, then I've heard 39 Ave suggested as a viable alternative. It has the same functional attributes as 43, minus the businesses.

Of course before any of that happens, I think it's important to find out what the people who live on 39 Ave have to say about it. The process of making decisions inside City hall, investing substantial resources in the project, and only THEN bringing it up for public discussion is deeply flawed. One of my promises is to personally walk down the street BEFORE City Hall starts flogging it and ask the folks who live on that street what they think about it. That just makes sense.
ScottSA
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Re: Is there really a civic election in Vernon this year?

Post by ScottSA »

MaryG wrote:Scott - I just wanted to know WHO the special interest groups are....your answer implies that anyone who shows up at City Hall has a special interest. So really, we're all special, aren't we? We all have an equal opportunity to run in an election, vote in an election, write to the editor of a paper, write on a Castanet forum, write to City Hall, speak at Council. We're all special interest groups.
Mary:

The ones I've personally been contacted by include, in no particular order:

Senior's Action Committee
Sustainable Environment Network Society
Great Vernon Chamber of Commerce
Vernon Public Art Gallery
Okanagan Association for Reformed Political Action
North Okanagan Naturalists' Club
Downtown Vernon Association

...and several more. I don't have an issue with most of them, and I actively support the goals of some of them, including more parking downtown (DVA), a business-friendly environment (GVCC), and I'm all for clean air and a healthy environment as any sane person is.

But my point is that these organizations hold much more persuasive power than individuals do, and the current process encourages that. Since I'm not likely to be made King of Vernon anytime soon, I can't enact sweeping reform, so the best I can do is personally seek out the opinions of people most affected by changes. There is no interest group called "43rd Ave Merchants Against Bike Lanes on 43rd Ave," so someone has to stand up for them.
Putz
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Joined: Apr 18th, 2009, 1:45 pm

Re: Is there really a civic election in Vernon this year?

Post by Putz »

Hmmmmm, suddenly I don't like you, I'm in one of those groups. :) Just kidding. :)
I agree with you 100%. I think it would be fair to say that any one of these groups may do their homework well, and may make a presentation that takes into account all effected by a proposal. That would be like the bike enthusiasts asking the businesses what they think about their proposal and how it might best be worked out to a mutual benefit, and then present it to City all. Whoa, there's a novel idea, who needs City hall.
The career chemophobes are universally afflicted with a peculiar myopia that allows them to hallucinate molehills of bad consequences of the use of chemicals while totally ignoring the mountains of benefits from their use. (From JunkScience.Com )
ScottSA
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Re: Is there really a civic election in Vernon this year?

Post by ScottSA »

Putz wrote:Hmmmmm, suddenly I don't like you, I'm in one of those groups. :) Just kidding. :)
I agree with you 100%. I think it would be fair to say that any one of these groups may do their homework well, and may make a presentation that takes into account all effected by a proposal. That would be like the bike enthusiasts asking the businesses what they think about their proposal and how it might best be worked out to a mutual benefit, and then present it to City all. Whoa, there's a novel idea, who needs City hall.
I agree that there's far too much City Hall and not enough citizen input.

The current process involves City Hall coming up with an idea - let's say, build a high speed rail line between City Hall and the nearest Tim Hortons.

1 The brainwave is introduced to City Council, who kicks the can down the road by asking for more info.

2 A study is commissioned to seek out information, usually finding what it wants to find. (I've gone through the grinder in Political Studies long enough to know that a "study" is as often as not an inductive search for support for an a priori conclusion).

3 The "study" reports that a high speed rail line between City Hall and the nearest Tim Hortons would be a great boon for all Vernonites, and cost a mere $1.2 billion. Funds well spent, of course, because the current hordes of city employees (and city councillors) will be more productive when coffee runs are faster. And what's a billion here and a billion there, after all?

4 City Hall calls a meeting for "public input," at which they explain to us how a high speed rail line will make Vernon unique, attract tourism, create jobs, promote clean air, and be wondrous indeed for all concerned. Then those people who have nothing better to do than listen to bureaucrats spin a pet project - and who actually attended the meeting - are invited to comment. Their comments are duly noted, they are thanked, and then the bureaucrats, having done their civic duty, return to the important task of building a high speed rail between City Hall and the nearest Tim Hortons.

5 People - most of whom want as little to do with City Hall as possible - start finding out that the rail line will require chunks of their front lawn and mean either a tax hike or a yawning municipal deficit. They complain.

6 Another study is commissioned to address citizen concerns. It finds even more reasons for building a high speed rail line between City Hall and the nearest Tim Hortons, and in fact finds that it's such a splendid idea that the rail line should be extended to Starbucks too. After all, city employees and councillors may want a choice of beverage, and everyone knows diversity is a good thing. The economic benefits of opening these businesses to more customers will more than offset the revised $2.1 Billion pricetag. Sure, the math only works if it's amortized over 20,478 years and ignores maintenance costs, but hey, do we want to be dragged backwards by 20th century thinking or would we rather forge ahead bravely into the new century? And while we're at it, let's add a bike path to the line.

7 A citizen ingrate mentions that by law capital projects have to go to referenda, but City Hall's lawyers assure everyone that this is not a capital project at all - it's merely an infrastructure upgrade. A legal challenge is mounted. Forecast cost now $3.2 Billion, including taxpayer-funded legal bills so City Hall can combat taxpayers in court...


This pretty much describes the current process, albeit a tad hyperbolically. It's not a good process at all. A City Councillor should have taken the time to walk down a couple of streets affected by the project and ask a few people what they think BEFORE all of this takes place. It would save a whack of money, show some respect for the folks who pay for City Hall (the taxpayers), and involve so little work that I'm surprised no councillor has yet thought of it:)
Putz
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Re: Is there really a civic election in Vernon this year?

Post by Putz »

Not a good idea at all. Your method looks like a reduction in staff and committees would be in order. :)
The career chemophobes are universally afflicted with a peculiar myopia that allows them to hallucinate molehills of bad consequences of the use of chemicals while totally ignoring the mountains of benefits from their use. (From JunkScience.Com )
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coffeeFreak
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Re: Is there really a civic election in Vernon this year?

Post by coffeeFreak »

Scott A.

What is your issue with the Senior's Action Group?

Please clarify "pointless regulations". Your statement is worrisome (You must remember the city's Sean Harvey fiasco). Take away the "emotion" issue you are riding on (43rd ave), and tell us what is your vision for more business? Because I can tell you right now, we don't need anymore low paying jobs in Vernon. We need industry, technology...wages with benefits.

Scott A.: Business Friendly Environment. It's common sense that Vernon depends on businesses for jobs, and commercial ventures also pay the lion's share of city taxes. Simply put, if we want to live here and thrive, we're going to need to attract more businesses. If we're going to attract more businesses, we need to remove pointless regulations. And instead of paying for another "study" with pre-determined results, we need to ask business owners themselves how we can help - both existing and prospective businesses.



Do you have a clear picture of the demographics in Vernon?

Have not heard you make any mention of social agencies or social issues in Vernon? Where do you stand on this?

How would you work towards repairing the damage our current Mayor has done with regards to Coldstream, NORD etc?


Another question I have in general:

What is it with people, who have no experience, running for mayor? Seems to me the best way to get a good grasp of things would be as a council member first? Just sayin...
ScottSA
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Re: Is there really a civic election in Vernon this year?

Post by ScottSA »

coffeeFreak wrote:Scott A.

What is your issue with the Senior's Action Group?

Please clarify "pointless regulations". Your statement is worrisome (You must remember the city's Sean Harvey fiasco). Take away the "emotion" issue you are riding on (43rd ave), and tell us what is your vision for more business? Because I can tell you right now, we don't need anymore low paying jobs in Vernon. We need industry, technology...wages with benefits.


I have no issue with the Senior's Action Group. I don't think I ever suggested I did. What I said is that interest groups in general should not drown out the voices of individual citizens. Do you disagree?

Pointless regulations are regulations that have more to do with revenue raising than safety or watch-dogging. For example, why should it cost $20,000 in building permits to build a house (see Mike Pearson)? I heard a tale of woe that would curl your toes from a lady who owned a store and wanted to renovate it - visits by 5 different building inspectors, each with new demands (and all AFTER the building permit had been issued), and erroneous advice from two of them on fire regulations (which wasn't even within their bailiwick). After all was said and done, she had almost lost her house, and her husband had to get out of the family business and go back to work for someone else. That's what I mean by pointless regulation.

As I said in the forum at the Performing Arts Centre the other night, it's not up to City hall to create jobs - City Hall has created far too many of its own jobs already - all at City Hall. It's City Hall's job to make it easy for the private sector to create jobs. That's where getting rid of pointless regulations and red tape come in.

I agree with you on the mayor thing, by the way.
ScottSA
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Re: Is there really a civic election in Vernon this year?

Post by ScottSA »

coffeeFreak wrote:Do you have a clear picture of the demographics in Vernon?

Have not heard you make any mention of social agencies or social issues in Vernon? Where do you stand on this?

How would you work towards repairing the damage our current Mayor has done with regards to Coldstream, NORD etc?


Do you have a clear picture of the demographics in Vernon?

I think so. We're an aging community and that's being largely ignored. My wife Linda is a nurse at VJH and she tells me horror stories about Code Purple (overcrowding) being a daily occurrence, elderly people being dropped off and taking up bed space because their children can no longer take care of them and there are not enough extended care beds in the community, and much more. While much of this is a provincial responsibility, I am one of two current candidates who have signed the Canadian Taxpayer's Federation's Contract with Taxpayers. This pledge includes ten points, including combating senior levels of government when they try to download services onto the municipality. That means that if elected, I will introduce a Taxpayer Protection Bylaw that requires me to suffer a loss of salary if I don't follow the stipulations. (The other signer is Bob Spiers).

Have not heard you make any mention of social agencies or social issues in Vernon? Where do you stand on this?

It's an area I need more information on before I start making lordly pronouncements on it. One of the things I've been pretty clear on is that I don't have all the answers...that's why I'm big on listening and weighing input from folks. What can you tell me about the subject?

How would you work towards repairing the damage our current Mayor has done with regards to Coldstream, NORD etc?

My understanding is that there are several reasons the damage has occurred. One of them is the extra vote Vernon wants to retain. I would not give that vote up either. Other reasons, however, have to do with the fact that Mayor Lippert and many of the present council (Bob Spiers excepted), seem unable to show leadership or compromise.

And there are thorny issues that need a bit of reason thrown in. Whatever one thinks about O’Keefe Ranch, for example, it's a bit unreasonable for Mary-Jo O’Keefe to throw temper tantrums because other members of NORD don't want to help pay for a perpetually underwater project when there's no real benefit to them doing so.

As I've said before, I'll support measures that improve our relationship on a case by case basis, judged by the following criteria: (1) That they are economically feasible; (2) That the bang for the buck is worthwhile; and (3) That the people most affected by the specific changes are in agreement with them. Obviously a spirit of compromise is required - if we treat NORD like the UN Security Council, made up of self-interested entities all scrambling for self-advancement, it's not going to work. It'll take real leadership and maturity.

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