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My position on the Transportation & Transit Plebiscite currently before Metro Vancouver voters, ( the one seeking to raise the PST another .5% ) ….is clear enough and easy enough to understand.  And it is based on decades of observation and careful clinical analysis.

I can’t stand the character assassination against anyone who dares to espouse their support for the “no” camp….

I can’t tolerate hearing this doomsday scenario that if the “no” side wins, the sky will surely fall.

The authorities have already decided that we will encourage as many people as possible to live here, which serves the real estate industry very well ( realtors, lawyers, builders, developers, planners, and all the support staff and ancillary services that go with it )….

and we certainly didn’t need a plebiscite to approve a new Massey Bridge to replace the tunnel, or the sea to sky highway, or the Highway 1 project, or the Port Mann bridge, or the Canada Line, or the new Pitt River crossing, or the Golden Ears bridge, or the highways and bridges connecting the Delta Superport with Surrey etc, or anything else….

So this plebiscite is strictly about taking yet more money from the middle class and lower income groups, ( a very regressive tax, just ask any high school student ), to maintain a sick status quo that benefits from the status quo, …..and also keeps the BC government at an “apparent” arm’s length from having to be accountable for transportation and transit here. …..

And it is utterly despicable that the “yes” camp is using taxpayer money to fund its campaign…millions and millions of OUR dollars being used to brainwash us, the voters and people whose hard work makes this metropolis happen…..

and I haven’t gone into any depth at all about how reviled Translink is, and how virtually everybody complains about how poorly it is run and how unaccountable it is….most people intuitively know that any money given to Translink is just throwing good money after bad…it’s a sinkhole, folks…. look at any aspect of it. Spending a 100 million on “fare gates” to apprehend those evil non-payers who cost the system 1 or 2 million…..the Compass card system which now may never actually come to be, yet continues to suck us dry for millions and millions more.

You know what? The vast majority of people are evidently voting “no”, and once the votes are counted and it’s done with, it will force the politicians, like Premier Christy Clark and the brain trust that is people like Suzanne Anton, to make changes and create a metropolis that’s more economically sustainable, which is what a customer confided in me today. Beginning with scrapping Translink and the EIGHT bureaucracies involved in our transportation and transit planning and operations.

More Translink nonsense

Had an interesting exchange today with Frances Bula, a prominent Vancouver blogger and news commentator over this Translink kerfuffle. The shadowy ‪#‎Translink‬ board fired the CEO, Mr. Jarvis, immediately replacing him with Doug Allen, former head honcho of the Canada Line sky train.

(So he’s the guy at fault then, for taking our billions, but then shysting us out of a buried subway which would preserve the ‪#‎Cambie‬ corridor?  After all, we went along with their promises, but just a few years later it’s open season on Cambie St area and they might as well have just been upfront from the start).

But firing Jarvis would’ve cost $1 million. So they’re keeping Jarvis on, paying the $400,000.00 salary, without Jarvis having to do a single thing. Until they supposedly find another CEO. Bula thought this is perfectly fine. After all, Translink’s adhering to the law.

But as I said to Bula: The reason people are n to happy with this is: we’re waking up to the staggering income inequality that exists, and is getting worse. We’re realizing that the system looks after its own. Translink did this in a desperate bid to save their transportation referendum plans from tanking. But ain’t working. People are more annoyed than before.

Like I said to Frances Bula, No one has the guts to clean up a sick, decadent, rotten system that serves only itself, not the public interest.
Voting “yes” in this ‪#‎transit‬ ‪#‎referendum‬ only enshrines the corruption, entrenches higher costs of living, keeps the status quo.
We’ll still have EIGHT sets of over-lapping bureaucracies, instead of just one. Instead of a competent, skilled group that is actually accountable to the public.

Right now, Translink & their buddies can do whatever they please, & it’s all on our money.

The hype for the handsome California Chrome is reaching a fever pitch, bordering on the preposterous, to go along with all the out-of-this-world hoopla & pageantry that is the hallmark of the Kentucky Derby.

The 140 th running of the Derby goes Saturday with a field of 20, 3 year olds, in the toughest test ever, of their young careers, going 1 1/4 miles before probably 160,000 fans. I’ve seen the favourite, California Chrome, run a number of times and while the horse is a rockstar, and I do like him a lot, after devastating, convincing wins in races like the Santa Anita Derby, I don’t see him winning this thing.

Yes he’s got affable owners and an 80-something old lifetime trainer with a heart of gold. He’s got a great team of hard-working likeable staff surrounding him.  Legions of fans, including me, who adore him.  Yes, I loved how he stalked the speed then took over in the Santa Anita Derby and won without being pressured.

But, the circumstances do not support his odds being 5/2 , while just about every other horse is rated higher than 10-1. most are 20-1 or higher. Silly! He is not the only triple digit beyer ( a “beyer” is a speed figure used to compare horses ) horse in it. And certainly not the only improving horse, and certainly not the only horse with tactical speed. There are several others there who will be either on or near the early lead.

‘Chrome is a skittish type, not acquainted with Churchill Downs and no one knows how he will handle the Churchill surface, known to be deeper than California’s relative hardpan. “Chrome has not been seriously tested with adversity like say Hoppertunity has.   Since ‘Chrome arrived at Churchill, he’s not impressed clockers and other watchers.   But another way of interpreting his behaviour and “choppy” stride first time around the oval is that he’s acclimating to the place.  Just give him a chance, right?

But if you’re a shrewd bettor, keenly aware of what it takes to break even or turn a tidy profit play the horses, you have to be double cautious.  There are those who think it just doesn’t make sense to go gung-ho on ‘Chrome.  I do see him getting the lead at the top of the stretch, but baby, it’s a very long way from the stretch turn to the finish line.  And I think it’ll be a thrilling stretch run, as it always is in the Derby.

Since 1996 hardly any favourites have won the Kentucky Derby, & I have the distinct impression this trend will continue on Saturday. California Chrome may well be this year’s cream of the crop, or turn out to be, and he may win this Derby, but at short odds it makes sense to at least rethink everything, and be extra careful.

We know there are several other horses who, if they win this race, would not surprise many pundits or observers.  That alone should be cause for pause, folks.  I already have 3 other horses I will be playing, probably betting each to win, place and show, and using all 3 as key horses in exacta and tri wheels.

‘Chrome might win, yes, but at this stage of the handicapping process, and seeing the tremendous value considering the odds on some of his rivals, it won’t be with my money.  I think.  I knew he’d win the Santa Anita Derby, but this just feels far different now.

But , it’s going to be awesome, regardless.

http://www.americasbestracing.net/en/the-latest/news-stories/2014/4/30/california-chrome-draws-post-5-tabbed-favorite/

Woke up this morning staring at the ghastly assemblage of letters and punctuation scattered slipshod over the page.

Someone had to make sense of those blurry-eyed drunkards

Staggering down the backstretch

Little hope of a photo finish there

So after a few quick revisions

And double dare ya decisions

I think we may have a contender

just in time for the kentucky derby

and “give me fresh air”

is now in front

see y’all later!

 

give me fresh air

give me fresh air

calm seas, & waving grass,

what i wouldn’t give

for tall trees

local fruits and vegetables is what i crave

produced  sustainably with a gentle touch

enough with blank stares

the posturing, pretension, and whether I shaved

give me a crisp, scintillating wine

with 2 winking goblets please,

let me see dogs a-romping,

pass the carrots and peas

it’s hard to miss the swish of their tail

in fact I think I’m  loving it,

let’s nurture our vocabulary

beyond “epic”, “huh”,  or  “fail”

Why not have good times

with loved ones and friends,

 

without need or greed or rhyme

we can be ourselves

there’s no need for an end

forget about ipods and clutching the phone

use what’s left of your imagination

the corporate boss really prefers drones

play some patty-cake

with a real live cat

yes they have super-sharp paws.

but to your spirit they can relate

Give me breath, some wide open space,

I need room to scream, to  laugh and to  groan,

give me some shelter, give me home!

Enough with plastic & the technologically warped,

Enough with do-nothing jargon

the curse of materialism is a downward slope

It’s not a mentality for success

just endless distraction

and nights without rest

give me life, laughter, and love,

take me to the country

where I fit like a glove

I have time for 1000 channels

I want reckless and wild

to cook with olive and fennel

the wait’s so long overdue

to go to your happy place

and say hi to your innocent child

that’s  where the happiness is

beyond the reach

of chatter and plastic

don’t merely dream

do something drastic

reach a little further

get to a beach

have a taste of the non-GMO life

it’s natural, and it’s fantastic

don’t say pull tab, say fork and knife

just make sure it’s local

totally sustainable and fresh

be a contributing part

nothing else makes sense

we say we want to be part of

to have a good job

then build some community

with actions not words

you’ll see your true self

and the real world

So no more right-wing bluster & gas

pass the fresh local air

only the renewable

will be around to last.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bags of chips

 

The Kentucky Derby is growing very close now. Just over 2 weeks away?! Incomprehensible! I need more time! Wait a second, I don’t even know for sure who’s going to run. Yet. Some have waited for the opening of the Derby gates almost ever since the roses were draped over Orb’s withers in last year’s Ky Derby. Others are just joining the fray now, the casual fan asking people at work if there’s a Derby this year, or not. It’s a huge spectrum of fans.

But for most racing fans, who follow the lead-up to the big show with keen interest when we can, earnestly trying to keep informed when mainstream media now almost totally ignores racing…. most of us are probably caught in three places at the same time. Still, totally baffled and mystified as to which horses to zero in on….or, we have one or two we have already decided on and just need to go through our own avenues of handicapping before we confirm them as our choices……or, we have some ideas, but are still reserving judgements on anything, because there haven’t been any standouts yet, until we know exactly who’s running, and see the past performances.

Example:……Some will point to Santa Anita Derby victor California Chrome as a stand-out. They’ll shake the Racing Form, highlighter gripped tightly, pointing to win after win, his hapless competitors powerless to touch him. But can they be sure he will love the Churchill surface if he isn’t shipping in until late? Can they be sure he will be okay to stalk from fourth or fifth position, if he doesn’t land a cushy spot lying on or right near the lead? Others will say Danza is the wise-guy horse with that sneaky 102 beer speed figure for his freakish win, and a horse kicking into gear in the stretch. But then again, maybe it had more to do with a bunch of lacklustre over-the-top competition in that race, who all fell apart like false favourites, when the real running began? Who’s to say what’s real and what isn’t? This is part of what makes the Kentucky Derby so spectacular. It’s the coming of age party, when a champion is not only crowned, but when many of us pump our fist and exclaim “I told you! I knew it! Easy money!”. Your horse not only showed up, he purr-formed. He came through with what now has become a trademark, powerhouse move, either seizing the lead at the top of the stretch, or pouring it on late, to snatch a heart-pounding victory from the throes of miserable defeat. ……or it’s the Great Equalizer, where suddenly it becomes painfully clear that horse X was a pretender, not a contender. You know the ones. The horse who didn’t run a lick. The horse whose chances were crushed by traffic trouble in a field of 20 horses. The horse who, for some unknown reason didn’t even make a dent.

It’s the toughest test ever in these horses still-short careers, going the longest distance yet…over a track most haven’t set a hoof on. It’s the moment of glory, to be sure. The biggest 2 minutes in sports is right. The best 2 minutes in sports is around the corner, just a fortnight away. Of course, it’s so much more than the race itself, it’s the pageantry, the tradition, the spectacle, the drinks, the fashion.

The tension is already much more vivid and palpable, than just another night camped out over game 785 of the regular season. Not to mention tens of thousands of fans decked out in their “first Saturday in May” best, singing along to “My Old Kentucky Home”. And it’s getting closer every passing second.

Take a look at this video if you dare.

It was posted by the union PSAC, the Public Service Alliance of Canada which at one time made real noise and made governments tremble.  I couldn’t bear to watch it in its entirety.  With all of the changes negatively impacting the average Canadian worker and the average household of the past 10 years or so, I have a diminishing tolerance level for listening to someone recite why they chose the path of acquiescence and failure.

I sincerely hope that if cupw enters into negotiations with canada post in the future, ever again, it does not carry on with the same approach and gutlessness that led to accepting a host of serious cutbacks which are now part of the current collective agreement. I could not continue watching this  after 7 minutes. Just too painful listening to someone complain about what canada post wanted, and why the speaker figured we should accept mediocrity and just lose sacred, cherished benefits. Corporations, business tycoons, and right-wing governments have always, for hundreds of years, wanted cutbacks. They always want a piece of your flesh. They always have demands & will tell you anything to get them from you. To lessen your resolve in working towards even keeping what you have.  That has never changed.

What has changed is that unions in this country have become too weak. They won’t fight. They won’t call the employer’s bluff. They listen to the threats and doom and gloom, and have failed to stop the armies. It’s not just here at canada post, it’s air canada. It’s a lot of places. Air Canada pilots and others have let themselves down, by letting the boss get away with contracting out and letting aircraft get serviced in foreign countries by cheap, exploited labour.

It’s as if some sort of virus has knocked the stuffing out of a lot of people in Canada.  Someone said to me that they have a very difficult time envisioning people fighting back right now, as those preceding them did just a short time ago.  It wasn’t that long ago when they, along with many others, walked picket lines in more than one strike.  Even strikes involving scab, replacement workers.   Back then, they all had the same feeling of dread, they were on the edge.  They all shared the belief that they were in the fight of their lives.

They endured  a barrage of criticism in the media.  At first, passersby in the street ridiculed them. The employer hired goons to stir up dissent and cause trouble.  One even punched out a union local president.  But in the end it was all worth it.  They may have lost wages, but they defended  their turf and kept prized benefits.   They stood up for what was right, and showed everyone, including our employer, and themselves, that not only could they fight back, they would darned well do so if required.  I’m not sure I’d place a wager that people would do the same today.  And make no mistake, the workers of this country all face the same challenges.

The whole point of being in a union, ostensibly, is strength in numbers. Using the power of the collective to get what we want. Who gives a hoot who says what, and what the boss says or threatens. You create a union to put an end to this nonsense – at least for the life of a contract, so that worker and employer can co-exist together, and serve customers and move product. The good stuff we still have was never handed to us on a silver platter. This union fought, and fought bloody hard to get the things it did.

And in order to survive, the union and you and me, and everybody else, will have to fight back. It’s simple. Fight back, or die. Fighting back means negotiating. You can only negotiate if the other side believes you will do what you say , that your words really do mean something. The litany of losses and deterioration in working conditions and benefits and pay, the sickness that is afflicting the average worker and the average family in this country, year after unrelenting year, is proof positive that giving in just does not work.

Ultimately, the workers of this country, including the workers in the union, will eventually realize that there is no alternative but to act, to go on strike, and endure whatever happens. That there is no other choice. When they finally “get it”, they will realize their power and be victorious.

They will say to themselves that they are sick and tired of what’s happened, of what is happening.  They will be sick and tired of what their jobs and the prospects of their families have come down to. They will make the final decision to take destiny into their hands and do whatever is necessary until they achieve a fair, decent, and just contract that takes them back on the road towards regaining major lost ground.

When that kind of raw anger, pure outrage, and rising willpower is combined with a strong, loud, and solid leadership, great things happen.  As has been shown many times over in the short history of this nation.  When people understand their backs are against the wall, and giving in only puts them on their knees, they will see the choice very clearly.  Accept the cutbacks, do as your employer asks.  Or, say no.  Fight back.

Fight back knowing that if negotiations do not not conclude successfully with a fair, just, and decent contract that you can take home to your family, you will not hesitate to walk.  Not even for a second.  And once you go down that road, you will feel vindicated, for at last you are taking action to follow your heart and soul..  If it takes 2 weeks or 2 months of lost wages while pounding the pavement, that’s what it takes to win.  You hope it never comes down to that, but you know the price of acquiescence, of chickening out.

You will see that it’s either you, or them.  Defeat, or victory.  The choice is yours.  Fight back, regardless of threats and anything they might tell you.  And you will be victorious.  Because you will already be a winner.   That is how things get done in this country.  By winners.

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