Signs of stress abound

Post by Mike Klassen in


The telltale signs of stress are starting to show as the City aims for a zero percent tax increase

On the few occasions this year that Allen Garr has seen fit to criticize Vision Vancouver, or their hand-picked City Manager, we've always credited him for it. After all, we did list him as Vancouver's most knowledgeable City Hall scribe in our annual report card. In his most recent column, now online and to be published on Friday, Garr is putting that knowledge to good use.

Garr takes issue with a so-called "freebie" for drivers receiving their first parking ticket, and what it "costs" the city in terms of uncollected revenue. Why, Garr asks, is a council so devoted to getting people out of their cars giving drivers this kind of break? It is a little ironic, I suppose, but in their defense Vision didn't start that policy.

Frances Bula has also been busy on her blog, sharing a letter from a City staffer's spouse that is truly heartbreaking. It really makes you understand where the real impact on job uncertainty is – in the homesteads of affected workers. Vision and Ms. Ballem must share the blame for causing this stress with their media spin job on layoffs that was intended to make them look like tough fiscal managers. I'll let our readers decide how it really made them look.

Over at the Park Board it was a tough night with the board splitting 4-3 for the first time ever. The Vision majority on the board sided with the largest cutback to the Park Board budget in history, and the closure of iconic facilities like the Bloedel Conservatory and the Children's Petting Zoo.

I heard Mike Smyth mocking the closure of the kid's zoo on CKNW this morning, which is too bad. It may seem like a frivolous attraction to some, but for anyone with small kids, you know how much the little ones appreciate that first hand contact with animals. It's a sad day for Stanley Park that we've had to spike this facility.


Drivers get a "freebie" when receiving their first parking ticket? So what? 90% of the thousands of tickets levied against non-paying transit riders go unpaid. If anything, the poor drivers are getting shafted. Where are their free rides?

It is a shame about the closing down of the kid's zoo, but at least we still have the adult zoo at city hall.

As per City of Vancouver website, for an average single family home valued at $782,000, the maximum 7% tax increase would be $116 and if tax is increased that much, there would be no layoffs.

Let us look that in perspective, how much it means monthly, $9.6, how much it would be per day $0.32! Thirty-two cents! That is less than parking your vehicle on a meter for few minutes that is fraction of a one-zone one-way transit fare and one tenth of a cup of coffee. I wonder what you can buy with 32 cents today. How much tip you pay to your hairdresser, to waiter at a restaurant, to the cab driver, at least ten times of 32 cents if not more, may be if you ever gave any money to a panhandler that would have been more than 32 cents. Do we think about money when we drive our car for couple of kilometers or when we call our friend in Toronto? Would we even notice if our weekly grocery bill increased by $2.4/week? That is $9.6/moth.I buy a CD almost every month, averaging $10, if I can stop that I will not feel the tax increase. I buy a fiction book every month average $20, if I buy that book every two months, I will not feel tax increase. I park my vehicle on meters many times a month and never think about how much money I spend on parking. I did the calculation last night and it is somewhat around $20 a month, average one hour ten days a month on a parking meter of an average of $2/hour, if I cut that into half; I will not feel tax increase.

Believe me, City employees are extremely stressful than it appears from outside, that is both unionized and exempt.

Do you think any employee would care about working diligently during Olympics, about Greenest City Actions and about sustainability when their own survival is in jeopardy?

People would forget the increase of thirty-two cents tax increase. What if even a single city of Vancouver employee attempts suicide or just tries to attempt suicide because of layoffs, and I am sure some would do.

No will ever forget that and no one will ever forgive Council and Robertson for that!

I buy $4 latte from Starbucks, every weekday on my way to work and I never did comparison in that way. I am willing to except all tax increase if that guarantees no layoffs


David, it's hard to argue with your numbers, or your ethics. Hopefully there are more Vancouverites that share your pragmatism and good values.

If Vancouver's future is going to be a positive one, it desperately needs to come together more as a solid, united community instead of a disconnected conglomeration of special interest groups, all greedily grasping for their pieces of the pie.

The future isn't going to be easy, but a united front will go a long way toward making things better in this city. Stress is normal in any relationship; it's how you handle it that sets you apart from the rest.

So let's see, to save some city employees we should sacrifice the people who work in Starbucks, music stores and other jobs?

Maybe from inside city hall you haven't noticed, but there's a pretty bad recession on, and thousands of workers have been laid off already in the lower mainland. Just this month, for eg, Kodak and EA between them laid off 300-400 highly skilled employees. At least some of them live in Vancouver. Why don't we just put their property taxes up as a nice way to welcome them into unemployment?

City workers will be getting 17% pay increases over their 4 year contract, while the people whose taxes pay their wages will likely be getting nothing. Let's sock those suckers with some higher taxes to ensure no city worker feels any pain.

Increase the taxes already. I'd rather that be the Olympic legacy, then closed recreation centres, libraries, and parks.

Check out!

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