COPE's Tim Louis says Vision gets failing marks so far

Post by Tim Louis in

13 comments

tim-louis-cake
When it comes to judging Vision, Tim takes the cake

In January 2009, I proposed seven benchmarks we could employ to measure Vision Vancouver at the end of their term. As it has now been two years since Vision Vancouver took power, it is time to revisit the seven benchmarks.

1. Social Housing

Indicator: 1200 units of social housing initiated and completed

In their first two years in power, Vision Vancouver has been responsible for the construction of NO new social housing.  Although the current Council recently announced the construction of new market rental housing and have, as well, made arrangements for a small portion of the Olympic Village to be turned over to social housing, Vision Vancouver has failed to enforce Council’s longstanding policy of ensuring that 15% of all major new development be set aside for the construction of social housing. Grade: D

2. Property Taxes

Indicator: no further shifting of property taxes from businesses to homeowners

In Vision’s first budget, in the spring of 2009, Council approved a budget that shifted $5.68 million in tax dollars off of businesses owners and onto beleaguered homeowners.

They continued that tax shift in 2010, which in the end will put a total of $23 million on to residential tax payers after five years.

We do not yet know yet with certainty what Vision will do with their third budget, just a few months away, but it is not too early grade Vision Vancouver on this indicator. Grade: D.

3. Ethical purchasing

Indicator: vigorous inspection of apparel manufacturers within Vancouver to identify and address local sweatshop issues.

Although the City of Vancouver Ethical Purchasing Policy adopted by Council in 2005 remains in effect, in fact Vancouver City Council has failed to expand the policy beyond purchases made by City Hall, the net result being that sweatshops across the City are not covered, as I proposed they should be two years ago. Grade C-

4. Compressed Work Week

Indicator: reinstate the compressed work week at City Hall

In my article two years ago, I provided the following history of the compressed work week: “In the 1970's a new municipal party swept to power! TEAM, The Electors Action Movement, accomplished many things - some good; some not so good. One of the good things was the adoption of a compressed work week for all City Hall employees. Employees continued to work the same number of hours per week but spread over fewer days. Benefits? For citizens, easier access to City Hall which was now open for longer hours. For the environment? Reduced greenhouse gas emissions as employees commuted to work fewer days. For workers’ families? More days off to spend together - all of this at no cost to the tax payer. When the NPA came back to power, they arbitrarily and without negotiation got rid of the compressed week. In the 2002 campaign, COPE promised to bring back the compressed work week. This promise is still outstanding and is more important than ever given global warming.”

Not only has Vision failed to implement the compressed work week, providing a response to quality of life issues for municipal staff, morale at City Hall has hit an all-time low. Grade: D

5. Gambling

Indicator: no further gambling expansion

Vision Vancouver is on the verge of approving a mega destination casino adjacent to BC Place Stadium. Gambling revenue is the most regressive form of government revenue. Low income citizens disproportionately fund gambling operations. This is the opposite of income tax, where higher income citizens pay a larger share  of their taxes. Gambling revenue is not only regressive, but also destroys the lives of those who become addicted. Gambling is legalized pickpocketing. Grade: D

6. Sam’s Ecodensity

Indicator: stop the plans for the mass rezoning of 17 neighbourhoods

Former Mayor Sam Sullivan’s EcoDensity envisioned the mass rezonzing of 17 neighbourhoods, a process never before undertaken by Council. If Vision Vancouver had any intention of doing away with EcoDensity, it was imperative that it put an immediate halt to this mass rezoning. Two years into its mandate, nothing has been done to stop this process from moving forward, and there is every indication that the mass rezoning will be complete before the end of their term.

Vision Vancouver’s approach to EcoDensity is to not only observe the tenets of Sam Sullivan’s policy - their approach is ‘EcoDensity on speed’. Grade: D

7. City Policing

Indicator: freeze the police budget

In the years leading up to Vision Vancouver’s election in 2008, the police budget was the fastest growing budget of all civic departments. If Council was ever going to get control of city finances it was going to have to get control of the police budget.

With an ever-decreasing crime rate in Vancouver (down 7% in 2009 over the previous year, even though the Vision Council gave the police department a 7% budget increase, to $195 million, last year), I am pleased to hear that in 2011, Vision Vancouver will hold the police department budget to 2010 levels, and intend to limit increases for many years thereafter. Grade: B

- post by Tim Louis

13 Comments

Wow . . coming from an old school socialist, marxist wannbe like Tim, these are truly damaging critiques.

I'd give Vision a failing grade too but when I look at these 'measures' it makes me laugh.
More social housing? less police? more tax on business? a COMPRESSED WORK WEEK? What kind of honeymoon is Mr. Louis on? Oh yeah the "money grows on trees tax the living b'jesus out of the working middle class so the entitled (sorry 'marginalized')living on the dole can enjoy the dope smoking, welfare drawing lazy bum lifestyle to which communism has made BC a laughing stock" honeymoon. I'd vote for the first person who said they would REDUCE social housing,CUT the number of people on welfare, CLOSE schools that are empty, CREATE jobs by reducing business taxes, HIRE more police to bust up the DTES -- but that would attract investment and those looking for meaningful work - can't have that in Vancouver as we'd prefer to be known as the pothead, welfare addicted, "what - me work?" capital of Canada.

Do you think this platform would win an election? By the way, one obstacle to my company creating more jobs in Vancouver is the cost of housing (not social housing, the cost for the average person). We are finding that the cost of housing is a negative when we want people to locate in Vancouver. There are many positives of course - relatively good schools, healthcare, some cycling infratructure, local outdoor sports. But housing cost is a big issue. Business taxation is not.

"(we need a compressed work week to impact global warming more than ever!"

Pure comedy. What planet does tim live on.

Do you really think anyone believes the whole global warming religion anymore, Tim?

It's going the way of Global Cooling and mini-Ice age declarations of the seventies.

I agree with points 1 and 5, social housing and the casino. The others, well, see Omoshiroi's comments. I would like to understand the deals behind the casino and why this is in any way a good deal for Vancouver. I would also like to know the background for the deal. It smells like another BC Rail style scandal. Hopefully citycaucas can dig in on this.

Wow... harshly-toned comments so far. I thought this was an interesting piece, not all of which I agree with. Just for some perspective on the compressed work week, this arguably doesn't reduce emissions because employees still travel on their day off, and in fact are more likely to use their car (versus transit) as these trips (visiting friends, shopping, entertainment, other personal business) are less predictable, more spontaneous, and less likely to be destined to locations well-served by transit (such as Downtown or most/many workplaces). Not sure it's a bad policy morale-wise, but I would avoid rushing to conclusions about its ability to reduce vehicle-kilometres travelled.

@rf: you may have turned the page on climate change, but many people, including the bulk of the scientific community haven't. In addition, reducing vehicle-kilometres travelled has many benefits beyond lower CO2 emissions that may interest you nonetheless: less driving means less congestion, fewer collisions, and better air quality and less noise on many of our streets, such as Broadway, Commercial, Granville, etc..., which are also important public spaces. Whether the compressed work week is an effective way to reduce vehicle kilometres or not, however, is uncertain.

call me cynical but I believe the scientific community is crowded there because that's where the money is for now.

I agree your attitude on global warming is cynical. Look at it this way, let's assume for the moment that we don't know what the future holds. There could be serious impacts from climate change (which seems most likely if you do a neutral review of the science) but there is margin for error here and it is quite possible that there will not be signifcant impacts. Then look at two other possibilities, we develop new technologies and lifestyles that reduce our carbon footprint or we do not. Then look at the most likely outcomes in each of the four quadrants. One approach we could take, tie estimates of the externalities to actual recorded termperature changes. This is a lagging feedback loop, so if there is climate change then we will be late in mitigating it, but it does answer the concerns of the sceptics. Another question, should any provisions be made for people in countries like Bangladesh who, through no fault of their own could see much of their country vanish if sea levels rise.

Tim does not give Vision enough credit for new or renovated social housing. Has he forgotten the few hundreds of thousands spent on the Mayor's office?

Tim is one of the greatest minds of this city. It is a great loss for us by not having him on council...only to be replaced by these Coke Lite looser bunch. But in a way it's good for him. No one wants to be associated with this unmitigated disaster called VISION.

all I will say is anyone can be a communist in a capitalist society. Thank god you are not on council anymore Tim.

WIN!!! LOL!!!!!

I wonder if Tim is going to force COPE to grow a pair and actually run a mayoral candidate? Though he's far away from me on the political spectrum, I've always respected the fact he actually replies to citizens e-mails a talent lacking in most city councillors.

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