Symbolic environmentalism no match to better planned cities

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

39 comments

gregor's garden
Mayor Gregor plants a symbolic vegetable/flower garden on front lawn of City Hall

There is no shortage of civic politicians these days who are preaching the “green” gospel. If you don’t recognize them, they’re the ones advocating for a five-cent tax on plastic shopping bags, or pushing to subsidize solar panels for consumers.

Meanwhile, thousands of acres of land are being developed in Metro Vancouver for the first time. According to a calculation by the Global Civic Policy Society, an urban issues think tank, green space in the Lower Mainland is being converted at nine square feet per second. The society has a “sprawl meter” on their globalcivic.org website to illustrate the rapid pace of change.

If our civic leaders are so concerned about the environment, why are more of them not focused on combating urban sprawl rather than championing programs that only tinker around the edges?

Unfortunately, it all comes down to what our politicians believe will payoff for them at the polls. In other words, big green talk translates into big votes on Election Day.

The sad truth is that a news conference regarding the banning of Tim Horton’s disposable cups garners way more positive press than a pronouncement about better land use planning. This is despite the fact well-planned cities will yield much better results when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint. 

The single most powerful tool any city has in its battle against climate change is land use zoning. The evidence couldn’t be any clearer. If you build communities clustered around where people live, where they work, shop and recreate, you dramatically reduce a city’s use of fossil fuels.

Want to save the planet? Then build better cities. That’s something that the public needs to grasp.

If politicians are really serious about tackling climate change, they’ll need to do more than tell us to change our light bulbs or grow our own tomatoes.

Taxing your shopping bags or subsidizing electric cars might look like a way to save the planet, but don’t buy these symbolic gestures rolled out by politicians.

Real climate leaders just don’t tell us we’ll have the greenest city. Instead they’ll show voters how we can build one.

- Post by Daniel. You can read Fontaine's weekly column in 24 Hours Vancouver which appears every Thursday. 

 

39 Comments

Hear hear. It is very frustrating that politicians focus on the surface of becoming green as that scores more points in the media.

Meanwhile, even now, some less forward thinking cities in the Vancouver region forge ahead with the same land-use policies that got us to the grid-lock and high level carbon spewing situation that we are in today.

Eg: Mission planning western Canada's largest low-density sprawl development neighborhood.
http://www.citycaucus.com/2008/12/dear-mission-council-dont-you-fcking-get-it

Was this ever approved? I couldn't find any recent information on it.

It's not all bad new though, on May 9th Vancouver council approved a new high(er) density plan for Cambie street:

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/initiative+worth+taking+across+city/4784541/story.html

Still hung up on that global warming thingy eh?


You need to get caught up cause it is over. The PR campaign keeps rolling - it will for awhile yet because the Gravy Train was so over loaded with various rent seekers, but AGW has one really, really big problem.

The predictions for catastrophe are not coming true, the temperatures are not rising dramatically, the oceans are not rising rapidly, the arctic is not melting or freezing outside of its normal range.

The climate is supposed to change and it is changing, normally, like it always has.

Change is to climate what wet is to water.

Every year the reality of our climate's situation and the predictions from the various Climate Models diverges further and further. You can believe the models or reality.

Your choice.

Try this on for size. From today's Van Sun editorial.

'There is lip-service about supporting a sustainable economy, but economic development takes a back seat to climate change and mass transit. As important as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing public transit services are, they won't happen in the absence of a competitive economy that provides well-paid jobs to the people who live here.

This my friends, is the REAL 900 pound gorilla in the room. Where is the taxation for additional (or even just maintaining) infrastructure going to come from, as the boomers retire and those middle class tax incomes shrink even further?

Is the HST the only hope of adding $$$ to the coffers? I can tell you that I am not doing my bit for the economy--consumption taxes? I am not buying too many trinkets or frills these days---I have to save for my retirement!

We have a "good" job crisis here, folks. And it ain't going to be addressed just by building more (short-term jobs.

This is the unanticipated (?) consequences of Beasley-fying the city; and not keeping our eye on the job creation ball.

All of you with indexed, defined governement pensions? Good luck with that.


http://tinyurl.com/3t8ym7w

PS

Lack of good jobs + lack of housing affordability in Vancouver = FINANCIAL CRISIS in CoV!

Why are our politicians wasting time on those things that don't have a hope in hell of being done WITHOUT a strong job focus (that will give them the tax base they need to get those projects rolling).

And why are they not starting the housing affordability conversation in this City, so that our young people can afford to stay here and add to the economic viability of the place they were born and educated in?

Are we to be the rich man's Ireland? We will push our most potentially productive, long term, tax paying citizens out so that we can only house the retired or non tax paying super rich?

Insanity.

The Thought of The Morning

'"There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the… More vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to... The Outer Limits.'

From the 'Outer Limits' - 1963. A very good year indeed.

And coincidentally, last night thought from Fabula:

(Glissando Remmy // May 14, 2011 at 12:21 am)

The Thought of The Night

“22 years ago a handful of European dictators closed shop for good, because they initiated ‘friendly’ measures like the ones peddled by some in here. Keep it up, and you’ll get there too. Guaranteed!”

Be very careful what you wish for, people!
Just to put it in perspective for some of you Brainiacs on this topic…

On Sept. 11th, 2001, 22 Saudis (emphasis on Saudis) climbed aboard a few jumbo jets and piloted two of them into the Twin Towers in New York. Or something like that.
Remember that?

Soon after, ALL the Rich Saudis including Osama’s family left the US aboard private jets during one of the biggest ‘NO FLY ZONE’ times in the American history. Still there?

The war on terror has begun. Therefore Afghanistan and soon after, Iraq, were attacked! Get it? Whaaa?

Leap ahead in time… to 2011.
Guantanamo, Patriot Act, public surveillance, air travel restrictions, full body scans…gasoline prices through the roof. All for your convenience and security.

Jump ahead 50 years of magical environmental mentorship.

Global warming (but only from the month of June of every year on) propaganda. Car free pollution hours instituted. Carbon Off Set Andrea’s trip to New York becoming the norm, city centre pulmonary congestion walk in treatment clinics. Need to increase parking fees, remove free parking, toll the bridges, toll the roads, user fee for parks, increase CEO’s salaries and then increase the property taxes accordingly, charge for the use of non rubber soled shoes on the sidewalks, start bike carpooling and yield for tandems, introduce separated pedestrian/ running lanes, remove all the gas stations from downtown and build single occupancy rooms high-rises for stranded motorists whose vehicles ran out of gas and were consequently repossessed, public lashing for the pedestrians caught admiring the latest minivan model or for having 87 Regular impure thoughts, automatic Tasering for speeding, 12 hours dungeon detention for spitting and for not cleaning after your pet…

See? Cause and Effect. You have to be able to accept the future when you come up with this kind of krapola initiatives ,eh? Like playing chess with yourself. You have to train your mind to accept loosing/ winning to yourself.

Sounds too complicated? And/ or weird?
But of course…it was meant to be that way.
NOTE TO READERS:
I offer $50 to the first one who publicly shoots himself/ herself in the foot!
:-)

'We are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to... The Outer Limits' because...

...We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Neat picture. Is mayor moonbeam not enough of a man to use a real mans shovel like the rest of the people or does he have to use a LITTLE one like a child would do?????????. Looks like he should be drinking more moondust or what ever in the morning.

Barry,
my theory is that the little shovel means he doesn't have to do the heavy lifting...

like everything else, if there is dirty work to be done Gregor disappears....

But if there is a soccer or hockey game, a talent show,where he can play his tuba or drums, he's right there...too bad you can run a city based on those kind of skills..

Where have you (the media) been for the past few years?

I've seen essentially zero coverage of the massive, unprecedented highway construction all over the Lower Mainland. The expansion and construction of these new highways has doomed this region to a car-centric society for the next 50+ years. No blogs ranting and raving, no news stories covering the expropriation of families along the route, no coverage of the environmental destruction these have caused--nothing.

How many billions have to be spent on 1950's technology before we wake up? Massive expansion of Highway 1, the SFPR--a brand new bloody highway (as if that weren't stupid enough) that runs through a candidate for a UNESCO world heritage site, the planned NFPR, the Golden Ears bridge and connector through Surrey, new Pitt River bridge, expansions of Hwy 15 and 10 in Surrey and on and on it goes. What the hell is wrong with us?

But lo and behold, 6 posts in and we're already slagging Gregor cause he spent pennies on some stupid bike lane or community garden. He has nothing to do with the crux of this post yet he's the photo. Come on eds--stop the petty bs.

A 'real' man uses the right tool for the job. For cutting through turf such as in the picture, the short-handled spade (as opposed to a long-handled shovel) would be considered the right tool. Typically long-handled shovels are for moving loose material. One reason for this is that the hand grip and shorter length let you use your body weight and arms more efficiently in cutting through the turf, as you can get your mass over top of the shovel blade. Using a long-handled shovel usually just results in a sore instep from having to rely on stomping the blade into the earth.

boo its what we do...

and frankly, I for one don't really share your extreme environmental views, and sanctimonious rants...hate rude cyclists,and bike lanes..

so I guess other than with agreeing with you about the political party system..not much left but have a little humor with Gregor...lets face it, he makes it so easy...

I guess we just like it lighter here....but you can always have an intellectual debate over at FB site..there are many environment extremists over there..and they are just as sanctimonious as you so there is no doubt that it would make you very happy... here we are much less pretentious..

just saying boo, you make it really hard to communicate with your crappy attitude towards us...

and how do you justify the suit...

ummm, what turf?

Judging by all the overcoats it looks a little cold for au naturel.

jeans and a jersey?

Jeans and a jersey? The last time someone tried that was when Gordo got dolled up in plaid for the DTES.

Let's let this one slide, George.

I am writing to thank you for your article on Thursday's edition of 24 Hours on page 4, entitled 'Better green leaders wanted'.

I was raised in Coquitlam through the 70s and 80s, and needless to say, your point on land use planning resonates with me. As the decades have rolled by, I was sickened seeing forest after forest cleared for more suburban car-based sprawl with malls. We knew back then this this wasn't smart. Good thing I wasn't raised in Maple Ridge, Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale, etc. where quality agricultural land has been paved over.

You succinctly and accurately describe a critical lack of commitment, in general let alone specific to the environment, held by politicians in power: choosing simple attention-grabbing issues rather than addressing the challenging ones. I appreciate that a politician's job isn't easy, and we should of course fix problems that are easy and/or have inexpensive solutions (e.g. plastic shopping bags). But these low hanging fruit - far from original ideas already addressed by other jurisdictions years ago - need not endless debate, nor should win political points. This is their job. Once done, quietly move on to the difficult tasks. Now! When will our politicians get it?

Keep up the good work. Thanks.

AT
I didn't stop you from playing with Bugsy :-)

LOL! True dat...

Carry On, then!

off topic here,

but is there anyone that has heard anything about on upcoming mail strike....possibly 2 months in duration?

I just received a phone call telling me it is coming and I don't believe it...

any posties out there..

There's probably a whole new investigative thread that needs to be started.

Canadian Political Sartorial Mashups!

Stanfield in a suit, fumbling a football.

Stockwell in his wet suit, announcing his candidacy

Trudeau in a cape and fedora doing...whatever. Actually, that always worked for him, didn't it?

Surely, some juniour staffer at CC could come up with a collage to tickle our collective funny bones?

Gregor in his kilt..

Sam Sullivan on the zip line... saw it this morning on an episode of Rick Mercer....hysterical...

"and frankly, I for one don't really share your extreme environmental views, and sanctimonious rants...hate rude cyclists,and bike lanes.."

Are you saying I hate rude cyclists? or bike lanes? You think I have extreme environmental views?

I think you're confused George. And again, completely ignoring the point of my post.

Do you think building highways will allow for better planned cities?

I don't mind the suit, but a grey suit with a brown tie?! Surely Joel Solomon could have bought Gregor a wardrobe consultant!

no boo, I hate rude cyclists, and bike lanes.. sorry if I wasn't clear.

Do I think you are a bit environmentally extreme...short answer... yes.

I think highways are necessary for transporting goods, and yes people in cars...I don't share many of your views..

Does that make me confused. No, it means my view is different that yours.

My daughter and son in law travel on highways for a living, traveling city to city for their jobs. Crossing the United States end to end all year long...

I don't see highways as a problem I see them as progress, especially now that we don't have a railway, highways are especially important to transport goods to remote areas...

I don't see global warming the way you do.. am I confused, no..

These are the same idiots whose Ontario counterparts have convinced the government to pay consumers 30-40 cents/kw or more to feed the power grid from their Asian made solar panel equipment when they can buy power from Quebec or Manitoba for 6-7 cents kw. Not to mention the fact that the hydro coming from Quebec is hydro and probably better for the economy than the solar panels when you consider the footprint required to manufacture these things and then deal with their disposal after they croak in 20 years.

Shear insanity!!

George,

I never asked about transporting goods. I agree we need infrastructure including highways to transport goods.

I never said anything about global warming either so I'm not sure why you're assuming I'm talking about it? I really don't know that I've ever talked about climate change all that much--certainly not to the extent that I'd be labeled an 'environmental extremist'.

But regardless, my question was do you think building new highways allows for better planned cities? Does building infrastructure around the automobile make for better cities?

"do you think building new highways allows for better planned cities? Does building infrastructure around the automobile make for better cities?"

yes I think you need highways to get from one city to another... :-) so in theory highways do make better cities..

In my world building infrastructure around the automobile make better cities..I like cars... I get enjoyment from a beautiful car...In my day cruising down the highway on a sunny Sunday afternoon listening to the Moody Blues was sheer heaven..

To a degree I'm pulling your leg boo..

Yes, and I am glad to see you calling attention to the question. I would like to see some informed and committed people start a design thinking project on how we could redesign our zoning laws. I think there is a lot of leverage to be had here and that is a non-partisan issue that many of us could engage in. Could CityCaucus consider leading a project like this?

So we actually agree on something. We do need to find new ways to bring high-paying jobs into Vancouver and we need to move forward with finding new ways to ensure affordable housing. My kids will struggle to afford housing in the area where they grew up. But zoning is a powerful way for a city to do this. We are on the verge of a revolution in local manufacturing that is a huge opportunity for Vancouver. A new generation of just-in-time, paramter driven technologies plus China's need to fill its domestic demand are going to transform how stuff gets made, cradle-to-cradle. We need the zoning and planning to leave it room. This is one area where Mike Klassen has some very good ideas.

I assume you dislike rude drivers too. But at least rude cyclists are unlikely to kill you!

I have no problem with cars and highways. Use a car several times a month and I often use it on a highway. But I would like us to strip subsidies out of the system so that we could get better market signals. And I consider externalities a subsidy (yes, I have read Coase on this). Any space the city provides for parking - that is a subsidy. Any requirements that buildings have parking spaces - another subsidy. Roads widened to accomodate cars - another subsidy. Etc.

Of course another approach is to think of certain things as public goods: transit, public art, education, healthcare ... a debate on what is a public good and what is private and how we strike a balance is always a good thing to have.

And I am glad to be seen as an 'extreme environmentalist." In the next cycle of economic growth, it is extreme environmentalists that are likely to build the most successful companies. The world's changing.

I am definitely all for more discussion on how zoning can change the way we work, live and play in our cities - for the better. The opportunity for dialogue is vast. If you have any ideas you'd like to share to get the discussion kick started,I'm more than willing to publish your post.

Cheers,

Daniel

"In my world building infrastructure around the automobile make better cities..I like cars... I get enjoyment from a beautiful car...In my day cruising down the highway on a sunny Sunday afternoon listening to the Moody Blues was sheer heaven.."

This is the thing George--it's not 'your day' anymore. We know better. We're smarter.

boohoo
you missed the last line.. where I clearly stated "I was pulling your leg!!".. so much for smarter...

@George: re mail strike

It was mentioned on the news in mid-April The date mentioned was May 26.

I've not heard anything since then.

Which reminds me, I have parcels to get off to Sochi.

From the Calgary Herald:


Negotiations have been ongoing for six months. The union, representing 45,000 urban operations such as letter carriers and postal plant workers, is asking for improvements in areas such as wages, benefits and pensions.

Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton said the company has reinvested profits in its employees and the business. He noted a $2-billion upgrade in new technology is a badly needed improvement.

The move is a point of contention for the union. While the union said it understands changes are needed, it's concerned the new equipment would eliminate jobs, intensify the work process and reduce job rotation

Suits and ties are symbols. Funny how both are now fodder for a conversation about the uselessness of symbols.

The reality is that symbolic gestures are just as necessary as concrete actions. People build their lives around the symbols they use to represent their lives and their beliefs.

Empty gestures certainly do breed cynicism. I'm not sure that criticism could be leveled at the current Vancouver council however. One might not agree with their actions, but I think it's reasonable to say there are concrete examples of 'greening' that have been undertaken in recent years. Like most projects of this kind, both real and symbolic, judging their effectiveness judging their effectiveness takes a longer period than a couple of years.

I just wanted to send you a quick note to say I thought your City Caucus column today was one of the best articles I've read on the environment.

You articulated exactly what I've been arguing for years. I can't agree more with your thesis and wanted to stand up and clap after reading. Bravo!

Do we really believe the people that live in Shangri la work in the businesses at street level? Do the residents of that project even work downtown or is that their international home. Where do the employees live that service and work in that building? I bet you a Timmy's it is not downtown for the majority.

Economic Sustainability MUST be part of this conversation or we are wasting our time.

From what I understand, Jimmy Pattison has a penthouse suite in that building....:) (Acutally, he and his wife are both very nice people and you cannot fault someone who is a self made - not born into money.)

Other than that - there were some arrests there not too long ago...drugs or something.

And I think that new show 'Endgame' might be filmed there.

Let's face it Julia, the majority of those units like most others in the city are offshore owned.

Until we place a cap on foreign ownership, as does China - 2 units max, housing costs are going to remain high and will continue to rise.

I see Delta and White Rock are next on the list. They had real estate agents circling properties in a small plane, looking on behalf of potentional Chinese buyers.

"In the next cycle of economic growth, it is extreme environmentalists that are likely to build the most successful companies. The world's changing."

Steven, the green con game is over. Even that standard bearer of Green, George Monbiot has run up the white flag. The CEO of "Green Electric" has regrets about pushing the green agenda and wants to get back to being General Electric. Ontario will be in full retreat from their Green Energy policies when the Conservatives are elected in the fall. The only political units confirmed to join California's cap and trade framework starting in 2012 is California and Quebec - two economic basket cases. And the world has seen how Spain has crippled their economy by fully embracing green alternative energy.

The world is indeed changing as it always does but in this case it is moving away from the bogus economics of the green revolution.

Absolutely!!

Max + Julia et al,

Exactly. This is one of the main reasons at this time that affordability is a farce in Metro Van.

don't misunderstand me, I have no problem with the Pattison's living in Shangri la. But, let's be real about the residential stock in our downtown. Unless they are renting in the West End (and even then...) the majority of people that work in the downtown cannot afford to live there so this live/work fantasy that we are beating our chest over is a joke.

What are we going to do to keep living wage jobs close to where people live?

For starters, we have to stop thinking of business as a cash cow that we can tax without any thought that Surrey is a much cheaper place to operate a business. We have to start thinking about supporting the businesses that already exist before we go off and try attracting new ones.

Ahh, so it's all just a joke. I get it George. You have no interest in actually discussing the issue or answering my questions. Haha, good one.

Sorry boohoo I was just trying to lighten it up a bit last night ... I'm sorry... I know you take these things very seriously, and I do apologize..

@ Julia
A very good point. What is the point of urban planners designing neighbourhoods that people are supposed to be able to work, live and play in, if politicians don't have the gumption to ensure those neighbourhoods aren't sold off to foreign investors? Its a debate we desperately need to have, but not a peep was heard about it during the federal election.

let's look at the Cambie and Marine project and what sort of jobs are planned for that development. Retail jobs. $12-$15 an hour jobs. Any idea how much those residential units will sell for? $400K? How much will they rent for... $1,800 a month. The math sure does not work from my perspective.

So, everyone that works at Marine and Cambie will be taking transit to work and everyone that lives there will be taking transit or driving their car to the job that will pay their mortgage.

I work in the Broadway corridor and earn darn good money. I qualify for $300,000 in mortgage. What can I buy to live in any where near my job with $100,000 down that is not the size of a shoebox? Realtylink gives me 35 listings in Fairview. 625 square feet on average. Because of my responsibilities and mobility challenges, I am still going to need a car (don't worry, it's cheap on gas)

Or, I can get in my car...drive 35 minutes (in rush hour, 20 non peak) and enjoy a garden, a patio, twice the square footage for exactly the same price... or, opt for 625 sf and have half the mortgage.

Sorry, I will let someone else be the hero.

This council is as green as a diesel plume. They are building towers EVERYWHERE in this city, expensive units that will NOT be home to cyclists or skateboarders. They will bring with them Beamers and Mercedes in swarms.When symbolism is used Orwellian style to mask a polluting pro-big labour, pro-developer agenda that would make Gordon Campbell blush, well, you can fool some of the people some of the time...
Viaduct removal for instance: a huge payback to a major developer/campaign contributor masquerading as a neighbourhood friendly initiative that will eliminate some wonderful public space in favour of yet more environmentally unsustainable towers. As if that will benefit Strathcona? Oh please.

Gliss, you owe Gregor fifty bucks.

These highways are being built to facilitate movement of commodities to the benefit of the same foreign interests who will be buying Gregor's non-CAC towers, forcing even upper-middle income earners to the margins of the city and region.

Houston, we have a problem...

uhh what Gerry?

There is more than enough room on the existing roads to move all the goods we need. It's just that we currently use that road space so inefficiently--and we are so stuck on using it so inefficiently that we have to build more infrastructure catering to the single most inefficient mode of transportation ever because we can't face the alternative.

Sad state of affairs.

So anything to do with a car is a subsidy, and pretty well everything else is a public good? Alright... The private sector owns and displays one of the best art collections in the world. Does the city owe the VAG Society land or anything else for what is clearly also a regional/provincial/national asset? A new gallery could and should be privately financed and self sustaining. Does spending billions of tax dollars on public transit not drastically distort market signals and in fact promote the very urban sprawl that is being decried in this article? Taxation without representation is tyranny. Should residential developers be put on a hundred mile "diet" for buyers? How about an education voucher that parents could spend on the public or private school of their choice? Is public health care doomed due to the high costs of new technology? Is a city council that passed the most oppressive anti-protest bylaw in North America (it's already been used on protesters against the closing of the winter shelters) then declared itself as breaking new ground in freedom of speech credible as a forum for any sort of debate about any
important issue? If there was any semblance of leadership at 453 West 12th, this forum wouldn't need to raise this topic.

Talk about subsidy. The City commissioned a consumption of services study in 2007(8?) that indicated residents pay about .52 for every $1 of services they consume. If we truly want to be green and sustainable, should we not pay full freight so we get a better idea of how badly we want things and how much those 'wants' cost.

Right now, class 5 & 6 properties are picking up the tab for the other .48 plus their own share. And guess what - they don't even get to vote.

Gerry,

"(it's already been used on protesters against the closing of the winter shelters) "

It is my understanding that it was not used on the housing protesters that stormed City Hall, and then protested with cots on the lawn.... do you know anything about this?

The Thought of The Day

"Talking about...subsidies? Penny Ballem - $315,000+; Aufochs Sadhu -$210,000+; add to this two another dozen of newly hired Hollyhock first cousins for a $1,000,000+ worth of incompetence and top it with...Gregor Robertson $149,000+; Seven Vision Councillors - $455,000+; Two COPE Councillors $130,000+; One NPA Councillor - $65,000+;...yeah, let's talk about these subsidies too!"


Gerry, I think you did it!


I think you basically condensed a tome of political bullshit talk, and green agenda crap on Art, Transportation, Housing and Affordability, Education and Leadership (more like Let-down-ship) in Vancouver in your comment.

With this statement:

' Does the city owe the VAG Society land or anything else for what is clearly also a regional/provincial/national asset? A new gallery could and should be privately financed and self sustaining'

...and this:

'Does spending billions of tax dollars on public transit not drastically distort market signals and in fact promote the very urban sprawl that is being decried in this article? Taxation without representation is tyranny.

...and this:

'Should residential developers be put on a hundred mile "diet" for buyers?'

...and this:

'How about an education voucher that parents could spend on the public or private school of their choice? Is public health care doomed due to the high costs of new technology?'

...and this:

'Is a city council that passed the most oppressive anti-protest bylaw in North America (it's already been used on protesters against the closing of the winter shelters) then declared itself as breaking new ground in freedom of speech credible as a forum for any sort of debate about any
important issue? If there was any semblance of leadership at 453 West 12th, this forum wouldn't need to raise this topic.'

Now, if we could only find 50,000 people with unaltered bias we'll be just fine as a city. Maybe this is what we'll have to do with them:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVmU3iANbgk

Oh, and of course, the Vision Virus...we need to eradicate that first.

Your comment Gerry, made my day!

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

LMAO!
I missed this one! :-) I knew someone is going to call my bluff at some point.
I am glad it was you.
BTW,for Gregor @ company I am willing to put aside a cool $ 1,000. I would call that 'my civic duty'!

ahhhh, Glissy;

You've burst my Hollyhock bubble, just as I'm paging through the Hollyhick 2011 Canada's Lifelong Learning Centre' guide and deciding which 'programs' to enroll in this summer:

And I am torn ... as several caught my interest...

'Shapeshifting Consciousness' sounds intersting but so does

'Compassionate Trickster Training'

however, I am leaning towards

'Your Social Purpose Enterprise' which is lead by Mr. Joel Solomon himself, and it comes with a conference call and a private session with the speaker.($495/3 nights)

If nothing else, it tells me I can

Sustain Hollyhock for future generations by making my 'tax-deductible donation today' Not sure who you make your cheque out to as is says that in 2008, all onwership was donated to Hollyhock's charitable Nextwave Foundation and the Tides Foundation (USA). Oh, and I guess I get my name on the 'donors' list in the back. (I wonder if we cross reference this list with the Vision donaor list, what we will find...)

I see Nature's Path has an ad in this program, and I am wondering, was the owner and Hollyhock friend ever fined for chopping down all those trees. Doubt it. Perhaps he is paying back his fine in ad dollars.

Max and Glissy you are both genius...

Gerry you were meant to be on that list as well...my favorite line from you today...

Houston we have a problem...

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