Monday, 22 December 2014

Here's your allowance, TransLink.

The BC Liberal Government has approved another tax increase.
But with some sneaky little syntax changes. Transportation Minister Todd Stone said the revised question will describe the new tax as a Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax. It WAS called the Provincial Sales Tax in Metro Vancouver. But they took the word Provincial out so the idea now looks like former NDPer and present Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson seems to have caused all that congestion instead of any BC Liberals. All in aid of the next election so they can continue the old dog about the NDP going to tax you while the government hides its own taxations. They just had to make it political.
They also changed it to a plebiscite instead of a referendum.

Loose definition .... a plebiscite is a vote held on a given question but that is not binding, while a referendum is a vote held on a given question and whose result is legally binding.
Perhaps it was changed by our wondrous BC Liberals so the plebiscite results can be 'reinterpreted'. Or forgotten. Christy Clark and her minions do have a history of ignoring what the public wants.

The BC Mayors, along with the BC Liberals will float this new plebiscite in March, asking you to approve a new addition to your sales tax to pay for future transit operations. The question for voters will not mention TransLink, who has a sad record of funneling away scads of money the taxpayer gives them without any accountability whatsoever. It will be a mail-in ballot that Elections BC must receive before Friday, May 29, 2015.

On Global National news the other evening (January) Dawna Friesenon was saying that gas prices all across Canada were now under one dollar a liter! Aside from the fact that the Toronto News room doesn't even KNOW a British Columbia is out here, She should never have used the term, all across Canada. While gas is as low as 83 cents a liter in Calgary, Ottawa is 95., Windsor, 92., St. Johns, 96., they remain at $1.10 per liter in Vancouver! What's the connection?
Is it because TransLink is already adding 17 cents per liter to your Vancouver area gas prices?

So they'll be trying everything to get this gravy train rolling. Insiders who might have business access to proposed routes will be rubbing their hands together. Anyone with land nearby will be looking for a payout. Construction companies (non-union of course) favored by the powers that be (TPTB) will be happily looking forward to big government jobs again, where you automatically add 40 percent?
They will be already looking to hire foreign labor imports, as they are for the Site C dam right now! We never really know how these foreign workers get paid or how much they get paid because it is all arranged through snake-heads in other countries. Or whether they are allowed access to our Workers' Compensation and Health Care System for free etc. Of course the bought and paid for mainstream media (MSM) doesn't ask prickly questions like that.
Like when that Chinese owned mine in BC imported their own 300 miners from China because WE, the biggest mining province in Canada, 'wouldn't know how to do that kind of mining!'  Without a squeak of protest from BC Liberals.
And be prepared for poll after poll and spin that shows the Yes vote is winning.

So you will be asked to vote Yes for a tax increase. 

7.5 billion. Wow, so easy to disappear a few millions of that largess into eager warm pockets.

The proposals from the actual ballot:  (carefully NOT mentioning TransLink of course)

The Mayors' Council has developed a transportation and transit plan called Regional Transportation Investments - a Vision for Metro Vancouver. The plan will:
  • Add bus service and new B-Line rapid bus routes.
  • Increase service on SkyTrain, Canada Line, SeaBus and West Coast Express

  • Maintain and upgrade the region’s major roads.
  • Build a new Pattullo Bridge.
  • Build rapid transit connecting Surrey Centre with Guildford, Newton and Langley.
  • Build rapid transit along Broadway.
  • Extend the region's cycling and pedestrian walkway networks. 
 A new Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement tax would be applied as a 0.5 % sales tax on the majority of goods and services that are subject to the Provincial Sales Tax and are sold or delivered in the region. More detail can be found at
Revenues would be dedicated to the Mayor's Council transportation and transit plan.
Revenues and expenditures would be subject to annual independent audits and public reporting.

Then you have the actual vote section.
Does this all seem a little more than vague to you?

- Add more bus service to crowded routes and add new routes in growing areas. This was the wording from the newspaper in January, it is NOT the actual wording on the ballot! Do you see a little spin too? Notice the word Vision dropped in there. Was that because Mayor Robertson, a former NDP MLA is now with the Vision party in Vancouver and Christie Clark wants him to be seen as anti-BC Liberal? A stretch? Maybe not.
Shouldn't BC Transit be doing that without another 7 billion? Haven't you seen those huge double accordion buses lumbering around the suburbs on lazy afternoons? Wouldn't you just expect that from good management?

- Increase service on existing vehicle routes? Isn't that again, a given?  But you need to review where you can make changes! No one believes TransLink is capable of that! I have a friend who drives Transit. He often has a 5 AM downtown run for 4 hours, and then a 3 hour break to get out to Surrey for another two hours! Then find his own way home. Is that good scheduling?

- Add 11 new B-Line rapid bus routes with fast and frequent service connecting town centers.  Note that this line is not on the ballot now even though it WAS in the newspaper.
Sure, be more specific about those please. Where to where and when to when? Of course you remember Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts drawing attention to the fact that the new Port Mann bridge and Highway went right past the fastest growing city in BC without so much as a bus stop! Planning or misplanning? Or just more TransLink dumbness? Or because at that time Dianne Watts was seen as a credible challenger to Christie Clark's evil empire?

- Maintain & upgrade the region's major roads. Shouldn't that be in BC Highways, city and municipal budgets right now? Our highways are maintained by 28 different private contractors. Do we really believe our fumblers in government or TransLink can control any of them?

- Build a new earthquake ready Patullo Bridge. Earthquake ready wording is out, but one would expect any new structure would be totally engineered as Earthquake ready,  just like they engineered the cables on the Port Mann bridge to not drop ice onto cars. Surely we need a new Patullo, and it could be built at exactly the same location beside the existing one with minimal cost and acquisitions of new land. And no one wants another toll bridge, based on how the BC Government handles fare collection contracts! You didn't know how they do that, did you?
The Golden Ears bridge is costing taxpayers 40 million dollars a year even if NO ONE EVER CROSSES IT! Why? Because we make a contract with a toll collection company based on traffic. And if no one drives across that bridge, we pay regardless! This is instead of simply hiring toll collection people of our own to sit there and monitor cars and cameras in an automated system! Would that cost about ONE million a year?
$200,000. per year pushers soon?
But the BC Liberals being so anti-union, think that if the toll collectors on the bridge organized and went on strike, no one would be able to sit in that room watching automated monitors!
(In February it was revealed that even the Port Mann is costing taxpayers even more millions because drivers are avoiding the tolls.)

Or the Fare Gate fiasco? TransLink's share of the 100 million cost is 30 million. Which they decided would recoup YOUR money by the year 2020. That's how much a few kids sneaking onto the trains were costing us!  Really? But then they decided that certain stations weren't even going to have these fare gates! After funneling yet more taxpayers' money away.

Even then TransLink paid way higher wages, hiring their own policemen where many get 100 THOUSAND DOLLARS a year to catch free riders! (Not mentioning why two transit cops shot a man to death in a Safeway way off TransLink properties)

Or the computer systems that never worked? etc etc ad infinitum ad nauseum. Add lost dollars!
And what about the Compass Card non deal? You just tap to get through the fare gate. Oh wait, the fare gates don't work. But the tap machines are there, not operational. Millions tossed into something else that just doesn't work. Would you give TransLink even MORE money to fritter away on scattered thwarted ideas.

Of the 610 thousand dollars needed for 'art' projects around Vancouver. TransLink paid a portion of the $100.000 Main Street Poodle!  A seven foot dog on a stick! If you didn't laugh at these idiots you'd just cry.  Bring a shovel and a BIG bag to clean up the b#llsh#t under that pooch.

Light rail in Surrey. Didn't Dianne Watts instigate this one and her replacement, Linda Hepner has committed herself to it? Even the 2.1 billion cost. Stating in a brash politic that she would build it herself if she had to? Go for it, Linda, but keep the money away from TransLink!
BTW, Skytrain can and should go through Surrey and out to Langley.

- Extend the Millenium Line tunneling along Broadway. This is what was in the newspaper before.
Now it only says Build rapid transit along Broadway.  How vague is that? No one is saying exactly what that means or where it goes? If there's no tunneling then can we knock out about 6 billion from the estimate?
Now here is a sticking point that goes way back to George Puil saving the Creme de la Creme in Kerrisdale from being on the wrong side of the existing Arbutus line tracks. (which would have cost about a BILLION less taxpayer dollars to the airport) And then INSTEAD of tunneling, they used cut and cover along Cambie street putting so many small businesses under. And they kept that plan SECRET until work started! No one answered the questions about tunneling that the bought MSM media did NOT ask but that the public was clamoring for!
Don't you want to ask EXACTLY where that new underground line (if there is one) is going to go FROM - TO?  Has this anything to do with a line out to UBC along the Broadway corridor? No. So far it seems to go from Commercial to Arbutus Street. The beer brewery and the bakery are no longer there! Not a priority of the BC Liberals as they have said. So why include an expensive local tunnel when a Fraser Valley Skytrain seems way more important and cheaper?
And now there is no reference to a tunnel at all, maybe they'll just ask the bus drivers to go faster?

Improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Does that need to be included at all? Do we need to spend more money for education that should be well covered already? Why not just tell those pedestrians that the yellow hand means they cannot cross! Even if the light is green for cars! Maybe get some of those 100K a year TransLink cops on the street corners. Funds like that should come out of the vast mysterious pool of government general revenue anyway?  And I am sure we could get Mayor Gregor to pay for more bike lanes out of his own pocket!

And lots of people believe TransLink missed the train completely by not designing into the original stations kiosks or small shops selling hot dogs or magazines or souvenirs. Wouldn't that have been a great source of revenue apart from mugging us taxpayers again and again? Of course this is in retrospect, but where is that forward thinking of the ones in charge?

The intent of this mail-in vote seems to be purposely foggy to me.  Something that could cost the average family $125 dollars more a year! But would allow for all kinds of manipulative freedoms in the mists of BC finance. And I am not sure I trust a mail-in vote. No real control. Too easy to simply lose the NO votes. How will we know EXACTLY how many ballots are returned?

And we know it will all become more political in the interim and eventually have little to do with what the public wants or needs and more to do with what politicians will look good at. The spin speeches for Yes are already being aired.

Happiness is warm money
Meanwhile we all also know that the 0.5 percent increase in PST will become 0.75, then 1.0 and so on. And your costs per year will go from $125. to 150. and beyond.
And the 7.5 billion dollar investment that TPTB fondled you into will probably double to 14.5 before everyone gets their share of the greed.

Shake hands with your neighbor and do the nudge nudge wink wink. At least it will let them know we are onto them.
Vote how you want, but vote NO.

Better to treat TransLink management like wayward children and give them a teeny bit of allowance first and see if they buy too much bubble gum.

Maybe the only thing underground are the facts?

But meanwhile get ready for a forced spin of 'information' and 'facts'. Already they have been telling us that the polls show that 52% of the people of BC want MORE taxes. Really? 
You're going to get hundreds more 'engineered' polls and disinformation along the way until you get your mail-in vote form. And you can bet virtually all of them will show the glee that British Columbians have in looking forward to more taxes to pay. That first poll is already being questioned by the few in the media with independent thoughts. Watch the succeeding polls carefully. 
And those business associations lined up to support the BC Liberals are hoping for appropriate handouts in the future. From that vast murky pool of taxpayers' money.

The intimation here is that if you don't vote this massive amount of money for TransLink to spend, you won't get anything at all. No bridges, no tunnels, no road improvements, no bus service. You will be punished! Is it the BC Liberal government once again, against the people of BC?

The onslaught is about to start, the dilemma for the BC Liberals is how they can keep away from the blame. But then they usually do. They want to be able to say, YOU people voted for this.
Just a reminder, we didn't vote for TransLink to take over everything, as we also didn't vote to sell out BC Ferries which the Liberal minister, Todd Stone again, now says he is helpless to do anything about their huge expenditures! None of his business was the quote. This is the guy looking after the Public interests folks.

And here is a bit more reasoning to the spinners who want to tax you more: the reason for all this is because they expect 1 million MORE people to populate the lower mainland in the next few years and we want them to feel nice and comfortable. Well here's an idea; Why not charge them as they arrive, say a $10.000. head tax, for comfort and easy transportation. But they tried that once, saying new Canadians needed to 'invest' in Canada. So immigrants bought million dollar houses and that was a good enough, investment. Sure.

Looks like more meetings in open parks to me, with no emails or notes or recorded minutes to come back and haunt them. Just sunglasses and closed mouth murmurs over the Starbucks cup.

Watch for a guy in an overcoat walking past another guy in an overcoat sitting at a park bench and the walking guy drops a newspaper into the trash that seems kind of too heavy for a newspaper, and which the guy on the bench retrieves as the first guy disappears. It's the elemental 'dead drop'. Spy stuff. Always check trash cans in parks, in case a few dollars slipped out of that brown envelope.

psst! pretend you don't know me.

Anything is possible when the BC Liberals want to do something like this without blame. Instead of our government punishing us, perhaps we should be punishing them.


addenda: Feb 9. even while the Mayors are lining up to spin for the yes vote, TransLink yet again proves their incompetence. Their Handy-Dart buses are stopped because the computer system is down and they say they cannot schedule without it! It will be fixed 'soon'. Who needs a computer system to schedule pickups for physically challenged people? You just get a big calendar with open squares and a pencil to write in the actions! Simple to people with brains, impossible for TransLink executives.

addenda2: Since this post, the costs have already risen by 200 million dollars for this! The spin is becoming huge from the Yes side who they say has already spent 2 million dollars, but refuses to say if that is taxpayers' money! Jordan Bateman says the No side has 27,000 dollars by donation so far. 
Poll today on News1130 was 9.7% for YES and 90.3% for NO. What will the future bring?

Sorry for making this so long, it wasn't intended as a thesis, but only to inform as more info comes to light. And yes I have inserted my opinion in here too, but the actual voting ballot is taken exactly off Elections BC vote page. Vote NO, fools cannot be allowed to keep running the monkey cage.