Monday, October 24, 2016

More Rumours On #VSB39 Firings From proMedia


Mikey Mike does it again, in The Province:

"...So what’s this schoolyard fight really all about? It comes down to the unsubstantiated allegations of bullying against unnamed trustees.

Senior school-district managers — including the $188,000-a-year superintendent — went on medical leave amid accusations trustees had bullied district staff. It’s possible some of the bullying allegations are detailed in a government-ordered forensic audit of the district that could be released as early as this week.

Bernier has read the audit report. Maybe that explains why he fired the trustees, knowing the report would vindicate him later...


...The political stakes, meanwhile, are being raised. NDP Leader John Horgan vowed to rehire the fired trustees if he wins the provincial election and becomes premier in May. If evidence emerges that trustees did indeed bully and harass staff, Horgan may regret the promise..."


Where is that Milburn report/audit that Minister Bernier said helped him to rush the firing of the trustees after he read it, in draft form, the weekend before last?

Look Mr. Smyth, if you know something concrete about this matter tell us what it is....Otherwise, just stop the rumour mongering and innuendo...OK?


Saturday, October 22, 2016

This Saturday In Clarkland... Breaking Booms And Spreading Oil Is NOT A World Class Spill Response.

What's the image, shown above, all about?

All is explained in this press release from the Heiltsuk:


Somehow, I don't think carpool karaoke with proMedia enablers is going to halt this tragedy.


Put another way...Where, exactly, is our ledge avoiding, photo-op obsessed Premier anyway?


A New Addition To The Blog Crawl...


Stanley Q. Woodvine is an illustrator, graphic designer and writer who is 'living rough' in Lotusland and who currently supports himself monetarily by 'binning'.

He also has a really, really great blog called 'sqwabb, A view from the street' that I've added to the crawl over on the left-hand side of this page.

In the last week Stanley has written insightful posts about the big DDoS attacks that slowed the internet to a crawl yesterday, the Great BC Shakeout from a homeless person's perspective, the dividing and conquering of animators 'round here, Hillary Clinton's sense of cat video humour (seriously), and a very cogent critique of the conclusions of a paper on aging published in the top-flight science journal 'Nature'.

My favourite of all his recent posts is titled 'A corn syrup morning, strategic binning and a lost and found iPhone'.

It starts like this:

The sunrise Wednesday morning (September 21) was of the warm yellow variety—the kind that makes everything that it touches look dipped in gold, or at least drizzled with high fructose corn syrup.

Emerging into such gilded beauty, short-lived as it is, certainly starts the day off on the right foot but it has to be said that sunshine alone cannot wake me up the way that a nice hot cup of coffee can.

However, instead of getting up at 6:30 a.m. and going straight from bed to a hot coffee and breakfast, as I do most weekdays, I determined to make do with the sunshine as well as any cold coffee that I had left over from the night before.

I was heading straight into the back alleys...

Do yourself a favour and head over to read the entire post. It's really great stuff, including the bit about how hard it was for Stanley to return a lost smart phone to the City of Vancouver.

A tip o' the tocque to reader Glen C. for pointing us towards Stanley's blog...


Friday, October 21, 2016

Is The Veil Lifting?


Ten years is a heckuva long time in blog years.

Which is just another way of saying that I am one of the true dinosaurs in the local bloggodome.

And way back when there were very, very few of us that focused specifically on Lotuslandian politics.

Truth be told,  looking back on it, one of my proudest moments was helping to convince my then just online friend Mary, who I first noticed kicking up a fuss over on the Tyee comment threads, to start up her own blog that concentrated on all things Railgate.

Which is just a way of saying that, back then, it kind of seemed like you really were just screaming out into the void.

Or, as I often described it...Yelling at the radio and TeeVee by typing.


That has all changed now.

Because there is a fine cadre of folks following #bcpoli from all angles.

And, more often than not, they bang the proMedia like a gong.

A case in point was a post this week from Merv Adey in which he based his conclusions about what really went down with the VSB firings on facts rather than rumours and innuendo (which was the stock and trade of a number of proMedia commentators' accounts of the thing).

But it's more than that.

Because I also see the 'alternative' quasi-proMedia in ascendancy as well.

Examples abound, but, again - looking just at the VSB thing for the moment, it was Roundhouse radio that did more than stenography and actually got the goods on what the privacy commissioner told the Education Minister about the Milburn report. And then there was the Observer's publishing of former trustee Patti Bacchus' timeline yesterday.


The latter may, or may not, stand up to concerted challenge, but the point is that it is out there now as part of the public record, which I do not think would have happened 10 long years ago.


Perhaps the veil really is lifting 'round here....

Why was I waxing nostalgic for blog days gone by this week?....Well, birthdays can do that to an old guy....OK?
And, later, Mary became a good friend in the real world also.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...The Thing That Is NOT In Mr. Bernier's Letter To Vancouver Parents.


Below is today's letter from the Clarklandian Education minister to 'Vancouver Parents'.

Please note that, despite what Mr. Bernier had to say to the Lotuslandian proMedia yesterday, there is no mention, in writing, of school closures (or not) in said letter.


I wonder why?


Dear Vancouver Parent,

I wanted to let you know about what is happening in School District 39. I have appointed Dianne Turner as official trustee for the Vancouver school district to ensure the Vancouver school district remains focused on providing students with the best education.

Dianne Turner is one of the most respected educators in our province. She’s been a teacher, a vice-principal, and principal in the Vancouver school district. She’s been an education leader in her time as assistant-superintendent and superintendent at the Delta school district. Born and raised in Vancouver – she’s ready to chart a path forward for our schools and our school system.

I know Ms. Turner will be talking with students, parents and staff over the coming days and weeks, and she will work side-by-side with district staff to establish a sustainable, long-term plan to improve student achievement and services.

I’ve asked Ms. Turner to work with her district team and develop a plan that puts Vancouver back on a firm financial footing. I have also asked her to restore a stable and safe workplace, provide continuity by helping senior leaders to return, and develop a plan to further accelerate seismic upgrades and preserve education services for students.

We will work together to put the delays of the past in the past – and move forward to a better future for students in Vancouver.


Mike Bernier
Minister of Education


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...The Pre-Emptive VSB-Firing Strike.


As many, including ourselves, have noted, based on Vaughn Palmer's reportage in the VSun, the cabinet order to fire the VSB trustees was drafted on Friday.

Now, according to the Tyee's Andrew MacLeod, that order was pre-emptive just in case that super-secret draft of the Milburn report that the Education minister received Saturday was going to be really, really, really bad.

Or some such butt-covering/trench-digging thing:



VSB Trustee Firing...A Timeline, An Hypothesis And A Question.


Friday October 14th...The VSun's Tracy Sherlock reports that the VSB trustees in the majority announce that they are going to vote on a balanced budget proposal on Monday evening October 17th. At that time, the  Milburn audit/report of the VSB ordered by BCL minister Bernier is due the following Friday Oct 21st.

Friday October 14th (also)...The VSun's Vaughn Palmer says the orders to fire the VSB trustees are drawn up that day.

Saturday October 15th....Minister Bernier receives a super secret 'draft version' of the Milburn report.

Monday October 17th....Minister Bernier fires the VSB trustees saying that the Milburn report, which the public, of course, has not seen, contributed to his decision.

Monday evening October 17th....The VSB trustees do not pass a balanced budget.


Now, based on the above timeline, it seems to me that it is reasonable, based on the facts currently at hand, to hypothesize that the VSB trustees were fired, not because they hadn't passed a balanced budget, but rather because they were in the process of doing so.

Passing a balanced budget, I mean.

Which leads to the following question...

Why didn't the BCL brain trust just declare victory and move on?

Of course, Mikey Mike of the Province, taking 39 steps further into the rumour mongering mill than even Ron Obvious of the Globe, says it must be all about the WCB bullying thing, also ordered by the good minister Bernier...Why?...Because the minister must know something (super-secret) that we don't...Or some such thing.
Sub-header got the earworm wiggling?....This!


Monday, October 17, 2016

The Keef Report: Carrying Mr. Bernier's Water?


Earlier today we noted that Clarklandian Education minister Michael Bernier has been dangling what's in an 'unreleased' super-special commissioned-by-the-wizards' audit as a rationale for doing the thing he did earlier today.


Just because the public has not been allowed to see that super-special ultra-indepependent Bernier-commissioned audit doesn't mean that some minion has not whispered into certain media club members' ears in an effort to get the wurlitzer cranking.

To wit:


Wonder if anybody offered the good Mr. Baldrey an all expenses paid helicopter ride over the real estate holdings concerned?

And then, of course, there is Mr. Obvious of Globeland....Wow! These clucking media ducks sure were lined up in a row oh-so-quickly, were they not?


This Day In Clarkland...Mr. Bernier's Star Chamber Machinery.


And what, exactly, is Mr. Bernier's rationale for firing all the VSB trustees?

Well, according to the MoCo it is, at least in part, the following:

...(Minister Bernier) said the results of an audit — which Bernier ordered after the school board failed to submit a balanced budget by the June 30 deadline — raised additional concerns about the Vancouver School Board...


Why haven't we, the people, (or, presumably, the Trustees themselves) seen that audit?



...Bernier said the province cannot release the results of the audit until a privacy commissioner investigation is done...


Update Monday Afternoon: Was the board actually fired because they were going to pass a balanced budget tonight?...Folks in the comments make a good case that this might have been the case...Derrick O'Keefe has more in that vein, here.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Mr. Trump's Fascism...This Is How It Creeps.


From a piece by Matt Viser and Tracy Jan in yesterday's Boston Globe:

...Trump has recently started encouraging his mostly white supporters to sign up online to be “election observers” to stop “Crooked Hillary from rigging this election.” He’s urging them to act as posses of poll watchers in “other” communities to ensure that things are “on the up and up.”

“Watch your polling booths,” he warned.

His supporters are heeding the call.

“Trump said to watch your precincts. I’m going to go, for sure,” said Steve Webb, a 61-year-old carpenter from Fairfield, Ohio.

“I’ll look for . . . well, it’s called racial profiling. Mexicans. Syrians. People who can’t speak American,” he said. “I’m going to go right up behind them. I’ll do everything legally. I want to see if they are accountable. I’m not going to do anything illegal. I’m going to make them a little bit nervous.”...

I mean,  almost as if a certain segment of America's citizenry now finds itself sucked into/stuck within the plot of a truly disturbing episode of an old TV Show that was once narrated by Rod Serling.