Friday, October 20, 2017

Has The Progressive Edge Of The Envelope Been Expanded On Vancouver School Board?



Did last week's Mike Bernier-driven election actually cause a progressive shift on the Vancouver School Board?

I, for one, sure hope so.

Regardless, I'm sure digging the prog-barbs that successful 'One City' candidate Carrie Bercic is tossing over the snark wall via the twittmachine:

Will it really make a difference?

Hard to tell.

After all, there is a weird 3Vision/3Green/2NoFunCouver/1OneCity split on the board, so it won't likely be a balance of power thing (unless a Green rump slits off and one of them does something really dum, kinda/sorta like what happened at the beginning last time).


A real progressive pulling, hard, could help make leaners do the righteous thing(s).



Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Great Casino Industrial Laundry Complex....First Charges Have Been Laid.


Sam Cooper of Postmedia has the details - go read his entire piece.

Here is the lede and a bit more:

Criminal charges have been laid against Silver International Investment, a money-transfer business that RCMP allege was involved in money laundering, had ties to underground banking and used suspected drug cash to fund Chinese VIP gamblers in B.C. casinos.

During the RCMP’s Project E-Pirate probe, Mounties allege they uncovered more than $500 million from a Richmond money-laundering service they said handled up to $1.5 million a day...


...In late August, at a Vancouver conference attended by law enforcement officials, RCMP Insp. Bruce Ward outlined the details of E-Pirate. The investigation started with surveillance of gambling and cash drops at River Rock Casino, documents say, which led to Silver’s cash house, about a 10-minute drive away.

Ward said RCMP surveillance identified 40 different organizations linked to Asian organized groups dealing cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Gangsters were delivering “suitcases laden with cash” to Silver’s cash house.

At Silver, dealers could drop off $100,000 in cash in a suitcase, Ward said, and within minutes a credit for $95,000 would appear in a Chinese bank, after a five per cent fee was taken for the laundering and transfer service...


Describing a typical cash drop, (RCMP Inspector Bruce) Ward said: “They would put $100,000 into a hockey bag, show up at the casino, and give (the VIP gambler) $100,000 …



I do not recommend you read the comments attached to the bottom of Mr. Cooper's piece as many of them are filled to bursting with xenophobic bombast.

Which, on the flipside, leads me back to what I feel is the heart of the matter, a topic that Mr. Cooper grazes in the following passage:

...On Wednesday, Chuck Keeling, an executive with River Rock’s operator Great Canadian Gaming Corp., said he was not aware of charges laid in the (RCMP's) E-Pirate investigation, and he was not able to comment...

Not aware....

Of the charges.

Sure thing.

But as to the actual laundering that has been going on on a massive scale in one of his decidedly onshore super great Canadian casinos?

Well, too bad the good Mr. Keeling couldn't comment on that.

And don't forget about the homegrown dismantling of the overseers of such laundering such that the latter could expand dramatically, and demonstrably beginning in 2009.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017



Riding a jam-packed bus to work this morning (even I don't ride my bike when the rain is coming down at the rate of millimetres per minute) I couldn't help but notice that all the kids hunched over around me were sporting Samsungs...The beginning of the end of Mr. Jobs' dominant party-line echo perhaps?

A guy I went to gradual school with way back in the dark ages (i.e. long before CRISPR was a glimmer in the late, great Michael Smith's brilliant, site-directed eyes) showed up at my office door, unannounced today...In addition to a little science, he wanted to know where the heck B-Lot went.

Norm Farrell and I are working with Merv Adey's family and some other folks on a new journalism project to honour and extend Merv's work...It's something we're pretty excited about...If you'd like to kick in a little to help make it happen Norm's got all the details up at his place.

Bigger E. and I have embarked on a musical recording project that we hope to have ready in both physical and digital downloadable forms in time for Christmas...As such, she wanted to hear my version of this classically cosmic Gram Parsons/ Emmy Lou Harris tune before we give it a serious try ourselves...

And, just in case you were wondering...The concept for the post is swiped, kinda/sorta from one of may favourite sports columnists, the SF Chronicle's Bruce Jenkins, who himself, I think, probably got the idea from Herb Caen....Anyway, here is one of Jenkins' last, best gems that, at the very least, will be appreciated by my old editor from days of yore...
Photo credit...


How Much Dirty Money, Exactly, Is In BC's Golden Era Economy?


Investigative Postmedia reporter extraordinaire Sam Cooper figures it's in the billions.


Here is the link to the CPress' LChangxing story published/archived at the MoCo's lotuslandian division.


Monday, October 16, 2017

WTF? - Vancouver Civic Politics Edition


From J. McElroy's round-up on Saturday's Vancouver Bye-Bye on the MoCo's pixel page:

..."It's a great victory for working people in this city, who have struggled for a long time," said [the NPA's victorious 28 percent solution candidate Hector] Bremner, whose resume includes running for the B.C. Liberals in the 2013 election and working for cabinet minister Rich Coleman (responsible for, among other things, housing policy) afterwards...

I have nothing more to add.

(he typed, mouth agape)

My own Pete Kelly-assisted take on the by-election results is....Here.
Stuff in the square brackets in the quote above is mine for clarification and context and all that.


What The Heck Is An 'Illegal Cash House'?


From Sam Cooper's latest:

...The findings shed more light on processes within B.C. casinos that may have allowed casino money-laundering, as alleged in an RCMP probe. Postmedia News has reported that investigators believe organized criminals loaned suspected drug cash from an illegal cash house in Richmond to VIP high-rollers recruited from Macau...

And on top of all that we are shocked!, shocked! I tell you to learn that whaling (with proxy pilot fish and everything!) has been going on in at least three (named) casinos (plural).


Sunday, October 15, 2017

The (Not So) Big Win For The BC Liberal Farm Team In Vancouver's Bye-Bye.


Why was the NPA's victory in the Vancouver by-election actually a loss?

Blogmeister Pete Kelly explains:

...Geoff Meggs resigned his council seat to take a senior position as John Horgan's chief of staff. So a by-election was held to replace him. 27%* of the 10% eligible voters chose the NPA's candidate. Pretty underwhelming of a mandate. But, a decision nonetheless.


...The other 73%* are voters, candidates, parties that are centre and centre-left...


...If the NPA are representative of the centre-right in BC as well why could their united-right party could only muster 27%? This "win" is so weak, its almost is a loss.


For the next 48 hours or so get ready for the rooster-crowing of the Marky-Markists who have wormed their way into the roledexes of the fine folks that produce the likes of the Puffmaster Flash, et al.

But have no fear because, in the end all this means is that the Farm Team has nothing, except of course, for the NoFunCouver dead-enders that will follow them to heckfire and back unless, of course the ghost of until the ghost of Terrific stops haunting the halls of the Bayshore Inn and appears as an apparition above Lost Lagoon.

*Actually 28/72.

It's also important to realize that, when it comes to by-elections in this town, the vote skews, as Raymond Tomlin pointed out the other day, heavily Creme-Ville.
Of course this result also means that Developer Party No 2. is likely in  big, big trouble down the road because anybody with a progressive bone in their body (myself included) deserted them...This is doubly true for both Developer party's  if we don't get some real campaign finance reform at the civic level before the next General.
Weirdly, it looks like the only party with any bounce out of this thing is the Greens who took the top three School Board slots...But in actuality even that was weirdly split all over the place.
Tip O' The Toque to Rabbi David Mivasair for the image at the top of the post.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Who, Exactly, Enabled The Drug Money Laundry? The Victoria Times Colonist Takes An Important First Step Down The Path Of Non-Forgettery.


The VTC published a very important editorial today in which they noted the following:

...It’s been known for some time that casinos offer an attractive way to cloak the proceeds of crime. Gang members can claim they came by their cash playing poker.

But it appears casino-based laundering is far more extensive than was previously understood. It also appears Christy Clark’s former administration knew the facts for some time and failed to respond effectively.

In 2015, Clark’s government commissioned a report on the relationship between organized crime and casinos. But when it became evident the contents were explosive, the report was quietly buried...

This is an important first step at demonstrating a functioning promedia short-term memory organ.


If they could just engage a little longer-term memory and go all the way back to, say....



Friday, October 13, 2017

All (Very) Quiet On The Quick Wins Front...


Why are things so quiet?

Well, it turns out that the good Mr. Brian Bonney has taken one for the BCL team and pleaded guilty to something or other.

Keith Fraser of Postmedia has the story, such as it is.

Here is Mr. Fraser's lede:

A former Liberal government communications director quietly entered a guilty plea to one count of breach of trust on Thursday in the so-called quick wins scandal from the Christy Clark era.

Brian Bonney, who once worked on Clark’s Liberal leadership campaign, entered the plea to the criminal charge before provincial court Judge David St. Pierre in Vancouver...


What was it that Mr. Bonney did that resulted in the charge that he is now copping to?

According to Mr. Fraser's story it really wasn't much. Something relatively innocuous that had something to with a by-election 'donation' that wasn't quite kosher back in 2012:

...Election Act charges arising from the same RCMP investigation were laid in 2014 against Bonney, co-accused Mark Robertson and a numbered company. Those charges related to allegations stemming from a byelection in 2012. The charges were dealt with in May 2016 after the numbered company entered a guilty plea to one count of making/accepting a political donation.

The company, which did business as Mainland Communications, was fined $5,000 and the remaining charges were stayed. Bonney was the president of the company.


I seem to recall that there was all kinds of stuff that swirled around the capping-of all things 'Quick Winning' at the time that just might have come up again if Mr. Bonney had chosen to go through with a trial instead of copping.

Something about an Email that the good Mr. Bonney wrote about a potentially disgruntled staffer that they were worried might blow the whistle or something...

Hang on a second while I go into the archives and have a look....

Ahhh, yes, here it is....

..."Have [BC Liberal MLA] Harry Bloy meet with her and explain how doing anything would damage the Premier and the party. Have him say how he will try to find her work and get her back involved... If need be, offer x dollars per month to do non public work up to election [developing her database of potential supporters]."...

That 'her' in Mr. Boney's Email turned out to be a staffer who did the right thing and blew the whistle anyway.

Cassidy Olivier nailed that one down in The Province back in the day:

...Sepideh Sarrafpour, a former government liaison contractor and one-time honorary liaison to former multiculturalism minster Harry Bloy, confirmed to the Province that she was the person referenced in a government email the subject of heated debate this week.

“Yeah it is me,” Sarrafpour told The Province Tuesday. “They were talking about me.”...

Given all that, perhaps now is the time to get specific (rather than all innocuous 'n stuff as Mr. Fraser's story was above) about what, precisely the charges against Mr. Bonney and his company were:

Imagine that!

And one more thing (re: that lede from Mr. Fraser quoted above).... The good Mr. Bonney did much, much more than just  'work on (Christy) Clark's (BC) Liberal leadership campaign'....For example, in addition to being the very fine Mr. Bloy's Comms Director on our dime (again we're shocked!, shocked! I tell you, that the Dipper's have since hired their own folks to do similar things) he was also named in the Quick Wins origin document (a.k.a. 'The Spreadsheet').
To give credit where absolutely none is due....Mr. Fraser's is not the only proMedia report that is doing its part in the invocation of  the silence of the forgetting of what was really and truly at the core of this thing....which, of course would be the 'offer her x dollars per month' bit to keep quiet in the original Email...


Thursday, October 12, 2017

What Is To Become Of Young Vancouverites?


I know this guy...

He's a pretty young guy who is the partner of one of my wife's musical theatre friends. He is also a helluva a bicycle mechanic.


I guess you could say he's my bike guy.

And yesterday I dropped by his place after work, which is one of those nice low-rise apartment building's just off Main in the 'teens, and noticed that there was a 'For Sale' sign out front with a 'Land Assembly Possibility' banner slapped across it.

Which meant that, after I was done paying my bike guy for trueing my rear wheel, as is pretty much inevitable in this town, we got to talking about the following:

"...Vancouver is ranked among global cities most at risk of a housing bubble for the second time this year as the cost of a typical single-family home surged to a record $1.6 million, about 20 times the median household income. The seemingly relentless run-up has defied attempts to cool it, including a 15-per-cent tax on foreign buyers imposed by the previous, Liberal-led government last year..."


Anyway, here's the thing...

My wife and I, despite the fact that we were a little late to the Vancouver Real Estate bubble party-party, we are very, very lucky to be a part of a group of folks, who are mostly of a certain age (or older) in Vancouver.

Because after trying like heckfire to help get two co-ops started, one of which was killed by GordCo at the last minute, we bit the bullet and bought our bungalow on the near Eastside back in 2005, which means we paid (the then crazy/astronomical amount of) $440K for it (and the 33' X 120' chunk of dirt).

That chunk of dirt (not the bungalow itself) is now 'worth' about $1.6 million on some paper ledger thingy somewhere.

Which is all fine and good if we could cash in and move away tomorrow (which we can't).

But, much more to the point, what are my bike guy and his partner, who works for the big credit union in town, going to do when they're evicted by the assembyists?

Or my kids?

Or all those teachers that we need to hire?

Or just about anyone of our fellow citizens who actually does real things in this town?



I don't want anybody who came to the party even later than us (who is not a speculator) to go seriously under water but I'm really starting to wonder if the only way we are going to hold on to our city (and, most importantly, the young people in it) is if we do some wilful bubble popping.

Of course, if we do this in any serious way that it actually makes a real difference, there is no way there won't be some short term economic pain also.

But seriously, what is the alternative?

That's not to say that I don't agree that we should also go hog wild on reinvigorating co-op and social housing, it's just that I honestly don't think that will be enough (and that it will be harder and harder to do) if the bubble keeps expanding.