Friday, November 30, 2007

How Carole Taylor Can Really Help....

....We, The People Of Vancouver


C. and I first moved to Vancouver in 1985, stayed for a while, left for a while, and then came back for good to raise our kids.

She plays her guitar for a living all over town with other people's very young children.

Me, I stay put on the far western edge of town where I get to play at being a science geek about half of the time.

The rest of the time I teach lots of people's older, no-longer-really-children/almost grown-ups about various bodily structures and functions*.


When we came to town the first time around, way back when, C. worked at a daycare while I went to gradual school**.

So, as you can imagine, we had very little money at the time.

And one of the things we liked to do for fun and cheap (ie. free***) entertainment was to watch Vancouver City Council Meetings on cable access TV.

And I'm not joking - it really was fun to watch.

Because that was the late '80's and you had a mad-cap council where Bruce Eriksen would eye-check his partner in the good fight, Libby Davies every five minutes to make sure he said the right (left) thing.

Of course, you also had Harry Rankin spouting off/pontifcating/making sense/driving you crazy on all manner of things progressive in the most engaging manner imaginable.

And then there was the Mayor of the time, a young Gordon Campbell.

And the lady who had the Mayor's back - Carole Taylor.


Now, if truth be told, it is very difficult to tell what Ms. Taylor's politics really are.

And given that she's come to Mr. Campbell's rescue time and again on all sorts of levels since those heady days of the go-go '80's, it's difficult, on the face of it at least, for a waygone lefty like myself to get all worked up about the possibility of her running for the Mayor's chair in Vancouver now that she has signaled she will step down as Mr. Campbell's current provincial Finance Minister.

But here's the thing.

When she was on City Council, oh-so-many years ago, Ms. Taylor was also independent enough that she was able to give the occasional wink and a nod, and sometimes even a few words of praise, to an initiative coming from the other side that she thought was a good idea.


Can you imagine what it would do to the current ruling NPA in general, and Smilin' Sammy in particular, if Ms. Taylor were to now run for Mayor as an independent?

I mean, I don't know about you but I can hardly contain my glee at the very thought of it.

And here's something else to consider.....

If were to take this route to the mayor's chair Ms. Taylor ability to rise above partisanship would be aided by the fact that, as an independent of means who could raise more than enough Phillips, Hager & North-assisted**** money on her own, she would not be under the thumb of the NPA bagmen (for an example of what the Bonfires of the Bagman's Vanities can do to an NPA mayor who tries to go their own way see: Owen, Phillip).

I mean can you just imagine the possibility of COPE, Vision and NPA folks all rolling up their sleeves, slugging it out, and then putting their best stuff on the table in good faith so that they could, in the end, come up with something like, say, a real honest-to-goddess sustainable density initiative with a true (and truly significant) affordable housing component that is both pedestrian and transit friendly where anyone and everyone can, and will want to, live, work and play.


*And, for the record, once a year I play guitar (badly) for those older no-longer-really children while Bigger E. and littler e. sing and play the piano respectively (but that's another story)
**Gradual school is a place where you get to muck about for a bunch of years becoming an expert and one teensy, tiny thing until you decide, bit-by-bit, little-by-little, that you finally want to stop.
***The other thing we liked to do for free was go to Vancouver Canadians games. Back then they really were essentially free as then-GM Stu Kehoe's philosophy was to get people into Nat Bailey Stadium and then take their money. Now, well, while the cost still pales in comparison to other local pro-sports, a Canadians ticket just may be the most expensive minor league baseball ticket in all of North America. Heckfire, it's actually cheaper to sit in the cheap seats at an Oakland A's big league game than it is to do the same to watch their rookie-league prospects make errors and hit pop-ups in Vancouver.
****And don't forget Ms. Taylor's husband Art Phillips was not an NPA man when he, himself, was the Mayor. Instead, Mr. Phillips actually helped start up the centrist 'TEAM' party that once counted amongst its members that notorious no-good, commie-pinko, centrist do-gooder, leftist bahstahd, Mr. Michael Harcourt.
Now this is interesting.... Jamie Lee Hamilton has an interesting take, which is that Ms. Taylor will actually build a civic 'Team' of her own.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

How Many Golf Courses Does Lotusland Need Anyway?


Apparently, the rationale for cutting out the heart of Pacific Spirit Park is to allow the Musqueam to generate revenue right here right now while saving a private golf course from development for 75 years.

Sure thing.

Except,when you look at the image above, you've got to ask yourself.....

How many private golf courses does the creme de la creme of Point Grey need anyway?


Image courtesy the fine folks at the Pacific Spirit Park Society.
Next Up: How UBC Golf Course could be be 'selectively' developed right here, right now, without destroying either the private fairways or the public forests. After all, it's not as if golf courses have never been developed this way before.


Monday, November 26, 2007

How Much Is The Heart Of A Park Worth?


As we have been bleating for sometime now, it was the very public heart of Pacific Spirit Park that was served-up on a skewer as a sop to 'save' a very private golf course on the University Endowment Lands on the far Western edge of Lotuslandia.

But just how much is the heart of an urban forest worth these days anyway?

Well, Miro Cernetig of the Vancouver Sun takes a stab at figuring it out:

Let's forget the value of the university golf course, for now, which is generally the focus of what appears to be a $1-billion-plus land deal. Instead consider the potential worth of a few of the other, smaller packages of land the province will transfer to the Musqueam, likely by the new year. (Warning: there's a lot of numbers going forward, but it's worth the effort if you want to get a sense of what the province's "new relationship" with aboriginals is going to cost.)

First let's take a look at the 8.5 hectares that will be cut out of Pacific Spirit Park, just west of the UBC golf course, and transferred to the Musqueam as "fee simple" land, just like any other real estate owned by a private citizen or company. Under the agreement, 7.3 hectares of this land will be available for the same sort of multi-family developments in the surrounding neighbourhoods in the university's endowment lands.

This translates into the Musqueam being given 1.139 million square feet of what developers call "developable" land, enough space to build about 2,000 apartments.

Now, like any land developer, the Musqueam First Nation must open their chequebook, or secure financing, before they can capitalize on this real estate.

To prime the land for development, the Musqueam would have to cut down the old trees, grade the land and service it with roads, sewers and other infrastructure. That would likely cost between $15,000 to $30,000 per dwelling, "or door," estimate developers. So let's split the difference and say it would cost the Musqueam $25,000 per unit, or about $50 million to prepare the land for condos or housing.

But then the Musqueam could sell the land to developers for about $200 a square foot, or about $225 million. That would be a profit of about $175 million.

Yes, you read that right - $175 million!

Now, it's important to point out that Mr. Cernetig actually leads with the following, about who will make all the money of this hunk of precious forest-lined myocardium:

If you want to see the people who now stand to make it rich in Vancouver's real estate development, don't look for the usual wheeler-dealers in expensive suits and flashy cars. These days you should check out the men, women and children of the Musqueam First Nation, long a pocket of poverty smack in the heart of one of the city's richest neighbourhoods.

Which is at least half true, I suppose, as far as it goes.

And I do not begrudge the Musqueam a penny of it.

What I find particularly infuriating, however, is that all of that money could have just as easily been generated from a strip along the edge of the (non-public, non-park, fully-private) golf course right here, right now.

And then there is something else to consider in the 'wheeler-dealer/suit/flash' department as well.

Which is the fact that developers are currently getting $600 a square foot (or more) for condos on the UEL and the surrounding (also formerly public) UBC lands as well.

So, from that, here's a little simple math....... $600 - $200 (purchase price) - $200 (development costs) = $200 potential profit for each and everyone of those buildable square feet that Mr. Cernetig describes above.

Thus, it might also be worth considering which provincial political party is a favorite of those very same wheeler-dealers in the suits with the flash who are likely to make just as much green, if not more, than the Musqueam for absolutely no good reason, historical or otherwise, at all.


Image is a stand of maturing second growth cedar deep within the wounded heart of the Park on a recent sunny Saturday afternoon.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Save Paradise Or Put Up A Condo Lot?


The soon to be former public forest in question is a critical connecting bit of Pacific Spirit Park located on Lotusland's western edge.

It is being used to finance the maintenance of a golf course for the rich and to throw even more gasoline on the condo-crazed crematorial bonfire that is raging out of control at the University of British Columbia and the surrounding Endowment Lands.

The Friends Of The Park have been working hard to make sure that local/civic politicians do their duty and fight this decree that came out of nowhere from on high (ie. the office of the Premier of the province).

And they have been told that only public pressure on a massive scale will make any difference.

In other words, this is kind of like negative billing with parks instead of cable TV.

Come to the Rally!


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Is Golf The ONLY Thing That Matters In Lotusland?



Turns out that it wasn't just the UBC Golf Course that was/is in play:

The Musqueam band now has some prime real estate on its hands after Friday's land deal with the provincial government.

But the band is looking at developing land it already owns.

The future of the University Golf Club has been secured until 2083 under the settlement.

But the lease on the nearby Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club expires in 2033.

The course sits on 162 acres of prime waterfront property, which the Musqueam own.

The club has already bought a new course in Richmond, with the intention of moving there once the Shaughnessy lease expires.

For now, the band will explore development options for the settlement lands, along with the Shaughnessy course lands, through a community consultation process.


Could it be that Block "F" (a.k.a. 'The Heart') of Pacific Spirit Park was really designed to be a sop to save another set of fairways?


The LINO's would never try to pull a double-switch like that.

Would they?


You Can Read It In The Sunday Papers


Emptywheel, who has long had her eye on what just may be the most dangerous regime in the Middle East, points out that the infamous "cut-out strategy" is once again being used by the Cheney Administration in an attempt to get out in front of public opinion without actually going public.

And this time the anonymous leakers/sources are being used to float the notion that democratic change in Pakistan could lead to disaster in America's most influential Sunday Papers.


Because, the anonymous reasoning goes, the "strength" of Pervez Musharraf is the only thing keeping rogue elements in Pakistan's military from giving nuclear bombs to terrorists.

To see how this works, all you have to do is count the number of times the NY Times' David Sanger cites government "weakness" as a co-conspirator in the nuclear smuggling activities of the father of the Pakistani bomb, A.Q. Khan.

Number 1:
He (Musharraf) also talked about new physical controls over Pakistan’s many nuclear facilities, including the laboratories that were once the playground of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the national hero who established Pakistan as the hub of the biggest proliferation network in nuclear history. The leaking of much of the technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya, starting in the late 1980s, often coincided with times of political turmoil when Pakistan’s leadership was weak and its attention elsewhere.

Number 2
Dr. Khan did just that. Some of his most profitable moments, including sales of centrifuge technology to Iran that the International Atomic Energy Agency is still investigating, took place at moments of great government weakness in Pakistan.

Number 3:
In retrospect, it is clear that Dr. Khan’s proliferation business thrived when Pakistan’s leadership was at its weakest and most corrupt.

Number 4:
And the Khan network started doing business with Libya in 1997, just as Islamabad was consumed with political jockeying that involved the generals and Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister whom Mr. Musharraf overthrew two years later.

Now that last one doesn't actually use the term "weakness". Instead it implies that a stabilizing "strength" only came with the Mr. Musharraf's coup.

Why, in the Cheneyite scheme of things at least, is that important?

Because, according to Jon Stewart's favorite moustachioed Strangelovian Neandercon, Mr. Musharraf is our only hope:

John R. Bolton, the former United Nations representative who has accused Mr. Bush of going soft on proliferation, said more bluntly that General Musharraf’s survival was critical. “While Pervez Musharraf might not be a Jeffersonian democrat,” Mr. Bolton said, “he is the best bet to secure the nuclear arsenal.”

Which is a conclusion that Mr. Sanger seems to buy into as well when he says:

It was General Musharraf who finally confronted Dr. Khan — after he had consolidated power, and, conveniently for the Pakistani military, after Pakistan itself had become a nuclear power.

However, as Empty Wheel points out, there is something about the relationship between Mr. Musharraf and Mr. Khan that Mr. Sanger fails to mention.

And that is the fact that Mr. M. recently released Mr. K. from "house arrest" after never letting American officials speak to him directly.

Which is interesting in the extreme.

Especially when you compare the treatment of Mr. Khan, someone who is really and truly dangerous, to that of, say, Mahrer Arar.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go listen to a little more Joe Jackson.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

How Wingnut Welfare Works....


Apparently, former reality maker Mr. Karl Rove, who knows a lot of stuff about stuff, is kind of worried about all those rabble rousers who are able to voice their opinions on things like blogs for free:

"People in the past who have been on the nutty fringe of political life, who were more or less voiceless, have now been given an inexpensive and easily accessible soapbox, a blog," Mr. Rove said during a speech about politics and the Web at the Willard InterContinental, a hotel just blocks from his former place of employment.

"I'm a fan of many blogs. I visit them frequently and I learn a lot from them," Mr. Rove said. "But there also blogs written by angry kooks."

After all, if just anybody is able to start up a blog, do good stuff, and begin influencing public opinion by attracting , I dunno, a million and a half readers a month, what will happen to all that Wingnut Whirlitzer Welfare (W3) infrastructure that the Neandercons have invested so much money in?

Infrastructure like, say, a fine little house called Regnery, that published the incomparable tome of lying flack-hackery shown above that did so much for Mr. Rove and his Horse-On-Shrubbery in 2004.


But there is something scarier afoot for those who have paid so much to make their warped version of reality come to life.

Specifically, what will happen when all those "famous" writers who have been the recipients of so much W3 start deluding themselves into thinking that they, like the best of the independents, actually did it on their own and thus deserve a bigger slice of a pie that does not actually exist?

What the heckfire am I talking about?

Well, it turns out that a bunch of Regnery stablemates, including one of the co-authors of the Swiftboat Liars Craptacular, have gone berserk and started biting the Neandercon hand that feeds them:

Five authors have sued the parent company of Regnery Publishing, a Washington imprint of conservative books, charging that the company deprives its writers of royalties by selling their books at a steep discount to book clubs and other organizations owned by the same parent company.

In a suit filed in United States District Court in Washington yesterday, the authors Jerome R. Corsi, Bill Gertz, Lt. Col. Robert (Buzz) Patterson, Joel Mowbray and Richard Miniter state that Eagle Publishing, which owns Regnery, “orchestrates and participates in a fraudulent, deceptively concealed and self-dealing scheme to divert book sales away from retail outlets and to wholly owned subsidiary organizations within the Eagle conglomerate.”

Why is this laughable in the extreme?

Well, as only she can do, the incomparable independent, Ms Hamsher, explains:

Do these authors (ie. the wingnut welfare recipients) really not understand that it takes incredibly deep pockets to do what they’re accusing Regnery of doing, and that they are the beneficiaries of it?

That when Regnery is basically giving away books for free it’s not making any money off them, and is doing so in order to get them on the New York Times’ bestseller lists, from whence so much of their publicity and further book sales are generated? That 30,000 people aren’t going to buy their crappy books at full price, and most authors would kill to have their works seeded out there at such great expense?

Finally, there is, of course, one more thing to consider here.

Which is that, as Mr. Rove and his ilk have proven over and over and over and over again, these people only smear that, and those, which they fear most.


So, how long will it be before Alison is writing about the same sort of stuff going on up here, North of the rapidly disappearing 49th parallel?
Original Rovian Kook source - skdadl at POGGE.


Friday, November 09, 2007

The Heart Of Pacific Spirit Park To Become Condos!


So, as we detailed below, the plan is to rip a second parcel of land out of the heart of Pacific Spirit Park.

And what will become of it?

Well, according to Musqueam Chief Ernie Campbell it will become condos, sometimes known euphemistically as 'multi-family housing'.

The Musqueam will receive title to a 13.8-hectare section of Pacific Spirit Park, south of Marine Drive adjacent to the Musqueam reserve, and to an 8.5-hectare parcel of land in the middle of the endowment lands adjacent to the university's own housing developments.

Musqueam Chief Ernie Campbell said the band plans to develop multi-family housing on that land similar to the mid-rise condos already in the area and manage 1.2 hectares of that parcel as park.

Remember when Premier Gordon Campbell apparently told members of his constituency that park land would not be sacrificed to save the Golf Course, a 'solution' that had been floated by one of his fundraisers who, by all accounts, also loves fairways?


(with a side of outrage, of course)

Update: And no, this is NOT a treaty.


Did Shane Simpson Slip On The Codswallop?



There is an interesting passage in the British Columbia government's press release regarding the Pacific Park Developer-Jacking that took place today as an adjunct to the land claims settlement made with the Musqueam Nation.

And it goes like this:

Recognizing the significance of these lands to the public and area-residents, the agreement ensures that the UBC golf course area be used for
golf course purposes for nearly eight decades until 2083. It would also establish 7.3 hectares of the UBC Golf Course lands as a park accessible to the public and maintain 1.2 hectares of Block F as a public park.

Now, we figure that it was this bit of 'zero-sum hectarage endgame jujitsu' that led Opposition member Shane Simpson to reportedly make the following statement:

The NDP's Shane Simpson is happy the public doesn't lose parkland over all. "It looks like that piece of parkland that's been earmarked for development will be replaced with an equivalent piece of parkland." Simpson, however, is upset the government hasn't said if other public parks are part of treaty negotiations that are underway. The Musqueam also become the new landlords for the River Rock Casino.

Which is fair enough, as far as it goes.

But have a look at the map above.

The red arrow points to the chunk of parkland that will be turned into condos.

It is in the heart of Pacific Spirit Park. Additionally, there are trails that run through that isthmus of forest that is sandwiched between UBC's family housing, U-Hill High School, and the Golf Course that are the ONLY connection between the much larger Northern and Southern segments of the park.

And once that forest is gone - well?

There's something else to consider here also - The Developer-Jacked Land directly abuts Acadia Rd as far as we can the infrastructure is already there, ready to be tapped into as soon as, if not before, the trees come down (which is what happened to a development on the adjacent , and much smaller, Block G which was originally designed by the former government that Mr. Simpson was a part of to be affordable housing, but which morphed into something else entirely under the jujitsu-hand of Mr. Campbell's government (ie. there's precedent for this sort of thing already).


Was The Heart Just Cut Out Of Pacific Spirit Park?


First, here is the entire press release from the British Columbia Government and Mr. Gordon Campbell's office, the MLA for Point Grey:


VANCOUVER – The provincial government has negotiated an agreement with the Musqueam Indian Band that, once finalized, will resolve three court cases, provide a framework for economic development and lay the groundwork for reconciliation, announced Premier Gordon Campbell today.

“This agreement is a concrete example of how the Province is building a new relationship with the Musqueam,” said Campbell. “We are taking significant steps towards reconciling long-standing legal issues, creating certainty and ending generations of confrontation and litigation. This is a new chapter in our relations that aims to provide long-term benefits and improve the lives of the Musqueam people for future generations.”

Once finalized, the proposed Reconciliation, Settlement and Benefits Agreement will provide full and final settlement of outstanding litigation related to the 2003 sale of the University of British Columbia Golf Course lands; the relocation of the River Rock casino to Richmond’s Bridgepoint lands; and remediation for environmental damage to the Celtic Lands in South Vancouver.

“The Musqueam people welcome this landmark settlement agreement, negotiated in good faith and reflecting a new level of co-operation between the Band and the Province,” said Musqueam Indian Band chief Ernie Campbell. “The Supreme Court of Canada has recognised Musqueam’s legal right to be consulted and accommodated regarding the use of lands which fall within their traditional territory. The leadership of the Province should be applauded for respecting this ruling and working with the Band towards this fair and honourable negotiated settlement.”

The agreement includes a cash payment of $20.3 million and transfers the following lands:

    • University Golf Course lands (59 hectares).
    • Bridgepoint Casino lands (seven hectares).
    • Two parcels currently in Pacific Spirit Regional Park:
      • A 13.8 hectare parcel adjacent to the Musqueam reserve, known as the Triangle lands.
      • An 8.5 hectare parcel located beyond the western end of the University Golf Course, known as Block F, with zoning similar to that on the adjacent property.

The existing leases on the UBC Golf Course and Bridgepoint will be honoured and transferred to the Musqueam under this agreement.

Recognizing the significance of these lands to the public and area-residents, the agreement ensures that the UBC golf course area be used for golf course purposes for nearly eight decades until 2083. It would also establish 7.3 hectares of the UBC Golf Course lands as a park accessible to the public and maintain 1.2 hectares of Block F as a public park.

“Achieving mutually beneficial agreements with First Nations living within an urban context is challenging, particularly when those agreements involve land, which is in very limited supply,” said Michael de Jong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.

“The substantial land component included within this agreement supports the long-term resolution of the land questions with the Musqueam.”

The agreement is expected to be finalized by the end of the calendar year.



All seems to pretty much as originally advertised, right?

And they've even managed to Save (most of) The Golf Course until 2083.

So, pretty good 'compromise' deal all around, right?


Go back and focus on the following:

  • Two parcels currently in Pacific Spirit Regional Park:
    • A 13.8 hectare parcel adjacent to the Musqueam reserve, known as the Triangle lands.
    • An 8.5 hectare parcel located beyond the western end of the University Golf Course, known as Block F, with zoning similar to that on the adjacent property.

Have you got that?

It is not just 14 hectares that doesn't affect the 'integrity' of the Park (ie. the triangle lands).

It's also includes block of 9 hectares just west of the Golf Course!!!!

And that block, Block F, is right smack in the heart of the Park.

Didn't hear anything about that during all the 'Save the Course' stuff and the codswalloping and the leaking that began a few days now did you?

Regardless, if you believe in Parks for the Public in Perpetuity*, there is nothing to feel at the moment but outrage.

Pure and simple.


*Which are real P3's for everyone.
And I don't give a hoot-in-heckfire
that there will be a 1.2 hectare set aside for a 'park' from Block F. We've seen that happen before out on the Western edge of Lotusland, and it means the end of a forest. Just check out the chunk of decreptitude that was left behind out by the latest highrise that was recently built next to Thunderbird Stadium on the rapidly disappearing UBC lands. Why are we destroying everything that makes Vancouver beautiful?


The First Cut Is The Deepest


On the matter of making a deal that, by all accounts so far, will hack off a chunk of Pacific Spirit and make it disappear forever, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell reportedly had this to say:

Mr. Campbell has responded to critics concerned about the loss of the course by suggesting all British Columbians, even in urban areas, had to accept sacrifices to deal with natives' concerns.

"Happily, the parties have sat down, have understood and have collectively sought solutions, a balanced approach that takes into account the legal entitlements of the Musqueam but also, through the negotiations, accepts and is reflective of the importance people place in things like golf courses and, especially, parks."


Which version of The Deepest Cut do you figure Mr. Campbell likes best?

Ronstadt or Crow.

Given that the Premier is a man of a certain age, our money's on Linda.

And as for that version that everybody thinks is the original..... You know, the one by that guy that was once in the Faces? Well, that's nothing but a cover too, kind of like, maybe, all that fuss that was made about saving a Golf Course while a Park got quietly sliced and diced. So - who actually wrote the thing? Well, you might be more than a tad surprised to learn that it's the guy who once brought all the Tea for the Tillerman.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Has COPE Given In To The Creme Swingers?


Apparently, even a COPE (read "progressive") Parks Board Commissioner here in Lotusland has fallen under the spell of the Fairway Mafia on the Pacific Spirit Park give away issue .

Vancouver park board commissioner Loretta Woodcock says the deal is a compromise for all involved, but says it is better than what had been proposed by the 'save the course' committee which wanted to give the musqueam 120 acres of pacific spirit park.

While a third of that is still purportedly included in the deal, Woodcock is hopeful future land claims will exclude precious green space in urban areas.


I know Ms. Woodcock has fought the good fight on many issues.

But this time around, I think it is important to ask - Why?

Why would Ms. Woodcock be 'hopeful' of such an outcome in the future given the precedent that is being set here?


Is Any Park In This Province Safe?



Apparently a deal has been struck.

And it looks like the good Mr. Campbell is giving up University Golf Course AND a chunk of the Park.

A deal has been reached that will see the Musqueam First Nation Band given the University Golf Course, millions of dollars and a portion of Pacific Spirit Park, CBC News has learned.

The deal includes the 50-hectare University Golf Course, located on University of British Columbia endowment lands, 14 hectares of land from Pacific Spirit Park, which is adjacent to the current Musqueam location, plus millions in cash, sources said Wednesday night.

In return, the Musqueam have agreed to keep the course open for up to 40 years.

Funny, don't you think, how no one is talking about whether or not the Park will get a grace period from the Developers' chainsaws.

And even more importantly - does not this set a very dangerous precedent?

Sorry to be so cynical (again), but the old olfactory system is sending signals, perhaps truly odiferous, perhaps phantom, in nature. As a result we seem to be catching a whiff of deflector spin in the air that may or may not be emanating from the swingers of the creme.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Stranding....


The latest on Lotusland's 'Golf Course vs. Parkland' debate from the Nov. 2007 (pdf) edition of 'The Hampton Journal':

On October 18th, under
questioning from NDP MLA
Shane Simpson (Vancouver-
Hastings), Mike de Jong,
minister of aboriginal affairs
and reconciliation, said in the
legislature “we are rejecting
outright” the proposal by
Vancouver park commissioner
Marty Zlotnik that 125 acres
of the park be swapped for
University Golf Course in a
land transaction underway
between the government and
Musqueam Indian band.

In contrast, on October
24th, again under questioning
in the legislature by Mr.
Simpson, Mr. de Jong said
specific discussions focused
on a 30-acre parcel of land
in Pacific Spirit Regional
Park have been “taking place
for some time involving the

The minister called this
parcel of land, which runs
beside Southwest Marine
Drive from the ‘Lookout’
monument to the reserve
“stranded” from the main
part of the park. “It is a parcel
of land that the Musqueam
have had an interest in for
some time, and as I indicated,
it has been the subject of the
discussions and negotiations
that are ongoing.”

Now it's important to realize that in the beginning it was just the Golf Course.

Then a group of creme de la creme swingers made a fuss and asked that the park be thrown to the Developers' wolves instead of their beloved fairways.

And now it looks like it could be both.

Which just might make some of the more cynically inclined among us wonder if this really is an unintended consequence.


For background on this bit of bizarrity that could be worth billions, please see here and here .


Monday, November 05, 2007

Is Pacific Spirit Park Really Out Of The Woods?


So, in case you missed it, there's this tussle going on out here on the far Western edge of Lotusland........

It began back in the summer, and it involves whether the University Golf Course (read 'Fairways for a Fee') or a chunk of Pacific Spirit Park (read 'Forests for Free') should be given to the Musqueam Band.

Originally, it was to be the golf course.

Then the golfers got upset about the tyranny of a public that loves its parks and started making noises about how fairways are actually more important for future generations than forests.

We are not making this stuff up; here is out one of them said at the time:

"The government doesn't want to offend the greater community. It's easier for them to offend the rich golfers who play out at the university golf course."

Of course, in the beginning it all seemed somewhat laughable - and we said so:

A lot of folks with lots of money and lots and lots of connections are really upset that their beloved LINO's are contemplating giving the UBC Golf Course to the Musqueam Native Band.

And one of the most upset is a very fine fellow named Marty Zlotnik.

But Mr. Zlotnik has a solution.

A very, to say the least, bizarre solution:

....Mr. Zlotnik, who has been a fundraiser for the Premier in the past and organized annual leaders' dinners for Mr. Campbell, said he and his fellow activists will take their case to the Musqueam in a bid to save the 78-year-old club.

They are fine-tuning a pitch to encourage the 1,200-member Musqueam community to seek a 48-hectare piece of the Spirit Park in the University Endowment Lands instead of the 48-hectare course in Mr. Campbell's prosperous Vancouver-Point Grey riding.

And you want to hear something even more bizarre?

Mr. Zlotnik is also a Vancouver City Parks Board Member.

Which, based on the evidence now available, appears to be akin to putting David Hasselhoff in charge of Nuclear Physics at MIT.

Or even a hamburger stand.

Having said all that, we were extremely relieved when the Provincial government also said that this business of trading a golf course for a park was silly in the extreme.

Except it turned out that there was a caveat. Specifically, the leader of the provincial government, Mr. Gordon Campbell, also said that he would wait a few months before making his final decision.

Since then the golf course itself actually raised a whole bunch of money for Mr. Campbell and his governing party's coffers.

And the golfers, who also happen to be some of the same folks that helped the course raise all that money, have been off doing their thing, which includes, according to them, a newspaper advertising campaign of their own.

All of which still seems crazy, right?


Well, the only trouble is, as Rafe Mair once said:

"Six months is an eternity in politics."

Which means that we are now about half way from here to eternity.

And a couple of little birds have been whispering in our ears (or, at least in our Email boxes)......

And they are telling us that there just may be a deal in the works to disappear a chunk of the park.

If true, this is not a good development for those of us who love truly public spaces that have been set been aside for all of us.

Unless of course you are one of those who can afford to regularly pay for greens fees (and all the fertilizer that goes with them).


For more info from the folks who don't have all the power and the bags full either clubs or money - check out the 'Friends of Pacific Spirit Park' website.


Friday, November 02, 2007

And The Falcon Said To His Snowflake Men....


....."Keep Up The Fear!"

Back when he had the power and what he apparently thought was all the glory, Donald Rumsfeld liked to write short and pointed memos to his staff.

These missives were known as 'snowflakes'.

And now someone has leaked some of the blow to Robin Wright of the Washington Post.

As you might expect there is an, 'ahem', liberal dose of the fear mongering.

"Under siege in April 2006, when a series of retired generals denounced him and called for his resignation in newspaper op-ed pieces, Rumsfeld produced a memo after a conference call with military analysts. "Talk about Somalia, the Philippines, etc. Make the American people realize they are surrounded in the world by violent extremists," he wrote."

But there is also something else.

Something that has a slight whiff of the Fatherland about it.

"People will "rally" to sacrifice, he noted after the meeting. "They are looking for leadership. Sacrifice = Victory."

Scary and banal at the same time, don't you think - especially when you recall what was happening in places like Fallujah.

And then, of course, there is that other thing.

That thing that starts with an 'E' that is hanging just off the tip of your tongue right now.

And just in case you've forgotten, it's the back-end of that PNACkian Paddywacker's couplet that once made Mr. David Frum the darling of the neandercons everywhere.