Saturday, September 11, 2021

B.C. Ridings In Play?....Post Election Day Update (before Mail-In's)



Post-Election Day Update for each riding below...
Update Sat Sept 18th at bottom of post


Mostly, I don't give much of a hoot-in-heckfire about national or even regional polls because, in my opinion at least, it's riding-specific polls that matter most. Unfortunately, we, the peons, have seen little of those.

Regardless, with eyes half-closed due to the lack of hard contemporaneous data, here is a list of what I think are ridings in British Columbia that are in play based mostly on past performance:
Nanaimo: This one looks to be a triple toss-up between Con, Dipper and current Greeniac MP Paul Manley. The Lib does not appear to be a factor...Post EDay Update: Dipper Barron up by ~1,000 votes over Con; former Green MP Manly down by 2,700...Need to wait for Mail-In count to be sure - 8,800 ballots ordered - who knows how many got to folks on time to actually get them in?...PPC difference maker? (1,800 votes, plus).
Kootenay-Columbia: Current Con MP Rob Morrison is the clear favourite but the Dipper, and former MP, Wayne Stetski is a long shot with a shot...Post EDay Update: Con Morrison wins by 4,700 votes over Stetski...PPC takes an additional 4,300 votes in heartlandia (7.1%).

South OK-West Kootenay: Most predictor thingies have this strong for current Dipper MP Cannings. However, there was less than a one point split between Cannings and the Con last time, so this is one where the overall O'Toole National/Regional strength could be a factor in the Con's favour out in the kinda/sorta heartland. It could come down to Dipper GoTV...Post EDay Update:Dipper Cannings wins by 2,500...That rightsided heartlandia strength went PPC with 4,600, plus (7.7%) votes that just might have been the difference.
West Van-SunSeaSky: Two way race between Lib MP Weiler and the Con. Neither the Dipper nor the  Greeniac can win, but their numbers are significant such that together they could get enough votes to split and allow the Con to win....Post EDay Update: Lib MP Weiler wins by 2,200 votes over Con...Dipper Avi Lewis does well with 26%.

Burnaby North-Seymour: Supposed to be a two-way race between current Lib MP Terry Beech and Dipper Jim Hanson. Was a three point victory for Beech over Swende R. last time, but now the urban regional Singh bump could help. Interestingly, given the pipeline terminus in the riding, the Greeniac doesn't look to be a factor...Post EDay Update: Lib MP Beech wins going away by 4,700 over Dipper Hanson.

Coquitlam-PoCo: This was essentially a Lib/Con dead heat last time with current Lib MP McKinnon squeaking in with less than one percent victory. Looks like the Dipper is slightly competitive or, at the very least,  a vote gatherer, here though...Post EDay Update: Liberal MP McKinnon wins going away by 4,000 votes over Con.


PoMo-Coquitlam: Dipper has a real shot in what looks to be a three way race between Lib and current Con MP Nelly Shin...Post EDay Update: Looks like Dipper Zarrillo will win up by 2,000 votes over Con Shin...PPC might have contributed to spread (1,700 votes) but not the decider, at least pre-Mail-In count. 

Pitt Meadows - Larry Walker's Ridge: You won't find this one on many in play-type lists but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Dipper has a shot because it's an historical Lib/Dip split riding that let's the Con, currently MP Marc Dalton, win up the middle....But I reckon this could be one where the regional leader/party polls favouring the Dippers could maybe, just maybe, turn things a wee bit orange...Post EDay Update: Con MP Dalton will win...But Dipper Klapwyk was strong second only down by 2,400 votes with 31.8%...Lib distant third this time out. 

Cloverdale - Langley (is a?) City: Could be the opposite of Pitt Meadows-MR in that here a rising Dipper could take enough votes from the previously close Libs to help the current Con MP Tamara Jansen win again in what should be a relatively close Con/Lib race...Post EDay Update: Still close, Lib up by 1,100 votes on Con MP Jansen...Here the PPC might be difference with 2,500 votes...The Dipper faded into low show position down by 10,000 - had this one way wrong.
Delta: It's a toss-up between the Con and current Lib MP Carla Qualtrough. Can't help wonder if the PeepsPartingOfCrazySea candidate just might shave off just enough to keep this one in the red...Post EDay Update: Lib MP Qualtrough wins going away over Con by 4,000...PPC not a factor.


Van-Gran...Post EDay Update: Still too close to call..Lib Noormohamed up by 230 votes over Dipper Appadurai...Mail-ins could definitely matter here...Con a fading third 3,200 votes behind.


South Surrey-WR...Post EDay Update: Con MP Findlay will hold on to win, up 2,300 over Lib and former CampbellInc/Clarklandian Hogg.


Richmond Centre...Post EDay Update: Lib Miao up by 700 votes on longtime Con MP Alice Wong...Definitely need to wait on Mail-Ins here.


Voting time is upon us...If you haven't already completed your mail-in ballot advance polling is now open!...General admission Monday!...Now just waiting for the Mail-In's to be counted.

And we heard from Beer...As you might expect, he is off in the the Albertalands trying to elect Dippers!


Tuesday, September 07, 2021

The Songification Of Everything...


We spent the long weekend at our girls' Grandpops house.

To be super-safe we put a hotel suite in his driveway - turns out that you can rent folks' camping trailers as roaming Air B'nB' - type deals.

Anyway, it was a fun weekend, including a Sunday afternoon songification session with Bigger E.

Just in case it's not obvious from the above, you can find E's instantaneous and, more often than not, grammatically correct stuff...Here.


Wednesday, September 01, 2021

The Little Mountain Deal, Re-Examined: It's More Than Just The Interest Free Loan.


By now you have likely heard about the massive, two hundred million dollar, plus, interest free loan that the 'purchaser' (i.e. Holborn Properties) received from the 'vendor' (i.e. you and me) when they bought the Little Mountain tract in central Lotusland and started demolishing existing public housing soon thereafter.

This is because, finally, thanks to the digging of David Chudnovsky and local advocates as well as Jeremy Allingham and the CBC, we finally got to see the 'contract', which was signed in 2008 and has been amended since.

Yesterday, in addition to his piece that was posted on the CBC British Columbia website (where the entire 'contract' can be downloaded), Mr. Allingham also posted the following on his Twittmachine feed:

Mr. Allingham's tweet led me to go digging through the original 'contract' (careful: pdf file) where I found the following in Section 2.3 of the April 25, 2008, 'Amended and Restated Purchase and Sale Agreement':


Does this mean that the 'purchaser' (i.e. Holborn Properties) doesn't even have to start paying back the principal on the $210,957,340 interest free loan that, again, was laid out by the 'vendor (i.e. you and me) on that 'Remaining Balance' mentioned above as long as they leave the bulldozed and weeded over land fallow (except for a single tranche of already built, but excluded, non-market public housing) while the value of the land just keeps on appreciating?

Well, according to Holborn Properties spokesperson Megan Schrader, it would appear that just might be the case.

Dan Fumano had that part of the story in his piece published in yesterday's Vancouver Sun:
...(Ms.) Schrader, the Holborn spokeswoman, said that remaining balance of $210.9 million will be paid through the proceeds of market housing sales, and the arrangement was structured this way “to prioritize the construction of the social housing units.”

“In payment structures for large land sales, it is very common for the Purchaser to provide a deposit and pay the remaining balance as the land is developed,” Schrader said. “The proceeds of the Little Mountain sale provided immediate funding to the province, allowing them to reinvest that money into affordable housing projects.”...

Imagine that!

By the way, that Section 2.3 is some Catch...errrrr....Section (it starts on pg 30 of the 'contract' pdf file)...Section 2.3 pretty much lays out the entire deal in financial terms...That 'deposit' that the Holborn spokesperson mentioned above?...In total it appears to be all of thirty-five million dollars....Given that, I don't know about you all but I, for one, sure would be interested to learn what the 'purchaser's' non-market housing parcel is worth today. 
And here's a question for, say, the guy who was in charge of the deal at the time....How, exactly, did Holborn's $35 million lead to more reinvestment in affordable housing projects than, say, $210.9 million, would have at the time?....And, to be clear, when answering that question, phoney provincial budget number re-jigging does not count as a legitimate explanation.


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Real World Vaccination Efficacy Update For B.C.


British Columbia has started to release the COVID-19 case and hospitalization numbers broken down into folks who are not and who are vaccinated. Essentially the efficacy is similar to what we noted for Ontario a couple of weeks ago.

First, here are the numbers, per 100K per week (i.e. essentially all for the Delta variant given the recency) as analyzed by the CBC's Justin McElroy:

Thus, the protection is solid for full vaccination with some drop-off for protection for seniors - all of which is good. 

However, again, don't forget that the vaccinated can still be infectious even, potentially, if they are asymptomatic which means that the reason for masking and social distancing is to protect your friends, family members, colleagues and, well, pretty much everyone.

Meanwhile in Florida, concerns have been raised by the Miami Herald that the method of reporting the numbers for the very worst outcome have been changed recently.


The Sweetheart Deal That Destroyed The Little Mountain Rodeo.


The BC Liberal government's Little Mountain sell-off was always about their stupid, phoney made for TeeVee budget surpluses.

Here are Lori Culbert and Dan Fumano from a couple of years ago in the VSun:

...The (B.C.) Liberals have maintained that selling Little Mountain gave them the money to build social housing in other locations, but Postmedia discovered that — because (developer) Holborn hasn’t yet paid for the bulk of the land — the Liberals instead borrowed the money from the Treasury Board and promised to pay it back once Holborn settled its debt...

Now, thanks to a whole lot of work by David Chudnovsky and folk in the neighbourhood as well as Jeremy Allingham and the CBC we actually know just how bad the deal really was:

After 13 years of questions and uncertainty surrounding the privatization of the Little Mountain lands, details of the deal are finally public.

CBC News has obtained the purchase and sale agreement between the provincial government and developer Holborn Properties after protracted efforts through freedom of information processes.

The contract shows that the sale price was $334 million, but the province says only $89 million has been paid by Holborn.

The B.C. Liberal government that was in power at the time of the 2008 deal gave Holborn $211 million in interest-free loans on an 18-year term, the agreement shows. Interest will not accrue on that loan until Dec. 31, 2026...


...Also in the deal was an additional $88 million in low-interest loans for non-market housing, repayable by 2050...


It looks to be pretty clear why the developer worked so hard to make sure the contract never saw the light of day.

As for the super fine members of the government of the day...What, them worry?

Image at the top of the post?...It's from a 2012 2nd quarter budget update from Cookie Dough Mike that made the skullduggery visible for all who wanted to look and dig...Unfortunately, few folks at the time, especially folks  in the local corpMedia, really did.


Sunday, August 29, 2021

Schooled In Rock.


Every once in a while, when the Geezers get together in the garage we try David Letterman's favourite Foo Fighters tune...


And then, when it comes time to play live in front of actual people, we shelve it for myriad reasons including the fact that the drummer has a bit of a problem hitting the big cymbal crashes and fills to his liking during the big build-ups/tempo changes.

Well, given that said drummer is sixty years this kid's senior, I reckon he (and we) no longer have any excuses...

Truth be told, all the geezers are fantastic musicians and, personally, I don't even get what's not quite right about the crashes and the fills...Then again, I'm there pretty much as the mascot and/or the student manager of the varsity team except for the occasional tune that calls for a harmonica break, maybe...


Saturday, August 28, 2021

Who The Hell Is Ken Dahlberg?


In June of 1972 H.R. Haldeman had a conversation with then president Richard M. Nixon and told him that a $25,000 cheque made out to a midwestern Republican party bagman named Kenneth H. Dahlberg had been given to one of the Watergate burglars, Bernard Barker,  by the finance chairman of the Committee to Re-elect the President (the infamous 'CREEP').

We know exactly what was said by both Haldeman and Nixon because it turned up on the so-called 'smoking gun' tape that also included the hatching of the Whitehouse-led conspiracy to halt the FBI's investigation of the Watergate case.

A little later, in July of 1972, Carl Bernstein found out about the cheque from a prosecutor in Miami, Florida but neither he nor Bob Woodward, like Nixon before them, had any idea who the good Mr. Dahlberg was or where they could reach him.

Which meant, of course, that in a pre-Googleplex world, that's when the real work began:
...Woodward asked a Post librarian to see if there was anything on Mr. Dahlberg in the paper’s files. The librarian found a picture of Mr. Dahlberg with (Senator Hubert) Humphrey. Humphrey was from Minnesota. On a hunch, Woodward called information in Minneapolis and got a number for a Kenneth H. Dahlberg. Mr. Dahlberg answered the phone, acknowledged the $25,000 check and, saying, “I know I shouldn’t tell you this,’’ according to the Woodward-Bernstein book, proceeded to reveal that he had given the check to (CREEP finance chair Maurice) Stans...

This is all dramatized to great, if slightly embellished, effect in the movie 'All The President's Men' the result of which is the conversation, in which Mr. Dahlberg is the only major player in the Watergate saga who tells the truth from the very start, shown in the video clip at the top of the post.


I remember when searching for something meant that you actually had to do some actual searching. Heckfire, as an undergraduate it once took me two days of rummaging through library stacks and squinting at microfiche films to find this as the counterpoint to that damnable motorcycle outlaw book by Hunter Thompson, when I should have been instead learning about how ribosomes translate mRNA into protein.

But I digress.

Because what I really wanted to tell you about is how real news people dealt with all of this when they had to be really fast in the days before the interwebz.

And, apparently, one of the best at this game locally was a guy named Warren Barker (no relation to the infamous Watergate burglar - ha!).

Mr. Barker, who ran the then locally-owned CKNW newsroom with iron fists clenched in velvet gloves from 1959 to 1991, died recently and Rod Mickleburgh has written a great tribute to him over at his blog.

Here's the part about Mr. Barker's infamous 'files':

...Barker might have stepped out of a radio version of The Front Page. Pounding the keys on an old typewriter (reporters learned to recognize angry memos by the keys cutting right through the paper), phone receiver cradled on his shoulder, a cheap Old Port cigarillo in his mouth, surrounded by files, he set the city’s news agenda every morning. His only concession to sartorial resplendence was a loosely-knotted tie he hung on the door handle. He would slip it on, whenever he had to meet the station’s “suits”.

Few realized CKNW managed all this with just a small fleet of reporters — two on days, one on nights, plus the incomparable George Garrett. And it was out in New Westminster, far from the pulse of Vancouver. But Barker had a system. It involved endless phone checks (“Anything new?”), cubbyhole newsrooms at city hall and the cop shop, tips from carefully cultivated sources, and the pi├Ęce de resistance, a filing system like no other.

In the words of Cameron Bell, who went on from his Barker tutelage to revolutionize local TV news at BC-TV: “In an era before computers, in a newsroom the size of a sedan, Barker would carefully construct ongoing files for ongoing stories. They’d be put away in files for instant recall. Barker could retrieve information faster than the most computerized databases today.”

Garrett, who spent nearly 20 years working under Barker, said his boss kept files on everything. Fire deaths, traffic deaths, court cases, labour stories, status of the Mission River Gauge that measured the annual Fraser River freshet…In fact, just about every story reported on ‘NW found its way into Barker’s extraordinary filing system, in chronological order. “And all before computers,” marvelled Garrett...

Imagine that!

In the movie the embellished bit is the part where Redford as Woodward searches through old phone books stored in the celluloid version of the Washington Post newsroom to find Dahlberg's phone number...Most interestingly, the film's props dept used a version of the Minneapolis phone book that came out a few months after the call was actually made...Which, apropos of absolutely nothing at all, is a fact nugget I would never have found if I had not been trolling the outer edges of the Googleplex earlier this morning...


Friday, August 27, 2021

Call Manipulation What It Is Regardless The Politics.


Last Sunday Cynthia Freeland posted an edited video of Erin O'Toole discussing his desire to introduce a modicum of private healthcare delivery in Canada.

What was removed in the editing was Mr. O'Toole clearly stating that he wished to do this in the context of maintained universal access to care.

Here is what Ms. Freeland tweeted atop the edited video:

Sean Holman, speaking on Canadaland this week, pointed out that the editing itself was not manipulative given that the jump cuts in the video are obvious. 

I agree with Sean on this point.

However, in my opinion, what was generated by the editing process was manipulative given that the video Ms. Freeland linked to in her tweet (and which Mr. Trudeau re-tweeted) strongly suggests that Mr. O'Toole wants to do something that many Canadians feel is bad (i.e. utilize private, for profit healthcare delivery) while simultaneously removing any indication that Mr. O'Toole wants to do this while maintaining universal coverage which, of course, most of those very same Canadians think is a good thing.

Now, you can (and the Liberals should) argue that Mr. O'Toole's strategy of mixed private/public healthcare delivery is a bad one, especially with respect to the likelihood that it will ultimately generate a more costly two-tiered system  etcetera.

However, what the Liberal were doing here was not that.

Instead, they were being manipulative in an attempt to generate a 'gotcha'  propaganda scare amongst a certain slice of the electorate that might be starting to kick the tires on Mr. O'Toole's campaign bus.

Thus, I'm happy that Twitter slapped a 'manipulated video' warning on Ms. Freeland's original tweet, even if Conservative insiders may have been the impetus behind said slapping (scroll down to 'Freeland vs Twitter').

Why am I happy?

Because I think that the only way to make our politics better is to call out this gotcha crap for what it is, especially when it is manipulative, regardless the party and/or politician that initiates it.


And no,
despite the claims of some apologists, Ms. Freeland's posting of the full, unedited video down thread does not absolve her and hers...Why?...Well, ask yourself this...Why did Ms. Freeland not just link to the unedited video in the origina, top of the threadl tweet wherein she notes that our universal healthcare system is one of our greatest strengths?
I was actually surprised that Mr. Holman did not see this as manipulative while he spoke with guest host Fatima Syed on Canadaland's podcast. Sean did say he found it to be biased and further noted that one has to be careful, given worse stuff, often coming from the right side of the political ledger, about trumpeting false equivalencies that lead to problematic claims of 'both siderism'. Ms. Syed on the other hand, while agreeing with Holman's point about bias, laughingly said that we all just want politics to be better after dismissing Twitter's manipulated media moniker. Well, if that's the case...
Mr. Holman also brought up the matter of how problematic Canada's access to information laws and procedures are, including how much hidden stuff should be publicly available without an FOI request...Here, I agree with him 100 percent...We also thank him for drawing our attention to Stanley Tromp's database of media stories that have been generated, at least in part, due to material obtained by FOI over at the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association's website.
Finally, hearing Sean talk politics on my non-radio device made me think it was a Sunday morning from days of yore even though it was a Thursday evening bike ride when I actually listened.
Update, late Friday afternoon: Sean Holman expands on  his position in a good Twittmachine thread, here....Clearly, Sean is more hard-headed and realistic about how politics is routinely practiced in this country...Me, I see those practices as a big part of the problem with our body politic and want to see them changed, regardless how unrealistic that might be.


Saturday, August 21, 2021

A Fundamental Change In The Way Election Campaign Races Are Run?


Not sure about you all, but I've always thought of Canadian election campaigns as one continuous horse race where the steeds start out slow, pick up the pace in the backstretch, and then start jockeying and sprinting furiously as they round the final turn and head for home.

And nothing represents that mad dash for the finish line better than when the party leaders go bonkers in a campaign's final days and start crisscrossing the country in an effort to hit as many strategic regions and ridings as possible.

But Greg Fingas, writing over at his most excellent blog 'Accidental Deliberations', thinks that the nature of such races might be changing:
...The provincial elections held in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic have generally seen both a continuation of the trend toward increased advance voting, and a substantial increase in the use of mail-in ballots. But by the time the votes have been counted, the overall turnout hasn't been all that strong.

And that combination of increased early voting and decreased election-day turnout raises important considerations for (a) campaign.

First, it means that persuasion in the opening days of the campaign will actually serve to lock in votes early - or conversely, that a failure to reach people by that stage could put them out of reach for the duration of the campaign. And so even to the extent a party might otherwise be tempted to hold off on messages or platforms to reduce the time in which they can be picked apart, the balance tilts strongly in favour of ensuring that early voters have a chance to see what's on offer.

By the same token, the events which would normally be seen as shaping the outcome of an election - from debates to gaffes to movements behind a particular leader - are all likely to have comparatively less effect than in previous elections due to the votes which have already been banked by the time they would take place.

At the same time, while those most motivated to vote need to be reached with persuasive messages early in the campaign, the voters left to be accessed on election day are then likely to be those who have put relatively little thought into how to vote as a matter of both partisan support and process...


Instead of one long, linear horse race, it appears that we may be moving towards something more akin to the Tour de France, with multiple stages made up of sprints, grueling climbs and daredevil descents, each with their own 'prize' of votes of a different kind.

Which could be fun, especially if it screws up the ability of pollsters and pols figure out what buttons to push and pull for the duration.

At least for the moment, because you know for darned sure that if this change from horses to bicycles really is happening those very same pol(lster)s are already hard at work doing their best to re-slice and dice the demographics so that they can sock away votes at each stage of the new fangled race.


GFingas regularly posts really thoughtful media/blog round-ups from a progressive politics point-of-view that are always worth having a look at....Here's a recent example.
Image and subheader?....This!


Friday, August 20, 2021

Life On The Alberni Inlet.

Last weekend we discussed the short-lived 'end' and subsequent resurrection of the ferry/cargo service central Vancouver Island's Alberni Inlet.

My own personal reminiscences leaned toward that of a tourist with a back pack.

Then our old friend Scotty, who once travelled the ferry regularly, weighed in:
"I loved riding the Lady Rose back in the day. The frail, weathered skipper in elegant white turtleneck and navy reefer patiently instructing his first mate for the cameras (The burly, silent “August” probably needed no instruction about hoisting pallets out of the ship’s hold). Our toddler daughter transfixed by dolphins surfing alongside the prow. The milk run deliveries at the Kildonnan dock as so many tourists flocked to snap photos of crusty old loggers picking up cargo that the Lady Rose listed considerably—and August silently adjusted the block pulleys accordingly. I worked in the woods along the south side of Alberni Inlet. We’d take the Lady Rose down to Bamfield or Ucluelet for vaycay. It was a wonderful time"

You know what?

Sometimes I think that maybe Scotty is the holder of the people's history of everything when it comes to lives lived in the westcoast woods.

Image at the top of the post...The Kildonan dock, circa 1929, which probably even pre-dates Scotty's first arrival there.