Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beast of Burnaby - the BCA behemoth swallowed its opponents whole

Official Results, 2011 Municipal Election, City of Burnaby, B.C. There are 146,123 registered voters on the Municipal list. Only 32,953 bothered to vote!! Clearly - No issues, no turnout.

Election Twins - Burnaby's free bi-weekly press - the NEWS LEADER and BURNABY NOW delivered their election editions to every home in the city on November 18, with wrap-around BCA - Corrigan advertisements. Very effective. Congratulations BCA!

BCA Sweep - All Candidates Victorious

Another civic election has come and gone. Results? A total BCA sweep. The BCA took the mayoralty, every council seat and every school board seat. In a democratic society that shouldn't happen... unless an angry electorate is throwing out a hated regime. But in Burnaby the opposite is the case. The electorate has returned a loved regime to power, rewarding BCA with a second total smack-down of the alternative civic party - TEAM Burnaby.

I don't object. I may not care for the council much, but I like Derek Corrigan, respect the job that he's done, and realize that we have the best mayor this side of the Fraser River. Still, democratic dictatorships are dangerous. The integrity of our mayor is the best hope we have of keeping individual councillors clean, and municipal spending within reason. The weekly press is not our watchdog, nor does it have to be. Vigilance is the responsibility of the individual.

TEAM is not a Team

"TEAM Burnaby" bills itself as a "non-partisan civic organization". The sad truth is that it is not a team, and it is not non-partisan, and that is why its candidates were destroyed on November 19th. Since its founding TEAM Burnaby has been hobbled by the fact that its power brokers (those who choose the candidates) don't even like each other. TEAM is composed of TORY and LIBERAL organizers who pummel each other during every Federal and Provincial election, and then make a token attempt at being friendly, in the hope of taking a few seats away from BCA. It's bizarre. Mismatched shoes will never become fashionable. The BCA prevails because it is an effective alliance of the local NDP machine, backed by the financial clout of the important unions. - You don't stalk a beast of that size unless you are packing an elephant gun.

I read in the BURNABY NOW today that "about 20 TEAM candidates and supporters" showed up at their Election Night Rally HQ to watch the results. The TEAM mayoralty candidate, Mr. Tommy TAO, didn't even bother to show up. Shame! Nor did perennial civic candidate Mr. Lee RANKIN. On the TEAM website today I read a promise to regroup and try again in 2014. That's one promise most of us hope they do not bother to keep. What is required, if we are to restore competitive democracy to civic politics in Burnaby, is a clean piece of paper, a new civic party, and hall full of people who stand for community and not tired old political allegiances.

23.3 % Voter turnout in Burnaby

The Burnaby NEWS LEADER, in its election post-mortem, reported today that VOTER TURNOUT on November 19 was 23.3 per cent. Only 34,035 registered voters in Burnaby bothered to cast a ballot on Saturday. The front page story on Friday was "Candidates pull out all the stops in the last days"(BURNABY NOW, Nov. 18) Maybe so, but clearly all of that pipe organ music did not draw much of a crowd. The truth is that there was no campaign to follow or to generate any interest among the electorate. Only some tub thumping among school board candidates created any sound at all. But that was all noise, and nothing resembling a march.

What comes next? You guessed it. Salary increases for mayor and council. The civic employees get their tickets punched. Taxes go up. Municipal fees increase. And TEAM goes back into its cave to hibernate for another three years. Somebody seal that den, while they're sleeping!

Monday, November 14, 2011

BEDBUGS - in Burnaby the vermin are German

We hit a new low in September when WALMART ran TV ads offering bedbug impervious sheets at its Vancouver area stores. I heard reports of The Bedbug Registry, but I was never curious enough to take a look. Actually I've never seen a bedbug, and I have no hankering to bump into one.
A SIX INCH BED BUG - courtesy of the Burnaby NEWS LEADER, Nov. 9, 2011.

I've been too busy of late to research Blog articles, or read local newspapers, but I couldn't ignore the NEWS LEADER delivered to my door on November 9th. You might have thought that the November 19th Civic Election would be the story worthy of page one.... but those of us who have been around a few years know that not until the protagonists and the antagonists start paying for large election adverts do the papers start narrating THE ELECTION STORY.
On P1 they printed a photo of a bedbug as big as a juvenile trilobite! A warning of such ghastly proportions simply could not be ignored. So I read the article. If you want to read "Avoiding the bedbug bite", its archived HERE.

Infestations at two of Burnaby's public libraries made the news recently, as did a report that BC HOUSING spent over $721,000 in one year fighting bedbugs "at 43 of 49 of its housing complexes" in Greater Vancouver. Lest you try to point a bony finger at "Welfare" tenants, I hasten to add that several were senior citizen buildings. Poverty and vermin don't necessarily go together. I spent much of my childhood on Welfare in Saint John, N.B. and we never once encountered lice, bedbugs or cockroaches. As my mother often said, "We're poor, but we're clean."

What did startle me in the NEWS LEADER report was one loopy comment attributed to a pest-control professional who said "the fall of the Soviet Bloc in the late 1980s and early '90s led to increased travel to and from Eastern Europe which had a nasty bedbug problem... Combined with the ease of travel today, it's led to a worldwide spread of bedbugs." I guess that in Burnaby the vermin are East German.

No, the spread of vermin including the rats which are also plaguing Burnaby, is actually due to the banning of chemicals and poisons which had largely defeated most of those ancient scourges by the mid 20th Century. When Environmentalism became a religion on this continent it lit candles to the Second Coming of Willard the rat and Benny the bedbug. Get used to it. The powers that be will not be arming for this war any time soon.

Finally I Googled the infamous online resource known as THE BEDBUG REGISTRY. I predict it going to become more popular than GAS BUDDY. You better have a look. You'll find that bedbugs are EVERYWHERE!! Feeling itchy?

A couple of typical reports on The Bedbug Registry. For a look at Burnaby Metrotown
infestation patterns go HERE.