Saturday, 21 April 2018

"City Hall" by Facebook

This continues previous post

Zuck on Opioids 
13 April, 2018

City Hall Disclosure Policy
"The City of Nelson does not share any of the individually identifiable information you may provide with the sites to which the City of Nelson links. We may, however, share aggregate data with such websites (such as how many people use our site)".
                                                                      Nelson City Hall Website 

Shape Shifters
Not "we may" - but "however" we do! All the time! And "such websites" means Facebook, since Facebook is doing the tracking of City Hall's user-clickers, and even if this actually were only for an accurate count (a pretext!): just for that they would need to be "individually identifiable" as well.
Which they are through all their unsecured Profile Data - involuntarily "shared" with Facebook via City Hall.  
And automatically those of all their Friends.

But City Hall does not make this clear to its clickers - goes no further than the mealy-mouth Disclosure Policy above!

Identity Thieves
The double-dipping becomes a major issue during about 10 hours of disconcerting - often scary! - Washington Senate/House Hearings on the 87mill-Cambridge-Analytica disaster with Mark Zuckerberg.
Where he keeps talking about wanting the trust of users - and Senators/Representatives find it hard to trust him and his corporation over millions of blatantly manipulated subscribers.

Soul Merchants
Either City Hall is naively ignorant of Facebook's intentions with these data, or it knowingly feeds clickers to Zuckerberg; he in turn selling them to advertisers hawking anything under the sun - including political nudges.
An individual user's possibly very extensive Profile Data usually are spread over a multitude of diverse advertisers' data bases - often with dodgy commercial agendas.
Facebook - mainly focused on ever-increasing cash-flow-thus-power from/over advertisers - turns a blind eye where it should step-in!

Simple question and loud HELLO! City Hall: Why should "such websites" otherwise give a damn about "how many people use our site"?

Bottom-line: City Hall is enabling commercial exploitation of those unwitting Facebook users connecting with it.

Facebook has the same relationship with Nelson Star/Daily user-readers. Only it's not under the pretext of just counting clickers. There no reason at all is given for harvesting them.

Mind Snatchers
Facebook Canada's public policy wonk Kevin Chan - Policy Director for former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff; still with deep access to the Liberal government tsk-tsk - during his recent grilling by a parliamentary committee in Ottawa - said in his opening statement:

"I want to begin by sharing that, while we do not yet have all the facts surrounding the situation with Cambridge Analytica, what is alleged to have occurred is a huge breach of trust to our users.
For that we are very sorry."
                                                          The, 21 April, 2018

This relates to 620k Canadians - how many in Nelson? - part of the Cambridge Analytica personal-data-sweep for political purposes. And who knows what else by who knows whom. Zuckerberg admits the probability of other players.
Apologizing after the fact is meaningless: these Canadian users' Profile Data are irretrievably way out there somewhere.

Nelson subscribers also may not know: Facebook has been getting away with similar schemes since 2010. They just didn't get significant push-back until now.

So now it is share, share, share and trust, trust, trust and sorry, sorry, sorry with CEO Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Kevin Chan.

Chan's sorry actually carries some weight in Canada: here saying sorry works in any situation.
Seemingly deemed sufficient enough by him as well, as he refuses to answer reporters' questions after the committee hearing, dealing mainly with Facebook shamelessly cozying up to the Liberal government in regards to - while not registered as lobbyist.

"After the CBC reported on the controversy, Facebook sent a statement saying it will "soon" register its personnel as lobbyists.
NDP MP Charlie Angus is skeptical about Facebook's decision to register now.
"Why is it that Facebook only does the right thing when they get caught," he told the CBC."
                                                        CBC News, April 22, 2018

Why, indeed! 

Users-or-not, consider becoming informed!
They need to be stopped!

Federico Salmi

Deb Kozak, Mayor

Frances Long, Director - Corp. Services

Kevin Cormack, CAO

City Council    

Friday, 13 April 2018

Zuck on Opioids

I was not impressed with Zuck's performance (Zuck to those in the fold) during his House Hearing in Washington, 11. 04. 2018.

United States
His performance was repetitious: while consistently referring to issues raised by House Members as "important", he frequently was uninformed of them. Or pretended to be. We're talking key-issues. To the point of several times dryly asked whether he, indeed, is Facebook's CEO.

Only having 4 min to get their concerns across/ask questions didn't give Members enough time to one-by-one decisively further their cause - although cumulatively they did - while making it easier for Zuckerberg: frequently trying to "filibuster" with flatish chatter - from which one Member sternly asked him to refrain.

Of course - one prominent topic in the Hearing was how Facebook does/did/didn't identify dodgy accounts to then shut them down in a definitive and timely manner or-not. The Russia thing, fake this-and-that, privacy.
Zuckerberg assured the Committee that he will have 20.000 experts looking at possible "bad actors" by the end of this year, with their work supplemented by tailor-made algorithms. One more good year for 'infiltrators'.

While home-grown problems - not so sexy - have been major, largely unattended - although known - issues since at least 2011.


Example: One Member producing an image for all to see, taken of a Facebook page on the same morning, with a list of outlets - itemized info, addresses! - selling Opioids illegally over the Internet.
Facilitated by target-specific advertising on Facebook.

Zuckerberg claimed no knowledge of this, and when asked why these lists could (still!) run on Facebook, after the not so recent any longer hoopla(s) which ultimately got everybody together here, he said a possible problem has to be "flagged". When the Member replied he was flagging it now, and could Zuckerberg commit himself to these lists being identified and deleted forthwith: he wouldn't.
Another Member then added that people may not flag a problem, assuming someone among millions surely to have done so already. Or that Zuck was already on it. 
Which frequently has proven to not be the case!

The general tenor here and throughout the Hearing
You want to be a leader - so lead already!

What with algorithms on everything Facebook: whipping-up a quickie for their Opioid crisis - just as drastic as ours - should be simple enough.
Of great immediate benefit to many!

But Zuckerberg - nothing!

While he loftily goes on about highest ideals of privacy, equality, community, sharing-sharing-sharing, and how "important" all that is to "us" - he seems to float above the fray.
Detached - also remarked on by Members.

Canadians need to take part of the blame for this seemingly easy access to large amounts of Opioids. While there is great concern here about the availability of and escalating addiction and deaths to/through them: where are those researching all this - if not on Facebook!? 

Nelson City Hall 
Subscribers clicking on City Hall's Facebook presence clearly are a feast for hovering overlords.

City Hall Disclosure Policy
"The City of Nelson does not share any of the individually identifiable information you may provide with the sites to which City of Nelson links. We may, however, share aggregate data with such websites (such as how many people use our site)."

"Such websites" meaning Facebook, since Facebook is doing the tracking, and for an accurate count (a pretext!) individual clickers have to be "individually identifiable". Obviously - by their Profile Data! And those of their Friends!
Sold to advertisers of anything.

Nelson Star
Becoming more transparent in this Hearing's exploration -
What with the Black Press/Nelson Star's unholy alliance with Zuck: when his subscribers click on any item on the Star's website - any! - post a comment, participate in a poll/survey, or even just click on Like - they are immediately identified as particular 'types' and funneled into (a) particular box(es). This automatically including anything on their Profiles not nailed-down. And Friends.
Seemingly even after they have logged-off! Excused as "sometimes for security".

Anyway - this info-trove is constantly added to through click-recognition, molded/remolded into whole personae - even added to creatively, these then made available to Facebook's advertisers pushing just about anything. Unchecked.

For most effective syphoning: only Facebook users can comment on the Star's website. 
Originally anyone could. Then Zuck took over commenting, with terms of use explained explicitly by him in a page-long set of rules. And then only Facebook users could comment. Eventually this page of rules disappeared - I certainly can't find it - and now one simply signs-in to Facebook under an item to be commented on. If not a user - herein lies the rub! - this is the place to join!
In effect - Zuck now is largely running the local public's opinion through the Star. And that of about 70 other Black Press publications.

Facebook feeding hand-picked Nelson subscribers/Star readers - commenters-or-not, with their unsecured site-data - to its own advertisers.  

Deleting does not mean gone-for-good! A closed account is not closed to Zuck. Everything Facebook is repurposed!

Nelson Daily 
While The Nelson Daily initially held out against the Facebook take-over of commenting: they are now into it with a vengeance. Catching-up! Their Facebook commenting directives do go on, much more explicitly and incomprehensibly than the Star's ever.
For a look just click on Facebook Comments plugin under any item.

"Mark Zuckerberg's second grilling from US lawmakers - watch live"

I sat through 5 hours of this Hearing plus some of that in the Senate - admittedly in chunks, I could  only take so much weaseling Zuck - more firmly convinced than ever: I'm better off without Facebook. And booklets.
But then again - who knows: there may be an algorithm for heretics as well. After all - although I don't own a pad or smartish phone - I am on the Internet.

"I don't have full knowledge of our systems."
                                    Mark Zuckerberg - Senate Hearing, 10. 04. 2018

Image Credits:
South China Morning Post
Washington Post
The Wrap

Deb Kozak, Mayor

City Council

Kevin Cormack, City Manager

Frances Long, Director - Corporate Services  

Saturday, 7 April 2018 - Tom Fletcher

The Georgia Straight's

Who are BC's most right-wing journalists and broadcasters
                                                   Charlie Smith, Dec 23, 2010

places Tom Fletcher 3rd on their list of 10.

For 13 years - since 2005 - he's been with Black Press BC in various reporting-roles and pretty much their raison d'etre. 
A right-wing propaganda machine: now carried in about 70 Black Press publications. Generally free - the only game in town - community papers.
Captive audiences.

"Previous employment included 3 years as a refinery and pollution facilities operator for Petro-Canada in Taylor BC, experience that has assisted me in energy policy reporting."
                                                                Tom Fletcher, LinkedIn

Somewhere in there his wife is Public Affairs Officer for the BC Liberal Government.

Black Press also owns the Nelson Star.

Currently - on the Star's (LOCAL) OPINION (web)page #1 -
8 out of 20 pieces are by Tom Fletcher.

Routinely fed to the Star by Black Press central at the coast with most everything else, except the very little very local whatever - and advertising.                                                                 

Is it just me, or ....?

Image Credits:
Black Press
Atsushi Kaneko

David Black, Owner

Tom Fletcher, Reporter

Eric Lawson, Local Publisher   

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Why YOU shouldn't run for City Council!

As Donna Macdonald - self-appointed City Hall Doyenne - makes guiding points for prospective Council candidates in her

COLUMN: Seven months and counting!
                                       Nelson Star, Mar 21, 2018,

the subheading -
It's time for candidates to Google search -
bypasses warts-and-all self-assessment, necessary for presenting an up-front on all fronts persona within a City Hall context - before the election. Later building on that persona - if elected. 
A strong vision of themselves as effective Councillors from the beginning. 

I don't remember seeing possible candidates for the current and previous Council in meetings months prior. 
Even once candidates ...

What their desire/need/whatever to 'serve' was actually based on is the proverbial anybody's guess. Certainly not connected to close observation of Council at work - collectively/individually.
Therefore one may question how much they actually knew first-hand about what they were aiming to get themselves into. 

After being elected wasting much time getting the hang of the job. This - including expected to work within City Hall's 2nd Floor feudal system - had them dither for ages. Has.

Anyway - what Macdonald and several how-to-papers/videos - this time around - suggest is having "aspiring councillors" (Councillor Purcell incorrectly identifying would-be candidates when commenting on Macdonald's column) nudged along with self-evident running-for-local-office P.R. to learn how to be generic Councillors together - respectfully. Agreeing to be agreeable, not (wanting) to rock anyone's boat.

Motivation here not the driving force.



Ideally - would-be candidates and candidates (Councillors as a matter of course) simply fall back on - integrity. This single necessary point of reference to be held close in any situation during election and at City Hall.
Where decision-making largely plays-out in 2nd-Floor domination-games. A double-whammy consistently to be dealt with: for newbies usually a major shock to the naive concept of their contribution to saving the world. Locally.

Also - Smallishtown politics are personal, as is Smallishtown business, and what with both snuggling with each other: everybody has an agenda to protect and further.
Surviving at and after City Hall.
Integrity intacta?

None of this found on Google or touched-on by Macdonald.

A simple and effective way to help determine whether-or-not you are suited for a Councillor's work is this:
Make a deal with yourself to go to every Council Meeting from now on - 2 per month - plus any other City-originated event.
Every meeting - the whole meeting. Regardless of your level of interest: showing some nonetheless!
See and be seen. 
Possibly heard.

Watching a Council Meeting on your computer from the comfort of your couch - now possible - is hardly the same as actually being in the (usually overheated, poorly ventilated) Council Chamber. Observing Councillors inter/reacting-or-not. For 2 hours plus.

Part of your commitment here - integrity!? - would need to be getting out of the house - weather and all. Adding another hour going/coming.

Councillors have no choice - no matter how much they also would rather not go. 

If you - after a few meetings - start having excuses for not wanting to/being able to go or just admit you are bored, you must consider this:
Councillors need to attend every open Council Meeting plus the many closed to the public, as well as strings of committee-meetings - for 4 looong years. Not just sitting there like you - doing stuff, too! Piles of mind-numbing stuff!
So - if attending just a couple of meetings bores you - be honest now! - don't waste the public's goodwill by having yourself elected! Getting the job can be relatively easy. Doing it could turn into one tedious, dragged-out bitch you can't get out of!  
With significant reverberations for the Whole.


Those who ran last time, didn't make it and want to run again: shouldn't assume they know the routine. Clearly they don't! As in - where are they now? Why aren't they out there?

If you can realistically align your personal strengths (and weaknesses) with White Fortress doings (keenly observed/evaluated over months!), and you still want to run: show us what you've got!

Giving us time to get to know you well before the election - without not-again! enough-already! election-speechifying.

Votes for you will follow!

Image Credits: 
Keith Haring

Deb Kozak, Mayor

City Council  

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Nelson Eclipsed

This post directly follows
Nelson Community Solar Garden
5 Mar, 2018
Reading it first or again will provide an intro and depth.

Photos here - all taken 18 Mar, 2018 - largely are a layperson's impression of the project's construction aspects. A basically urban, Lakeside Park kinda guy - while inexperienced in carpentry, concrete-whatever and solar-power "production" - I am comfortably observant and used to thinking reasonably/logically.

With design/construction-flaws and their ramifications glaringly apparent (even) to me - Are you ready for that? Are they serious? - I must wonder at the intentions and lack of qualifications of those who conceived this thing and slapped it together: unelected decision-makers, for the community. 
And Kevin Cormack, CAO, calling it all "a low-value project".  
What's with that, investors? They tell you?

Following are only observations/impressions of the installation's structural integrity. 

Observations (pictures) are divided into 3 groups - from the ground up. Close scrutiny of pictures will reveal diverse problems within single images: block-misalignment, gravel-flow, moisture-absorption thus/and cracks in frames.

Concrete Mount-Blocks/Gravel Beds
Wooden Support Frames
Solar Panels


1a. Concrete Mount-Blocks
These lumbering blocks - unsecured, except by gravitational pull - are markedly out of alignment with each other. Unless they were positioned this way - unlikely - they have been moving individually, to ultimately influence the frames carrying the solar panels - the whole. Individual then collective movement - falling dominoes - is irreversible: having to lead to the project's sooner demise.
1b. Gravel Beds
Unsecured - as in blocks floating on indifferent beds of gravel so loose that smaller stones/coarser sand have been washed away downhill: these gravel beds are uncontained.
The gravel has no specific depth but is a quickie attempt to level the ground, where rock in/protrudes irregularly. A Botox job.

2. Wooden Support Frames
Untreated timber(s) consistently exposed to moisture - much rain, mist and fog from the dam - without enough time to dry-out thoroughly: will warp, crack and rot. Cracks are particularly apt to retain moisture - therefore lengthening, widening and deepening, as is the case here.

3. Solar Panels
While very sensitive, they need a gentle but firm, steadying hand. Without it they will act-up and out. They already have for some time.

Council's approval of this project followed their usual m.o. - approve the principle/ignore the detail. Leaving that to whomever.

Go have a look!


Image Credits:
Norm Yanke

Alex Love, Nelson Hydro

Carmen Proctor, Consultant

Kevi Cormack, CAO

Deb Kozak, Mayor

City Council  

Monday, 5 March 2018

Nelson Community Solar Garden

Quite conceivably the project as is now/there - since mid-June 2017 - won't survive another 10 years.

Not to get into deep-tech here - the average local can only find bewildering - this post keeps it short, simple and reasonable, based on the images presented - not necessarily in order of chronological pro/regression.
The general lack of awareness has been nurtured at/around City Hall with an unwillingness to open all relevant data, held close to the chest by Alex Love, Nelson Hydro; Carmen Proctor, Consultant and Kevin Cormack, CAO.

The following does not go into projected or realized financial results.
Good grief ... no!

The Garden's Improbability
Council approving without understanding it - or trying to;
The usual Nelsonites eager to see themselves/be seen at the forefront of daring new-whatever: Where do I sign, take my money! Please! 
An unsuitable environment;
Cost-cutting measures prompting flawed installation by an inexpert contractor: disregarding crucial engineering requirements.

Unsuitable Environment
a. Fog
Because of the dam fog is a given in the area during spring and summer. Lessening the yield of sunlight harvested in the Garden's solar panels - fog burned-off by about 11:00am.

b. Site
While not the original/only choice - this is too small. Where engineering plans stipulate a space of 6 meters between 2 rows of panels - the space here is cut by/to 3 meters. Meaning: one row casts a shadow on the next. The lower the sun - the more shadow.
Then - there's the dancing power-pole, preventing absorption wherever it dances!
The first/very-top image is from Dec 17, 2018/10:00am: with still no sun at the site, while already strong in the background. 

So - all-in-all - it's not that the sun isn't trying: the choice of location and installation is just not inviting it in.

Power-yield from the Garden-as-is-where-when - here transposed into sun-hours to make it visual:
Dec '17 - 10 sun-hours
Jan '18 - 12 sun-hours
Feb '18 - 27 sun-hours
The total, while this power can only be available in received fits and starts. Yet with prior due diligence - choosing an appropriate location/installation - there could be substantially more. Even during winter months.

In a private solar-panel set-up - not far from the Garden - installed on appropriate galvanized metal-mounting and concrete sono-tubes below the frost-line - the necessary alignment faces no frost-heaving or movement such as that occurring in the Nelson Garden. It also is completely open to the sun all around, all day long.

While the Garden's solar panels should be installed by experts on metal-mounting similar to that above - below it is done by a timber-working company on wooden frames, resting on concrete mount-blocks. 
These blocks are set on unsecured gravel-beds flattened with a basic hand-push plate-tamper, instead of the engineer-specified somewhat costly 1800 lb vibratory compactor.

Any misalignment of panels thus far - visually exemplified here in uneven spacing between them and at their bottoms - is due to mount-blocks settling individually, with warping of frames through that as well as moisture-saturation.
Causing pressure-and-pull on panels, their fastenings - each other - to probably have them fall off and/or explode.

There usually is no manufacturer's warranty on inexpertly installed panels. 

Because of the interconnect of all construction components: there is no way to stop the move down the gravel-pit.
Only starting all over again expertly in a suitable location would do.

An overall lack of visionary depth of the project, unreasonable financial projections and the poor - mostly cost-quashed - planning and installation are certain to prevent the Nelson Community Solar Garden from producing a bountiful harvest for investors - ever.

Oh well...

Without me "belonging" to any social media: number of visitors to this post -


Alex Love, Nelson Hydro

Kevin Cormack, CAO

Deb Kozak, Mayor

City Council  

Saturday, 17 February 2018

High-School Confidential

West Kootenay teacher reprimanded for threatening, shaming students
                                                    Tyler Harper - Nelson Star, Feb 1, 2018

Following is a letter to the Star, in response to online comments/commenting on this article being closed to readers after only a few days.

The letter ends up published almost unrecognizable. Observations critical of the Star's reporting are omitted; much of what is left has been reworked off-point. 
Gary Poignant's uberediting lacks journalistic integrity.

Letter to the Editor
As reported - the reprimand of Dec. 2017 is for "several confrontations in classes that left his students feeling threatened and embarrassed."

It is not clear if all "his" students felt threatened and embarrassed or just the 5 who seemingly complained, 2015-16.
This is crucial - yet clearly no students were interviewed for this article.
Neither was the teacher.

While he may have been somewhat over the top in the listed incidents, mechanics and hockey-players feeling threatened, embarrassed, humiliated, shamed in them seems somewhat over the top as well.

Whining teenagers and frustrated teachers are all-too-familiar characters in today's high-school drama - but the article completely fails to develop these.

It is so poorly researched - and not at all reasoned - that readers were possibly lining up with comments.
But within days, (according to Harper) - "Comments were closed because several were defaming both the teacher as well as affected students."
If "several" were defamatory - others obviously were not, and those should be posted as long as it takes.

(To the public) The Star just chucked in the whole thing because it was too-rocking-the-boat for them, while Facebook - paid for dealing with Black Press commenting ... actually is behind this bit of censorship in Smallishtown.

End of letter

Sharing Your Locker!
The Facebook connection works like this:
Non-believers can't post Star comments unless they become Facebook converts. Once in the fold, logging in below the item to be commented on will allow this and having the comment appear on Facebook as well.
Facebook is in charge, and a commenter posting something determined crossing-the(ir)-line is identified and filed away in Zuck's mind-palace: there forever!
"Several" crossing-the(ir)-line comments led to the programmed decision to discontinue commenting altogether on this article at very out-of-town Facebook Central, according to very out-of-town criteria. With the Star not really there there.

Facebook manipulating the Nelson public's opinion!
Facebook censoring what we read and write! 

Also see posts
Facebook Intimacy 
13 Mar, 2017
4 Oct, 2016

My Teacher Doesn't Like Me! 
Heavily leaning towards EW!!! BAD TEACHER!!! - while not taking into account the reality of high-school life today (Anti-Bullying Day in Nelson!?) - the article itself - dealing with stuff from 2 years ago - is actually "defaming" and "shaming" the teacher widely in our area through Black Press: it presents neither independently sourced evidence nor his own story.

It seems highly irresponsible of SD8 Superintendent Christine Perkins to have superficially discussed - thus the post/letter - with Reporter Tyler Harper the teacher's official "... signed consent resolution agreement with the BC Commissioner for Teacher Regulation in which he acknowledged 5 instances of improper conduct ..." and both having no qualms in sensationalizing this obviously no-way-out confession of sins - in public.

All around - what about privacy concerns, what about empathy? 
What can students learn from this?

Also - leading the article with a large photo of L.V. Rogers automatically points at the school as a place where this stuff happened (happens?), while not identifying it as such-or-not specifically. 

Where is the editing in this write-up?

I Hate School!
While the above article is presented as a singular aberration - a context for it may be found in the article below, 2 weeks later. Although the same reporter fails to see/produce a connection publicly.

          Number of students graduating from Grade 12 on the decline 
                                             Tyler Harper - Nelson Star, Feb 14, 2018

Reading this one might imagine rampant frustration among teachers. Plural!

Because what we do learn is that the SD8-Kootenay Lake graduation rate has dropped 3% to 69% - while during the same period the provincial rate has risen from 83% to 84%. More perplexing yet is the contrast between SD8 and SD20 (Trail, Castlegar), with a graduation-rate there of 93%.
Graduating aboriginal students here decreased 10% to 58%, and special-needs students were down 9% to 49%.

Granted - Perkins only recently inherited this mess from Jeff Jones, yet there are records, reports; admin staff supposedly has not changed. Mind you - the latter could also be part of the problem. She now being "shocked" shows a lack of preparedness for the job here, and "we want to go from average to amazing" is unrealistic P.R. - we need to move up towards average first!

Perkins saying "there's no one reason for the declining numbers" - and promptly providing none at all - seems to mean she doesn't have a clue. And Harper doesn't pick up on this.

"Right now the plan, according to Perkins, is to take a close look at each student individually to make sure they are on track to graduate."

Towards an excellent supermarket job? And who will take this individual close look but - of course! - the teachers: now to become specialists in raging hormones with no matter how much MORE skill, time and patience that takes. In not enough classes for ever-plugged-in, predictably feckless teens.

While teachers are just trying to make it through one more day: who is going to take a close look at their individual needs?

A close look should be a given at any time, and presenting it as an epiphany places local education back in the dark ages. With Perkins seemingly not grasping: any permanent positive changes need to be based in a complete system-overhaul. Cleaning house: without that the graduation-rate can't move anywhere but further down. 

Readers'/parents'/teachers' comments/responses on both seriously wanting Star write-ups are crucial. Generally for the sake of area-education - and specifically for one of them as a mindless hatchet-job, liable to destroy an unsupported while stressed-out teacher's life.

This Star don't twinkle!


Tyler Harper, Reporter

Gary Poignant, Editor

Eric Lawson, Publisher

Board of Education