Sunday, 20 August 2017

Of Course You Can Be White, Too!



What keeps getting so many upset about Charlottesville?

Was it the cosplay creeps with their predictable mantra; was it the predictable death of one white person; was it American-democracy elected Donald Trump being his predictable self? 

Was it politicians predictably getting on the predictable media-train as an opportunity to self-promote - while not actually having to do something constructive?

Nothing new in any of it!




Racism is the foundation of Canada and the US: the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) ethos of superiority in all and everything has shaped them both from the beginning - with God on their side - to become part of their (supremely) white social fabric.




So - it's hard to believe that all sudden demonstrators in Vancouver - before hitting the streets - actually went through a catharsis overnight and came out cleansed of their habitual complicity-at-least-by-silence: regarding from-the-top-down punishing disregard for Canada's indigenous nations. And others of color. Ongoing since the Colonials' arrival.

If they didn't - they've hardly had time since Charlottesville - they are and remain white supremacists (with better haircuts): if only by background, environment, association, voting - and dithering.

Does not having had large-scale demonstrations all along specifically in support of aboriginals mean: they have not been victims of racism?




"Supremacism is the worldview that a particular age, race, species, ethnicity, religion, ideology, nation, or culture is superior to other variations of that trait, and it advocates that those who identify with it dominate, control and subjugate those who do not."
                                              Wikipedia

The Germans attempted to export their particular brand of white supremacy all over the world; the British actually did; and the Americans are still at it with what Obama openly bragged about as American exceptionalism - another word for white supremacism.

The man in Charlottesville - driving his car into a crowd and killing one - a small number by today's terrorism "standards" - was not using a specifically southern-white-supremacist game-plan: he copied that from run-of-the-mill terrorists, who originally objected enough-is-enough to white supremacism in the Middle East.

So - wouldn't it be more clear-headed to call those pathetic southern whack-jobs what the are - racist nationalists - instead of empowering them uniquely with a label way too large for them to carry.




In Vancouver - taking selfies in the crowd and sending them to Friends as proof of having been there - having done the righteous thing - may provide a momentary rush - but then what? When these things are over - they're usually over, and everybody heads for Starbuck's.

Wouldn't those professing concerns in front of city hall have been more on point by taking these concerns to the Eastside?

There doing something small and quiet and personal about neighborhood racism.


If you can't love the present locals - you can't love the arriving Syrians.



   


We're all guilty!


  

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

I Am White - You're Not!




While the extreme white-supremacist state of mind and how it expresses itself is abhorrent - at least it is clearly visible, thus could at least be contained, if there were a (politically advantageous) will to do so.
If.

And if the general public - there and here - took steps beyond conveniently short twitterings and righteous Likes to show their support for (politically expedient) media-posturing.
If.




After all, down there - habitual neighborhood racism - usually not as visually/audibly dramatic as the in-your-face of white supremacists - still is a form of slavery, over time spread from the few to the many. Including those against slavery - like: everybody is involved!

Up here - systemic/systematic state-sponsored racism has been in force against the real Canadians - and not only! - since day one.
In the process surely having spawned our very own - and while Canadians are ever so nice - thus-far-media-ignored white supremacists.

Sudden - within days after Charlottesville - mass-removals of statues and plaques - down there/up here - are a quickie guilt-born attempt at out-of-sight/out-of-mind. 
Sudden ideological removal is another matter entirely.
  
Donald Trump is not the issue - but just one pimple that burst!





Jonathan Lemire/AP 
atlantico-yahoo  

Monday, 31 July 2017

What DOES Matter! (Part 2)














"What was your motivation for running for the office of mayor?"

"I'd been on council for 6 years, and it seemed like the logical next step. The last few years had been kind of frustrating for me, because I'd seen Rossland council make some decisions that I didn't necessarily think were in the best interest of the community, and I wanted an opportunity to make some changes."

                                                             Moore for Rossland
                                                                      Kristen Mitchell
                                                                      KOOTENAY BUSINESS, 2014


















Following is a rerun of
Kathy Moore, City Councillor
1 May, 2014,
continuing from
What DOES Matter! (Part 1)
23 July, 2017,
the post directly below this.

When Councillor Moore over time perceives irregularities in the City of Rossland procurement-, contracting-, governance-processes, she - pretty much single-handed - brings her concerns to City Council - nothing! -  then the Mayor - nothing! - then up/down/across City Hall - nothing! - and all along the local/regional political food-chain - always nothing!

Resistance from/in all directions must often feel insurmountable: she persists!

In ever widening circles - she ends-up with the Auditor General for Local Governments in Victoria, which investigates and decides to support her concerns, to then publish a report for all to see. With court cases and tough recommendations in the works: those in charge of this-and-that in fair Rossland are hyperventilating.

I deeply admire Councillor Moore for her sense of integrity: safely taking her through all-interrelated political/business/social Smallishtown potholes. Yet all this comes down to: Kathy Moore simply doing the job she was elected to do!

End of post




   










In Nov. 2014, Kathy Moore is elected mayor of Rossland, taking office together with an entirely new Council.



Image Credit:
Sean Heisler




Councillor Bob Adams
badams@nelson.ca

Councillor Robin Cherbo
rcherbo@nelson.ca

Councillor Michael Dailly
mdailly@nelson.ca

Councillor  Janice Morrison
jmorrison@nelson.ca

Councillor Anna Purcell
apurcell@nelson.ca

Councillor Valerie Warmington
vwarmington@nelson.ca   

Sunday, 23 July 2017

What DOES Matter! (Part 1)



LOCAL GOVERNMENT MATTERS:
Building kindness as part of our
infrastructure

Columnist Donna Macdonald on the rise in threats and intimidation against municipal politicians
Thu July 20, 2017

Above is the (somewhat heavy-handed) lead-in to a COLUMN in the Nelson Star - to be found in its on-line edition - www.nelsonstar.com - under Opinion > Columnists.
Below is a refreshingly out-there Comment - quoted exactly/completely - by a reader, in response to Macdonald's Column.

Reading the Column first will provide context and - of course - the Comment as well.




But - just to get you there:

Schwapp Joe
"There is also contempt of citizenry. This usually takes the form of simply not representing them, pandering to special interest groups at the expense of the greater good, pushing ahead agendas which the majority of citizens don't want in the first place, and selling the public by using the DAD principle (Decide, Advertise, and Defend). Furthermore, the system, itself, is not based on kindness. It is based on exclusivity and is essentially anti-democratic in that it disallows citizens a real vote on important matters or say on the direction their municipality or zone should go in.

How about putting some more infrastructure into kindness instead? You can only pour so much syrup over something but it won't make it 100% sweet. Meanwhile, potholes and water that tastes like bleach is what most people get. This is happening all over, in tourist towns, a kind of civic austerity. I'm not pointing a finger at Donna specifically, as I never really followed her career that closely, but there is another side to the story."
   


  


"As a constituent, I am in the position of paying taxes and having a municipality with the power to take my house away if I don't, yet, I have no final say in how taxes and grants (also from taxes) are spent. Voters are reduced to spectators by many politicians, a nuisance that complains too much. Of course, that is no reason/excuse to be insulting to someone in power on a personal level, but taking criticism is part of the deal. And, sometimes, if they are not paying attention or don't care, that criticism should be pointed and blunt (as my post is). Anything else is beating around the bush and counterproductive."

End of Comment

  

Macdonald writes "I've always believed that if people just sit down and talk and listen, common ground could be found and collaboration succeed."

Stuff and nonsense and is that so! Nelsonites are fed-up with (again!) not being acknowledged by those they keep electing to (at last!) acknowledge them. So they may start lashing out - sometimes inappropriately, the social-media way to go now: feeling taken advantage of - feeling betrayed.
The platform on which one current Councillor ran for election was "relationships".
We're still waiting!  

Councillor Cherbo did at least acknowledge in another recent Column that Council may not be reaching out enough to the public. While this could/should be a starting-point for (at last!) connecting with the great unwashed: nothing has changed.

If you're not at the table - you're on the menu.
                                                                  Jim Hightower
                                                                  Political Activist, Columnist

In her Column - among vague, anecdotal assertions of nice municipal politicos today everywhere being abused by nasty common folk - reinvented Macdonald lists only one actual example sort-of. 
Even her personal experiences as told are only poor-me.

She also writes "How we ended up here can be debated at length. I am more interested in how we get out of here." Disregarding the basics of problem-solving - hello Council: you clearly identify the what/how/why and (only then) take it from there!  

Within her overall whitewash inferring Nelsonites are bad-bad-bad and those at City Hall good-good-good. Her finger-wagging only further muddling the already tenuous connect between those inside and those outside Nelson's City Hall. 

This is not constructive, Miss Manners! 





Image:
Anano Martsvaladze


Council
nelsoncouncil@nelson.ca

Deb Kozak, Mayor
dkozak@nelson.ca

Kevin Cormack, CAO
kcormack@nelson.ca    

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Market(ing)



The EcoSociety has been local news lately. Once reported - once not!

1. ITEM:
2 Band-Shells - Money to Burn
There's the recently Council-approved non-functional, unattractive second coming of a Cottonwood Market band-shell by the same architect - Lukas Armstrong, Cover Architecture - whose earlier design for a total Market redo - including a similar band-shell - initially approved by Council, eventually was rejected by someone else at City Hall.
Phew! 

Without the public informed, even though $42.600 out of a total of $82.600 spent on that also non-functional, unattractive Market design (or what?) were tax-dollars. The remaining $40.000 - almost one third of that year's CBT allotment - were volunteered by Council. Meaning - many really struggling, deserving weren't funded that year.
Phew, again!

Bottom-Line:
These $82.600 are mentioned nowhere in the current context; the public has never been given a rundown on how/towards what they were applied if.


   

After I had raised the question of these $82.600 already gone in the COW, 19 Jun, 2017: Councillor Dailly - in a major meltdown, unprovoked yet unrestrained by Acting Mayor Warmington - called this figure a lie. While I had the on-record info - he either was uninformed! of the topic or just childishly contrary. Which - again - raises questions about this Council's preparedness for the job they were elected to do. 
Not a good look for him (and them), particularly as word on the street has it he may be running for mayor, next time around: next year.

Band-Shell #2
Neither had the public been informed of a scaled-back version of the original plan continuing to be developed: with focus now another non-functional, unattractive band-shell. 
This second band-shell ostensibly to cost about $40.000 - but wording there is poor.

Bottom-Line:
Are we looking at double-dipping here?



Approval(-Rating)
While approval of this band-shell was on the agenda of the Regular Council Meeting, 4 Jul, 2017, and should have been dealt with publicly: it quickly became clear that the decision to approve had been reached in camera, preceding the public Meeting.
Seemingly orchestrated by Staff - as most of Council's big stuff is these days. Because there was no discussion, development, discovery - coming together.
A tepid performance for public consumption: the public of no consequence in this gestation-process.

A few comment-nuggets, though:
Some Councillors thought using wood for building this band-shell is so us - so BC.
Councillor Morrison patronized: The design is "modern". You'll get used to "modern", just like my neighbors did with my house.
Armstrong - currently the City's golden boy, who can't do wrong even when he does - promised his band-shell would be used every day - with Councillors happily bobbling.
For weddings, too!

The whole thing may actually end-up costing at least $150.000 - never to forget the $82.600 already spent earlier. 
Also - for evening performances - there would be continuing costs of stage-lighting and lighting of the whole area for security; security personnel; parking and waste-management.
Paid for by whom?    
None of these issues specifically, plus administration/maintenance generally, were addressed by City Staff - in their Request for Decision from Council - and/or by Council in their approval-performance.

Bottom-Line:
So there you (will) have it: a costly, unwelcoming band-shell to pretty much be used in Saturday-market performances only.

And weddings in the dirt.




2. ITEM:
While - oddly (or-not?) - the above item has not at all been reported in the Star/Nelson Daily: the EcoSociety's request for financial consideration from the City has.

Its Cottonwood/Baker/Winter Markets and Market Fests add greatly to our economy and interpersonal well-being: through local-, area- and tourist-participation.
Keeping these events healthy and going is a no-brainer.

Bottom-Line:
The City needs to be urged to plug the band-shell money-drain and instead use funds saved thus to support all Markets as a whole - period! The performance-angle will be of no benefit to the EcoSociety - unless they're blackmailed into running it for the requested financial consideration.
 


  




Image credits:
Dezeen/Google
tumblr.com



Council
nelsoncouncil@nelson.ca

Montana Burgess, Executive Director
montana@ecosociety.ca

Pam Mierau, Manager - Development Services
pmierau@nelson.ca

Deb Kozak, Mayor
dkozak@nelson.ca

Colin McClure, CFO
cmcclure@nelson.ca  

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Panhandling - A Reality Show!



Below is a letter (plus additional thoughts) sent to Rona Park, Nelson Community Services, also overseeing the Nelson Street Culture Collaborative. The latter supporting people possibly disenfranchised and (uncomfortably to some) visible downtown.
This discomfort - fear actually - people experience when in closer proximity of the undesirables in itself is more of a problem than are the undesired.



LETTER:
52 Reasons
While the recent Chamber of Commerce (NDCC)-generated item in the Star - signed by "52 downtown businesses" - lists a number of issues: what seems to have stuck in readers' minds is panhandling. What with ever spiraling assumptions/assertions: all those dressed, acting/connecting with each other a certain way/in specific places downtown obviously are drug-addicted, mental, homeless - panhandlers.

To the point of one commenter writing that in one day he was accosted downtown 6 times by panhandlers and just can't bear going there any longer.
Right!

Bottom-line: Letters like this feed into the perception - once again - that downtown thus tourism are going to the dogs, only because of hordes of aggressive panhandlers roaming Baker.



All the Wrongs
While these businesses individually may relate to any number of the NDCC letter's issues, not all 52 - here lumped together on all of them - have a problem with panhandling.
In her letter to the Star, 25 Nov, 2015, Mary Plemondon (a woman of experience - she owns Wait's News) says about a meeting of the Downtown Business Association: "I was pleasantly surprised that in a room of close to 40 people, only 3 spoke in favor of this (panhandling) bylaw." 

It is also necessary to differentiate between panhandlers and those panhandling. While all undesirables by now conveniently are called panhandlers - only few of them do panhandle. And not in groups!

The proposed bylaw lists where undesirables mustn't panhandle - like near banks. Actually only referring to a single bank - the CIBC. Nobody hangs out at the others. Kevin Cormack, CAO, had the amenities across from the CIBC torn down - without Council's approval - leaving only one bench. The lack of seating resulted in the undesirables clustering more tightly under/close to the tree there - closer to/on CIBC steps. Cormack's self-promoting move to rid the area of undesirables backfired! 
They didn't leave!
So let's pretend they're there specifically to panhandle and put it in the bylaw!
See if that'll do it - do them!




Law & Order?
This blog looked at some of its too simplistically focused points before the panhandling-bylaw's Third Reading, which directly led to Council deciding to look at "street people" more attentively (in tandem with relevant local groups), the bylaw being put on hold and the Street Culture Collaborative forming.

When the Chamber's board - not the general membership! - devised their "resolution" for an "aggressive panhandling bylaw" - to promptly be followed by City Staff (using the NYPD as cover) proposing it, with Council asleep at the wheel: neither the NDCC, nor City Staff or the NYPD had (ever) collected any data on the (average, seasonal, etc.) numbers of our actual! panhandlers.
Clearly - a non-issue!

In fact - City Staff's Request for Decision to Council was not based on any written documentation whatsoever substantiating a need for such bylaw. And Council didn't demand it - didn't question the origin of this bylaw-proposal, with its vague anecdotal content!

While Wayne Holland, previous NYPD Chief, then was and the NDCC/City Staff all along have been fearmongering about our untouchables!


   
Hugs for Spare Change
An informal survey I ran at the time - presented to Council in a Committee of the Whole - found that within 7 days, around midday, there were 12 actual panhandlers on Baker. But because one of them was in her spot every day: the number of individual panhandlers - none aggressive! - was actually only 6 within that week.
This year I don't see much panhandling on Baker either. On a recent good-weather Saturday - while I was toing-and-froing in the downtown-core for about 2 hours - there wasn't any.

The Street Culture Collaborative - with its insightful work so far - for balance might also engage the general public. As in exploring with them that their fear of otherness may make them exaggerate and not see clearly that while we don't have a panhandling problem as such - we do have a discrimination-problem all the way to City Hall.

Hugging trees is easy for Nelson - hugging untouchables not so much. Especially the ones who don't look so nice and don't buy stuff from downtown businesses.


  
Out Damned Spot!
Tourists still come: after all - there is no place in BC without ever increasing numbers of the disenfranchised. And tourists know this.
But the NDCC and City Staff must stop blaming a segment of our population for their cronies making never-enough money and instead produce creative initiatives to market Nelson-as-is.
To be considered: if they should manage to cleanse Nelson of all undesirables - the goal now and always! - and then find and must acknowledge those clearly weren't the problem - then what?!

It is this hysteria-stoking which actually may start keeping tourists away. 
Not the so-called panhandlers!




Take a deep breath, Nelsonites: While we need to compassionately attend to the problems facing all our vulnerable - the only threat they pose is to your comfort-zone.
You are being manipulated into believing otherwise!




Downtown almost every day for years, I have never felt/been threatened by anyone.





Image Credits:
CP/Bruno Baurin
Arnaud Alves
Pixabay



Kevin Cormack, CAO
kcormack@nelson.ca

Council
nelsoncouncil@nelson.ca

Deb Kozak, Mayor
dkozak@nelson.ca

Tom Thomson, NDCC
tom@discovernelson.com

Rona Park
rpark@servicesfyi.ca   

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Irregardless!







Quote (Direct, Complete):

Upon leaving his post in Ottawa in 1984, Lord Moran, British High Commissioner, tells his London bosses in a valedictory dispatch that Canadians are "deeply unimpressive."
He says "Anyone who is moderately good at what they do - in literature, the theatre, skiing or whatever - tends to become a national figure. And anyone who stands out at all from the crowd tends to be praised to the skies and is given the Order of Canada at once." 
He claimed that Canadians had limited talents.

                          Associated Press, Oct. 18, 2009






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