Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Grrrrr!!! Woof!!! Grrrrr!!!

Nelsonites ever so righteously coming awake: this time - a man and his constitutional dog-or-not.
If you do have a dog - an honest look at why you got one may be an evolutionary step. Instead of hyperventilating over Sparky's rights as a member of your family on Baker. I mean..... really!
If you don't have one but - like many - tut-tut anyway against the no-dogs-downtown bylaw just because facebooking gives meaning to your life - why not call Mom instead.


And all consider the following:

Local Dogs Downtown: "Owner's" Job
Sparky lies around in an unhealthy-for-dogs situation: shop, office. A couch-potato thing - without tv - all day, most days. Sparky gets sluggish - loses his spark. Infrequently taken out for a pee/poo. Poo may be picked-up - may be! - pee not so much! Downtown. Back alleys. 

Local Dogs Downtown: "Owner's: Convenience
You're too lazy to give Sparky the exercise you quite well know he needs - so you schlep him along downtown instead. On your terms. Pretending.
Tying-up Sparky somewhere - with all the variables tying him up and leaving him on his own for some time present. Energizing - not! Depending on how long you're gone - a must pee/poo-right-now! will have unpleasant consequences. For Sparky: he can only do it within the range of his leash. And for people: stepping in it. While you're on your 2nd Americano elsewhere!

Local Dogs Downtown: More Reasons
You feel guilty over leaving Sparky alone at home.
Leaving him alone at home means major damage to your stuff.
Sparky drives the neighbors nuts with his never-ending howling out of loneliness/frustration/boredom.
But your backyard is not secure enough to keep him contained: he may get out, wreak havoc. Having to round him up is a time-consuming bummer you don't need when you get home!
Barking at anybody/anything for attention - when tied-up outside for the day. The mail-carrier scenario.

                                                       The inconvenient truth of Sparky!


So Why Have A Dog In Nelson?
It's understandable that a senior or person with disabilities has a basic dog: company.
While it's less understandable why an active Nelsonite - a family yet - has a dog, with all issues above inevitably to arise, when the cute-cute-cute! puppy turns into a long-term commitment with a dog's ever-growing (ever-expensive!) needs.
It's irresponsible and selfish to sort-of make a (big!) dog fit into an urban situation for the "owner's" amusement: for starters - soon after birth - a life-changing surgical modification performed on Sparky! The tail has to go as well! And parts of the ears! After his kind was possibly overbred to begin with: punched-in nose and/or crippling skeletal aberrations.

Dogs - when treated reasonably well - are obedient and unconditionally affectionate. Obedience as a given combined with unconditional affection rarely found in humans: a dog often is called man' best friend.

If you think this is so - you've got issues around relationships and control!

I mean - people also describe their life going to the dogs: treated worse than a dog in a dog-eat-dog world! Nothing best-friend there!

Also see post
Nelson Going To The Dogs
5 Feb. 2013


Local Dogs Downtown: Animal Control Bylaw
If/when dogs are allowed again - 3 most basic rules:
All dogs are leashed at all times and registered/tagged.
Fees for this registration and its annual renewal (handled like a license-plate) are so high that people go from isn't-he-just-the-cutest impulse to must-we-really-have-a dog deliberation. This cuts down on dogs thus dog-issues in Nelson - while still maintaining revenue-flow.
Color-coded tags - easily visible - automatically checked by Bylaw Officers, while they do parking-meters. Tickets given without fail for dogs off-leash, unattended turds, outdated (wrong-color) or no tags.
Fines - raised substantially with repeat-abuse of the rules - are clearly defined and fixed within the amended bylaw!


Woof!!! Grrrrr!!! Woof!!!

                                      Get over here! NOW!!!

                                                     Woof!!! Grrrrr!!! Woof!!!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Cop-Shop Deluxe

This post comprises the material to the Committee-of-the-Whole (COW), 19 Jan. 2015, and additions with knock-your-socks-off revelations guaranteed following it.

Fund-a-mental Nelson
31 Dec. 2014
is a lead-in.

2015 NPD Budget/$311.000 Increase
Police Chief Holland says: Nelson has a relatively low crime-rate - referring to the 2013 National Crime Severity Index. But - also according to him - this is not indicative of the Nelson Police Department's (NPD) actual work. Because there is an overwhelming case-load of mental illness, drugs and street-disorder.
In other words: the majority of the NPD's work does not register as crimes. Just a nuisance, really! So - no matter how much of a nuisance - the NDP is just busy. As it should be!

While mental illness, drugs and street-disorder seem to be the public fulcrum for the budget-increase; it's all vague and anecdotal. With Holland at best claiming in 2014: Nelson police officers respond to approximately 1.000 mental illness calls per year.
Several significant problems in this statement are:
Approximately 1.000 means: either there are no exact records - which year, how many? - or the NPD does not find it necessary to tell us. If we accept 1.000 in 2013 - about 3 per day every day - they seem to be dealt with rarely witnessed by the general public and do not show-up in the Nelson Star's routinely bundled NPD-activities. An occasional case yes - daily multiples no!
Mental illness calls - aside from the profiling-issue - is a blanket classification of people by the NPD: consistently making judgements it is unqualified to make.
So - how many drug-related calls are there? How many street-disorder calls? Seeing he does not mention calls about those: are mental-illness/drug/street-disorder-issues basically the same? As many surely are: 1.000 responses per year represent a low case-load in the majority of the NPD's work.
Assuming that by calls he means phone-calls - after all, how else would the generally invisible police-presence know of these unruly, drugged mentally-ill: who is making these calls 3 times per day every day, and what are they based on? Who qualifies these public-nuisances as mentally-ill: callers or NPD?

To solidify claims as to a publicly declared mental-health-and-whatever-crisis - the Nelson Police Board (NPB) has yet to produce records substantiating the need for the tremendous budget-increase because of said crisis.
While the to Council declared purpose of hiring 2 additional constables plus 1 administrative coordinator actually is not emphasis on this crisis but spreading case-loads to enable the NPD to get ahead of crime by making all  proactive and accountable. This according to the 2015 Provisional Budget! Get ahead of what crime we don't have? While being proactive and accountable is expected in any job - not so in the NPD! Even though Accountability has been listed for ages by the NPB as a core Value of the NPD!
What's really going on here?

Although the NPD hasn't added any officers in 20 years - at least one addition comes to mind: Constable Lisa Schmidtke, hired in March 2013.
Supposedly the long-suffering NPD has been functioning with between 14 and 16 officers since 2011 - this fluctuation partly due to injuries. While not telling how many are in or out or what right now. Raising the question: How many are currently budgeted for - while not physically on the job? A need for hiring additional personnel should not be based on the who-knows-how-long absence of some because of whatever union-approved issues.
Currently wages and benefits of police-officers represent 86 cents of every budget-dollar. It is arrogant to attempt saddling the taxpayer with this massive budget-increase to convenience an already extremely well-provided-for police-force, kept busy with generally low-voltage case-loads

The NPD habitually compares its poor-me-I-work-so-hard premises to those of other cities. Budgets soon to be an issue - with all due respect I urge Mayor Kozak - NPB Chair - and Council to increase the NPD's budget objectively, based on actual explicitly documented need in Nelson only.

Across-the-board training in first-responder conflict-resolution is more labor/time and cost-effective than hiring more personnel to spread the work-load.

End of presentation

Although community-involvement is commendable - actual policing must have priority over all else. Unless they're not busy! And not on overtime! The NPD is not a taxi-service for little old ladies' mall-itch!
Clearly - the more "community" stuff they do on the clock - the less real police-work seems to need doing.

Following are  t h e  reasons given in the 2015 Provisional Budget for increasing the force to the tune of $311.000:
Be information-led as opposed to reactive
Be intelligence-led and integrated in our operational deployment
Focus on our main (chronic) "frequent-flyer" offenders
Focus on the key-drivers of a problem/issue/crime
Identify new and leverage existing partnerships to achieve reduction in an integrated manner
We would be more able to "get ahead of crime" and be proactive against criminal events and trends
We will assign our personnel to performance-based standards - this makes them accountable and focus us on "outcomes" - not "inputs"

If all this sounds iffily generic - here is why:
Source: Dr. Irwin Cohen - Dr. Daryl Plecas
"The seven Essential Principles of Police-Based Crime-Reduction" - 2014.
> Who are these guys???
Answer: They're both connected to the University of the Fraser Valley, where they publish a book in 7 parts/name above, Fall 2014 - around the same time the NPD-budget is put together - the book not Nelson-specific.
Both teach/taught there, while Darryl Plecas (double-r in Darryl, NPB!) is also Liberal member of the BC Legislature for Abbotsford South.
> What is their direct connection with the Nelson-beat???
Answer: No connection.


Plecas is an interesting fellow - having made a dubious name for himself with his tough stance against decriminalization of marijuana.
Killer Weed: Marijuana Grow Ops, Media and Justice
Dr. Susan Boyd and Dr. Connie Carter 
(Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014. 304 pages)

Reviewed by - Chuck Reasons J.D, Ph.D.
Visiting Professor, Criminology
Kwanten Polytechnic University, May 2014
The authors note that a major supporter of getting tough on grow-ops is Dr. Darryl Plecas, professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Fraser Valley who authored/co-authored several of the RCMP reports that have been used to justify harsher penalties and a get-tough approach toward marijuana grow-ops. In fact, he was RCMP University Chair in Crime Reduction at Fraser Valley. Apart from the potential appearance of lack of independence/objectivity, Boyd and Carter note that these studies are not published and peer-reviewed as is normal in academic research. Nonetheless, they are widely cited by law enforcement and others promoting a get-tough approach as authoritative/valid evidence of the harms of grow-ops. In fact Plecas himself was often cited in newspapers, reaffirming the findings. But the authors of this book show that certain reports lack scientific rigor and, in fact, mislead the reader due, in part, to faulty methods of research. However, they were widely cited and acknowledged as the real facts about marijuana grow-ops.
In an interesting review of international literature on marijuana grow-ops, the authors contrast scholarly research (elsewhere) with the slanted view of the RCMP research.

 I am not advocating for grow-ops - this is only to provide an introduction of Plecas as the direct source of our NPB's sudden 7 commandments from the mount. Backbone of the budget proposal. Justification for the increase, the projected purpose/gain, reason: lifted almost verbatim - without Nelson-context!
The rest of the budget: vagueness and statistical fillers - smoke and mirrors.

The NPD/NPB - by the Police Act - can still make as many changes as they wish. Before March 1. Within little more than 1 month! 
How could they now justify another approach to the same $311.000?
Or else rewrite the whole thing with a totally different scenario for totally different goals - without the 311K?
Major loss of trust, confidence - face - no matter which way they turn-or-not!

This clearly is the time to support our new Council with thoughtful input.
Go to:
Home-Page - Contact Mayor & Council
Email All (single message) - Mayor & Council

Home-Page - Police Department
Police Staff Directory
Email - Wayne Holland, Police Chief

May the leaner Force be with you!

Jim Baldwin
Jason Bullard
Kevin Curtis
Perre et Gilles 

Thursday, 8 January 2015

... tax-exempt, too!

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.

                                             Blaise Pascal
                                             1623 - 1662 

Pierre et Gilles

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Fund-a-mental Nelson!

Thanks to mainly the Nelson Police Department (NPD) and the Nelson Star - the city got itself into such a tizzy over our mental-health crisis - that for many basic Nelsonites the term "mental health" now automatically conjures up out-of-control criminal doper-wackos, dressed funny and dirty and loud and just not nice.

Their multitudes on Baker directly determining the Nelson Business Association's (NBA) profit margin.
City manager Kevin Cormack said the city is doing what it can to create a more welcoming downtown.
   Volume of mental health calls on the rise in Nelson
   Nelson Star, Jun. 11, 2013 - Sam Van Schie
Changing the Baker amenities was to eliminate their gathering places - and with that these then hippies or catch-all homeless. How many are here now is not clear - it is winter - only very few are to be seen. Yet very few are still too many - so raising the volume by declaring one-and-all mentally ill, mental patients, emotionally disturbed (soon urban terrorists?) is supposed to create momentum to drive them who-knows-where. How about a Wackotown, based on the Chinatown model. For the exact same reasons!

Anybody who has spent any amount of time on Baker Street can attest to routinely seeing marginalized people in distress, some residents and others obviously homeless.
COLUMN: This is what a mental health crisis looks like
Star, Oct. 15, 2014 - Will Johnson
Marginalized by you, Will? Obviously smarmy, patronizing, non-factual twaddle - whether yours or Chief Holland's not clear here!

In the same article (Police Chief) Holland told me the police department has not added a new officer since the 90s.
Is that so!
While Nelson police officers respond to approximately 1000 mental illness calls per year. Some individuals get picked-up multiple times a week.
Always the same - how boring! About 3 times a day, every day of the year! Following a mental-illness-call(!!!) - made-or-not by connect-the-dots. 

But relax! The NPD could have the solution to all our mental-health problems: The Car 87 program would team a police constable with a registered nurse or registered psychiatric nurse to provide on-site assessments and intervention for people with psychiatric problems.
In Nelson the proposal is to use an unmarked police car, staffed with two full-time personnel in plain clothes; a police officer and mental health worker who would immediately respond to emotionally disturbed people.
These mentally ill people could be triaged on the street and in the vast majority of cases have their needs met without being arrested or taken to Kootenay Lake Hospital.
   COLUMN: Car 87 program makes plenty of sense
   Star, Feb. 17, 2014 - Councillor Cherbo

Reasons for and advantages of establishing the program are thinnish. No matter how many times this superhero-team would drive a block or two to assess, soothe and then-what: in reality - adding to its already considerable comfort-zone - the insatiable NPD would have itself one more car and one more cop wink-wink - during times when not giving stamps-of-approval to mental-illness cases in the madmobile. 
This addition of equipment and personnel further justified with: it works well in Vancouver. While - according to two researchers from Simon Fraser's  Institute for Canadian Urban Research Studies (ICURS), in Nelson to look at our mental-health situation: There needs to be a localized response. What works in Vancouver or Kelowna may not be effective here.
   Star, Jun. 11, 2014 - Sam Van Schie

Interior Health (IHA) agrees, and regardless of their planned participation in local mental-health management: structured first-response conflict-intervention/resolution here must become a basic given in police-training or upgrading - NOW!

The NPD requesting an increase of $311.000 in its budget for 2015 - tied to its usual comparisons to other places plus mental illness, drugs and street disorder - is an affront to the Nelson taxpayer!
Particularly as thus far - for the NPD - the concept of conflict-resolution has not systematically progressed beyond the acquisition of very costly, totally inappropriate Tasers. Work of the NPD may be less of an out-of-breath effort with (more) training specific to higher-volume incidents.

Sooo - what mental health anyway! Whose mental health? That of the inconvenient or inconvenienced? After all - everybody has varying degrees of at least emotional rumblings - clinically spelled mental-health issues. Usually not copped-to as such within ourselves - while readily judged and felt superior to as social inadequacies of others within the status quo.
Multilevel uncertainties in our daily lives - feeling underappreciated, used and abused - are articulated and dealt with according to the grasp individuals have on the sometimes seemingly overwhelming malaise we perceive to be faced with.
And those who cannot articulate and deal with this are helplessly-hopelessly sucked into it. Often going mental in various forms - shutting-down or acting-up.

The madmobile would present no improvement over currently used all-over-the-place methods of dealing with the few being publicly vocal.

What City Hall, the NBA and NPD have to realize is that this so-called crisis is of the City's making. For years it took great pride in - and Baker merchants hugely profited from! - presenting itself as particularly progressive, artistic and spiritual - all fueled by good plentiful dope. It still does and is. And still does attract young wanderers in search of their bliss, as well as a bit more pragmatic family-groups who want to be able to live safely while on a similar search. Often outside the status quo.
But with spirituality largely an attitude if not a commodity here, no jobs and unaffordable housing: reality soon knocks loudly - at great emotional cost. Drugs - including lots of alcohol - often a temporary escape for the already fragile.

Transients eventually move along - this not so easily done for a family. And they keep on coming: hoping it will be better here than where they came from.

Of course - like any other place - we have homegrown mentals: categorized as such and taken care of or not to whatever degree by the system. But the obsessively big-city-ambitious NPD and the very advertising-dollar-conscious Star - not one mental-health expert among them! - categorically referring to those not conforming as the mentally ill is unconscionable! On Baker they are mentally ill - at Vernon & Hall just hockey-drunk! Eh!
Unsurprisingly - Nelson has no comprehensive vision of its own for addressing mental-health issues as a result of. Allowing the NPD to fill that vacuum with hyping a mental-health crisis. Which we simply do not have!
All in all - we are doing okay with sometimes a few unruly downtown, in a city of 10.000.
So get real already! This is not Brigadoon!

In the pre-election candidates-forum of the Social Planning Action Network (SPAN) - groups discuss individual topics from a list of local concerns - like affordable housing, poverty, mental health and employment. To me a very simplistic approach - and I tell my group that I cannot take-on one item separate from all others: they all are parts of the same gestalt.
I illustrate with the example of Nelson selling itself as especially wonderful - this attracting a certain demographic who might otherwise not have been interested in coming. But once here - with promises unfulfilled - soon adding significantly to above-mentioned problems.
This pushes a button in a mental-health facilitator: getting annoyed with my attention to arriving mentals - we have our own!!! Even though I have not mentioned mental states. Hers is a territorial tunnel-vision within local mental-healthcare.
After the meeting I ask her how many permanent mental Nelsonites we have. She says between 40 and 60. When I ask how many transient mentals are here on the average - she does not know. And - abruptly telling me she has to go - flees! Literally! 

So I wonder how well-or-not she actually is informed of the general state of mental-health in Nelson. Leading to how well-or-not anyone here is. And how well-or-not groups of the mental-healthcare concerned connect with each other. Currently a (the?) common denominator being fragmented funding.

Not a mental-health expert myself - I do have common sense and curiosity. These telling me there has to be an organized pool of any and all local mental-health information and experience - including that of funding, the big bugaboo. This pool then determining smaller, achievable, step-by-step game-plans on the local level - all willingly collective. A study and plan by/for all providers - the local response suggested by Simon Fraser's ICURS.

Without this we probably will remain stuck in fanciful distortion and gimme-gimme self-interests. And the public - unproductively misinformed by news-media - complaining, while not clear on complaining of what exactly.


Protect us from the protectors! And their flag-bearers!

Patrick Caulfield

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

City Council: 5 Minutes Tops About 5 Minutes Tops

Following is my presentation to the first of the new Council's Committee-of-the-Whole (COW), 22 Dec. 2014.
Plus a Hugs & Slugs addition. God knows I try!

During recent election-campaigning buzz-words like: together, community, listening, inclusive, advice and relationships were part of all-too-familiar rhetoric. Some possibly meant - all to get elected.

One successful selling-point of a candidate for the previous Council was: holding regular cafe-get-togethers to gauge the pulse of Nelson. These get-togethers promptly didn't materialize because the reality of a Councillor's work predominantly is ever-growing stacks of paper and meetings of often seemingly no other purpose than to have reports written about them and agree to meet again sometime. Thus time/energy-constraints soon may seem to leave little room for availability to the great unwashed. And - of course - Councillors do want/need a life and possibly have to make a living. As in Councillor Morrison very absent in the inaugural Council Meeting (and this COW).
Go, Councillors, go!

Having a good-as-new Council - there is an opportunity for the beginning of a new phase. Unfettered by previous habits of self-preservation: campaign-promises actually could become all-inclusive reality. And if not all-inclusive - just more-inclusive would be good!

Example 1:
The COW's Public Participation component of 15 minutes.
Anyone in the audience can voice concerns within 5 minutes tops. Leaving room for 2 more. If there are only 2 - theoretically - they would have 7 1/2 minutes each. And if there is only 1 - he/she would have all 15. This was not the case in the previous Council. It was 5 minutes for 1 or 2 or 3. In fact, in one of my presentations the Chair reminded me that I had 15 seconds left. While I was the only speaker.

After 31 presentations I know exactly how much (actually how little!) information I can pack into 5 minutes - and how much (actually how little!) feedback I could expect from Councillors then. Just in case - I always sent a copy of these presentations to Mayor, Councillors and City Hall's P.R. man. I will continue to do so, also provide links to new posts on my mostly Nelson blog - warts and all.

Councillors - to give credence to the COW's name - need to proactively urge the Whole to attend and participate in these meetings - reconsidering the public-participation process. Like - if more do come and want to speak: how will 4 or 5 or 6 fit into the given 15 minutes?
As a matter of course - dates of the upcoming Regular Meeting and COW must be announced in bold print on City Hall's monthly full back-page in the Nelson Star. Although suggested by me to Councillors several times in the past - this was never done.

Example 2:
The Council Column in the Star - with individual Councillors writing it in a rotation-system.
While the idea was - and is - a good one: its reality usually was a report of City Hall plans, actions previously already known to Nelson. Kept personally non-committal, mostly coming from we've-been-very-busy-and-are-very-excited-about.

Here also - with new Councillors not carrying City Hall's historical baggage - is an opportunity for them to express thoughts about their job in relation to Nelson. Ideally talking about an issue only if clearly identified with, arriving at a definitive conclusion - if not solution. The public has had enough of vague campaign-style concerns with even vaguer answers.
This column - carried on the Star's website as well - is a perfect vehicle for a Councillor putting him/herself out there and asking for the public's input. Not in Twitter-snippets but a thoughtful contribution to the Whole, expressed in a few contextual sentences, actually deliberated prior to commenting.
Someone on Council will have to initiate contact with the Star over this - now! Part of that conversation must be: currently commenting there is possible only for Facebook-Friends - this hardly in the spirit of together, community, listening, inclusive, advice and relationships! The lengthy justification for using Facebook only clearly punched-out for the Star by the Facebook-machine itself.

Any criticism here of the previous Council is only brought-up within the context of factual as-it-was - and how to improve on it.

And with that my 5 minutes are just about up.

Clearly it is not enough to just vote for the most promising promising whatever - a guessing-game at best, wishful thinking. Bound to disappoint!
Neither is it enough to just promise to get votes.

To make it all work after election: it is the voters' responsibility to keep those elected on track with issues/concerns presented consistently - keep them from getting derailed. That's the deal with participatory democracy (admittedly not big in Canada!). A proactive group-thing. The Whole - as City Hall calls it.

There are several ways of connecting with Mayor Kozak and Councillors by e-mail. The simplest is to message them directly:

Mayor Kozak
Councillor Adams
Councillor Cherbo
Councillor Dailly
Councillor Morrison
Councillor Purcell
Councillor Warmington

This address-pattern applies to all of consequence in corporate Nelson.

Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.
                                                                             430 BC

Of course - local news-media must be instrumental in presenting all voices. Yet the Star - generally not the most adventurous in City Hall coverage to begin with - instead of moving closer to facilitating this participatory democracy is moving further away from it by making commenting by the electorate selective.
Facebook-Friends Only! All Non-Friends To The Back Of The Bus!
But - if comment you must: Facebook is right there to I could (and will!) just eat you right up!

I contacted Bob Hall, previous editor, about this long ago, and his reply was a few key-words/phrases from going-on-forever Facebook (NOT Nelson Star) Comments: Frequently Asked Questions, to be accessed by clicking on Commenting FAQ, at the very bottom of each page of the Star's website.
Kevin Mills, current editor, did not respond.

Worst Spammers of 2014 places Facebook 3rd for sending 263 e-mails on average per user.

More on spam immediately below in
Telus Like It Is!
30 Nov. 2014

Karen Bennett
Kevin Mills


So get involved!
Do something!

Keith Haring                                                                                 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Telus Like It Is!

SUBJECT: Group Mailing
Imagine you want to throw a birthday-bash for Grampa - so everybody living all over the map has to be invited months ahead of the event. With not all atwitter, facebooking, and calling them individually costing a fortune (you know how it is: getting stuck on the phone with Mom!), also to save time: invites have to go out by e-mail.
To make that as simple as possible you put everybody into an UNDISCLOSED LIST/GROUP on your PC - and the invite only has to be written once. Click SEND! Done!

Over time you may follow-up with a few more of these group-mailings to get everything just so for the big day.

SUBJECT: Spamalot
But - if some in that repeat-group have a telus.net account - TELUS may identify these group-mailings as SPAM! And DELETE the telus.net portions just like that! Not return them: delete as in gone! While only those with a different INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER (ISP) will get theirs.
Happy Birthday, Grampa!

And - be still, poor heart - if you subsequently attempt to message any of these TELUS-contacts individually: same thing! Your IP (INTERNET PROTOCOL) ADDRESS - once blocked as SPAM-identifier of the repeat-group - will pop-up ever after. Promptly swallowing individually sent messages also!

Imagine the impact this simplistic - and among ISPs singular! - GROUP-equals-SPAM approach can have on TELUS customers - period. Certain very big and very known group-mailers seem immune and get through to them - but with a sender's IP ADDRESS not matching a prearranged good-to-go construct within the TELUS modus operandi - red lights flash, bells ring! You're out!

The above has been my experience with this blog and TELUS - for several years having notified readers in groups of around 20 of a new post. Without a hitch - except I know from 2 of my (fortunately!) only 6 telus.net contacts - out of several hundred with different ISPs: for some time, they have received neither links to new posts nor individual person-to-person messages like: how can this be? The other 4 haven't replied, and how could they: if they didn't receive my inquiry to begin with!

So I call TELUS. The rep guesses: somebody must have reported abuse, possibly even a hundred - who knows. She clearly doesn't! I sort this for her: with only 6 telus.nets who wouldn't complain - why would 100 non-telus.nets report so-called abuse to TELUS while not to their own ISPs?
And what abuse? Seeing the blog is not pushing any kind of illegal issue, Nigerian fundraising or marketing of New! Improved! products - and these brief post-reminders in themselves totally innocuous.

The TELUS-rep realizes there are flaws in their ointment and will take it up with the TEAM. In order to have me unblocked, she needs the link to the blog and gives me a superspecial telus.net address to send it to - while she waits on the phone.
My requested very basic message arrives in the TELUS-rep's office as - drum-roll!!! - SPAM!!! She is surprised - I am not!
I am to hear from her by phone within 48 hours that I, indeed, am not an evil spammer: henceforth off their no-fly list. One week and one e-mail reminder to the superspecial e-mail address later: nothing!

Not a telus.net subscriber myself this is only an annoyance to me - but much more to my telus.net contacts who have to put-up with this limited/limiting while full-price(y) service.
How could I possibly be the only one TELUS is happening to this way! 


Nobody likes SPAM - the real thing - thus not receiving any at all ever is the way to go for many. Let the ISP deal with it: delete, delete, delete!
What many don't consider in their urge to unclutter - there's nobody there there determining pros and contras of individual messages. With TELUS it's a computer-program designed to make extremely narrow assumptions/decisions about sender and message.
Meaning: messages of direct importance to both - sender/addressee, grouped or singly - may not be DELIVERED! And dumped!

There obviously is convenience in having incoming mail presorted. This either needs a separate box for SPAM, or an individual message is identified as possibly being SPAM.
Different ISPs have their own ways of identifying then dealing with it. None are totally fool-proof, just as long as subscribers receive everything sent to them - unless otherwise agreed.
Personal choice!

Some ways of cutting-down on receiving INTERNET Spamalot:
Don't post COMMENTS, participate in POLLS and SURVEYS - unless there's a direct personal connection. Even just clicking on Yes or No will register your IP ADDRESS. Which remains in that particular system!
Proof: If you think you can further your agenda by repeat-voting/thumb-indicating on the same issue - you will be told you have voted already, or your click will be ignored.
What/how you comment, vote, answer determines your value to specific commercial-interest groups ready to pounce!
Never sign-up for Tips on anything.
Never open SPAM!

Of course - how to control SPAM at its source is another matter!

 Bottom-line: All connections made from your computer make its DNA - your IP ADDRESS - available for harvesting. Often sold and resold on lists. As are - you! The more social media you subscribe to and interact through indiscriminately - the more you open yourself to cyberspace-junk floating around out there - including SPAM!

                         You're lonely - get a goldfish!


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

City Hall, 2nd Floor: Then and When

In the last pre-election Committee Of The Whole (COW), 20. Oct, 3 Councillors are absent.
In the first post-election COW, 17. Nov, Mayor Dooley is on his way to a Fleetwood Mac concert in Vancouver.

The latter - also last - COW of this term is just so much (more!) political Smallishtown theater. Supporting actors looking for their marks close to Mayor-Elect Kozak just in case wink-wink. Positioning for future advantage: they are line-perfect and aglow with how particularly wonderful the last 3 years have been on/by City Hall's 2nd Floor. 

But no moment of reflection. No stock-taking. No we could - really should! - have done better!

My reality-check presentation starts-off this COW:

A Brief Post-Election Review of Pre-Election Council

Over the past 3 years I have made 31 COW presentations - usually taking-on aspects of Council's work Councillors either weren't willing to touch at all or had touched only superficially. I routinely provided print-copies of the material and links to my blog-posts. My It's-Your-Job! position towards them eliciting little direct response. Except for making me very unpopular for simply refusing to fit into a City Hall culture unacceptable to my principles.

Bottom-line: Input not welcome here!

But then - being present at most Regular & COW Meetings over that time-period - I don't remember a Councillor ever personally taking-on an issue - focused, clear, comprehensive - demanding the 2nd Floor's attention. Not once!

General unresponsiveness of Councillors to inconvenient issues, each other and the mayor directly facilitated expansion of his and the CAO's range.

Incoming Council will have to apportion substantial time and energy to fixing unattended, unresolved or botched issues before initiating new ones. Such as not-at-all-new affordable housing, secondary suites, water-rates, taxation, poverty - all inter-connectable.

A few more general pieces of Council's legacy:
While the Community Master Plan curiously ignores the heart of the matter - Baker Street - it just as curiously prioritizes Stores to Shores - which finally is beginning to raise eyebrows. The reality of this stroll-to-nowhere raising mine in the COW, 22 Jun, 2013.The not-so-masterly plan having many other holes: embraced by Council in total.
Council's addiction to outside consultants telling us - always at a hefty price - what's best for Nelson, while actually knowing little about us. And their reports usually fading away.
Council glowingly approving the Nelson Commons mediocrity - clearly not a tourist-magnet - to become and remain for a long time the very unexceptional center of the Nelson universe. If it is actually built ...
... because Council has habitually handed-out variances, permits to condo-developers - while ignoring what market? and developers' financial integrity. Despite the fact of over 350 advertised-by-Baker-agents-alone available properties in Nelson and vicinity.
Council passing a very restrictive parking-bylaw change which - if enacted - will have great negative impact on downtown. And this only in order to benefit Nelson Commons financially.
And finally - Councillors having spent much time and energy in meetings on bits-and-pieces championed by numerous groups, committees, commissions. Often with similar agendas. Except for funding and - control!

While - clearly - solutions to many issues plaguing Nelson could be found in inter-connecting groups - joining them like so many weak threads twisted together into a strong rope.

Before the previous election, a then-already-very-old-timer on Council expressed a need for fresh blood, new energy and ideas. As there was only going to be one vacancy: fresh blood, new energy and ideas could only have been infused in sufficient quantities by several old-timers leaving voluntarily. I said at the time: it's unfair to Nelson and new Councillors to just hang-in-there for another 3 years. If you're tired - for the good of the Whole - just leave!


Indeed - this Council sleepwalked through much of its term. Generally agreeing
with each other just to get on with it - instead of building consensus based on personal conviction: to arrive at well-balanced decisions.

Undoubtedly - it worked hard, but nobody will remember basic bread-and-butter results. Its legacy will be vital issues producing changes for the better, changes for the worse - and no changes at all.

This is not about blame - but acknowledgement of what is. After all - how can you build on denial?

   (End of presentation as such)

I then address Mayor-Elect Kozak directly - asking her to create an atmosphere in which all Councillors and the public feel free to express themselves clearly/fully - and are heard.
We shake hands, and I leave - missing-out on 2(!) consultants' reports and - of course - the popcorn!

Kozak - while campaigning - is cognizant of current Council not having been fully engaged, wants to facilitate across-the-board communication and further gathering/developing ideas from all. Good! Her first steps towards that: listening to concerns voiced to new Councillors during their campaigns. Good again! And - while totally reasonable - novel on the 2nd Floor!

A large part of her campaign - and its success - was contrasting her leadership-style to Dooley's. It is to be hoped this includes clearly locking-in the decision-making process leading to the implementation-process: Council decides - the Chief Administrative Officer (emphasis on Administrative) implements what has been decided. A growing fuzziness, tut-tutted over by many in the community.
Tightening, streamlining processes - until recently some the pleasure of only a few - will provide more certainty thus efficiency to all on the 2nd Floor. And ultimately Nelson.

... of this term and final post about it.

I look forward to Mayor Kozak and her Council going easy on the glow while leading Nelson from then and when to then and now!