Max usually has his lights on so I am going to assume he experienced a temporary blackout this week. In his column he used the phrase "collective good" in reference to President-elect Obama and then used the phrase "greater public good" while writing about our local election. Anyone who has given humanity the critical thought we deserve should realize if humanity could reach consensus on our common purpose, we wouldn't have elections. We would just get on with it. "Common good" and “democratic” election are as oxymoronic as "military intelligence."
"Democracy" as it is being defined through practice is the way of governing designed to accommodate our shared inability to see common purpose at any level of organization. It involves allowing those persons looking for an individual sense of purpose in “leadership” to participate in formal crap throwing contests to decide who looks best in front of a group of people who can't agree on where it is going. These contests can vary in length and cost. The recent U.S. presidential contest for instance, lasted an agonizing two years and cost $2.4 billion. Mercifully our local election lasts only two weeks and costs about $2.40. Regardless of the cost or the length of time, contests are decided by "the people" who vote for the persons who at the end have the least amount of crap on them. The unlucky winners then discover their purpose is to be a target for the informal crap throwing that lasts until the next contest. Poor George will never be able to crawl out from under the pile of crap that has been thrown on him during the last two years, not to mention the previous six; and it wasn't even his fault he “won.”
Such is the degradation of our so-called democracy, my sense is unless we become enlightened en masse by an event such as the impending economic collapse, certainly in my lifetime lexicographers will be forced to change the spelling and definition of the word we assign to our system of government. The word will become "democrapy" (de mo' crapy) from Greek word "demo" meaning people and from refined English word "crap" meaning shit. The definition of "democrapy" will be: "a self-destructive system of organizing people who for lacking knowledge of common purpose, throw shit at each other."
I am doing my best to turn on the light but I fear my best won't have the power to create even a glimmer. I can't even convince residents of Emerald that the shit their dogs leave in my garden and beside the roads throughout the neighbourhood makes up part of the crap throwing continuum. It is sad to say but because deadly conflict is the complement of "common purpose" I am being inclined to think a sense of "common purpose" might be on Max's list of things no one will live to see.
Understanding Green and the in between
After attending some of the all candidates meetings, I felt that finally someone gets it. When Kristi Wells addressed questions she spoke of solutions without wasting much time on reiterating the problem. To me, this is a reflection on how she will effectively do her job as mayor, by leading council and limiting bureaucracy, therefore saving time and money. I believe Kristi will also support her entire team while keeping everyone accountable and fiscally responsible.
I have owned Farfalla Hair Esthetics (an eco-concious salon) for 9 ½ years. Although I love hugging trees (literally), over the years I have learned the balance of making a buck and saving the earth, and if I hadn’t, my business would not be here today. I believe living in Whistler is about making an enjoyable living while leaving a small footprint on our beautiful planet.
Kristi supports green but also understands the “in between”. She sees alternatives to the bed cap system that support eco sensitive development. I am stunned that there’s been no housing built in six years and in my 13 years here, I have never seen the housing crisis look so bad. I have lost staff after costly training due to housing shortages and have been unable to replace workers for months at a time. This housing crisis could very well be the leading cause of extinction of mine and other small green businesses.
It is in my best interest to vote for Kristi in order to save my business so I can continue to provide environmentally friendly products and services to our clients. A healthy workplace for my employees and a place to educate clients/employees on how little choices make a big eco impact.
I believe that Kristi is a beautiful and genuine person but that is not why I am voting for her. I am voting for Kristi Wells because her solution-based thinking inspires me to want to stay in Whistler long term and see my business survive the tough times ahead. Kristi is one of Whistler’s courageous woman that deserve to be acknowledged for her powerful solution-based thinking.
Unfortunately, when she speaks out passionately, there is no doubt that there will be judgment and resistance. If we don’t take the opportunity to converse with her about our concerns and give her a chance to explain her visions, we may miss the messages she has to share.
I believe we need a mayor that is a powerhouse to get us through the next few years and in my opinion Kristi has the energy, commitment and conviction that is the most suitable at this time. Not everyone will agree with my views but at least we’ve had enough candidates running for mayor to give us the privilege of choice, and my hat is off to all candidates that have put themselves out there in this election.
WITARA shaky on facts
Last week WITARA ran an ad in which they claimed that I was Mayor Melamed’s campaign manager. I am working to re-elect Mayor Melamed and would love to claim the credit for his campaign. However, the team is led by a smart, hardworking and professional woman who is taking time from her busy career to ensure that the right person leads our community for the next three years. I am not Mayor Melamed’s campaign manager.
This, of course, raises an interesting question. If WITARA had this one simple fact wrong, what else in their ads is "shaky"? In my view, a lot!
The first woman mayor, this is our future
I remember when Kristi first got elected to council in 1993; she was a young, passionate and intelligent 24-year-old lady with fresh new ideas, which represented the young Whistler entrepreneurs. My husband, Max Kirkpatrick, and she worked together on council and I remember him commenting that she had so much wisdom for a young person. But, I was impressed by her enthusiasm, determination and dedication to council.
Having lived here for over 20 years, I have seen many things change and I believe that that one thing that should change is the bed cap. Kristi did say she was not in favour of the bed cap because she is in favour of a new, modern development system that controls growth and supports the environment. She never mentioned turfing the community plan but adjusting it to meet the needs of our community now! She was correct is saying that the bed cap system is archaic; after all it is from the ’70s. We need a system that supports our community in 2008, one that manages growth, promotes economic diversity and uses the environmental policies we already have. Why not change the bed cap to create new industry that is eco friendly? This is not being irresponsible but being innovative. I want my grandchildren to have the options of going to university here, working in their home town and finding a place to live, and I want them to know that Whistler is their home and that in the future they will be able to own a home.
I would like to see Kristi be the first woman to represent us in 2010 and in the future years, because of her enthusiasm, vibrant ideas and passions towards our beautiful community. I feel that with her as our mayor our community of Whistler and our resort of Whistler will both grow creatively and responsibility.
Avis Rent a Car, Whistler
Some kind of a roll
Well this is interesting. At the debate Monday at Rainbow Theatre we find Intrawest is the largest contributor to Ken Melamed's campaign, followed by Telus — whoa, small conflict here. A near million-dollar gift to the Peak to Peak gondola is returned in the form of the largest contributor to the mayor's campaign.
Hmmn, last year I aggressively questioned why we would gift Intrawest (Fortress) a million dollars for their green-washed Gondola. And while a majority of our council thought it was a fine idea, those more familiar with these financial crapshooters of Wall Street were aghast at our generosity. Hedge funds are referred to as the sharks, bottom feeders, corporate raiders and scum of the financial markets and evidence of their business acumen is now found in the fact that this group stands responsible, in part, for the global depression the world is up against — potentially 20 million unemployed and up to three years before we get back to where we were a year ago.
Our mayor feels good snow this season will make for a good economic season (also heard at Monday's debate), this is about as realistic as General Motors management expecting the 6,000 lb SUV market to make a swift comeback before they run out of cash in the next few months. At Monday's debate the mayor said we are on a roll. I'd certainly agree but I think the roll is off a cliff.
The mayor stated he was gutting the capital expenditures. I would like to hear some details on this. I question this because I am told that the muni has committed us to half the costs of the new hydrogen depot on the former wetlands north of Nesters. This depot will be built to Gold LEED standards — now I am anything but an expert on this but I find through Internet that very few buildings in Canada have come up to these standards, so is this bus depot going to cost us $3 million or $5 million or more? No one knows. All I am told is we're in for half. We can't afford daycare but those buses will certainly be housed properly.
Meanwhile the hydrogen will be coming from Quebec by dedicated diesel trucks — dedicated means half the round trip they will be empty. As a taxpayer I pose the question: "Are we going deep into the red just to say we are green?"
Okay, now that I am really heated up — we've gifted Fortress nearly a million dollars but again we have been beaten by Vancouver who are now parting with $100 million for the Millennium-Olympic village project, plus guaranteeing another $190 million of Fortress's loans to the developer. First, our name gets dropped from the Whistler-Vancouver Olympics and now our million dollar gift looks like chump change to Fortress. In the words of Rodney Dangerfield Whistler must feel like "we can't get no respect."
So who do we vote for? I have to say we need Ted Milner on council to get some financial expertise. I cannot go for anyone still defending their contribution to Fortress so that eliminates Ken, Ralph and Bob. Brian, I like your concern but thinking Kristi was pied pipering the restaurant workers down to the poll after plying them with drinks was too much. So I'll have to go with Change, and for many other reasons go for Kristi.
On council I think we need people who are not angry and can work together — one serious old timer such as Tom Thomson and an environmentalist, Mr. Zeidler — and then round it out with younger candidates with a sense of humour and an agenda to cut costs — this leaves Jack, Wayne, Chris and Grant, and I'll have to cut those four somehow back to three.
Up front and personal
Reading this week's Pique I came across Dave Sharpe's letter to the editor taking issue with the comments Tim Wake directed to Mr. Sharpe at the Chamber of Commerce all candidates meeting.
A half dozen or so pages later I came across the latest WITARA ad. Curious, I went to www.witara.com but, as far as I could see, there was no information as to who the people or businesses behind WITARA are. I have very little knowledge about the issue between Mr. Wake and Mr. Sharpe so I take no side in their debate. But I much prefer Mr. Wake's up-front, face-to-face airing of differences to the low-class attack tactics of the nameless and faceless folks hidden behind the WITARA ads and website.
The lack of information on membership or supporters makes me wonder:
• what special interests might WITARA represent?
• are WITARA’s organizers and funders residents of this community?
• how are we to know that someone running for municipal office is not involved? (although likely not the incumbents given the WITARA ads!)
Like WITARA and, I imagine, most Whistlerites, I don't much like muni projects being unnecessarily costly or over budget, but I dislike WITARA's nameless, faceless style of operation at least as much.
Sorry WITARA, but contrary to your suggestion I will be voting for at least two incumbents. And, given your website’s agenda/pet peeves (eg. community composting and the bed cap), you won’t like any of them.
As citizens, we have duties
The rumor mill in Whistler kicks into overdrive during election time. This year is different only in the higher degree of negativity than usual.
To the community: Yes, the library was over budget. Costs for the RMOW escalated for many reasons, including failure of the capital fundraising campaign post 9/11, the volume of competing construction projects, and council attempts to save a combined library/museum facility. It is time to stop complaining about the cost of the library and celebrate the wonderful facility that Whistler now enjoys. The people who use the library are a microcosm of the community: including babies, children, teens, seniors, the newly arrived and long term residents. No other facility allows us all to meet and share a warm, inviting, space filled with so much knowledge and entertainment.
To the candidates: I applaud the citizens who have chosen to run for office but encourage you to get your facts straight before misinforming the electorate. Lack of communication has been an election issue in every campaign, but the reality today is that there is a great deal of information available though the RMOW, other community based websites, the media and public open houses. How many of you have spent time at council meetings to educate yourself about the issues and the process?
Thank you to those candidates who have participated on community boards, committees and non-profits to make a difference at the grass roots level and learn how the community functions.
To the electorate: We need to recognize that the RMOW is not the answer to all of Whistler’s problems and focus on the issues that council is responsible for. Child-care, like education and health care, is ultimately not a municipal responsibility. Housing everyone who wants to live here is not a municipal responsibility. The RMOW may be able to help with some of these issues but unless we want our taxes to skyrocket the municipality should focus on core services.
Instead of always complaining and blaming, we have duties as citizens to ask ourselves what we have done to help solve the problems facing this community.
Re-investing in Whistler’s future
As a proud 35-year resident of Whistler, having raised my family here, started my business here, and where I continue to invest in the successful future of our community, the time has come where change is needed to ensure that local government facilitates our local businesses to re-invest in themselves.
My most recent experience in the arduous three-year rezoning process of Riverside RV Resort Campground demonstrates the need for change. Despite the support of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Whistler, the Advisory Planning Commission, the Advisory Design Panel, members of the general public, loyal guests, the municipal planning staff, and the majority of municipal council, what should have been a straightforward process became needlessly complicated and repetitive, costing hundreds of municipal staff hours, thousands of dollars, and imperiling millions of dollars in re-investment back into our business and our resort of Whistler.
Moving forward, I believe the stated policy initiated by the present mayor and council — that they not speak directly to the proponent of any business initiative — should be reviewed immediately. Direct interaction involving our elected decision makers is required to improve the efficiency of the process and a far greater understanding would be achieved.
In spite of this policy, I am sincerely grateful to those municipal staff and council members who did take the time to speak with me directly to fully realize the scope of our project and business plan.
Our local business community, as represented by the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, must be given the opportunity to present other initiatives that would facilitate the flow of business. Coming out of 2010, and in these roller coaster economic times, it is more important than ever to foster the spirit of local entrepreneurship that will sustain the investment which we have all made in our community of Whistler.
Before you cast your vote on Nov. 15, please think about who is best suited to support our local businesses.
The story, "Fire chief speaks out against mayoral candidate" raised a number of questions for me — from the timing of its publication to its news worthiness.
Running in the Nov. 6th edition of Pique, the story by Jesse Ferraras, was run with the subhead "Russell Mack tells his side of the human rights complaint". It is my understanding that in telling "his side of the story" Mack violated a condition of the settlement, a condition that requires that neither he, nor plaintiff and mayoral candidate, David Mackenzie, publicly discuss the case. For this alone, Mack's tenure as a public servant paid should be under serious scrutiny, as it shows that he believes legal conditions do not apply to him.
The article was published to coincide with Pemberton's all candidates meeting and reads like little more than a 1,000-word effort to besmirch Mackenzie's credibility and build on the homophobia that initiated the case against the chief of the Pemberton Fire Department. Mr. Mack says that the joke that started the case was never said in front of Mackenzie. This is irrelevant. The joke, which is said when men wear backwards baseball hats, has a punch line which infers that the wearer is either a "faggot" or a "c---sucker". Nice. The fire chief maintains that this joke was not told in front of Mackenzie, an openly gay man. Replace the words "gay man" with "black man" or "woman" and have either of those groups be the butt of a crude and adolescent joke and see how it washes. I doubt anyone would agree that it would be OK to tell the joke that cruelly stereotypes people on the basis of race or gender.
I am sick of the "good ol' boys" mentality that runs rampant in certain sectors of this valley. It's out of step with contemporary thinking and progressive politics, the very politics that will help this town develop its potential. Mackenzie has demonstrated sound decision-making in his time as a council member. Do I agree with all his decisions? Definitely not. But what I do like is that he has a sound understanding of the one industry we can still build upon in this valley, tourism. I fear that diatribes like Mack's may make people discount him as a credible candidate for mayor.
Ferraras has done a disservice to himself by writing the piece which amounts to little more than a 3/4-page censure of Mackenzie's candidacy. The story of the councillor's complaint against the fire chief originally appeared in these pages two-years ago. I know, because I wrote the damned thing. I did so for two reasons: one, because I believe that every workplace needs to be free of harassment and two, because it was news. This recent story was not news. Nowhere in the story was Mackenzie's point of view presented because Mackenzie realized that to comment of the story would be violating the conditions of the Human Rights Tribunal settlement.
At best this story smacks of dirty politics — and falls under the same sort of crap that happened last election when another candidate was falsely accused of spousal abuse, a rumour that spread through the community like wildfire. At worst this story incites the type of homophobia that good ol' boys use to keep the status quo.
As a journalist and former editor, taxpayer, a parent, a resident, and yes, a lesbian, I am disgusted that this story even ran in the Pique. I hope my fellow Pembertonians will see through the nasty, vindictive spirit of the piece when they go to the polls on Saturday.