Unhappy Planet

Gregor Robertson is once again the Mayor of Vancouver, and all the Vision City Councilors are back. The NPA has two seats, and now it seems that COPE is gone. This means that Bob Rennie has won, and the rich have won in Vancouver, and everyone else loses.

Now, many people like Vision because they’re not the hated NPA, and we all remember Sam Sullivan demanding that people be more civil. However, Gregor Robertson hasn’t done a whole heck of a lot beyond creating bike lanes to really do much. We thought it was awesome when he was pissing off the Yaletown people with his HEAT shelters, but when that same “I don’t give a fuck about your backyard” attitude was coupled with Developer money, you end up with highrises where there aren’t any. I predict that in the next three years, the Commercial Drive Safeway will change, and we’ll see a new development out by the skytrain that will piss off everyone who lives around Broadway and Commercial (my old hood). I also predict that new highrise in Mount Plesant will happen. Also, how come there’s still fuck all on the site of Little Mountain, where they bulldozed a bunch of Social Housing before the Olympics?

Also, why is Riley Park Community Centre being bulldozed? Also, why the fuck is Trout Lake Community Centre STILL under construction? The list goes on and on about how the Olympics and all this development is really fucking up Vancouver, combined with the fact that nothing is going to be affordable, makes me think that things are going to get even more unaffordable in Vancouver in the next three years, and that people are going to still support the Juiceman, even though Vision is identical to the NPA when it counts, in fact they’re even worse than the NPA.

City politics isn’t the main focus of this blog, but it’s not because I don’t want to tackle city issues. It’s because this is a blog about Freedom of Information and Access to Information, and the City of Vancouver has made it next to impossible to get information out of them. Honestly, I haven’t really tried to do it, but when both friends of mine who cover this beat, as well as other established journalists around the city complain about the city’s FOI process, we know that something has gone very wrong with the way FOI is done at the City of Vancouver, and this is the fault of Vision Vancouver.

Also, now that Vision Vancouver is back in, we’re going to have Vision forever, since the elections can be hacked. A friend of mine brought up the fact that the City of Vancouver uses the Diebold machines</a> to run the elections and the fact that he wasn’t able to audit the machine. I don’t think the elections are rigged, but when you hear reports from COPE on Twitter</a> (who lost big last night) about the NPA disenfranchising voters in the DTES by challenging their ID, combined with the fact that unlike in Federal elections</a>, you can’t have people vouch for them by signing a document, it makes things much harder. (I used to work for Elections Canada and do enumeration in the DTES. I only lasted 48 hours, and definitely made me more cynical about the current system.)</em>

I know that some people are talking about how they’re unsatisfied with the fact that only 33% of the eligible voters in Vancouver voted in this election, and people point to eVoting as the solution to this problem. I personally think that this is not the solution at all, because of the following:

  • Homeless people generally have no fixed address to receive any secure pin</li>
  • There are too few secure terminals in Vancouver to facilitate electronic voting</li>
  • The people who already know about the election know where they vote, so voting online only means that there will be less people at the polling station</li>
  • Voting online is inherently insecure, and unlike other municipalities, people actually care enough in Vancouver to actually pwn the ballot box</li> </ul> The last one is critically important when it comes to online voting. Unlike Online Banking, where if fraud did happen on my account, as long as I can prove it wasn't me that committed said fraud (usually with a notorized letter) I cam get my money back, I can't get my vote back. If say my vote for someone like Ellen Woodsworth got suddenly shifted into being a vote for an NPA candidate, chances are that I wouldn't know, because there isn't a solid audit trail. You need that paper receipt saying that you voted for who you voted for with electronic voting. The Diebold machines, as corrupt as they are, do have the scantrons which show who people voted for. Anyway, in conclusion, it seems that business as usual won the day today in Vancouver, and since that's the case, I expect that in the next three years I'm going to be priced out of Vancouver due to condo development and condo speculation which is creating false scarcity in the Vancouver housing market, forcing people who would own decent homes into basements, and forcing students into SROs, and at the end of it all, forcing more people out onto the street. This is a sick domino effect that is moving all the way down with everyone effected, except it seems the people who make up the current city council. In short, Vancouver is still part of a very Unhappy Planet!