No side will get my vote

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No side will get my vote

Postby Jim Walters » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:17 pm

In the upcoming Greater Vancouver transit referrendum, I've been leaning heavily towards a NO vote.

It is now a definite NO vote thanks to two to three robo calls a day from the YES team and their recorded message from Greg Moore.

Trans Link doesn't need anymore money to waste. They're already bleeding us to death paying ridiculous salaries with nothing to show for it.
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Re: No side will get my vote

Postby Dan Sys » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:26 pm

It blows me away how people are whining & crying about a measly .05% increase in the PST but sit back idly and say nothing about the oil companies gouging us by raising the price of a litre of gas by 20 to 30 cents over the past couple of weeks while the world price for a barrel of oil has remained basically unchanged. I imagine these same people will be whining & crying about the gridlocked roads and a choked transit system a few years down the road if the plebecite gets rejected. Use your brains folks.....don't listen to morons like Jordan Bateman who have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.
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Re: No side will get my vote

Postby Rocky » Wed Mar 04, 2015 4:38 pm

Or buy an all-electric car, bicycle, blah blah blah

The feds take charitable donations directed at the debt if you want to voluntarily pay more taxes, Dan. :occasion5:

After all, the government must really know best how to spend my money. :salute:
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Re: No side will get my vote

Postby jon » Wed Mar 04, 2015 6:39 pm

Public Transit, and Transportation in general (e.g. - Trains v.s. Trucks), are open questions that Canadians need to, if they aren't already, think about. And make their opinions known to government at all levels, with the realization that this is a long term commitment. Things can be changed, but it takes time. A lot of time to build infrastructures. A lot less to tear them down.

World War II, for example, saw the highest level of usage ever of the Rail-based public transit that had been built up since the late 1800s in many North American Cities, only to see, in almost all cases, the destruction of those public transit systems within six years of the end of the War.

Personally, I find it disturbing that people complain about the high cost of Rapid Transit (subways, monorails, etc.) without thinking about the high costs of building and maintaining Roads. In the sense of doing the comparison of how much it costs to transport a person by Public Transit versus Personal Vehicle (or Goods by Train verus Truck). Once that happens, I think we can have an intelligent discussion in this country on the subject.
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Re: No side will get my vote

Postby xwdcatvb » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:06 pm

jon wrote:Public Transit, and Transportation in general (e.g. - Trains v.s. Trucks), are open questions that Canadians need to, if they aren't already, think about.

Personally, I find it disturbing that people complain about the high cost of Rapid Transit (subways, monorails, etc.) without thinking about the high costs of building and maintaining Roads.


I doubt very many residents of Metro Vancouver think about the overall picture. The 'No' side is whipped up by the intransigence of the view constantly promulgated by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation: all taxes are bad.

Having said that, the elephant in the room remains the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority, aka TransLink. Unless something has changed recently, it looks after major highways and bridges from Hope to Pemberton, as well as the transit whipping boy in Metro Vancouver. It answers to no one, certainly not a coffee klatch of mayors who can do nought without approval from Victoria.

TransLink shot itself in the foot by relieving the CEO of his duties, but kept him on as an adviser at full salary while a new CEO came in at an additional cost. That really cheesed me off.

I live in Burnaby, home of a mayor who roadblocks anything by Translink that might make sense, but then he's gotten all the rapid transit the City is likely to receive... both original SkyTrain lines, and benefits from the Nevergreen extension.

I was going to vote yes... now I'm leaning towards no... simply in pigheadedness to force the whole mess back on Victoria... because even if 'yes' wins, Victoria is going to veto the decision anyway. Place a bet on it.
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Re: No side will get my vote

Postby Coolcat » Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:08 pm

Dan Sys wrote:It blows me away how people are whining & crying about a measly .05% increase in the PST but sit back idly and say nothing about the oil companies gouging us by raising the price of a litre of gas by 20 to 30 cents over the past couple of weeks while the world price for a barrel of oil has remained basically unchanged. I imagine these same people will be whining & crying about the gridlocked roads and a choked transit system a few years down the road if the plebecite gets rejected. Use your brains folks.....don't listen to morons like Jordan Bateman who have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.



Its not .05% its .5%. .05% wouldnt probably go any farther than covering monthly expenses for the TWO CEOs (one ex and one present) Translink has making $35K a month each. Everyone knows that with Translink the .5% will be up to 2% or 3% in no time once they get their foot in the door receiving sales tax revenues sky's the limit. They already get 17 CENTS A LITRE gas tax...sales tax revenues will just be a slippery slope the taxpayer doesnt want to go down.
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Re: No side will get my vote

Postby tuned » Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:03 pm

The yes side is relying on the mathematically challenged that don't know the difference between .05% and .5% to push them over the top. Translink already gets a huge gas tax and surcharges on utility bills. How much have they p*ssed away on the Compass system? Why install it in the first place when you want people to ride transit? Who cares if a few people ride for free? I saw some jackwad on a local cable show from the "yes" side saying that jacking up the sales tax would save people money because "they could sell their cars". You have to be a pretty dim bulb to buy into that logic.
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Re: No side will get my vote

Postby Dan Sys » Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:10 pm

Oops, that was a typo.....I knew it was .5%. Regardless of the Translink screw ups something has to be done before we dig ourselves deep into a hole that will cost a lot more in the long run to fix. The existing infrastructure in greater Vancouver is basically set up for a population of one million. Last I heard we were sitting around the 2 1/2 million mark. Congestion on the roads and over capacity on the transit system is already a serious issue.

Perhaps the solution is to disband Translink. Give the transit responsibilities back to B.C. Transit who run pretty efficient systems in places like Victoria, Abbotsford, Kelowna, etc. and give the highways and roads back to the provincial transportation ministry and the municipalities themselves.

You guys can whine about a miniscule tax increase all you want, but I don't have my head buried in the sand like the Jordan Bateman's in this world. If Vancouver is indeed a World Class City we have to keep up to par with the others or we become a laughing stock.
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Re: No side will get my vote

Postby tuned » Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:08 pm

Vancouver is not a world class city. It's a pleasant, parochial little burg with the benefit of a decent climate and beautiful natural surroundings. People that think Vancouver is a world class city haven't spent any time in an actual world class city. Dig ourselves a deeper hole? That's what you do when you give the government even more of your hard earned money. The Port Mann Bridge is a prime example of government and private business combining forces to elevate incompetence to new levels. When they screw up we pay. I'm tired of paying. Anyone that feels they should pay more taxes are free to send CRA a little extra on April 30th.
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Re: No side will get my vote

Postby xwdcatvb » Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:49 pm

Dan Sys wrote:Oops, that was a typo.....I knew it was .5%. Regardless of the Translink screw ups something has to be done before we dig ourselves deep into a hole that will cost a lot more in the long run to fix.

You guys can whine about a miniscule tax increase all you want, but I don't have my head buried in the sand like the Jordan Bateman's in this world.


Um, well, a sales tax changing from a rate of 7% to 7.5% is a hike of a half percentage point... that computes to an increase of something approximating 7.14 per cent, 7.14285% if my calculator can be trusted with the numbers I've entered.

What we all ferget is the Clark NDP government (remember Dear Leader Glen, or wuzzit Glenn) dangled the carrot of the original Greater Vancouver Transit Authority in front of the GVRD... and the mugs bit, without ensuring any detailed mechanism for capital expansion which couldn't be derailed (oops, sorry) by Victoria. So the current TransLink set-up is still stuck in the rock-and-a-hard-place relationship which has always played out between the Provincial Government and fractious municipal pols on the Lower Mainland.

Hydro levies, fuel surcharges, and fares cover operating expenses for a (what is it?) a $1.4 billion/year enterprise, nothing new.
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Re: No side will get my vote

Postby arthurdent » Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:19 pm

OK you guys, you finally smoked me out.

There are some reasonable questions...like why should TransLink get .5% on the sales tax. And there are reasonable things to respond to, like the business with the CEO. As the former Director of Communication - I left the post at the end of 2011 - I am manic and pained by the fact that the organization stopped telling its story and, without any political champion (quite the opposite...they all like taking cheap shots), TransLink left itself vulnerable to the stuff it's getting now.

So, here's a Coles Notes summary. In late 2004, the TransLink Board, then made up of mayors and councilors, committed the organization to a massive service expansion (Canada Line + lots of bus routes + roads projects) knowing full well that the operating costs would not be sustainable much beyond 2011. However, the expansion took place, and if you want to see what it looks like, check pages 20 and 21 in this media resource guide we published in 2009: http://www.translink.ca/-/media/Documen ... 2010YP.pdf

Along comes Ian Jarvis as CEO and Cathy McLay as the CFO in 2009. They see the organization heading for a financial cliff and start squeezing dollars and efficiency out of all areas. The gap they have to cover is $150 million a year just to sustain current services . They manage to do it with the help of a small lift in revenues. But today, 87% of TransLink's $1.4 billion budget covers three of four priorities: 1) sustain current services 2) keep services in a state of good repair - and except for the SkyTrain failures last summer, that's mostly worked 3) upgrade if you can afford it - so old buses continue to be taken out of service and new vehicles brought in. There is no revenue left to handle the 4th priority - improve services, which is why the idea of a lift in the sales tax is being floated. So it's simple...there are lots of ways to improve transit and roads - TransLink does both - but it will take extra dollars to do it.

TransLink has been subject to four of what I would call 'hostile audits' that examined all aspects of the operation in the belief, by the provincial government, that the organization was badly run and there were dollars that could be found. Of course, in a big, complex organization, there are always dollars to be found, but the audits did not reach the province's preconceived conclusion and nothing was found that came even remotely close to the amount to pay for the expansion the majority of people say we need.

Now, as to the CEO's salary. Ian Jarvis gets paid a total of about $480,000 per year according to a contract. The CFO, Cathy McLay, gets about $350,000. Between the two of them, they have managed TransLink's finances well enough to earn excellent credit ratings scores from both Moody's and the Dominion Bond Ratings Services. TransLink's bond issues total about $2 billion and, with the preferred interest rates, the savings are at least $1 million a year...could be a lot higher. So even if you don't give them credit for the other savings, the CEO and CFO have more than covered their salaries just by earning a great interest rate.

Firing Ian Jarvis was a dumb idea and totally unnecessary. If the intent was to take TransLink out of the discussion on the tax or to instill confidence, it was a miserable failure and accomplished just the opposite. Now the issue of paying two CEO's should stick in everyone's craw. Ian wasn't fired 'with cause' so like any of us, he is entitled to either sufficient notice or a payment in lieu of notice. But what was totally missed, including by those who drove the Board to let Ian go, is the fact that TransLink had recently eliminated the Chief Operating Officer's position, freeing up over $300,000 per year. It would have been far more sensible to bring in the capable Doug Allen as the COO, with the mandate to do exactly what he's trying to do now. But alas....

The true bottom line here is that TransLink does not deserve the crap it has been taking, except for the fact that it has allowed critics, politicians, reporters, talk show hosts and columnists to propagate half truths and garbage conclusions without challenge. It has been hard to be retired and watch it all happen.
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Re: No side will get my vote

Postby Jack Bennest » Fri Mar 06, 2015 7:07 pm

"CAO - $480,000 per year according to a contract. The CFO gets about $350,000. Between the two of them, they have managed TransLink's finances well enough to earn excellent credit ratings scores from both Moody's and the Dominion Bond Ratings Services. "

:violent1: Dentures - surely you gest! - Just because you do your job or the jobs mentioned above does not mean you should be paid more than the prime minister, the US president or Mike Duffy for that matter.

The salaries mention are outrageous. If translink was a true - non-government funded business - where people had a choice of whether to buy toothpaste A or toothpaste B - salaries of anyone there would be little concern to me.

I am a politician. I am a taxpayer - this stinks to high heaven. It's greed - You cannot tell me there are not quality managers who would work for less.
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Re: No side will get my vote

Postby Jack Bennest » Fri Mar 06, 2015 7:10 pm

Post script to Arthur

I favour the tax to fund a proper service - my argument is with a lot of executive salaries in public office.

Jack, the one you turn to - lol :wave:
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Re: No side will get my vote

Postby Jim Walters » Fri Mar 06, 2015 9:01 pm

I heard Drex's interview with Jimmy Pattison on CKNW last night. From the answers Jimmy provided, he hasn't a clue about what him and his committee will be doing. He was asked by Maybor Moonbeam to head up the committee but admits he knows nothing about what will be required of him. He knows nothing about transportation, he'll rely on the professionals to supply that type of information.

The Yes side might have a problem here.

Perhaps he could fire the worst performing Translink management type each month.
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Re: No side will get my vote

Postby Coolcat » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:14 pm

Jim Walters wrote:
Perhaps he could fire the worst performing Translink management type each month.


If Translink was one of Jimmy's car lots the whole staff would have been fired within a couple of hours.
Last edited by Coolcat on Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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