February 16, 2015

Referendum: How to Help

In inquiry from a PT reader: “I would be happy to volunteer in some capacity but don’t know how.”
Here’s how.
Start with the Better Transit & Transportation Coalition here:
The Mayors’ Council has a direct link to the pledge now on the home page:
For Get on Board, you can volunteer directly here.
For the UBC AMS, email vpexternal@ams.ubc.ca and you get info on volunteering, get-out-the-vote, etc.
(Let Price Tags know in Comments if there are other groups, organizations, etc, looking for or offering help.)

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  1. The fact that there are so many groups is an issue. There should be one clear, unified voice. When you want to hear ‘no’, you know the CTF is where you go. When you want to hear ‘yes’, it’s a mish mash.

    1. If people know what they want to hear and select their sources accordingly, they likely have their minds already made up.

      I was glad to see the number of groups active on the Yes side, it sounds like a resounding chorus. It also bodes well for getting the vote out, which will be critical.

      1. This is a PR battle. Plain and simple. You get a consistent, clear, effective message out. While a wide range of voices supporting yes is positive, there is no leader, no point person to go to for that message.

        So, the media goes to what they know–clear, effective messaging, regardless of how ‘right’ or accurate it is.

        1. Maybe Adrian Dix or Gregor Robertson could be the lead. They were both caught for traveling on the system without a ticket. This would set an example. Travel for free, get caught, pay your fine, or, Adrian’s case, get lucky and be let off with a warning. At least they use the system. That’s a start.

          Let’s have a poll, Gregor or Adrian?

          1. Eric, why are you on this blog so often since you obviously don’t agree with anything we are advocating. Why waste your time and move onto someone or something that shares your views?

            1. Dear Ron,
              Your question presupposes that all on this blog are of one mind. Nothing needs discussing and minds are all made up. Did you bounce this rude post to me off of our host, my good friend Gordon? Is everything that Gordon publishes, without question and written in stone?

              If all that I write is contrarian and in disagreement with everyone else here, then why would Gordon copy one if my posts verbatim and offer it as an item to discuss in itself? Why have I spent many times discussing and laughing with Gordon, while listening to the thoughts of others, if we had our minds already made up, particularly from those with any smidgen of an opposing opinion? Why do we go to presentations if we have nothing to learn? Why do you come here if you are not interested in varied opinions?

              Do you prefer a closed shop Ron? Where everyone justs nods affirmative agreement because they’re all on the same wavelength? I see that as claustraphobic and stifling, as well as dangerous in fomenting unconsidered thinking, that hasn’t taken into account alternative or variable possibilities. Many religions operate along this line. Some people like uniforms so they can identify with their soul mates. Do you? You know what Groucho said about club memberships. Take care.

        2. Don: “This is a PR battle. Pure and Simple.”

          Actually, it’s a cop out. Those in power who could best affect change chose not to practice leadership.

      1. And many folks will be voting yes because they think that congestion will actually be reduced whereas in fact that is not the case unless further tax or fee increases to properties and to care use will be implemented, while public sector spending, incl. wages’ & benefits’ growth continues unabated.

      2. Susan, many people will be voting YES out of common sense because the alternative to transit is a horrible burden on the public. Do the math for once.

  2. To those who berate Yes supporters for anti-taxation reasons, perhaps a recalibration is in order.

    According to the 2009-13 five-year average reported by ICBC there was an average of 170,000 private vehicle crashes on the Lower Mainland (2/3 of all of BC) of which 37,000 on average involved casualties (52% of the provincial total). Each and every one of them depended on public resources, from minor ICBC processing costs to multiple-call emergency services, long-term rehabilitation and extensive litigation. The personal costs are often unfathomable.

    The above values don’t even begin to address the cost to the public of building, maintaining and evaluating depreciation on a massive amount of car infrastructure, from the vast acreage roads sit on to pushing expensive utilities ever outward to highly-subsidized low density car-dependent communities. These costs to support private transport comprise a massive sinkhole for tax dollars. The outlying peripheral car subdivisions are paying about $10,000 less per household in many jurisdictions than the public costs of servicing them.

    It’s very telling that you omit these orders-of-magnitude more significant burdens on tax revenue in your diatribes against cities.

    The significant amount of development now oriented to rapid transit, and the very efficient per capita costs and safety of moving people instead of cars, proves the opposite for investments in public transit.

    Don’t you think it’s time to try to lower these stats (which range from annoying to tragic and so-big-it’s-invisible) that are directly attributable to the car culture we have built our cities around? What better way than to incrementally foster transit-oriented neighbourhoods and, eventually, entire cities? This is why some YES supporters say better transit is akin to a better future. The facts are on their side.

    1. No one wants less transit. That is not the issue here. The issue is cost effective delivery of useful services, such as RAPID transit, not more ( slow) buses driven slowly in clogged roads by unionized overpaid personnel. At issue is also the reduction in car use which is not being accomplished by this plan AT ALL as more (slow) buses will not entice car users to use the bus. Only a subway (or elevated or at-grade train) would do that. Where is the North Shore subway looping via expanded Lionsgate bridge and Second Narrows bridge along Hastings (espcially with removed viaducts soon .. traffic will be a nightmare) ? Where is the UBC loop to UBC along Broadway, then back via already clogged 41st Ave ? Jericho land is being built now by the federal government and our first “nations” brethren and the proposed subway stops at Arbutus i.e. it doesn’t even go there nor to the massive high density 20 story+ towers at UBC South (Wesbrook @ 16th), and soon in Kerrisdale ?

      This is a lousy plan with no vision. A bandaid. We need major surgery.

      Why do car users not pay for it ? Then we’d get less cars and more money to fund it. Why do wealthy immigrants or non-Canadians not pay more property or land transfer taxes ?

      I’d rather pay 10% PST and actually get s.th. of value. Right now I pay more and get NOTHING, not even less cars on the road !

      1. Sorry Thomas, there are people who do want less transit and that’s very much an issue here.

        A “no” vote gives the BC government a clear mandate to spend nothing on transit.

        Your visions are grand, but people will never support the kind of tax increases necessary to fund them. Who is going to volunteer to pay $1000/year to park a car in a residential area? How about that 3% sales tax increase you’ve volunteered to pay? Do you believe there is any one else out there willing to do that, especially given the opposition to a mere 0.5%?

        Any government that dared to impose such enormous tax increases would be recalled before they could collect a penny of it.

        1. Exactly. No vision. Just lies. There will be no reduction in car use. I expect politicians to lead, to implement what is required. We need less cars, and the ONLY way to do that is
          a) make its use far more expensive
          b) offer RAPID alternatives (not more buses)

          As such, the proposed “vision” is a JOKE !!!!

    2. Thomas: “This is a lousy plan with no vision. A bandaid. We need major surgery.”

      If that is that a reason to vote No, then it doesn’t make sense. Incremental change is far, far better than No change, or worse, an erosion of our progress so far.

      1. Step 1: 0.5% PST increase.

        Step 2: oh, we need more money: parking fee increases

        Step 3: oh, we need even more money: property taxes hikes

        Step 4: (as predicted here) .. gee way too many cars on the road as people did not use buses and buses are too slow: road tolls and/or licensing fee increases.

        Now it is 2040 or likely later.

        Not done: public sector salaries and wage reductions or adaptations to private sector norms.

        As such this plan is a minimal bandaid, without telling citizens what is TRULY required. Decongestion will not happen with more buses and cheap car use.

        Only with higher car use fees AND more rapid transit.

        No development is happening along a major bus route. ONLY on rapid train routes (at grade, below or elevated).

        Mark my words.

        This is leadership ? This is governance ?

  3. 3% is peanuts, if the plan is the right one. The 0.5% opposition is not about money. Of course there should be a rapid transit loop to the north shore. The Plan calls for one extra SeaBus? How cute. What is this the 1940’s? We’re going to buy a new boat!

    1. Well, this illustrates the problem with the credibility of the proponents behind the plan. The plan doesn’t actually call for an extra SeaBus. It just proposes to run the existing ones a little harder during peak times. So, there will be a third SeaBus operating at peak times, but out of the existing fleet. There’s money set aside to get a new SeaBus to replace one of the existing ones (which presumably will wear quicker because of the extra use). No timeline is provided for when this will happen.

      I’m still on the fence about the referendum. But I have no faith whatsoever in increased transparency and oversight when the plan itself is presented in such an obfuscatory way with so little actual detail. And bearing in mind that most of the promised new goodies cannot and will not happen unless more money is raised over and above the 0.5% tax.

      1. Money for investments is usually borrowed. With money available at sub 1.5% to healthy urban areas like MetroVan or the BC government investing it for tunnels, highways, seabuses, subways, new bridges (incl. rail way containing north shore bridges) would make total sense to me.

        Interest rates will stay low for 20+ years .. more here ( http://www.prestprop.com/2015/02/04/interest-rates-will-stay-low-long-long-time/ ) on why .. so borrowing makes sense to me for investments that spur growth (ie increased tax revenue and new developments) in the region.

        Just build more INFRASTRUCTURE .. not more buses on already clogged roads

      2. bar foo:

        The Seabus service expansion (2400 hours additional service in order to go to 15 minute service intervals all day, plus 2800 hours additional service to go to 10 minute service intervals at peak periods) is shown as being up front in the 10 year plan. Presumably it takes some time to launch it once the revenue stream starts. The replacement Seabus is shown as capital cost in year 6 in the financial tables, and is a scheduled replacement for one of the three vessels in the fleet.

        Details from the mayor’s council site.

  4. My advice to the Yes Campaign is this.

    Even though it is not on the ballot, defend TransLink . There is plenty of evidence that it does a reasonable job with its funds and that wastage accounts for no more than 1%. See the following for ammunition:


    Defend our transit system. While not perfect it is among the best in N America.

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