Portland Hotel Society: The Reckoning

I’ve been following the revelations about the Portland Hotel Society primarily through Frances Bula’s useful Twitter feed. The politics of the thing is following the usual script; my interest is different.

The Politics. Ugh. Let’s Just Get It Out Of The Way.

The story has attracted the usual ghouls, from the rabble who yell “poverty pimps” whenever a DTES group makes the news to the Rabble who believe that what PHS needed was a louder manifesto, not a forensic audit. Continue reading “Portland Hotel Society: The Reckoning”

Portland Hotel Society: The Reckoning

A Pox On All Your Houses: My First Election As A Langley Citizen

Sayre’s Law: “In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake.”

Voters in the Township of Langley might care about taxes, development, urban/rural tension, transportation or amalgamation but in the end the election in The Township of Langley was about one very stupid thing: eight councillors and one mayor who couldn’t even try to work together. The result? Voters chose to keep the councillors and dump the mayor. Continue reading “A Pox On All Your Houses: My First Election As A Langley Citizen”

A Pox On All Your Houses: My First Election As A Langley Citizen

Suburb Hell: The Willowbrook Area of Langley

The stretch of road on 200th Street in Langley from 64th Avenue to Fraser Highway called “Willowbrook” (there are neither willows nor brooks) is exhibit A in how not to plan a suburban retail shopping area and potential urban centre. The only stretch of road in the Lower Mainland more likely to cause an equivalent exhaustion is Number 3 Road in Richmond. And there is no intersection in the province – not Oak and 70th in Vancouver, not 88th and King George Boulevard in Surrey, not Terminal and Main in Vancouver – more exhausting than 200th and the Highway 10 Bypass. Continue reading “Suburb Hell: The Willowbrook Area of Langley”

Suburb Hell: The Willowbrook Area of Langley

Costco: Portal To The Future

As rarely as possible I accompany The Wife to Costco (today’s goal was 17 feet of LED cool white C9 outdoor Christmas lights: $20 for two boxes). While The Wife did whatever it is she does I did my bi-annual wander up and down the computer and equipment aisles. I spent many minutes in front of the 9000 Watt gas generator trying to think of something that would convince The Wife that civilization is about to collapse (“I really think those Occupy guys are on to something!”) and would therefore make the generator a prudent $699 purchase. The Wife doesn’t really believe I’m qualified to operate power equipment (except, ominously, chainsaws) so the dream of being able to power a small country from my backyard was a non-starter and I eventually rejoined her at the bin of 7 pound wedges of parmesan cheese.

I did not leave Costco empty handed, however: not only did I buy a Griswoldian six boxes of Christmas lights but I experienced two things while I wandered that made me wonder whether a trip to Costco can help you see into the future. Continue reading “Costco: Portal To The Future”

Costco: Portal To The Future

The Canadian Government likes kids more than we do

A branch manager at my credit union pointed out that the Government of Canada provides a fairly comprehensive youth financial literacy site called “The Money Belt“.  The site includes finance and banking information for youth aged 15 to 29 (is a 29 year old a “youth”?!), and includes a few resources for teachers. There’s also a related comprehensive learning program developed with the BC Securities Commission called “The City“.

The Money Belt was created because (according to the Government of Canada)… Continue reading “The Canadian Government likes kids more than we do”

The Canadian Government likes kids more than we do

The Kids Aren’t Alright

Mourning Dandy Doodle
The first credit union I ever worked for had an account and marketing program for kids known as “Dandy Doodle”, with a mascot (a big furry green… thing, like Grimace but without the pleasing pear shape) and a kids section in the monthly newsletter and wooden coins that kids would get when they deposited money into their “doodle” savings accounts and which could be redeemed for some not very spectacular prizes (what kid doesn’t love pencils!).

The credit union doesn’t exist any more (merger), and I’m assuming that Dandy Doodle was downsized or reassigned or works for the collections department now.

I was never entirely clear on the purpose of the Dandy Doodle program: it felt like this weird mix of a savings incentive program, and half-hearted education program, and ill-defined marketing program (Dandy Doodle would hand out candy at local parades, Dandy Doodle would make an appearance at branch openings, etc.). Kids seemed to like Dandy Doodle, and some parents would take the wooden coin-for-deposits exchange very seriously. But I doubt very much that anyone outside of the Doodle family is mourning for Dandy now.

Continue reading “The Kids Aren’t Alright”

The Kids Aren’t Alright

I voted for Change Everything – so should you

Vancity’s Change Everything initiative has been nominated for a Webby award in the Social Networking category.

I voted for them, not only because I’m a sucker for David (and Facebook, one of the other nominees, surely qualifies as a Goliath), but because it’s what social networking can do in the hands of normal people when they have a little time on their hands and a hankerin’ to do some good: help people.

Take a couple of minutes and register to vote.

I voted for Change Everything – so should you