It is right and totally proper for developer Elie Kassab to ask for a $93,000 per year money gift from the taxpayers of the city of Vancouver. If necessary, the city should strip the money from social programs or other wasteful spending for poor folks. But he should give something back to the beleaguered taxpayers. How about total public disclosure of all matters pertaining to the project, from land acquisition to the end of the tax abatement? In this way, the taxpayers will know where their money went. They deserve to know.
In the July 20 story, “Kassab asks city for tax break,” he is reported to have said the project “won’t pencil out” without that public money. This is a familiar phrase often heard in certain contexts. It is usually a coded message for all listeners nearby. Its meaning is that those listeners, including the taxpayers, should back off and shut their mouths in the presence of the superior intellect on display, as their pockets are picked.