Cheers: To several members of the Vancouver City Council. In the wake of a Salary Review Commission decision to greatly increase pay for elected city officials beginning next year, council members Anne McEnerny-Ogle, Alishia Topper, and Jack Burkman said they would decline the pay increase. Topper said she might donate the increase to charity, and Bill Turlay said he would consider a donation after consulting his wife.
Undoubtedly, the federal government is an imperfect steward of the people’s money. With a budget of about $4 trillion, an annual deficit of about $500 billion, and a national debt of more than $19 trillion, the caretakers in Washington, D.C., are not very good at balancing the national checkbook.
With growing consternation over a pay increase for Vancouver's mayor and city council members, now is the time for those very same councilors to demonstrate leadership. Now is the time for them to represent their constituents. Now is the time to give the populace an opportunity to weigh in.
The mantra dates back to James Madison, who is credited with saying: "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."
As an hour or so in front of the television can demonstrate, this is tourism season. California urges the rest of the country to "Find yourself here." Las Vegas reminds us that "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." And Utah wants us to "Take the Road to Mighty." We aren't quite sure what that one means, but we're fairly certain it beats Australia's old slogan: "Where the bloody hell are you?"
Cheers: To the Vancouver Housing Authority. The VHA has received approval from the federal government that allows for flexibility in spending money to better serve local residents. An extension of the authority's Moving to Work program waives some federal regulations regarding how money is spent and leaves room for innovative programs that can be tailored to meet local needs.
Sometimes, the right side of history is too obvious to ignore. So it is that a 9-year-old Massachusetts girl named Sofia wrote last year to President Barack Obama: "Why don't women have coins or dollar bills with their faces on it?"
As you might have noticed, election season is in full swing. Presidential candidates from both parties have been dominating the news cycles for months, and voters in many states already have weighed in on their preferences for the nominations.
To anybody who has walked around downtown Vancouver, driven past highway underpasses, or read recent headlines, it comes as no surprise that the city is facing a housing emergency. There is a desperate shortage of affordable residences, homeless rates are rising, and soaring rental prices are promising to exacerbate the problem.
Cheers: To civic involvement. Regardless of the eventual outcome, debate over a proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver has generated copious public engagement. On Tuesday, a nine-hour hearing in front of port commissioners drew about 200 speakers who shared their opinions regarding the terminal; on Friday, a commission meeting also drew extensive public interest.