Rory Bowman

Comment history

/guidelines/ -- Community discussion guidelines

Vancouver Pizza, Blind Onion and Smoky's Hazel Dell are all good, IMHO.

Nice guidelines!

April 28, 2011 at 5:19 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Supermarket showdown on the east side

Thanks for explaining the rational demographics of why things are as they are, given current industrial reality. I so tire of people whining about inequity without discussing the underlying issues. Too many in Clark County want something for nothing (no tolls, no tax, more supermarkets) without even bothering to think these things through. Well done!

April 10, 2011 at 10:55 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

YWCA official invited to speak in Belarus

What an amazing honor and testament to the quality of our people here in Clark County. Congratulations, Ms. Adams!

March 11, 2011 at 12:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Beached barge cleanup costs reach $5.3 million

I'm sure the owner is corporate, long gone and protected from any liability. That is the normal way to "do business" since the 80's, even for small operators. Even slumlords have dozens of LLC's and mazes of "contractors" to help "externalize costs." Another public-cost bailout for private profit, because legislators are bought and sold by "business interests" like trading cards.

March 8, 2011 at 8:11 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

In Our View: No Shell Games

Good for Pridemore that he had the integrity to call out "his side" first. The level of deception is way up and headed higher. May this draw blood from the most brazen lies and break the backs of big-lie politics.

March 7, 2011 at 5:50 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Food co-op blossoms

One way of measuring a business' economic health is by its assets (particularly liquid assets such as cash), divided by the number of shares available. By the simple measure of cash-on-hand divided by number of shares, the calculated value of a VFC share has moved from $192 (in 2007) to $194 (in November 2008) to $131 in late 2009, to $111 in Sep 2010 to less than $50 today, as measured by the scant data publicly available to a diligent reader of their own web site. More precise data can be viewed at the URL below, but from the outside it appears that VFC has abandoned all serious business planning for a "hail mary pass" that exhausts their capital and development budgets on operational expenses. This is not a sound long-term strategy and will not work.

There are examples of small-format cooperative groceries working in thousand-square-foot spaces, the most relevant of which to Vancouver is the Yelm Food Cooperative north of us. A more urban model with a larger (3000 SF) footprint is Alberta Cooperative Grocery in Portland. Neither used the "online buying club with a join fee" model that VFC seems to have adopted, and with good reason. Yearly cash flows and financials show that a marginal grocery needs to charge an average markup in the neighborhood of 40% and keep labor costs at 22% of gross revenues or less. I do not see the currentVFC doing this, else their numbers would be better. Math is a merciless master.

I would encourage the Vancouver Food Cooperative board to publicly put its roadmap and financials on its website, if only to be clear and honest with itself. Heroic action does not scale, nor pencil out over time to provide substantive access to more wholesome food for the poor and working-class families of west Vancouver.

March 3, 2011 at 9:28 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Food co-op blossoms

It will be interesting to see (and obvious within ten months) whether or not the "emerging leaders within the group have taken a hard-headed business approach" or if they are even capable of doing so. One of the things that the over-controlling founders worked very hard to do was to control information, keeping it from owners and other board members, such that many of the early planning documents were effectively destroyed. It would astonish me if any of the current board was even aware of the options under consideration before Sunrise O'Mahoney's unauthorized talks to open a VFC "first store" in west Camas or other consultant-driven idiocy that led to fixation on a $2 million, 6000-square foot store.

As secretary of VFC during the key time before shares were sold and the first annual meeting, it was a point of pride that ALL board meetings were publicly announced on the web site well in advance, all members of the community (not just members) were invited and that draft minutes of those meetings were usually posted to the public web site within a day or two, if not that very evening. Such public minutes always included data on current member numbers, bank balances and major income or expenditures. If "emerging leaders" can indeed take "a hard-headed business approach," I would invite them to do something similar. Make the road forward as transparent as possible for the general public and let them vote with their volunteer hours and dollars.

"Social capital" is key to "the cooperative advantage" when starting economically marginal, socially important businesses such as a cooperative grocery. People will risk more, give more and be more loyal to a well-conceived and honestly executed plan they believe in and understand. Since before its first elections the VFC board of directors has either chosen not to create such a plan or to hide it well under a smokescreen of fear and petty personal politics. If there is a good plan out there, the board should share it, lest they whither as the dwindling prey-base of trusting but naive investors from the suburbs expires. The working-class families of west Vancouver mostly see the co-op as a hobby for oblivious do-gooders, with more concern for itself than them or the larger community.

March 3, 2011 at 9:27 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

An upstream alternative for I-5 bridge

That *is* a pretty picture, but I don't see a "W," just two "V's" for "Vancouver Victory." If there is a "W" in there somewhere, I'm sure it's for "Washington." 8^)

December 12, 2010 at 7:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Shocking news: Tolls are a tradition!

The "greatest generation" gave us FDR, Social Security, rural electrification, the GI Bill, a federal highway system and Medicare. Boomers gave us sexual liberation, rock music, Ronald Reagan, deficit spending and the "war on drugs." Please don't ask me to thank you for what your parents did while you let it crumble. The schools I attended were used by boomers, not built by them (and increasingly defunded).

Prove worthy of the many gifts you have been given. If properly done, this bridge will stand for another century, so show some vision for someone other than yourselves. There is still time to serve something greater than your selfish selves.

November 21, 2010 at 6:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Shocking news: Tolls are a tradition!

Thank you for putting tolls in perspective and providing clear counter-examples. The issue is not whether government is collecting the money or not (Barlow's concession allowed him to keep tolls for himself), but whether whining something-for-nothing parasites will once again bully their way out of paying for services that they use. I generally thought it was a good sign when the I-205 bridge opened without a toll in 1982, but now I see that this was a huge mistake. Bridges across the Columbia have historically had tolls, and most of those have been retired.

"Land of the free," indeed. When will we be rid of freeloading baby-boomers and their eternal sense of entitlement?

November 21, 2010 at 8:49 a.m. ( | suggest removal )