Ban Farmed Salmon Too!

October 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

Hello Gregor,
Last night I finally watched the shark movie — you know: Sharkwater — and now I fully understand why you guys want to ban shark fin soup in Vancouver.  How’s that going?  Funny story: Me and my friends were on the hunt for soup a while back and wound up at a restaurant on Hastings with big dried shark fins behind glass by the door.  We noticed several varieties of expensive shark fin soup on the menu and couldn’t really find what we were looking for.  We took a while to decide and order.  I can’t even remember what we got, but it definitely wasn’t shark fin soup.  Like many bad restaurants, this one had a flat screen TV on the wall, and oddly enough, there was a nature documentary on about how destructive the shark fin industry is.  So there we were sitting at a shark fin restaurant watching the brutal process of shark finning on TV.  Some of us swore that the staff or the one table actually eating shark fin soup would notice what’s on the screen and change it.  I proposed that the restaurant actually played the shark documentary on purpose for some reason.
As it turns out though, it was just a coincidence that the shark documentary came on while we were there, as a show about galaxies came on after it.  I think the fact that the staff and diners at that restaurant didn’t notice the bloody footage relating to the meal they were involved with goes to show how unaware people can be.  The truth can be right there in front of them, lit up, on a flat screen TV, but if it interferes with their entitlement to consume whatever they want they just don’t see it.
That wasn’t the only shark coincidence though.  The next day I saw posters with sharks pictures on them, informing people about a protest at a restaurant that serves shark fin soup (not the same restaurant).  Then when I went busking with Roberto at Grandview Park, people were getting their signs together for the protest.
So, Norwegian corporations have somehow wound up being able to farm salmon off the BC coast, endangering our wild stocks for their short term financial gain.  I realize you are only the mayor of Vancouver, and you can’t just put on a super hero suit and get rid of the fish farms.  One thing you could do though, is ban the sale of farmed salmon in Vancouver!  Am I right?  The decimation of shark populations is a terrible, horribly reckless and shortsighted thing to do and I think people who participate in the industry, from fishermen to consumer, should be exposed and shamed for their selfishness, but the same goes for salmon farms.  The salmon farming issue actually hits closer to home than the shark fin issue, since wild salmon are the lifeline of our coast.  We need to stand up for the salmon like we’re standing up for the sharks!  I urge you to ban farmed salmon in Vancouver, and send a message to the world that open pen salmon farming is not okay!
Thanks,
G

Dear Gregor Robertson: Rename Vancouver “Richcouver”

August 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Dear Mr Robertson,

Thank you for your tireless efforts eliminating working class people from this great city of Vancouver.  When I bought a condo here ten years ago I honestly thought I would just leave it empty for most of the year other than the two weeks or so a year I come here on business, but I’ve fallen in love with Vancouver, and now I practically ignore all my condos in other cities.  I barely stepped foot in my London condo last year!

Anyway, as you are surely aware, there is still a bit of an icky problem here in Vancouver.  Everywhere I go I still see those telltale cheap shoes, tacky fashion sense and bags under the eyes of working class people.  I see them almost every week that I’m here – galavanting around Commercial Drive and Main Street like they own the place.  Don’t they understand?  Can they not take a hint?

Allowing developers to plow over neighbourhoods to make way for condos has been a great start, and rigging bylaws to reduce the prevalence of that God-awful live music working class people are so fond of has also helped, but I think you and city council should take another step – a decisive action to eliminate working class people from Vancouver forever – change the name of Vancouver to “Richcouver”.  That way there will be no misconceptions about who Vancouver is here for.

Have you ever met somebody who’s actually from Vancouver?  They’re hard to find, but they’re out there.  It’s funny to see them get all worked up about being shoved to the margins.  If you want to see them get red in the face just mention how they should have gotten in on all the economic benefits of the Olympics while it was still here, or mention how great the Northern Gateway Pipeline will be for them.

Sure, we’ll still need working class people to serve us in restaurants, clean our condos, fix the streets and such, but that doesn’t mean they have the right to live here.  You and Provincial gov’t have done a great job by allowing Translink to charge obscene amounts for “public transit”, and adding turnstiles to Skytrain stations adds the insulting icing on the cake.  I love to watch them cue up and dump their money down the drain just so they can travel downtown to work for us.  Forcing working people out of the city by making it too expensive for them to live here while at the same time making “public transit” too expensive to ride has been a pretty effective tactic, as working class people who live on the margins won’t be able to accumulate enough money to come here for any purpose other than work.  That’s a great start – let them work here but send them off to Surrey at the end of the work day – but changing the name of Vancouver to “Richcouver” will implant in the feeble working class mind just who Vancouver is for.

Every once in a while I drive around East Vancouver in my Mercedes, and I still see neighbourhoods of actual houses with yards and trees lining the roads, with young families raising children in traffic-calmed streets and parks, and it just makes me sick.  Parks are for miniature dogs to poop in, and streets are for driving.  We need condos with underground parking – not houses with yards; we need fashion boutiques and Whole Foods – not thrift stores and community gardens; we need more Starbucks and less live music!

Sure, I know displacing people isn’t as easy as it used to be, and yes, I see you are doing a decent job slowly destroying Commercial Drive and Mount Pleasant, but come on Gregor – we can do more to eliminate working people from Vancouver – rename it “Richcouver”!

Sincerely,

G
sent by email Aug 13 2012

Open Letter: Let’s make Vancouver the Most Beautiful City on Earth

March 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Dear Vancouver City Councillors,
Every day when I leave my home I am bombarded with advertisements. I believe that people should only be subject to advertising in a medium that they choose to consume. For example, if I buy a magazine I am choosing to consume that media and therefore I consent to being advertised to.  When I leave the house to ride my bike, walk or drive in our great city I don’t consent to being advertised to.  When people choose to consume cable TV they consent to being advertised to.

Here in BC we are often told that this is the greatest place on earth–Beautiful BC, but how can this be beautiful BC if there are outdoor advertisements constantly distracting people and sullying our landscapes?  How are we, the people of BC, supposed to feel grounded when we’re constantly attacked by consumer messages?  How are we supposed to educate our children about healthy eating habits when they are drenched in advertising for McDonalds and aspartame soda?  How are we supposed to encourage people to live an environmentally sound existence when they are constantly encouraged to over consume?

Please, I ask you to do something novel and amazing: ban outdoor advertising in Vancouver.  Let’s make Vancouver the most beautiful city on earth.

Sincerely,

G

 

[sent by mass email]

Dear Gregor Robertson: Let’s make Vancouver the Most Beautiful City in the World

February 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

Hello Gregor,
Firstly I’d like to mention that I was employed by your first successful mayoral campaign knocking on doors and hanging doorhangers.  At the time me and my friends thought we were helping someone who could really make a difference for Vancouver.
So, here we are in your second term (congratulations on the victory), and well, Vancouverites are not much better off than we were before.  Sure, there are more bike lanes.  Thanks for that.  But, have you heard that Vancouver may actually be more expensive to live in than Manhattan?  Check out this article if you haven’t already: http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2012/02/14/vancouver-great-city-if-you-can-afford-it/
Let’s say this is true, that Vancouver is more expensive than Manhattan.  Well what are we getting in return?  Many people remark about how beautiful Vancouver is, but as I cycle, walk and drive around this great city around every corner I see more and more advertising.  I have been especially bothered by the new freestanding lit up billboards on the grounds of BC Place Stadium.  Now when I drive along the Georgia viaduct instead of looking at the wonderful view of False Creek and the sky, my view is obstructed by lit up, offensive advertising for such products as aspartame soda.  Why is this allowed in our city?  Who gave whoever built those advertisements the right to block out the people of BC’s view of the sky?
But that’s not all, that’s just the most offensive new advertising.  It’s everywhere.  When you leave the office today I want you to look around and try to count how often you are advertised to on your way home.  I’m willing to bet that you won’t even be able to keep count.  That’s because it’s a barrage.  It’s a barrage of advertising so intense that it bypasses your conscious mind (from sheer volume) and streams into your subconscious.
How are we supposed to think straight with a constant barrage of advertising whenever we leave the house?  How are we supposed to have any peace of mind when everywhere we look there is a message telling us we are empty without some product or service?
The effect on peoples’ minds aside: outdoor advertising is extremely ugly.  Once again, I encourage you to take a look outside.  Think about how much more beautiful Vancouver would be without outdoor advertising.  Did you know that Sao Paulo Brazil has no outdoor advertising?  The state of Vermont has no billboards too.  That means that if we really wanted to, we could do it here.  And what a step that would be for Vancouver!  Not only would Vancouver be the most expensive in North America, but it would be the most beautiful, and her residents could go about their lives free from intrusive outdoor advertising.  I think the effect would be truly liberating.
I call on you Mr Robertson, to initiate a complete ban on outdoor advertising here in the great city of Vancouver, because outdoor advertising does absolutely nothing for the people of BC, clutters our city and manipulates its residents.
Thank you for your time, and please keep me updated on your progress.
G

Letter # 3 – Gregor Robertson: I am a voter and I support Occupy Vancouver

November 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

[Written via email on Nov 7 2011 to gregor.robertson@vancouver.ca]

Dear Mr. Robertson,
Firstly I’d like to let you know that I worked on behalf of your campaign when you got elected four years ago.  Myself and several of my friends worked hard for you hanging doorhangers, knocking on doors and such, and we did so not just for the pay, but because we believed in you.  We believed that you are a genuine person, and that you could enact real change here in Vancouver that would resonate around the world.
Now the news has come down that the Occupy Vancouver protesters are being evicted from the Art Gallery.  The very unfortunate death of a young woman is being used as a pretense to remove the protest.  As mayor of Vancouver surely you know that this city has a hard drug addiction problem.  The whole world knows that.  People overdose and die here all the time.  A woman was thrown out of a DTES hotel and killed a while back and nothing was done about that.  Don’t you know that if people are going to be homeless in Vancouver that they are way safer at the Occupy camp than anywhere else?
You have made a dire mistake at a critical time.  Are you not aware that evicting the protesters makes it look as though you are on the side of the international banking cartel, otherwise known as the 1%?  Well then Gregor; who’s side are you on?  Are you on the side of the weasels who have turned our financial system into a pyramid scheme, or are you on the side of the people of this city who slave for this system for mere survival?  Don’t you know these bankers only see you as a pawn, and that if you sincerely supported the people that we’d look after you?  You are surely losing lots of votes by supporting the cry of your despicable opponent Susan Anton.  This election now looks no better than the charade they have every 4 years in the USA, where 15% of the hypnotized population vote for one or the other face of the same monster.  With both mayoral candidates now showing contempt for the true interests of the people of Vancouver who are we going to vote for now?  With you now selling out your constituents by evicting the protest and losing scores of votes that only makes the awful NPA even stronger because their misguided voters won’t waiver on this issue.  I feel that you have just doomed your campaign and doomed Vancouver.  Now I sincerely do not know who to vote for.  Please turn this around and show who you really support.  We all know this is about politics and not about fire safety.  Look outside; does it look like a fire’s about to start?
Truly betrayed and disappointed,

G

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