Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hogarth in denial - not for the first time

TIMES Blog - Stats are a crime


Chris Campbell, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows TIMES
Published: Friday, March 20, 2009
Our editorial in Tuesday's edition took issue with the whining from certain members of Maple Ridge Council (particularly Coun. Al Hogarth) in regards to the media and its coverage of crime issues.

The district conducted a phone survey on the public's satisfaction with a variety of issues, and crime was one issue people were unhappy about. It's not surprising that Hogarth is unhappy with the media these days. Our competition did a story not that long ago about an unfavourable ruling against Hogarth in regards to a tenancy dispute. The story obviously made Hogarth look bad so his sarcastic comment that said, "Of course newspapers are always accurate in everything they report," wasn't a shock.

Yes, and politicians are always truthful (see, I can be sarcastic, too). But Hogarth also made some remarks about how people are likely influenced by negative media coverage of Northumberland Court, the crime-ridden housing complex that the district seems incapable of dealing with.

Well, it's a big issue and it's been dragging on for a long time. The district is spending a lot of tax dollars and staff hours dealing with the issue so the media is going to cover it. It's a mecca for crime. So, Al, what's your point? Are we supposed to ignore it so the district won't get a negative reaction from the public? Enough with the whining. Fix the damn problem.
Then there was this quote from Councillor Mike Morden: "Crime is actually going down, not up. It's all about public perception." I can't let that quote go by unchallenged. It was a general statement so I don't know if Morden was talking about national crime rates or Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows crime rates.

Sure, it's true that crime is technically going down across the country, which is great. As a citizen, I'm happy about that. But you have to analyze the numbers to see exactly what that means. We tried to get the most up-to-date stats from the local police, but they were unable to supply those by our deadline. However, according to MacLean's Magazine's March 16th edition, Maple Ridge ranked in the top-10 nationally for the worst communities for both breaking and entering, AND auto theft.

Not exactly something to brag about, is it? I also went back to the last Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows statistics I had available to show how the stats are a matter of perception.
In 2007, there were 363 commercial break and enters compared to 323 in 2006, an 11-per-cent increase. There were 290 residential break and enters in 2007, compared to 373 in 2006, a 22-per-cent drop. There was also a minute drop in vehicle thefts between 2007 and 2006 - 757 vehicle thefts in 2006 and 746 in 2007.

Meanwhile, theft from vehicles increased by about nine per cent, from 1,535 in 2006 to 1,693 in 2007. Possession of stolen property cases declined by 43 per cent from 190 in 2006 to 108 in 2007. Fraud cases decreased from 400 in 2006 to 313 in 2007. Mischief cases stayed very close at 1,197 in 2006 compared to 1,192 in 2007.

Robberies jumped by 40 per cent from 47 in 2006 to 78 in 2007. Sexual assaults went down by 11 per cent. There were 61 sexual assaults in 2006 compared to 54 in 2007. So, yes, overall crime numbers might be going down, but as these stats reveal, certain types of crimes can also increase while the overall numbers drop.

Commercial break and enters jumped over the period listed above so if you asked a business owner if they felt crime was falling, they'd likely think that wasn't the case. You see, it's all a matter of perception. And here is one essential point to mention. According to many business owners we've interviewed during the past couple of years, some commercial victims of crime are NOT reporting the crimes because they don't see the point. Many owners have simply given up reporting it.

If that is the case, then it will skew the numbers.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

'Growth' more of a threat than is accepted by world leaders including our hopeful Obama

In a previous blog we asked;"what is this obsession with growth?' It is perhaps time to reflect again on our blind call for growth, our near evangelical headlong dash to save the planet by growing it economically. Is this a sound plan? It seems to this blogger that growth itself is what has brought the world financial systems (aided of course by the usual corrupts) to its and consequently our knees. Growth of a natural kind is to be expected. Force fed growth such as we see come from the G20 an others is I am afraid, quite possibly, a fool's game. A fool's game leading quite likely to an even deeper recession than the one we now find ourselves in.

These past six months have seen a lot of 'leaping' not prefixed by the prescribed 'looking before.'

Bernie Madoff learns gated communities not always what you expected

Throughout his career Bernie Madoff dreamed of living in a gated community. What's that old saying; be careful of what you wish for.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sometimes all it takes is a funeral

The BBC report below points to the passing of and subsequent funeral for Morgan Tsvangirai's wife Susan as creating an atmosphere of 'unity' in the failed state Zimbabwe.

"Could the tragic car crash which killed the wife of Zimbabwe's long-time opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, serve to cement the shaky unity government which he joined as prime minister just a month ago?

Zimbabweans of all political colours have been moved by the warm words of condolence at Susan Tsvangirai's funeral spoken by President Robert Mugabe, who for many years has labelled her husband a traitor.

Many Zimbabweans were deeply pessimistic about the chances of the two men, who have been such bitter enemies for many years, genuinely working together.

This seemed to be borne out as Mr Tsvangirai's supporters remained in detention and violence returned to some of the few remaining white-owned farms, even after he was sworn in.
On hearing the news of Mrs Tsvangirai's death, the first reaction of many Zimbabweans was to assume it was the work of Mr Mugabe's feared secret police.

Several of Mr Mugabe's previous rivals have perished in suspicious car crashes.
But Mr Tsvangirai has said he accepts it was almost certainly an accident.

And Mr Mugabe's speech at a church service in Harare for Mrs Tsvangirai has completely changed the mood in Harare's political circles."

This blogger agrees with the BBC report but adds that another funeral would clinch the deal for the future of Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe's funeral would of course give great hope and lift the immense burden this tyrant has placed on the people of his country. This not to say the former colonists are any more innocent than Mugabe. Between white rule and black retribution we see a ruined country and a near-ruined continent.
Fortunately the future looks much brighter now for Africa than ever before.

Ironically, the recent global downturn, in my view is more of a leveler between the developed nations and the African continent. Since the arrival of the Europeans on the African continent Africans soon became used to hardship. A shortage housing, food, education, medicine and infrastructure is nothing new to the African. Africa and the west are only half-partners in this recession as the full impact will be worse in the West than in Africa. Africa, in short, is better equipped to deal with hardship than the mollycodled West.

As for Mugabe, he is one of the few African leaders to utterly disappoint not only his perceived oppressor but indeed the really oppressed as well, his own people. The sooner he is laid to rest the better, for everyone concerned., democracy itself not the least.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

H2 Oh no!!!

Maple Ridge, March 11 2008 Here's the irony. They tell us we are running out of fresh water. They also tell us the world's oceans are about to wipe out coastal regions and redesign our continents.

So here's my question: With desalination plants now a reality, can there be any reason - at all - why our oh so global leaders spend some of the that bailout cash on building desalination plants all over the place?

We'll drink and use as much water as we can to insure that our coastlines remain untouched by climate change/warming or whatever the most recent label is for what is going with this Earth.

Convert the rising salt water oceans to fresh water and irrigate the world's driest regions. Who knows if any of the creative leadership have given any thought to the potential for hydro power generated from all that extra water we are about to be the beneficiaries of.

Could it be any simpler?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Too much too soon or too little too late?

To often and too early do we hear the talking heads on CNN, Bloomberg and pals utter the standard refrain 'too little too late'. As a self-confessed chronic skeptic I wonder how wrong the pundits are? And I wonder if, quite soon, they may be heard to admit that what today is thought of as too little too late may indeed have been too much too soon. I speak of course of the bailout packages rolled out over the past six months by governments - almost every government on the planet that could afford it - to banks, businesses and down-on-their-luck citizens across this globe of ours that we call home.

The markets and financial order will return soon enough - well, perhaps only soon; it will never be soon enough. And once the turn around happens what, one wonders, will the real reason for the turn around be attributed. Many may point to Obama; skeptics will say that without Bush there'd be no need for Obama's near-perfect leadership and timing.

Some will say that the turn around will be a result of simple gravity. That is to say the result of the dear old consumer and his family simply burning, albeit at a slower rate, through their perishables and non-perishables to the point where replenishment is order if not necessary and the consequence will be the need for more credit to replace old cars, computers , jeans, T-Shirts and PDAs.

Notwithstanding the rosy horizon it remains that several trillion dollars in debt will overhang the global financial system and the one wonders, as skeptics do, if the next big collapse may be the last. Has the leadership overacted? I'll bet my electric car from G(E)M that it has.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Apply the 'use or lose it' rule to neighbouring Zimbabwe to rebuild economy


The story on today's BBC website indicates that common-sense may have trumped knee-jerk socialism in South Africa. Unquestionably land distribution to the disadvantaged peoples in post apartheid was inevitable, ethical and the right thing to do. This said, it also become clear very early on that the way in which land was handed out had not been thought through and in the end the plan was recognized by all sensible people in South Africa as having been botched (and that is putting it kindly).

Handing land over to people who do not know how to husband the land is a mistake. South Africa was in danger of following Zimbabwe down a road to an agricultural apocalypse. The new legislation from South Africa's minister of agriculture is doubtless a carrot being waved at the electorate prior to the May election. Or is it?
If the ANC or COPE for that matter are looking to increase their standing with the populace in general, then threatening to take back land from blacks does not seem to be the way to go. So what is thinking here?

It may simply be that all races, creeds and colours and members of every political pursuasion in South Africa recognize a recession when they see one. And simpler yet all South Africans recognize that in times of failing economies and threatened financial systems all the stops must be pulled out. Going back on a promise to redistribute to the historically disadvantaged is a strong message that someone, somewhere in the South African halls of power undestands the problem and has figured out the solution. If only Zimbabwe's polotician's would sit up and take note.

From the BBC

South Africa says it will take over any land allocated to black farmers which is not being used effectively under a land redistribution programme.

The measure, which takes immediate effect, was announced by Agriculture Minister Lulu Xingwana, who warned farmers should "use it or lose it".

She said confiscated land would go to emerging farmers and co-operatives.

After apartheid, the government set a target to give 30% of all agricultural land to the black majority by 2014.

About 95% of that land has been handed over but much of it has lain idle for years.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Rush into the Glen

Can there be two more reprehensible, awful personalities on our wide screens than Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck. I'd like to think that Limbaugh has the excuse of insanity. Beck has no excuse and his parents for that matter have less of an excuse for unifying to bring this whining monstrosity into our living rooms.

I would like to think that what they do for a living is done for entertainment, as nothing comes from either mouth that relates even remotely to the true state of the United of States or any other state, hostile or benign.

We are told that CNN is representative of the left and that FOX is somehow right wing. Beck brought only insidious trivia to CNN and was so good at it that he now applies the same righteous drivel to FOX. Has he ever once watched or listened to himself. I suspect the answer is 'yes'. And if that is the case the US is in serious trouble i.e if he believes himself then others may follow. I would happily double the world's financial woes and see the collapse of numerous large banks to see the back of Beck. He needs to be locked up. He needs to be locked up with Rush in the same cell. Rush needs to catch Glen in the showers and roger some sense into his flabby white ass. That will make Glen's blue eyes shine even brighter.

If anyone has any suggestions on how we can rid the planet of Beck and Limbaugh all submissions are welcome. Perhaps a stint in Afghanistan will sort them out. They could clean out Al Quaeda latrines or dig ditches for the Taleban. Anything to keep them off our TV screens. Two fascist mafia, but without the flair one would expect of the Sopranos, Capone and Luciano.


Government is so, so yesterday...............................