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Translink's Twin $$ OK, the rest is garbage...speaking of which look at Trasolini's reasoning!
  Mar 09, 2007

This is a representative sample of 10,448 respondents throughout the lower mainland of British Columbia,paid for by Glen P. Robbins and Associates, ROBBINS Media Works, and Jim Van Rassel proprietor New Trend Optical (604) 942-9300 "Good God I can finally see" through an interview of 515 individuals between March 8-9th, 2007 including 250 individuals at specific telephone numbers who confirmed that they (a) were of voting age, and (b) had answered a telephone poll previously (which ROBBINS knows it called at least once) within the past six months). It is not known to what extent this impacts on the ROBBINS Company being featured in Question number 3, insofar as familiarity is concerned and as a consequence less emphasis was placed in commentary with respect to this particularly question as ROBBINS (and to some extent those that followed) as ROBBINS stood to benefit from any shortcomings of the provincial government as it relates to that question, but also stood to ‘lose’ if the implications of outcomes were more positive for government. Numbers were adjusted for population and respondents were considered relative to the overall populations of the cities/municipalities they inhabited. Given the information gleaned from previous telephone calls, and reasonable assumptions derived from that information ROBBINS declares that a fair and legal depiction based on the evidence underlying this poll is a margin of error of 4.0%, 19 times out of 20 @95% competency.

Question #1
The BC Liberal government and Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon have reconfigured Translink. One of the new priorities announced relates to the construction of an Evergreen Line from Lougheed Mall to Coquitlam Centre in Coquitlam. In order to pay for this, the BC Liberals and Translink propose to raise taxes on gasoline purchases by 3 cents per litre and from an increase in property taxes from residents in the lower mainland. Do you agree with this tax increase based primarily on the need to pay for light rail transportation to Coquitlam and for additional buses?
Yes    45 %
No    55 %
Question #2
Translink will henceforth be administered and managed by an appointed and unelected Board of Directors. Is this acceptable to you?
Yes    21 %
No    79 %
Question #3
Q#3-In your opinion would the BC public be better served if the public were able to vote on serious money matters such as those related to Translink through referenda, and additional ballot questions used during election periods, or through independently produced ROBBINS Sce Research public opinion polls?
Yes    72 %
No    28 %
Question #4
Critics of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics suggest that the reason there are too few buses, and little major transportation work done east of Vancouver is because the provincial government is focusing its priorities on the Olympics, the Canada Line (RAV Line), and Sea-to-Sky Highway. Do you agree with this assessment?
Yes    61 %
No    39 %
Question #5
Would an increase to property taxes affect you?
Yes    37 %
No    63 %
Question #6
I have absolute trust and confidence in my provincial elected representatives?
Yes    37 %
No    56 %
Can't/Won't Answer/Undecided    07 %
Question #7
In your opinion is 5.1% of eligible voters, a sufficient ‘turn-out’ to be considered a legitimate election of a person or persons?
Yes    19 %
No    81 %
Question #8
In your opinion is 25% of eligible voters, a sufficient ‘turn-out’ to be considered a legitimate election of a person or persons?
Yes    36 %
No    64 %
Slightly less than one half of respondents support the 3 cents per litre gasoline increase and property tax increases for the new improved version of Translink. A majority of property owners do not approve.
An overwhelming majority of respondents do not approve of an unelected/appointed Board of Directors for Translink.
A clear majority of respondents would prefer to have their say on money matters through referenda, additional questions on election ballots, or through independent public opinion conducted through the review conducted by ROBBINS Sce Research (1998).
Respondents in the majority are of the opinion that the reason transportation problems persist in the lower mainland (outside of Vancouver) is because the BC Liberal government has been focused on the 2010 Vancouver Whistler Winter Olympics, the Canada Line (formerly RAV Line) and Sea-to-Sky Highway.
The recent by-election for a city councilor in Coquitlam is deemed to be illegitimate by an overwhelming majority of respondents in this ROBBINS poll. A conspicuous majority of respondents do not agree that 25% of eligible voters are a sufficient voter quorum to be considered a legitimate election.
Not surprisingly, only respondents from the Tri-City region supported the gas AND property tax hike (by one-half). Support began to fall most noticeably in Maple Ridge, Mission, Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, West Vancouver and Whistler (particularly among property owners). It would appear that at a minimum, a hypothesis of sorts is forming in relation to residents of Vancouver, Richmond, and Whistler who want to achieve benefits for themselves, want others to pay taxes to support those benefits, but do not want to pay for the benefits acquired or alternatively for benefits provided to other regions of the province.
The concept of an unelected Board of Directors managing the day to day affairs of Translink is a significant ‘loser’ with respondents. The BC government is obviously hoping to transition Translink into another Crown Corporation like I.C.B.C.. Within this framework they will be able to raise monies through unaccountable 3P’s and other debt instruments which will be totally unaccountable to taxpayers/voters and will not appear on the government books, currently swimming in structural debt (cue Sara and Van Rassel), which has heretofore been encouraged by both former BC NDP and current BC Liberal governments.
A clear majority of respondents are not satisfied with the accountability of elections only, and would prefer an increased say in matters particularly as they relate to spending. This could be achieved through referenda or through ROBBINS independent public opinion polls.
Referenda questions attached to provincial election ballots seems to appease some of the nay-sayers but referenda attached to elections only does not appear to be satisfactory. Bear in mind that Premier Gordon Campbell did not want to hold referenda on the Vancouver Whistler Olympic bid. It took place only because of former Vancouver (COPE) Mayor Larry Campbell’s initiative.
There is some resistance to increased questions on provincial election ballots, as many respondents who answered in the affirmative are of the opinion that significant input from citizens should occur through independent means unrelated to either municipal, provincial or federal elections. To suggest that this should be undertaken by alleged blue ribbon panels or mainstream ‘swizz’ media polls appointed by or connected to elected officials and bureaucrats or mainstream newspaper advertising departments, reports by so-called ‘credible’ consultants, accountants, former elected officials, will continue to increase pressure on the decrease in public confidence of elected officials, and a lack of interest in political debate, and democratic participation.
To be blunt, the public does not trust the establishment, is ‘on to’ the politicians and has figured out the game they and their special interest friends are playing, and understands quite clearly that this game has degenerated to one of ‘them’ (the establishment) who benefits and ‘us’ the people who have to pay. For politicians to continue to ignore this is folly in the extreme.
For historical purposes (and matters of posterity) you heard it here first!!
The new reconfiguration of Translink appears to satisfy those in government more than it does the people who have to fund it and are otherwise affected by it. There is (barely) sufficient support for the 3 cent gas hike, and it is there in part due to the sentiment of respondents that the federal government is expected to pay for some of the transportation costs, and in part because it is a gasoline consumption tax which makes sense to many of them. Property owners do not support this revenue raising measure in the same number because they feel they are overtaxed and have come to understand that essentially any capital gains or gains they have made on their property through an increase in real estate values is being sucked away by the high cost of living which is not matched by their annual net earnings. It is obvious that the BC Liberal executive and Transportation Minister Falcon believe they can ‘spin’ this tax raising measure and ultimately blame it on the federal government as well as city and municipal leaders in the next municipal election in 2008, while they prepare for Gordon Campbell’s ‘BC Best place in the Earth’ provincial election campaign for 2009. British Columbia may in fact be the best place on earth, but this most certainly has little to do with either Premier Gordon Campbell or his BC Liberal caucus.
An appointed Board of Directors to operate the day to day affairs of Translink is an absolute, unequivocal, and unmitigated loser of a proposition. This is simply an attempt by the BC Liberal government to raise monies from taxpayers (already on the hook for anticipated huge cost overruns with the 2010 Winter Olympics except in Vancouver city proper where respondents apparently want everyone else to pay their bills but do not want to contribute to other bills), and have control over those appointed persons, WITHOUT having to take political responsibility for those decisions when and if they are unpopular. The buck doesn’t stop with Gordon Campbell government; it more likely appears to stop at the pocket-book of friends and insiders and some corrupt politicians.
Translink’s Twin will also permit the provincial government to raise monies through private public partnerships where owing to confidentiality concerns, much of the information relating to costs will not be readily availability to the public (or otherwise subsidizes these ventures), or if the proposed structure ‘morphs’ into a Crown Corporation will not be compelled to include its debt on the public books and in the budget. Both the BC NDP and BC Liberals governments have developed reputations for increasing public debt, and if this existing problem becomes more firmly entrenched and diffuse in the public’s mind through even more debt brought on by transportation problems and shortcomings the political fall-out for the BC Liberals will be extensive, particularly as the federal Conservatives move towards a majority government. I submit that even the mainstream media will not help the BC Liberals in 2009 given what we are hearing in this ROBBINS poll. This conclusion is underscored when we consider that barely more than one-third of respondents in this poll have confidence in elected provincial elected representatives. As the Premier and his Cabinet attempt to replicate policies of the BC NDP they are opening a gaping hole on the centre right of the spectrum which cannot be contained through duplicitous methods normally pursued by politicos and the mainstream media such as freezing out other party challenges, or by relying on continued de facto control of ‘hillbilly’ Boards of Directors of these erstwhile challengers. It is unlikely that the public will continue to vigorously support Premier Gordon Campbell’s “Special” approach to attaining power in the province. Whether or not there is sufficient ‘reluctant’ support for his party to re-elect him is becoming more doubtful by day. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to permit a hybrid relationship between provincial Liberals and Conservatives may require some sober second consideration as he sits on the cusp of majority government.
Real conservatives like federal Member of Parliament John Cummins, Tri-City businessman Jim Van Rassel, Canadian Federation of Taxpayer’s BC representative Sara McIntyre or even Common Sense advocate and ‘Rocker’ Bruce Allen could potentially be poised to exploit the vulnerability of the BC Liberal government’s shortcomings and public discontent particularly as increased voter awareness provoked by issues such as the Translink reconfiguration, makes it clear that Vancouver, Richmond, West Vancouver and Whistler are favoured cities and municipalities under the BC Liberal government, while the rest of the province is considered secondary. (Hereinafter “two-tiered democracy”).
This type of unaccountability becomes even more pronounced when we consider Vaughn Palmer’s (Vancouver Sun) disclosure that Premier Campbell failed to deduct pay from Finance Minister Carole Taylor AND Forestry Minister Rich Coleman’s pay, pursuant to a promise he made in his first term of office to do so when Ministers do not achieve budget forecasts. Clearly this is a government that pursues new low levels of accountability which continue to hurt the province, while the government elected officials help themselves.
With this in mind we sight the recent public disclosure relating to land ownership of one elected official along the proposed Evergreen Line for Port Moody (first reported by ROBBINS), and the apparently well known benefits that some insiders who have land ownership at strategic places along the Canada Line will enjoy. (First reported by ROBBINS-don’t expect the mainstream press to inform you of this potential corruption).;
Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority chair Malcolm Brodie is convening a special meeting to address conflict-of-interest concerns relating to property owned by Port Moody Mayor and TransLink director Joe Trasolini.
In a statement released exclusively to 24 hours' Public Eye, Brodie said recommended measures "will include the exclusion of director Trasolini from future board discussions and decisions relating to the Evergreen Line project."
Trasolini has denied any such conflict concerns exist.
Brodie's statement was triggered by a 24 hours' Public Eye investigation that revealed Trasolini owns property worth $2.5 million along the line's St. Johns Street segment - about 400 meters away from its proposed Buller Street station.
TransLink's light-rail transit line will connect the Tri-Cities with SkyTrain and the West Coast Express.
The former owner of Trasolini's property, Cameo Construction Ltd. president Louis Winkler, says the agreement for sale is dated May 12, 2004, with the purchase price listed at $2.6 million.
At the time of the agreement, Trasolini was not a TransLink director. He served on the board in 2003 and rejoined in 2005. That means he did not participate in the board's Dec. 8, 2004 decision to approve the "essential elements" of the Evergreen Line.
In an interview Monday, Trasolini said he was approached by Winkler about purchasing the property. Trasolini went ahead with the deal because he had sold his company, and was getting more involved in politics and needed a business that demanded less of his time. And renting commercial space fit the bill.
Asked for comment on Brodie's statement Wednesday, Trasolini said, "I've consulted with a solicitor. And I'm going to put them in touch" with TransLink's solicitor. And I'm going to wait until they talk to each other. Because, to me, it's a very clear situation. There's nothing there ... I have nothing to hide."
Moreover, Trasolini says he's tried to sell the property since May, 2006. And there's been a draft agreement for sale since Aug. 14, 2006 - an agreement which has been accepted.
"I see [the Evergreen Line] as a negative disruption. This is not a residential zoning. This is a light industrial/commercial. I don't even want to be there if the Evergreen Line is built. I see this as a negative. So I've been selling this property."
On Monday, Trasolini also said the property didn't put him in a conflict because, "If you read the definition of conflict, it's if I make a decision that's only for me. And, in fact, [supporting the Evergreen Line] doesn't. It benefits the whole northeast sector."
Trasolini pointed out plans to run a transit line down St. Johns have been on the books for 15 years. But he hasn't been a proponent of that plan, preferring a route along the Lougheed Highway instead. And he says he fully disclosed ownership of the property to TransLink and the City of Port Moody. Trasolini disclosed ownership of that property to TransLink in a 2007 filing. He says he also disclosed ownership with TransLink in a 2006 filing. According to Port Moody's Financial Disclosure Act schedule, Trasolini listed the property as an asset in annual filings dated Jan. 13, 2006 and Jan. 15, 2007.
On Mar. 6, 2006 TransLink directors appointed Trasolini chair of the Evergreen Line board communications committee.
During the same meeting, he also participated in a vote to approve $35 million for the strategic acquisition of properties along the Evergreen Line. No specific properties were identified in that budget.
And he was present when the board voted Oct. 18, 2006 to approve $16 million for detailed design work on the Evergreen Line, as well as during a request for $400 million in additional funding from the provincial and federal governments.
After 24 hours Public Eye contacted TransLink, its chair - Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie - contacted Trasolini Monday evening.
TransLink then launched a conflict-of-interest review, which issued its recommendations late Tuesday evening.
That review "identified potential shortcomings in written disclosures and the potential for conflict of interest."
Clearly, the history of Translink and the apparent structure of the new reconfigured Translink will continue to permit a sort of fleecing of the public, exacerbate problems of accountability, and likely lead to increased political corruption, which in totality will manifest in the increase unhappiness, displeasure, and growing cynicism of the public. This will impact negatively on receptivity to media coverage of political discourse in the province, which to date is non-existent in areas outside the lower mainland, and is becoming increasingly diminished in this region as well as readers continue to gravitate to headlines and ignore reporting.
The tension which presently exists in the province with regard to (un)accountability and is underscored by the reconfiguration of Translink and the evidence of this ROBBINS poll, can only lead any reasonably well informed right thinking British Columbian to conclude that prevailing federal accountability laws have meaning up to the Alberta border, as the dysfunctional ‘arrangements of convenience’ between so many Conservative MP’s and BC Liberals in this province deprive citizens of any of those federal benefits which might otherwise be derived from these important reforms to the democratic process of governance.
The reconfiguration of Translink is nothing more than the continuing saga of a planned ‘cheating’ of British Columbians through a clear breach of accountability and transparency, and ought to in a right and just society signal the end of the Campbell government in British Columbia.

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