Archive for politics

To serve and house the homeless …

Seattle’s “technology community” is here to help.

Tech companies such as Amazon opposed Seattle’s short-lived head tax on large businesses to pay for homeless services and housing, but Mayor Jenny Durkan now says they can assist the city in other ways.

Rather than tap the companies’ bank accounts, she wants Seattle to tap their know-how. For example, they could help the city design apps for social services, Durkan says.

Sweet!

The mayor has convened an Innovation Advisory Council to seek advice on challenges such as homelessness and transportation. … She described the panel as a “new collaboration with Seattle’s technology community that will better highlight technology solutions.”

Besides Amazon, participants at this point include Microsoft, along with Zillow, Expedia and Tableau, whose leaders spoke out this year against the idea of a head tax. …

A Durkan executive order creating the council includes no concrete pledges of time or money by the companies.

“What we’ve heard from company to company as I’m talking to them is, ‘Tap us for our know-how … We have some of the most talented people on the globe right here in Seattle,’ ” the mayor said.

Her order says the group will identify issues, make policy recommendations and implement projects related to “data analytics, dashboards, applications and software for the city.”

Dashboards!

(This is so fucked up.)

h/t @atrios

Greyhound’s departure from B.C. is bad news

From Global News:

Greyhound Canada says it is ending its passenger bus and freight services in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and cancelling all but one route in B.C. – a U.S.-run service between Vancouver and Seattle.

Without reliable and inexpensive transportation in British Columbia’s rural areas, it’s inevitable that many people’s lives will be less safe, their health will suffer, their economic opportunities will shrink, and their families will fragment. Providing its residents access to transportation services is a vital duty of our government.

Women will be most at risk, particularly indigenous women. Writes Emily Riddle:

We have long known that lack of access to transportation in rural and remote areas in this country is a factor in the murder and disappearance of thousands of Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people in Canada. …

I have travelled the Highway of Tears in my work with First Nations communities in British Columbia, past the billboards that read “Girls, Don’t hitchhike on the Highway of Tears: Killer on the Loose!” Of course, those who hitchhike on the Highway of Tears or anywhere else are not to blame for the violence enacted on them, but accessible transportation is an important means of harm reduction. …

Of course, Greyhound’s decision to end operations in Western Canada is a business decision. … A business isn’t responsible for the safety of Indigenous people or for the safety of those who must now hitchhike to their jobs; neither is it responsible for assuring access to medical appointments for people in Northern communities. …

The discontinuation of Greyhound services has made it abundantly clear that we should not rely on private companies to deliver vital, sometimes life-saving services. … As an Albertan living in British Columbia, I’m left wondering: Why can’t Canada nationalize intercity bus service when they have agreed to nationalize a failing pipeline project?

h/t JS

And yet a long ways to go …

… certainly in my home province. From the CBC a few minutes ago:

B.C. Liberal MLA Mike Morris is under fire after comments he made in the legislature on Monday, suggesting that funding committed to Indigenous languages in the province would be better spent on policing resources.

The province announced $50 million in funding toward preserving and revitalizing Indigenous languages throughout the province in the NDP government’s budget last week. …

Morris is the former B.C. public safety minister and before entering politics spent 32 years in the RCMP.  …

“They’re sad comment from the Liberals, but it’s not surprising, and that’s the saddest part of it all,” said Bob Chamberlin, chief councillor for the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation and vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

Chamberlain said instead of attacking the funding for Indigenous languages, the investment should be applauded.

“It’s a way to save a vital component of our people, all the way across British Columbia,” he said.

“The fact that the MLA spoke about the alcoholism, the drug addiction and so on — and the need to take this money for better policing — it just perpetuates a negative stereotype that needs to be overcome.

“I think that he needs to do a lot more reading on the history of Canada and relationship to First Nations people.”

… and over in Saskatchewan as well …

The worst

This quote from King Lear is ever apt:

The worst is not. So long as we can say “This is the worst.”

The photographs of the United States president smiling and giving a thumb’s-up sign among hospital personnel and first-responders in Florida two days after the school massacre was literally nauseating.

My enlightened neighborhood

WestEndSexworkersMemorial

The discussion has left the room

My friend Clarissa writes,

As a long-time blogger, I know that there is a number of subjects you simply don’t write about if you don’t want to attract a bunch of unhinged fanatics. Breastfeeding, homeschooling, and sexual dysfunction are such subjects. Climate is another. I simply don’t engage and find the whole subject repellent because there’s no upside to talking about it. It’s become the sole purview of disturbed people who use it to soothe their psychological traumas.

There can be no doubt that the climate cause is losing. One would think that after decades of abject failure those who care would at least consider trying to do something other than screeching maniacally at whoever departs half an inch from their orthodoxy.

And it’s not just climate, either. Diversity was a great idea until it was overrun by crazy and vulgar people who destroyed the concept in the service of their dysfunction.

I would add “naming individuals on the ‘gender continuum’” to that list of subjects. Alas.

This feels strangely great

Full story here.

And God save us all, this Tuesday.

h/t MD