A Pro-Life Argument You Have Likely Never Heard…Your 1st Seven Days in Inner Space

The following is meant to take a cold, hard, scientific look at the issue of abortion. You may not like what you are about to read, but, that’s the nature of reality sometimes.

I think we can start with the agreement that terminating the life of a 1 year old is not okay.

One year old

If we proceed back in time, we hopefully can agree terminating a 1 day old is also not “okay.”

New born baby

However, just before what we call birth, we enter into the gray area where agreement and opinions on “okayness” become extremely fuzzy.

But first, let’s take a look at that moment just after birth, when the newborn child’s umbilical cord is still attached and providing blood, oxygen and nutrients, while efficiently eliminating waste.

Umbilical.jpg

Here’s my first question – is it the child’s umbilical cord, or the mother’s umbilical cord?

New born and placenta

 

Well, let’s look at what specifically the umbilical cord is attached to – the new born child at one end and the placenta on the other.

My related second and third questions are (a) what is the placenta, and (b) is it the newborn’s or the mother’s placenta?

Here’s the definition of the placenta – “The placenta is a temporary organ that connects the developing fetus via the umbilical cord to the uterine wall to allow nutrient uptake, thermo-regulation, waste elimination, and gas exchange via the mother’s blood supply; to fight against internal infection; and to produce hormones which support pregnancy.”

A “temporary organ”…so far, so good, BUT, that doesn’t answer the question – whose “temporary organ” is it?

Let’s look at how the placenta forms.

Take a few minutes and watch this animated video of the process.

“The placenta begins to develop upon implantation of the blastocyst into the maternal endometrium. The outer layer of the blastocyst becomes the trophoblast, which forms the outer layer of the placenta.”

So the placenta starts at the moment of “…implantation of the blastocyst”…. In other words, when the independent fertilized human egg implants/attaches itself to the mother…

Travelling a little further back in time….What is a blastocyst? The blastocyst is “A thin-walled hollow structure in early embryonic development that contains a cluster of cells called the inner cell mass from which the embryo arises. The outer layer of cells gives rise to the placenta and other supporting tissues needed for fetal development within the uterus while the inner cell mass cells gives rise to the tissues of the body.

Take a moment to reread that. The placenta is formed, not from the mother’s body, but, from the cells of the blastocyst, and, from the genetic information contained in the blastocyst, NOT the mother’s DNA, nor from the mother’s body.

So, now we know that a placenta is not formed by the mother, nor is it part of the mother, but, is in fact, part of and formed by the blastocyst.

Now, how and where does a blastocyst “begin”?

To answer that question, let’s jump right back to the moment of conception, when the joining together of a human egg and human sperm results in a flash of light (see https://youtu.be/ovzGmRrtVys ) , and cell division begins.

Conception

conception 2

This is a link to a great video explanation of the process from pre-fertilization to implantation.  (The following provides a text description)

At the moment of conception, the human sperm, from the male donor, and the human egg from the female donor, got together and become the zygote.

But, “where” exactly was the human egg when the sperm entered it?

You may say, why obviously it was in the woman’s body. That is true, but it doesn’t answer the actual question. The human egg, prior to fertilization, was in the woman’s ovaries, from where it was “released” at ovulation.

Arguably, that “release” or “detachment” is akin to the release of the sperm from the male’s testicles.

At the point of conception, “Day 1,” while it occurs within the woman’s body, neither the egg, nor the sperm, are attached to the woman’s body. They are both floating around in the space within the woman’s body.

astronaut

Once conception has occurred the independent, fertilized egg, the sum product of BOTH the sperm and the egg, the zygote, does what?

If it is lucky, after four days of floating, it has evolved into a morula, and after about a week of surviving floating around in “inner space,” like an astronaut floating around in outer space, now a blastocyst, it lands and attaches itself to the woman’s body seeking nourishment in the form of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to grow. As described above, the formation, from the blastocyst’s outer layer, begins, which becomes the outer layer of the placenta.

It is worth noting at this juncture that the blastocyst contains ALL the genetic information/knowledge needed to PRODUCE itself…all it essentially needs is food and oxygen to grow, and a safe place to grow in.

Note the fact that the blastocyst attaches itself. The mother does not attach herself to the blastocyst. It is the blastocyst which is reaching out to the mother for food, just like a baby naturally does when it is first born.

The points I am making here are:

  1. The successful sperm is independent until conception,
  2. The recipient egg is independent until conception,
  3. The fertilized egg (the zygote, morula and blastocyst) is independent after conception and is unarguably not part of the mother’s body for about the first 7 days,
  4. After the egg has attached itself, and throughout pregnancy, the placenta, formed by the blastocyst, is a temporary organ of the new human being, which is attached to the woman’s body as a life support delivery system.

In other words, during the entirety of pregnancy, the independent human being which is growing, and being fed by the mother, is as dependent upon the mother’s body, as it is dependent upon nourishment from the mother after birth.

cleavage

The “pro-choice” argument is that a woman can do whatever she wants with “her own body,” but, according to science, the egg, the sperm, the zygote, the morula, the blastocyst, the placenta, the embryo, the fetus, the baby, the human being, are NOT “part” of a mother’s body. In fact we all are, and have been, a separate body…one which started its life inside a woman.

Therefore, technically, a woman does not have the capacity to “reproduce,” because that is not actually what happens during human reproduction. Scientifically she acts only as a temporary host and nourisher for her child which is the product of the mother’s egg and the father’s sperm. The mother is perhaps best described as a nourishing provider.

In my opinion, the above is the scientific argument which should be made, not only in a court of law and the court of human opinion, but, as part of the educational system. Every child old enough to understand should understand exactly how their life began.

Our current understanding of science, whether one likes it or not, is definitive.

Every single reader of this article began in a flash of light, as a fertilized egg, as a blastocyst, floating around in their mother’s body, looking for nourishment. Looking for a place to rest and feed for 9 months, using the life support system it created (placenta), to receive the nourishment we required, before being launched into this world as an independent body.

Pro-choice advocates have it wrong on this particular point – Abortion is not about a woman’s body, it is, scientifically, about their child’s body.

That’s the harsh, scientific reality.

Now, the primary debate is then – “when” does human life begin?

I have always asked those who support abortion this question, ” Can you tell me, with any certainty, when, and at what exact millisecond, from the moment of conception, to the first breath,  does human life begin?

No one, including the highest courts, has been able to provide anything other than generalized, unscientific points in time – e.g. up until the 1st trimester, up until 24 weeks, etc..

Those are not scientifically supported responses.

From one cell, to two, to four, to eight, etc. there is nowhere in that time continuum of life’s cell divisions, which can be said you or I were not human. Nor, do the various terms which science has provided (e.g. zygote, morula, blastocyst, embryo, fetus, etc.) do anything other than describe, for descriptive convenience sake only, arbitrarty and various points of time in the continuum of life.

The reality is this – it is impossible within life’s time continuum to point to any specific milli-second after conception to say that this is the moment your life “began.”

Thus, science tells us we each began our lives as an independent fertilized egg, and, we each were lucky enough to land, first on our mother’s uterine wall, and then eventually on our own two feet.

In between, like every other form of life, we hope to survive.

The questions which remain unanswered are the moral questions – if a developing human being is NOT part of a woman’s body, does the woman have a moral responsibility to protect the individual growing insider her, and likewise therefore, does the state have the right to protect the individual?

That’s the outstanding question which society has been struggling with.

However, the existing Supreme Court ruling on the issue, in my opinion, doesn’t go far enough. However, it is interesting that in the Roe v Wade ruling, the Court left the door ajar.

The Court’s opinion in 1973 stated, “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, in this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.” “At the level of medical science available in the early 1970s, the beginning of the third trimester was normally considered to be the point at which a fetus became viable. Therefore, the Court ruled that during the third trimester the state had a compelling interest in protecting prenatal life, and could legally prohibit all abortions except where necessary to protect the mother’s life or health.”

The recent legislation passed in a variety of American states will eventually result in a reexamination of the “question.”

This appears to be an inevitable path forward.

Our understanding of human life has advanced significantly over the past 46 years. It will be interesting to see how the debate of the issue evolves.

However, in my opinion, the “woman’s body” argument can now be severely challenged. Rather it will come down to the moral predicament that occurs when, after two adults engage in intercourse, their union results in the union of an egg and sperm, and the beginning of a human life…their baby’s life.

To violently remove a developing human being from its life support system begs many questions, not the least of which is whether the state/society has the right to create laws to protect humans at the most vulnerable period of their lives.

I would suggest perhaps the best direction to take would be to take a “scared straight” approach to the issue, and expose those of childbearing age to the miracle of life, and the potential consequences of sexual intercourse.

The 60’s sexual revolution, the failure of the Pill and Roe v Wade gave us this chart:Abortion rates

The good news is abortion rates are declining and have been since about 1980. The hope would be, that those rates continue to decline through greater education.

Finally in my personal opinion, both sides of the issue should be concentrating on how to reduce unwanted pregnancies before they start (through education, contraception, etc.), to support those pregnant women who need support, and to enforce father/parental support.

However, on the question of protecting fellow human beings, there should be universal agreement…one would hope.

2001

Zero Sum Game?

zero sum game: a situation in which one person or group can win something only by causing another person or group to lose it. 

I just pulled the current homes for sale on Salt Spring Island statistics off of the Victoria MLS System.

The lowest priced home on Salt Spring, in which you can live in year round, is a 974 square foot, 50 year old, 1969 mobile home, while the second is a 1,018 square foot condo, that is 29 years old, for $449,000.

The required income to purchase mobile is around $70,000/year, while the condo unit would be over $80,000/year.

In other words, there is no longer ANYTHING (okay…ONE) which could be considered “affordable” by the average working family on the island, using the 2015 median income of families of $70,366/year.

The number is ZERO… that’s a “0” with as many 0’s following it as you want to put.

Victoria MLS Salt Spring Nov.11/19 Income
Price Range Homes # listed Av$ Required
0 $149,000 0
150000 $199,000 0
200000 $299,000 0
300000 $399,000 1 $339,000 70,000+
400000 $499,000 5 $475,180 80,000+
500000 $599,000 7 $579,071 100,000+
600000 $699,000 12 $665,866 100,000+
700000 $799,000 11 $768,277 100,000+
800000 $899,000 9 $853,888 100,000+
900000 $999,000 3 $978,333 100,000+
1000000 $1,499,999 18 $1,244,277 100,000+
1500000 $1,999,999 7 $1,768,257 100,000+
2000000 $2,999,999 4 $2,447,500 100,000+
3000000 $3,999,999 1 $3,499,000 100,000+
4000000 $4,999,999 0
5000000 and up 0
Total 78

Compare those numbers with these from the 2015 IWAV updated  Salt Spring Housing Needs Assessment.

Table 36 – MLS listings – Single Family, Condos and Town Homes Available 2009-2015
Price Range # listed
2009
# listed
2014
Change
2009-2014
# listed
2015
Change 2009-2015
0 149,000 0 0 0 0 0 n/a
150,000 199,000 0 0 0 1 1 n/a
200,000 299,000 1 11 10 4 3 300%
300,000 399,000 12 53 41 31 19 158%
400,000 499,000 27 30 3 18 -9 -33%
500,000 599,000 25 41 16 29 4 16%
600,000 699,000 18 28 10 14 -4 -22%
700,000 799,000 17 13 -4 9 -8 -47%
800,000 899,000 16 11 -5 4 -12 -75%
900,000 999,000 13 9 -4 12 -1 -8%
1,000,000 and up 46 21 -25 46 0 0%
Total # 175 217 42 168 -7 -4%
Median $ 749,000 549,000 -200,000 639,000 -110,000 -15%
Average $ 1,001,757 688,486 -313,271 1,026,361 24,604 2%

BUT, the good news is…oh wait…there isn’t really any good news here.

Due to the increase in real estate values since 2015 (median house price up 10% from $749,000 to $825,000), with the average house price now…wait for it… $1,026,284….investors who have been holding on to rental properties are now selling them off and realizing a return on their investments. Why would anyone rent out a home worth $600,000 for $2,000/month, when the mortgage/tax/insurance carrying costs are likely over $4,000/month?

And, due to the poor rental rate of return VS purchase price, virtually none of the rental properties sold are being continued on as rentals. Rents can’t cover mortgages, especially when the federal government has reduced amortization terms from 35 to 25 years, AND, demanded people qualify at 2% above prime.

So, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Why do you suppose are the fundamental, underlying, rational, common sense reasons real estate values are so high here, and with so few listings? (Hint – think supply/demand)
  2. If you were a betting person, would you bet home prices on the island will be higher 10 years from now or lower?
  3. How many renters will be given their notices to move out over the next 10 years?
  4. How many workers are currently couch surfing or living in cars or tents, or are renting their accommodation?
  5. How many workers are currently commuting to Salt Spring?
  6. Is the housing crisis, which has been acknowledged by the Islands Trust in over 24 studies over the same number of years, going to get better, or worse over the next 10 years?
  7. Long term, how many community housing dwellings (similar to Whistler’s employee housing which now boasts 1900 units) will Salt Spring need over the next 50 years?
  8. Given NIMBYists and BANANAists decrying virtually every proposed development rezoning (including Meadowlane and Croftonbrook) when do you think it will be easier to rezone land for community housing, now? Or in 10 years?

The “zero sum game” here is this – In order to increase density for the long term health of the community, some community members are going to have to lose their sense of entitlement to less traffic, less people, less children, less noise, less disturbance… or, the community will die.

I grew up here, in a community which really cared for itself. Currently, I see that wonderful rurality of characters, artists, artisans, bakers, musicians, etc. slowly ebbing away, with no leadership to take the helm, and no vision of the future. In fact, the blindness and speed at which this community is proceeding off the cliff is staggering.

Open your eyes…its all happening right before them.

 

 

11,000 What? Zoo Keepers?

11,000 “Scientists” or 11,000 “What”?

Chloe Allen is a “zoo keeper” from Jersey.

Parisa Alidoostsalimi is just some guy with no listed credentials from Iran.

Brett Abbott is a landscape ecologist from Australia.

Ahmed Abdelmoneim is some guy with no listed credentials from the USA.

Valentina AbrilMelgarejo is a PhD STUDENT in astrophysics from France.

Maged Abutaha is a “researcher” in who knows what from Egypt.

All are on the list of the reported 11,000 “scientists” worldwide.

These are not “Climate Scientists.”

In fact the word “climate” only occurs 158 times in the entire list of 11,000 “whats.”

“Atmospheric” only occurs 64 times.

“Student” occurs 974 times.

Don’t believe me? Do a word search on the linked pdf above.

This list would be laughable, except the gullible masses worldwide are sucking this one up and passing the doom predictions of ordinary  zoo keepers.

Lions and tigers and bears….oh my!!! The sky is falling!!!

Lions and tigers

 

 

Why You Should Be Skeptical of MSM Poll Reporting

I love to follow US politics…it just doesn’t get any more entertaining…

One thing I am always amazed at though is the level of obvious biases when it comes to MSM reporting.

Here’s just one example from today:

Politico’s website today reported the following:

Support for impeaching Trump hits new high

For the first time in POLITICO/Morning Consult polling, more voters back beginning impeachment proceedings to remove Trump than oppose.

President Donald Trump

Support for impeaching President Donald Trump is growing.

A batch of recent polling confirms the Democratic impeachment push is gaining steam — including a new POLITICO/Morning Consult survey that shows for the first time that more voters support than oppose proceedings to remove Trump from office. The uptick is primarily among Democrats, as Republican voters surveyed continue to have Trump’s back.

In the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, 46 percent of voters said Congress should begin impeachment proceedings vs. 43 percent who said they should not. Eleven percent had no opinion. That support represented a 3-point bump from last week, when voters were evenly split.

The new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll comes as at least a half-dozen other media outlets have released surveys showing support for impeachment rising. The polls suggest that Democrats are gaining support for the impeachment inquiry as the Ukraine scandal unspools. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had resisted escalating the House’s investigations of Trump because of the political risks, but the latest surveys suggest the party is unlikely to bleed support from Democratic voters over the decision to challenge Trump head-on.

Still, the move isn’t without risk. The percentage of voters who disapprove of Trump’s job performance in the latest poll, 56 percent, still exceeds the 46 percent who think Congress should begin impeachment proceedings to remove him, or the 51 percent who say they support the current impeachment inquiry — a step short of actual impeachment proceedings. Those findings indicate that there is a slice of moderate voters who disapprove of Trump but think Democrats are going too far.

And when the polls ask specifically about removing Trump from office, voters are sharply divided or tilt against it. In a Monmouth University poll released Tuesday, 49 percent of voters called the impeachment inquiry a “good idea,” while 43 percent said it was a “bad idea.” But only 44 percent said Trump should be forced out of office, fewer than the 52 percent who said he shouldn’t.

Tilting at BC Ferries

October 24, 2018 (NOTE – Only BC Ferries responded to this letter, and promised they would have flaggers for Summer 2019…which they did…didn’t solve the problem…but…)

Open letter to:

Ms. Tina Rogers, Area Manager

Ms. Haley Leach, District Development Technician

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI)

MLA Adam Olsen

Premier John Horgan

Mr. Mark Collins, President and Chief Executive Officer, B.C. Ferries

Minister Claire Trevina, MOTI

Dear Ms. Rogers, Ms. Leach, Minister Trevina, Mr. Olson, Premier Horgan and Mr. Collins,

I am writing to you all today with regard to a recent number of encroachment notices being sent out to Salt Spring Island property and business owners by MOTI.

I understand the MOTI is enforcing the ownership of their right of way on Salt Spring, and in at least two instances which I have been made aware of, are demanding vehicles, related to businesses be removed from the side of the road on rights of ways, notably on Rainbow Road and Beddis Road.

Given MOTI is enforcing against private individuals, I would appreciate it if you could ALL please explain why these individuals are being discriminated against, since the largest encroacher onto the MOTI highways themselves, not the sides of highways, is the BC Ferry Corporation with their now constant parking of their customer traffic in the traffic lanes at Fulford and Vesuvius.

THOSE encroachments present a clear and present danger to motorists and pedestrians alike, and have, for many years now.

It is my understanding that MOTI forced BC Ferries, at both Swartz Bay and Tsawassen to expand their parking lots in order to get BC Ferries customers off the highways, thereby complying with the Motor Vehicle Act.

This summer, lineups at Fulford and Vesuvius have each stretched back for over ONE-HALF MILE, creating unsafe traffic impediments from the one-lane traffic they create.

It is easy to imagine what a fire truck or ambulance meeting a fully blocked off road due to ferry traffic unloading in one lane and parked cars in the other would look like.

In BC any impediment to traffic flow on a highway, which results in a one-lane situation requires two flaggers to safely direct traffic around the impediment. Given however the nature of BC Ferries customers parking on the highways, the situation is abysmally unsafe.

It is with that in mind that with this letter I am putting the recipients of this letter on notice that should any traffic accidents, injuries, deaths occur at either location, directly or indirectly, ALL parties will be held liable for damages due to their participation in their refusal, as public servants and/or elected officials, to enforce the traffic laws of British Columbia, having been given sufficient notice of their responsibility and liability as public officials.

I might add that the solutions to getting BC Ferries customers off the highways is not up to the residents of Salt Spring Island, or the thousands of tourists who visit here every year. Fill in more of Fulford Harbour, put on another, or larger ferry at Vesuvius….but get the parking off the highway.

The responsibility to do so lies with enforcement by the government of the corporation involved.

The solutions to this issue are decades past their best before date. Show us what leadership WITHOUT excuses looks like in 2018.

Thank you for your attention to this issue, and I look forward to all of your responses.

Best regards,

Eric Booth

Salt Spring Island, B.C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Response to Chris Dixon’s “More Safety Input Needed”

(Chris Dixon’s article is in italics below, with my responses in regular font. – Eric)

There has always been some level of vandalism on Salt Spring, just as there has always been a group of transient individuals whose primary focus is not their next retail experience. We can’t wish these people away, and more cops can only make their lives more precarious.

Uh, so, tourists are now “retail seeking transients,” and “more cops” can only make vandals and tourists’ lives more precarious….interesting perspective.

On the subject of a proposed new “security service” for the island, my first question would be whether this new service would benefit the entire island, or would it more specifically benefit the merchants and the landlords of Ganges who want it?

The security of Ganges includes its 3 public parks (Peace, Mouat’s and Centennial), and, the roads and sidewalks. It is not limited to the security of merchants (who rent from landlords) who exist to service the needs of entire community. The merchants’ businesses and services in fact benefit the entire community. Where did you buy the food for your last meal?

My second question would be: if the Chamber of Commerce wants additional police protection for their members’ businesses, why are taxpayers being asked to pay for it?

Public safety and security is fundamental to a civil society that wishes to have a community where it is safe for a 6 year old to walk down the street, as I did as a child here. “Additional police protection” is another term in this case for “sufficient police protection.” Salt Spring has one of the highest rates of mental illness, police related, incidents in B.C. If you don’t believe me, please, ask the next RCMP officer you see on the Island.

Then I would ask, how does the CRD, whom we do not elect, become the default provider of, and recipient of tax funding for, this service when we already have a contract for RCMP protection that benefits the entire island?

We elect a Director to represent us to the CRD. In this case, because we don’t have a mayor and/or city council, the closest we have to a mayor (other than the Minister of Municipal Affairs), is the CRD Director. In a municipality the CAO of the town can direct priorities of contracted policing. Currently, since we aren’t a municipality, there is no one from our community who has the authority to directly negotiate with the RCMP. That is why the CRD Director is suggesting the CRD become the “default provider.”

I’d need to ask whether a counter-petition, which will require productive people to invest their time organizing any opposition to the idea, is a credible gauge of public support?

I think the jury is in on that question, with a firm “no” verdict.

I’d ponder our priorities as a community. Could these funds subsidize a publicly funded laundry and shower facility? Now that it’s dark and rainy, could it pay for painting the centre lines on our roads? Would these things have a greater benefit to a larger portion of our population than an additional uniformed presence on the streets of Ganges?

Apples and oranges and pineapples. Yes we need a laundry, yes the lines on the roads should be painted, and yes there should be more police presence. These aren’t either/or questions.

Can we say that the businesses of Ganges are collectively a single-focus group and that their priorities are different from the priorities of the majority of island residents? 

No. Without the Ganges businesses this community would cease to function within a day or two. Close the food stores, the gas stations, and the restaurants and see what would happen. We have witnessed something close to this during a major snowstorm.

Can we contrast their desire for more business success with the reality that during the summer season, the feeding frenzy they cultivate is an equally unpleasant experience for residents and for visitors? 

The businesses don’t create or cultivate a “feeding frenzy”…the island’s overwhelming beauty, climate, rurality, and country charm along with artisans, craftspeople, farmers, (and even loud marimba bands in the park on Saturdays), etc. attract tourists. The “unpleasantness” which some residents may experience is primarily due to poor planning (e.g. failure to provide adequate parking), lack of traffic controls due to increased volume of traffic (e.g. roundabouts, 4 way stops or, traffic lights), and ferry lineups which are the result of a non-responsive ferry authority, along with a non-responsive Ministry of Transportation.

Can they admit that Ganges is maxed out; a casualty of their own relentless advertising which seeks to commodify every possible aspect of our shared island home? 

“Relentless advertising”? Where? The local Driftwood?

Can they see how local residents subsidize their commercial success at a cost of personal discomfort and safety? When a laundromat can’t afford to pay rent, is that success?

The primary reason the laundromat was shut down (apart from it being a marginally profitable business) was the North Salt Spring Waterworks District’s moratorium – which, you, as a Trustee of the NSSWD, are partially responsible for. I understand a number of potential locations for a laundromat have been turned down by NSSWD. Please correct me if I’ve been wrongly informed.

I have been involved in two traffic incidents in Ganges this summer that could easily have had fatal consequences. Had there been a police cruiser present, each driver would have faced stiff penalties and possibly criminal charges.

It’s tempting to dismiss both these road-rage incidents as being caused by mannerless tourists, but it’s equally likely that the driver in both vehicles was a frustrated local. Driving and parking in Ganges, especially this year, has been a fundamentally frustrating experience.

Poor land use planning of Ganges, including lack of parking, changes to traffic patterns and controls are at the heart of the downtown traffic problems. Who owns the roads in Ganges? The Province. In virtually every other community in BC the roads are owned by the communities, and, as such can make any changes they want. Here, a property owner can’t even apply to put a sidewalk in front of their property.

In my opinion, a broader base of residents should be engaged to assess the issues and to make decisions regarding safety, comfort and livability in Ganges.

Better still, why not a broader base of elected representatives? Considering you vocally opposed and voted “No” to incorporation, I’m going to suggest you are partly responsible for there not being broader representation.

Personally, I’d advocate for less craziness, rather than more cops.

Great, wave your magic wand and make the craziness stop…because, and with all due respect, that is about what would be required. We need “enough” cops…and, that is something we don’t currently have.

Chris, a couple of years ago, you stated, “Our island stands out as a beautiful exception to the corporate model. I think we need to design a government structure that no-one needs to be afraid of. I want a form of government that reflects and builds upon our unique and successful history….We can start working together immediately after the referendum.https://saltspringexchange.com/2017/07/25/incorporation-which-side-are-you-on/

So, two years later, what is the proposed design of government structure you’ve been working on?

Part 5 – CRD Building Inspection – 10 Times More Efficient than Islands Trust?

Efficiency

The CRD underwent  a “cost recovery” review earlier this year (CRD Cost Recovery May 8, 2019) to determine the estimated costs associated with the primary building inspection function in the Electoral Areas (Juan de Fuca, Salt Spring, Southern Gulf Islands).

That investigation indicated, on average, while the CRD had a goal of 80% cost recovery, “that over the last 10 years the actual average fee cost recovery has been approximately 70%.”

Compare that cost recovery to that reported by the Islands Trust development application processing (coincidentally in March of this year) of 7.1%.

In other words, the CRD operations in recovering the cost of processing applications was either:

(a) 10 times more effective, or

(b) 10 times more efficient, and/or

(c) had an application fee structure which was followed, and resulted in greater cost recovery, or

(d) a combination of all of the above.

I am going with (d), and the following is my rationale.

CRD building permit fees are structured in a basic fee + estimated cost of building based on $/sf. The larger the building, the greater number of plumbing fixures, bathrooms, etc. the greater the application fee.

“In determining the appropriate cost recovery for Building Inspection services, an analysis of the building permit fee structure used by other municipalities within the CRD was completed….[using] fees for a Single Family Dwelling (1200 square foot, 2 storey, full basement home, 2 bathrooms, 10 plumbing fixtures and 1 hot water tank)….Building Inspection cost recovery for 2018 was 75.39%.”

Islands Trust’s application fees on the other hand are standardized, and are supposed to be based on an average cost per application (e.g. development permit application).

Why the magnitudinal difference then between the two government bodies?

IMO, and based on both personal and reported experiences, there are three prime reasons – (a) inefficiency, (b) overabundance of requirements, (c) failure of senior management to ensure (a) and (b) are kept to a minimum, and (d) failure of senior management to track and ensure that planners properly estimate the cost of any particular application, using published the “work order” forms, specifically designed to assist in estimating the complexity of applications.

These “work order” forms are the equivalent of the building inspection estimate forms used by CRD Staff to determine the cost of any particular building permit:
Here is an example of such a form:
Appendix 5 Jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since these forms are the mechanism which is intended to ensure that taxpayers aren’t picking up the bill for development applications, it is clear, by the dismal 7.1% cost recovery, these forms have not been used by staff.

And yet, there is specific Islands Trust Policy with respect to Cost Recovery.

5.6.i applicationprocessing June 2004

This all begs the rather fundamental questions “Why not?” and “Why would senior management not be concerned by a failure to collect over $2,000,000/year in the processing of applications?”

Let’s look at some of the most reasonable potential answers to those questions:

  1. Senior management have been willfully negligent in ignoring the Islands Trust Cost Recovery Policy.
  2. Senior management have been ignorant of the Islands Trust Cost Recovery Policy.
  3. Planning staff have been willfully ignoring the Islands Trust Cost Recovery Policy.
  4. Planning staff have been ignorant of the Islands Trust Cost Recovery Policy.

Let’s be clear – this is not about a couple of hundred thousand dollars in a nearly $8 million Islands Trust budget.

This involves over $2 million/year of taxpayer monies, representing over 25% of the ENTIRE Islands Trust budget.

And, it is not as if this is a newly reported problem. As I have detailed in Parts 1 through 4, this has been going on since before I brought it to the attention of Trust Council in 2004.

It has been going on since after the 2007 Stantec Report on the issue.

It has been going on since the 2007 Islands Trust “Focused Review” on the issue.

It has been going on since the Trust’s 2012 “Model Fees Bylaw” report.

The larger question…the most important question…the most relevant question, however is this – When will the Province step in and conduct the independent core review/audit of Trust operations as it promised us back in 2001?