Letters to the Editor: Nov. 12

Blinded by science; Taxation; Thankless tasks; Deer management

Blinding me with Science

I was inspired by the editorial piece by Tom Fletcher (Nov 4, “Hot Gases Spew from Legislature”). Mr Fletcher, unofficial Mouthpiece for the BC Liberals and otherwise TOTALLY unbiased investigative reporter posited that he is a skeptic with regards to the Climate Change science.  My guess is that like me, he was tempted to accept the overwhelming consensus (98% according to the UN) of credible scientists that climate change is happening and that humans’ greedy consumption habits are the root cause.  But then our legislative ‘watchdog’ came across the testimony of the expert he turns to on this subject, Vancouver Liberal MLA Laurie Throness who denies the science. Take that … NASA, United Nations, World Health Organization, Environment Canada, … our MLA has just checked his iPad Mini and his labyrinthine atmospheric modeling does not agree with yours!  Game over?

So emboldened by this sage testimony, Mr. Fletcher has not yet made up his mind.

Well, Mr. Fletcher, you had me at ‘inconvenient’.   It’s hard to worry about the future world of my grandchildren when I’ve got to come up with payments on my Hummer, speedboat, and gas-powered leaf blower in this here and now world.   I don’t think these pesky environmentalists grasp the gravity of my situation.

Did someone mention “gravity”?   Until recently, I’ve been fairly well convinced that gravity exists.  Consensus in the scientific community is about the same as the existence of climate change.   Even better but, again, not 100%.   I’m sure Mr. Fletcher can find scientific experts, like Mr. Throness*, that deny gravity’s existence but I’ll help him out here.  Take my friend, Slobber.   Slobber is convinced he can float.  He usually makes this claim after he has smoked a couple of his ‘silly cigarettes’.    Slobber* isn’t the only scientist that denies the existence of gravity.   Erik Verlinde, a physicist, also denies it.   Interestingly, he is a professor at the University of Amsterdam where I am told silly cigarettes are in abundance.

My point is why should Mr. Fletcher and I, or you, give in to these climate change and gravity proponents with their ‘advanced degrees’ and their ‘facts’, when only 98 or 99.9 percent of them agree?  As Mr. Fletcher opined, “the jury is still out”.   I think the jury Mr. Fletcher is referring to is also debating if the earth is flat.

*DISCLAIMER.   Although they like science, Mr. Throness and Slobber are not real scientists.

Paul Willis/Cranbrook

Business/residential taxation

I read in the November 4 issue of the Townsman the spin Ms. Cross puts on local taxes.

Her idea of City business property which, I believe, is held by the majority of present council illustrates exactly why we need elected representatives who will run the Corporation of the City of Cranbrook as just that — a corporation.

It is well and good to say Cranbrook is 94th out of 161, but what does that really mean? What do Cranbroo commercial properties receive for being 94/161? Garbage pickup? Cleared walks — which, by the way, are not owned by business? Reduced water and sewer rates due to lower usage? Store front parking? Drivable streets? What does the City provide to a commercial property that is not also provided to a residential property?

Irrespective of how high the commercial tax rate is, the relief as Ms. Cross sees it is that taxes paid by a business are a “deductible expense for businesses and not for residents …”

While basically correct, she is not expansive with this explanation. Yes, taxes are deductible in that the paid amount is subtracted from the total amount and subject to corporate tax. This is federal/provincial government allowance, not the city’s.

Additionally, what Ms. Cross and some others on council, in my opinion, fail to understand is that whatever the amount, it must be earned before it can be deducted.

We must make the City equitable and affordable for all property owners and reduce the unfair difference between classifications. A dollar of property value should be taxed at the same rate no matter where the building is located. Why should a $500,000 home pay less property tax than a $250,000 commercial building.

Businesses large or small are what drive this and any community.

Mike Burnham/Cranbrook

Thankless tasks

I am perplexed at some statements in door-to-door pamphlets and letters to the editor regarding the folks running for Council seats and Mayor. Seems like everyone wants to fix roads and increase economic activity without raising taxes, or even reducing them, without saying where to cut expenses. We know this is currently impossible as the city budget and financial statement indicate little wiggle room. The Province only funds particular projects in their attempts to exert control over municipal spending.  They find funds for a municipality with no people, scattering caribou over western North America and wining and dining LNG officials, but not for installing badly needed culverts.  Many necessary and frequently urgent expenditures must be covered by our property tax dollars. For example if the RCMP dictates a salary increase for their personnel it takes an unexpected chunk out of the City’s spending money.

The pressures of running for office can bring one down to a lower level where innuendos, labeling and pointing out past perceived mistakes emerge.  To those intent on criticizing some of those running for office this week, I would suggest they reread the recent column by our local curmudgeon (Townsman, 3 November) and determine whether they see themselves as an exception to his statement, “Why does an apparently sane person become involved in such shenanigans? Is it an ego trip? His take on the use of statistics to back up biases is also apropos. Further, as Aaron Levenstein has stated, “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.”

It seems to me that the current Mayor and Council have done an admirable job of balancing the priorities and warding off the devil (higher taxes). I would not resent paying higher taxes to enlarge the contingency fund and maintain and improve existing infrastructure. It’s a thankless task being on Council, because the city needs to be attractive for potential new business entrepreneurs, so we have to spend to keep up appearances and keep the pipes intact to bring healthy  water in (with fluoride) and waste out.  To paraphrase a common proverb, “We can satisfy some of the people all the time and all of the people some the time, but not all of the people all the time.”

Jack Loeppky/Cranbrook

Deer management

In his election flyer, Mayor Wayne Stetski states he will “promote non-lethal deer management harvesting…” A harvested deer is a dead deer; Stekski is playing with words. He’s ignoring the city’s deer survey where 70 per cent were in favour of a cull, which shows his appetite for listening to the people in a democratic way.

Wayne’s dynamic vision includes ignoring the mountains of scientific evidence. Hundreds of cities in the U.S. have tried translocation, and rigorous research utilizing radio collars has caused U.S. wildlife agencies to ban relocation as too cruel. Capture myopathy cripples 40-80 per cent. Release city deer into predator country where they are unfamiliar with the roads, ravines, escape routes, and the rest are gone/sacrificed.

In the March 24, 2014 Kootenay Advertiser, Stetski states: “Translocation of mule deer and whitetail deer have never been tried in B.C.” Andrew Walker, a wildlife biologist for the B.C. government, explains why the province does not support translocation of deer: “Although the non-lethal approach to urban deer management may appeal to the public as it appears to be an easy and humane solution, in reality the translocation process can be difficult, expensive, stressful to the deer and has resulted in high post-translocation mortality rates.” (Townsman, March 6, 2014)

This is not leadership on Mr. Stetski’s part.  Catering to ignorance, that our deer are different from the deer in the U.S., is not what an informed citizen can vote for.

William G. Hills/Cranbrook

Hats off at the table!

Sometimes the aches and pains present when rising to meet the new day says it all.

However, to me, my old age is definitely confirmed when I enter a restaurant and my eyes are greeted by a fellow seated eating, quite possibly with a member of the fairer sex,while neglecting to remove his hat. Now, perhaps his head is in the same similar condition as his manners and he doesn’t wish it seen, or it is merely cold. But I do know that if, as a boy, I had come to the dinner table wearing a hat it would have suddenly been somewhere across the room whilst my face rested in the mashed potatoes.

Bob Pearce/Cranbrook