Saturday, December 23, 2017

ON THIS DAY December 23rd

     This morning, Facebook reminded me of a photo I posted on December 23, 2008 that was part of my Holiday Greeting Card which featured photos of what unsuccessful run for Vancouver City Council with Peter Ladner and 25 others. For those who don't remember that election, of the 27 NPA candidates who ran for Mayor and Council, Park Board and School Board, only Suzanne Anton was successful. She was lonely for three years, but things worked out better when she left municipal politics for provincial politics.
     This prompted me to explore Facebook and my blog to see what I was doing or thinking on or around December 23 in other years gone by. This is what I found:
     In December 2006, Sally and I were finalizing our plans for a 9-month around the world trip. We visited 31 countries on 6 continents without once losing our luggage! I started this blog to document the trip and wrote a series of columns in the Vancouver Sun on lessons Vancouver might learn from around the world.
     In December 2007 we were back in Vancouver where Georgia was engrossed in her medical studies and Claire was working with at-risk youth. Still smitten by the travel bug, like Larry Beasley who was consulting in Abu Dhabi, I tried to find work in one of the world's oil capitals, . Unfortunately, the best I could do was Fort McMurray!
     I was also working with Michael Audain and Polygon Homes on what I was sure would be a winning submission to redevelop the Little Mountain Public Housing property the province had offered for sale. Unfortunately, the province selected Holborn to develop the site. Need I say more?

      In 2009, I participated in a joint Muslim-Jewish initiative to feed people in the Downtown Eastside and wrote what I thought should be done to improve living conditions in the community.
Sadly, while many of these ideas still have merit, few have been taken up. For example, why do we still have monthly Welfare Wednesday in the DTES? According to those who work in the community, havoc ensues. Also why isn't more effort devoted to helping people reconnect with family or find work?
      In 2010, we were in the Dominican Republic. My Christmas Card that year featured an alphabet of appreciation....all the things that made 2010 a better year from Audain to Zev
Other topics of interest in December of that year were issues related to laneway houses and bicycle lanes built for few....some things never change!
     In 2011, Georgia, Sally and I were in the rain at the foot of 25th Street in West Vancouver decorating the Geller Properties Christmas tree. At the time I was developing Hollyburn Mews and so the tree was decorated with similar little houses! The new council had just been sworn in and the Mayor was proposing a Task Force to address housing affordability.  My Christmas Card that year was the predecessor to this year's card, offering 12 affordable ideas for the twelve days of Christmas. Sometimes you have to keep repeating yourself until people start to take notice!
      In 2012, I offered A Christmas Present for the Homeless. It was the modular housing proposal developed as my university thesis in 1971 and revived during the 2008 election, and as a subsequent BC Housing study in 2009, which was finally adopted five years later! Ya see, if you repeat things often enough, they can happen!
      In 2013, I offered some Christmas quotations that I had assembled for a presentation to The Roundtable, a discussion group that has been meeting since 1926. You won't find anything about it in social media. It's quite secretive in terms of membership and discussions. But I'm told that in decades past it ran Vancouver. I was invited to join since they needed some younger members!
     Issues of the day included the requirement for condominiums to prepare Depreciation Reports which I predicted would have ramifications. The legislative changes allowing condominiums to be wound up with only 80% approval also resulted in part from this legislation.
     In 2014, I shared an illustration received from a colleague in Moscow, having spent some time that year working in Russia. It illustrated Christmas Traditions around the world
     A big issue of the day was the forthcoming transit referendum, which I likened to the referendum on HST in a Vancouver Courier column. Sadly, I was right about the likely outcome.

       In 2015, I took a look back at the year's columns and offered some predictions for the coming year in my year-end Vancouver Courier column. As I wrote in this year's column, which is posted on this blog, it's deja vu all over again!  So many of the issues are the same!

      In 2016, I wrote about a Seattle newspaper article that picked up on my interest in exploring whether there was a way to make better use of all the empty bedrooms in our cities. Ironically, a year later, Vancouver is taxing empty homes, and even empty lots. Is it just a matter of time before they tax empty bedrooms? 
     I've enjoyed looking back over the past 10 years. Perhaps you can take some time to review what you've been doing at this time of the year in years gone by. It might be equally gratifying. Merry Christmas, or whatever!

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