Innovation: a response

Why our little town seems stuck

8 min read

Apres Surf sign 2017-05-04

Tofino council (of which i am a member) received a heartfelt email a while ago, one i thought deserved a thoughtful response. It turned into more of an essay than i expected. First, here’s the email (abridged):

Dear Council,

I am writing to you today in hopes of receiving some answers to a few questions that have been keeping me awake at night. I am … unsettled by some of the changes happening within our beautiful, albeit endangered town. Continue reading

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The Future … is missing

The strange case of The Future is Japanese.

thefutureisjapaneseI’ve been looking for this book for a year, based on an interest in Japanese culture and in one of the book’s editors, Nick Mamatas. It’s subtitled Science Fiction Futures and Brand New Fantasies From and About Japan, and the Amazon blurb says: A web browser that threatens to conquer the world. The longest, loneliest railroad on Earth. A North Korean nuke hitting Tokyo, a hollow asteroid full of automated rice paddies, and a specialist in breaking up “virtual” marriages. And yes, giant robots. These thirteen stories from and about the Land of the Rising Sun run the gamut from fantasy to cyberpunk, and will leave you knowing that the future is Japanese!
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Permissive tax exemption

Property tax revenue is the main source of income for the district: It’s what we use to pave roads, replace pipes, build infrastructure, run programs, and pay staff to do all of the above.

People tend to dislike paying taxes, but they usually enjoy the benefits of having paid taxes. Council tries to keep taxes as low as possible, consistent with staying on top of things like infrastructure maintenance and keeping the district running. Previous councils arguably haven’t kept up with demand, which translated into this council’s 8% tax increases in 2015 and 2016 (dropping to 2% for the rest of the five-year budget).

So here’s a tax issue i’ve been wrestling with: permissive tax exemptions. That’s when council decides to exempt certain properties from the property tax that every landowner pays to the district each year, because those properties are perceived to offer a benefit to the community at large. Continue reading

No second

I had an interesting experience at last week’s council meeting. I made a motion — one i thought a no-brainer, that everyone would of course be on board with — and moved it, carefully worded … and nobody seconded it. That means it dies, falls off the table, is not even discussed. That could be embarrassing, except it wasn’t; i saw it at once as an object lesson in politics. Continue reading

My fight against the Resistance

I went for a jog at dusk last Thursday , which brought me down to Tonquin Beach. In the low light, i didn’t see a small rock; it caught my left foot and i came down hard on my right side, directly onto a rock outcrop. Bad words were uttered, curses invoked. But the net result was just a scraped knee and elbow, so i continued my run. I cleaned the scrapes in the shower, slapped on a couple of bandaids, and that would normally have been that.

Friday morning, the injured joints were stiff and a bit swollen, but usable. On Saturday, Mr. Knee was improving; Sir Elbow, though, was noticeably swollen and tender. Hm, i thought, must be some fluid build-up. I’ll keep it in mind. Continue reading