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“Is Coquitlam moving toward Bayou politics?”
  Jan 25, 2007

A random telephone sample of 320 residents in the City of Coquitlam between January 18th and January 21st, 2007. This poll features a margin of error of 4.75% (given # of additional soft baselines), 19 times out of 20 @99% competency/confidence. This poll was sponsored by Glen P. Robbins and Associates, and Jim Van Rassel owner and operator of New Trend Optical (604) 942-9300, and another 3rd party.

Question #1
-In your opinion is it a conflict of interest for the BC Liberal government to provide discount subsidies to private liquor stores, if owners of the private liquor stores provide significant donations to the BC Liberal Party?
Yes    83 %
No    17 %
Question #2
In a hypothetical situation, a Police Chief owns a series of self defense gymnasiums at the same time the government is considering hiring security with self defense credentials which credentials are determined by police executives including the aforementioned Chief. In your opinion is the Chief of Police in this hypothetical situation involved in a conflict of interest?
Yes    84 %
No    16 %
Question #3
Do you agree or disagree with Coquitlam city council voting themselves a 21% raise, with one-third being tax free, and city councillor's new salaries 53,000 and Mayor’s new salary 113,000 per annum?
Agree    09 %
Disagree    91 %
Question #4
-In a hypothetical situation, a group of school administrators including several Principals and Vice-Principals are responsible for designing a language program for ESL students at the same time a number of these same administrators offer through private enterprise ESL language programs. In your opinion does this appear to be a conflict of interest?
Yes    68 %
No    32 %
Question #5
Do you agree or disagree with a School Board assistant Superintendent with a Masters degree being paid $133,000 per annum with a $5,500 expense allowance?
Agree    29 %
No    71 %
Question #6
In British Columbia, the government, WCB and other organizations rely on experienced fire Chiefs and others in the fire department with expertise to design programs for safety and rescue on BC jobsites and elsewhere. At the same time some fire Chiefs have purchased a U.S. franchise for profit which provides the same service in British Columbia. In your opinion is this a conflict of interest?
Yes    98 %
No    02 %
Question #7
Currently, the casino in Coquitlam does not permit patrons to consume spirits, wine or beer on the casino floor. In your opinion should Coquitlam mayor and city council permit Casino patrons to consume alcohol in the casino as they do in Las Vegas?
Yes    39 %
No    61 %
Commentary
Observations/Commentary- BC Liberals have big Big problems with their friends in the liquor business. Millions were spent by prospective liquor store owners who were frustrated with former small business Minister Rick Thorpe in the first ‘angry’ BC Liberal government, and many lost their shirts when liquor store licenses were not provided as promised. Now they are making up for it all at once by leveraging the Campbell government to close public liquor stores, or in the alternative increase the number of BC Liberal private liquor stores. Apparently all those pay offs to the party now have to be realized, and subsidies are on the way. Coquitlam residents aren’t happy about this. John Les the Minister responsible was on the Bill Good show revealing the apparent shortcomings of this proposal under an ‘easy and carefree’ grilling by Good. An embarrassing interview for Les on behalf of lounge bullies everywhere, his heart wasn’t in it.
Questions 2, 4 and 6 deal with conflict of interest. Questions include two hypothetical, and one real circumstance. The education hypothetical is perceived to be the least in conflict, the police chief hypothetical the second least, and the real circumstance involving Fire Chiefs is absolutely rejected by a disgusted set of respondents. Coquitlam School Board’s assistant Superintendent is overpaid according to the Coquitlam public. According to this ROBBINS poll her real salary should be in the $90-100 K range (relative to a Principal’s salary).
Maybe the excess cash on ‘easy street’ for all of these Superintendents and assistants (2 to 3 million in excess) could be allocated toward the education of children where it properly belongs. If the Campbell Liberals or the School Board paid the fees for students as they should, instead of gouging the parents, and we got salaries in line, we might not have near the problems we currently do in the school system. Frankly, my own experiences with the School system in Coquitlam tell me that most of these people in the School Board either elected or in higher administration are being paid too much and are doing too little for what they do get paid. Is the CUPE union reluctant to expose this overpayment for fear of having their own wages perceived as too high? In any event some of these salaries need to be rolled back
Coquitlam residents in a clear majority are against permitting consumption of liquor on the gambling floor of the Boulevard Casino. Maybe the people who use the casino should be asked what they think. The problem here is that the Casino should probably be allowed to serve liquor at the Casino; people who want to drink just go to the lounge and chortle down a couple fast and head back to the tables. The people simply don’t trust the Mayor and city council with the decision. The number of respondents who actuallŠ£ėą¨ė0ō@ō¨%¨
The people don’t often trust their government to make decisions on their behalf, and the salary increase in Coquitlam is indicative of this type of problem. Mr. Blank of Great Canadian Casinos will not benefit from a favourable vote from city council as the people in Coquitlam, given the outcome(s) of this poll on all things government related, would turn totally against that result. If I were he, I would have the vote held in abeyance and ask ROBBINS to conduct an internal audit of his customers to FIRST see what they want. Ask the customers if they believe that drinking on the floor makes them gamble more. Depending on that outcome, many of the negative respondents in the community (who are likely part of the often 50% who are anti-gambling) may take a more libertarian approach. It isn’t their money is it? There is a further problem however. Much of the gambling proceeds handed out by Coquitlam city council goes to organizations and charities where elected officials have a seat on the board, or friends and associates who can help them get the vote out and re-elected, so that they can give themselves another raise and take some more holidays. We need to make sure that any recipients of these social dollars do not have connections to elected officials so that a conflict does not arise.
ROBBINS can always find out.
(Jim…I wouldn’t waste my time).
It is pretty clear that the conflict of interest which continues to checker BC
ROBBINS sponsor and Tri-City community small businessman Jim Van Rassel went ballistic over Coquitlam city council’s decision to vote themselves a raise. Respondents in this poll are also not happy about it either. Many believe the raise was undertaken in a “sneaky” manner, while others do not like the ‘tax free’ part of the raise. Will (love him or hate him) Jim Van Rassel run in the upcoming by-election for the vacated Coquitlam city councillors seat abandoned by ‘thoughtless’ former city councillor Hollington, or will he leave the political ‘drifters’ on council and ‘work as you like’ perpetual holiday CUPE Mayor Wilson to sort out their own problems within Coquitlam’s politburo?
Politics in BC continues to be an excuse for people of (often) marginal to mediocre skill and talent to get near the basket of money from taxpayers hoping to devise new and innovative ways to carve off a nice share of it for themselves without putting forth any real effort. Once in the main vault, their friends and associates come to join them for a free ride too, and when they need to explain it to the public they call it “a gun registry” or something else. I cannot imagine the amount of dirty money, bribes and graft money which is being shoved in pockets and thrown out windows in paper bags from the Olympics and major transportation projects. The people are too busy working to pay their bills, or for real estate on margin call, or are otherwise predisposed with children in school trying to get those people to cooperate to bother doing anything about it. Politics, great work if you can get it. To put workers safety in serious jeopardy for profit motive, when the proper regime is already in place with our Justice Institute is absolutely disgraceful. What a Wild West show this province can be!
As former Premier Bill Vander Zalm said to me after one poll we did involving Campbell and ‘3P’s’: “Glen, it appears the people don’t trust him (Campbell). The Zalm is right. It reminds me of the condition Judges need to approve of firing your lawyer. You simply have to say you have “lost confidence” and the relationship is off. The public has lost confidence in the BC Liberals and in particular Gordon Campbell or they are sick of him (I don’t care what the numbers say; the NDP wants to keep him so they aren’t trying their hardest). Can you honestly imagine either the current Premier or Mayor Sam Sullivan at the Olympics in 2010?
I’m sorry I can’t see it.
People who take risks to create innovative new technologies and businesses should always be the ones most rewarded in societies, not those who dine at the public trough who have access to additional opportunities through their abuse of power. It remains a problem, and it needs to be stopped. Our province needs to get on the same page for once in many a year and we are lacking the leadership to properly move forward. Anyone who follows what is going on knows what I say is true. If you give people free access to someone else’s money without absolute accountability they ‘on balance’ are more likely to steal it then not steal it. That isn’t cynicism, its realism.
People who can make things happen need to heed my advice and start making changes at the top.

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