Jordan Bateman: What should happen at TransLink following the transit referendum defeat

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      The people have spoken—and they don’t trust TransLink with more of their hard-earned money.

      Who can blame them? The No TransLink Tax campaign, led by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, highlighted more than 80 specific examples of TransLink waste and mismanagement, and made a strong case for major change at TransLink. More than that, many referendum voters have had several bad experiences with the system. TransLink itself canned its CEO, effectively admitting their organization was not well run.

      Now is the time to change all that, and rebuild the taxpayers’ confidence in their transportation authority.

      TransLink should start with a core review, drilling down into program spending with the intention to cut anything that doesn’t move a single person a single inch. No more poodles on poles, no more $40,000 TVs, no more leasing empty buildings, no more TransLink vanity projects. The core review would go deeper than any audit, recommending cheaper ways to deliver necessary service.

      This push for efficiency isn’t about cutting money from the transportations system; it’s about reinvesting it in things that actually matter to riders and taxpayers and restoring confidence in TransLink. Saving money should be a bridge to better service.

      The review should include a move to cut the six boards of directors to one, and collapse all the various subcompanies. TransLink doesn’t need multiple human resources, communications, administration or purchasing departments.

      The transit police force, which ran $2.2 million over budget last year, should be scrapped. Response times and public safety wouldn’t suffer if local police took over the big files, while cheaper transit security officers handled fare issues on the system.

      The mayors should be sent to prioritize their spending plan, with fresh estimates, not the four-year-old ones claimed by TransLink during the campaign. Mayors Linda Hepner and Gregor Robertson, so desirous of big projects, should find savings at both TransLink and in their own city halls to help fund the regional share, or find ways to ensure existing taxpayers aren’t on the hook for growth.

      TransLink projects like the Pattullo Bridge refurbishment should be independently reviewed by the Ministry of Transportation or another peer agency to ensure they are being done in a safe, cost-effective manner.

      Legislative changes are needed as well. The B.C. government should make it clear that the transportation minister has the authority to fire the TransLink board of directors. Either the provincial Auditor General or Auditor General for Local Government should be given regular access to TransLink’s books.

      The transportation minister can no longer be an idle spectator. The hiring of the next TransLink CEO—which should come at a far cheaper price and with a fixed-term contract—is too vital a decision for the minister to miss. Further, the minister should give the TransLink board an annual mandate letter, with clear, specific goals. 

      One more thing. Politicians of all stripes, at all levels, should also hear the clear concern of taxpayers in this region. Many of them are struggling to make ends meet, and the ever-growing tax burden is not helping. Don’t come back to taxpayers for more cash—find the savings within the billions we already send you. The No TransLink Tax campaign has already done the work for you on a plan B: Earmark just 0.5 percent of your nearly 5 percent annual revenue growth and you could fund your entire wish list.

      Hundreds of thousands of Lower Mainlanders voted for change in the referendum. A huge swath of the public has lost confidence in TransLink: It’s a message the premier, minister, mayors, TransLink brass, and the rest of the Yes side, can no longer ignore.

      Comments

      13 Comments

      Theros

      Jul 2, 2015 at 12:27pm

      What a fucking tool. As if you can earmark growth that is accounted for almost entirely by inflation.

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      everything

      Jul 2, 2015 at 12:38pm

      There are people left who believe that this guy represents a significant group of people, or a coherent political position. His endless yammering about "taxpayers", apart from being obnoxious as hell, is just hiding the fact that his organisation is a front for business interests, not people. His presence in this issue is misplaced and completely overstated by the media. Please don't give him any more publicity.

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      out at night

      Jul 2, 2015 at 12:54pm

      Of Poodles and Poles

      Dear Jordan Bateman

      Okay so now we lost that one in spectacular fashion, thanks in part to you Mr. Bateman, I can finally say what I really think about that sculpture of a poodle. I just KNOW if it had been a statue of a firefighter, soldier or a nurse or even just a horse you and the rest of the philistine hordes would have left it alone and it would not have become a rallying point in your war on smart growth and PUBLIC transit. But your "taxpayer federation" genes just couldn't simmer down and let it go that a publicly funded entity would spend any money on a piece of ART with a subject as FRIVOLOUS and downright wasteful as a poodle. How dare Translink have the temerity to spend our "hard-earned dollars" on such silliness?

      I'll tell you why. Beauty. Art, creativity, public space, humanity. You wouldn't understand such things Jordan because you're a stupid, dull narrow minded shill for big auto and big oil. I've known for years that the "taxpayer" prefix is code for neo-conservative agendas and complete ignorance of anything that doesn't lead somehow to sitting on your duff watching golf on TV in your suburban family room with a giant bag of pretzels in your lap while your bratty kids get high on meth in the upstairs bathroom (only you didn't know about that last part, but it's true, go look!)

      Congratulations Jordan Bateman you won and you have fucked over millions of people.

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      We_need_more_RAPID_Transit and Not more overpaid bureucrats

      Jul 2, 2015 at 1:02pm

      As expected, voters are sick and tired to pay more taxes to already bloated and inefficient governments. With modest salary and benefit adjustments (i.e. slower or no increases), plus parking fees for the 400,000+ cars that park nightly on roads they do not own that whole thing can be funded. Plan B does exist !

      People understand: "pay more taxes and get little for it, especially not decongestion". Only higher car use costs (road tolls, higher gasoline taxes and far higher parking fees on residential roads you do not own) coupled with RAPID transit would decongest roads. This plan didn't give us that. It deserved to fail !

      Consider this recent MetroVan transit “no” vote not a vote against more transit – as we do need more transit, especially non-bus RAPID transit – but a vote on excessive wages & wasteful spending such as excessive benefits & pensions !

      CFIB: Civil servants’ pensions unsustainable and unfair http://www.cfib-fcei.ca/english/article/5039-public-sector-pensions-unsu...

      Bus drivers making $80,000+, Translink cops making $100,000+, BC Ferries cafeteria workers making $30+ / h, BC Liquorstore employees making $28+/h .. City of Vancouver requesting $20/h minimum wage .. plus benefits and pensions and low risk of layoffs, of course .. these are some of the examples of failed government policies for a "no" vote.

      Look no further than Detroit or Greece where the extreme end of this waste will end up !

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      Bateman's Growing Fatter

      Jul 2, 2015 at 1:09pm

      "A core review" will be extremely expensive and Bateman will be the first on the scene with his sounds bites about wasted money. Also why ask Translink to do the review? I thought they were all incompetent? I think we should just ask Jordan Bateman to run Translink. He seems to have a good handle on everything they do wrong, so it should be a piece of cake for him.

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      Please Stop

      Jul 2, 2015 at 1:19pm

      Please stop giving Jordan Bateman a platform. This tool has nothing to say except the same old anti-spend-money-on-anything whining.

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      The CTF can kiss my...

      Jul 2, 2015 at 1:43pm

      Here we go.
      Bateman will be smugly parading his crap to whomever will listen, thinking he is some kind of hero.
      People may have voted against Translink, but that doesn't necessarily mean they agree with the 'no spending on public services' agenda of the CTF and their dirty oil money.
      I find it difficult, at best, to listen to someone who approved of Translink's governance while a city councillor, now attack it as if he actually knows anything.
      Check the website of the CTF.
      They attack workers' wages and benefits. They attack programs. They applaud tax breaks for the rich. They think 'user pay' is a gift from God.
      I wonder...has Jordan placed a call to his little pal Chrusty, to tell HER these great ideas? I mean, he took up her anti-Mayor agenda with glee. How can anyone believe this guy works for anyone but himself?

      out at night

      Jul 2, 2015 at 2:14pm

      @ We_need_more_RAPID_Transit and Not more overpaid bureucrats

      So what exactly is wrong with:
      "Bus drivers making $80,000+, Translink cops making $100,000+, BC Ferries cafeteria workers making $30+ / h, BC Liquorstore employees making $28+/h .. City of Vancouver requesting $20/h minimum wage .. plus benefits and pensions and low risk of layoffs," ?

      Because you know what, for every unionized job that pays a decent, living wage in a metropolis as expensive as this one, there are scores of underpaid jobs held by folks who really needed that extra bus or train service to get home and make dinner for the kids (the same kids getting screwed over under our BC Liberals' nincompoop education portfolio.) Just because a bus driver makes decent coin for a job I'd bet you or I wouldn't do, even at that wage, it doesn't mean Translink has done anything wrong. No, in fact they should be lauded as a great employer. But some people just can't accept the fact that some other people have organized and bargained and won themselves a reprieve from the usual cruelty and abuse dished out by your typical cowboy, yahoo, I'll-fix-that-ladder-tomorrow BC employer.

      No, sorry, good union jobs are scarce enough. Leave us the fuck alone and go work towards a better tomorrow for those as yet unfortunate enough to be working for starvation wages under employers who are only too happy to off-load the cost of health, transportation, education, whatever, to anyone but themselves.

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      Sigh...

      Jul 2, 2015 at 2:26pm

      I wish Jordan Bateman would stop pretending he gave two shits about transit. The fellow doesn't care whether Transit is a net benefit to people or whether it could be run more efficiently. The fellow is just a used-car salesman saying anything he can to keep taxes low for his corporate sponsors.

      The guy is complete slime. Thanks for selling our City out.

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      Get your facts straight

      Jul 2, 2015 at 8:46pm

      "TransLink doesn’t need multiple human resources, communications, administration or purchasing departments."

      Do your homework Jordan... TransLink has centralized a number of its shared services in the last 5 years - HR, purchasing, IT, etc.

      Get your facts straight before spewing more lies and half-truths. Sadly, there are too many individuals in Metro Vancouver who think ignorance is bliss and don't fact check, who speak before listening, and who don't apply a little sound judgment before repeating his rants.

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