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Monday, November 23, 2009

Writers Wanted

Do you want to write for the Delta Free Press? We're looking for volunteers to author stories in all categories. Are you a political aficionado? An aspiring thespian? Do you have your finger on the sports scene in Delta? Don't be shy, send us your stories.

Perfect Season for Sun Devils

Under the leadership of Tammy McComb the South Delta Sun Devils captured the Junior Girls Field Hockey Championship after defeating longtime rival Rosedale in the finals.

After facing Rosedale for the third tim in four years the Sun Devils emerged victorious for the first time. The game winner wasn't realized until the final four minutes of play.

The Devils rode over Southridge (6-0) and GW Graham (4-0) to earn there spot in the finals. This win compliments their perfect season of league play, the GW Graham Cup, and the Malik Cup.

This years team roster: Lindsay Collins, Lauren Dewer, Margot Gunning, Devon Hanbury, Krista Jensen, Christina Lionello, Chase McDonald, Cailean Meredith, Gina Musto, Laura Paterson, Meghan Phillips, Libbie Pritchard, Samantha Redmond, Kim Smyth, Shelby Stead and Bryn Swayze.

Chicken Kiev

Elvis Eats Borscht in the UkraineBy: Elvis Glazier
Friday August 21, 2009 - Kiev, Ukraine
(read more at Elvis on the Move)

This morning I tried to get an early start out of Odessa but that didn't turn out to well for me. My bike had sat for a few days and I don't think it wanted to leave quite yet. I can sympathize. Odessa is such a wonderful city and I truly hope that I will be able to return. I tried and tried to start my bike. I push it up and down the street trying to bump start it, I bypassed the ignition relay to let the starter motor turn it over, and I tried yelling at it. None of these worked. Finally, a group of young Ukrainian men came over and they pushed me. Wonderbar! I'm started.

Why are they yelling at me?

My bike is on fire!

Do I turn it off? It took so long to get going.

I turn off my bike and lift up my seat. I had a towel draped over my shoulder to wipe away my sweat so I used it to smother the flames. It would seem that the AC power inverter that I wired has shorted out to the frame and is now a charred burnt mess. I took out my cutters and I culled the burnt wires out of the bike. I hope she starts. First push of the button and I have ignition. whew. I let it run for a bit and warm up. I noticed during the marathon push fest that I had absolutely no front brakes. Good thing I have brake fluid with me. A couple of squeezes on the brake lever and I know what has caused the problem. There is a loose fitting at the collector block in the front of my bike. It probably rattled loose during my journey. I tightened it up and hooked up my one man brake bleeding kit. I have practice with this procedure so I get it done quickly. I do a preflight check and start to pack up my luggage. I go to put on my gloves but there is one missing. Damn it! I guess I'm going to have to Michael Jackson it back to Germany.

I had originally planned to cut through Moldova on my way home, but I honestly don't want to chance the border crossings. Instead, I'm going to head north to Kiev and then cut west through Poland. I head out of town keeping the sun to my right and my nose pointed north. The highway is as straight as an arrow so I make great time. I'm there in under four hours.

There are some things in life that just have to be done. New Years in Time Square, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Carnival in Brazil, etc. There are also some foods that have to be eaten in their hometown. Peking Duck, Buffalo wings, Champagne, and Chicken Kiev.

I stop at a restaurant and as I enter I wonder if they even know what Chicken Kiev is. I mean, maybe they just call it... chicken. I look through the menu and there it is! Chicken Kiev or actually Chicken Kyiv. I'm sure it's not a typo. They give me a bowl of red borscht with sour cream to start and I have to tell you that this has got to be the best soup I have ever eaten. I accompany it with a bottle of Czech Budweiser. Now this is the life.
Elvis Eats Chicken Kiev in the Ukraine
I hadn't had a real breakfast so this really hit the spot. The ladies in the restaurant made me feel so welcome and the meal truly had that home cooked feel to it. Probably because the restaurant was a part of their home.

Completely sated and fully recharged I mounted up and headed out. The sun was overhead so I was left to my own wits to figure out which way was west. As the afternoon progressed I knew I was heading the right direction when the sun was in my eyes.

Why does the journey home seem so uphill?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Stacked Deck with a King up the sleeve.

To the Editor of the Delta Optimist:

RE: Deck stacked in favour of development, letter to the editor Nov. 18

Frank Kemp is right to believe the deck has been stacked in favour of developing the Southlands, because it has. What Mr. Kemp didn’t know is that it doesn’t stop with Mayor Lois Jackson, the handpicked Tsawwassen Area Planning Committee, and Councilor Bruce McDonald (also chair of the TAPC). It would seem the vice chair of the TAPC, Councilor Heather King is in favour of developing the Southlands as well and she makes no secret about it.

On Heather King’s website,, she goes on the record saying, “I know the plan calls for 1/3 housing and 2/3 green space. I like that. I am also in favour of the farming methods. I encourage anyone interested to explore the farming methods happening on the Earthwise garden where there are currently community plots being farmed with natural methods rather than chemical pesticides. I like this and it is part of the Southlands plan.” She goes on to finish her stance with, “I am excited about the possibility of a post secondary campus in Delta as proposed in the Southlands plan. I spoke to Sean Hodgins about the Southlands. We may very well see a third or even forth plan before us when he invites the public for more public consultation.”
It’s truly a sad day when our elected leadership makes no attempt at maintaining even an image of democracy. The review of the Tsawwassen Area Plan is a complete hoax. It is an unnecessary exercise and a waste of taxpayer’s time and money in an era where both are in short supply. I for one, won’t stand by quietly while the municipal government makes a mockery of the citizens they are empowered to represent honestly and with integrity. The only way this council is going to learn anything from this is when they are looking for new jobs come Election Day. Then we’ll see who holds the cards.

Democracy Lost

Tsawwassen Area Plan(By: Elvis Glazier)
I was at the recent Tsawwassen Area Plan meeting and I must say I was more than a little disappointed in how the meeting was run. The fact that there was no forum for public input beyond that of an ambiguous questionnaire leads me to believe that Delta city council is trying to pull a fast one on the citizens of Delta. The 'excuse de jour' of course is that they didn't anticipate so many people showing up. This is Tsawwassen, home of the longest public hearing in the history of Canada! The fact they didn't anticipate such a large turn out only proves that this committee, under the leadership of Councilor Bruce McDonald and Councilor Heather King, are either uninterested in hearing from the public or completely out of touch with their constituency. So now, we're forced to choose between conspiracy or incompetence. Both frighten me.

The other fact that came out during this sham of a public consultation was less blatant. I was handed a 'Southlands Post Charette Paper' by a Century Group proponent in a 'YES' T-shirt and I began to flip through page after page of pretty pictures and artistic renditions of the development being scrutinized. It wasn't the pictures that interested me, because they were as uninspiring as every other development plan I have seen over the years. A third - a third - a third has been the developers mantra for as long as I can remember and this plan doesn't deviate at all. No, what interested me was the first page inside the cover of the booklet. It would have gone unnoticed had I not put the TAP agenda inside the booklet for safekeeping. When reading who the TAP committee members were, a glaring bit of information jumped out at me. Two members of the Century Group's planning team who had advocated and signed the development brief were now members of the City of Delta's, Tsawwassen Area Plan committee. How is it that the vetting process missed this fact? The moment Helen Kettle and Carla Marshall signed off in favour of Century's Southlands development plan they should have been disqualified from being members of a committee that is supposed to be part of a democratic process.

Regardless of how unbiased Carla and Helen may claim to be it's too much for the public to have to swallow. This committee has to report to city council free of bias and outside influence. When two committee members have their signatures on the front page of Century Group's marketing literature endorsing the plans brought forth by the developer who wishes to rezone agricultural land it's time to wonder who's running this committee? Is it the citizens of Delta or a developer in Tsawwassen? Again, it shows the citizens of Delta that this city council is either out of touch with the people who elected them or they don't care about democracy. Instead of trying to fast track this process, I think the Southlands debate would be much better served if we hold off until the next civic election to decide who we want in charge of the stewardship of our agricultural legacy.

Response to: Lack of choice prompts some to look elsewhere for housing

Elvis Glazier(By: Elvis Glazier) After reading Mike Shneider's opinion piece (published in the Delta Optimist November 14, 2009) in the titled, "Lack of choice prompts some to look elsewhere for housing", I find myself utterly confused. The writer tries to confuse the issue of development by citing Patrick Conron's opinion that the Metro Vancouver region will require "800,000 additional dwelling units by 2056". What has this to do with anything in Tsawwassen?

The fact is, one only need to look at the Canadian census reports to find out the population in Tsawwassen was 21,337 in the year 2001. Experts have projected the population to grow to 24,610 by the year 2021. That means population of Tsawwassen will grow roughly .75 percent per year. That means we would need to build about 1,200 new dwellings over the 20 years of 2001 to 2021. That amounts to 60 houses per year to handle all the growth in Tsawwassen.

I don't disagree that there needs to be more variety in the homes being built. We need to make sure that housing choices are available to everyone. I believe we need more density close to our town center. My disagreement is on the amount of housing we need. Ron Toigo's development alone will more than satisfy Tsawwassen's need for townhouses with 194 units finished by the summer of 2012. Add to that another 243 apartments and we have satisfied our dwelling requirements for over five and a half years. That doesn't include the normal development that is consistently taking place on a smaller scale.

The conclusion Mike Schneider tries so hard to draw is that if we don't build the houses on the Southlands we're going to see people leaving in droves. The article is just another thinly veiled attempt at promoting the all but doomed Southlands development project using doom and fear. Well Mike, I've done the math and your numbers just don't add up.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Divide and Conquer

Tsawwassen Area Plan(By Elvis Glazier)
There is an old axiom when it comes to waging war. "Divide and Conquer". The Century Group and the proponents of Southlands under the leadership of Sean Hodgins has been very adept at using this method to push their point forward. By repeating the name Tsawwassen over and over again in their propaganda they have set out on a campaign to keep the rest of Delta out of the discussion. It's quite brilliant because in actual fact it's Ladner and North Delta that have the most to lose by this development. Financially this development is a good deal for Tsawwassenites who with their lower tax base won't have to bare nearly as much cost for the infrastructure that this development would require. I mean as a percentage our municipal taxes will rise roughly the same, but it is the larger areas that will end up paying the bulk of the additional costs. Sean Hodgins and his development team have decried that development is inevitable. Don't believe it. There are only two things that are inevitable, death and taxes. If we condemn the Southlands to death, rest assured taxes will go up rapidly. I have yet to see this kind of mass development lower taxes.

If I were a resident of North Delta or Ladner I would be furious to find out that once again Tsawwassen is being put on a pedestal and being given favoritism over the rest of the city. There's another old warfare axiom that says, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend". If I were excluded from the planning committees that had such an impact on my life I would be incensed. If I were living in the other areas of Delta I would be calling up city council and the mayor and letting them know that I won't stand for taxation without representation. If council intends for the Southlands to be developed why not allow the entire municipality be part of the process? This exclusionary approach is only a tactic used to keep the people divided and thus conquer us with greater ease. The Southlands' development plan is not a 'Tsawwassen only' issue. It is probably one of the most critical decisions that 'we' as a 'community' will have to address. In writing this letter I hope that my neighbours in the entire community of Delta will put some thought into how this will effect us and not allow our council to be pawns of the developers and speculators in their battle to divide and conquer us. I can understand why the Century Group would want to keep us apart but We deserve more respect from our elected officials. It's time to include the entire city on decisions.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Turkish Delight

Elvis with Turkish PolicemanEverybody has a “bucket list”, that is a list of things to do before you die. Well... I have a list so long it would take two rolls of toilet paper to list it. There are minor things like, celebrate New Years Eve in Rome, which I have done, to major events like watch the birth of your first born, which I have also done (and I wasn't hung over afterwards). Today I can check off two more:

1.Ride a motorcycle to Istanbul, and
2.Ride a motorcycle to Asia.

I have gone years without being able to even check a single item off my list, yet this year I'm about to have a bumper crop.

My new muffler is making my bike growl. It's really sexy! Plus, I think I'm actually moving faster. This new high performance muffler was expensive, but I like it! The road out of Istanbul is great. I'm hightailing it to Bulgaria and I'm not going to waste anytime. I have been humbled by my midnight run into Istanbul and I know I'm riding on borrowed time. I need to make hay while the sun shines and get some kilometers behind me. The road is nice and new and I don't mind paying the toll to have some smooth asphalt underneath me.

Of course the smoothness of the ride makes me a little complacent so I decide to take some video as I ride. I pull over and set up the camera. With the camera in one hand I cruise down the Turkish highway taking video from as many angle as I can. That is until I see the red and blue lights flashing behind me, Is that a siren?

Damn it. I'm being pulled over... and for the first time.

The police get out of their car and approach. There's two of them and I don't know what to expect.

“Could we see your papers please?”

I hand over my international driver's license.

“Are you OK? Do you require any help?”, the older officer asks.

I'm not sure how to answer this question. Is this a trick?

“What ummm.. what's the word? Model of motorsicklet is this?”, the younger officer asks.

“It's a 1981 Yamaha XJ650 Maxim I reply.”

He gives me a puzzled look.

I see the recognition in his eyes so I elaborate, “It's a fully custom cafe racer that I built from scratch from parts I was given.”

“Ahhh!” It all made sense to him.

The rest of the conversation was about how much they liked, no loved, my bike and the reason they pulled me over was so that they could get a closer look. Talk about flattery. I was so worried being pulled over in Turkey and yet again I'm inspired by the motivations and kindness of my fellow man.
Elvis in Turkey
They were more than happy to take a couple of pictures with my bike and the one officer gave me his email address so I could send him the pictures. Turned on my video camera and they gave me a light show and a wave as they pulled away.

I wonder if the police in Canada would treat foreign bikers as nicely?

That question was hypothetical... I know the answer.

Turkish Delight (Picture)

Elvis with Turkish Policeman

Thursday, January 1, 2009

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