Letters July 24: Vitriol against mayor; protecting against COVID-19

Helps does not have a magic wand

Be kind. Be calm. Be safe. It’s our pandemic mantra. Yet, the online vitriol against Mayor Lisa Helps is far from kind or calm.

These are not mere criticisms of her policies, but very nasty personal attacks. Apparently, our community has replaced compassion with a heavy dose of toxic rage.

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Many of the vicious comments berate Helps for her handling of the homeless situation. We need to understand that homelessness is the result of many governments consistently defunding social and housing programs, and that homelessness is a global tragedy with many different causes, none of which will be solved by one mayor.

We need to remember that homelessness can happen to anyone. All it takes is one unexpected event, chronic medical diagnosis or job loss. None of us are immune. Should I ever end up homeless, I’d hope to receive compassion, not loathing.

And compassion is something Helps has for our homeless population. If she could wave a magic wand, I feel certain she’d make sure everyone had a home and all the support they require.

Unfortunately, magic wands aren’t granted to elected officials and she has had to work within the confines of her role.

I read your comments and wonder who you are. Are you someone who donates to food banks every Christmas then pats yourself on the back? Are you a parent teaching your child that it’s OK to be horrible to strangers?

Do you feel good after posting personal attacks on someone you’ve never met? Are you being kind?

Jessica Duncan

Return to habits that work

In March, Dr. Bonnie Henry told us to self distance, wash our hands and stay home if we were sick to avoid the spread of COVID-19. We did as she asked and it worked.

Now she has told us that we can loosen our contacts but that we still need to follow the order to self-distance and wash our hands that has worked so well for us.

We can tell by the upward curve that because we have chosen to disregard what has been working we are now trending into an area we do not want to enter.

If we look at other countries, even other provinces we can see what will happen if we decide to return to normal behaviour. It is not hard to do, a few extra steps around people, perhaps with a smile and hello, and a little extra soap and water.

We have all praised Henry for keeping us well, please let’s return to the behaviour that worked for us in the recent past. Let’s not disappoint her or ourselves by forgetting our target.

Collectively, we need to do better.

Cindy Cox

We need a standard base of proper behaviour

So, we are now experiencing a resurgence of COVID infections, which appears to be primarily as a result of Canada Day celebrations and, presumably, the follow-on effect.

When will the government adopt the strategy of U.S. states of mandating facemasks in public and enforcing distancing? If we are all in this together, there has to be a sound base standard of behaviour since many individuals obviously know better than to act responsibly.

Roger Love

Be careful with calls for medicare waivers

Re: “Mask protesters should waive free medical care,” letter, July 23.

The letter writer is basically stating that if people are told how to stay healthy and then don’t follow those guidelines they then should be willing to sign a waiver disqualifying themselves from “free” medical care. (Incidentally, it’s not free, it’s paid for by our taxes.)

Poor nutrition and lack of physical exercise is a major cause of many of our chronic diseases. Obviously many people are not following the recommendations.

Should all these people be denied free medical care? Should everyone who enters a fast-food restaurant or doughnut shop sign a waiver before entering?

Bill Needoba

Four of the nay-sayers do not live in Victoria

Re: “Carriage protesters doing nothing wrong,” letter, July 22.

The writer said that, “every city councillor, except for one, has said they would support a ban on horse-drawn carriages.” This writer forgot to mention that the one who was against the ban is the only councillor who has any sense of reality and awareness of what is good for Victoria.

He also forgot to mention that four out of the remaining seven councillors do not live in Victoria (two live in Esquimalt and two live in Saanich) and therefore should not be making any decisions about what we should, or should not, be doing in Victoria.

So really there are only three out of eight councillors that are against horse-drawn carriages.

Which, by the way are well maintained, a wonderful experience, and the sound of their hooves are amazing as they walk slowly and safely by our homes.

I wonder how many of the Victoria Horse Alliance actually live in James Bay, or for that matter, how many live in downtown Victoria?

Mark Carlow

Parking, bus passes and finally Humboldt

First, Victoria council raised parking fees last year, then reduces them because no-one is coming downtown.

Then council introduced free bus passes that parking fees will pay for. Oops! So few want the passes that the city takes a financial bath on a poorly-thought-out contract for them.

No problem; just raise parking rates again.

Meantime council thinks, let’s take another stab at discouraging any and all motorists from downtown by coming up with a revolutionary traffic plan that will have drivers fearing for their safety and sanity.

Humboldt Street will be the test run. In an effort to avoid oncoming vehicles in the same lane drivers will be required to move to the left or right into the bicycle lanes to avoid collisions, thereby incurring the anger and occasional foul language hurled at them by the ever-entitled members of the Victoria Bicycle Coalition.

This all actually makes perfect sense because our cyclecentric council members thus ensure that no drivers will even attempt to drive Humboldt.

If they had thought of it much earlier they might not have even had to remove our beloved Humboldt Tree.

P.G. (Phil) Leith

Richardson bike lanes will put cyclists at risk

Victoria city council has given the go ahead for bike lanes along 2.8 kilometres of Richardson Street from Foul Bay Road to Vancouver Street.

The idea is to squeeze two lanes of traffic into a single central vehicle lane with painted bike lanes on either side. Vehicles will then be forced to cross the bike lanes and pull over to allow cars coming from the opposite direction to pass.

I appreciate this may well work in theory for our city planners living in their ideal world. It may even make sense when it’s all new and shiny and the bright painted lines are clearly visible on the road.

However, as any cyclist knows, motorists are not always so good when it comes to checking for bikes on their right side.

You have to ask if drivers confused by a car coming straight at them in the same lane as they occupy are going to take sufficient time to look in their mirror and shoulder check before cutting across the bike lane?

This is a disaster waiting to happen with potentially fatal consequences for the cyclist.

I beg mayor and council to take a second look at this proposal before first responders are scraping a cyclist off the road.

As a daily Richardson Street cyclist, this issue really concerns me.

Paul Cunnington

Walking past campers to pay property taxes

The irony was inescapable. Here I was, making my way into the maze that has become Victoria’s inner city road system, to pay my taxes at City Hall.

Arriving, I was surprised to see a squalid array of a large number of tents, comfortably erected under the cover of the adjoining breezeway. I will assume there are no camping or resident fees charged.

As I walked by — mindful of the many posted warnings and advisories of the risks of COVID-19 — I could see a gathering of the campers. Forming a tight-knit circle, I could also hear their soft murmuring over undoubtedly weighty subjects of the day.

The taxes in downtown Victoria are high. They are charged in full, despite the effects of the pandemic on the taxpayers’ earnings.

Sponsoring and encouraging this nonsense at the expense of our hard-earned tax dollars is unacceptable and unfair.

Christopher Hopkins
North Saanich

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