Letters Nov. 16: Victoria council’s pitch for 50% raise; health-care spending

They’re asking for 50%, hoping for 20%

Re: “Victoria councillors seek taxpayers’ support for 50% pay hike,” Nov. 15.

Of course the request for a 50% wage increase is being led by Coun. Ben Isitt. He has a history of terrible ideas that are unpopular with the citizens of the city he supposedly works for.

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I’m sure all those city workers out there in the trenches keeping the bones of our town functioning would also love a 50% wage increase — the ones who are painting lamp posts, pressure washing the streets and emptying the garbage cans.

This crazy request is purposely high and council knows the public will react negatively. My bet is they are really hoping for a 20% increase, which will look totally reasonable after the protests over 50%.

C. Scott Stofer

Hire police officers vs. pay councillors more

In a city where the police had to cut back due to budget constraints, the council has decided that the top priority should be a 50% salary raise for themselves, a mere $200,000-plus. It occurs to me that that would fund two police officers. So our choice is richer politicians, or two more officers who might actually make a difference. Any bets on how this will end up?

Ted Jimmo

Why citizens should run for city council

I can’t believe my eyes. When citizens run for city council, they are doing so with the desire of giving public service. Yes, some compensation is required but this is not meant to be a full time job. How can you ask for a 50% pay increase for yourselves when you rejected the Victoria Police Department budget request?

Sadly, we the people, have to wait three more years to vote in a new mayor and council. In the meantime, give your heads a shake, sit down, be good and do the job you were elected to do.

Van M. Buchanan

Councillors should reveal all income

Victoria councillors say they are only receiving $45,384 a year and want a 50% raise, but this $45,384 is misleading. Councillors also receive a benefits package.

How much is this? How much are those same councillors being paid from other public bodies such as the Capital Regional District, health, transit and university?

What benefits are they taking from those other bodies? What pay are they taking from work in the private sector? If councillors want a pay increase they should first disclose their pay and benefits from all sources while they are on council. Then the public can express their opinion if this council is worth it.

Jason Austin

Pay hike will increase other costs

Taxpayers should be concerned that the present members of council do not know how to control costs. Increased wages also add hidden long-term benefits such as pensions. Increased property taxes may start a migration from the city.

Chuck Dilba, CPA
North Saanich

Dallas lights will destroy sky viewing

As a James Bay resident, I attended the information sessions on changes to Dallas Road to accommodate the wastewater pipes and install a new bicycle path. I do not recall anything being said about installation of street lights along the south side of Dallas Road between Cook and Douglas streets. Had I known, I would have voiced my objections.

This stretch of Beacon Hill Park is one of my favourite places. It’s also the last dark space in our city. It’s where you can go to see the night sky in all its glory. It’s where you can go to witness meteor showers and other astronomical events.

For many of us, it’s where you can enjoy the night sky without getting into a car and driving out of town. Is it really necessary to light up every corner of the city? The lighting along the bike path is similar to lighting in the heart of Beacon Hill Park, which is low-key. The street lights, on the other hand, are light pollution. It makes me wonder if we are all afraid of the dark.

Linda Carlson

Build student housing on parking lots

UVic plans to build student housing so more students will live on campus. Instead of building on and destroying a living environment that includes 94 trees, I suggest using land already damaged.

I believe the housing should be built on one or more parking lots. Using the parking lots has the additional advantage of encouraging biking and using public transit, with all of their benefits.

Hopefully, community groups will agree with me and organize a response to save living environments.

Larry Layne

Health-spending editorial off the mark

Re: “B.C.’s spending on health care isn’t worth boasting about,” editorial, Nov. 8.

Your editorial on the level of health spending in B.C. is way off the mark. To begin with, the creation of public primary health clinics all over the province by the NDP government will save considerable money by reducing visits to emergency departments in the acute-care hospitals (the most expensive service found there).

And when we are talking real health determinants, we are talking about the government investing in affordable, appropriate housing, adequate incomes, access to a better education system, a clean environment, access to recreation, the arts and the elimination of fees such as Medical Services Plan.

Your definition of health is archaic and outdated. The Canada Health Act is woefully outdated and needs to fund eyes, ears and dental work and seniors care.

I also think the time has come to switch from the outdated fee-for-service payment to salaries for doctors, as is happening in clinics and emergency departments. Specialists in B.C. make enormous amounts of money while general practitioners lag behind.

I have spent most of my life in the health-care system as a nurse, hospital trustee, Capital Regional District health chair, CRD housing chair and chair of healthy Saanich when I was a Saanich councillor.

Carol Pickup

School start-time shift is not solution

Re: “An easy way to get schools out of the dark,” letter, Nov. 12.

A letter writer says an “easy” solution to the problem of kids going to school in the dark if we move to permanent daylight savings time would be to “just” delay schools’ opening times by an hour.

I can see this being a big problem for many families who already have enough difficulty getting everybody to where they should be in the morning.

In addition, there would be pressure to cancel this in the spring to give the kids more daylight in the evenings, so you’d be back to two time changes per year.

J.W. Fletcher
Central Saanich

Two per cent annual raise is not enough

Re: “Teachers rally to back striking support workers,” Nov. 15.

How can anyone expect the union to accept a wage increase of two per cent annually over three years to be anywhere near acceptable when the annual rate of inflation is well above two per cent, and School District 63 is already significantly lagging behind in support workers’ wages?

Compound that with the cost of living in Saanich versus Greater Victoria or Sooke districts and I really do wonder how anyone can see this as an acceptable bargain.

Josh Relf

Thanks for the funny headlines

Re: “Pond drained, koi safe … come hell or high otter,” Nov. 5.

This is a long-overdue thank-you to whoever is in charge of writing your clever and amusing headlines.

Whether using subtle references (“The spy that came out and told”), amusing wordplay (“Car-fuffles”) or jokes that cause one to groan and/or chortle out loud (“Come hell or high otter”), they provide a welcome lightening to what otherwise can often be dreary reading about the state of the world.

Many thanks and keep up the fine work!

Kiiri Michelsen

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