December 2010 edition


Re: Why We Quit the Chamber of Commerce, November 2010

Congratulations! I think you made a good decision quitting the Chamber of Commerce. I made the same decision a long time ago, after a membership of 20 years. My beliefs about the Blue Bridge are the same as yours.

I think we are killing this beautiful City with stupid decisions, and I hope you and your magazine will help to awake the hypnotized citizens of Victoria.

Roberto Marquez


I enjoyed your letter on the Johnston Street Bridge and must give you kudos for taking the editorial rights we have in Canada to educate your readers on the real facts. Having written numerous sports editorials, I am aware of the “politics” of challenging a system of bureaucracy bent on padding egos. Perhaps City Council is trying to create a legacy by having their names bronzed on a plaque attached to a “new” Johnson Street Bridge. I suppose there is little glory in just “maintaining” a bridge.

Thank you for taking an editorial stand.

Barry McLean


Re: Exploring Love, Death and Virtue, November 2010

Amy Reiswig’s well-wrought book review of John Gould’s new novel accomplished the two aims of a good review. First, it supplied the appropriate information needed to decide whether to read the book.

Second and more strikingly, her review provided a thought-provoking, stand-alone read. It made me think about friendship, about virtues and their obverse of vices, about judgement of those we love, and more, among other topics Victoria writer Gould tackles in the book. 

Additionally, however, Gould’s approach to writing intrigues as much as the book’s content. I appreciate that Reiswig unfolded his devices of postcards, “constantly shifting tone and style,” and wordplay, among other writing topics, because they hold strong interest for me and what I guess to be thousands of other writers in Greater Victoria. 

Very well done. I have not met Amy Reiswig but hope to see more of her work in Focus.

Caroline Mufford


Re: Mike-onomics, November, 2010

Even though I had only met Mike Littrell twice, I felt a profound sense of loss on hearing he passed away at the young age of 61.

A mutual friend had suggested we meet over coffee, thinking we might have a few things to say to each other. But as the conversation began, it was immediately obvious Mike was an intellectual heavyweight. It was all I could do to keep up with his stories, historical precedents, allegories and metaphors. His insights were, I thought, often brilliant.

I left the restaurant in a daze, feeling spaced out—like I’d just played an hour of one-on-one with Steve Nash. The incredible thing was Mike seemed as interested and curious about what I had to say as I was about him. In fact, he didn’t even seem to be aware of the vast difference in brain power between us. He was, quite simply, a class act.

Let’s face it—some lights burn more brightly than others. Mike had uncanny perception, clarity, and an ability to see world events in historical context. I have never met anyone like him. The world is a richer place for his passing through it. He’s going to be missed.

Richard Brunt

Re: Lessons from History, October 2010

Congratulations to Ross Crockford for reporting one of our biggest problems in Canadian governance—the “optimism bias,” which is shared by many politicians and planners and results in overestimates of project benefits, and underestimates of project costs and time. Overlay this optimism bias with a public discourse more intent on gaining advantage than demanding prudent decision-making and we can explain why poorly conceived projects often fail.

We can have better governance and decisions if we: (1) Search for wisdom; (2) Know the aims (ends) for which we act; (3) Know the details in their true proportion; (4) Evaluate the merits of the alternatives, before decisions are made; (5) Choose the alternative (means) that will best achieve the desired aims (ends); (6) After the decision is made, monitor the outcomes to help ensure what was intended to happen, does happen, and if not, learn and take corrective action.

Ray Travers 


Re: Yoga of Imprisonment, October, 2010

Kudos to Rob Wipond for giving us an alternate view of treatment of offenders, citing “what tragic silliness, to believe we could improve men’s lives and make make them better people by corralling them behind heavy metal doors and bars in tiny concrete rooms.”

The idea of incarceration is not to make them better people. If that were the case we would find out the hurt that needs healing and do that for victims and offenders. Then we would have a safer society. But we are a throwaway society in so many ways. The present political stance seems to be “out of sight, out of mind.”  But what about the victims and families who have no help? This leaves more hurt and anger in our society which can often lead to addictions to hide the pain, leading to more jail terms and still no healing. The truth is that we are a part of the problem and the solution.

Let’s use Restorative Justice. See the BC-made DVD A Healing River.

Joanna Wilkinson


Re: Showdown at Lime Bay, June 2010

Continuing the mega-yacht marina saga, about which you have written extensively in the past, I thought your readers would be interested in the latest Machiavellian twist. 

Transport Canada (TC) has requested Community Marine Concepts (CMC), developer of the marina proposed for the Songhees shore, to submit an entirely new application to reflect changes necessitated when the City of Victoria rezoned the publicly-owned waterlot, even though the changes result in a smaller facility. This new application will allow both CMC and TC to avoid judicial reviews of the project, one requested by the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations and the other by Tim Houlihan and the Dogwood Initiative. However, both CMC and TC have already had access to all legal documentation prepared by their opponents in anticipation of the judicial reviews and can tailor the new application and process accordingly. 

Although several months have passed since the rezoning of the water lot, TC and CMC have chosen the busy Christmas period for public comment. Are we to believe that this is not yet another deliberate attempt to frustrate public opposition to the project? 

Diane Carr