AmbrÖse Bierce: A Handful Of Lower Level Authorities … Who’s Kidding Whom?

By AmbrÖse Bierce. On June 12 the Abbotsford News wrote an editorial saying,

“We are led to believe this was the work of a handful of lower level authorities in city hall who thought they were taking affirmative action on a long-standing problem.”

Who led you to believe it?

Is this the advance work being done to protect those at the top who were the only people with the authority or the power to carry out a sustained attack on the poor which has included the City and the APD, over the last decade.

To what possible conclusions would a reasonable person come given the unwillingness or inability, so far, of the City of Abbotsford to tell us who did this. Let’s do a little deduction here.

Downtown developer Bob Bos.. Photo from BC

Downtown developer Bob Bos.. Photo from BC

As mentioned in Cui Bono, other than the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association’s (ADBA) past president, developer Bob Bos, “The other two organizations with something to gain by attacking the homeless with chicken feces were the Salvation Army, whose building is directly across the street, and the Mill Tower owned by Dave Krahn and partners, the new office tower which is just down the street.”

If we assume that the Sally Ann’s interest in having the homeless they weren’t interested in helping moved away from their building was passive, in the sense that, if asked, they had no objection, then either the ADBA, which has stated its concern that Downtown Abbotsford not become an outpost for the homeless similar to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, we are left with Dave Krahn’s Mill Tower, just up the street from the Sally Ann, which is trying to sell, what it considers to be prime real estate, with a bunch of smelly homeless people just up the street.

Either way; if we remove the Sally Ann’s non-interference in the incident, we are left with either Bob Bos or David Krahn as two of the potential villains in this embarrassing episode.

I’m not sure … but I think we’re getting somewhere now.

Who stood to benefit from the City of Abbotsford’s plan to eradicate the poor by means of a strategy to displace and disperse?

Dave Krahn's Mill Tower - the only other property on Gladys Avenue other than the Sally Ann which might benefit from the poisoning of homeless people.

Dave Krahn’s Mill Tower – the only other property on Gladys Avenue other than the Sally Ann which might benefit from the poisoning of homeless people.

The Economic Development Department, run by Jay Teichroeb, has led the way in desperately given developers everything they ask for in order to come to Abbotsford. From reducing the proportion of the cost of development paid by developers vs that paid by existing residents to increasing the tax advantages to developers of a certain size; changing the definition of Development Cost Charges (DCCs) to have local, established and existing landowners pay an increased portion of the burden of development; and establishing an unfriendly environment for those, like the homeless, who might interfere with developers’ ability to make money in a city where the opportunity to do so has withered under his management.

While those in the real estate and development community will privately tell you that there is no money to be made investing in Abbotsford, the Economic Development Department is outwardly bullish on investment opportunities in Abbotsford because it has to be in order to justify its existence.

The empty holes in the ground and the abandoned temporary sales offices which tell the real tale of real estate development in Abbotsford are never mentioned in the press releases nor the discussions in the chain-owned media about Abbotsford’s economy – this despite the fact one of the most obvious examples sits right across from City Hall … opposite John Smith’s million dollar ‘Friendship Garden’.

Economic Development Manager Jay Teichroeb

Economic Development Manager Jay Teichroeb

Who’s kidding whom?

City departments which represent the interests of developers rather than citizens of the community deemed undesirable might provide a place to start looking for someone who is responsible.

“Lower level authorities in city hall who thought they were taking affirmative action on a long-standing problem …” sounds more like the beginning of a defense for someone who sets policy rather than a statement of any sort of fact.

We’ll wait until we see who gets fired for this horrid, despicable and reprehensible policy of disenfranchisement and destruction, but blaming the workers for doing what they were told seems a bad way of dealing with this.

If we are simply going to protect those who make a good living obliterating the poor on the altar of economic development then we will have missed a golden opportunity to show the world we can deal with our own flaws, faults and mistakes like an adult community and change course.

John Smith

John Smith

If we fire the people who were led to believe their actions would be approved, or that at least their bosses at City Hall would look the other way, we will simply keep walking the same path.

Economic development is at a standstill in Abbotsford because of the bad decisions made by the Economic Development department, the Parks and Rec department and the politicians who have protected the civil servants who have been destroying our City.

Serious investment no longer happens in Abbotsford because of John Smith’s projects and policies which have made it impossible for sensible investors to invest in our community, and the financial mess created by bureaucrats whose best solution to promoting the interests of the development community seems to have been to spread chicken manure on homeless people.

Sacrificing citizens on the altar of development is not the kind of public policy a low level worker would or could come up with. It is the kind of strategy only someone at the highest level of political and administrative influence could have a) come up with, and, b) instituted and managed as a long term strategy.

Think about it for a moment … how could any low level employee maintain a decade-long, multi-department strategy which included the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) at the highest levels to displace and disperse.

If the News was really led to believe it was lower level staff who ran this strategy out of, one would have to assume, the Bylaw Department or the Public Works Department, or perhaps the City Hall coffee shop, they should tell us who led them to believe that. Why would the Abbotsford News say something which appears to protect the people at the top and preemptively blame this incident on the working stiffs at the bottom.

We don’t believe it. Nor will most reasonable people.

ASDAC Chair John Sutherland told the committee last Wednesday the person responsible has been identified and the City will be taking the appropriate personnel actions.

I guess we’ll find out soon enough whether some low level employee is going to be made to hang for this, as the Abbotsford News would have us believe, or whether we as a community are going to do the right thing and make someone at the top of the political food chain take responsibility for this systematic and sustained policy which has placed a horrible stain next to our City’s name which his or her dismissal won’t erase.

That is going to take a lot of work by a lot of dedicated people. Thankfully, we have them in abundance.

AmbrÖese Bierce


AmbrÖse Bierce is Today’s writer in residence who occasionally gives voice to the concerns of individual citizens and taxpayers who, for a variety of reasons, are unable or unwilling to take a public stand on issues of relevance to the rest of the community. Reasons may include possible loss of job, injury to their business, or any number of quite legitimate reasons to keep their mouths shut.

While all columns and letters on Today are signed by their authors, we have decided to provide this venue for those with legitimate opinions, based on fact, with something to contribute to the public debate in the city. This is not a place for wild venting or personal attacks. AmbrÖse requires you identify yourself to him and explain why you need to keep your identity secure.

To Read More AmbrÖese Please Click Here.

To Write AmbrÖese Simply Email Him At: AmbrÖ

Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • DeceitinDrugs says:

    It is time to shine light on,Economic Development Manager, Jay Teichrob, who has been quietly working behind City Hall doors in the interests of a few select developers, who have been allowed to control City Hall business, related to development/growth in Abbotsford.

    These developers have been appointed to sit on EDC and CIDAC,
    by Mayor and Council, on recommendation of Economic Development Manager and use their positions to control their own development
    interests in this city.

    A “free enterprise’ climate for developers/development in this city has been jeopardized, due to City Hall working with a small group of
    people trying to control development in Abbotsford.

    City Staff should be required to become detached from the
    close relationships, which they have at the city’s development
    and planning dept, in order that they can make the right decisions
    related to growth and development.

    It is the ‘chicken manure’ incident and the Jubilee Park bad handling
    of the “Do not feed the hungry in Jubilee Park” backroom mtg between
    EX-pres of ADBA, Bob Bos, Councillor John Smith and Bruce Beck,
    director of the Abbotsford Chamber incident in 2008, which reflects
    the efforts of a few to control growth/development in this city at
    all cost and City Hall allowing it to happen.

    This “normal” way of doing business with developers/Big Business
    in this city smells of “chicken manure” and it’s time the Mayor and
    City Manager get their rubber boots and shovels out and clean it

    Those, who ordered, the chicken manure incident are a disgrace to
    our city!

Leave a Reply