Frustration mounts at big cities versus smaller cities split at TransLink’s Mayors’ Council

The previously united front shown by members of TransLink’s Mayors’ Council may be cracking after a meeting during which the region’s two largest cities used their collective weight to help pass or defeat motions. Some municipal leaders are so frustrated that they are considering not showing up for votes, which could leave the council unable to make decisions if quorum is not met. “We question why are we even going to be there, if this is what is going to happen all the time,” said Anmore Mayor John McEwen. The council is made up of 21 mayors from across Metro Vancouver, the director of Electoral Area A and the chief… Read More

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Trump’s Distractions Don’t Deter His Sharp Campaign Focus

Even as scandal engulfs the White House, President Donald Trump and his inner circle remain laser focused on the campaign. Now, they’re zeroing in on a state that was crucial to his victory in 2016—and likely will be in 2020 as well. According to two sources familiar with the matter, Bob Paduchik is leaving his post as co-chair of the Republican National Committee to oversee the campaign’s Ohio operations. An RNC spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment. Paduchik’s hiring is the latest in the Trump campaign’s efforts to build out ahead of the new year. Last week, the campaign announced that White House senior officials Justin Clark… Read More

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The Other Way the National Enquirer Helped Elect Trump

On Wednesday, the tabloid publisher AMI signed a non-prosecution agreement with prosecutors in New York, admitting that the company had paid former Playboy model Karen McDougal $150,000 as part of a “catch-and-kill” deal—AMI never intended to publish her account of an affair with Donald Trump—with the Trump campaign. In broad strokes, the public has known most of that story for some time now. The Wall Street Journal reported the general outline days before the 2016 election. The close relationship between Trump and AMI CEO David Pecker was known even before that—coming into focus when AMI’s National Enquirer ran a bogus story claiming that Rafael Cruz, father of Trump’s GOP primary… Read More

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Metro mayors tell Surrey to pay for cost of abandoned LRT

Surrey will have to compensate TransLink for the money the transit authority has already spent on the suspended Surrey-Newton-Guildford light rail project. Members of TransLink’s Mayors’ Council approved a resolution to that effect on Thursday, and also voted to have staff begin planning for a SkyTrain project down Fraser Highway. Last month the council, at the request of the City of Surrey, suspended work on the planned $1.65-billion light rail line, which was fully funded by three levels of government and had been in the works for years. TransLink staff came back with a work plan for proceeding with SkyTrain between Surrey and Langley, which was a campaign promise of… Read More

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The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: I, Spy

Written by Olivia Paschal (@oliviacpaschal), Elaine Godfrey (@elainejgodfrey), and Madeleine Carlisle (@maddiecarlisle2) Today in 5 Lines The Senate voted 56–41 to withdraw U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, amid bipartisan outrage over President Donald Trump’s defense of the Kingdom’s actions. In a letter to the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department, 22 House Democrats condemned the Trump administration’s plan to deport some Vietnamese immigrants with protected status, who fled to the United States during the Vietnam War. In an interview with Fox News, Trump said he never ordered his former attorney Michael Cohen to violate the law. Cohen was sentenced to three… Read More

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Daphne Bramham: Urgent need to improve B.C.’s child protection laws; make practitioners more accountable

The litany of failures revealed in the report Alone and Afraid, about a starved, naked and uncommunicative autistic child, is a scorching indictment of British Columbia’s child protection system. Starting in 2006, “Charlie” was the subject of eight formal reports to the Ministry of Children and Family Development about his well-being, and four separate child protection assessments. Yet, not one child protection social worker ever laid eyes on Charlie until 2016, nine years after the first red flag was raised. When the social worker did, the 12-year-old was taken into protective care. Unsurprisingly, Child and Youth Representative Jennifer Charlesworth has called for and set deadlines for a complete overhaul of… Read More

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What Will 2020 Democrats Do When Crowds Chant ‘Lock Him Up’?

One of the early choices every 2020 Democratic presidential contender will face is how to react the first time the audience at one of their events breaks into the chant, “Lock Him Up.” That day likely isn’t far away, now that prosecutors from the Southern District of New York, in Donald Trump’s own Justice Department, have formally implicated the president in two violations of campaign finance law by Michael Cohen, his former attorney and fixer, who was sentenced to three years in jail on Wednesday. Those allegations against Trump could add an extraordinary element of volatility to a 2020 presidential election that already looks poised to produce astronomical levels of… Read More

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Premier says no additional money for Surrey SkyTrain

VICTORIA — Premier John Horgan says there’s no additional provincial money available for Surrey if it needs more to pay for Mayor Doug McCallum’s election promise to switch to SkyTrain. Horgan said he’s spoken with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and both governments will only fund the amount they’d previously agreed to — roughly 40 per cent each — for Phase 2 two of Metro Vancouver’s transit expansion plan. Originally, that plan included a $1.65-billion Surrey-Newton-Guildford light rail transit project. But the Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation voted to suspend LRT in November after McCallum won the Surrey mayoralty on a promise to switch to a SkyTrain line from Surrey to… Read More

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Trump’s Evangelical Advisers Could Help Him Secure a Win on Sentencing Reform

Long-stalled legislation on sentencing reform may squeeze through Congress in the last few weeks of this session. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Tuesday that the Senate will take up the FIRST STEP Act, which would create some flexibility around sentencing and release for certain inmates held in federal prisons. President Donald Trump has been a major backer of the bill—“Go for it Mitch!,” he tweeted on Friday. Successful legislation would be a major bipartisan victory for the White House. Along the way, one group in particular has been pushing for passage of these reforms: Trump’s circle of evangelical advisers, who helped inspire the bill. White, conservative Christian leaders… Read More

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Paul Ryan’s Compromised Legacy

As he readies his escape from the wreckage wrought by the blue wave, Paul Ryan is patting himself on the back for a job well done. During an exit interview on Nov. 30, the lame duck House Speaker and Republican leader declared: “I’d say we became a pretty good governing party….I think history is going to be very good to this majority.” His self-assessment is not universally shared. Ex-Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, who rarely minces words, likely spoke for many when he shared this perspective last April, on the day Ryan announced that he would bail in December: “Paul Ryan’s monument will be the putrid and smoldering ruins of the… Read More

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