Re: "Unleash fines on dog owners." Letters, Aug. 26.
I love it when young folks wade into politics. Richy Wong is correct when he expresses his concern for the absence of dog management measures in the City of Richmond.
As the previous executive director of the now disbanded Richmond Responsible Dog Owners Group (RRDOG), I can assure him that the majority of our previous membership would agree.
RRDOG tried for five years to persuade the mayor and council to be proactive in addressing dog related problems. By their own admission, dogs are one of the top two causes of citizen complaints in Richmond.
They have been for decades.
RRDOG developed a comprehensive program and was applauded by council for it. However, council turned us over to the real rulers in the hall - the bureaucracy. They jerked us around, stonewalled, obfuscated, lied, blew smoke, and wasted our time, effort and money until, to express it in terms suitable for a family newspaper, I ran out of patience with their rude treatment and told the young bureaucrat assigned to take a hike.
As recently as last Wednesday, a longserving widely respected city councillor candidly confirmed that council has limited influence in certain municipal departments. They are in bed with wealthy development corporations and are a law unto themselves. Richmond voters don't get to vote for them and they are more out of control than the dogs Richy Wong writes about.
If Richy can find a solution to this systemic flaw, short of unleashing the dogs of war, I and other Gnarly Old Dudes and Dames of Steveston (GODDS) will be eternally grateful. Unlike the dog walker who was so unsympathetic to Richy's brother's fear, I am both sympathetic and unwilling to "pay the fine". That is one of the reasons I am expending time and resources, not to mention wasting thousands of City of Richmond taxpayers' dollars, conducting a Supreme Court of British Columbia appeal of a Bylaw Dispute Adjudication System (BDAS) ruling.
If we are to succeed in addressing any of Richmond's, B.C.'s, Canada's or global quality of life issues, including dogs, we must first achieve an improved system of democracy which will give us a more people-responsive government. We cannot fix a flawed system with a flawed system, and right now it is getting worse, not better. I encourage Richy and all the young firebrands out there in the News land to join the fight for democracy. As Red Green used to say, "I'm pulling for you, we are all in this together."
However, it is your future, not mine. My dog days of summer are long gone. Over to you, Richy.
Ramblin' Ryan Lake Gnarly Old Dudes And Dames Of Steveston (godds)