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EXTRA! - Our Vision of Electrical Safety In Vancouver!


Vancouver, January 13, 2011 - By Frank Kurz

“Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you”

The Vision Cabal lead by Mayor Gregor Robertson has given us chicken coops and bike lanes and promised sweeping social change for certain marginalized citizens of Vancouver, most of whom have never seen the inside of a ballot booth.  The sweet promise of a life free of the struggle for the search for basic human dignity and a decent roof has many joining a chorus of equally anesthetized supporters that mistakenly believe Mr. Robertson’s also fulfilling on his promise of a safer Vancouver.

“Though I know that evenin’s empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping
My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming”

In November of last year, Vision’s very own Tambourine Man launched the search for a replacement for Arkady Tsisserev, Vancouver’s former City Electrician and Canada’s top electrical and life safety expert whom, you will recall, he so heinously and callously dismissed without cause just prior to our Big Olympic Bash.  We were all told Ark was dismissed for budgetary reasons and that Mayor Robertson knew nothing about it – that this was a “staffing issue being dealt with through the Human Resources Department” – which, as it turns out, was a bold-faced lie!

For about a year now, Vancouver’s Electrical Inspections Department has been without Ark’s leadership and heading in a direction many of us in the life safety profession are viewing with increasing alarm (no pun intended).  Entire projects have been green lighted for occupancy with nothing more than a contractor’s declaration stating that the work performed complies with the Canadian Electrical Code and the Vancouver Building Bylaw.  Will Johnston wrote the procedural documentation for this (officially known as the Olympic By-law) which was passed by the Tambourine Man's own Council.  Will Johnston's appointment as City Electrician is entirely POLITICAL and doesn't even meet the requirements of the Charter nor does it serve to make the citizens of Vancouver safer (you'll notice that it's not even mentioned on Vancouver's website).**  A case in point is the fact that numerous agencies in the Lower Mainland, that also happen to be on Vancouver’s List of Qualified Verifiers, have been running around largely unchecked, free of any real constraint or proper supervision.  The brick and mortar which Ark and a number of other hard working, committed individuals have used to build the safest City in North America has slowly been crumbling to sand under a Vision-less stream of stupidity.



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“Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man,
play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin’ ship
My senses have been stripped, my hands can’t feel to grip
My toes too numb to step
Wait only for my boot heels to be wanderin’
I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way
I promise to go under it”

    “As part of the restructuring of the Licenses and Inspections Department late last year, all inspection services (Building, Electrical, Environmental Protection, Plumbing & Gas, and Property Use) were consolidated into the Inspection Services Division led by an Assistant Director. In the fall, we commenced the recruitment process for the Assistant Director position.

    I am now pleased to announce that Mark Roozbahani has accepted the Assistant Director position. Mark joins us with a broad range of building regulatory and leadership experience as well as most recently leading the City of Richmond’s Energy Management Program. Prior to leading the City of Richmond’s Energy management Program, Mark was the Assistant Chief Building Official for the District of North Vancouver and the Codes Engineer for the City of Richmond. In these roles Mark has successfully acted as an organizational liaison with a variety of businesses, developers, consultants, contractors and elected officials in the delivery of services while at the same time leading technical and professional staff. Mark received an award from BC Hydro for his achievements with respect to the preparation of the City of Richmond’s first Strategic Energy Management Plan.

    Mark is a professional engineer holding both an undergraduate and master’s degree in engineering as well as an MBA. He will start his new role on Monday, January 17, 2011. Please join me in welcoming Mark to our department.

    William M. Johnston, P. Eng.
    Director, Licenses and Inspections, and
    Chief Building Official”

    -- Official City of Vancouver Internal Email

“Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

Though you might hear laughin’, spinnin’, swingin’ madly across the sun
It’s not aimed at anyone, it’s just escapin’ on the run
And but for the sky there are no fences facin’
And if you hear vague traces of skippin’ reels of rhyme
To your tambourine in time, it’s just a ragged clown behind
I wouldn’t pay it any mind
It’s just a shadow you’re seein’ that he’s chasing”

According to APEGBC’s official member listing, Mehrdad (Mark) Roozbahani holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering from Isfahan University of Technology in Tehran (Iran), a Master of Applied Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Azad in Tehran (Iran), and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix (via correspondence course?).

Impressive sounding achievements I must admit, but nowhere near Ark Tsisserev’s stellar credentials or what Vancouver really needs.  I can’t quite get my head around how a Chemical Engineer (with minors in Environmental Management and Waste Water Treatment) will be even remotely qualified to assume the role of Deputy to the City Electrician or Deputy Electrical Safety Manager (let alone fulfil the responsibilities of Assistant Director).  Apparently it’s not too much of a stretch for the minds in the City Manager’s office, however.  These are, after all, the same people that see no problem with the fact that the current Council Appointed City Electrician (Will Johnston) happens to be a Structural Engineer.

By the way, the MAYOR of the City of Richmond actually received BC Hydro’s Power Smart Award.  Mr. Roozbahani lead a team of skilled and committed professionals that help identify areas in which Richmond could successfully reduce its energy consumption.  You should really try to get your facts straight, Mr. Johnston.  You can read about it here.

Vancouver’s Tambourine Man and the dancing Visionistas that follow his lead are connecting dots in ways that defy rational explanation and with the same result you would expect from a group of crayon wielding two year olds.

“Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow”

I would pinch myself but I already know I’m wide awake.  The Chefs in Vision Vancouver’s kitchen have demonstrated that they are NOT the responsible, rational policy-makers we elected.  The light bulb in their Betty Crocker Easy Bake Oven has burned out, and not one of them has a clue about how to change it.

An Electrical Engineer should head the Electrical Inspections department and should also be appointed the City Electrician.  The fact that Vancouver still has no functioning City Electrician or Electrical Safety Manager (and it looks like these positions will continue to remain vacant for the foreseeable future) is another accident waiting to happen.  The fact that there were four eminently qualified Electrical Engineers that applied for the position created for Mr. Roozbahani and that not one was granted an interview only serves to highlight a flawed hiring process, and a dysfunctional Human Resources Department that's been dangerously politicized under this Vision run Council.

And while our City burns the Tambourine Man plays on.


UPDATE: I experienced a sense of deja-vu on Friday (January 28, 2011) listening to Mayor Gregor Robertson's comments on CKNW regarding the abrupt departure of Carlene Robbins, the former head of Vancouver's Property Use Inspections Department.  He used the exact same words when he denied any knowledge of Arkady Tsisserev's illegal termination.  “I have no knowledge of that... It's a human resources issue...”  Thank you Mr. Mayor, I feel so much safer!

UPDATE: CKNW reported on several incidents involving electrocution hazards on sidewalks surrounding street lamps in the city on the morning of February 15th, 2010.  The city's engineering department is investigating but admitted in an interview with CKNW reporters that inspection of lamp standards hadn't involved testing for energized components (or surrounding structures and road beds) up to now.  I can tell you what Vancouver's City Electrician should be doing right about now, but so far as I know we don't have one!

UPDATE: March 4, 2011 - In what has to be yet another of the most bizarre emails I've ever read, Mark Roozbahani has apparently quit the City of Vancouver and accepted a position as "Facilities Manager" with the International Court of the Hague in the Netherlands.  Perhaps Mr. McLellan (Deputy City Manager and the author of the email informing City Staff of Mr. Roozbahani's departure) can excuse himself from singing the next chorus of Kumbaya with our Tambourine Man and Dr. Spendy and get down to the business of finding a suitable candidate to take on the role of City Electrician!  The sooner the better, Mr. McLellan!

**UPDATE: November 22, 2011 - Will Johnston's official title has now been appended to include City Electrician.


Related stories and articles on this site:

In case you missed it, you can read my Message to the Mayor and Council HERE!
A news article from June 2010 is located HERE
There's a previous Editorial HERE.
February 2010 had one news item located HERE.
Another news article from March 2010 is located HERE.
Bravo, Mayor Robertson, Bravo! March 2010 Editorial.
An April 2010 Tech-News item can be found HERE.
A Tech-News Special Report is located HERE.
Another Tech-News EXTRA! is located HERE.
There are also several FAQ's regarding Fire Alarm Verification and Annual Testing you might be interested in reading.

Related articles and Bulletins on other sites:

Bulletin 2003-009-EL
Bulletin 2000-021-EL
ULC Standards Bulletin
CFAA Position Paper
My January 20, 2010 Address to Vancouver City Council (starts at time index 03:03:40)
More Fallout from the Pandora Street Fire (City Caucus Story)
Electrocution Hazards on Vancouver Sidewalks! A Life Safety Shocker! (Another City Caucus Story)
Breaking News! More Strange Moves in Vancouver Senior Management. (Another CIty Caucus Story)

Lyrics to the song "Tambourine Man" are the Copyright © of the great Bob Dylan.


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