Wednesday, 30 May 2012


Ralph Waldo Emerson said that  foolish consistencies were the hobgoblins of little minds. 

In the mid 1980s there were thousands of illegal suites in the  Greater Vancouver Regional District (METRO). Municipalities responded to them in a variety of ways. The approach of the City of North Vancouver was documented in the case of Pucci v North Vancouver (City) in which it was shown that the Council over the years oscillated between strict enforcement and benign neglect. The incentive for leaving suites alone was that  the City was collecting higher taxes from them and they were obviously serving a need for lower cost rental housing.

All municipalities faced conflicting pressures from voters. Many homeowners demanded strict enforcement, particularly when they felt that the tenants next door were a nuisance. On the other hand, the moment there was discussion of enforcement the homeowners who needed mortgage helpers made their voices heard.

When Gordon Campbell was elected Mayor in 1986 the Council decided to take action and deal with the issue. Campbell initially was responding to the pressures of constituents who wanted the spread of the suites stopped. His analysis was that developers were gradually picking up single family houses and installing illegal suites. Building inspectors went along with it with a wink and a nudge. Developers were buying properties wholesale (single family) and converting them to rental, multi family properties and selling them at retail.

No sooner had he started the policy of enforcement, homeowners who needed the suites to stay in their own houses, reluctantly came forwarded and begged Council to go easy. So did their tenants who were often students or the elderly.

Seeking to please everyone he tried to do both simultaneously. He would continue  strict enforcement and shut down suites. If, however, the owner agreed to upgrade, then the suites could get a permit. .

The problem was, the cost of the upgrades in 1989 dollars was in excess of $10,000 and this immediately translated to an increase in rents. Now no one was happy.

In Gulliver's Travels the Lilliputians engaged in wars between the "Big Enders" and the "Little Enders."  These groups were named after the end of the egg citizens chose to suck. There was no possibility of compromise.

Our Council in the Campbell years had advanced to a higher level of wisdom and there was a compromise. Those who were against legalization of suites (the "No Suiters) would hopefully be satisfied if the suites were only made temporarily legal for say, five or ten years.  Those who wanted legalization (the "Suiters") would be satisfied if the suites received permits could be upgraded, if only temporarily. It could all be sorted out ten years later when they could all suck eggs in their own way.

So the great extinction was postponed ten years.

The important point was that neither the public nor the Council could accept the untidy inconsistencies that had brought us to this point. You either suck the big end of the egg or the little end. You are either legal or your not. Right?

For you, - maybe.  For the City, - wrong!

The Supreme Court of Canada had held in a case known as Polai v Toronto that local governments had an almost absolute discretion to enforce bylaws only to the extent they felt appropriate. In that case Toronto created a list of illegal suite owners immune from enforcement. This was upheld.  Therefore the existing policy of the City of Vancouver and others, i.e. selective enforcement, was perfectly legal. The suites themselves were illegal but the City could, subject to corrupt practices, do whatever it wanted. .

What the City could have done therefore, based on the Polai case, was to adopt written criteria for enforcement. Basically suites in houses that were owner occupied and where the suites provided reasonably safe accommodation, would be at the bottom of the priorty for enforcement list. Suites in houses that were deemed unsafe, low standard, and where the house was not owner occupied would be at the top of the list. The enforcement system would be triggered, as before by neighbors' complaints. The criteria for enforcement could be whatever the City wanted as long as it was not irrational or unreasonable.

This was considered politically unacceptable. The idea of regulating an activity that was not fully legal was, if not satanic, certainly contrary to various eastern and western moral imperatives.

What ultimately happened was that when the ten years was up for the temporary legal suites, the City continued its  policy of selective chaotic enforcement. This led to the decision by  Larry Campbell's Council to simply amend zoning bylaws to allow suites.

Problem solved?  Wrong again!

Legalization did not legalize all existing suites.  Those suites not shown on previously approved plans remained illegal and the city continues to force either expensive upgrades or removals and court actions.

It seems likely that  legalization tended to increase the price of housing.  Rents did not go down. The City continues to enforce against illegal suites not just in single family areas but every where. On top of all that of course is the present unbridled trend to demolish existing houses and build new ones. That way everything is legal.

The City piously claims that this is necessary for the safety of tenants. A few years ago a drug house burned down and several people died in the fire. It turned out that the building inspectors were well aware of the place, having received many complaints but, for whatever the reason, they did little. Had there been a list for enforcement priorities this Pandora Street property would have been at the top of it.

Over the years there have been very few fires. The Pandora fire has given the city the excuse of shutting down suites that do not appear on plans and where owners decide that to bring the building to current standards just isn't worth it.

As Bugs Bunny says at the end of Loony Toons.

That's all Folks.

Monday, 28 May 2012



 Don't worry.  If prices get too high we can always add more density

Five years ago I was invited to speak to Planners in  Copenhagen.   I had been one of the five Trustees who oversaw the redevelopment of Granville Island in the late 70s.   Copenhagen  had chosen Granville Island as a model for  Denmark's efforts in heritage renewal. They wanted to know how it was done.

Every couple of years some of the Danish planners are sent to  Vancouver  as part of this study.  After a visit two years ago, I took several of them for a tour of the City. They seemed overwhelmed by  the Southlands!  There are not many places where you can find a rural  area so close to the City Centre.

Maybe not for long. We are engaged in a fight over affordable housing and density. We are told  by  the drum majors for density that housing can only  be made affordable by jamming more people  into smaller spaces. 

The question is not whether  density in metropolitan Vancouver  will increase.  Of course it will.  Where and how it is to be added is the question.   We are told we face a choice between the Scilla of  Manhattan and the Charybdis of sprawling Los Angeles.

 Vancouver and the Region have until now rejected both  extremes.  For  half a  century the Greater Vancouver Regional District's  (now METRO)  Livable Region Plan  has called for the creation of not one dense core, but multiple high density nodes throughout the region. The Plan sought to balance office/ commercial uses with a full range of residential uses in order to minimize  commuting and to maintain amenities. 

Under this policy we encouraged massive growth in the downtown. Our population has more than doubled in the last twenty years. We allowed a huge increase in the West End, Coal Harbour, Yaletown and the South Side of False Creek. These are all well planned new communities. Density also increased in  Kerrisdale and Kitsilano. Vancouver  continues to allow high density development on already zoned corridors throughout the City that are well below capacity.

Unlike most American Cities however, Vancouver's dense central area is surrounded by contiguous, heavily treed single family areas. These are the lungs of the City and are already  dense compared to many  U.S. counterparts. The standard lot size is  a modest 33 feet frontage.  (I use the term "single family" in its nostalgic sense.  A few years ago Vancouver amended its zoning so that virtually all houses can have at least two separate dwelling units and sometimes two detached buildings per parcel.)

Instead of forcing Vancouver to spread out like  LA  or to become another Manhattan, the Livable Region Plan opted for a  series of cities and towns such as Delta, Surrey, New Westminster, Burnaby Coquitlam and others. Each has its own high density centre and adjacent low density neighborhoods. 

Politics makes strange developers.

Michael Geller is not the first developer to have his eyes on neighborhoods of detached homes.

Like a proctologist, he points a  finger at single family neighborhoods. Bend over! Assume the position! In dulcet tones he  assures us that our neighborhoods can be  "gently densified."  He suggests smaller lots, smaller houses, more units in houses, strata subdivision for laneway houses, strata titling of older homes. We won't feel a thing. In short they would become transitional zones on the way to dense development.  This reminds me of the old joke about a developer. The punch line is: " I think he is screwing us. I can feel it as plain as day."

We keep hearing from the politicians that this is being done in the name of winning some kind of a  Green Grand Prix. If anything. it is the opposite. Trees are being cut down by new development. Expensive houses in back yards produce their own green casualties on the landscaping they replaced. Lower priced rental suites are being lost. The amenity of neighborhoods is lost.

A person's choice of housing depends on  his or her stage in life.   Families with children, all things being equal, prefer detached homes with yards.  Having  detached homes near the core allows those residents who want to live in a house  to have a short commute to work.

Mr. Geller in his report noted that years ago one City Councilor  referred to tiny suites (which at the time violated code standards for livability) as "coffins."  That was me. I said it. I am opposed to substandard housing. 

Substandard housing is the market's response to substandard incomes. The City's job as regulator is to set standards that reflect our civilization,  culture and humanity. When the market can not meet acceptable standards then the government should  not leave it to the market. That is when government supported public housing is required.   

Saturday, 26 May 2012


            Under s. 573 of the Vancouver Charterany person aggrieved by a decision on a question of zoning by any official charged with the enforcement of a zoning bylaw” has a right of appeal to the Board of Variance. It was assumed by the City and citizens alike for at least sixty years that this gave the neighbors of a permit holder the right to appeal to the Board and have a permit set aside. 

              They were wrong.

            The City of Vancouver issued a development permit to my client to build two duplexes on two 30 foot lots. He requested minor zoning relaxations. The next door neighbor filed an appeal to the Board of Variance in which she argued that (1)the  two existing houses on the lot had heritage merit, and (2) the City should buy the property and make it a park. She was supported by many neighbors and activists who  considered the heavily treed lots in East Vancouver, known to them as Salisbury Gardens to be quasi public property.  The Board of Variance sympathized  and quashed the permits.

The builder, applied to the Court to set aside the decision. I argued that none of the matters raised by the lady next door dealt with the impact of the requested relaxations on her house or upon other neighbors.

Mr. Justice Goepel agreed but went much further. He held in  the case of Niebuhr v. Board of Variance that upon a close reading of the Vancouver Charter the Board had no jurisdiction to hear third party appeals at all.

The neighbor appealed. Then matters heated up and the NPA Council fired the entire Board of Variance. The replacement Board appointed by Mayor Sullivan did not appeal. The Neighbor's appeal eventually reached the Court of Appeal who declined to hear it on the merits because she had failed to properly apply to be a party to the action. Leave  was denied by the Supreme Court of Canada.

As things stand any person who wants to challenge a development permit issued to a neighbor that adversely affects his or her enjoyment of his property no longer has that right.  Citizen groups have been asking  the VISION Council for several years to seek a Vancouver Charter amendment to allow what everyone thought was already the law.  That is the last thing the development industry or the planners want and so it has not happened.

The decision by Judge Goepel was correct. The demands of the neighbors were outrageous and the decision of the Board was completely unreasonable.  The Vancouver Charter was poorly drafted and ambiguous on the point.    It should, however, be carefully studied and then amended to allow affected neighbors to appeal planners’ decisions on specified legitimate grounds. For example if the planner in deciding to allow a conditional use fails to properly apply guidelines his decision should be reviewable.   

It is fundamentally unfair that bureaucrats can make discretionary decisions that take from one neighbor and give to another without a right to have the decision reviewed.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


Two years ago Vancouver Councilor Geoff Meggs was injured after being hit by a car while riding his bike on Angus Drive near 51st Avenue. Shortly afterwards a traffic diverter was put up on 41st to prevent turns north onto Angus Drive.  This caused traffic to be shunted on to Marguerite.  The increase on Marguerite north of 41st was immediately apparent.  The problem is that Marguerite is narrower than Angus. 

One of the resident’s cars was sideswiped a couple of times.  He blamed the increased traffic volume and emailed City Hall to complain.  In reply the City advised that it had already studied the traffic pattern and determined that there was no increase in traffic on Marguerite where he lived near 33rd.

He showed the email to  his neighbors.  They were incensed.  It was apparent to everyone that traffic had changed overnight when the barrier on Angus was installed.  One neighbor emailed the author of the letter and said that he wanted to see the traffic survey.

He was told that --- well, er umm  actually, they had never done a study of their area but they had done studies of  other areas.  To be polite the first letter was- well you know - a lie.

The City produces studies on everything.  They used to have some credibility.  Not anymore.   Why should they study?  These people do not learn. They know. 
The Courier today quotes Councilor Heather  Deal explaining while motorcycles should not be given a bigger parking discount than cars since they occupy less space:

We did that because we were dealing with a spectrum of different kinds of vehicles that come downtown to use space. While motorcycles take up less space than a car they are still a carbon fuel using vehicles.”

She went on to explain that the City is aiming to have as little gasoline powered transportation downtown as possible.  

How bright is that.   They are doing all of this at a time when a shift is happening to micro cars and  electric vehicles.  It's not as though they are providing a differential rate based on CO2 emissions. It is all blindly stupid and doctrinaire. These people will kill the downtown.  The fact that Sears is closing is symptomatic of a critical problem. These guys will deal with it by making something up.

One could conclude that their real motive is to drive shoppers to  Bellingham.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012


Newton’s law of municipal regulation is that for every bylaw there is an equal and opposite bylaw.   The Local Government Bylaw Notice Enforcement Act (which also applies to Vancouver) allows City Halls to profit from this law of nature by punishing people outside of the judicial system.

Under the Act, a bureaucrat called a bylaw officer is appointed. He issues the tickets called bylaw notices. If you pay quickly you can get a discount but if you are late you get a surcharge.

A bylaw notice popped in the mail is deemed to be delivered whether you got it or not. (s. 7(2). The ticket recipient in essence has two choices (1) he can either pay the fine if he is guilty, or (2) he can pay the fine if he is not guilty. The second choice involves requesting adjudication after he is presumed to have received the notice.

The City may also appoint a screening officer. (s. 10) Before scheduling adjudication he can enter into a compliance agreement. (s. 11) This is like a guilty plea. He can offer terms including a better deal on the penalty for agreeing to pay but he can also rescind it if he thinks it’s a good idea. He has to watch out because the screening officer, himself can be hauled before the City Adjudicator who can kick bureaucratic butt just the way the police do when they investigate each other.

The “legal rules of evidence do not apply.” Guilt based on rumors was good enough for witches and should be good enough for meter miscreants.

There is no appeal from an adjudicator’s decision. (s. 22)

It’s hard to find fault with such a perfect system but here are a few things:

Canada’s independent judiciary serves as an impartial adjudicator of cases. The Courts are separate from administration. They do not directly benefit from fines.  On the other hand, the proposed system is justice of the government, by the government and for the government. The entire system is run by and serves City Hall. Its purpose is to raise money. Don’t count on due process.

Judges must adhere to ethical standards of conduct and honesty. Decisions can be appealed. Judges are bound by the principles set out in earlier decisions. Everyone gets the same treatment. There are no special deals for fellow employees who want their tickets fixed. This is called “the rule of law.”

To view fines as a primary source of government revenue compromises the justice system. The politicians on Vancouver’s Council are deliberately creating a parking shortage by removing it from large sections of the downtown, installing meters everywhere else with extended hours, all as a crass money grab. Just wait until they send inspectors through your condo and fine you for disobeying an order by an inspector to remove something that was put in without permits by an earlier owner twenty years ago.

Saturday, 19 May 2012


In a triumph of investigative reporting the Vancouver Sun discovered that there is a lot of traffic on both Cornwall Avenue and  Commercial Drive. Cars sharing roads with bikes  could be dangerous. These  counter-intuitive observations were made while a reporter was embedded in traffic on his or her bike.  see

That's not all! Yesterday,  Jeff Lee,  disguised as a cyclist managed to infiltrate the Vancouver Engineering Department by  cycling to work with Jerry Dubrovolny , the City Director of Transportation. His story explains  a lot about  why  bike lanes are metastasizing  throughout the City. 

According to Lee, Dubrovolny admitted that at  50, he’d discovered he was 50 pounds overweight, had high blood pressure and was flirting with diabetes. It’s a common issue for those of us who think we’re young and invincible and who one day wake up to realize we’re puffing going up a mild incline. Dang, either you physically do something about it or you start taking pills. His physicians prescribed bike riding.

The City Traffic Engineer was addicted to petroleum. He, like his predecessor, Ken Dobel was becoming super-sized as a result of a too easy, carbon fueled commute.  I can imagine people saying hurtful things like, “Hey- Lardass! (referring to his ample bottom) Where'd you get your pants.. Lardashians?” 

The nightmare is over!

 Now Dubrovolny pedals to work from New Westminster and has lost 50 lbs. He is strong as an ox and looks great. He wants all of us to share the benefits of his regime.  A man on a mission to help people pedal off their double sized derriers   he is willing  to spend another  3 million dollars for more bike lanes. 

It  is a small price to pay for reducing  both the  buttocks and carbon footprints of the body politic.    

Certainly, bike lanes are cheaper than the thousands of gastric bypasses that would otherwise be necessary.  Even if it sometimes appears that the lanes are cyclist free, I am sure that as traffic congestion, parking rates and gas prices mount so will the cyclists.   

And if they don't people will stay away from the downtown.  Box stores like Sears will shut down.  

 It's a win win situation.

It is reassuring that with one eye on the bottom line, Vancouver is not frittering the money away on trendy things like hospitals and schools.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

BLAME CITY HALL: How Vancouver lost Texas Instruments

In the beginning before Apple and Microsoft there was Texas Instruments. T.I. remains one of the World’s pre-eminent high tech companies. It was founded by Cecil Green. Born in 1900, Green grew up in Vancouver. He graduated from King Edward High School in 1918.

Cecil Green went to UBC and then traveled to Boston where he got his degree in engineering from MIT.   A businessman of the same rank as Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, he was also a great philanthropist. He gave hundreds of millions of dollars to educational institutions in Texas and all over the world. He said that intelligent giving required a great deal of effort. He and his wife Ida were a team and carefully monitored their gifts.

He wanted to have all the fun of giving away everything. “When I die, all I want left is a nickel.”

Cecil Green loved British Columbia. He had a childhood summer home on the water near Gibsons and loved salmon fishing as a kid.  He used to fish at Salmon Rock.

 He had made sizable gift of 6 million dollars that was matched by the BC Government to UBC to set up Green College, a multi discipline graduate school.  His gifts however to each of Oxford, MIT and a myriad of institutions in Texas were far, far greater.

I had the good fortune to be invited to a dinner held in his honor in 1986 by his friend in Vancouver, Haig Farris. Someone asked Green how it happened that Texas Instruments was established in Texas. Why was it not “British Columbia Instruments?”  Why did he leave B.C? 

“Well,” he explained, “After I graduated from MIT   I planned to come home. I wanted to live and work in Vancouver. Ida and I packed up the Model A Ford and returned.  I had the idea  to set up what in the early 20's seemed like a promising  high tech business: - Neon  lights. A business license was required from City Hall. It was the 'City Electrician' who had to approve the license so I went to see him.”

The Electrician listened politely while the earnest Mr. Green explained his business plan.

When he was finished, the City Electrician said, “Tell me this Mr. Green: What in your opinion is the purpose of an electric sign.”

Green replied, “To get the attention of potential customers.”

“Exactly,” said the City Electrician.  “Now tell me this.” he asked. “Why should anyone 'use Neon instead of incandescent bulbs.”

Green explained how neon lights drew less electricity and could be bent into any shape and colour.

“But,” asked the electrician, “which gives off more light – incandescent bulbs or neon?”

“Incandescent bulbs of course,” Green replied.

The Socratic exchanged ended with the Electrician saying, “Mr. Green I will give you a permit for your neon light business but on one condition. You must have the signs surrounded by a border of incandescent light bulbs.”

Cecil knew that BC Electric (Hydro’s predecessor) was reluctant to allow neon lights since they used less electricity and the electric company was in the business of selling – not conserving it. He suspected that the City Official was in cahoots with BCE.

Green thanked him for his time and sage advice.  He and his wife, Ida, packed up their Model A Ford and headed for the United States. There he received his permit and ultimately set up what could have been B.C. Instruments but is instead Texas Instruments.

Green passed away in 2003 at the age of 102.  He held thirteen honorary doctorate degrees from around the world. His gifts included 50 academic, medical and civic buildings; 20 instructional and research facilities, 28 endowed chairs in 15 institutions; countless endowed awards to students, numerous huge Science Centers in Texas, England, MIT and California. The list of his gifts to Texas alone was staggering.

Vancouver's Mayor, Gregor Robertson, has been invited to speak to a convention in Paris. I gather from the reports he will explain Vancouver's commitment to encouraging high tech development. He will explain all of the things that we are doing to ensure that we have a lower carbon footprint, how we are imposing the LEEDS standards on building. His Council will assist in part by buying or otherwise encouraging the right products and discouraging the wrong ones.  They will move us out of the age of oil to the next age whether it may be fusion, solar, wind or politically generated methane.

While one must not draw too much from an experience, Green did not choose Texas over Vancouver because of that states technological superiority, or its grant system, or its taxes or higher salary or a policy of inducing any particular kind of enterprise.  He went to Texas because a bureaucrat in Vancouver, his home town, had an idea about how Cecil Green, then in his early twenties should run his business. Vancouver gave him advice.  The state of Texas gave him a permit.

Monday, 7 May 2012


Genesis I

After God created the heavens and the earth he rested to admire his work.  Then he moved on.  He had much tweaking to do on his creation.

In 1938 he returned to Earth to see how his local experiment was coming along. He was pleased to discover that two of his little projects, Adam and Eve, whom he had told to go forth and multiply  had done just that.  

Passing through Vancouver, Canada he had what has been called a "Ten Commandment Moment" and  drafted a zoning ordinance.  The City Council  proclaimed the bylaw but, like Moses, they were just taking dictation from the Supreme One.

“Thou shalt subdivide thy land into parcels which shall be 33’ wide and 130’ deep and the parcels shall be all oriented in the same direction. And thou shalt build thy house in the middle of the lot. And in the back and front yards which shall have sunlight  thou shalt grow fruits and vegetables and the trees of the earth shall take root.”
Thou shalt not construct secondary residential buildings in the yards so as to block  sunlight to thy neighbours yard. [See Do unto others etc.]

God saw that his  Zoning bylaw was perfect.  When it had passed third reading he felt secure in the belief that humans, plants and animals could thrive in their yards, without his supervision.  God left Earth for a trip to Andromeda where he  was building a synaptic muon intransigizer.

Vancouver developed gloriously with its parcels oriented to the Sun in rows. Yards were filled with herbs, trees and flowers. It became so popular that neighborhood groups sprung up  bearing names like, "Help discourage one Easterner from Coming West Club." It had become almost to livable.

Genesis II

In a quantum universe all things occur simultaneously. Now it came to pass that in the early Jurassic period God got the idea for the Slinky. It had amazing properties. It was not alive but it could move down stairs without benefit of arms, legs or wheels. With the sweep of his arm, God made millions of Slinkies and pushed them off of the top of Mount Ararat.  Their decent amused him but he regretted that once they reached the bottom they just spent eons wobbling in the breeze. 

That was the reason he created Adam and Eve. Their cosmic purpose was simply to carry Slinkies to the top of the mountain and let them loose. When the two of them weren’t busy begetting children they were chortling at the little tumblers. 

Then God had another idea. If Slinkies could be designed to move uphill on their own, humanity could do something else like play saxaphones and evolve to a higher plain. So under God's guidance Slinkies evolved into snakes.  God liked their means of propulsion.

God considered Adam and Eve as pleasant simpletons. He did not want them to get hurt by knowing to much. He didn't push. On the other hand he misjudged snakes. He thought of them as twice as funny as Slinkies because they could  perpetually slither up and down stairs. He saw them as clowns. He missed entirely their cunning!

A lineal descendant of the  snake that got Adam and Eve evicted from heaven arrived  in Vancouver.  Mr. Snake slithered into the Council Chambers in the form of a consultant.  He suggested that they repeal  God’s  Zoning Ordinance.  Easily taken in by reptilian  logic and without consultation they  amended the ordinance to allow houses to be built in back yards.

As expected light from the sun was blocked from yards. Viruses attacked herbs. Apples rotted and fell from trees. Grapes withered on the vine.  Trees that flourished in back yards were cut down to make way for the houses. Carbon Dioxide levels increased. Parking decreased.

The gloom that settled over the City happened  at the worst possible time, just when the Creator himself was here to receive the valuable advice and suggestions of Dr. David Suzuki. Dr. Suzuki had not actually been present at the creation but he felt that if he had been invited he would have made some valuable suggestions. God took careful notes of the discussion.

After the meeting God went for a jog around Stanley Park and picked up a news paper. He found out that mankind had breached the provisions of the Holy Zoning Bylaw from an Article in the Vancouver Sun:

Alexis Lum is building a laneway house in his parents’ backyard for three reasons: It’s more affordable than a two-bedroom apartment; he can rent it out if he decides not to live there; and he can have privacy and independence from his parents, while being close enough for regular family dinners. “I do love mama’s cooking,” he said, adding that he’s sharing the investment with his brother, Antoine, 31. Lum, 28, is a French secondary school teacher at Southpointe Academy in Tsawwassen.

God and David Suzuki both exist in a quantum state, fully independent of time and space. Both of them are capable of being in many places at the same time. Both are able to simultaneously have contradictory thoughts. The thought that Alex Lum would contravene  holy zoning induced a paroxysm of rage in God. Not since he turned Lot's wife into a pillar of salt for looking back at Sodom and Gomorrah (two cities which had lousy site planning) had the Supreme Being felt such malevolence. He was so angry that he hurled an asteroid at Lum's back yard house.   

Although God can easily pass through time warps, aiming a rock at a small house through a warp is, even for Him, a challenge.  The rock actually was thrown 20 million years ago. He aimed at the spot where Alex Lum’s house was calculated to be  when, in the future, he built it in contravention of the Heavenly Ordinance.  It landed near the Dunbar Library and was discovered in the course of repairing a sewer.  God then directed the City engineer to deposit the rock on Mr. Lums house with him in it.   

The engineers  used the wrong coordinates and placed it in the Dunbar Park next to a playground where the house was originally supposed to be and not where it actually was.  The Residents felt that the rock had come from God but misinterpreted his purpose.

The Lums should not count on God missing his second shot.

Jonathan Baker 7 May 2012 AD