Quick hits

  • News of Millennium’s Evelyn Development going also going into receivership continues to compound the evidence that the City of Vancouver made a foolhardy decision with regards to the Olympic Village.  The KPMG report released last year clearly shows how staff reworked the criteria matrix so that the third place Millennium came out on top in the end.  Like I have said before, I want to know from City staff, the former City Manager Judy Rogers, and people like former Mayor Sam Sullivan and his former Chief of Staff Daniel Fontaine, how a third place bid suddenly became the winning bid and also how Millennium’s financial position and payment capabilities were examined before the deal was signed.  Any notion that the bureaucracy at City Hall all of a sudden became “politicized” after Vision Vancouver took power should understand how ludicrous that assertion is after looking at the manner in which the Olympic Village developer was selected.
  • Christy Clark will not only have Mike McDonald as a campaign manager as I reported over the weekend, but also Ken Boessenkool, a well-respected Stephen Harper organizer and strategist.  Christy’s campaign should really focus on trying to be the second choice of every other camp.  I feel as though she might be at a disadvantage in terms of numbers of sign-ups, meaning that she needs to sign up at least enough to make it past the first ballot and not fall off.  Then, if Christy can position herself as the only chance that the BC Liberals have of winning the next election (something that I, any other political observer with a half a brain can deduct), then maybe she can gather momentum and become the consensus choice for a membership wanting desperately to extend their reign in office.  It will be interesting to see how other camps respond to her impending announcement.
  • Are Chief Jim Chu and Mayor Gregor Robertson being political and attributing responsibility for the RayCam community centre incident last week by calls like this and this?  Absolutely…and rightfully so.  Minister Kevin Falcon is correct when he says there is no system that can possibly account for the actions of everyone in society afflicted with a mental illness.  Yet it is very hard to argue with the 2008 VPD report on how the gaps in that very system are having a huge impact on police resources and effectiveness.  The study found that a staggering 31 per cent of all police calls involved at least one mentally ill person.  Now this isn’t about a hot potato of shifting blame.  Rather, this is about acknowledging that this provincial government has: 1) Eliminated the Mental Health Advocate’s office for BC  2) Eliminated the Minister of State for Mental Health 3) Slashed funding for mental health and addiction services (it isn’t all about housing, ladies and gents) and 4) Never followed through with their promise to provide municipalities with incentives to build new facilities to help people with mental illnesses and addictions.  I remember how Sam Sullivan’s alleged close relationships with the governments in Victoria and Ottawa were going to assist Vancouver is securing funding and support for initiatives.  We also saw how Sullivan was often completely ignored by his senior counterparts.  It is the job for the Mayor and the Chief of Police to advocate for cooperation and support with regards to mental illness, an issue which in some way touches all of us.
  • I really wonder how Park Board Commissioner Stuart MacKinnon’s Green party feels about his ongoing alliance with the NPA’s Ian Robertson.  I say ongoing because this isn’t the first time that they have coalesced, and particularly going into an election year where attacking Vision will become an almost full-time affair, it is unlikely to be the last.  MacKinnon is a man that has a wealth of knowledge and passion about issues – particularly environmental and conservation – that put him ahead of a typical politician when it comes to interest and belief.  But he is also prone to making everything into a political drama, largely because he seems starved for attention and is likely worried about his re-election chances.  Political expediency and a little bit of coattail admiration is what makes me think that the Robertson flirtations might not be as respected or supported by his party faithful.
  • Really, can you blame him?  The NDP is a fractured caucus with a bunch of ideologues and backstabbers that cannot put the fate of the party ahead of their own personal beefs or interests.  As I talked about last week, one of Vision Vancouver’s strongest assets is its party solidarity, particularly in contrast with the imploding of the NDP taking place at the moment.  First of all, he would be walking into a hornet’s nest full of many angry bees who have never forgiven Robertson for fleeing the provincial scene.  Second, he is poised for reelection in a municipal political landscape that is devoid of any significant opposition.  Robertson is a young man, and time is on his side…he is going nowhere until at least 2014-15, depending on whether the next go around is a 3 or 4-year term.
  • David Lam was an amazing man, and the few times that I did come in contact with him during his days as Lieutenant Governor made a huge impact on me.  I distinctly remember a speech given at my high school where he spoke about diversity and multiculturalism, and how the word “tolerance” bothered him so much.  He said that merely “tolerating” someone in no way conotated respect or deference – it was almost a cop-out…a grin and bare it approach to accepting other people.  That is a speech I will never forget, and I remember how enthusiastically his words resonated in my head after he was done.  Lam was a generous and wise soul who made this province a better place.  He will be dearly missed by many.
  • Speaking of remembering Canadian icons, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my heartache for yesterday’s passing of Leslie Nielsen, who was one of my all-time favourites since I laughed my ass off as a 10-year old kid watching the Naked Gun in the theatre.  The best straight man in the history of cinema will also be sorely missed.  Here’s a montage to enjoy.
  • Here’s a note to someone who might or might not know that this is directed to them: before you start levying anger at a group of people who are doing their jobs and playing effective politics, maybe you should examine your own state of affairs and realize that there is a lot of work to do from a public point of view, based on what was discovered over the weekend.  Ambushes aren’t exactly appreciated.

That’s all for now folks.  Have a great day.

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