New Year’s Eve coverage a sign of things to come

Laments about New Year's Eve celebrations were bound to be negative regardless of what direction the City of Vancouver decided to move towards.

Happy New Year to everyone.  The site experienced some technical difficulties to start the year, but is now back and functional, with a site redesign in the works.

This story referred to in this letter made the rounds on several newscasts, blogs and publications around the city to end the year.  “Vancouver is a no-fun city…Vancouver isn’t world class…Vancouver is not capitalizing on the party spirit left over from the Olympics…City Hall has shown no leadership in getting people excited”…and on it went.

The fact of the matter is that it really didn’t matter what the City of Vancouver decided to do on New Year’s Eve…because it was inevitable that criticism would follow.

Let’s look at the alternative scenario, where tens of thousands of dollars (or more) were laid out for a big public event.  Now in spite of the fact that Vancouver seemed to grow up during the Olympics with regards to our public displays of celebration, I also think that New Year’s is a mixed bag, and that without the benefit of a big name headlining act, a public gathering would be hard pressed to attract even 5000 people.

If that had happened, the City would have been crucified for spending money on an event that a) we can’t afford due to the budget process we just went through b) didn’t have nearly enough people show up to and c) would have been classified as a way for the current Vision administration to buy people’s votes.

Yes, I am absolutely speculating on the storylines that might have played out, but I am also getting a sense that this coming election year will be an 11 month opportunity (up until the next election) for the local media, commentators and political opponents to heave criticism and scorn onto Gregor Robertson et. al, regardless of what they do.

The latest example of this previous to the manufactured stories about Vancouver’s New Year’s Eve celebrations was the latest post about poor little Stuart Mackinnon by the Georgia Straight’s Charlie Smith.

Anyone who has watch Mackinnon in action knows that he is a passive aggressive character that espouses an air of superiority, particularly when it comes to his fellow Park Board colleagues.

The fact that Mackinnon was cooperating with Ian Robertson when it is clear that their ideology about parks and recreation around the city are completely different on so many major issues has never been questioned as it should be – namely that it is a partnership borne out of political convenience rather than conviction.

But once again, the slant is that the Vision Vancouver Commissioners are trying to intimidate and bully the poor, defenseless Green party representative who has a passion for the work and a heart of gold about his intentions.

Excuse me while I gag.

These kinds of stories seem like a precursor to what is about to come over the next year.  Vision Vancouver began as a juggernaut, and has had a relatively successful couple of years in office.  The local media don’t seem to like that – Sam Sullivan was an easy whipping boy for them, but Robertson isn’t in the same category, further angering a group of journalists that feeds off of false controversy and manufactured outrage.

Has the Vision administration been perfect in its strategies with regards to the media and some of its initiatives?  Far from it.  There are number of political decisions and subsequent actions for which they have had to pay for.

But to have a group of reporters that seem hell bent on finding those chinks in the armour of Robertson and his team seems completely out of line.

A new slate has been established for many in this year of 2011…maybe the the powers that be within the local media should wipe each of theirs clean and take a different approach in their coverage of the civic political scene in Vancouver.

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