CitySnapshot: six-figure salaries, six-figure reports, six-figure gifts

cknw_logo Tomorrow morning on CKNW Radio after the 9am news the civic affairs panel returns to the Bill Good Show, where I’ll join Bill along with urban issues writer reporter Frances Bula, and consultant Jim Green. You thought that with summer "officially" here (that’s what the calendar says anyway) things might die down for local civic politics. Not so. Here are just a few items we might discuss:

  • Ballooning cost of public sector salaries and reasons for it. On Saturday the Vancouver Sun launched a compelling series on public sector salaries and the growing number of workers earning six figures. It’s outpacing inflation by a large measure and it’s totally unsustainable. Why is this happening and what steps can be taken to reign it in?
  • School closures happening in Vancouver. I can speak from personal experience as a parent in a school that is likely on the chopping block. What can school boards do to mitigate the concerns? What is likely going to be the political strategy of the board?
  • Vancouver House FOI shows locals and political insiders got Olympic party invites over international business crowd. The Olympic parties held at Vancouver House and why no business leaders attended as promised. City Hall promised that Vancouver House pavilion would be a place to court international business leaders. Instead the $1.6 million facility played host to several parties for Vision supporters, such as a labour leaders night, a South Asian leaders night, Filipino leaders event and a gathering of Olympians. No sign of business crowd who might buy into the City’s Green Capital marketing, plus City Hall refuses to release names of those who attended. Where’s the openness and transparency?
  • Viaducts closing? Vision to approve spending $695,000 on a report to decide the City’s options. Is this wise spending when so many other needs are being ignored? Is the decision already a fait accompli? We’ve got park facilities closing, a planning department with staff deficiencies. Plus, we just spent $300K on a Dunsmuir bike route. What gives?

Think that’s not enough? There’s more! Read on…

  • UFC political headache for Gregor Robertson. We see Gregor Robertson coming out swinging for UFC, then quick to reach out to Vancouver’s gay community in the face of concerns that the UFC event was a mitigating factor in the gay bashing incident that followed. We should discuss the awkward political place City Hall is in by welcoming extreme sport to Vancouver, while praying that the mayhem stays inside the cage.
  • Olympic Village sales troubles. There’s a glut of housing inventory in the market at this time in Metro Vancouver, and rumours that sales of top-end condos are slow to non-existent in the Olympic Athlete’s Village. Did the politics around the Village (the Mayor called it a billion dollar boondoggle last year) "taint" the units for buyers? Now we see that Vision is proposing taller buildings for neighbouring sites – is it more indication that Vancouver has become addicted to density?
  • Council votes against a residential re-zoning that would help fund the arts to the tune of $700,000. Why did this happen when money is tight?
  • Social housing height concerns at Broadway and Fraser. Neighbours are lining up in opposition, mainly because of the height.
  • UBC Line consultations, and the community group around Broadway is mobilizing over concerns about the future Broadway line, saying "No Repeat of Cambie".
  • Finally, we might look at the struggles the State of California is facing with public debt.

Be sure to call in with your comments tomorrow morning on the Bill Good Show!

– post by Mike

"I'm a civil servant," says Penny Ballem regarding Vancouver House invitees
Vancouver's artists shortchanged by $700,000

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  • boohoo

    700k is nothing compared to the short term bounty they’ll receive when they tear down those viaducts.
    And Creekside ‘Park’ will remain an asphalt jungle…

  • mark

    I’d rather sign a petition regarding “Ballooning cost of public sector salaries and reasons for it.” than an anti-HST petition. The Sun’s story on public sector GREED is unbelievable…