Mayor Gregor Robertson had one effin’ bad summer

Raining!
When it came to bad press for Mayor Gregor this summer, it didn’t rain. It poured.

This was a very bad summer for Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. Even his most die-hard supporters will admit if they could start it all over again, they would. After experiencing a lengthy 18 month honeymoon period, it appears his political fortunes have all taken a turn for the worse.

As for when the trajectory began heading downwards, historians will likely agree it was the Mayor’s now infamous “f***ing NPA hacks” comment which got the ball rolling. Although the language itself wasn’t all that offensive compared to previous mayors, it had the effect of stripping away Robertson’s well crafted image as a boy-next-door type. He was now just another politician demonstrating his disdain for the public who put him in office.

So what exactly happened during the summer of 2010? How did a mayor that most people thought had a lock on the 2011 civic election go from boy wonder to boy blunder seemingly overnight? It is definitely worth a bit more analysis, so here goes:

F***ing NPA Hacks: It all started back in July when the Mayor was caught privately attacking members of the public who spent hours waiting to speak to council regarding the controversial STIR program. He didn’t realize the microphones were still on in council and he made his now infamous “f***ing NPA hacks” statement. It was eventually revealed that one of the speakers was actually a card carrying member of Vision Vancouver. The headlines were awful with a Province headline calling the Mayor "ignorant and arrogant". CityCaucus.com even had “#*$&@! NPA Hack” t-shirts designed in his worship’s honour. The mayor eventually had to apologize.

Olympic Village Fiasco: The Mayor had promised that right after the Olympics over 250 affordable housing units at the Athlete’s Village would be occupied. As the summer comes to a close every unit still remains vacant. Vision’s bizarre last minute policy amendment which gave priority to firefighters, teachers and police officers threw a monkey wrench into the selection process – forcing over a dozen revisions of the RFP for a third party operator. Behind the scenes, provincial and city staff are pulling their hair out over what is quickly becoming the Mayor’s own Olympic boondoggle. Michael Geller estimates the City is losing $300,000 per month as these units remain vacant.

Hornby Street Separated Bike Lanes: After been accused of a lack of consultation on the Burrard Bridge and Dunsmuir separated bike lanes, the Mayor forged ahead with plans to build another one on Hornby. Calling the City’s consultation a sham, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business went on the attack and decided to conduct their own consultation. The CFIB’s Laura Jones pulled no punches when she said the Mayor was not helping to create a friendly business climate in Vancouver. Regardless of the consultation, the bike lane will go ahead come hell or high water. You can anticipate the Hornby St. merchants won’t take this one lying down. Will the Law Courts building on Hornby St. become the scene of a class action law suit by businesses who feel they’ve been "Cambie’d"?

Red Light Robertson: It was first reported by The Province that Robertson was caught running a red light near the Dunsmuir separated bike lane. A Translink bus driver told the media she was shocked to see the cyclist she almost ran over was actually Gregor Robertson. The Mayor apologized and said he’d never do it again. Ever since, some folks have referred to the Mayor as “Red Light Robertson”.

Costly Office Renovations: For months the Mayor’s staff have been quietly grumbling they simply don’t have enough room to work in their “cramped” quarters at 12th and Cambie. The Mayor now has added one additional political staffer in his office. It’s interesting how 20 previous mayor’s (and staff) didn’t seem to have much of a problem at all in these working conditions.

Then Jeff Lee at the Vancouver Sun broke a story about how the Mayor was going to spend $260,000 to expand his office because he needed more privacy. Part of the renovations included a new dining room for city councillors. Vision councillor Kerry Jang said the Mayor was building a new dining room because the free food they receive was often left outside in the hallway and it would stink up his office. Needless to say, this whole fiasco didn’t go over too well with the public. No apologies from the Mayor on this one.

Staff Morale: In late August, CityCaucus.com released a leaked memo regarding how bad working conditions are at the City of Vancouver. Senior and exempt staffers wrote to the Mayor’s hand-picked city manager Penny Ballem and pleaded with her to act upon their concerns. They complained that city hall was becoming too politicized and that Ballem’s new management style was actually making things more inefficient. Here is an excerpt from Allen Garr’s most recent column which kind of sums up the problem:

While it may sound repugnant to some, I find it refreshing when she [Ballem] insists it’s the role of the public service to deliver council’s political agenda in a responsible and efficient fashion. “If people think that’s mean or disrespectful” she says, “bring it on.”

The fact is that Penny Ballem sees her job is to fulfill the Mayor’s agenda, not council’s. So on that score Garr got it wrong.

If it isn’t bad enough that Ballem gives the finger to critics, she also said these 700 employees just weren’t reacting well to change. It reminds us of her earlier comments that (former Director of Olympic Operations) Dave Rudberg was "too grumpy" and couldn’t keep up with Vision’s pace. Isn’t it funny how these employees, many of whom have been agents of change in Vancouver for years, suddenly have become wallflowers.

$1000 per day no-bid, no tender contractors: It was revealed Mayor Robertson went outside his council approved office budget to hire a $1000 per day contractor to help him during the Olympics. The funds were provided to him by City Manager Penny Ballem. The untendered contract to Games expert Linda Oglov cost city taxpayers just under $200,000. Councillors Ellen Woodsworth and Suzanne Anton said they would hold the Mayor accountable for this expenditure when City Hall resumes business later this month.

Food Cart Vendors: After a lot of media hype and headlines, Vision promised new food vendors would be popping up all over Vancouver this summer. It was a mouth watering headline that left many potential customers and foodies disappointed. Critics attacked the program for a number of reasons including Vision’s silly lottery system for choosing vendors. The program was a flop with not a single vendor ready to make it on the street by July 1st. The hastily designed program is going to be completely overhauled and will hopefully bear some fruit in the election year.

Power Centralized: Part of Ballem’s style is to centralize power in her office. Staff are being told they can no longer speak directly to the media. They’re told they have to have their emails and memos cleared by the top before they can be distributed. The result is Gregor Robertson’s agenda is grinding to a halt because the very people who are in charge of implementing it can’t do their job. With a little over 12 months left before the campaign begins, you can anticipate that a few disgruntled public servants may want to drag things out a tad longer, hoping there will be a change of government.

Media under attack: When you start getting bad headlines, the first thing you should do is attack the messenger. Right? Wrong. Several media types have reported this summer they’ve been under attack by the Mayor’s office staff who contacted their newsroom and complained vociferously about the angle of their stories. Some have even been threatened with law suits. Hearing reports about political staff phoning newsrooms and complaining (whining) about poor coverage is not a good sign for the Mayor. It looks desperate and it makes him appear weak and worried about something. Not to mention attacking the media it is a terrible long-term strategy heading into the election.

Vision Media Hit List: By late summer a rumoured “media hit list” was making the rounds in the blogosphere and the airwaves. Whether the so-called media hit list actually exists or not, it was widely circulated and served to further damage already bad relations between the Mayor’s office staff and some local media.

Gregor’s $120,000 junket to China: After months of planning, the Mayor’s staff hoped his junket to China would help solidify him as a job creator and visionary leader. Instead, the media asked why so many staff and councillors were needed on this trip and whether taxpayers were getting value for this $120,000 junket. The Mayor’s response was to pull out previous expense claims for Sam Sullivan and say “look, he went to China too and it cost lots of money.” The two words that best describe the type of tactics used to defend this junket – sad & tiresome.

NPA awakens from slumber: After having gone into hibernation for months, the NPA awoke from their slumber. Several major events were planned for late summer and into the fall leading up to the mini-nomination meeting planned for November. Now that the name change issue has been put to bed, you can expect the party that ruled Vancouver for the better part of seven decades will come back with a vengeance. Based on what we’ve heard regarding recent internal polling results [we haven’t seen them, just been verbally briefed], it is very likely if the election were held today the NPA would win at least 4 seats – possibly more depending who the final pick is for their mayoral candidate. If so, which COPE and Vision councillors would bite the dust? Our guess is it would be Cadman, Woodsworth, Meggs and Reimer – with the low profile Deal as a wildcard.

Revelation of Big Donors: Earlier this summer it was revealed Vision Vancouver had broken the rules when it comes to declaring financial contributors. The Vancouver Charter indicates a political party must report within 30 days if they have received money to help pay off their debt. After months of pressure by CityCaucus.com and others in the media, Vision Vancouver finally released the list of donors who paid off their 2008 campaign debt. Needless to say, big developers and corporations were high on the contributor list. It was reported that Vision had about $10,000 left in the bank.

COPE Attacks (kind of): Despite their normally tepid response to most issues, it would appear COPE (at least Ellen Woodsworth anyway) found their voice by late summer. In response to Robertson hiring $1000 a day contractors outside of his mayoral budget, Woodsworth told CKNW news:

Somehow he thinks he can make these expenditures before coming to council and I would like to inform him and the city manager that I expect these kinds of expenditures to come before council.

Only time will tell if COPE finds their way before they are blown off the electoral map once and for all in November 2011. Charlie Smith wrote some excellent analysis on how neutered the "new" COPE has become.

STIR Flip Flop: After stubbornly saying that the West End STIR projects were going forward regardless if “f***ing NPA hacks” opposed it, the Mayor did a big flip flop. We suspect the over 10,000 signatures on a petition were having some effect on his thinking when he suddenly announced he wants further consultation. Local West End residents weren’t out in the street cheering, as they still believe the project is going to happen regardless of the Mayor’s recent flip flop. The group fighting this project is continuing to gather signatures and has become a political force to be reckoned with. Will we see any of them running for Council under the NPA or COPE banners?

+++++

This has not been a good summer for Gregor Robertson. We suspect both he and his closest confidents are now reflecting on exactly just what happened. Their initial strategy of "ooh…it’s just summer and voters aren’t paying attention" seems to have been a serious miscalculation. As summer ends we suspect they’ll be huddled with polling results clutched in hand hoping they can turn this ship (and the headlines) around.

In that vein, rumours continue to swirl that Robertson is about to make a change within his own office structure. Given how bad his communications strategy has been of late, it wouldn’t surprise us if he sends someone out on the plank as a symbolic gesture. There’s nothing like a major staff change to help send a clear message that it’s not business as usual.

So which staffer do we think is most likely to be voted off the island? Bets are it would be for the highly opinionated and partisan Kevin Quinlan, the Mayor’s Director of Communications. He’s young, loyal and hard working, but his lack of communication and political experience is clearly starting to show. Rather than acting as a calming factor in a brewing storm, he’s often added fuel to the fire. A number of media types have grumbled to us about their negative interactions with him of late. Not good, Kevin.

Remember, you can attract more support with honey than vinegar. Given the Mayor’s new hives atop City Hall, we would have expected he’d know this by now.

Even if the Mayor does make a staff change or two, it will take a lot of elbow grease and some good luck to turn his ship around in time for the 2011 election. Time and incumbency is on Robertson’s side, however, we’re about to move into the silly season which means a lot of people are about to take aim at him and his policies. Who knows, some of those people might actually be members of his coalition whom we’re told are increasingly wondering if their boy wonder truly has transformed into boy blunder.

– post by CityCaucus Staff

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  • GeorgWilhelmFriedrichHegel

    I once witnessed Kevin Quinlan nurse a baby calf back to health with his own teat while signing a stirring rendition of “Friday I am in Love”. She should stay.

  • Todd

    “recent internal polling results [we haven’t seen them, just been verbally briefed], it is very likely if the election were held today the NPA would win at least 4 seats – possibly more depending who the final pick is for their mayoral candidate”
    ———————————-
    That’s not surprising, but the NPA would likely win 2 – 3 seats in any event even if Mayor Gregor and co. were running a smooth ship after the tilt to far toward VV in 2008. Vancouverites usually want a somewhat balanced council after these swings.
    Looks like Mayor Moonbeam had some more negative press tonight in a major new story on Global’s NewsHour. Will things ever get any better for VV?

  • OK kids, here’s what happens next…Vision/Robertson start playing “rope-a-dope” and backpedalling on the most problematic areas of their agenda ie bike lanes and STIR,political patronage, while highlighting whatever successes they can claim in other ares eg helping the homeless, reducing crime (as if they had anything to do with it-but they’ll take credit for it), mending fences with COPE and the Greens etc. Then, should the electorate be unfortunate enough to fall for the smokescreen and re-elect them, they will move forward with a vengeance on the now unpopular segments of their agenda-especially if the provincial government is lackadaisical enough to extend municipal terms to four years(this is a recommendation highlighted in the recent UBCM report despite strong public support for the status quo)!
    Does the NPA have the cajones to cut through the PR fog that is about to envelope this city?
    Is it grassroots enough to pull the rug out from under this well-oiled and highly motivated political machine?
    Is the mayoral candidate more important than clear,comprehensive policy and a well-defined(dare I use the word?)vision of the future?
    Stay tuned Vancouver, it’s going to be a very interesting fourteen months.

  • As backgrounder to my last comment, I just found this Straight editorial.
    http://www.straight.com/article-340845/vancouver/where-are-vancouver-civic-greens-when-you-need-them

  • Sandra Chamberlain-Snider

    The interesting thing I notice is friends who cannot even remember the last time they voted in a civic election, starting to pay attention in Vancouver. These are people who either have grown kids or no kids, they dont need social services, they dont use the library, rec centres or take transit. I have been waving at windmills trying to get them involved in what happens in city politics for years.
    Well, this Mayor and council have done what I couldnt-get them interested. They work, drive daily and pay residential and commercial taxes in Vancouver, and now are being affected by what they see as social engineering happening.
    Its not the changes themselves, its how they are happening whether they like it or not, and no matter what they will have to pay for it as well.
    Well, I told them, you should have read all the platforms and voted.

  • Glissando Remmy

    The Thought of The Very Late Evening
    “The long hot summer, like a Burrard Bridge Bike lane over troubled water…”
    SOLOMON & GREGORFUNKEL
    “I’m on your side
    When times get rough
    And friends just can’t be found
    Like a bridge over troubled water.”
    SAVE THE FORREST
    I went to the Vancouver Public Library the other day. I said to the librarian: ‘I’m looking for ‘Forrest Gump’. She answered: ‘Try our branch on 12th & Cambie!”
    FLASH YOUR RASH FOR THE CASH
    Thank you, Aaron Jasper! Rumour has it, that starting this month, any smoker, and not a nudist, can sue the Vancouver Park Board for ‘damages to the Butt’ caused by over exposure to the sun during sunbathing in the nude, on the only beach that allows (still) it (having a smoke). ‘Hi,I’m Yul Brynner and I’m dead because I smoked cigarettes. But guess what? Non smokers die too! At least I had some fun.”
    LADIES OF EXCELLENCE
    Sarah Palin is coming to Vancouver. And she is dying to meet Penny Ballem. Hush-hush. Apparently, they both see Russia from their kitchens.
    SUPER-MEGGS
    In a ‘tour de force’ Geoff announced he intends to bring (drum rolls here) Biking to BC! Boy, oh, boy what are they going to come up with next? Free style walking?
    PEZ BUST
    A huge transport of PEZ candy dispensers was intercepted on its way to Canada. On arrival, ‘they’ were quarantined at a secret location, where ‘they’ were sorted out, checked for sugar content, tagged and every each one of them was assigned a PEZ interpreter. Most Vision campaign contributors, Americans now living in Canada, urged Mayor Robertson to lobby on their behalf ’cause “It reminds us of…home!” The Mayor was not available for comments, but rest assured, he will tackle this matter during his Vancouver Trade Mission of Historic Proportions to China.
    qaStaH nuq? (WHAT’S HAPPENING?)
    Mike Magee has been diagnosed with a rare form of ‘supremacy ‘complex. Known Symptoms are: walking around inside City Hall holding a pretend Mayor of Vancouver sceptre; texting in Klingon; talking down to his own alter-ego.
    BE KINDER
    Few days prior to the Mayor’s departure to China, the City Hall staffers were caught in frenzy. According to the grapevine, Gregor has finished a Kinder Egg. No toy inside!
    CONFESSIONS OF A PRANKAHOLIC
    ‘Forgive me Father for I have sinned…’ says I.
    The priest replies, ‘What is it that brings you here?’
    ‘Well father, recently I scared the droppings out of a quartet of chicken from a coop in Kits.’ ‘Go on, my son, that’s not a sin’ says the priest. ’Than, I used the F-word over the weekend on a lady biker.’ ‘Did you invite her for a coffee afterwards?’ asks the priest. ‘Yes’ says I. ‘Go on, my son, that’s not a sin…Oh, is that all?’ says the priest. ‘No, I also had one impure thought. I wanted to vote Vision Vancouver in the next election’ says I. ‘That is terrible my son, that is a sin, a Vancouver citizen voting for Vision would be like a backyard chicken vote of confidence for KFC! Now go have a few Bloody Marys and may the Bonny Taxi be taking you home afterwards.’ says the priest. I’m OK.
    FICTION BEATS REALITY
    To this end…it is of my opinion that what’s going on at the C of V HELL’s KITCHEN it reads just like a Reality Show misplaced in a Fiction category. It’s like, the WEAKEST LINK, a SURVIVOR from the Cortes Island currently residing in BIG BROTHER’s house, is constantly asking THE newly hired APPRENTICE, the question ‘WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE?’on tax payers money. Some people try telling me that’s how the AMERICAN IDOL’s behave and that we in fact are being PUNK’d, but I beg to differ. We are in need of an EXTREME MAKEOVER HOME EDITION.If we don’t take action now, we’ll be remembered as the ones good JUST FOR LAUGHS.DEAL OR NO DEAL?
    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • GR, one of your better posts, but I’m worried about how much TV you’ve been watching…

  • Max

    One more…..
    Global reported yet another untendered contract and what seems to be the misuse of taxpayer funds…
    The updating of Gregor’s website.
    FD Elements got the job (again)
    $14+ K.

  • Jay

    Where is the city getting there numbers to support increased use of a bike lane? They certainly do not need it on Hornby st thats for sure. the city has been strategically placing air hoses on the bike lanes so that CARS drive over them everytime they turn right. The city is fudging the numbers when in essence they are recording how many cars are using the road…

  • One just needs to try biking north/south through downtown during rush hour to recognize the need

  • Funniest comment I’ve read on almost any blog! Kudos! Way beyond funny!

  • The city is ABSOLUTELY fudging the numbers.
    Ballem openly ADMITS that she approves all reports such that they fit Vision’s agenda.
    And Garr applauds her front he front row.
    But do you know what’s happening here folks?
    The tide is slowly turning. Vancouverites might finally be awakening to the horrific govt we have wrought.
    The questions is: What are you prepared to do about it?

  • Christian

    A new poll this morning says Gregor’s personal approval rating is tanking. He was at 78% in the spring, and after all this bad press he is now down to 49% and falling. With about one year left to go, both this mayor and his party are clearly vulnerable on a number of issues. There is hope we can bring sanity back to city hall.

  • Max

    Hi Jay:
    I was listening to a radio show on Sunday. (Can’t remember which one, the boyfriend and I were heading to Steveston) The president of the cycling coalition was on and spewing a bunch of ‘stats’ that made me laugh out loud. and received some rather illicit comments from my bf.
    I think the best was the average income of a cyclist was $75K.

  • Richard

    @Jay
    Perhaps the poll released today in the Globe and Mail which shows that nearly half (48%) of Vancouver voters approve of the Hornby bike lanes while only one third (33%) disapprove. 19% neither approve or disapprove or don’t know. With all the negative press the lanes have received, that is quite good.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/robertson-popular-but-assailable-over-homelessness-polls-finds/article1697585/
    Regarding your concern that the counters are counting cars as bikes, they can “tune” the counters so they can distinguish between bikes and cars. I would assume they are doing that here. You can always contact the city to find out for sure. 311.

  • Max

    I don’t know if we are reading the same poll – but 29% supported the ‘Hornby St’ bike lane while 31% disapproved and 19% were undecided.
    I would like to know the cross section(s)of the city polled as well as the methodology.
    FYI – 500 is an extremely small sample size and is not considered ‘stable’. Typically ‘samples’ that small come with a disclaimer. (or warning)

  • Richard

    @Max
    The chart in the article on the poll states 29% Strongly approved while 19% Somewhat approve so a total of 48% strongly or somewhat approve of the Hornby Bike Lane.

  • @max: The effect of sample size, if sampling is random, is to affect the margin of error. In this case It is 4.9 percent 19 times out of 20 (95 percent confidence interval). If the sampling is random, then this is mathematical fact.

  • Dave

    Not sure why AGT never posted this on citycaucus, but here is what he posted on Bula’s site. Note how she takes a very different approach when describing Sam Sullivan’s 60% approval rating right after the Olympics. Good catch Alex.
    ++++
    A direct quote from Madam Bula (from 2006):
    “Sullivan’s Chief f Staff Daniel Fontaine claims the Mayor is at a mid-sixties approval rating…that’s seems low for someone who just three months ago took a swirl in Turin”
    And yet Robertson, just a few months post-Olympics is at 49% approval rating, but Ms. Bula considers this “high”??????
    There are no limits are there?
    Pathetic.
    The NPA, rudderless, with no leader and apparently lost in space according to other Vision cheerleaders (not just Ferris Bueller) are still holding on to a third of the electorate with a 50% swing vote and there is anyone out there that sees this as a positive sing for Vision Vancouver?
    It is to laugh.

  • Glissando Remmy

    The Thought of The Day
    “‘Trouble’ – all over Mayor’s shoes.”
    Mayor’s in ‘trouble’ one recent poll confirms. For the first time since the 2008 election, his approval ratings fell under 50%. The other half of the Councilors interviewed for this poll and…David Cadman were not available at the time the poll was conducted.
    On the other hand, the good or the bad news is NPA’s ratings are at around 25%. Not bad. Not bad, for a disoriented Caribou who doesn’t know yet if he crossed over into Alaska or he’s still in BC.
    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.
    PS.
    Gerry McGuire,
    You are not familiar with my previous posts. As a matter of fact I don’t watch TV at all! All the lines in my previous post are from here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reality_television
    Look under Product placement.
    It’s called ‘research’.

  • Glissando Remmy

    This was supposed to be linked here 🙂
    Gerry McGuire,
    You are not familiar with my previous posts. As a matter of fact I don’t watch TV at all! All the lines (re. Reality Shows) in my previous post are from here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reality_television
    Look under Product placement.
    It’s called ‘research’.

  • newly educated

    Local Civic Blogs 101: With the broad ranging nature of this particular post its as good a place to jump in as any: I am new to this blog (a couple of days now) as well as others like France Bula. With all the MSM news of late on City hall I felt it was important to get the pulse of the local civic blogger scene. I am writing these comments for the newbies who have stumbled into this particular world (not dealing with specific issues but overall content).
    Well, after reading endless posts (hundreds over the long weekend) from all the more popular sites (including this one) I feel I have an initial lay of the land in blogland, and it isn’t very pretty. A few quick personal observations that I want share …
    1. Leading the blog pack in the oddity category is Klassens crazy uncle Alex (AGT). Reading through Alex’s prolific blog and some of his own comments on other blogs has been insightful. Here is a guy that clearly aspires to be a local Glenn Beck mini-me personality, a person he apparently “thinks the world of” (his words not my) with similar values, political bent (conservative libertarian), rabble-rousing rhetorical style, loves conspiracy, etc. Although Alex is much more in your face nastier if that’s even possible, but he doesn’t appear to be “as” conservative, if that’s any comfort.
    He has a long way to go to achieve Becks statue, but give him time and an audience he just might surprise us all, it’s a strange world …. particularly with what appears to be a few NPA far right extremists lapping up his drivel, like the tea party does Beck. Don’t get me wrong the NPA is not the tea party by any stretch, but its not hard to imagine a faction similar to them in style emerging based on the brethren that wallows joyfully in what Alex spews out. Also, you might hear how he broke a few “big” stories that have given him some capital, its all small time spin nothing more… if his hard core in your face nasty style speaks to you then he’s your guy.
    2. The Citycaucus on the initial blush seems to be a blog that is obviously right leaning for sure, but claims to be open to all civic oriented discourse. But that quickly evaporated after reading through a few months of Klassen’s posts and hundreds of comments by his group of avid right wing followers. You really need to call a spade a spade here as this blog has one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to prop up the NPA agenda, and to discredit VV at any opportunity, in any way possible. Fair enough, everyone should have a cause to champion, but Klassen shouldn’t sell himself in the MSM other than what he is, the un-official NPA mouthpiece, and certainly not an objective reporter or journalist.
    3. More moderate blogs; I will comment on Frances Bula’s blog as an example. Although I certainly don’t agree with everything she writes she seems to be one of the few bloggers that actually ATTEMPTS, more than not, to have a balanced approach to her writing, much less fanatical and without the fear mongering …. a clear journalistic voice (I hear the screams now, coming from Alex and his clan in particular, I like validation), but it is absolutely true particularly when you compare her posts objectively to what is published on a lot of the other blogs dealing with civic issues.
    All bloggers are biased for a purpose, but most in this particular scene are generally “over the top” biased in one direction or another, and swinging farther in the crazy zone everyday … it’s nice to find a couple of them that try to talk in a more intelligent moderate voice.
    I suspect there is nothing here that is new news to the usual crowd but if you are NEW to the local civic blogger scene like I am, take heed and just read the posts on credible sites from credible journalists, skip the endless stream of comments, unless you are into competing in that particularly game.
    Take care, and happy slogging.

  • What a load of crap, “disappointed”. You’re as new to blogging as the private bathroom Volrich built in the Mayor’s office.

  • Max

    According to Justason’s website, the questions are posed by the ‘client’ paying for the survey. (Would that be us taxpayers???)
    For this ‘survey’ they did 394 phone calls and 111 e-mails.
    Now, I would love to know who furnished the lists to them especially for the e-mails responses. According to the header (GM posted survey) – roughly 500 respondents were contacted, but it does not say – of the 500 contacted how many responded.
    It also does not qualify these people as ‘voters’.
    And this line is included in the survey itself: Although the NPA trails Vision overall, NPA support increases with age; from 14% among 18 – 34 year olds to 37% among those 65 and up. Notably, among this age group the NPA edges out Vision.
    It does not give any info on that very important age group the 35 – 55 years olds.
    And, this info is being tweeted or twitered on Justason’s site itself – which as an independent or what I would think would be an independent company – I find odd.
    From the wesbite:
    This poll is the first in a bimonthly series surveying City of Vancouver residents on issues from how the local government is performing to how the HST is affecting us. City Omni Vancouver was launched to address the need for Vancouver-specific information not currently offered in this market. The survey also allows clients to ask their own questions of Vancouver residents.
    “BC- and Metro Vancouver-wide polling on regional and provincial issues is well covered in this market. But our clients asked us to focus on the City of Vancouver,” explains Justason. “Vancouver is unique, with its own issues and challenges. We wanted a way for our clients to affordably explore them.”
    Again – who is paying for these surveys?

  • Disappointed/newly educated/sunshine and lollipops (or whatever pseudonym you choose next),
    How stupid do you think people are?
    Perhaps do everyone a favour, regardless of their political persuasion (or IP address), and just stick to the issues.

  • trying to believe

    @Newly educated
    Would you be able to provide IYHO a “list of credible” sites to follow.
    best wishes,
    another newbie;)
    That being said, are you not giving fuel to that nasty Media hit list with your comments..

  • Higgins

    Oh no, please keep talking – I need the sleep. I’d like to meet you sometimes. You’d make a perfect stranger.

  • John

    @newly educated
    Thank God there are helpful folks like around to “teach” other people how to read blogs, otherwise they might try using their own brains and get all confused. 😐

  • Glen Hall

    Good one Mike.
    I believe “disappointed”, “boohoo”, “Vision Governs – NPA blogs”, etc.. all come from the same communications team.
    This is part of Vision’s arrogance though. Throughout their tenure at city hall, they”ve treated people like dupes and will continue to do so.
    Quite a jokester as well, I spit my coffee all over my computer when I read the part about Frances Bula, and her “attempting to take a balanced approach”.
    Yeah, Frances, Garr and Ross are all balanced. Good on ya’ though. Keep it up that arrogance and you’ll find yourself unemployed in about 15 months, which is actually pretty damn great.

  • Well,paaaaardon me. Jeez you get huffy easy…

  • No mention of Jonathan Ross’ genius? How’d you forget to mention that balanced, insightful, professionally journalistic gem??? AGT is quirky, abrasive and aggressive and often irritating, but he delivers. Ross (and you) are in reactive mode (read shilling for Vision) to the issues, at least Tsukamis is pro-active against one of the worst administrations ever to occupy City Hall.
    As for this blog being full of right wing “hacks”, I silently applauded Robertson’s election, until I had reason to deal directly with Council, and found them to be operating this city like it was their private country club. They do not respect the Vancouver Charter, anyone who doesn’t see the world their bucolic way, or democracy. Mike forgot to mention the almost zero consultation on last years budget, and the long delay in filing their election disclosure statements. You really want to get educated? Read the Vancouver Charter-if you can find it…

  • PS I complimented you for the original post, not a hint of a “Thank You”?

  • Beyond funny-it’s just wrong…

  • Correction-mathematical approximation.

  • boohoo

    @Glen
    Why is it you see conspiracy everywhere you go? I have no idea who disappointed or any of these other people are. I have never received ‘marching orders’ from Vision.
    I’ve told you this numerous times. Do you think I’m just flat out lying and am really part of some nefarious vision team out on the internet spamming blogs with propoganda? If not, what is it?
    What leads you to believe that every single person who posts on this blog that doesn’t belittle and mock Visiion is part of some grand conspiracy all receiving orders from above?
    Honestly, I don’t get it. I think the majority of people here seem to hate Vision but I don’t think you’re all part of some grand cabal of anti-vision bloggers all out to spread the good (bad) word about how vision is so horrible…

  • newly educated

    Actually Mike, I am very new to blogs and only really took a hard look at the civic blogs in the last week, and was generally disappointed by what I read in terms of the quality, insightfulness and sometimes total disregard for one another’s views (your site actually has some fine contributors when not drowned out by the crazy factor). As for my moniker, your team gave me my sunshine one so I thought it was par for the course to change them at will and as mood/tone dictates…. no harm no foul.
    @Dennis – btw we live in a wireless world, IP addresses are a dime a dozen, ask Mike. But your point about sticking to the issues was the point of my last post… no one does! It regularly spirals down into this nasty back and forth over really nothing, because everyone is too busy trying to be heard (and be witty or sardonic), not really listening to each other… I guess its more fun to be mad as hell at someone.
    Enjoy, I know when I’m not loved, so I’ll move on and not clutter up your blog anymore – adios.

  • Charles

    Anyone know why an independent pollster would leak a copy of a poll indicating Vision is ahead of the NPA to Frances Bula? Who paid for the poll? Was it Vision? Do we know? Is this how other pollsters do their work? Seems a bit odd to me. Normally don’t other polling companies they just issue a news release and the media all report on their findings at the same time. I’m confused.

  • George

    @newly educated/ disappointed/ sunshine and lollipops!!
    To correct the record, YOU TOOK the moniker “sunshine and lollipops” from my Sept. 5th post when I stated that I enjoyed Glissy’s satirical posts,I mentioned that not everything in life is “sunshine and lollipops”, in the immediate next post, you took the moniker,spun it around, thought you were being condescending, but now I hear something different…Mike’s team gave you the moniker?? which is it?
    I am honored that you pay such close attention to my humble postings, but I must be very clear.
    I am not part of Mike’s team, I’m a card carrying Vision member, that is disgusted by Visions bad behavior.

  • Omoishiroi

    Francis Bulla and ‘balanced approach’ used in teh same sentence? Nows that’s something you don’t see every day! You really are new!

  • Glissando Remmy

    Uh, I can’t help it, I’m shallow at times when I have no ideas and nothing interesting to say.
    Not right now though.
    Thanks.

  • Glen Hall

    Boohoo,
    You’re moniker and your never ending attempt at playing dumb is tiresome.
    You also like to play the “conspiracy” card on those who question your continued game, and you’re well aware that I’m not the only one who questions your behaviour and intentions.
    Now, one person may have paranoia or schizophrenia, but when many believe the same thing, it means your jig is up. The only one you’re fooling is yourself.
    Like I said, its time to change your moniker, your game here is finished.
    Pathetic….

  • “Now, one person may have paranoia or schizophrenia, but when many believe the same thing, it means your jig is up. The only one you’re fooling is yourself.”
    One of the time-honoured tactics in politics is to create an ‘other’ and then demonize them so as to create paranoia and fear across the populace.
    The most obvious example would ‘Godwin’ the thread, but this approach is commonplace enough that I’m sure I don’t have to provide additional examples.
    I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to suggest some people unhappy with the current Vancouver municipal government work hard to present its elected representatives as very ‘different’ from the average person in terms of p.o.v. and motivation. I don’t think this perspective stands up to close scrutiny.

  • boohoo

    @Glen
    So you really do believe that I’m just flat out lying?
    You think I come on this site under a few different names and post vision propaganda?
    You think I meet with my vision overlords and get fed my talking points to disagree with people on blogs?
    Really?
    Even after I’ve criticized this party and this mayor?
    Really?

  • @Charles. I spoke to Barb Justason on Tuesday afternoon. She explained that her company was responsible for the poll, which was in part funded by clients. What this means is that a pair of clients might want info on Topic X and Topic Y. Then, with their permission, Justason Market Intelligence was able to “add” questions to the poll.
    The questions Justason added were the ones relating to local politics. This is a common practice with polling firms apparently.
    Barb Justason did some work earlier with Frances Bula, speaking at one of her classes apparently. Barb mentioned the poll and arranged for Bula + G&M to get a first look at the results.
    We’ll have a further analysis of the poll results posted later today (Wednesday) here on CityCaucus.com.

  • You’ll be back…

  • Yer welcome 😉

  • Ah, the great straw man returns…so pedestrian….
    Pay attention folks: One Vision bobblehead says to another,
    “We’re in real trouble…Tsakumis’ blog is getting massive readership and he’s concentrating on us again, what do we do?? That plus citycaucus and this fall/winter could mirror out summer of incontinence…”
    Vision leadership to the young lad holding the disintegrating gun backwards:
    “Listen, we start sending out our guys who have no real jobs and shoot them a little from the old FD Element slushy, so that they spend all day appearing as ‘balanced souls looking for tolerance and civility’, meanwhile, we change the channel as it was, from us to them. A kind of Chris Keam though process…it that isn’t an oxymoron. Or is that less oxy and more…”
    Bottom line: ‘newlyeducated’ is just another BSing propagandist looking for another seed to sow about how wonderful the world would be if we all joined hands and sang ‘Nearer My God to Thee’, oh and don’t forget to vote for Vision!!!
    He rails against me and my thousands of readers, but refers to me as “crazy”.
    Do you get it, friends?
    It’s the next ploy because they’re running out of steam rapidly.
    Prediction: If this trend continues, NPA with 7 seats next council.
    …because Vision know they’ll lose three for sure to the NPA, and they’ve convinced themselves that running dipsticks like Jasper and Hundal will work.
    Just watch…

  • Gosh Alice, I get the distinct feeling I’m not going to get a Christmas card from you.

  • William James

    From the beginning of Robertson’s reign, we knew very little about him, apart from the fact that he was very left wing and willing to shove his ideas down our throats like it or not. When will we learn that he may be just as corruptible, if not more, than any other civic politician Vancouver has ever seen. Have a look into his record and personal background. Never vote for a nice haircut again.

  • William James

    Just a suggestion for a reinvention of Vision Vancouver. A Nightmare on 12th Avenue.

  • William James

    “Only Nixon could go to China”
    “Those who cannot remember (the lessons of) the past are condemned to repeat it.”