No Majority Needed Or Wanted

July 30, 2014

The Georgia Straight has a good piece today about changing the balance of power on Vancouver City Council.  My part was:

As someone who disapproves of municipal political parties and who prefers wards over at-large voting, Jak King would love to see 10 independents on Vancouver council.  Since that isn’t going to happen anytime soon, the spokesperson for the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods will settle for the second-best thing: no party getting a majority on the next city council.

“I think that gives us in the neighbourhoods, to be honest, a bit more leverage,” King told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.

Mayor Gregor Robertson’s Vision Vancouver party won back-to-back majorities in the past two elections. According to King, that only led to neighbourhoods losing their say about community plans.  “Vision can simply swamp anything that we put forward with their majority,” the Grandview-Woodland resident said. “So if there is no majority in council, then I think that will give us a significantly better chance at influencing decisions.”

King doesn’t care who wins as mayor on November 15, but he said he’s going to support council candidates outside Vision, starting with Adriane Carr, Cleta Brown, and Pete Fry, all of the Green Party of Vancouver.  King said he’ll wait to see the September nominations for the Coalition of Progressive Electors, and he may consider candidates from the Non-Partisan Association if the NPA pledges to restore grassroots power in neighbourhood-planning processes …

King admitted that he likes the people with OneCity, although there’s one thing about the new party he’s uneasy about: “I still see them as a bit too close to Vision for my comfort.”

Good quotes from other neighbourhood activiosts; well worth the read.

Where Was It?

July 30, 2014

The answer to my earlier Where Is It? post, is at Commercial & Adanac.

Here is the original post with all the details from 2012.  I saw the rose again earlier this week.

The Citizens’ Assembly: A Policy of Deliberate Distraction

July 30, 2014

Last night I attended the latest weekly meeting of the Our Community, Our Plan (OCOP) group to discuss the latest chapter in our on-going Community Plan exercise as we approach tomorrow’s deadline for residents to sign up for the Citizens’ Assembly lottery.  It was splendid to see so many people willing to spend a summer evening discussing the danger to our neighbourhood in a stuffy room.

OCOP came up with a number of important and innovative strategies to further the cause over the next couple of months. As those plans develop and come to fruition, they will be announced on the OCOP site.

As I have reported here earlier, I have had meetings with both Charles Campbell (Assembly staff) and Rachel Magnusson, the Chair of the Assembly appointed by the City without consultation.  I have therefore some idea of how they want the Assembly to work.  I have also been following the elusive pronouncements of Brian Jackson, the City’s planning boss, who has made it clear his priority is to get Grandview-Woodland finished by next spring and approved by Council immediately thereafter.  From these sparse gleanings I have divined my own thoughts on what is actually happening.

I believe the Assembly was first seen as a sop to the extraordinary outrage expressed by residents last summer to their original land use planning draft. It then became a useful tool to delay the entire Plan beyond the next election. And now it is being used as a distraction to keep activists busy while the meat-and-potatoes of transforming our neighbourhood into a developer’s wet dream takes place elsewhere.

It is perfectly clear to me that the detailed planning work of replacing what we have with what they want will take place well away from the Assembly and, when it is completed, a report will simply be filed with the Assembly for the comments (not approval, just comments).  I say this because Ms. Magnusson told me that the sub-area workshops (where the detailed destruction will  take place) will be handled by Planning outside the Assembly process.  That is the key.  The rug will be pulled from beneath our feet while our attention is diverted by whatever non-binding conceptual and philosophical discussions the Assembly is allowed to partake in.

This will be another fine example of Vision’s bread and circuses, faux engagement strategy — unless we keep our eyes peeled and our powder dry.


Selected earlier posts about the Community Plan:

There are many more — see “Grandview & Commercial Drive:  Community Plan” on the right hand sidebar.