Don’t Vote The Slate

A number of things are rapidly becoming clear in the 2014 Vancouver municipal election:

1)  Vision Vancouver is vulnerable.  Their six-year reign of big business crony politics — which has turned our city into one of the most unaffordable cities in the entire world, led to the wholesale destruction of neighbourhoods and disenfranchisement of residents, and has failed to genuinely grapple with either homelessness, transportation, or public amenities — is coming home to roost.  More and more Vancouverites are catching on to the fact that Vision’s heated environmental and LGBTQ rhetoric (with or without substantive action), street theatre and parades, and failed experiments with faux engagement projects are simply style over substance. Their softness in the polls is witness to this.  They will be spending umpteen millions of dollars trying to persuade you otherwise: when you see their ads ask yourself, who actually paid for that?

2) The Vancouver Green Party and their three candidates are perfectly positioned to be everyone’s second (or first) choice.  They are not wasting resources chasing the mayoralty or trying to elect large numbers of Councilors. They are concentrating on the job at hand, making sure they are as well known as they can be, and, quite rightly, trading off Adriane Carr’s excellent term as, essentially, an independent Councilor.

3) The NPA have genuine branding and image problems, stemming both from their recent background as being fully funded by developer/real estate/corporate individuals, and the disastrous policies of Eco-Density introduced by their last elected Mayor, Sam Sullivan.  It is those very policies that Vision ran against in 2008, took over in 2009 under a different name, and have been implementing so disastrously for the last six years.  However, many activists interested in planning and neighbourhood issues have to recognize that the NPA-initiated City Plan was the best thing that ever happened to Vancouver planning, and it needs to be revived, brushed off for modernity’s sake, and put back in place as marching orders for Brian Jackson and his Planning Department.  If Kirk LaPointe could persuade the party to do something like that, then they have to be worth a look at for a seat or two.

4) In most years it would be accepted as common wisdom that a majority party like Vision would thrive in an environment where there are six or seven other parties vieing for power, splitting the vote.  But I am becoming less sure of that in 2014.  True, in addition to those mentioned already, we have TEAM, COPE, OneCity, Cedar, and Vancouver First in the field.  But if a voter agrees with me about the disaster that is Vision, then tis variety allows them to vote for an a la carte selection; say three Greens, a couple from NPA, and perhaps a COPE candidate.  Those six (or any similar configuration, I wasn’t being prescriptive) are enough to rid of us Vision.

The key this year — don’t vote the slate.  Even if you feel obliged (for whatever reason) to vote for Robertson (or LaPointe) as Mayor, you need to control any urge to simply tick off all the Vision (or NPA) names on the ballot.  Vote for the best people.  Over the next few months, along with a thousand others, I will try to persuade you who those “best people” are.  But it is vital that you make up your own mind and not be bullied by parties or pundits telling you you must vote all this or all that.

A last thought:  There is still time, I think, for a powerful independent mayoral candidate to step forward.  She or he could gather together all the minor parties under their wing and create a kind of independent slate for electoral purposes.  That might not be so bad. It would be a tough row to hoe against all the embedded money committed to Vision et al., but I think it could catch fire as an idea if handled properly.

And it would certainly be a major step toward party-less elections in the future.

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8 Responses to Don’t Vote The Slate

  1. Reblogged this on Vancouver Decides 2014 and commented:
    Jak King offers his observations and guidance to help voters in the next civic election , November 15th. It is this type of discussion that we, as a community, need to have before we vote.

  2. Mike Hansen says:

    Well Jak, if you think ‘there’s still time….for a powerful independent mayoral candidate to step forward’ why don’t you mention her or his names???? You mention ‘party’ manes, why not independent’s names????
    And a ‘step’ into “applied democracy”!

  3. jakking says:

    Mike: First, it is not MY job to get your name out there. Second, while agreeing with parts of several Independents’ positions, I, don’t see any of the announced Independent candidates that impress me enough to support. Third, it is simple courtesy for me not to mention the names of the potential Independent candidates not yet announced and who have advised they want to make their own announcements when the time is best for them. Politics is a hard business, but that gives us no reason to be impolite.

  4. Mike Hansen says:

    Those that can’t, write about it! Ur absolutely rite, ‘politics is hard business’ as most politicians are ‘impolite’. And I didn’t see anything impolite in my quire. I didn’t say it was your ‘job’ 2 get my name out. I just called you on your comment in your article about a, ‘…powerful independent candidate…’. It’s not like you’re the last bastion to The voters.

  5. Mark A says:

    Is this the same Jak King worked as an accountant in the film industry ?

  6. Mike Mayor says:

    It’s always the bald SOBs that got a lot 2 say but NO practical experience to back their yap! Leo Knight is a prime crime example. This bald bastard claims to be a ‘security expert’ but could only wright letters in a free paper! Last mayor was Larry Campbell & he did NOTHING to make Vancouver a safe city. As a matter of fact he assisted the criminal element to make multi-millions of the backs of the Taxpayers.
    Jak, next time get the barber to cut ur hair at the neck.

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