Let’s Get To The Politics!

September 18, 2014

Yesterday afternoon, lawyer Bob Kasting announced his run as an independent candidate for Mayor of Vancouver. I had rather hoped he would announce many months ago in the hope that he could corrall behind him some of the seven or eight parties running for Council in November,  But he is in now, and that’s good, especially as he is a great supporter of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhood’s Principles & Goals document that outlines a much improved community engagement process for our growing city.

I have written before about how it is vital that we ensure Vision Vancouver does not get another majority — their plans to turn our City over to their developer friends and create an outpost for the rich elites that is completely unaffordable to you and me just have to be stopped.  Now that we have, after this weekend, COPE, Vancouver First and Cedar announcing their full teams, a little while after Vision, NPA and Greens did the same, it is time to get serious about supporting certain individuals.

My earlier writings will have indicated that I support independent Councilors and a ward system: Given than we don’t have either of those yet, it should be no surprise as an alternative that I am keen to see a Council without a party majority. I believe that is the best for Vancouver and certainly best for the neighbourhoods who can then put together issue-based coalitions as they arise. As the election moves on, I will pick individuals I will support from various parties.  But to begin …

I support Bob Kasting as Mayor of Vancouver,  He is a man of extraordinary learning and intelligence, he understands the nature of the City as a collection of definable neighbourhoods, he is willing to listen to a range of ideas for dealing with our Vision-generated affordability crisis, and I believe he has the ability to mold an “independent” council into a tool for burnishing Vancouver into an even greater future. If we are ever to move Vancouver away from the idea of political parties in municpal politics (we are one of the last holdouts for that corrupting system) then having an Independent Mayor is a damn good start

I support the three Green candidates for Council — Adriane Carr, Pete Fry, and Cleta Brown. Adriane Carr has handled her three years on Council as a lone “independent” with equanimity, intelligence, and with the ability to pick up on many of Vision’s problematic decisions.  I haven’t agreed with every vote she every gave — but why would I?  She has made a real fight of it. I have worked with Pete Fry for the last year on neighbourhood, development and transportation issues and have found him to be a fast study, a very quick and politically asuste mind, and a good speaker.  His elected management of Strathcona Residents Association was successful and shows a keen ability to debate and compromise, and his interventions in the DTES LAPP were valuable and thought-provoking. I don’t know Cleta very well, but she has great political background and if Adriane and Pete are willing to vouch for her, then I’ll go along as I get to know her during the campaign.

I will probably support a couple of Cedar Party candidates (Nicholas Chernen would be an interesting addition to Council, for example) and a couple of COPE and, yes, a couple of NPA. I have started meeting with individual candidates amongst this group and my personal support will be driven by the candidates’ views on the Coalition’s planning ideas.

If we can get a City Council with four or five different parties vying to put together issue-based solutions, I believe our future will be a lot more livable than four more years of developer-driven Vision Vancouver executing a blueprint for billionaires.

Note that this entire conversation excludes School Board and Parks Board where I have not followed the issues as closely as I have at the Council level.