Bob Kasting – Glen Chernen Announcement

September 21, 2014

Further to Friday’s meeting. here is a short video clip of, first, Glen Chernen of the Cedar Party stepping down as a mayoral candidate in support of Bob Kasting, then Bob accepting Glen’s support, followed by a brief statement from Nicholas Chernen, Cedar Party Council candidate.

I am guessing this is Stephen Bohus’ video, for which I thank him.


A Debate On Neighbourhood Development

September 20, 2014

I am glad to see the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods has arranged an All-Party Meeting on October 15.  The theme of the debate will be Putting The Community Back Into Community Planning.

See the Coalition website for on-going details.

Time to quiz the candidates about the role of community in our neighbourhoods.  Who gets to choose where the towers rise, or even if the towers rise? Should residents choose? Or should it be Planners?  Or Developers? Or how can these parts be made to work more efficiently for an improved neighbourhood — whatever the definition of “improved” might be in each case?

Make  a date in your calendar and come get involved in making Vancouver the best it can be.

A Government of All the Talents

September 19, 2014

When I was cutting my teeth on politics, watching grainy black and white coverage of US conventions in the early 1960s, there was always that moment of decision, of magic, when one of the candidates, recognizing the end, marched across the crowded hall and threw his arms around another candidate better placed than him.  The loser’s supporters swarmed across the hall and picked up the winner’s balloons and placards, and everyone jumped for joy as the teams joined forces.

Today’s event at the office of the Cedar Party in Vancouver perhaps didn’t match that kind of theatrical drama, but it was fun anyway, and might even be the trickle of pebbles that cascades into a slide that builds and sweeps away the tired old surface of cronyism that has passed for municipal politics in Vancouver the last dozen years and more.

Glen Chernen, standard-bearer of the Cedar Party, stood down today as a mayoral candidate in favour of independent Robert Kasting.  You might recall that I endorsed Bob Kasting the other day.  Glen will now run as a Councilor for Cedar and he and the rest of the Cedar Party team will support Kasting as Mayor.  There was a good turnout for the event and decent press coverage (see the Straight, for example).

Bill McCreery of TEAM was also at the announcement.  His party decided a few weeks ago not to run candidates but they too endorsed Bob Kasting as Mayor.  Randy Helten who ran for Mayor of Vancouver under the NSV banner in 2011, also spoke today in favour of putting together a team that can ensure Vision does not win another majority,  And just this week, Adriane Carr’s Greens (who I also endorse) talked about building issues’ coalitions among a group of parties around the Council table after this November’s vote.

This is sounding good to me, folks.  What Vancouver desparately needs is a government of all the talents, not a block-voting machine directed by non-elected outsiders.

Who Checks The Checkers?

September 19, 2014

CityHallWatch — that fount of civic information and leadership for which this city should feel genuinely blessed — is currently pursuing what may be a very significant election story concerning the purchase and operation of new election voting machines.

You might think that — especially after the debacle that was Florida 2000 — that the operation of election voting machines would be one of the most transparent parts of government business.  Surely the machinery and software that determines who governs us needs to be squeakier than squeaky clean. And the purchase of such machines and software needs to be equally clean and transparent.

The issues CityHallWatch raises about the machines we will use in November seem to indicate that transparency is the farthest thing from the minds of the managers and suppliers.

Watch this space.

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.

Nosmo King the 18th

September 15, 2014

ASHTRAY-MKT-52Yet another year without cigarettes. Eighteen years, wow.

It might seem tedious to keep harping on this year after year, but frankly I think giving up smoking after 35 years of slavery to the habit was the smartest and bravest thing I ever did. And I know for a dead certainty that I would not be here writing this today if I had continued smoking the way I did.

So I’ll keep celebrating my freedom, year after year!

Pathway In Fall

September 12, 2014

Pathway in Fall2