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NPA pushes De Genova up to council, keeps Coupar at park board

July 18th, 2014 · 29 Comments

Little announcement out from the NPA today about incumbents running. Only deviation from what had previously been suspected is that John Coupar is being kept at park board instead of moving up to council.

I can only guess that’s to leave some room to recruit some candidates who aren’t 1. white 2. mostly male, as former NPA board member Ken Charko was frequently warning the party was going to be a problem.

Here’s the announcement.

Mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe welcomes the depth of municipal experience of those running for office again   

Friday, July 18, 2014, Vancouver BC - Non-Partisan Association mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe today unveiled the party’s incumbent candidates who are running for re-election in Vancouver‘s November 15 election.

They are:

  • George Affleck for Council;
  • Elizabeth Ball for Council;
  • Melissa De Genova for Council;
  • John Coupar for Park Board; and
  • Fraser Ballantyne for School Board.

“The civic experience and talent these incumbents bring to the election as candidates is impressive, and I am grateful for their wish to continue their public service to our great city,” said NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe, who announced his own candidacy earlier this week.

Ball will seek another term as Councillor as will Affleck, who first won in 2011. De Genova, who seeks a seat on City Council this time around, was first elected to Park Board in 2011. John Coupar and Fraser Ballantyne will seek a second term as Park Board Commissioner and School Board Trustee, respectively.

The candidates say they welcome being part of a reinvigorated NPA under Mr. LaPointe’s leadership, and look forward to an election focused on constructive ideas rather than ideology, and on openness and accessibility of Vancouver’s government.

Kirk LaPointe will introduce the incumbents today at 9 am outside of Queen Elizabeth Park’s Bloedel Conservatory. You are welcome to attend.

For candidate bios and downloadable photos, visit



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Vision park candidate Trish Kelly drops out after online mini-tempest re her sex-positive masturbation video

July 17th, 2014 · 21 Comments

So Trish Kelly, the woman who got the most votes for Vision park-board candidate in the recent nomination, just issued a statement via Vision saying she is dropping out of the race because of a video she made is being “sensationalized.” This is all very weird — Vision vetters knew all about this video before Trish’s nomination went ahead, because Trish had told them all about it. And the online sensationalization was barely a trickle, compared to some media storms I’ve seen in my day, young fella. The party and Trish must have known someone would pick up on this. So why the change of heart (aka chickening out)?

Is this the election where a couple of Twitter remarks are going to be enough to derail candidates? Or one where Vision is going to going into major damage control over even the hint of danger? All quite odd, though I’m sure opponents are thrilled that VV has been wounded so earlier in the game.

This news seems to be causing a lot of angst in certain quarters, judging from early reaction, with people especially angry at the blogger who highlighted the video’s existence.

Here’s the Vision/Trish statement, plus some Twitter reaction

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Former Vancouver Sun managing editor Kirk LaPointe launches campaign for mayor

July 14th, 2014 · 72 Comments

Busy day for me and all city-hall journos today as NPA and Kirk LaPointe finally went public, after six weeks of rumours, that he is definitely, really, no kidding, the mayoralty candidate. A group of those of us who cover city hall regularly got invited to meet him this morning at Kafka’s on Main (not quite the Hipster Aquarium, aka Gene’s, but close) and then there was an announcement on the Jack Poole Plaza at 10.

It was a festival of quotes for us, with Kirk talking about all kinds of things, so everyone went for something a little different. The Georgia Straight’s was about his promise to resign if his team engages in personal attacks. Jeff Lee at the Vancouver Sun said LaPointe wants to remake the city to be friendlier.Mike Howell at the Vancouver Courier, who was the first to ID LaPointe as an NPA candidate two months ago, focused on his promise to be more open and accountable.  That was my focus as well, with references to the many talking points he had that have been memes among critics of Vision the last couple of years.

There will be more about LaPointe, as everyone in the media world tries to figure out who this guy will be as a politician, even though many of us know him well as a journalist. In the meantime, a few of my random points/impressions:

- The strongest message he’s pushing is that of Vision Vancouver as secret, manipulative, not listening, squelching access to info and staff, limiting budget information and more.

- If I had to do a word cloud of everything he said over the approximate hour of time we had today, I’d put “authentic,” “open,” “transparent,” “secret,” “progressive,” “coziness (with developers),” “listening.”

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Mayor Robertson’s marriage becomes a political football that wreaks havoc everywhere

July 7th, 2014 · 92 Comments

I realize almost everyone reading this blog has probably read ALL the stories already about the decision by Gregor and Amy Robertson to separate, which has turned, in this season of elections and social media, into a strange gothic novelette of its own.

Here’s my story from today’s Globe, which largely focuses on why Vision Vancouver chose to kick back so hard at the gossip and rumours about why the two have decided to separate. (Full version appended below for those who don’t have a Globe subscription.) It also has a statement from the Facebook post that Kirk LaPointe, the NPA’s supposed mayoralty candidate but who hasn’t been formally announced yet, put up on the topic in response to my question to him. For those who have Facebook accounts, it’s here.

I feel compelled to add a few more details to all of this, as there is a lot of strange stuff circulating. I don’t claim to know everything. But at least I can provide details on the little corner of the room I do know.

People who cover city hall regularly were called by various people from the mayor’s office the weekend of June 7/8 to get the news about the separation. I assume others asked the same question I did — is there anything more to this? Because if there is, I assured my contact, the mayor is going to get drawn and quartered if something comes out later. No, nothing more. I assume everyone talked to their editors, as I did. News editors in the MSM, at least in Canada, aren’t fond of doing stories about private lives unless there appears to be obvious problem: a relationship that is a conflict, that reflects very badly on the character of the person involved, that is inappropriate, whatever. As there was nothing like that apparent, no one did any stories.
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Want Vancouver to have more non-ugly buildings? Maybe support, enter this new urban design competition by July 14

July 6th, 2014 · 8 Comments

I think we can all agree that Vancouver, No. 1 rankings to the contrary, has managed to erect some of the least attractive buildings in the urban world. Every time I travel to any standard American city (Minneapolis currently), I’m shocked to see how many truly lovely houses, interesting mid-rise apartments, and beautifully designed office buildings they have in comparison to Vancouver.

Yes, we do have some well-designed buildings and neighbourhoods — both old and new. But,sorry, folks, there is still a lot of the single-family housing that looks like it was built from the Home Depot remainder bin. There are condos that have gone up recently (the Aquilini reproduction of London council housing next to the Cambie Bridge, to name one) that are a blight. And we have a disproportionate number of office buildings from the 1980s “mid-western insurance head office” architectural school.

So anything that might improve standards is to be welcomed, like these new City of Vancouver urban-design awards. Hope there is more than one entry per category.

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Duelling Point Grey Road/Kits Point picnics today, partying with purpose

July 5th, 2014 · 125 Comments

At the risk of setting off a 350-comment mudfight, I feel obliged to note that there are a couple of picnics on today that seem destined to inspire people to party where their politics are.

The pro-bikeway/greenway Point Grey Road festivities are outlined here:

The Save Hadden Park, triumph over the bike lane, group appears to be gathering here:


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Oh no, Vancouver is No. 1 on some list or another again

July 2nd, 2014 · 32 Comments

At least there’s a chance that these readers won’t be staying around forever.

VANCOUVER, BC (July 2, 2014): The results are in: Vancouver is officially Canada’s top travel destination, according to readers of prestigious travel magazine Travel + Leisure.

Travel + Leisure’s annual World’s Best Awards survey asks readers to evaluate cities on five characteristics: sights/landmarks, culture/arts, restaurants/food, people and value. Vancouver’s score this year was 86.71, making it the top city in Canada and sixth best in North America (U.S. and Canada). And it seems that visitors are growing more enamored with the city every year: in the 2013 survey, Vancouver placed second in Canada and ninth in North America.

Vancouver also swept the World’s Best Hotel category with five of the top 10 Canadian hotels located here. Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver captured the title of Canada’s premier hotel, followed by Rosewood Hotel Georgia (2), Wedgewood Hotel and Spa (6), The Fairmont Waterfront (7) and Fairmont Pacific Rim (9).

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Transit referendum won’t be until spring 2015 at the earliest

June 27th, 2014 · 42 Comments

Mayors decided yesterday that holding it at the same time as the November election is just too early and would likely sideline a crucial group of voters — university and college students.

Story here.

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Big battle of political campaigns set for Surrey as Hepner, Rasode and maybe McCallum? teams gear up

June 27th, 2014 · 1 Comment

It is going to be a crazy election fight this year in Surrey if Barinder Rasode keeps going with her bid for mayor. She has got some heavyweights with her, including Mark Marissen (very experienced hand at rounding up the Indo vote for the federal Liberals), Jatinder Rai and, I hear, a veteran Conservative campaigner who worked on Christy Clark’s campaign.

Then, as we saw this week, Linda Hepner and Surrey First came out with a new team, plus their own set of heavy-hitting campaigners: Stew Braddick and Mike Witherly. Also, as I tweeted out on the day of the announcement, Patrick Kinsella is in the mix. Observers pointed out to me that my picture of Patrick also included Prem Vinning.

Needless to say, Mayor Dianne Watts made a point of boosting the Linda Hepner/Surrey First campaign with an unequivocal endorsement.

I’ve also just heard that former mayor Doug McCallum is planning to announce a run sometime in early July.

My Globe story on Hepner’s announcement is here. Kelly Sinoski at the Vancouver Sun was also present and, if you can get past the paywall to read it, her story with details I didn’t have is here.

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Riley Park Hillcrest members hold special meeting to remove community centre board

June 25th, 2014 · 5 Comments

Oh dear. Things not going well. Here’s the notice from one of the members

Riley Park Hillcrest Community Association

Extraordinary General Meeting

7 pm June 26

Hillcrest Centre Room 328


Special Resolution 1: Removal of current Board of Directors from office for cause:
• No financial statements issued since 2012 AGM
• No minutes of meetings issued since 2012 AGM

Special Resolution 2: Delete changes to bylaws made by current Board of Directors at 2013 AGM, but not published until April 7, 2014

Ordinary Resolution 3: Election of interim directors mandated to serve until 2014 AGM can be called

Only members may vote. You may join the Community Association at the Hillcrest Centre front desk.

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