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Former mayor Sam Sullivan launches new project

November 4th, 2009 · 11 Comments

Vancouver’s former mayor, who was denied the chance to run again when his own party voted him out as a candidate, is back in the news again after a long silence. Sam Sullivan has been studiously unavailable for the last year, but he’s emerged this week to launch his newest project, covered here in the Vancouver Sun.

As you’ll note, it’s a classic Sam Sullivan operation — mysterious funder, interesting and somewhat abstract project that brings together all kinds of unlikely and high-profile team-mates, and good public-relations splash.

Sullivan also appeared on Bill Good’s NW show this morning. It’ll be interesting to see what ideas he percolates out of this. I understand from talking to Sam recently that he has other projects on the go as well, including a consultancy with Beijing Tourism in advance of the Olympics.

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  • jimmy olson

    Wishing the best of suck and success to Sam, the urban eco-warrior. Great to see him re-inventing himself and taking on a new cause.

  • Unfortunately, a board meeting in Surrey will prevent me from joining Sam at his launch today. However, I too wish him well on this endeavour and hope that since he is no longer on Council (he may still be a politician), he can advance more effectively some of his thoughts on increased density in low density neighbourhoods and a more sustainable society.

    Anyone who attended the recent memorial service for Abe Rogatnick will know that Sam Sullivan’s remarks were brilliant and spectacular. I look forward to hearing more about what Sam has to say on this topic and hope it will contribute to a broader public discussion.

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    If you administered an enema to what Sam is offering, you would be left with any redeemable value in a thimble.

    And if you’d like to ever get elected to anything even remotely connected to Vancouver City Hall, Michael, I would promptly lose the “Sam’s just a misunderstood great guy” routine.

    If you’re intent on doing your best impression of Suzanne or Kim, let me be the one to tell you, it ain’t cuttin’ it now, nor will it later.

  • Frothingham

    Wishing Sam all the success in the world. He served as mayor and now he is moving on. Good on ya Sam!

  • A. G., I guess those who can’t just whine about those who can. I was no big fan of Sam as mayor but I like the sounds of his new work. We need more people like him working to make a positive difference.

  • Richard, the notion that Sam’s new “venture” will somehow advance any of the causes you claim are hurting us (from your website) is as laughable as Pamela Anderson lecturing at a MENSA conference.

    You like the sound of this empty shell of an effort? Marvelous.

    For three pivotal years, as Mayor, Sam delivered zero to this city. And now, having simply and shamelessly remarketed all the things which made him a failure, he has called upon the same set of dupes and rubes to support him.

    And money, once again, from some obscure source.

    Of course, just the kind of screwball platform for Sam and his apologists…the worst Mayor in Vancouver’s history doesn’t ride any differently than before.

  • Frothingham

    @A. G. Tsakumis. Recall mayor Jack Volrich?

  • I salute Sam’s new venture and the impressive group of researchers and scholars he has attracted to focus on his most-loved causes – ecodensity, addiction issues and homelessness.

    Thanks to difficult votes and brave stands by the previous council and an extraordinary partnership with Rich Coleman and the Province, Sam and his six councillors helped create at least 2000 new units of social housing – more than any previous council. One of those new SROs – for single mothers – is going up right next to my home in Tinseltown.

    Now I didn’t live here under his administration, and having lived under Giuliani’s administration in NYC, I understand the difference between how a city can love to hate their Mayor and the public’s perception outside.

    Some people just love to hate Sam and for them, there will never be anything bad enough to say about him. I heard the personal attacks against him daily on the campaign trail.

    But for me personally, I salute Sam for having accomplished so much more than many of us with full mobility; for the enormous energy he expends every day helping others; for daring to think big; and for wanting the very best for this city.

    Even if, and maybe because, his ideas seem to get people so riled up, this city is much better off with Sam part of the debate.

  • Alex, don’t go dissing Pam. She has been doing some great work for PETA. Given the success she has had, she is likely way smarter than you think.

    As far as Sam’s new venture, give it a chance before judging it. Nice web site BTW, interesting choice of music, “rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens…”. Good to see your softer side come out.

  • Abe and I worked for the same big firm back in 1957: he on Holy Redeemer College, Regina, and I on Saint Paul’s ECG lab among other big projects.

    Behind me I could hear: he had a constant habit of munching thin wheat crackers: yunno, snap cackle pop all daylong!

    . . . and hey, he was a good guy . . . okay!

    Which brings me to my point as I thought I knew Abe long enough to ask . . .

    . . . what possible interest could he have had encouraging a failed civic politico, keep his psychosis alive?

  • I am in favour of increased densities for new and existing developments in Vancouver and elsewhere in Metro for a number of reasons. They will support better public transit and could well contribute to fewer greenhouse gases. They will also result in healthier communities….people who walk are more fit than people who just drive. And while some might give up cutting the grass, they can participate in other activities.

    Sam Sullivan, regardless of what one thinks of him as a person or as Mayor was right in promoting the correlation between well planned higher density living and the environment. While some thought it was a stupid thing for a politician to do, I thought it was a good initiative. I did not agree with the manner in which EcoDensity was launched, even though I was part of the initial launch, but it was a very important thing to do, especially since many parts of Vancouver had been ignored in previous decades.

    That is why I am supportive of this initiative, especially since there are people who listen to Sam who may not listen to Patrick Condon or Gordon Price or me when we spout off about the need for higher density communities.

    So that’s where I’m coming from. Sam, I wish you the best in trying to help change attitudes when it comes to the need for higher density planning and a better fit between development and transportation.