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More on Vancouver’s new green guru from Chicago

September 1st, 2009 · 8 Comments

I got a chance to talk to Vancouver’s new deputy city manager, Sadhu Johnston, in Chicago earlier today. Here’s my Globe story about Johnston, who will be arriving here Nov. 2. He’s a very personable sounding young man (sorry if I sound like an old fart, but I am), who mostly avoided talking ecojargon with me and was refreshingly explanatory about his life and his work.

He’s trying to figure out which neighbourhood to live in, by the way. He’d hoped to get into a co-op, but there are huge waiting lists for every one of them in town. Failing that, at least a green building.

By the way, for those who love these details, he’ll be making in the $200,000 range, as the city’s other deputies were. In Chicago, he was making $133,000 US.

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  • I was wondering why he would leave Chicago (which I not-so-secretly love) for Vancouver, but that pay bump would probably convince me.

  • Fred

    $200k a year to tell the rest of us to use twisty light bulbs and feel guilty over driving our cars.

    Nice gig.

    Wanna bet he’s a hardcore Global Warming hysteric ?

  • gmgw

    “Wanna bet he’s a hardcore Global Warming hysteric ?”

    Watch out for those Cro-Magnons, Fred– word has it they’re out to exterminate your people.
    gmgw

  • Very excited to see the Mayor’s leadership in greening Vancouver be reflected in the new hire at the senior management level. Building Opportunities with Business looks forward to connecting our work on greening the inner city with his leadership.

  • Darcy McGee

    I was going to make a joke about his salary now including healthcare as incentive to make the move, then I realized that in Chicago he has not just County but also Chicago Hope to go to for treatment. Can’t beat that!

  • Bill Lee

    Chicago in 2016? If they get the Olympic bid on October 2, will he turn around or wait until after our local corporate fiasco?

    Pedals 16 km to work in Chicago. Not very far. He could live in Burnaby and do that easily. I’m assuming that it is 8 km each way.

  • The Insider

    What Aufock’s going on in this city especially at City Hall? I know of at least three local green guys/ activists/ mentors, let’s call them Jim, Tamara and Robert that would have qualified for the job better than anybody and they would have done it for half the money,you know, in the spirit of the new fiscal restrains. Now what’s a “guru”? If you separate and sort your trash you are a city dweller, if you recycle you are a green guy, if you compost you are a green activist already, if you bike to work you become a GU-RU! But, nooo, Vancouver needed a little attention they needed a “stellar” presence to tell them were to dump their refuse and how to plant lilies in the backyard, and how to salute the Olympics next year (that would be in a lotus position). Since they came to power VV cost Vancouver taxpayers dearly, severance packages, byelections, renegotiated salaries… but when it comes to sharing the loot brotherly they don’t do it locally, but only within their affiliated community, within their circle of friends from south of the border. Have you noticed the takeover of the most senior positions at CH of V by American jackboots ? Sweet deal if you can get it, or if it is given to you , I may say Happy Planet sweet. To this end I’m asking: Who is this guy? No, really!For Vancouver I mean, not for Chicago, and if you don’t have a sincere answer to this I’ll leave you with Alex Tsakumis quote from an earlier post: “The hypocrisy is so thick you can cut it with a knife.” I like that.

  • Chicago mayor’s whiz kid. ” . . . a 35-year-old whiz kid who helped transform Chicago’s image from gritty industrial town to leading green city . . . ”

    Ummmmmmm I haven’t visited the windy city for quite a while but I doubt one young man can have such influence even at his reportedly exorbitant salary. To change and “image” is easy, it just takes money and hyper-active PR. Chicago lost its polluting industrial base for far more sinister reasons.

    Are the economic crocuses really sprouting? Not according to the stats I read: in fact the worst is yet to come!

    Was it not just last spring, to reduce the impact of the current downturn on city finances, Dr Ballam exhorted her people to take unpaid leave? Ooops, and along comes another highly paid, likely ineffectual, bureaucrat.

    The city of Chicago and now, evidently, the city of Vancouver demonstrate a profound misunderstanding of urban the warming/greening issue.

    Green roofs add to dead load, ergo construction costs (losing affordability), and through moisture retention exacerbates energy transmission and finally, if not constantly and wastefully watered, fail to deflect the Sun’s rays. The same applies to the many other enviro urban-myths.

    To be sincere about reducing our enviro foot print we must adopt far more drastic steps: i.e. begin with drastic transportation configurations, acknowledge the lack of planning expertise . . . and that’s just a start!

    Why green a city anyway? Well its’ good for tourist and a few boosters, perhaps. Still, a lot of influential researchers are beginning to see it as a just another avoidance ruse.

    If the city wants to get serious about the economy, the environment and the future . . . acknowledge global warming to be an historic cyclical phenomenon beyond control; take drastic steps to curtail pollution. Recognize that hiring a highly paid young enviro-czar is just feel-good window dressing.

    Shame on Vancouverites if they fall for it.