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One more blog on the civic political scene

September 12th, 2009 · 32 Comments

I’m very tardy in noticing this, but I have finally stumbled across the new Vancouver civic politics blog just started up by Jonathan Ross at For those who don’t recall from previous exchanges on this blog, Jonathan is a political consultant who has managed campaigns at various levels, most recently in Vancouver for Kashmir Dhaliwal in his run for city council as part of the Vision team.

Jonathan appears to be set to do battle with the boys at, Daniel Fontaine and Mike Klassen, who were Sam Sullivan’s two right-hand guys while he was mayor and use their blog to perpetuate their view of the world (Sam great, anyone who ever criticized him Very Bad People).

The recent point-counterpoint between the two blogs is over Councillor Suzanne Anton’s attack on Vision for not releasing the KPMG document that was commissioned by the city to assess the city’s management of the Southeast False Creek/Olympic village project.

Citycaucus, of course, supports the Anton accusation that something nefarious is going on because it hasn’t been released, with hints that the reason Vision doesn’t want to release it is because the report actually exonerates the NPA and past city management. Ross/civicscene puts out the Vision line that there’s stuff in there that, if only Suzanne knew how bad it looked for the NPA, she wouldn’t be pushing so hard to get it released.

Go at it, I say. Of course, my selfish hope is that citycaucus will get so embroiled in sandbox fights with Ross that Daniel and Mike will have somewhat less energy to carp about the Evil Journalists whom they believe did in Sam Sullivan and who aren’t properly critical enough (i.e. as critical as citycaucus is) of Vision and Gregor Robertson.

Like all good political attack dogs, they prefer to go after a few select journalists, like me  and Allen Garr at the Courier, rather than inconveniently mentioning how many reporters did negative stories about Sullivan during his tenure or how many other reporters have covered Vision and Robertson more positively than either of us.

But really, why bring in frivolous context like that. Much better to keep nursing those grudges, boys.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • spartikus

    But tell us how you really feel, Frances…

  • JL

    Who’s gonna want to read Ross’s blog when all he’s going to print are the Mayor’s office talking points? If you want to read those, you can check out Garr’s columns (no grudge intended).

    Frances my dear. I think if you were referencing women as “girls” you would be raked over the coals by your feminist readers. Therefore, why do you continusously refer to the citycaucus propietors (and some of your other critics) as “boys”? I guess that egalitarian thing only works if you’re referring to women?

    I like the fact the “boys” are questioning the status quo, even if I don’t always agree with the positions they take.

    As a member of the media, you should welcome the scrutiny and consider it as part of the wonderful democratic process we live in. Not try to critisize it.

    The alternative is the blogosphere is silenced and we all blindly accept what we read in our local newspapers and magazines. I for one don’t like that scenario at all.

    You seem a tad too sensitive about what they’re saying and should just let it go. Everyone’s opinion should count for something.

    Keep up the good work and I love your blog…

  • Frances Bula

    Actually, I have referred to myself as a girl more than once.

    As for whether I’m too sensitive, well, we all are really. But I do think it’s just as important to comment on the blogosphere as on the MSM, which I do both of. And I doubt very much that anything I have to say will silence that combative pair.

  • SV

    Not to mention citycaucus seems to go out of it’s way to be juvenile at times.

  • Laces out

    the city caucus guys are like the high school football player who keeps pining for the glory days and can’t let go.

    meanwhile everyone else on the team has moved on to college.

    but instead of saying “if only I’d made that field goal” they say “if only we hadn’t trademarked ecodensity”

  • just you wait

    I’m sure the City is going to release that report. It could be seen as an axe for the NPA if Ballem and Vision folks don’t allow the city staff comments to be published as to why decisions were made in that report. That would be interesting to see…

  • Tim Latanville

    I think what citycaucus is doing is a good service and they are putting up newsorthy content. however, they should also be pointing out that they are both partisan NPA operatives rather than being dishonest about it. I’ve also heard that they’re even being paid by the funds raised previously by Sam Sullivan to support their work attacking Vision. Be good if they came clean on that.

  • RMR

    Listening to Daniel and Jim on the Bill Good Civic Affairs panel reminds e of those last days of summer when two young boys are stading on the dock at the lake an seeing who can pee the farthest.
    NPA all Bad Vision walks on water and Vision all bad NPA walks on water.

  • Darcy McGee

    It’s not going out of its way…that’s it’s natural state.

  • T W

    The hardest thing for political handlers to do is to recognise they misjudged the public mood – and that applies provincially as well as locally.

    At one time, politicos wrote memoirs, now they write blogs and like retired generals, keep fighting the old battles. Where does that take Vancouver?

  • Darcy McGee

    I was dining one night with a former politician: 16 years in elected office. We bumped into a friend of his who was also an elected politician. When we were introduced, we joked about the reality of post-political life: from Page 1 to Page nothing, sort of joking.

    He said the funniest thing any politician has ever said to me (and that includes that one G.Campbell told about “no deficits.)

    What he said was, basically, when meeting people he always felt like saying “Don’t you know who I was?”

    It’s a lot funnier in person, and you have to realize that he was joking: it wasn’t serious 🙂

    I still laugh about that.

  • Hi Frances,
    I wanted to respond to Ross’s attack on me, but his site wouldn’t accept comments under the “Quick Hits” category. You, on the other hand, allow responses. And City Hall watchers read your blog. So for fun, I’ll post it here and see if it gets through your moderation system:


    I am not Ellen Woodsworth’s mouthpiece. Our paper did not recommend Woodsworth in 2005 in part because of her response to Fred Bass’s truthful remarks about Larry Campbell. Woodsworth was not happy about this. We recommended her in 2008, but did not “strongly recommend” her. We saved this designation for three candidates: Kerry Jang, David Cadman, and Chris Shaw.

    We have offered Suzanne Anton an opportunity to write an opinion piece on our site, but she has not taken us up on this. When the B.C. Liberals had an overwhelming majority in the legislature, we created a regular column for Bill Tieleman to ensure there was an opposition voice in our paper.

    I have always paid attention to the voting records of politicians and their pre-election positions in various candidate questionaires. I feel we should pay attention to what politicians do and not necessarily what they say. When you do this, you discover that some of them aren’t nearly as liberal or progressive as they purport to be.

    For instance, if Vision Vancouver was truly interested in addressing the inherent racism in an at-large municipal election system, it would be trying to generate concern about this in the community. To date, I have seen no evidence that this is on Vision Vancouver’s radar screen with the exception of concerns expressed by Raj Hundal and published in our paper.

    The mayor and council could have created a peace and justice committee, but they refused to do so. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous.

    Charlie Smith
    Georgia Straight

  • For the record, Charlie, my comments are enabled…they however are subject to moderation, much like Frances. You as an experienced editor can appreciate the thinking behind this kind of rationale, I am sure.

    Your comment has been approved, because discourse is something that CivicScene welcomes with open arms. In fact, the site aims to eventually serve as a forum for different opinions on the level of this blog, which is as fair and open as any in the municipal blogging realm.

    The same cannot be stated for the other individuals mentioned in this post, however.

  • A. G. Tsakumis


    Stop wasting your time with this juvenile twit Ross.

    He is nothing more than citycaucus on speed…

    He is clearly the Vision answer to citcycaucus. His drivel is tedious and all he wants is for credible writers and journalists to either attack him so he can play the victim card or just plainly dump on anyone, at will, because they have criticized Vision. I agree with Frances on this one whole heartedly, but caution you not to give any credit to Ross. citycaucus will always offer better stories, but that doesn’t say much.

    Frankly, Ross has a few screws loose.

    In a brief exchange (which he initiated) about a column I recently did that exposed the Burrard Bridge (eco)fraud for what it is, little Ross’ efforts to put my rebuttal to him in check was to refer to me as “a bald, fat mothefucker” (even after losing 20lbs!)

    This is how Vision lapdogs deal with their critics, because they know that if Chudnovsky runs for Mayor (which I expect he will, and the NPA get a credible candidate (NOT Anton!) then Gregor is down for the count.

    Next up: How Vision will factionalize the city by running the next election on a STV hybrid system (including wards) and claiming that everyone against this is a racist.

    And right at the center of it: Ross, his propeller beanie and belly lint…

  • Tsakumis’ is legendary for his vitriolic personal attacks (including those that have been levied against Frances on this very site), and I was not spared his usual scorched earth policy:

    “One–you’re mentally ill”

    “And after finding out enough about you, I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire, nevermind a beer. Idiot. ”

    And like always, getting Tsakumis stirred up to devolve the level of discourse must mean that I am doing something right.

  • “a column I recently did that exposed the Burrard Bridge (eco)fraud for what it is”

    The protected lanes trial is primarily about increasing safety for the cyclists and pedestrians who use the bridge. A failure to put the supposed GHG increase that was calculated (in the Tsakumis column referenced above) into some kind of perspective with some additional regional, provincial, or national figures simply points to an agenda-driven piece of writing that serves little purpose in actually educating or enlightening readers.

    Most traffic delays are caused by poor driving and the accidents that result thereof. Anyone truly concerned about reducing vehicle GHG emissions would find their energies better directed by reporting on that issue rather than questioning a long-overdue safety measure for people of all ages who can’t or don’t choose to transport themselves by automobile.

  • For anyone interested in why Alex’s column is little more than alarmist poppycock consider the following:

    The column presupposes every single vehicle crossing the bridge experiences a six minute delay. Clearly not the case.

    The column presupposes delays in both directions, despite the fact no lane was removed northbound.

    The column presupposed 80% of the traffic occurs during rush hour, which is nonsense. If that were the case then the bridge would be verging on empty for at least 20 hours a day. Simple observation of the bridge at any time of day disproves this notion.

    The column swerves between referencing Carbon, Carbon Dioxide, and Carbon Monoxide (apparently interchangeably). Not sure if this is scientific ignorance or just lazy writing, but it still puts the entire thesis into question.

    Not a single reference for the numbers used are cited. Given the author and his obvious agenda, more reason to question the accuracy of the calculations.

    The column once again intimates trial proponents are ‘fascists’ — intent upon forcing decisions upon people. In reality, the protected lane trial offers individuals more choices for their transportation needs, not fewer, by making the bridge a safer place for pedestrians and cyclists. Since safety is a key issue in this debate, clearly the initiative is more democratic than the previous incarnation, which limited the choice to cycle to a minority who are confident, experienced urban cyclists.

    Science – F
    Math – F
    English Composition – F
    Civics – F

  • I made some similar comments about Tsakumis’ post here:

    which is why he started with the low blows and the slights against those with mental illness (a term he thinks is appropriate for insulting someone who doesn’t agree with him).

  • spartikus

    Not a single reference for the numbers used are cited.

    This is definitely a pattern. To add, in his original column, AGT makes the claim “Hundreds of respected scientists, world-wide, question currently trumpeted global warming causes – nary a word in the press.”

    He declines to name one. Perhaps, like the addictionologists who endorse Dr. Charles Mangham, their lives are somehow in danger if they are named.

    The fact remains: 97% of the world’s active climatologists agree that human activity is causing global warming.

  • Well, I can’t even be bothered to comment on the ‘climate change is a myth’ nonsense.

    I just assume the climate truthers have worn out their copy of “Capricorn One” and need a new source of entertainment while they wait for OJ to find the real killer.

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    Wow! Three Men and all shady…

    Keam: There is no reasoning with you because you remain a liar. The manipulation you have done of my column proves many thing: YOU are the one with the agenda, and a radical one at that. At the very least, admit that there is an increase in carbon. And I never interchanged carbon/dioxide and monoxide. Dioxide wasn’t even mentioned. But that’s what you ilk does–lie. I never cited where the numbers were coming from??? A press release from the Mayor himself, his comments to Global that there were “small delays, both ways, I guess” (yet another brilliant off-the-cuff Sullivanesque comment) and the City’s website. The assumptions I make are entirely reasonable and consistent with the information from the city. Two other local columnists have made the same assumptions, but you can’t pillory either because one isn’t widely read and the other is ON YOUR SIDE of the political spectrum. The Burrard Bridge experiment is a failure and has nothing to do with safety. Let’s see the (currently incomplete) report from UBC with these incredible accounts of poor riders that were hurt. Boo-hoo. But you can’t build a bridge because the lanes are largely empty. (Even though I support a smaller bridge along side the BB for both pedestrians and cyclists) The BBBL is all about satisfying a new set of voters that Gregor will need to get re-elected. But you already know about this since you’ll drop to your knees in no time for another Vision win. But don’t let me interrupt you from sitting around your house all day and “editing”. ROTFLMAO.

    Ross: Telling you that I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire gives you the right to be any less sensitive to obese, bald folks? You are indeed sick. All you are serving is a small sliver of the extremist, fanatical world of losers and psychos who ache for hurting and dominating other people’s lives because they live (thankfully) differently from them (you!). I think your propeller beanie is on too tight. You are to Vision what Mike Klassen is to the NPA. You ran a garbage campaign for Dhaliwal and are roundly reviled by workers on Vision’s team and if even half the stories about how you considered yourself such a bloody political genius are true, I sincerely hope that Vision actually clone you. More laughter….

    As for spartikus, who wants me to reveal names of doctors so that his legalization morons in Vanc Coastal Health will try to get them fired, good try. Say, why don’t you tell us YOUR name, coward?

    I also note for the record that, you too, like Keam, continue to LIE…”97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is anthropogenic”, comes from a biased site dedicated to promoting such nonsense, which overlooks 600 scientists that recently objected to such horse shit in Copenhagen; dozens of books written by scientists that actually prove we are in a cooling period now. But why mix facts with attacks on me.

    Keep it coming girls…..

  • spartikus

    As for spartikus, who wants me to reveal names of doctors so that his legalization morons in Vanc Coastal Health will try to get them fired, good try.

    This position defies belief (if Frances would like to weigh in on the ethics of withholding names in journalism, it would be instructive I think). If Mangham’s scholarship is solid, then endorsing it is not a firing offence. Indeed, if the vast majority of VCH’s addictionologists endorse him, as you claim, the most likely result would be a change in policy at VCH.

    No, I think there is an Occam’s Razor explanation for your refusal to provide even a single name to back up your claim. And that is you can’t.

    which overlooks 600 scientists that recently objected to such horse shit in Copenhagen

    Ah yes, the infamous list of 500 nay 600 “scientists” (because in all the world there are only 650 scientists!). Those would be 600 of almost entirely non-climatologists, Alex. And 45 have asked for their names to be removed.

    comes from a biased site dedicated to promoting such nonsense

    That “biased” site linked to a survey of active climatologists. In other words, they linked to something substantive that backed their claims.

    Say, why don’t you tell us YOUR name, coward?

    I don’t make any argument from authority and claim no special expertise. Every blog comment I write stand and falls on it’s own merits. The moniker attached is irrelevant as there are no claimed credentials to verify.

    This is a long-established practice in the blogosphere.

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    And I note for the record that while I have been critical of Frances on a few matters, she is a friend whom I respect.

    I note, too, that Ross, of course, doesn’t refer to the countless times I have actually lauded, quite generously, the fair Ms. Bula.

    But again, why let truth interfere in lies and spin?

    It’s what Ross does best.

  • A. G. Tsakumis


    Simply put. You’re full of shit.

    What an absurd man, to suggest that these doc could change policy. You know better than that, since the level of your political spin is far more advanced than that we suffer from a Keam or Ross.

    The top docs make the policy sweetheart, there is no committee of the whole rule at VCH. Nice try.

    And for you to even pretend that journalists should reveal names of sources because some biased, slanted asshole on the internet, who cowardly hides behind a moniker, and demands it, is as delusional as much as it is comical.

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    And spartikus, climate change is not driven entirely by anthropogenic causes. It is an ebb and flow, it is cyclical, without outlying or “new” numbers making one sniff of a difference.

    Get a grip.

  • spartikus


    There are rules governing the granting of anonymity in journalism. The funny thing is you are invoking those rules, not for one or two individuals, but to all of them. Everywhere.

    Did you at least inform your editor at 24hrs who they were?

    Never mind, I see he has an email address. Perhaps I ‘ll write him directly.

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    Gosh, spartikus, I’m shaking in my boots…

  • Tsakumis:

    “There is no reasoning with you because you remain a liar.”

    Why would you want to reason with me when bluster and scurrilous name-calling are your stock in trade? Why are you even bothering to respond? The laddie doth protest too much IMO. If you could back up those nonsensical projections you would do so.

    The manipulation you have done of my column proves many thing: YOU are the one with the agenda, and a radical one at that”

    I didn’t manipulate anything you wrote AGT. You dug yourself a big hole. All I did was shine a light down it. My only agenda is to promote one of the obvious solutions we have available to us in terms of transportation issues. Radical dude.

    “The Burrard Bridge experiment is a failure and has nothing to do with safety.”

    You start from an incorrect premise based on too little information. Little wonder the rest of your column was so easily refuted.

    “The assumptions I make are entirely reasonable and consistent with the information from the city.”

    Your assumptions were poorly thought out and didn’t stand up to the most cursory scrutiny. No amount of ill-mannered ranting will change that.



  • “Let’s see the (currently incomplete) report from UBC with these incredible accounts of poor riders that were hurt. Boo-hoo.”

    What a gutless, ignorant thing to say. I feel sorry for you. Truly.

  • “Two other local columnists have made the same assumptions, but you can’t pillory either because one isn’t widely read and the other is ON YOUR SIDE of the political spectrum.”

    So now we’re agreeing I’ve put paid to your little scat pile of published silliness? Finally we agree.

  • Some facts:

    Northbound trip times are down pretty much across the board. Some southbound trips times are up, some are down. Makes any calculation based upon a global increase in trip times an amusing hodge-podge of wishful thinking and deliberate ignorance.

    Sorry for the thread-jack but I believe it’s important to call attention to sloppy journalism. Without good reporting we all suffer.

  • confused

    I thought property taxes paid for services performed by city staff.Today I was told that up to 70 people from each dept…sewers,water and streets will be “volunteering” to pick up garbage at all olympic sites on the taxpayers dime…..nice