Just back from roaming the room at the Commodore, where the newly in power Vision Vancouver held its first fundraiser since winning the election. I have to say, their fundraisers are different. No rubber chicken, no speeches, no videos about the accomplishments of the Great Leader.
Instead, a great band with local jazz singer Karen Holness (who had earlier in the day entertained the Downtown Eastside at another event to open the Rainier Hotel for women’s housing), nibbly food and a big old schmoozing-style party. A few people actually danced, but mostly attendees put their energy into networking.
It was a pretty packed room, especially considering it’s a Wednesday in February in the middle of an economic meteor shower, with a price tag of $150 a person. About 400 people said to be there, which I guess they’re hoping will help pay off the party’s debt from the election, something I keep hearing about but don’t have the numbers on yet.
I’m told by several people that former NPA councillor George Puil was in attendance. I will state for the record here that I did not see him myself; however, I was a late arrival and several people told me he was there. Also reported in attendance was former NPA board director George Cadman.
I did see the affable and well-connected Liberal organizer Mark Marissen, who apparently was one of the first arrivals at 6 p.m. and many at the party told me there was a strong Lib presence among the attendees.
I had wondered how many developers would be around, given how much hurtin’ is going on with their business. But they were there in force. In fact, a little sign posted on the floor announced that the “lead sponsors” for the fundraiser were (besides the two pillars of Vision, Bob Penner’s Stratcomm polling company and Joel Solomon’s Renewal Partners) Terry Hui’s Concord Pacific, Simon Lim’s Holborn, and the De Cotiis’s Onni Group, along with the Value Group of Companies, CUPE, and the Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours.
Tables also displayed signs from developers Aquilini, The Salient Group (Robert Fung) and Wall Financial. Also represented were Black Top, Buster’s, Hoggan & Associates, Terasen, Brook Development and the Boffo Family of Companies.
Francesco Aquilini was one of the developers there in person, not someone who just mailed in a cheque for a table and gave out free tickets to random passersby. He always seems to be having a great time when I spot him at Vision parties and has to be one of the most cheerful people around. (I think the Canucks win the previous night helped.)
The VIPs got to party at a special session that started before the main event, by the way. But that didn’t mean they got the only exclusives with Mr. Mayor. Gregor Robertson, unlike at previous parties where he tended to stay near the door and talk to five people he already knows well, really worked the room, making sure that he got around to almost anyone who wanted to talk to him. He even made time for your faithful scribe to pester him at the end of the night, a cruel time to scrum anyone.
As far as I could tell, people were feeling pretty good — no major grumbling about anything the new council has done, while Visionistas themselves seem to be thinking it’s going pretty good so far.
But it’s not quite day 60 out of the 1,000-some days of the term, so no rushing to definitive judgment yet.