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Vision’s first post-election fundraiser attracts developers, Liberals, George Puil

February 5th, 2009 · 10 Comments

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.

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  • Travis

    Great recap of the fundraiser. I was wondering, Frances, was it you who reported how much the inauguration party cost a few weeks ago? I know I read it somewhere. So I wonder why it was a lead story last night on Global. I also wonder why the only person they could comment was Maureen Bader. It did remind me of that great, I repeat GREAT day when she visited Langara. I can still hear the GASP when she said that global warming was a bunch of bunk.

    What is going to happen when she is no longer around? Who are reporters going to go to for the opposite position of nearly every decision government makes?

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    Actually Travis raises a very interesting point.

    Is Global so impoverished that they do a FOI, get the information and don’t check around to see if the information is out there?

    Frances did indeed break the news on the cost of the inaugural. But the real story wasn’t the cost, it was that people got a chance to mingle with a down-to-earth Mayor who genuinely give a damn about the city. People were so sick of Sam’s Imperial Mayoralty.

    So what if it was 85 grand?

    Deduct the usual 30 grand inaugural…if all Gregor does is overspend 55 grand on the inaugural, he’ll be able to run for as long as he wants to…now, we’re still early in the game.

    As for your comments about Bader’s observation that global warming “is bunk”, she was actually referring to global warming alarmism–which is PURE horse shit.

    There is a difference…

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    By the way, I think it’s also telling of Global’s bias that after pestering the Mayor they went straight some mindless drivel from Suzanne and then used Bader as the comparator arm.

    Very bad reporting piece.

  • Travis

    AGT, I didn’t see you in the classroom on that day, but she said nothing about alarmism.

    Have your opinion on alarmism. You are welcome to it.

    I will take the IPCC’s word for it.

    A quote from the NYT in 2007:

    ‘Last week, in its first major report since 2001, the world’s most authoritative group of climate scientists issued its strongest statement yet on the relationship between global warming and human activity. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the likelihood was 90 percent to 99 percent that emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, spewed from tailpipes and smokestacks, were the dominant cause of the observed warming of the last 50 years. In the panel’s parlance, this level of certainty is labeled “very likely.’

    But then, what do they know.

  • Blaffergassted

    This post offers excellent insight into the Liberal’s backing of Vision Vancouver.

    It raises just one question in my mind – What level of co-option is happening here?

  • Denis

    Wonder who paid the ticket for “The Ankle biter” as so many folks used to call George Puil. The more Liberald an NPA hacks that showed up and paid , should help reduce the Vision costs.

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    Travis–you missed the hundreds of scientists who have refuted, with strong evidence and quite convincingly, that there are many schools of thought on global warming. You must have also missed two conferences in Europe this year that oppose, strongly, the IPCC’s narrow position. Many of the scientists that were original signatories are now saying that the original evidence and hypotheses are WRONG on a number of fronts.

    Also, see the decision in the British High Court by Justice Burton. His rebuke of Al Bore’s thesis in ‘A Convenient Lie’ is broadsweeping and telling. Specifically, Al Bore “misstated and mislead viewers” with his thesis and that the film should be viewed as “an entertainment piece”.

    Too much schlock by the tremulous tits in the global warming lobby.

    Interesting observations about Liberals in Vision.

    In case Gregor falters…or the Gordonator does the same…they have to make room for you know who…who’s clearly spent too much time “at home”…

    What a laugh…

  • A. Baird

    So Mark Marissen is attending Vision fundraisers while Christy Clark daily bashes Vision on CKNW.

    Can they make up their mind?

  • Blaffergassted

    Every big tent party has its share of clowns.