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Your posts on tonight’s debate welcome

October 9th, 2008 · 21 Comments

Sorry, folks, couldn’t make it to tonight’s Peter Ladner-Gregor Robertson No. 2 debate in the debate-a-thon that this campaign has turned into. Your thoughts and impressions welcome, although I think we’ve all come to realize that it’s like people are living in parallel universes when it comes to judging the candidates. I’ve found it quite striking that there are such different assessments of the same event by different people.

No matter, I look forward to your comments.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • Julia

    I am getting a little weary of homelessness being the only think that Gregor wants to talk about. Surely there are other issues in this city that are equally important. I would also really like it if someone would put a price on all his big plans. Perhaps he could also tell us what he might cut to pay for the same big ideas or maybe he simply plans to raise everyone’s taxes!

  • Saw it live

    I don’t know what part of Vancouver Julia lives in, but as someone who has to pass by dozens of homeless people a day to get to work, I’m quite happy knowing that Gregor recognizes that homelessness is the most important issue in the city.

    As for the debate tonight, it was more of the same. Pretty even, with perhaps the only big slipup being when Ladner declared that the first thing he would do upon getting elected was take a vacation – and he wasn’t joking. Both handled the questions fine, but Ladner seemed more on the defensive, especially when he had to answer for cutting the child and youth advocate, as well as parking for the disabled.

    Good questions tonight. But what a horrible venue for a debate. Was the inside of the hollow tree not available?

  • rod

    Barry Link was humorous. Irwin Loy spoke softly. Gregor drank Happy Planet. The End.

  • I recorded it, if you want to sit through 58 minutes of a .wav file.


  • Michael Hansen walking out was awesome; Gregor Robertson bored me, yellow card – the the Red card drops, half way through fascist blow hard #2 bored me so much I just walked out sooner and much more quiet then planned. I took the bus and sky train to see that? God, I worked harder then them and it cost more of my income to get on the ballot and they didn’t file yet, what nerve to exclude those of us who did; Me, Hansen, and Jiminez were there.

    Gölök Zoltán Buday

  • Vote for Pedro? Nope

    2 debates down, 10 to go….and after 3 hours of Q & A’s I’m still waiting for Peter to explain why he’s any different from the most unpopular and ineffective Mayor our city has ever had.

    Also, I love the vice-chair of Metro card he keeps playing. The only reason he is vice is because the regional leaders voted against him being the chair.

  • Julia

    yes, I walk past homeless every day and it troubles me. But this is everyone’s problem not just Vancouver’s. Civic governments are very limited in what they can accomplish alone and for that – Peter is right. In some cases leadership and advocacy are as important as dollars. It will not be solved over night and it cannot be solve at neglect of everything that needs to be looked after.

    Civic issues are street level issues – sidewalks, bylaws, zoning, dog pounds, yes – shelters, building permits etc. I found Gregor flying at 30,000 feet and talking like he is runing for Premier.

  • As much as I agree that sidewalks are an important aspect of civic governance, do you want your mayor to focus on them?

    “I am very concerned with uneven sidewalks on south Burrard, the corner of 41st and Granville, most of Commercial Drive, 11th ave. between Fraser and Main, and a few other spots in the city. Additionally, I would like to hire two more dog catchers that would focus mainly on Yaletown parks, those places are out of hand…”

    Sorry, but I’ll take the guy talking about homelessness and sustainability any day.

  • Vancouverism

    Peter has said consistently the difference between him and Sam is he wants to focus less on slogans and spin, and deliver programs with more haste. Voters have not said they didn’t like what the NPA were doing, just that they appeared not be doing it quickly enough.

    If you listen to Gregor’s spin, nothing at all has happened under the NPA watch. This is convenient for him and Vision, but disingenuous at best. Let’s remember that Vision voted for Ecodensity every time.

    Biggest slip up of the night was Gregor’s insistence that the Olympic Village is a “failure” and the NPA erred by reducing the amount of publicly-funded waterfront housing. Also, Gregor asserts that we need to “review” how we spend Vancouver’s Property Endowment Fund. Ladner smartly pointed out that the majority of this fund is held in assets which are not liquid. The rest allows for the city to retain its high credit rating (er, does “credit crunch” mean anything to you?) and also provides $7Million annually to pay for social housing. Without that PEF, Vancouver taxes would increase, or we would have to cut services. Let’s call Gregor’s ideas “fuzzy math”.

    Gregor also bumbled when asked about car-free zones. He didn’t understand the question (think Sarah Palin, here). Yes, he’s a big fan of Car-Free Days, but no he doesn’t have any thoughts about taking cars off of Vancouver streets. It’s called urban planning, look into it sometime.

    Moderator Barry Link even got impatient with Gregor’s vague rhetoric. He stopped him during a response and pressed him to be more specific. Gregor continued on with his circumlocution. You sometimes get the feeling he’s running down the clock before November 15th.

    Probably the most disturbing response from Gregor was his insistence that the city find whatever empty building stock available to put homeless people into before the winter cold sets in. He keeps repeating this like it’s a new idea. Ladner cited a conversation with Vancouver social housing czar Cameron Gray where he was adamant that we don’t just build shelter space for its own sake. Shelters are being closed in Calgary, Toronto and New York. In Vancouver we tried putting homeless into a Gastown hotel with no supervision and they trashed the place.

    Julia is right to question how Gregor has costed his plans (so far Gregor has only described his plans to come up with a plan). If we move all the homeless on our streets to unused buildings, then how do we account for safety, security, drug treatment, mental health care, even washroom facilities & food….the list is endless.

    A final comment about Gregor’s rhetoric. Has anyone noticed that his use of the name “Canada Line” has become a tick? It’s just like Rudy Giuliani mentioning 911 in every speech. Gregor, I have news for you, Canada Line is a good thing, not a pejorative. I can’t wait to ride that puppy.

  • jf

    With all due respect to everyone, the Mayor’s job is both sidewalks and homelessness, sewers and crime. A candidate should be able to speak to all the issues. Of course a candidate will answer questions s/he is asked. Are the moderators asking the questions you want answered?

  • East Van Observer

    I’ll give the presentation win to Ladner for this one but Vision gets the supporter mobilization prize.

    Ladner knows the issues and while he did come across as too much the prudent administrator he did did convey his messages with confidence, even showing a hint of passion at times. Ladner’s “vacation” gaffe sticks out as his low point and Robertson took full advantage by delivering his message on the homelessness crisis. Robertson was a bit shakey at times and dropped the ball on the transportation questions (car-free zones and TransLink funding formulas) by delivering vague answers which really surprised me, given all of the greenies on his team. It is obvious to me that Robertson has been in training but given the lack of detail in his answers to other questions as well (crack room at Insite, financial disclosure, Chinatown) maybe Vision just hasn’t finished their platform yet and coached him to err on the side of bland?

    There were more Vision people present than NPA as evidenced by the audience responses and the size of crowds that gathered around both candidates afterward. I am assuming that very few of the people attending were actual undecided voters.

    I’m looking forward to the next round…

  • Wagamuffin

    If you want a fair assessment, go check out Monte Paulsen’s “Hook” blog today at he Tyee.

  • Wagamuffin

    Sorry that would be The Tyee, of course…

  • Joe just Joe

    I agree with Julia, does anyone else remember council making Vancouver a nuclear free zone, or how about council discussing weapons is space. Of course Council should do what they can for homelessness but that should not be their focus, they should run the city, shape it’s future, and be the voice of the city to the Province and the Feds.

  • Vote for Pedro? Nope

    It’s amazing how anybody actually believes that the NPA’s decision to go for short-term profits by shifting SE False Creek to 80% high-end housing was a good idea. The city is in serious trouble and it was Peter who drove that decision.

    By going for the luxury condos, Ladner and the NPA have exposed the city to far more risk than would have happened under the Vision/Larry Beasley plan. Now we have a sliding market, and the fact that Millenium has only sold 60% of it’s first phase – with more exclusive ones to come in the second phase – means that we’re in for a rough ride. There is strong demand for moderate income housing, but it’s dropping like a stone when it comes to $1.5 million condos.

    Every voter in Vancouver should be concerned with Peter’s responses to this crisis. The first was his pathetic statement that he sent out after every reporter had filed their stories on Monday that he was “distressed” to hear about it. Really? He’s the chair of the finance committee and was in the closed-doors meeting – he knew it was coming. Either he was asleep in the meeting (not uncommon, as many have seen at council) or he just didn’t care.

    Second, his silver-medal winning performance for worst answer (next to his desire to take a vacation in the first week of being elected Mayor, of course) was that he didn’t know what the “doomsday” scenario was. That has been what every story in every paper and tv newscast has been about! That’s what people are concerned about! What is going on in NPA land?

    If he gets elected we’ll be in a whole other kind of doomsday scenario.

  • A Dave

    To quote Vancouverism above:

    “Peter has said consistently the difference between him and Sam is he wants to focus less on slogans and spin, and deliver programs with more haste. Voters have not said they didn’t like what the NPA were doing, just that they appeared not be doing it quickly enough.”

    I think it speaks volumes to contrast this comment with Ladner’s most pressing issue when he takes office: go on vacation.

    OK, it’s either a blatantly irresponsible gaff or lame attempt at humour, but, to quote the Tyee blog transcribing his answer, he continued on by saying:

    “I don’t have anything that’s burning in my mind that we’re absolutely going to jump in there and change the minute I become the mayor,” he continued. Ladner repeated his stump speech goals, then concluded, “I just can’t say specific things that are going to be abruptly changed.”

    Apparently, there isn’t a homeless epidemic in Vancouver that needs immediate attention. At least not in Ladner’s neighbourhood. Personally, I have 5 or 6 homeless people sleeping in alcoves and doorways on my block every night. Wake up, Peter! You’re napping again.

    Would it be too much of a stretch to call Ladner completely out of touch with the incredibly pressing and heartbreaking issues facing Vancouver right now? He seems to be telling us quite clearly, without any spin or slogans (or irony, for that matter), that he’s going to continue doing as little as possible. For him to also try to take credit for 3,800 new units of social housing (most of which was the Province’s and previous Vision council’s doing) is the worst kind of spin doctoring imaginable.

  • Vancouverism

    Now the Visionistas wants to take credit for the 3800 units of social and supportive housing the NPA brought in under its watch in partnership with the province? Nice.

    Gregor keeps promoting his use of “friction” or “edge” with senior levels of government to accomplish what the NPA did using smart deal-making and negotiation. Vision can spin it all they want, but the 3800 homes didn’t just pop into Rich Coleman’s head one day, the NPA lobbied to make it happen and got the results.

    As Peter reminded us, there is already a Homelessness Action Plan in the works, it’s a ten-year plan, just like the one Gregor talks about, and it’s already creating results like the opening of mental health care beds in Burnaby, and the 3800 living spaces. A dozen Vancouver sites have been donated by this City Council for the development of new social and supportive housing.

    Homelessness stats from 2006-2008 pale in comparison to the increase in homeless populations under the COPE/Vision council from 2003-2005. Do we really want this to happen again? If so, put an X beside Vision.

    As for the argument that creating MORE waterfront taxpayer-funded housing in False Creek was a better idea than creating market housing and spending less of the Property Endowment Fund, Peter and the NPA are going to be seen as geniuses by the public for that decision, no matter how much the left spins it.

  • Julia

    what I want to know is how Gregor intends to pay for all his big plans. Obviously, he has not been properly briefed on the PED so what is his next option? taxes is all he has left. The current prediction is a 10% increase in this years budget to satisfy the 2007 labour settlement. I want to know what these two intend to cut inorder to deliver a balanced budget. All I see from Gregor is that 10% going to be 20% after he adds all his wish list.

  • A Dave

    With all due respect, Vancouverism, get your facts straight. The NPA had nothing to do with the province’s purchases of SRO buildings. As the Tyee reported (see Monte Paulson’s archived articles like “Poverty Hotel Buying Binge”), Coleman bought them off speculators like Robert Wilson, who made over 10 million dollars in just over a year flipping 6 buildings to the province (out of 14 bought on the DTES, hmmnn….). Coleman has publicly expressed his frustration with the NPA dragging its heels a number of times, saying basically that they had a whack of money ready to invest but the city took forever securing sites, forcing him to eventually make these sweetie pie deals to private speculators. The delays were, of course, exacerbated by “Sam’s Strike” at City Hall. That’s 10 million dollars of provincial taxpayers’ money — yours and mine — that could have bought 2 or 3 more buildings if the city had been on the ball. If you extrapolate over 28 buildings, the NPA foot-dragging ended up costing us a heck of a lot of extra money. I’m sure Mr. Wilson is happy, though, given the state of the market now.

    Here’s a quote from the Tyee story, “Dobbell Homeless Plan Stalled”:
    When asked about the Vancouver situation, Coleman sounded frustrated.
    “You know, I sat them down and I said to the city, quite clearly, ‘Come to the table with some land and we’ll work with you.’ I told the city, ‘I will find more capital.’
    “You’ve got to start moving,” Coleman warned. “If you don’t start moving, the money has to go somewhere else. It can’t sit on my books and not get used.”

    I also have no idea where you come up with the stat that homelessness increased more during Campbell’s term than Sullivan’s? Every report I’ve seen contradicts this assessment, as does my own personal experience living in the DTES: not only does there appear to be way more people sleeping on the streets now compared to 4 years ago, the level of desperation has increased palpably.

  • Vote for Pedro? Nope

    Interesting how the public supposedly supports the NPA policies. If that would be the case, then why is it that all of the “Peter Ladner for Mayor” signs are in non-NPA colours and don’t mention the NPA?

    Could it be that the party brand is so in the tank that Ladner has to separate himself from it as much as possible? Me thinks yes.

  • Wagamuffin

    Jeez, Vote For Pedro…his colours?? I have seen his signs and paraphelia at the debates. They are blue, red and white. I thought those were the NPA colours.

    That’s all ya got!??