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Vision wins council, loses school and parks as voters back them one more time, with some reservations

November 16th, 2014 · 41 Comments

Assuming everyone reading this blog has now memorized these election results, so you can cite them down to the last digit for the most obscure party in all political conversations of the next decade.

I’ll have more to say in the next couple of days about what Vision and the opposition can learn from these results.

Below is copy that I filed to the Globe before the polls closed, as background and colour for the day. Even though I had heard from a Vision insider and Barb Justason that polls showed Robertson winning, as the field split 48-41-9, I remained unsure of what would happen in actual voting. The anger from people I talked to in line-ups was so pervasive that I wondered if Vision’s get-out-the-vote operation would be overwhelmed by the “I’ll get out my own vote because I’m so furious” movement on the other side.

And frankly, Vision campaigners were wondering the same. Even though they knew they had 80,000 supporters and could get them to the polls, there was a possibility they could have been overwhelmed by opposition if turnout rose to 50 or 60 per cent.

Surprises for the night:

– Justason’s poll showed Green Party Pete Fry winning, (though Vision’s pollster Bob Penner said earlier that only Carr had a chance). In the end, he and Cleta Brown did about the same and were way down in the polls. Just seems as though name recognition, name recognition was a crucial factor.

– I’d also heard from various factions that Vision councillor Geoff Meggs was “toast.” He did barely squeak in, but there was never a serious challenge to him from the 11th-place finisher, Ian Robertson.

– Even though there was huge support for Patti Bacchus, not enough for her team on school board (lefties splitting votes between Vision, Green, COPE and PEP, possibly?) A big question re who will be chair now. All depends on how Green Party Janet Fraser votes. Greens might want to show they could work collaboratively with Vision. Or they might want to keep the Vision group and Bacchus out of the limelight.

– In spite of all the controversy over the Grandview-Woodlands tower/plan fiasco, fuelled in the last days by emails circulating from Ned Jacobs quoted an anonymous planner about the Vision agenda and a blog comment from former planner Scot Hein, Vision support in Grandview-Woodlands dominated the vote there.

More to come. Interested in your comments. My 6 p.m. reporting below, raw copy as I filed it to the Globe

Internal polling at Vision Vancouver and an online poll done by Justason Market Intelligence in the final days of the election campaign indicated that Mayor Gregor Robertson would retain his seat, although with a smaller majority.

Both polls showed Vision keeping at least five councillors, while one showed the Green Party winning a second seat besides Adriane Carr’s and the Non-Partisan Association retaining its existing two. Results were too mixed to say where the last seat would go.

It appeared almost certain that Vision councillors Geoff Meggs and Tony Tang would lose their seats, while newcomer Niki Sharma did not appear to stand a chance of winning.

But every political observer and campaigner acknowledged that everything depended on each party’s ability to get out the vote.

Vision Vancouver was seen as a formidable machine, with 1,500 volunteers out on election day, armed with laptops at the polling stations so they could track exactly which of their supporters had voted already or needed to be pushed or pulled to make an appearance.

The party is well known for its strength in maintaining a database of supporters and using razor-sharp strategy to ensure they vote.

Adding to their efforts, a small group of young people spent the day by the Burrard Bridge with signs saying No Tankers No Pipeline, echoing the kind of campaign that was successful in the provincial election when NDPer David Eby defeated Premier Christy Clark in her own riding.

The NPA, on the other hand, was reputed to have a weak GOTV team, even though a campaign worker, Val Rogers, said the party had been overwhelmed with volunteers in the last couple of weeks.

(change this wording slightly depending on what happens).

But many angry voters seemed to need very little prodding to motivate them to cast a ballot. (which eventually trumped Vision’s sophisticated machine?)

In fact, they waited in lines  for sometimes up to an hour because they were so determined to vote out Vision Vancouver.

“We need a change,” Chantal Spicer, who waited 20 minutes at the West End community centre in the morning. “There’s no consultation.”

She was upset about closure of Point Grey Road for a bike and walking road, even though it is more than a dozen kilometres from where she lives.

“When people used to visit me, I would take them there. Now I can’t.”

At Kitsilano, Rich Gill waited an hour to vote.

He said he used to support Vision — “I liked the drive of Gregor” — but he said the mayor seemed to get more and more focused on only a few specific issues, instead of working for the city as a whole.

“This city is under a lot of stress. We don’t have professional jobs here, we don’t have industry, so what are we going to do, just be a pretty city and our children will all be de facto service workers?”

For Lorraine Kotelniski, who also waited an hour, “The Point Grey bike lane was number one for me, and the backroom decisions. The developers seem to have so much control in the city.”

“We’re done with what we’ve got,” said Alissa Parranto, as she prepared for an hour-long wait at the Kitsilano community centre with her son, Connor Thoring, by her side.

Even people who appeared to be supportive of Vision Vancouver were spreading some of their support elsewhere.

Chloe Lesmeister and her partner, Steve Wood, said they voted for Mr. Robertson as mayor but picked among Vision, COPE and Green candidates for council.

“It would be nice to see more of a mix on council,” said Ms. Lesmeister, who voted in Strathcona. She lives in a co-op nearby an said the pace of development has been breakneck, while housing prices seem out of reach.

Another young couple who voted at Norquay elementary, in Vancouver’s southeast, said they voted for COPE because the party seemed to be offering actual housing solutions that the others weren’t.

Felicia Jang said she voted for Vision Vancouver three years ago, when she was 21.

“But I’m older and have different concerns now.”

She and her partner, Brad Paul, said they rent in the area and just don’t see how they’ll ever be able to afford to buy anything.


Categories: 2014 Vancouver Civic Election