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Former Vancouver Sun managing editor Kirk LaPointe launches campaign for mayor

July 14th, 2014 · 74 Comments

Busy day for me and all city-hall journos today as NPA and Kirk LaPointe finally went public, after six weeks of rumours, that he is definitely, really, no kidding, the mayoralty candidate. A group of those of us who cover city hall regularly got invited to meet him this morning at Kafka’s on Main (not quite the Hipster Aquarium, aka Gene’s, but close) and then there was an announcement on the Jack Poole Plaza at 10.

It was a festival of quotes for us, with Kirk talking about all kinds of things, so everyone went for something a little different. The Georgia Straight’s was about his promise to resign if his team engages in personal attacks. Jeff Lee at the Vancouver Sun said LaPointe wants to remake the city to be friendlier.Mike Howell at the Vancouver Courier, who was the first to ID LaPointe as an NPA candidate two months ago, focused on his promise to be more open and accountable.  That was my focus as well, with references to the many talking points he had that have been memes among critics of Vision the last couple of years.

There will be more about LaPointe, as everyone in the media world tries to figure out who this guy will be as a politician, even though many of us know him well as a journalist. In the meantime, a few of my random points/impressions:

– The strongest message he’s pushing is that of Vision Vancouver as secret, manipulative, not listening, squelching access to info and staff, limiting budget information and more.

– If I had to do a word cloud of everything he said over the approximate hour of time we had today, I’d put “authentic,” “open,” “transparent,” “secret,” “progressive,” “coziness (with developers),” “listening.”

– He’s staying away from details on a number of issues that reporters asked about, i.e. What rules will you put in place at the NPA for campaign financing, how will you handle development differently, what changes would you bring to current bike-lane efforts, etc etc. More specifics to come on everything.

– He says it’s a shame that Vision has created such a war between cyclists and drivers, when there are lots of ways to share the roads/sidewalks. Details? See above.

– He clearly loves talking to reporters and, in fact, had to be practically dragged away from the coffee meeting and the later scrum by his handlers

– He made a special point of mentioning, unsolicited, his tough childhood. He was brought up by a single mother, still doesn’t know who his father was, went hungry when he was a kid, felt lucky that his mother chose to keep him with her when she gave up another child.

– Kept saying he’s not going to let Vision Vancouver define him, he’s going to define himself. (Vision Vancouver immediately issues a news release saying he clearly agrees with every dastardly thing the NPA has ever supported and that’s why he agreed to run. And he wants more tankers in our precious waters. I think I translated that right.)

– “The candidate in the best mood tends to win.”

– He says that, persistent Vision-sponsored rumours to the contrary, Ken Boessenkool (formerly with Christy Clark’s campaign and office) is not on the campaign.

– He uses a lot of big words, bigger words than we’re used to, bigger even I’ve ever heard Councillor Geoff Meggs use.

Exhibit 1: “The mayor is exerting a kind of extra-territoriality about his jurisdiction.” (He’s messing in things that are outside the boundaries of Vancouver.)

Exhibit 2: “I’m not a big believer that the ideological pinnings are germane.” (I’m a social liberal and a fiscal conservative and the NPA is not just a Conservative machine.)





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