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The Bonfire of the Olympics continues: The Raymond Louie chapter

November 14th, 2008 · 11 Comments

Okay, people, this may be a little incoherent because I’ve had a few glasses of wine — it’s all you can do under these conditions.

But, really, aren’t you finding this Olympic-loan, hunt-for-the-leaker saga is all really like a Tom Wolfe novel? We have the mass media in full hyena mode (I’m one of them, so I’m allowed to say that), irresolvable mysteries, people being torn to shreds, cheap politics of the worst kind on all sides.

So the latest.

B.C. Lee is devastated at the news that his own city secretary, Cecelia Smith, has sworn an affadavit essentially saying that he wasn’t telling the truth about the purloined Olympic-loan documents.

Lee says he hasn’t been able to talk to her about it because she won’t answer his calls — which must be quite awkward considering she’s still technically his assistant. (All councillors share an assistant. Cecelia works for Tim Stevenson, David Cadman and Lee.)

But he claims that what she says in her affadavit is not true. He has said that he went to his office just before 7 p.m. on Oct. 16, just before a public hearing started, and found the missing Olympic-loan documents on his desk — the ones that had gone missing two days earlier after an in-camera meeting. (By the way, I thought that the discovery of the original loss had been followed by an email from the city manager’s office five minutes after that meeting, saying a copy had gone missing and asking for its return. But, no, apparently Judy Rogers herself, along with Southeast False Creek project manager Jody Andrews, went around from office to office, asking people to go through their papers to see if they had picked up a copy by accident.)

Based on that time frame, Global, working on an anonymous tip from someone at city hall, named Raymond Louie as the prime suspect because his card got swiped to enter the councillors’ area around 6 p.m. (Of course, that doesn’t account for the fact that others may have been hanging around there all day, along with other staff. The card swipes don’t record when you leave, only when someone enters.)

But Cecelia’s affadavit says Lee called her to his office sometime between 2 and 3:45 and told her that he had just found the documents.

Lee, who sounded pretty upset and almost tearful at this strange ending to his short political career, said that there is no way he could have been in his office at that time because he was at an environment committee meeting — and all you have to do is check the video to see that he is there. That meeting lasted until 4:45. Lee says he then went to have a talk with staffer Wendy Au, then had dinner, then went back to his office and found the documents there. At that point, he took them strait to deputy city manager James Ridge.

Cecelia’s affadavit says Lee also told her on Oct. 14 that people were concerned about the missing documents. But Lee says Cecelia wouldn’t have been at city hall by the time the in-camera meeting was finished, because it was late by then and staff would have gone home.

“This is a very sad note in my political life,” said Lee.

It’s absolutely baffling as I cannot imagine Cecelia making a false statement.

(If you wish, you can read more about this in other media here and here

I think we can now safely conclude that there is absolutely no way to figure out what the heck is going on here. We have people on all sides swearing up and down to completely contradictory sets of facts. Clearly there is something exceptionally weird going on at city hall — some destructive person or set of people who are pretty intent on leaving 12th and Cambie as a smouldering ruin, for whatever reasons. My guess is someone who figures they have nothing left to lose.

Can’t imagine who that might be.

I think it’s time to ignore all this and go back to the basics. Time to think about who will actually steer Vancouver through the next three years in a good way. I won’t pretend to tell you who that is. We all have different priorities and you’ll all decide what your version of “good” is.

On a lighter and more positive note — didn’t the city look beautiful today? I drove to the CBC at 7 a.m. across the Cambie Bridge and it was stunning. There was a full moon hanging in the air behind the North False Creek towers. The sky was clear and blue after a night of wind. All the glass windows in the downtown reflected the light of the dawn sky. The mountains in the distance were a pale blue.

Sometimes I get bummed out with all the things that aren’t right about Vancouver. But I looked at that scene and thought what a lovely city we have.

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