NPA President Ned Pottinger & Gavin Dew
Thanks to the ice and slush that has blanketed Vancouver, people should be commended for just leaving the house (we Vancouverites are wimps in this kind of weather). The fact that a couple hundred showed up to cast a ballot at the snowbound Hellenic Centre on Artubus showed there is still a feint pulse left in the NPA.
Frances weighs in that this was a victory for Sam's forces. I'm sure the ex-Mayor will be amused and thrilled that he still is perceived as a party puppetmaster. Yes, we can now reveal that hidden in the base of his wheelchair is a powerful mind-control radar beacon that compels people to vote his carefully crafted slate...
Must. Fight. That. Damn. Chair. Must Exercise. Free Willll. Aaaaaagh!
A word about slates. There were apparently two slates. Perhaps it would have been better if there were none. Kirk Miller, who was unfortunately not voted in last night, drew people's attention to the slate sheets in the room. Hardly the Ladner/Sullivan divide Bula describes, the slates seemed to be more a semi-coordinated effort to get people on the board who will like to work together, and bring skills or access to networks the organization currently lacks.
As offensive as slate voting seems to political newbies, they always exist, but they're not always photocopied and left on chairs when you walk into the room. Every NPA AGM I've attended since 2002 has had voting slates, and last night was no exception. I was unaware before going into the room that slates were being created, but I can confidently assume that the former mayoral candidates Sullivan and Ladner had no direct involvement with them.
The group NPA's members elected yesterday I have to say is an impressive, and the group are reflective of today's Vancouver. Most of the new directors are under 40, successful and come from diverse backgrounds and communities around town. Manjot Hallen is a lawyer, clearly bright, who brings strong Federal Liberal connections. Michael Davis is a public relations expert with tons of political and campaign experience. Deborah Spafford is a savvy professional who worked closely with Suzanne Anton this fall. Gavin Dew is one of the brightest young social media marketing guys in the city, who has a fire in his belly for politics. Doug Leung brings back perhaps the most political campaign experience of any board member, and much-needed institutional memory. Naresh Shukla is one of the nicest people I've ever met, and his strong ties to the South Asian community are a great asset. Chilwin Cheng, another lawyer, is a former director with Volunteer Vancouver as well as being an East sider with a reputation as a hard worker. Jeevan Khunkhun, a businessperson who served this year on the NPA board, is smart and brings good connections. Sean Bickerton won everyone over during the 2008 campaign as a council candidate, and he will bring great energy to the board.
As the new (voting) YNPA Chair Melissa De Genova brings formidable campaign and organizational experience, plus access to her father Al's A-list Rolodex gained as a Park Board Commissioner. YNPA Vice-Chair Meredith Ladner was the biggest surprise to me last night as she is the person who has grown up the most over the three successive election campaigns she's helped her father on. As her dad Peter said to me, "getting involved with the NPA was her idea." I suspect these gals of the YNPA will have considerable influence on the future of this organization.
It was a disappointment that other qualified people who put their names forward were not elected. Another five director positions will be opening up in the Spring, and even more ways to become involved will likely take shape as the organization looks for ways to renew.
It's too soon to say what the future holds for the NPA, but yesterday's meeting should give supporters some hope for what's next.