Oh my. After their deep holiday slumber Vancouver City Hall's communications department is now in full spin mode. Remember the nine day communications blackout where staff took an extended vacation while the Lower Mainland was buffeted by storm after storm? Apparently the City of Vancouver did a great job of during the transportation and city services nightmare now dubbed as Snowmageddon. You can read it in black and white in the Vancouver Sun.
In echoes of his fare evasion dissembling Mayor Gregor Robertson keeps on fine-tuning the extent of his involvement in City Hall's affairs during the white out. Now he's talking up the "daily" calls with snow crews, on his "week long" vacation in Mexico, now dubbed as a "family reunion." I dunno, maybe his middle name is Juan.
A Vancouver Sun letter writer nailed Gregorspeak in this sharp little letter:
He's facing the crisis head-on with clichés. He's "focused" on the problems. He's "concerned" that many seniors can't navigate sidewalks and residents are facing "challenges." He's going to "sit down" with city council and "revisit" these "challenges." Most importantly, he's "hopeful" this will bring "real changes" in the vague future.
Some politicians use these words and no one blinks. Whereas, when they fall out of Mr. Robertson it feels like Kevin Costner doing Shakespeare. No one buys it.
Let's go back to the fundemental failure behind Snowmageddon: the fact that the ship was rudderless for Nine Dark Days during the blackout. The Mayor's office communications director Brent Humphrey is MARRIED to the City of Vancouver Director of Communications Laurie Best. You can't get more cozy than that in terms of relations between staff and political aides. If Gregor was calling home everyday (to the chagrin of his family) don't you think he'd be talking to his own political staff?
Note, as we get ready to post this entry, Gregor is conducting a Friday afternoon media briefing on the Olympic Village. You recall that they used the so-called "Broken Wing" trick when they fired Judy Rogers. The press conference was originally scheduled for early next week, but the bad news around Snowmageddon just keeps building so they bumped it to today.
Another trick the Mayor's political supporters will deploy is to get third party proxies to launch broadsides at their critics. Note today's love letter for CityCaucus.com from Allen Garr. Thank you, Allen, for the plug but you forgot to mention our web address. We'll have our media monitoring clerks on floor 14 of CityCaucus Tower circulate your article to our management staff as part of our media clippings.
The sad outcome of this story is that hard working and honourable City staff are being dragged into this melee, and are being forced to defend the politicians.