Vancouver's City Manager and Mayor worked together to develop Olympic Village "storyline"
Our crack research team on the 20th floor of CityCaucus.com's downtown headquarters have been working like mad ever since we received 400 pages worth of emails from the City Clerk's Office last week. The FOI cost us a little over $100 bucks, and thanks again to everyone who contributed to our special FOI fund to help cover the bill. If you are still interested making a donation, you can do so by clicking on the Paypal button on our homepage.
The team has located another interesting email sent from Laurie Best, Director of Communications to Kevin "Vancouver Kid" Quinlan, the Mayor's communications guy. It pertains to the Olympic Village spin machine that was working overtime to ensure the Mayor got the best media coverage possible regarding his "rescue" of the project. If you recall, CityCaucus.com broke the story of two untendered contracts valued at $60,000 that were issued to public relations firm Hoggan and Associates by the City of Vancouver.
In her email, Best refers to an Olympic Village "storyline" being produced to presumably help the Mayor get the right message out to the public on this issue. What's interesting to note is how closely Vancouver's top bureaucrat and its top politician were working together last December. In fact, if the Best email is accurate, they're now actually spending time co-authoring documents.
Here is a copy of Best's email to Quinlan:
From: Best, Laurie
Sent: Sunday, December 21, 2008, 1:14 PM
To: Quinlan, Kevin
Subject: Re: Olympic village pr materials
Hi kevin, sorry I missed this. Assuming PB [Penny Ballem] got the "story line" [sic] ntoes [sic] to the Mayor as planned -- know they worked on them together.
I'm at Hoggan now working onmaterials [sic] and wll [sic] see you at 4pm.
From: Quinlan, Kevin
To: Best, Laurie
Sent: Sun Dec 21 11:43:58 2008
Subject: Olympic village pr materials
Hi laurie, did you ever get word from penny about circulating the comms notes? Gregor wants to see them before 1230 meeting Kevin Quinlan
If anyone was under the misguided impression the spin surrounding Vancouver's Olympic Village project was not being politically orchestrated by the Mayor's Office, think again. Like any good "story," this fairytale is bound to have nice ending.
On a related note...a motion introduced by Councillor Suzanne Anton was passed at Council a while ago requesting that all the in-camera minutes related to the Olympic Village be made available to the public.
Release of all In-Camera Materials and Minutes Regarding Athlete’s Village
(a) the financing and building of the Southeast False Creek community/Athlete’s
Village are of great concern to the citizens of Vancouver;
(b) the in-camera decisions of the Council have been the focus of much discussion
and interest; and
(c) this Council has committed to transparency;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
THAT Council authorize the release of all the In-Camera reports and minutes relating
to the Southeast False Creek community/Athlete’s Village site, subject to the advice
of our legal counsel and except for any reports relating to current financing
We're still trying to determine what is taking so long for them to get posted on the City's website. Stay tuned for more on this...