Mayor Robertson negotiates homeless plan via press release

Post by Mike Klassen in

9 comments

robertson-release
Another press release from Mayor Robertson is filed in Rich Coleman's office

With his back against the wall from a problem of his own making, Gregor Robertson made a 15-minute speech this afternoon at City Hall that we'll sum up as follows:

"Province, send us money to save our bacon."

Not a whole lot of nuance to this. Gregor's Grief around the HEAT Shelters he and Councillor Jang schemed up without public consultation is reaching the boiling point with neighbours upset and political commentators wondering aloud how this mess will be fixed by Hizonner.

Negotiating via press release any experienced politico can tell you is a dead end. The more you goad senior levels of government, the less responsive they become. What makes it so much worse for Mayor Robertson is that he and his Vision Vancouver party campaigned AGAINST the people they're now asking for help.

Gregor Robertson shilled for Jenn McGinn against now Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid. Vision Vancouver released their lists to NDP operatives in support of their candidates in Vancouver. And by stubbornly sticking to their "no barrier" philosophy in the shelters they've created a scar on a community that refuses to heal.

Would the Province want to own the Mayor's HEAT problem? Not a chance. So what does Gregor need to do now?

First, stop making public pronouncements about how this is the Province's responsibility. It's your problem, so own it.

Stop sending out press releases, stop asking Allen Garr to write your spin for you, and stop hiding from the problem and call a townhall forum. Your neighbours in Douglas Park would be picketing your house if you brought a no-barrier shelter to that neighbourhood, so respect that you've created more grief for residents in False Creek and you need to deal with that.

And end your threats about how much of a problem homelessness will be during the 2010 Games. Before Gregor Robertson was elected as Mayor, a lot of hard work was already underway to address Vancouver's homelessness challenges. Trying to pretend that you're the only one dealing with this matter is simply false, and does nothing to improve the situation.

In his address to the media today, Mayor Robertson failed to do the one thing that would have improved the situation. He should have apologized to the False Creek neighbourhood. And because of that, we don't expect that relations between him and that community are going to get a whole lot better before 2010, or beyond.

9 Comments

Yes Mike - so much hard work was done by former Mayor Sam Sullivan and the former NPA majority council that Sullivan was gunned down by NPA members in favour of Peter Ladner as mayoral candidate and the NPA was all but wiped out in an election where the top issue was the city's failure to deal with homelessness!

As you and Daniel should well know, the City does not have the funding or responsibility for housing the homeless - it's a provincial responsibility.

As to Robertson "shilling" for Jenn McGinn in Vancouver-Fairview for the BC election, an endorsement of her only the day of the vote hardly qualifies. You might remember that many Vision supporters were very unhappy with his enthusiastic introduction of BC Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell just before the election - since your reported on it ad nauseum at City Caucus!

But don't let any of these facts get in your way - it's what we've come to expect from this website! And glad to see you haven't forgotten to bash the media as well once again.

So much to remember, so much to forget!

Bill,

It looks like Mike might have touched a nerve here. As you once said to us, just take a pill and relax...it will all be okay.

I must say I do find it a bit ironic that MLA Gregor Robertson wanted to leave Victoria and become Vancouver's mayor to solve homelessness. And now that he's become the Mayor, he's sending news releases back to Victoria asking them to solve homelessness.

If Gregor were truly interested in solving homelessness, wouldn't it have made sense for him to have finished his term as MLA and stayed in Victoria where the resources are to deal with this problem?

Even you admit in your comment that Vancouver doesn't have the power or resources to deal with the homeless problem. Obviously Gregor didn't know that when he took on the job last December.

Is the Beekeeper "media," or Quinlan's vessel? Someone should clear that up.

Return fire! Excellent!

If I follow your logic Daniel, perhaps Gregor should have joined the BC Liberal caucus as well!

There were a host of reasons Gregor left provincial politics and ran for mayor - homelessness was his number one priority in the campaign - as it was, briefly, for Peter Ladner.

The mayor, as you would know, needs to provide leadership and encourage provincial involvement because Vancouver doesn't have the funds needed for social and shelter housing.

And as a former Vancouver MLA I'm sure Gregor knew that when he made his decision.

I think Gregor has done a good job of that, though much more remains to be done.

As to Mike's comment, I think Allan Garr has far more journalistic experience and credibility than City Caucus has yet earned or demonstrated - taking cheap shots won't get you there either.

Bill Tieleman complaining about one-sided over-slanted editorials???!!!!! You can't make this stuff up!!!!!

That's almost as funny as when Bill Tieleman is referred to as a "journalist"!!

LOL. HA HA HA. ROTFL + other cheesy acronyms.

Bill, you slamming Mike Klassen's partisan tone is like Gary Glitter calling Michael Jackson 'creepy'!

Oh man.....I will have no trouble making it to the weekend now.

The facts are quite clear. Sam Sullivan's NPA worked tirelessly in partnership with the province to create 3200 new units of socially assisted housing which are now already under construction or in final planning stages.

In fact, it's those same 3200 units that the Mayor now touts as the answer to the problem, after ridiculing that accomplishment during the election campaign.

This Mayor won office by claiming to have a detailed comprehensive plan to end homelessness. Today, though, we learn that it's not so much a plan as a wish - they want to build more shelters to sweep the homeless off the street during the Olympics, and then wait until the 3200 units of NPA social housing already underway are built.

But truly ending homelessness requires a comprehensive solution to such a complex intractable problem. Yet what do we hear from our good Mayor? Nothing about treatment. Nothing about public health services. Nothing about mental health care, job training, education, the horrendous costs associated with fetal alcohol syndrome and alcoholism ...

The campaigning is long over and it's time to govern for the whole city, for all residents.

And so I ask again, Mr. Mayor. What is your plan?

Amen Sean Bickerton - yes this does require and deserve an actual plan. I fear I've seen no evidence the Mayor is capable of providing it and his methods, all so well-covered here at CityCaucus, are nothing short of devious and delusional.

Furthermore, when the Mayor uses his Press Conference to speak on behalf of us residents, the so-called "overwhelming majority of residents I've heard from...", whom he continues to REFUSE to meet with (it's now past 6 mos), well, it's simply another lie. And sneaking into my neighbourhood at midnight Sat. w/o any notice doesn't count Gregor - we confronted you as you tried to leave.

All of us - the homeless, the homeowners, the drugged and the disturbed, we ALL deserve far better than this. Thank you Mike and Daniel.

To: Sir Greggie & his myopic comrades in silly hall. You are a bunch of leftist idiots who choose not to see the difference between the "homeless" and the "self-inflicted drug addicts" who choose to hold on to their addictions in order to live on their own "happy planet" each and every rose-coloured day. You are not offering a sound solution to this problem, because you're too busy grand-standing until the Big Show in 2010.


Kudos to Lorne Mayencourt for having the "intelligent" vision to establish the Baldy Hughes Community addictions treatment centre in Prince George. At least there is someone who is passionate enough to "work" towards a solution without a hidden political agenda.

Great article Mike. I guess Bill doesn't like it because it's too much the truth and he knows it.
Gregor's ego is choking blood supply to his brain.

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