Oops...councillor unaware of City's bad financial position

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

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People on the street of Vancouver unimpressed with the travel habits of some Vancouver councillors

On Sunday, CityCaucus.com was first off the mark in helping to shed a bit of light on two separate requests from Vancouver Councillors Tim Stevenson and David 'Carbon' Cadman to have their out-of-country travel expenses covered by taxpayers. Cadman wanted money to fly to Europe while Stevenson asked for funds to cover a trip to California.

We can now report that subsequent to our Sunday post and a bit of heat from the media (see video above), both of the councillors have withdrawn their request for funding. First Stevenson pulled back on Monday, then Cadman did a 180 flip flop today and withdrew his request. He cited the fact Stevenson had pulled his funding request as the reason he no longer felt the need to seek funding himself.

All of this couldn't have come at a worse time for Vision who were busily convincing the media today that they played no part in the decision making process regarding the Olympic Village. This despite the fact Vision Councillors Stevenson, Louie, Deal and Chow were at the Boardroom table when all of the critical decisions regarding the Olympic Village financing were made. A minor fact conveniently forgotten by the Mayor and his cohort Geoff Meggs.

As we stated earlier, given all the "sky is falling" talk from the Mayor about the City's finances, you'd think Stevenson and Cadman would have realized the bad optics of asking taxpayers to fund their junkets.

It would appear that Councillor Stevenson (who should realize he is actually in government now), has been somewhat asleep at the switch when it comes to the so-called severity of the City's looming financial "crisis". Here is an excerpt from the Vancouver Courier whereby they asked Stevenson to comment on his travel funding request:

"I called in first thing Monday morning," Stevenson said, adding he wished he'd known about the budget shortfall earlier because he wouldn't have submitted the request at all. Stevenson said he'd put the request in "some time ago" but chose to remove it because of the $61.3 million shortfall for 2010 that the city is facing.

Clearly nobody in the Mayor's office is keeping Stevenson, the most senior member of his caucus, in the loop about dropping development permit revenues. Or increased labour costs due to CUPE's collective agreement. Or the fact the City may have to lay off employees due to a budget squeeze.

Really now...does the good councillor want the public/media to believe that he only found out about the City's budget pressures over the weekend? Kudos to CTV's Leah Hendry for her excellent reporting on this issue over the last couple of days.

Both councillors are going to quickly come to realization that every penny they spend from this point forward is going to come under a lot more scrutiny thanks to Mayor Robertson's pronouncements about a pending financial Armageddon. In other words, they can both unpack their bags and expect to collect a lot fewer airline reward points over the next two years.

Check out our new poll on this subject and have your say.

1 Comment

It is good that you are focusing on the city's finances.

With the likes of some well known financial experts like Jim Green and Geoff Meggs assisting with the city's olympic obligation, the athlete's village, property owners should sleep well with one eye open.

Jim Green announced his support of the 2010 Bid rationalizing it by saying, "we got 300 units from the athletes village", he was referring to social housing. He also stated that he would not wear a lapel pin nor "tap dance" for the bid.

Gee, he may not have tap danced, but he must have shined a lot of shoes to get his position with Millennium, the ones who required the City to bail them out of the village disaster.

And now Meggs just recently announced that there may be no social housing units available on the village site after the Games.

"The cost for the social housing and the overruns on the social housing are much worse than they have been on the market housing."

"We, council, can't agree to remain true to it at any cost,'' Geoff Meggs said in an interview.

It is unfortunate that Lord Larry Campbell didn't take his court jestor Meggs with him when he went to that great chamber in the sky, the Canadian Senate.

When it comes to left right politics in this city one thing is for sure, when the people want change they mean real change, not just a change of power.

Hypocrites the lot of them.

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