Vision board appointments: All in the Family

Post by Mike Klassen in

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All in the Family
It's not a game, it's reality television and Vision's relatives are the winners!

Want to apply for one of the many Vancouver advisory board positions that are currently open? You might want to double-check your genealogy. If you're related to someone with Vision Vancouver, your chances are much improved!

The only losing Vision Vancouver city council candidate was Kashmir Dhaliwal, and you can thank Suzanne Anton, Ellen Woodsworth & Geoff Meggs for bumping him from a spot on Council. Mr. Dhaliwal may have lost his bid for council, but that hasn't prevented extended family members to stay involved with Vision. Kashmir's son Vardip is a member of the Vision Vancouver executive.

No one really cares how Vision makes its appointments internally, and apparently Vision seems to agree. The party held its AGM last March, yet has posted no minutes, no candidates for their board, and no meeting agenda. God forbid the thousands of members rounded up during 2008's nomination drives actually know what's happening with their party.

But when it comes to City business, Vision Vancouver deserves to be a little more transparent about who they're putting on advisory boards. Especially a group like Vancouver's Board of Variance, which has had its share of controversy in recent years.

The Board of Variance is "an appeal body that hears and then decides upon appeals regarding zoning, development permit, signage, tree by-law, and parking matters." There can be large financial implications to the decisions this board makes, so it is vital that it conducts itself in a principled and non-partisan manner.

We've known all along that a past Vision Vancouver board member, developer Tony Tang, holds the position of chair on the Board of Variance. But he's not a blood relative of any of the Vision team as far as we know. However, two of his other colleagues on the Board of Variance are directly related to others on Team Vision.

Arminder Randhawa and Babbu Sohal are not only members of Vancouver's Board of Variance, but you might spot them at birthday parties and family reunions with their Vision kin. Randhawa is the wife of Park Commissioner Aaron Jasper. Sohal, according to our source, is the brother-in-law of Vision Vancouver council candidate Dhaliwal.

We have immense respect for the City of Vancouver Clerk's office, who shortlist the board appointees on behalf of city council. They're probably disappointed to learn that Vision is filling board positions with family members, but in the end the selections are made by city council. The councillors in charge of choosing members of this Board of Variance were Ellen Woodsworth, Kerry Jang and George Chow.

Does appointing a family member of one of your caucus or someone you ran for office beside to a City advisory board pass the smell test? We'll let our readers decide if it does.

As long as Vision continues to fail in their promise of openness and transparency, we'll continue to let the public know information they might otherwise not get.

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