Vancouver City Hollyhock

Post by Mike Klassen in

9 comments

Lara Honrado (left) on her Obama tour
New Mayor's office staffer Lara Honrado (left) working for the US Dems campaign in '08

Vancouver City Hall is in the most difficult economic patch it's seen in quite some time, and one of the sacrifices staff have got used to is the hiring freeze on any new head count that began a year ago. It feels like a spring thaw has set in with news of a new hire for the Vancouver Mayor's office. And like recent hires, we're seeing clear connections to the Hollyhock retreat on Gregor Robertson's native Cortes Island. Which is why many are now nicknaming 12th & Cambie "Vancouver City Hollyhock" (or is it "Hallyhock"?)

The Mayor's office has found additional budget to expand up to four political staff (plus three admins for a total of seven), bringing on the help of social enterpriser Lara Hondrado. Like recent hires Ryan Merkley & Sadhu Johnston, whose Vancouver connections can be traced back to the island retreat devoted to spiritual healing and fostering networks in pursuit of social change, Lara Honrado is herself linked to Hollyhock.

Both Honrado and Merkley attended Hollyhock's annual social change institute retreats, which judging by the photos involve a little bacchanalia. Hondrado consults as Mango Communications, a company where she worked with Alden Habacon, the CBC's current Manager of Diversity Initiatives. She and Alden are featured on this little 2-post blog about door-knocking for the Obama campaign.

Honrado co-founded a registered charity called Kina Social Ventures, whose slogan is "why? a better world." Their website is vague about accomplishments, but their donation page sums up Kina's work as:

...dedicated to helping women and children bring about positive change in their lives and communities. We strive to improve access to education and basic health care and support sustainable community development projects.

The Hollyhock retreat is also partially fueled by charitable donations, which are collected by the NextWave Foundation, another registered charity managed out of Renewal Partners. Renewal Partners, and CEO Joel Solomon, are among the single largest donors to both Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver. Hollyhock, and their social venture institute conferences are described as a "collaboration" by Renewal.

CEO Solomon once waxed about "growing Hollyhock" in a blog post:

...a cornucopia of opportunities for deep explorations of consciousness and social change, combine to place Hollyhock in an important niche outside the conventional educational institution model, with elements of emotional, intellectual, creative, physical and spiritual dimensions interwoven throughout.

Our programming and content opportunities are vast. As word of mouth about the intangible power living within the term "transformational" spreads and an alumnus like base grows, demand for what Hollyhock offers will begin to reach an inflection point.

Over the coming decades the very notion and tangible practical substance of an organization such as Hollyhock, can serve to inspire, catalyze, and support those working towards an integrated approach to human well being that can help society navigate the immense challenges of contemporary life on earth.

Renewal's website also lists the Hollyhock Foundation, who have set up this YouTube channel to inform the public better about the retreat. Among the speakers featured in this video are Ottawa-based CBC Radio host Adrian Harewood, who describe how Hollyhock allows them to clear their consciousness. Sitting on a yoga mat and shutting off your smart phone might also something to do with this.

With Gregor Robertson, Mike Magee and now Lara Hondrado in the Mayor's office, the so-called social change revolutionaries are clearly using powerful fundraising tools, and vast networks within business and media to run the show in Vancouver.

It's not clear whether Hondrado and Magee are continuing to run their businesses while being employed by the City of Vancouver. Chief of Staff Magee's website currently describe his services as:

...[providing] highly personalized strategic counsel to a range of political, philanthropic, investment and community organizations. His clients include some of the most visionary philanthropic and business leaders across North America. As both a visionary and organizer with a history of making things happen, he is rooted in a lifelong focus on strengthening democracy at both the movement and political levels.

9 Comments

Where is the mainstream media? Why are they asleep on this and so many other issues? I should be reading about this in the Vancouver sun. This whole hollyhock connection is really starting to creep me out.

Well, I wonder if the Mayor's friends realize that the civic mandates are only 3 years, that they dont have "decades" to "inspire" and "catalyze" or otherwise influence political leaders in Vancouver. As a very involved Vancouverite, I am more interested in the "immediate" and "concrete" that my mayor and council are capable of within their mandates; from garbage pickup to homelessness, I want actual projects to happen or at least some progress in maintaining services in all neighbourhoods across this city.

and all of it made possible because one little rich girl, who got rich because grandpa made a lot of money, who has never worked a day at a real job, who lives in her little rich girl bubble, funds all these people to pretend that Peter Pan is real.

And she is also spokesperson of the Vancouver group "Parents for Mandarin" for her two adopted daughters.

She has a Washington State voter registry but worked in the D.C. area for a while.

I wonder about the Linked-In profile saying that Mango Communications has 200 workers!!

Its just Smoke and Mirrors with Hollyhock/Renewal Partners.

Hollyhock created a legacy on Southern Cortes Island "a Polluted Aquifer with a native burial site turned into a giant septic field".

Gregor Robertson is not a Native Of Cortes Island nor is Joel Solomon.

Beware of bogus Charities running out of the Flack center.
Charity Ponsi schemes Are growth industy.

Welcome to Americouver 2010 where Canadians are treated like second class citizens.

You could probably say that Gregor is more Cortes Island than Vancouver.

When they're in the woods doing their retreat thingy-mcdeal, do these people, by any chance, worship giant owls?

for those that are unfamiliar with Holyhock's "morphic resonance:"
it means: "hugging trees to death."

This not-for-profit outfit blocks legal beach access to non-tree huggers.

Hollyhock sits on the old Cold Mountain institute property on Cortes Island.

Cold Mountain ran Gestalt therapy sessions that included screaming at a mature forest tree where participants vented their frustrations.
Well the tree died... Scared to death.
Hollyhocks surrounding Forest is slowly dying from forest disease missmanagement and a lack of Leadership or vision for a healthy future.

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