Where's the Mayor?

Post by Mike Klassen in


"Let me know when the media have left!" Gregor hiding again

Summer 2010 was supposed to be the season we would all bask in the post-Olympics glow. Besides busting out his tuba on Cortes Island during two weeks in early August, Mayor Gregor Robertson has had a summer to forget. Things got off on the wrong foot when he flipped off community representatives as effing NPA hacks, and nearly got creamed by a bus.

As soon as he's back from vacation he's in the soup again, thanks to a fight picked with his city manager over real estate on the third floor of city hall. Robertson wants more room for his ambitious plans to expand the political operations of his office, and will soon occupy the office once belonging to deputy city manager James Ridge.

Media who've wanted to make Gregor Robertson accountable for his decision have been told that he's "unavailable" or away this week. They can't believe that his chief of staff Mike Magee might be hiding him away, even though that practice has been documented by reporter Frances Bula in her Vancouver magazine feature.

The problem Robertson faces is one of his own making. He's signed off on the wrong person as his director of communications. Kevin Quinlan certainly earns his stripes as a faithful Vision Vancouver pitbull, but we're hearing that media are tired of him continually trying to spin them. Once supportive publications such as The Province newspaper regularly use their op-ed page to whip the Mayor, as they did today.

These attacks show no sign of relenting, and we're hearing that the biggest stink bombs facing Robertson are set to go off after council returns from their (extended) summer break. Robertson is hopping on a plane September 4th and heading to China. Council recessed in the third week of July and will not sit again until September 21st (thanks to Gregor's schedule) – nearly two full months off!

Meanwhile the scamps in our research department at CityCaucus Tower are busily digging for gold. Not that finding anything at Vancouver city hall is any easier under Gregor Robertson's "open and transparent" administration. For example, until Vision Vancouver took power it was a practice of city council to publish the City's budget book on the vancouver.ca website.

But guess what, folks? That stopped in 2008! After much effort at searching and a half-dozen calls to City staff we've turned up absolutely nothing. City spokesperson Wendy Stewart simply pointed us to the 2010 budget estimates doc from last November and the 2010 budget doc which is eight pages long for a billion dollar budget! One staffer told me, "oh, we don't post [the budget book] publicly anymore," and told me that another staffer would call to explain why. So far no response.

So just like Gregor Robertson hides under his desk whenever there's a little scrutiny of his administration, even the City of Vancouver is no longer keeping the books open for the public to see. Want to know how much our city is spending and on what, or want to know how much those budgets have changed year over year? Well, that's pretty hard to do when the City deliberately hides the numbers. There is no data with any kind of detail available for either 2009 or 2010 (a budget which was approved three months early due to the Olympics).

Now that's really open and transparent, eh?

To our readers we present this challenge: If you are able to find us the budget books detailed budgets for 2009 and 2010 similar to how they were presented up until 2008, and send us that info before noon tomorrow (August 25th), we'll provide a FREE NPA Hacks t-shirt to the first person who emails us at CityCaucus@gmail.com.

Happy hunting!

- post by Mike


Oh Lord.....LOL

Thank you for this - It is now part of the collection on my wall of Silly Hall Shame!

I needed this laugh!!!

I will never forget what one commenter once posted here, which always rings apropos:

"I will trade Gregor Robertson, Sam Sullivan, Peter Ladner plus two draft picks for one Dianne Watts."

Dianne Watts is always happily quoted in the media - never shies away.

OTOH, if Gregor wants to keep his job he better get out there and meet with the media. Never, ever seen a politician remain hidden from the media like this guy.

BTW, as the captioned pic suggests - Where's Waldo?

Mike you have simply outdone yourself. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one has be valued at one million. The fact the mayor has been in hiding ever since "office-gate" broke in the media is simply disgusting.

He should fire his communications staff now and start fresh. Clearly they are not getting the message out and shoving him under another desk (albeit in a new office) is not going to help his abysmal ratings. I'm not even sure new communications staff would do the trick. This guy might be beyond repair at this point.

"Dianne Watts is always happily quoted in the media - never shies away."

Interestingly, a Google search for:

"Mayor Watts unavailable for comment"

returns five relevant hits on the first page of results. All five news stories were published in 2010.

By comparison, "Mayor Robertson unavailable for comment" also returns five hits for the same time period, with two of them being links to Citycaucus.

No doubt additional variations on the search terms could dredge up additional examples for both individuals, and of course there is significantly more coverage of Robertson and Vancouver politics in general as compared to Surrey, so I'm not sure the original supposition would hold up to a more rigorous examination.

Just scandalous. The horror show continues.

"I'm not sure the original supposition would hold up to a more rigorous examination"

What a load of flatulent bunk. Note that we're not talking about bike lanes here today, Keam.

Facts... aren't farts.

oooooh! Chris! Someone said bike lanes!!!!! Better start tweeting the self-contained-methane-powered-2-wheel-cavalry as per your contract stipulations!

Watts had an excuse. Two months downtime from her car accident. Gregor's disappearing act is more deliberate. Just ask any media (except Frances) how available Bubble Boy is. Even Garr trashed him on this.

Somehow Chris... I don't think you can deflect from the subject, for your bike riding, hero today.
The topic is "Where is the Mayor", but good try. Let the Mayor dig himself out, I for one am curious to hear the spin...

That's a good point Mary. But, the links that showed up in my search weren't during her convalescence.

I just didn't think the original poster's premise would hold up to examination. Seems like that's the case.


I'm speaking directly to the issue. My point is made and I'm done.



OK thanks for the fact-checking Chris.
But many of us agree with the basic point that some mayors are "out there" taking responsibility for their decisions, and some are not. I do not see Mayor Robertson regularly taking responsibility or explaining the reasoning for his team's decisions. More often I see an "underling" in the media taking the hits, and the Mayor only in evidence for a "feel good" photo-op.

Sam Sullivan, Larry Campbell and Philip Owen were never afraid of speaking to the media. Even when things got tough. They also weren't run by their staff like Robertson. They each had their quirks, but avoiding media questions wasn't one of them. This mayor is clearly afraid to face the music. Certainly not the sign of a visionary leader.

Chris Keam said: "I just didn't think the original poster's premise would hold up to examination. Seems like that's the case."


Just Googled up and went through all the news stories since July 31.

Watts was directly quoted "12" times. Robertson was directly quoted "4" times.

We are not talking about news "references" to these individuals either.

I rest my case.


As the article notes, Robertson has been out of town for a while. I think you need a bigger sample than three weeks to get a sense of what's what. You may well be right in your assessment, but you haven't really proven it by choosing to use a period of time when he hasn't been around for your representative sample.



Chris, not even the most ardent Vision supporter would walk the plank that you just have. Allen Garr, probably the most persistently supportive columnist of Vision Vancouver in print, won't even suggest that Robertson is willing to talk to the media. For god's sake, even his chief of staff admits openly in an interview that he boxes Gregor out from media unless it's the most controlled circumstance.

You might not remember how Ronald Reagan used to wave while getting off the helicopter at the White House, cupping his ear to pretend he couldn't hear reporters' questions. That's a perfect example of how Mr. Gregor Robertson operates. Hear. No. Evil.

Using the Google search metric is the stuff of lazy reporting. For example, I googled Chris Keams goofy http://bit.ly/a2zYWf and got thirty-two thousand results. Does that mean you're more "goofy" than say Richard Campbell? Possibly, as that search only turned up just under 31,000 results http://bit.ly/an4H9y

I guess I've made my point, and rest my case.

The Mayor's disappearing act is well known by now but, that doesn't let him off the hook. It seems Ms. Ballem & Mr. Magee have essentially abandoned ship here too. If in fact this was a fait de complete by the previous Council, why are they being so quiet about it? There were several Visionistas on that Council. They know what was done by who & why. Still, there is silence. Voters require an answer.

This disappearing public accounts are an even more troubling matter. Vision didn't have $260,000 to run the Bloedel this year but they somehow found that exact same sum to move the Mayor & his politbureau down the hall. Whas hoppnin mon?

I would like to start a petition asking the Provincial Government to send an 'intervenor' of some sort to take control of the City's accounting procedures until the next election. If we can get +50% of those who voted in the last election on-side the Government would have a mandate to see that the City's finances are being properly accounted for & managed.

It would also send the message that Vancouver voters have lost confidence in the is Council.

Oh, good grief, Chris...

When Robertson IS quoted, who the hell can understand what he's saying, anyways??

This is pretty funny. My comments have nothing to do with Allen Garr's columns, or barracking for Vision Vancouver, and only tangentially include Robertson.

The poster who calls himself Todd made a blanket statement about Mayor Watts that was shown to be inaccurate with about five minutes of rudimentary Google research. Really, that's about the end of it from my perspective, but since he chose a small, unrepresentative counter-sample in an attempt to defend his original statement, I pointed it out.

Again, rather humorous to read the misrepresentations of my remarks and erroneous, unfounded assumptions about my motives.

You really don't get it...we aren't interested, we are looking for the Mayor.


Of those '5 articles' that came up for Diane Watts - 2 were duplicates of the same story, just re-prints from another medium.

Hi Max:

Two of the mentions were also from CityCaucus re: Robertson... so I feel the observation remains reasonably valid. Again, my posts were simply to put paid to Todd's assertion that Watts 'always' talks to the media, and 'never' turns down interview requests. It took mere seconds to show that statement is inaccurate.

It would be great if politicians always accommodated interview requests and like most people, I would support some kind of mechanism for ensuring they did respond in a timely fashion to relevant questions from genuine media outlets, but the reality is that 'unavailable for comment' is endemic at all levels of gov't.

Unfortunately, blogs and other publications that are one-sided or in constant attack mode only make the situation worse. Nobody submits themselves to a harangue if they can avoid it. The reality is that no political organization would support rules regarding accountability in the media, because the moment they take power, they know they'll need to refuse comment as some point as well.

It's amazing that Keam wails and screams when he's referred to as an idiot, but honestly, this kind of stupidity is just beyond what I've ever expected from one of Vision Vancouver's biggest fluffers.

Dianne Watts, for your information, could have been killed in a car accident that left her with lacerations, a bruised kidney and torn muscles. The only time Watts has refused an interview was during her convalescence, but why let the truth obscure the story you're spinning.

Keam, I have no idea when you're off your meds why you bother.

Pathetic, Chris, really pathetic.

Your boy is in deep trouble and so is his party.

Get ready to say good bye to the failed bike lanes! No more lies about numbers, no more radical green agenda.

You heard it here first.

Chris, Max,

You guys are a real piece of work! :D

Google news only goes back to July 29 for Dianne Watts.

All "12" news pieces relating to her were independent of each other and did not relate to "duplicate" stories and nothing related to "City Caucus."

Give it up already! :D

Happy Planet! Thankfully for only one term. Hack...


You would never make it as an editorial researcher.


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