Allen Garr gives HUGE shout out to CityCaucus.com

Post by Mike Klassen in

72 comments

Folks, we very, very rarely do this, but given that we are the subject of today's entire Allen Garr op/ed, we felt that we'd like to give a BIG plug to the Vancouver Courier's marquee columnist/Vancity board member by sharing his column in its entirety. Now, the only caveat we have is that it sounds almost EXACTLY like Gary Mason's column from two weeks back, along with the same accusations.

We're not sure if Garr had the same fireside chat with the Mayor's chief of staff.

Here is Allen Garr's column from today.

Vision errs by giving bloggers attention

By Allen Garr, Vancouver Courier September 24, 2010

allen-garr The churning in the blogosphere has left the Vancouver mayor's office on its heels. The persistent attacks by bloggers who have filled a vacuum left by an NPA opposition party that is leaderless and adrift have hit their mark.

The stuff they crank out would usually fail to pass muster by conventional journalists' standards. Allegations of wrongdoing are often based on a single unnamed source. Some "confirmed" stories turn out to be totally fictional. And they are usually detailed in a scathing and dismissive tone.

Yet here is what is most amazing: Vision, the best financed and staffed municipal political operation this city has ever seen, has decided to engage--rather than continuing to ignore the shots being taken--giving legitimacy to the bloggers.

Despite two polls that show Vision and Gregor Robertson well ahead of any competition, those around have a case of the jitters. Meanwhile, one of the party's most senior apparatchiks readily admits this has not been a great summer.

That the election campaign is well underway is undeniable. Also a solid fact is the realization that what has become benignly referred to as "social media" is for the first time having a significant impact on the local political agenda.

Little more than 100 years ago, for any group to achieve legitimacy, to be heard and to have influence, it needed access to a good printing press. (Comrade Lenin understood this as he rallied the masses for the Russian revolution.) Now all they need is a cellphone, access to the internet and a blog site to blast out their message.

In the last short decade we have been overwhelmed by the tools to make this happen. It is hard to imagine that Larry Campbell was the first mayor to have a BlackBerry. Sam Sullivan was the first mayor to have his own website for which he paid a political ally named Mike Klassen about $24,000** out of the mayor's fund in untendered contracts.

Mayor Robertson paid about the same and has a few more bells and whistles. You can also tune in to his "tweets," which he sends out far past my bedtime.

All through this period, from Campbell to now, local political blogs began to proliferate. During Sullivan's time there was only one that got any attention. Vancouver Kid was run by Kevin Quinlan who regularly went after the NPA and COPE until he took up residence as Robertson's spinner at city hall.

But with the election of Robertson and the near total collapse of the NPA, the partisan blogging began in earnest.

Klassen joined with Sullivan's former chief of staff Daniel Fontaine to create CityCaucus.com. Their postings seem more like acts of revenge than news stories. And those seldom come close to the take-no-prisoners tone coming from former NPA board member Alex Tsakumis. (There is a Vision guy, Jonathan Ross, who attempts to counter those two with equal petulance but with far less effect.)

In an environment where newsrooms have dwindling resources, CityCaucus.com and Tsakumis get payback on a regular basis. Desperate reporters trolling for stories know they can get documents, a story line and in Klassen's case, he'll even offer a clip. And he doesn't mind at all when he's referred to as "a citizen" or "a parent" rather than a political operator with an axe to grind.

If the reporters bite, and they frequently do-- particularly at Global TV--they get a pat on the back in the next day blog, called brilliant and hard working, or my favourite, "one of the best investigative reporters in British Columbia." Then the bloggers link their work to YouTube, which in turn gives the bloggers more credibility.

Journalists who do their own independent reporting and don't buy the blogging line are denounced as shills for the mayor's office. But the worst sin has been committed by Vision in taking these guys seriously.

- post by Allen Garr

** Once again for the record (as I know serious journalists like to get their facts right unlike us). I was paid $24,000 for 32-months of work, or on average eight to ten hours per month. I also did a number of special projects including internet surveys, and two video productions. The "website" I did for Mayor Sullivan was actually billed at $3500.

My itemized invoices printed in a statement today is over 100 lines long describing the tasks my company did for the work we billed for in over 2 1/2 years.

By comparison FD Element billed $27,500. Their invoice was ONE line long, had NO descriptions of any of the work done for Gregor Robertson, and they billed for THREE MONTHS of work.

As for some of the Vision talking points contained within this column, be sure to read our response to Mason's column (e.g. no media have EVER been referred to as "shills" on CityCaucus.com) which corrected the record on pretty much every accusation.

- post by Mike

72 Comments

So Allen jumped the shark yet again

This isn't news its more rather sad actually.

Even more sad is that Garr actually exhibits some journalistic integrity and skills, als far to seldom as he ages

More's the pity
Once was time when he was fun to read but it seems his expiry date has long since past, even before his favourite bee keeping, community garden friends took power.

This begs a couple of questions. Firstly has Garr not committed the very cardinal sin he chastises Vision of doing?

He's just given you a ton of great press and spelled your website name correctly. On the other hand, it could just be that he is smacking his Vision pals for their stupidity in engaging bloggers, thus he does a big promo of your blog. Who knows.

Secondly, I think this post is giving way too much profile to a "has been" civic columnist who is only a few months away from retirement :-). CC boys, just ignore him and he will eventually go away. Time is on your side. Writing about him on your blog only serves to give him some credibility in the blogosphere. Not smart. He may have hoodwinked you guys here ;-)

Garr and Mason are clearly just bitter men who can't cope with the advent of social media and not having ALL information filtered through their lens. Gary/Garr should get with the times otherwise they will justifiably deserve the title of aging dinosaurs.

Comrade Garr such a good little apparatchik . . . take one for the socialist team will probably earn him a life membership at Hollyhock.

When they start this kind of smoke & mirrors, you know they are desperate and your arrows have hit sensitive spots.

Keep firing . . . it is a target rich environment.

Hollyhock Hippies . . . your time is up. We are watching you. Closely.

Actually, Gary Mason showed up on Alex Tsakumis's blog the other day. It looked like a very respectful dialogue, to me.

Congrats, Mike. It's absolutely legit that if you or any blogger (NOT a pejorative, btw) have the "goods" from sources or the many people who feel disenfranchised in this city and can work with main stream media, more power to you. The electorate has a right to know.

Looks like you guys are bringing up issues that are really getting under Vision's skin.

Bloggers, keep blogging!!!

Jim, I agree that by profiling us more we do get a lift. However, I disagree that Garr or Mason are a spent force in covering issues. Both have remarkable track records. Garr has set City Hall on its ear more times than anyone. But while they dismiss us for our methods, we're getting the stories they should. I do believe Garr has pulled his punches on Vision deliberately (being a Vancity director compromises his ability to speak on a wide range of local issues), he has done some great analysis on a few occasions in the past 20 months.

Garr has blasted us for doing stories based upon a single source. That's a complete red herring, as he probably didn't speak to more than one person (Mike Magee) for this column.

I love Garr's Comrade Lenin and the printing press remark.

Now I know where he got the hat.

Wikipedia says that the Courier has a circulation of 260,000. Allen just gave you huge publicity. Mike, I'd love to know if visits to CC spike in the next few days.

What the supposed 'serious journalists' need to realize is that we the readers tire of reading about how good looking the Mayor is.

If that is the best any journalist can do, then it is time to put down the pen.

For those of us that have worked in various forms of the media, we also know that newsrooms are controlled and are political.

If you did your jobs as you should rather than writing some gushing nonsense that we could care less about, then you wouldn't feel so insecure and need to take cheap shots at bloggers.

Do tell us Mr.Garr, which of the stories covered by CityCaucus.com or Alex G.T's site have been factually incorrect?

It is refreshing to read news that is important to the well being of the tax payers and this city over the gibberish many of you choose to submit as a 'story'.

And Garr, I love how you report these bloggers as NPA supporters out for revenge. Try re-reading many of your Vision cheer leading pieces and think of the irony in that statement.

Just read Garr's diatribe. Allen, sad, so sad. Not a great way to sunset your career.

Everyone knows you are sympathetic to Vision, so why do you continue to claim moral superiority over bloggers? Say what you will, at least with the three blogs you refer to everyone knows where they are politically aligned. Can't say that in your case.

At the end of the day almost nobody goes to the Courier to get their civic news any longer. They just aren't relevant or breaking any news stories. Don't believe me? Check it out at www.vancourier.com

Those numbers might be for readership over a period of time - perhaps a month.

I don't believe NADbank, who measures circ. and readership of all papers would support a 260,000 circ. for the Courier.

That number is closer to the weekly readership of 24 hours. (a 5 day accumulated number.)

The free dailies, both Metro and 24, outpace the paid papers - The Province and the Sun.

I do give Allen props for describing Vision's Jonathan Ross's writing as "far less effective" than other bloggers. Ouch!

As for Kevin "The Vancouver Kid" Quinlen, who instituted grotesque, spurious attacks on the NPA during the last election that were, shall we say, a little "light on the veritas" (he's removed that blog---fancy that!) NOT blogging as an "earnest"VV "apparatchik" before the last election?

Puleeeeeeezzz. How odd that he should be working in the Mayor's office now... Fancy that!

By the way, here is Alex's blog url, just to pass on the love.

alexgtsakumis.com

Yawn.

Blogs think msm aren't doing their job. MSM think blogs are juveline.

Got it. Can we go back to reading about actual stories that matter? Translink/Provincial MOU? Watts trip to India? Cambie Corridor Planning?

There's no shortage of actual news/stories. Even beating the dead horse that is the olympic village is better than this pissing match.

Kudos to you guys. Let's go through some of Garr's quotes:

"The churning in the blogosphere has left the Vancouver mayor's office on its heels."

"The persistent attacks by bloggers... have hit their mark."

"Also a solid fact is the realization that what has become benignly referred to as "social media" is for the first time having a significant impact on the local political agenda."

"There is a Vision guy, Jonathan Ross, who attempts to counter those two with equal petulance but with far less effect."

"Then the bloggers link their work to YouTube, which in turn gives the bloggers more credibility."

"But the worst sin has been committed by Vision in taking these guys seriously."

Allen, they are taking them seriously for a reason. Their political future depends on it. If they don't smear and attack the bloggers soon, it will all begin to unravel. Your strategy of ignorning them is what got vision in hot water in the first place.

Guys, take all of Allen's quotes and paste them on your walls at citycaucus' tower. Job well done!

You are obviously hitting the mark and you clearly have the Mayor and his hollyhockers on the run. In 12 months or so, people will look back and credit your site (and others in the blogosphere) for the total collapse of this one-term ken doll mayor. There will also be a collective cheer at 12th and Cambie when a number of newly hired senior managers are given their walking papers. Can't happen soon enough in my opinion.

Perhaps boohoo, you should head back to the CBC site - maybe more your speed.

People talk about the blogsphere like it is some sort of evil mind control. How is it any different that talk radio - only in print! How is it any different than a political panel discussion? How is that any different than a published version of dinner with friends?

I read Alex, Frances, CC, Jeff and a couple of the dailies. Hopefully I have enough brains to know what is over -enthusiasm, political bias, opinion that rings true and trash. It's the comments that really get out of hand - not the blog posts themselves.

For MSM to think they can control the message like they did 30 years ago is fool hardy. If old time journalists think they have the corner on reporting the news or writing the truth, they are dreaming in technicolour. Is this job protection or denial?

I find it heartening to have civic issues finally getting some attention - even if you have to read 4 different authors to get a balances perspective.

We have been "overwhelmed" by these tools like social media?

Where has he been? Before blogs, there were all sorts of partisan political forum websites that took hold a decade ago, rabble.ca, freedominion.ca, democraticunderground.com, freerepublic.com

I don't understand what the point is of he, Frances Bula and Gary Mason bringing attention to the tone of these blogs, as if the reader is so pedantic they can't parse and digest the content.

This reads like a lament that the traditional media are no longer the information gatekeepers and technology is getting ahead of them. Perhaps someone will eventually tell Allan that emails are archived.

Like the one he sent city staff suggesting where to place the beehive he'd be attending to, just outside the mayor's office window for the best photo opportunity.

The hypocrisy, it is transparent to all but them.

Perhaps Allan could report on some of this new "social media" to inform his readers. A lot has happened since the dial up telephone.

Max, I'm not even sure what point you're trying to make other than to slag the CBC.

It's a shame that discussions regarding actual issues get pushed aside over petty arguments between bloggers/msm. Neither side is perfect, they're both important, why can't that just be enough.

All these blogs and recent news regarding urban/civic issues are great. I'm just looking forward to this blog returning to those topics rather than these bizzare pissing matches.

Boohoo,
you always seem to start pissing matches of your own...
"yawn" (your comment) a definite passive aggressive attempt....

Speaking of juvenile and acts of revenge, how would you describe Garr slipping in the remark about Klassen's work he did for the previous Mayor's office. He characterizes it as "untendered" and compares it to the work FD element did for Gregor. This is apples and oranges but Garr carefully chose to slip it into his column to make Klassen look bad and his boy look good. An honest columnist would have let his readers know that Klassen did his work over 3 years while FD did their job over 2 months. I'm glad this was clarified for us here. Too bad this MSM reporter chose not to give his readers all the facts. You can only characterize his behavior as juvenile and revenge like.

I just had to repeat this because there are two journalists in this town this applies to:

From Alex Tsakumis' blog, a comment left by someone posting as SC:

"I must admit, Alex, whenever you mention Ferris Bueller, I always get that movie, and a Weekend at Bernie’s mixed up. However, thanks to Frances Bula, there’s now a link (making things even more confusing) since Weekend at Bernie’s is about 2 guys carrying around a dead man, attempting to convince people he’s still alive. The link, you ask?

You see, Ferris Bueller is Frances and the dead guy is her journalistic integrity and reputation, that’s she’s dragging around town convincing anyone and everyone who will listen that she’s still got them and isn’t some sort of hack. Unlike the movie, she isn’t fooling anyone..."

Now if we can all replace Frances' name in the second paragraph with Allen Garr, I think you'll all agree.

Garr also fails to state that Vision paid FD Elements more than what they originally quoted for.

The original quote was around $14,000 - Vision generously dished out the max of $27,500.

Now, if I could only figure out how to get my clients to pay me more than what they are invoiced for......

Oh, and to SC whoever you are....thank you for that most brilliant analogy.

For Bula and Garr, there is no better comparison.

Interesting post & discussion. I've been thinking recently as a result of discussions on Alex, Jeff Lee & Francis' blogs that it must be a difficult transition for people such as Francis & Jeff Lee, who blog &, do MSM 'reporting'. I know from my own professional work it is not easy to change your focus, style, etc. when you go from 1 way of thinking to another. Or, will the above or others tell me it's not a different way of thinking?

Passive aggresive attempt....what? I just want to talk about actual issues. Is that bad? This whole msm/blog catfight is such a waste of time.

If blogs are the 'new media', then great msm will have to deal. If they aren't, then great, blogs will have to evolve.

@Bill

I don't know that it's a different way of thinking. It's just that on a blog you can give your opinion, whereas the msm is *theoretically* unbiased. That's why msm have op-ed sections--where they clearly state their opinion rather than the rest of the paper that's supposed to be 'hard news'.

Blogs don't have that distinction, there's no op-ed section of a blog, it's all op-ed.

The Thought of The Day

"I googled 'Allen Garr - future writer/ future banker'. This is what I've got...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZAoMv_QnAU

There."

His Van Courier ramblings should be seen by you guys, as advance Anniversary, Birthday, and 'Win the MAX' wishes, in one.

'Birds of a feather flock together'

True. He's slowly becoming as good as his flock. As good as Gregor is a Mayor, Penny is a City Manager and Vancouver is The Best Place on Earth.

But don't tell this to him. One cannot be careful enough around egomaniacs.

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.


Absolutely I stand by my comment....
It is obvious every time you log onto this site what the topic of the day is.
This site is intent on holding Vision accountable right now it is important to us. This government (Vision) effects everything for us on Provincial and Federal levels.
If you require something different go to another blog, or start your own...
It is so simple, yet you always act hurt, when we call you on it. When you play the victim, that's the passive part...then you give digs like(yawn) that is the aggression coming out.... I can understand if you require something different, but please don't bust our chops every time because we don't meet your needs.... I feel you are trying to divert the conversation, and I'm calling you on it, as have others. Just my opinion, not looking to get into a pissing match with you:-)

Yet, you are still posting on this topic.

Lets see...
1. $24K billed over two years without a formal contract (untendered) from Sam to Klassen for website, video production work, etc, piecemeal and dubious value (as could have been seen by Sams website)...

2. one invoice from FDI for full website development, video production work, etc for $27K...

All the money in both cases from the public coffers, regardless of the granularity of the invoices... both relationships were untendered.

So what is the difference? other than the spin that has been flying out of control from this blog.

The only difference was that FDI submitted a formal proposal with the work outlined (more than one line item), regardless if it changed in scope... and Klassens work there was no formal contract in place, all his work at the whim of Sam asking Klassen on a monthly basis.

Guess what... It just doesn't matter as BOTH arrangements were legal, within the city purchasing guidelines and policies... move on, this mud has dried.

@George

I'm not acting hurt...? I'm not hurt at all. It's just this kind of blustering waste of time serves nothing. It doesn't serve to hold vision accountable (if that's the goal of this blog as you state I would hope is not true), it doesn't serve to educate us about civic issues, etc...

I mean I guess if racking up hit counts for your website is a goal then you gotta do what you gotta do and both sides are doing it well. Seems that doesn't really do anything for the rest of us...

Oh and Vision effects Federal levels? I think you give them far too much credit!

And again, you forget to include the fact that the original proposal and invoice to Vision was for $14K. They in-turn paid them the max of $27,500.

Why? Damn good question.

As for Klassen providing services to Sam Sullivan for his site - try re-reading this article (as well, it has been laid out in others) and comprehending.

Not the same.

Not at all.

yes Alan - you have been scooped a hundred times over by City Caucus and I can understand your anger. By now you should be retired - 15 - 20 years into it (Dagnabit Al they call them jeans now not dungarees!) and have a tidy nest egg. Sorry if your day job is getting tough and you are seeing the light - I suppose we will all be irrelevant one day, displaced by better, faster more complete mechanisms.

But the MSM is dying because for the most part they are irrelevant, lazy ass kissers. Read Comrade Bulla's column (but not while drinking milk), Garr's and Mason's. None of those folks make me want to drop a buck to read their rags - pick up a monthly union membership rag and you will find more balanced, relevant reporting than you will read from Los Tres Bobos.

@Crying over spilt milk. Disagree. The 2 tasks are different & require different mindset, ethical rules & behavior, writing style, etc. My concern is that they will become blurred. when you go to a blog or read an op-ed you know you're getting opinion & info but, when you read a reported story your supposed to get the unbiased factual information [or as close to it as that reporter & news medium is capable of]. We need both for a healthy society. The 4th estate is a critical part of a successful democratic system.

actual Max it is the same, exactly the same.

$24K in untendered, uncontracted work went to Klassen from Sam (or his chief of staff, hmmm who was that?) ... the buddy system in action. But all within the city guidelines. He just didn't have a formal contract in place, it was easy.

$27K in untendered, but contracted, work to FDI who actually had a formal proposal, on the record, regardless how the contract scope increased (no different than Sam or Daniel asking Klassen to do more work for them adhoc-ly, without any formal proposals or contracts), just keep billing us Mike.

the effect was exactly the same - $24K/$27K going for consulting work, all within the city guidelines, from the city coffers to consultants, Klassen and FD.... legit.

you can argue the fine points of comparing the nature of the work but it was all the same type of work, just a different approach, one with a formal proposal (FD) and one without (Klassen).

those who live in glass houses....

There is no "scope of work" listed in that @27,000 FTI invoice. In fact, it is extremely important to get the detail.

I think you can agree that an estimate that goes from #14,000 up to an invoice of $27,000 should be explained. Unless you like to pay double for everything you buy? As a taxpayer, that's what I want to see.

So, get real, Getreal.

I think I get what the Youtube link implies, but whether I got it right or not, this is way more fun than reading a newspaper.

the scope of work in a contract would not be on the contractors monthly invoice, but is in the proposal presented for the contract in the first place... which you have all scanned somewhere else on this site.

It outlines the work to be completed by FD ... the scope increase was probably agreed to between FD and the City on an adhoc basis, actually no different than Klassen getting more work pushed his way on an adhoc basis by his buddies Fontaine and Sam, without any formal proposals on the city record.

you can try and spin it anyway you want.. but it is the same thing, period, both all legit and within the city policies and guidelines. If you want to change the policy I would suggest you run for office and try and make the change.

so in short angry person, I hope you find next conspiracy in which to direct your anger towards... good luck, I'm sure you will find something to whine about.

While citycaucus.com was getting two million hits by posting a directory of free Olympics events, taxpayers were footing a $56,000 bill for a Robertson/Olympics video that has so far garnered a full fourteen thousand hits on Youtube.
This blog is a whole lot more than an NPA sounding board. It has become a locus for a lot of different people from different political stripes who are aghast at what's being perpetrated at 12th and Cambie.
It is strongly issue based and does not screen commentors who disagree with their views.
The fact that MSM columnists are taking shots at it is a tribute to it's efficacy. City Caucus' authors and other commentors are correct in their assessment that this will serve to increase interest and readership of this blog.

Who are you kidding ... this blog is nothing more than an NPA sounding board, period.

You can try and dress it up as something else with the odd posting that is not incendiary towards Vision ... but this is the world of the internet, with tabloid style blogging getting the traffic, entertainment sells ... yup people like car wrecks and sensationalism... simple sound bites and a spin to justify their view.... so be it... but don't try and be all "legit" about this site be something more, even handed, than what it is... an attack blog for the NPA party.

Make a contribution here it goes straight to the NPA re-election bid.

Get real, get real. What are you doing here?

Correction:Get real, getreal. What are you doing here?

A la Glissando, I discovered this previously unknown footage of the last meeting between Penny, Gregor and Ark Tsisserev
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMWXythi48w

PS "Make a contribution here it goes straight to the NPA re-election bid."
And that's a bad thing, because Vision has engaged neighbourhoods in consultation, stood up for the small businessman against damages from expensive,arbitrary and unecessary projects that benefit narrow special interest groups, because they have succeeded in cleaning up the downtown eastside, because they have spoken out stridently against the militarization of the VPD while at the same time keeping summer programs for kids and community centers vibrant...NOT!

I think you can only jump the shark once, it's sort of like crossing the Rubicon...

Sorry getreal, but your argument is flawed.

Klassen's work was in-house and over a three year period and included continued maintenance. Not out-sourced to a company that was already noted to have received 'untendered' contracts.

The $27K was for what 1 month worth of work, if even that.

Good graphic designers can turn around a website within days.

For FD Elements to invoice $14K to the city and this already 'untendered' contact gets boosted to the max of $27,500 without sound reason - it reeks of backhanders or favors.

Why the generous overpayment of $13,500? No one from Vision has had the balls enough to answer that question.

And for FD Element to take the overpayment, well, what can you say about unethical and unprofessional practices.

(Reminds me of Clark and the balcony debacle.)

So, perhaps we can find out how this company is related to the Mayor and Vision to begin with - I doubt the connection is new.

There is a pattern of free and unaccountable spending at City Hall. It does not benefit the citizens, especially when the next tax hike comes through and much of the monies spent has been for totally frivolous 'window dressing' nothing more.

Meanwhile, kids programs could not get the funding they needed to continue because 'there was none'.

Like they say, you can put lipstick on a pig......

Here's my theory:
Allen and Gary are ticked that CC exists at all, given they are reporting the news but aren't 'real' journalists
Allen and Gary are ticked that CC breaks good stories they can't get.
But Allen and Gary largely in a lather because of the obvious fun (often bordering on glee) that Mike and Daniel are having doing all of the above.

@getreal. You need to understand the NPA is a political organization, not a party. It doesn't have formalized policies & relies on the candidates they democratically endorse to take their own position on issues based on the merits & circumstances of the situation. There is no orchestrated backroom attempt to influence this blog or any other. Those who contribute here are doing so because of their own beliefs & values just as, hopefully, you are.

The Thought of The Day...again

"Without an apiary on the City Hall roof, where would all the bees go, Allen?"

Gerry, excellent choice of video. It does make the whole thing funnier without losing track of the topic, doesn't it? Plus, you know the saying 'a picture is worth a thousand words'. What would be the worthiness of a video clip or an audio track ?
Let's find out.

For everyone's enjoyment...again, the reenactment of a great Vision moment...(Warning: Graphic video, foul odors, unpleasant language, hypocrisy, arrogance, lying, buffoonery, pee-pee jokes and asshole-ism)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IDcmUQa0WM&feature=related

As for the Allen Garr 'future writer/ future banker'...I've re-read his words in the printed edition this time and they still sound the same. Litter box liner, thank you very much...'computer says, nooo!'

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Max, you just don't get it do you.

Klassen wasn't in-house (although he was treated as such by his buddies Fontaine and Sam)... he invoiced through his Thinking Cap consulting company (collected GST like all good companies do), same as FD. He had no contract but was feed work because of his friendship with Fontaine and Sam. All his work was untendered, without any form of contract... and whatever you call it, it was the same type of work.... website development, video production, maintaining emails, etc... it was all consulting work with invoices up to $3K per pop, and all money from the City coffers to an external consultant without tendering or even a signed contract. Your logic is actually applied directly to Klassen, not FDI who actually had a signed contract, regardless of expanded scope.

Again it is all nonsense anyways... as it is all within the discretion of the mayors office, and within the city purchasing policies.... the point I was making is that this is simply a case of the pot calling the kettle black... and it was rich that Klassen would criticize when he took advantage of the same kind of relationship and policies with Sam and Fontaine... for almost identical work, only in an adhoc willy nilly manner.

Bill... I mean no disrespect, but who are you kidding.

"There is no orchestrated backroom attempt to influence this blog or any other. Those who contribute here are doing so because of their own beliefs & values just as, hopefully, you are."

There are some people here who contribute with strong ideas and address the issues at hand ... but the vast majority are here only to kick the crap out of Vision at any opportunity, including Klassen ... all for the sole purpose of positioning the NPA in the next election (and yes it is actually a party, you are splitting hairs in your definition of a party verses an organization).

This is an open forum where ideas are freely traded and exchanged,unlike the blog subsidized by City Hall. Your own posts are proof of that. Welcome to the Salon of Ideas. If it's a bit too intoxicating or frightening for you, well, you choose to be here.

http://www.citycaucus.com/support

@Bill

''There is no orchestrated backroom attempt to influence this blog or any other. Those who contribute here are doing so because of their own beliefs & values just as, hopefully, you are.''

Yet many people here believe there is some orchestrated backroom attempt to influence this blog and a many other things by Vision....

I have been accused numerous times as exactly that without a shred of evidence, and when asked to support their claims the posters just magically disappear. Spare us the double standard ;)

@Gerry.

This blog does deserve credit for not censoring posts that don't tow the party line, unlike other vision attack sites... But why are you shilling for them?

@gerry "Welcome to the Salon of Ideas" wow, you really are color blind, or maybe just a good little NPA solider .... that couldn't be further from the truth and you know it.

The commentators and posters for this blog dump on anybody, without the pretense of civil discourse, who lays out the facts of a situation or issue that might contradict or doesn't align with the views of the blog brethren. The salon of ideas is void of actually any new ideas unless they support the NPA line, great.

I'm just saying, call a spade a spade, this site has one purpose and one purpose only... get NPA elected. It is certainly not about the truth, it attempts to use the power of soundbites, sensationalism, and spin to try and influence opinion .... welcome to the internet, it is what it is, and so is this NPA blog.

getreal sounds a lot like a mayor's office staffer we all know. Or maybe he sounds a bit like his paid blogger? I guess this is what conversational mining looks like. Except this time they keep striking coal instead of gold.

"Do not feed the Trolls"

@Spilt milk. You haven't heard accusations of deliberate backroom Vision orchestrations from me &, I only can speak for myself but, based on the, unfortunately from your perspective, pesky problem of the evidence we have seen to date an argument of that sort might be made. From the other view, such positions have been taken by individuals who are expressing their individual opinions, period.

@getreal:

Any chance you have a vested interest in City Hall or FD Elements? You stand and accuse this of being a Vision hating site as you knock the NPA or anyone disagreeing with the current administration.

Vision is their own worst enemy when it comes to providing fodder for all forms of journalism or open discussion.

Open and transparent government - how about totally opaque government.


You don't like the topic of discussion(s) on this site, there are Vision pandering options out there.

This site is no more sensationalistic than any other form of media and I include newspapers.

It was once reported that Robertson was an ineffective MLA, glad to see he is holding the line on that image.

Getlost ... it seems Coal is worth more than gold these days.

and again you love to go off topic ... I just pointed out the double standard coming from Klassens cozy relationship with Sam and Fontaine during their time in power ... how he got the same special treatment as FD received, with the added benefit of not even having a signed contract, just approved invoices from Fontaine on his monthly ad hoc work they would throw his way... and all for the same amount of cash $24K, but again all within the city policy, so ok right.

Simply the pot calling the kettle black... can dish it out but when it reflects back the same image, you get all bent out of shape.. now thats real open dialogue for you.

@getreal. are there any examples where Klassen's invoices were plumped? We're all waiting with baited breath for the smoking gun.

getlost.... whoever said anything about a smoking gun, nobody did anything that was not within the city policy for purchasing, signing levels, etc ... no witch hunt was ever implied, unless there is something that Klassen isn't sharing about his sweetheart relationship he had with Sam and Fontiane.

I was simply comparing Klassens unique relation he had with Sam and Fontaine, with no contract or tendering for the work his company (thinking hat) performed for $24K (which I assume was all legit, why wouldn't I) ... it appears to be a double standard is being applied by his blog postings.

The relationship between the current administration and FD for the internet consulting work is similar as Klassen had, with the key exception being that FD actually have a formal proposal and contract in place (at least on record), vs Klassen who did the work without a contract (at least not on record).

Your issue to the expansion of the FD work beyond the original contract is noted, but then according to city policy the management can approve the scope change (in this case to a full blown website) just so long as it is below the signing limit, without further approvals ... again just what Sam and Fontaine did for Klassens work, but on a monthly basis.

The results delivered by FD (a full blown website, videos, etc) was significantly more than the trivial line items of work Klassen continually billed the city, including the Sam Sullivan personal website, that was essentially a throw away investment near the end of his term... racking up $24K worth of payments.

Just saying...

Gregor Robertson has not answered a simple question about conflict of interest: should his chief of staff repeatedly hired a company who were in turn paying for the Vision Vancouver attack blog and its principle author?

By any measure it was a pretty stupid thing to do, and thankfully Robertson and Magee are still wearing it.

Predictably the response from Vision's city hall insider (hidden by a proxy server and anonymity) is to insinuate corruption and smear the work of my company. At least I'm in good company along with Stuart Mackinnon and Randy Helten.

Welcome to Visionland, folks. Looking forward to five more years of this?

They can point a finger Mike, but we all know, that when Vision points that finger, there are 3 more pointing right back at themselves.

There was never ever any corruption implied towards your company Thinking Hat, I leave the ridiculous conspiracy theories to the likes of your close associate Alex Tsakumis, and other bloggers to spin into the o-zone. And much to the contrary I actually said it appeared all your work was legit, above board, within the guidelines of the city policies, period.

The only point I was making was that you had the same cozy relationship with NPA Mayor Sullivan and his chief of staff Fontaine, much like FD does with the current administration, and one could even speculate a bit more cozy as it appears that you didn't even need a formal contract or proposal for the work you performed for basically same amount of money, $24K... you scream about the outrage and injustice of it all, while feeding from the same trough yourself, a bit hypocritical from where I'm standing.

And yes, actually nine more years of Vision would be wonderful, in my view.


PS Mike…

Just for clarity, not that you or your clan will believe it, but I’m not affiliated with Vision or the current administration in any way. I do not know the Mayor, Maggee, or Ballem, and have ever spoken with them directly or indirectly, period. I do know how our political and civic system works, with FOI, etc… any dolt can figure that out, you don’t need undercover informants leaking “on the record” city documents - but I guess that makes for better theatre from the likes of you and Alex.

I’m a concerned citizen of this city who cares about what is going on politically and socially, and have the same right to question, as do you. And what concerns me is the bizarre phenomenon that is happening in the media (MSM and blogs) of late, with all the hyper spin and crap everyone is throwing around to engender or sway public opinion regardless of fact or truthfulness. What I saw in your post was obviously a double standard that I wanted to call you on.

And the fact that you would attempt to track me down by my IP address says SO much about who you are! I along with most of my friends these days use security software to protect our identity information from financial fraud… so the fact that you would try to track me down for some bizarre vendetta because I put up a few factual comments on a blog posting, WOW. You truly are scary, paranoid or just trying to hide something, or all of the above. But you have cemented the fact that this site is nothing more than an NPA attack blog that will do anything to achieve its mission.

I’m a proud supporter of Vision.

Six comments by 'boohoo' and eleven by 'getreal'. All repeating the same mantra with the same passive aggressive tone of superiority, accusing others of failings which are in fact their own. And even more responses, including this.

The point is not the validity of their original question, it is their monomaniac drive to swamp all further discussion and, most important of all for these types, to have the last word. I'll give 'boohoo' the benefit of the doubt, but 'getreal' is a classic troll.

While not using one myself I can see why others would use a pseudonym for comments. However if a person is not willing to reveal their identity to the administrator of the site then, whatever fantastical reasons they give for this, their motivation is open to question.

Seeing as you just agreed with me in that other thread, I'll go easy on ya.

Posting under a real name doesn't reveal yourself to the site administration or validate yourself as a real person in anyway. 'David Hadaway', if that is your real name, is just as fantastical as 'boohoo' in terms of legitimacy.

Second, I have nothing to do with 'geatreal' and think his blind love of vision is just as ridiculous as many here who blindly loathe vision.

But then again, I'm just a NPA hack so what do I know ;)

Boohooever you are...

Blind love of vision? I am simply pointed out the hypocrisy of the post in slamming the administration whilst Klassen was feeding from the same trough in the same manner as FD, all tight like. Stating clear facts of the situation, on both sides of the equation ... then being attacked by most as a Visions loving troll, no one even questions Klassens apparent conflict of interest, which only show that this site has only one voice ... nice.

Yes I support Vision, mainly because of their overall agenda, its not perfect but it is as close to what I would like to see as anybody has articulated over the past decade ... and frankly after "trolling" on this site for a little bit now, I certainly don't feel all warm and cozy about the NPA and the hard conservative rhetoric that is reflected in these posts (and comments).

So I guess I'm not loved here... adios amigos.

"getreal" sounds a lot like Vision Vancouver's Ian Reid? Are the resemblances purely coincidental?

You mean Magee's mannequin? Yep, sounds like him alright.

Garr's latest tear-jerker in the courier. www.vancourier.com
No wonder the communist world has failed.

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