Wednesday evening's GlobalTV broadcast on "Vancouver's Embattled Mayor"
Is there or isn’t there a Vision Vancouver media hit list? That’s the question everyone has been asking at Vancouver City Hall this week as various media types are trying to track down whether a list of non-Vision friendly media exists or not. Blogger Alex G. Tsakumis first revealed the “media hit list” which is a compilation of about 15 media types who are apparently unfriendly to the current Vision administration. In other words, they don't just take the Mayor's news releases and report them verbatim. Can you believe this group actually has the temerity to question the material they've been given by the Mayor's office?
Although I can’t personally verify the validity of the "Top 15" hit list, I can tell you I laughed so hard when I first read about it that I almost keeled over. As was reported by 24 Hours newspaper on Wednesday morning, yours truly made it to the number three position (I'm told that I didn't rank higher on the list because I've written negative stories about the NPA, a political party I used to belong to). I eked out a bronze medal performance by coming just slightly ahead of crack GlobalTV reporter Marisa Thomas. My colleague and 24 Hours columnist Mike Klassen was ranked number one with radio talk show host Christy Clark in the #6 spot and the Vancouver Sun's Jeff Lee pegged at #9.
Am I proud of the fact that I apparently made it on the Top 15 list of vocal critics of the current Vision Vancouver administration? You bet I am. Over the last two years our columnists have written critical comments and analysis about hundreds of councillors, mayors and cities regarding a myriad of silly or short-sided policy decisions. Dozens of our stories were eventually picked up and reported on by our colleagues in the mainstream media.
Since 2008, it’s been our unique and focused coverage of civic governments which has resulted in a respectible 3.68 million page views so far this year. CityCaucus.com has clearly hit home with tens of thousands of people interested in city politics and urban issues. What else could explain why we have almost 2000 Twitter followers and over 1300 on Facebook. Did I mention our little blog has just over 1000 people who receive our daily email newsletter then forward it on to thousands of their family and friends?
While Vision may not like our take on the machinations at City Hall, clearly we have attracted a loyal and significant group of readers who want us keep moving forward with the blog. That's why our team can assure you that whether a hit list exists or not, it will have no effect on the frequency and tone of the coverage on CityCaucus.com. No matter what type of smear and intimidation tactics are thrown our way, we intend on forging ahead with a product that has clearly caught the public's imagination.
So while I’m a tad disappointed I personally didn’t rank number one on the alleged hit list, our CityCaucus.com team was rather pleased that we “owned the podium”. After all, securing both a gold and bronze medal performance in the blood sport known as reporting on Vancouver City Hall is nothing to sneeze at. I'm most proud of the fact we did it all without the assistance of performance enhancing drugs! Okay, truth be told, we did on occasion have a late night cuppa java to keep the creative juices flowing. Does that count?
All kidding aside, this has been yet another brutal week (and summer) for Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Vision team. We'll have an in-depth feature post on that subject in the coming days. His political staff hoped their high profile news conference with Vancouver police chief Jim Chu regarding new crime rate stats would garner positive headlines. Not a chance, as it was the leaked memo regarding plummeting morale and politicization at City Hall which topped the news instead.
Meanwhile, Robertson and his staff also hoped his $120,000 junket to China (anyone know what the overall carbon footprint of this trip is??) would help position him as a job creator and visionary leader. The press release was written up and sent to the media. Unfortunately, it came on the heels of his $260,000 office renovations controversy.
As a result, Robertson was on the defensive having to justify this junket at a time when kids summer programs have been cut and firefighters are ringing the alarm bells about their budget being slashed. Things will only get worse this winter when a lack of homeless shelter funding will get the public asking if the Mayor had his priorities all wrong. You can hear it now..."wouldn't all that money have been better spent keeping a shelter open for the better part of a year!"
With Klassen taking the number one spot, I’m left licking my wounds and wondering what more I need to do in order to overtake him in the 2011 list. I'm not sure I’ll ever get that elusive gold medal, but I sure plan to have a heck of a lot of fun trying!
- post by Daniel