Scope of Mayor "blogger" scandal slowly sinking in

Post by Mike Klassen in

20 comments


An invoice to FD Element Agency to pay for the development of civicscene.ca

Perhaps the announcement this week of the finalists for the Webster Awards for Journalism has distracted them, but a potentially scandalous story involving the office Mayor Gregor Robertson has not caught the attention of the mainstream media – yet.

Yesterday, we described how a series of documents had been made public which showed how Vision Vancouver favoured marketing communications firm FD Element in an unusual business transaction with Gregor Robertson's Chief of Staff Mike Magee. The initial documents linked below showed:

These first documents raise a few eyebrows because of the puzzing increase in the payment to FD Element, the vague scope of work, and the lack of an itemized invoice. However, it's the second set of documents that are considerably more incriminating. Through them we learn that:

Contacted by media, FD Element Vancouver boss Don Millar acknowledged that Ross was working for them. Mike Magee verified earlier this week that he indeed signed off on the $27,500 contract for Mayor Robertson's blog and "other services as may be required".

Following this evidence linked above comes a fair question for Mayor Robertson and his aides: have taxpayers paid for Jonathon Ross to conduct his online political attacks on those who oppose the Mayor and Vision Vancouver?

For those who've bothered to look at civicscene.ca, you'll know that the rhetoric is not just aimed at us here at CityCaucus.com. Ross regularly directs his invective at Coun. Suzanne Anton and the COPE caucus at City Hall, both Coun. Ellen Woodsworth and Coun. David Cadman. He's also thrown darts at Park Commissioners Ian Robertson from the NPA and Stuart Mackinnon of the Green Party.

Perhaps one of the worst examples of threatening personal smear I've witnessed in Vancouver politics was this post by civicscene.ca attacking West End activist and card-carrying Vision Vancouver member Randy Helten.

Those who have followed the fuss in Vancouver's West End around the STIR developments, know that Helten has been a formidable leader in the campaign opposing these proposed buildings. Helten, a father and a husband, has been a level-headed and dogged opponent of a project that is widely describe as a huge mistake among people in the development community and the West End at large.

Ross in his role as Vision Vancouver defender and mouthpiece targeted Helten by listing off where several of Randy's family members live in the community adjacent to the proposed STIR development. Ross writes:

...here are a few questions for Randy Helten, the man who alls anyone outside of his perception of what a typical West End resident constitutes a “stereotype” and according to one predictable website, “the person who is spearheading with his community the opposition to the recent STIR developments”:

Do you have a family member who owns property across the street from the 22-storey high-rise rental apartment tower on the site of St John’s Church at 1401 Comox Street?

Also, does another family member of yours own a penthouse unit above the TD bank on Bidwell and Davie, which is across the street from a proposed 19-story tower?

Finally, do you own a property adjacent to the Comox proposal?

And, if any of these facts are true, don’t you think that you have a responsibility to disclose them as at least part (but not all, of course) of the reasoning behind your opposition to the STIR developments going up in the West End?

I anxiously await a response.

If Vision Vancouver will stoop to tactics like this, where they'll create a dossier on someone that they'll gladly divulge to stab their opponents in the heart, it's also fair to ask another question...

What lengths will this organization take to suppress those who disagree with them?

Furthermore, if previous Mayor Sam Sullivan had been similarly caught in these kinds of transactions out of the Mayor's office, would the media reaction be similarly tepid as it has been on this story so far?

- post by Mike. Full credit to blogger Alex G. Tsakumis for accessing and publishing the documents shared here.

20 Comments

"If Vision Vancouver will stoop to tactics like this, where they'll create a dossier on someone that they'll gladly divulge to stab their opponents in the heart..." More like in the back.

There needs to be a call for Vision Vancouver and the City of Vancouver to submit to forensic auditing to determine if taxpayer money was diverted - intentially - to pay for petty partisan attacks.

If it was, we have the right to know and to vote accordingly in 2011.

That is if no criminal charges are forth-coming for this breach of public trust.

Mike not only is the mainstream media ignoring this story, check out the Vancouver Sun's puff piece today on Roberstson being related to Bethune. They had space for this crap, but ignore this story. I suspect it has to do with the fact a blogger broke the story instead of Chad Skeleton. The mayor doesn't even speak Chinese so why would a distant cousin help to secure a business deal. This is all so bizarre.

@Charles,
Exactly!!

What speaks volumes is that Ross has not uttered one single word - NADA - about these documents and their relationship to Civicscene.ca.

That is certainly out of character. So what's up Jonny? We wanna hear you side of the story. Your silence is deafening.

Rossi's FD Element sponsored blog had the following to say about COPE "The recent utterings of hypocrisy by Councillor Ellen Woodsworth and Councillor David Cadman have got me thinking about the electoral cooperation that COPE and Vision Vancouver successfully exercised in the 2008 civic election.

(On a side note, I will be very interested to see how many events Councillor Woodsworth actually attended during the Olympics, as the rumour is that she was frantically asking for tickets to any event she could possibly insert herself into – regardless of comments by her colleague Councillor Cadman about said tickets being “a perk of position.”)

I wonder what Woodsworth and COPE think about all this emerging story? Jonny boy has lashed out at them just as much as the NPA. I thought Vision and COPE were in a coalition?

Here is what Ross had to say about the Mayor's plumped up poll ratings from last spring. Allan Garr revealed in the Courier today that the 78% number handed to the Sun newspaper was a load of horse pucky. The real approval rating when you don't just look at decided votes is less than 50%. Here is what "conversational mining" looks like I guess. WARNING...the following drivel may not be suitable to all members of your family:

"Regardless, no matter where you stand on the political spectrum in Vancouver, you will be hard pressed to find a political observer, or even a casual voter for that matter, who will deny the Robertson is political gold whose coattails are more than large enough to once again carry a strong majority." - excerpt from Ross/FD Element blog

Sorry Gerry. All their knives are firmly stuck in the backs of the street homeless who will, with luck, someday soon become the bike-lane homeless.
When the temperature starts to get really nasty in November or December Council's buck-passing skills will be put to the test. They'd house everyone if only that evil Gordon Campbell didn't hate the poor so much, they'll say. Where is the Federal government, they will ask. How can they spend $100 million on a sports stadium in Quebec but nothing on a shelter in DTES?
There are a hundred good reasons why we are unable to house them in the empty gold-plated condos we own on the creek, they will insist. It's all Sam Sullivan's fault, they will claim. And so on. Then they'll call that consultation and transparency.

Isn't it wonderful when our ever so benevolent Progressive types, all the Hollyhock Kiddies who are ever so much smarter than you and me get their lip lock on the public teat.

They are just so deserving of the right to rip off the taxpayer, to decide to tax my money and spend it on self praising websites.

Self praise & Progressives . . . like two peas in a pod.

Between bike lane insanity, dabbling in international trade development, bad manners and insider contracts, this Mayor simply has to go.

Please, let's get someone experienced, professional and who has some integrity running Vanvcouver, not a fruit juice maker Ken Doll biker!

In a previous post to the one where Ross "outs" the relative's addresses, he attacks Helten for the first time, shortly after the @#$%ing NPA hacks debacle - over semantics... taking offense with the use of the word "stereotype" according to how Ross interprets the definition, assuming it has a "prejudiced" connotation.

http://civicscene.ca/westend-diversity-is-just-a-bunch-of-stereotypes-says-west-end-neighbours-spokesperson

I don't know if you noticed but in that post is a link to a letter that Helten sent addressed to Gregor, cc'ing City Council and Vision Vancouver Executive, and no one else.

How did Ross come into possession of that letter dated July 19th and then write a post dated July 21st on his blog if it wasn't coordinated through the Mayor's office?

Setting aside the unpalatable notion that tax dollars may have ended up in Ross' pocket, isn't it bad enough that there is collusion taking place between Vision Vancouver and Ross to intimidate a citizen of this city?

Tsakumis just posted the interivew with the "hit list" source.

Amazing stuff.

http://alexgtsakumis.com/2010/09/11/exclusive-anonymous-source-for-vision-vancouver-media-hit-list-speaks-to-tsakumis/

As you folks all I know, I hit the NPA just as hard as I pound Vision, but I have to say this is pretty damning.

The guy says Magee is behind the whole thing.

It makes think that its not Quinlan that needs to get fired but Magee.

A head needs to role this week.

The Thought of The Day

“Repetition is the mother of all learning.”

Leo Getz. Small time crook – the fictitious accountant from the Lethal Weapon action movie(s). I’d trust Getz over Vision’s Hood …in an eye blink.

Now, for your readers benefit, a very creative,Fiscal Policy, explained:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxqv5W77cJg

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Someone in the Mayor's office should resign over this scandal and pronto. I just read about this through a facebook friend and can't believe what I'm reading. The only word to describe it is shocking! Resign NOW!

Glisando,
LMAO. Your choice of video made my day! I love that movie. And Joe Pesci is absolutely hilarious in his Leo Getz role. PLus it would be even funnier if it wasn't so strikingly close to reality! and Mike and alex GT , you are a class act, thanks guys for bringing this Vision con to the surface. The question remains, where is the MSM on this one? Shame.

How could Mayor Robertson have allowed this to happen? Maybe he didn't even know his staff was doing this. If so, they should resign to keep the integrity of his office. If he knew then he should resign as well. So sad that our council has a dark cloud hanging over it now.

- S. Dee
East Vancouver resident

This post is going viral. Just read it on Facebook. People are outraged for multiple different reasons. For me it's about the plumped up Element contract. Gregor should speak to this asap and clear the air. I sure hope there is a good explanation for all this.

The Thought of The Day

“Holding on to your Verbal Virginity for too long, makes you desirable only as a ‘Keystone Kops’ Speaker. And I’m not just saying that.”

Kris, that's not going to happen...hearing from Gregor, that is.
The Gregor is holding on for…a faster car chase.
Well…tell you what.
With a bit of luck, a good hair stylist, lots of teeth whitening, make up, and of course ‘mucho dinero’, this next little lady, may one day become the Mayor of Her town, whatever town her financial backers may find suitable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8Dww&feature=player_embedded

So what I am essentially saying is that we need a Mayor who's fluent in at least one language.

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

I couldn't agree with her more...I think...

The difference between methyl-sulfonil-methane and the mainstream media-
"One current use of methyl-sulfonil-methane (MSM) is for joint problems, as sulfur is found in and near osseous structures. Sulfur supports healthy muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Arthritic conditions have responded to oral MSM. Some researchers note results from MSM when used for post-exercise muscle pain (1). MSM normalizes pressure inside cells and removes toxins. Oregon Health Sciences University has conducted arthritis studies with mice. The mice which received MSM had "no degeneration of articular cartilage" (1). The other non-MSM mice had cartilaginous degeneration. The university has used MSM on over 12,000 patents. Researchers make no claim about MSM as a supplement, but osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, muscle soreness and muscle pain respond to oral MSM."

The mainstream media, on the other hand has no known benefits.

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