Some have commented lately that Vancouver's NPA have some wind at their backs. Tonight's fundraiser dinner has sold a respectable number of tickets for a mid-term event at just over three hundred. The NPA faithful will gather out at the Italian Cultural Centre in the heart of East Vancouver to see for themselves if the organization has what it will take to outwork the well-funded and semi-organized Vision Vancouver.
Today's Vancouver Sun editorial is just one in a long line of indicators that the bloom is off the rose for Vancouver's governing party. Titled Council interference caused the fiasco of the athletes' village, the Sun takes direct aim at Gregor Robertson and in particular the COPE/Vision council for their part in undermining the success of Southeast False Creek project.
COPE/Vision's insistence on coming up with a new plan and design for the Village delayed development, which in turn caused tens of millions in overtime costs, says the editorial which cited the expertise of developer Rob Macdonald. They go on to say that "comments from some councillors and city staff" have exacerbated the situation, and that Gregor Robertson's warning to Millennium further inflamed the predicament.
As we've urged continuously in our previous commentary about the Olympic Village, the politicians must stay away from this project. It wouldn't hurt to banish both Mayor Robertson or Coun. Geoff Meggs from the site indefinitely, or have them docked a month's salary for every utterance they make about Southeast False Creek.
For the NPA there's still time to coalesce around a set of issues and to build council, park board and school board slates. We're about five months away from when the NPA really needs to have people step forward as mayoralty candidates, and with Carol Taylor clearly out of the running for any political job, it's time to come back to Earth and decide what are the goals of the 2011 election for Vancouver's centre-right party.
Are majorities on city council or the other boards within grasp? Yes, with the right candidates and a focused campaign. Is toppling Gregor Robertson as mayor achievable? More difficult, but it all depends upon who runs against him, and what voters feel about his mandate. Certainly there is the possibility that the public may learn more about Robertson's backroom operations and not like what they see. That would be a stupendous fall from grace however, and more fanciful than realistic.
Vision were hoping to turn the 2011 election into a vote about bike lanes as if the NPA, who championed the City's transportation planning including hundreds of kilometres of city cycling routes in their terms of office, were suddenly anti-bike. The NPA has successfully captured the mood of the city when it comes to Vision's lack of public consultation though, and it will be interesting to see how they can go back to voters for another mandate after ignoring most of them for three years.
Tonight's event will feature some NPA faces from the past including former Mayor Sam Sullivan, who is giving tonight's keynote address. Sullivan may have turned his back on public life, but his stock seems to continue to grow in value. Last week Sullivan was singled out by the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) with an honorary membership. His Public Salons also are attracting more attention by bringing out some of Vancouver's most accomplished and original thinkers to present at the Playhouse Theatre (next event is November 3rd – see www.globalcivic.org for details).
Sullivan will be speaking about tonight's theme, which is leadership. Vancouver's success as a city one could argue is the by-product of that leadership, given that NPA councils have successfully governed here for most of the past 80 years. The NPA's turn will come again provided they remain focused, and can express a real vision for the city instead of the aimlessness we see today.
UPDATE: See Daniel's tweets from last night's dinner – twitter.com/CityCaucus
- post by Mike