So late that the time clock gives up, another after-midnight vote is rammed through
It was one of the more unusual moments in the council chambers at Vancouver City Hall. After yet another pious pronouncement by Vision Coun. Raymond Louie, about five housing activists decide to occupy the middle of the room for an "intervention". And it all takes place in front of the cameras at 12:40am in the morning.
If you can spare only eight minutes to check out how dysfunctional council is under Vision Vancouver, then watch the video posted above.
Last week CityCaucus.com posted about the late distribution report on the Olympic Village, and the meeting which followed it. Then we posted more analysis as to why discussing Vision's tactics is important.
Until now, unless you've actually sat through the 90-minute (Windows Media only) video archive of the meeting, you've had to take our word for it as to how absurd city council meetings have become under Vision Vancouver.
Yes, there have been plenty of posturing politicians in council chambers during its 73-year history. But rarely have parliamentary rules been consistently applied to thwart public process as much as under this council.
In the clip we've provided it's amazing to see what we described earlier in our Twitter posts unfold. First, Coun. Raymond Louie gives one of his most sanctimonious performances yet, thanking the housing activists while condescending to them at the same time. Louie states that the late night vote was about "saving lives," but even his Vision colleagues probably knew he'd crossed the line.
Next, the VAN-ACT protesters move their chairs into the middle of council chambers to stage an intervention. This is taking place at 12:40am with staff looking on, likely on overtime pay.
Then something happens which is very revealing but hard to notice in all the chaos – Coun. Geoff Meggs calls the vote without debate. Meeting Chair Heather Deal hears the call from Meggs and proceeds to attempt to call the vote. If not for Coun. Anton's protests there would have been no debate. Amazing.
It's also astonishing to see City Manager Penny Ballem literally walk into the middle of the council chamber to face off with the housing activists. At $313,000 annual salary, Ballem became for a few minutes the city's best paid security guard.
The final moment of the video is a real keeper. The speech by Ellen Woodsworth, who after bristling during Coun. Anton's speech (Woodsworth is chewing her gum hard and holding her hands up to the side of her head, looking as though she's plugging her ears) gives her real feelings about democracy. She says it's best they hold this vote in the middle of the night so council doesn't have to listen to anyone opposed to their plan.
Another kangaroo council by Vision Vancouver is not exactly what the party needed to improve its reputation around the city. We know that Gregor thinks that communism is a great system, but we didn't think that other Vision & COPE councillors agreed with his anti-democratic ideals until we saw this latest episode of the Late Show with Vision Vancouver.
- post by Mike