Time for another party, Vancouver? Be prepared to spend - see video
Should Vancouver throw another costly party? We're not sure if citizens think that it's the best use of limited tax dollars and during a time of economic uncertainty. But Vision Vancouver thinks it's a great idea, and they're lucky that all the fun is happening in an election year!
A seven million dollar budget (or is it a slush fund?) has been set aside for the festivities of the city's 125th anniversary, with many of the grants going to non-profits throughout Vancouver. One quarter of the budget is from the federal government, but the rest is being picked up by city taxpayers.
When Vision Vancouver were in opposition they'd point fingers at big funds for parties and attack them as "NPA slush funds". Now that the shoe's on the other foot those accusations disappear. In fact, if you believe Heather Deal in GlobalTV's story above, Vancouverites need to have parties.
I wonder what part of that $7 million will be devoted to public relations for Gregor Robertson? It's a fair question given how much taxpayer dosh has been doled out to Robertson's image-makers like Vision-insiders FD Element.
We know that Don Millar's operation at FD Element has been provided almost $120,000 worth of contracts by this administration. We're going into an election year and Robertson is looking shaky in the polls, so now's the time to pull out the stops and spend.
(By the way, according to 24 Hours reporter Bob Mackin, Mayor Gregor explained away the $5000 contract to FD Element for Robertson's PR in NYC, saying that it was FD that got Robertson a meeting [read: photo op] with Mayor Bloomberg. When Sam Sullivan went to New York City in 2008, he didn't need costly help. His own staffers set up meetings with New York Times editors, and the MLS as part of the lobbying effort to secure a major league soccer franchise for Vancouver).
I love my city, and tip my hat to the old girl on her pending 125th birthday. But we just emptied our wallet this year and spent a lot of cash sprucing up the city, and partnering with businesses and other levels of government to showcase Vancouver to the world. Those of us who stuck around in February had a pretty good time.
So do we need to throw another expensive bash? As people on the street in the Global story suggest, there are bigger priorities for those scarce tax dollars than to throw another party. If Vision were wise they'd scale back the plans immediately.
Whether it's their mysterious Six Million Dollar Man, or their Seven Million Dollar Slush Fund, Vision Vancouver would do well to open up the sealed fortress known as Vancouver City Hall, and reign in the spending for the final year of their mandate.
– post by Mike