Vision vs COPE catfight made for good reality TV

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

7 comments


Coun. Stevenson: "That's a frickin' lie!" - see video

As Vancouver City Council winds up it's last few items of business for 2010, we are truly entering what political watchers refer to as the silly season. What else could explain what happened in the chambers this week as elected officials and staff spent hours debating city-related items such as Maclean's magazine articles and CRTC internet billing policy.

When they weren't debating these issues, they found a few minutes to pass their one billion dollar 2011 operating budget. It resulted in a 4.2% tax increase for Vancouver residents and a 0.2 increase for businesses (a lot of media incorrectly reported it was a 2.2% increase). Over their term of government, Vision Vancouver have increased residential property taxes by over 16% in three years.

If all that wasn't enough, a rather spontaneous cat fight broke out between COPE and Vision over what seemed to be a very innocuous item. Mayor Gregor had brought forward a motion to remove Councillor George Chow from the Metro Vancouver Board and replace him with Councillor Geoff Meggs. It seemed relatively harmless enough to me, however, that clearly wasn't the case with COPE's David Cadman.

Cadman got to his feet and complained about the fact Robertson was trying to make this decision behind closed doors at an in-camera meeting to be held later that day. In-camera meetings are not open to the public nor are they televised.

Coun. Cadman argued that Gregor's motion was out of order given these types of appointments are normally open to public scrutiny (there goes that openness and transparency thing again – who'da thunk). After a bit of consultation with his staff, Mayor Gregor finally agreed that his motion was indeed ineligible for a private debate.

All of this sets the stage for what became a nasty little blow-up between COPE and Vision in full view of the cameras. If you closed your eyes for a moment and just imagined that Larry Campbell was still sitting in the big chair, it kind of felt like a deja vu moment.

When the motion came up for debate, Cadman attacked Robertson (see video) for his decision to only appoint members of his Vision caucus to regional and city committees. Remember, it was COPE's endorsement (Cadman's in particular) of their coalition back in 2008 which gave Vision their majority government. It should also be noted that Metro Vancouver appointments come with very generous per diems.

Cadman argued that he and his COPE council colleague Ellen Woodsworth and the NPA's Suzanne Anton shouldn't be shut out of these lucrative appointments. Cadman argued council had a longstanding tradition of bi-partisanship in the chamber which was now being broken by Vision.

Not so, said Vision Vancouver councillor Tim Stevenson! He then leapt to his feet in the Mayor's defense and wagged his finger at Cadman accusing him of having a very short political memory. Stevenson (first elected as a COPE member before he abandoned the party to form Vision) reminded Cadman that back in 2002 when COPE was in power, they didn't appoint a single member of the NPA to any regional or city committees. So there! Stevenson confirmed that COPE was equally as partisan as Vision when it came to appointments.

Stevenson continued to taunt Cadman and said it was funny how he never complained about the fact former NPA councillors Ladner and Sullivan were both left out in the cold back in 2002. Stevenson was cleverly pointing out Cadman's obvious double standard.

Cadman sat back in his chair and was obviously fuming. That's when Stevenson noted the only Mayor he was aware of that ever showed any kind of bi-partisanship was the NPA's Sam Sullivan. During that term, Sullivan's NPA caucus appointed Stevenson, a Vision Vancouver councillor to the Metro Vancouver Board of Directors.

Ouch. Ouch. Double ouch and meeeeow! It was truly a catfight.

Cadman then moved an amendment to Mayor Gregor's motion asking that he be appointed to Metro Vancouver, instead of Meggs. This led some of the councillors to jokingly ask if Cadman was in a conflict of interest for voting on his own motion...I digress. In the end, the motion was defeated by Vision and Meggs is now Vancouver's new representative on the Board.

I'm not sure exactly what was motivating Councillor Cadman, but his motion does raise eyebrows. Was he doing it to raise a point about the lack of democracy at City Hall? Did he want to take on an autocratic mayor who runs city hall like his own little sealed fortress? Who knows. However, what we do know is that by making it onto the Board, Cadman would have a much greater likelihood of getting back on the Metro Vancouver "gravy train".

As you may know, due to negative exposure in the blogosphere and MSM, the Board of Metro Vancouver has been a tad reluctant lately to fund non-Board members travel expenses to attend conferences and such.

Call me a cynic, but I somehow doubt what motivated Cadman's motion was nothing less his own attempt at a power grab. Or perhaps it's a man grasping at straws as he sees his political fortunes fading. Only a few months ago Vision's Jim Green told CKNW radio:

You have a lot of new young energetic environmentalists that have taken over the COPE executive. I am hearing rumours that David Cadman is not going to win the nomination next time with COPE.

In the end Cadman has nobody to blame but himself for the mess he's in. After all, it was he who personally endorsed the COPE/Vision coalition and facilitated a massive Vision majority. If Cadman wasn't adept enough to realize that his endorsement should have included the guarantee of a few COPE appointments, then too bad for him. Given what's just transpired, I'd suggest he enroll in a negotiations 101 course before the next civic election.

On a side note, our video also includes a special cat fight bonus feature. Check out Councillor Tim Stevenson's reaction to NPA Councillor Anton's allegations that he was behind her removal from a the only committee she worked on at Metro Vancouver. The good reverand called her a liar and looked overly agitated. Oh...just another day at Vancouver Silly Hall.

What do you think? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

- Post by Daniel

7 Comments

What a bunch of babies. Seriously.

The Thought of The Day

“The self appointed makers of hierarchies...the Vancouver Magazine, have named Gregor Robertson and Penny Ballem as Number ONE and Number TWO ‘movers and shakers’ of this city. How appropriate. I totally approve and endorse this ironic duo. Don’t forget to flush though, little ones!”

PENNY NEEDS A(D)VICE

Considering your performance as top bureaucrat of this city, my advice to you is...don’t quit your day job, if you ever had one. And, also don’t waste your time by going from one health store to another. They don’t carry ‘THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL’.

VANCOUVER OPEN CITY

When Penny talks about ‘openness’ and ‘transparency’ what she really means is more cleavage and a see-through blouse. Ouch! When she talks about ‘diversity’ what she really means is, she actually thinks of hiring people who all look different but think just like her. By Jupiter!

IT'S A MATTER OF FORTRESS

Now it is the right time to budget for a new main door entrance to the Hall, in the form of a collapsible bridge over a generous moat; ‘cause come next year, those ‘sweet life’ VISION sleeping beauty appointees, cowering inside, are going to need it.

YOU’VE GOT REINDEERED

So, it’s a go. Apparently, Comrade Penny wants nothing to do with ever distributing fresh-hot-news -wires, from the local, not so loving blogging lobby, to the Mayor and Council. See, she cares; she doesn’t want their feelings hurt! If only they did their jobs right, you know, the ones they were elected to do! But here’s what you can do though. You can send the news clips directly to your favourite councillor via their ‘civic’ E-Mail. Check up My Group, ‘The_HO-HO-HO_Group’.
Who’s in it?
Everyone... Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen, and last but not least...Rudolf.

LOOT’EM UP – THE SERIES

Not long ago I was invited to pitch an idea for a new TV Show, to be shot in Vancouver. Elements of religion, sex, swindle, foreign financing, and mystery were required.
Here’s the winning treatment:
“My God!’ said Gregor, ‘We’re fucked! The money it’s gone! We need cash or else...Joel, we need to talk! Penny, try to contact ‘Vision’, and keep ‘Vancouver’ in the loop, but let them wonder who did it!”
The shooting starts early January of next year.

ICEBERG WISHES

Dear Vision Mayor and Council, despite your vivid and constant effort in trying to make Vancouver the laughingstock city of the Americas, I am going to be generous with you this time, I am not going to wish you a Big Year, naah, not even a Grand Year; champagne wishes and a Titanic Year ahead of you!

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

After watching this, Vancouver taxpayers should kick vision/cope the hell out of office in 2011. This is a disgusting display of greed and incompetence all at the same time.

Laughing stocks indeed.

If they weren't so power hungry, so non transparent or so financially greedy, one might wish the fight was worth while. But it isn't....it just shows current appalling lack of governance of the City. This is such "silly season" nonsense.

How soon can we get rid of this outrageous group who haven't a clue about Land use; Vancouverites concerns about their proposal to change our City with no input from residents (heights/views). They do not yet see how empty Bike Lanes anger Vancouverites who see them as a symbol of outrageous spending while citizens suffer from the economic down turn.

The only question left to answer is....when will we peasants revolt?

Thank God we only pay them $60K/yr. If any director on any Board I've ever served on (for free,btw) conducted themselves like these (or past)Councillors the Chair would have had a quiet private chat with them. After that they either keep it zipped and stick to the script, or leave to pursue opportunities in the mindless blowhard sector.

The Thought of The Night

“I am fluent in six languages but I only lip read in one...thanks god it's English.”

I am not sure if anyone paid much attention to the video clip, but a subplot was unfolding right before your own eyes, during Carbon Cadman - Tim Stevenson pissing match. Yes, there was a subplot. A little drama was consummated behind David Cadman’s back.
The Half Million Dollars/per year Duo, were apparently under duress.

Penny Ballem’s seat pillow was missing!

Lip reading and body language techniques to the rescue!
This is what happened. Your hard cold cash at work...

FADE IN

0:32 sec
Penny Ballem (PB): ‘Someone sat in my chair. My pillow is gone! It was here before the break.’

0:37 sec
Mystery Woman (MW): ‘Something wrong your majesty?’

PB: ‘My puffy, cozy seat pillow is gone!’ (off camera) ‘I want my pillow, damn it. Heads will roll!’

1:03 min
Enters Aufochs Sadhu (AS): ‘God damn it, God damn it! How did it happen?’

MW: ‘I don’t know, I was out to make a personal call for less than a minute. Do you think Carbon here, has anything to do with it?’
AS: 'I hope he does!'

1:14 min
PB: ‘It was right here, I can still sniff it, my only present from Santa!’ (to the MW) ‘ Sit, look under the desk.’

1:30 min
PB: ‘I can take this anymore. I have to go for a smoke. Find it, or you'll be downsized due to budget constraints!’

1:34
MW (looking at the Pc screen, to AS): ‘Maybe I can go back in real time, on the CCTV security tapes and see the last 15 minutes.’

1:49
PB: ‘It was blue, with a white accent, ‘Pennies from Heaven’ was embroidered across.’
AS: ‘I’m looking, I’m looking.’

2:12 min
AS to PB: ‘Maybe Gregor is sitting on it. I’ll go check.’
PB: ‘I’ll go with you. He wouldn’t dare, would he?’

2:13 min
MW: ‘Glissando gives Penny advice again on City Caucus. I’ll have to print it out. Stupid pillow, oh look at me, look at me I'm the princess and I need my pillow. Witch!’

For the next four minutes all city manager’s aides are looking for The Pillow. A sniffing dog is due to make an appearance shortly, courtesy the VPD.

6:12 min
AS: ‘Boy it never ends. This Carbon stands on my nerves. The cameras are all over me now. Look busy, look busy, I’m getting paid here, god damn it, look busy, I like the money, look busy...’

6:27 min
AS: ‘Tz, tz, tz, Glissando again on City Caucus...’
MW: ‘Did you read that? Funny! Did she find her butt warmer?’

6:52 min
AS: ‘Oh, 'm suffocating in here! Efff...the meeting.I’m going to look for that pillow, and when I’ll find it I’m going to come back and pillow fight Cadman, that will stop him from being such a Primadonna, always on the look out for attention, god damn it!’

7:18 min
AS: ‘Aaaand, I’m back! Would have been nice to have a butt pillow to sit on, oh yeah! What am I going to do now, look busy, look busy, look to the left, agree with whatever the hell Cadman is saying...’
MW(leaving): ‘Coffee, two sugar, one cream, shot of bourbon?’

8:00 min
AS (looking to his right): ‘Now look to the right, hold it, hold it, done. Check your tie knot. Where the hell is that coffee?
AS: ‘Thanks god, it’s over. I could not have kept a straight face for another second. I’m getting myself a butt pillow tomorrow. And I’ll sit behind Chow, he doesn’t complain that much...less TV face for me...let’s see what Glissando is saying.’
FADE OUT

See? Another day, another buck at the City, oh well, another day, another thousand bucks...who's counting anyway?

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

LMAO!!Too funny Glissy.
The sad thing is that the City is paying those two and more like them to sit around for hours only for them to pick their favorite corner on the ceiling and shuffle the papers in front of them looking busy... pathetic.
BTW. It was hard to go back and forth (script to video), until it came to me :-) ... that I could open the video clip in Youtube and then minimize the screen area...now we're laughing!
Check Gregor Incrediboy grinning @ 2 min 18 sec. It's priceless.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDzF5aU8LnI
'Hard cold cash at work' you said it!

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