Vision pollster gets personal with questions about sexuality

Post by Mike Klassen in

79 comments


What's your income? How will you vote? Oh, and are you queer or straight?

It's called a push poll. That's when the pollster is trying to influence the person on the other side of the phone. What we know is that a company with direct ties to the office of Mayor Gregor Robertson has been asking residents in a West End neighbourhood how they will vote, the type of housing they have, their income level, and their sexuality – whether they're straight, gay/lesbian or bisexual.

That's what was revealed in a video release by West End Neighbours (WEN), who have been campaigning vigorously to stop a development by Westbank. The 14-minute agitprop production by WEN includes in its soundtrack the voices of a pair of Strategic Communications pollsters asking questions about the surrounding community about their knowledge of the STIR development.

Just past the 12-minute mark in the video comes the following questions:

(Voice of Stratcom pollster) Could you tell me the year of your birth?

What type of dwelling do you live in? Is it a single detached house, duplex or townhouse apartment? Do you own or rent it?

How long have you lived in the West End?

If a municipal Vancouver election were held today which party's candidates would you most likely vote for? COPE, NPA or Vision Vancouver? Okay, that was my next question, and you voted for Gregor.

Okay, then finally I'd like to ask about your sexual orientation. Do you consider yourself heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual?

For those who are not aware of who Strategic Communications are, it is a company started with funding from Joel Solomon's Renewal Partners, and it is owned and operated by perhaps one of the top people who have Gregor Robertson's ear, the media-shy Bob Penner.

Strategic Communications was listed as the number three largest donor in B.C. municipal politics according to a database created by the Vancouver Sun. "Stratcom" gave $85,321 to Vision Vancouver as of 2008. They are number two to only CUPE and Joel Solomon's Renewal Partners. Stratcom also conducted the poll leaked to former Vancouver Sun columnist Miro Cernetig early last year which said that Gregor Robertson had a 78% approval standing. Since that poll Robertson's popularity has plummeted to the low forties.

The developer is Westbank, who paid for the poll. It is standard practice for polling companies to request clients if they can add extra questions onto the survey. Why Westbank would need to know the voting preferences and the sexuality of people living near their proposed development? Westbank most likely was advised by Stratcom on that decision, who have an interest in building voter profiles on behalf of Vision Vancouver for the upcoming election.

One of the victims of Vision Vancouver's "divide and conquer" tactics over the West End STIR developments has been to pit the LGBTQ community against critics like WEN. West End Neighbours have raised the profile of this project to the stratosphere by collecting over 11,000 signatures of citizens opposed to the development. In order to garner favour for the development, the Qmunity queer resource centre have been promised new facilities within the Westbank development.

While the arrangements made with Qmunity might help to explain why the pollsters asked if people were heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual, these questions indicate a move by Vision Vancouver to enter "the bedrooms of the city" to locate supporters.

Former Prime Minister Trudeau, who famously spurned the idea that governments would enter the bedrooms of the nation, might be rolling in his grave.

Perhaps the most delicious part of the video is at the very end. Vision Vancouver city councillor Tim Stevenson, standing beside David "Carbon" Cadman and Vision candidate Aaron Jasper, during a 2008 campaign rally in the West End. Here's what Stevenson says that brings a cheer from the room:

What it's going to take is all of us together letting Sam Sullivan and the NPA know that we're not going any further down the road they've been going, and the developers are not going to make the West End into a Yaletown.

Well, of course, the NPA never had any plans to add more of this kind of development to our already dense West End like Tim suggests. And now it would appear that Stevenson has reneged on a campaign promise to boot.

We include a poll in this post which you can also link to here. We ask a simple question:

Are you concerned that a Vision Vancouver-linked polling company is asking peoples' sexual preferences?

+++

UPDATE: The West End Neighbours are now on "bulldozer alert," saying that if possible they will not allow Westbank to tear down St. John's Church. We've also learned that artist Tiko Kerr, who has publicly opposed the Westbank STIR project, has resigned from the Mayor's West End advisory committee. There have been no public statements by Kerr as to why he left the committee.

- post by Mike

79 Comments

Did anyone else notice that it is Andrea Reimer's voice doing the poll....does she work for the polling company, is that ethical?

Shameful how Vision panders for votes...Kerry Jang goes to council using the race card in response to the McLeans article on being too Asian... how is this different!!!

Shame on this group of fools...

I'm surprised residents weren't asked if they ride bikes..

Does anyone know how we can get on that bulldozer alert list... I'm available 24/7 put me on the call tree...

@George. I think you're right! I thought it sounded like Reimer. Jeez, is she moonlighting for Stratcom as a phone pollster?

The thing about having a visual impairment is you develop other skills, mine is voice inflections and mannerisms... Andrea has a very identifiable voice pattern and conversation rhythm...

As someone who was a "victim" of this poll, I can confirm that the entire 25 minute experience was very unpleasant. I was shocked that a presumably professional polling company would engage in "research" that was so terribly slanted. The questions were based on incorrect information and were written to acheive particular outcomes for the client. Several of the questions I refused to answer as there was no reasonable way to do so. I think it is important that the City make it clear they will be disregarding this sham of a consultation tool should the results be presented to them as part of the rezoning application.

WestEnder1
can you tell me which night you received that call... I think they called me too but I refused to participate after asking the caller if it had anything to do with Vision... problem being I don't live in the West end... saved the # just in case...

@ Westender

I do not participate in polls or telephone surveys.

I thank them and hang up.

Now, the next question, where did they get the phone numbers from - any chance they lifted them from the STIR petition?

How many people with unlisted numbers got called?

I believe it was Saturday October 23rd - I recall that I was starting to prepare dinner at the time. I also recall that by the time the pollster was finished I was shaking and exhausted because the tone and format of the survey were so upsetting.

Merriam Webster defines "discriminate" as follows:
1. transitive verb - to mark or perceive the distinguishing or peculiar features of
2. intransitive verb - to make a difference in treatment or favor on a basis other than individual merit

Working from the intransitive, I am not to discriminate in my public dealings based on race, creed, colour, gender or sexuality. Such data as that polling sexual preferences is of no value unless to discriminate or otherwise elevate one subsection of society at the expense of another. Why then is any firm allowed to collect data on any of the aforementioned? Such data serves no useful purpose, as it can only be used to discriminate (intransitive)

Does anyone smell a double standard?

Of course Westbannk is going to use "target segmentation" to try and divide and conquer WEN.

This is the kind of good neighbour policy they are promoting?? And of course they will divide and conquer by offering special interests groups (self appointed!) like Qmunity.

I hope the rest of the LGBT community in the West End let's Qmunity know that they don't speak for them.

The Thought of The Day

'Do I consider myself heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual?...Yeah but no but yeah but no but...'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxifmyYcOws&feature=related

I truly hope one day, Vision pollsters will get Vicky Pollard on the phone...yeah but no but yeah but no but...and so, their family will be reunited.

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Why does the title of this post read 'Vision pollster gets personal...' when it was not a vision poll?

I mean....come on you guys.... The question is ridiculous and it is dumb that they ask, but try being honest in your slamming of vision. It's not like it's hard to do it honestly....

Max, I signed the petition and put down my mobile number but did not get the call by Stratcom.

Mike, I love the irony of putting a survey poll in your piece to determine whether people think it's appropriate for a politically connected polling company to collect information on people's sexuality. ROFLMAO

I've been curious for some time how agents of the latest marketing hype "social change" have gone about undertaking such an ethereal endeavor and how they target their message.

What's clear from above, is anyone in the "social change" business associated with Solomon/Vision/Westbank/Stratcom does so unethically.

Questions to them: how gullible do you think people are?

And, how gullible are you?

@boo
listen very carefully to the woman's voice... very carefully...very very very carefully,compare it to video clips of council meetings..
remember thou that doth protest too loudly...who are you kidding boo!

@Glissy.. that clip was so funny!!

Incidentally, I just visited Jonathan Ross' site to see if he was doing any dirty trashing of Vancouver citizens again on behalf of Gregor's staff.

Nothing since Jan. 6. What happened, did the payola get cut?

Listened to the video and I was taken back that one of the male voices sounded so much like you Mike.

So the video I assume was done for West End Neighbours?

I'm not certain that asking in a poll whether a person is gay or straight is that bad. What was odd is that they didn't ask if you were lesbian, gay, transgender or straight. Especially if they were attempting to define their potential market.

I still oppose this development.

Wow Dennnis, I was just thinking about Ross today - God only knows why....

My guess, after City Caucus outed him as a paid Vision blogger, they severed ties.

Now, will they dump Reimer since she has been outed as the voice behind the poll.....

Can't wait to hear her explanation for that one!

Ha! @Jamie Lee. Can you imagine me and Andrea Reimer sitting in Stratcom's phone banks together? Wouldn't that be fun! Yes, perhaps Westbank are using the info to find out who wants to rent one of their cubby holes.

@Dennis. Yes, we have a survey about a survey. To my knowledge Polldaddy is not providing us with user data, IP addresses, etc. We've used this tool for quite some time and haven't discovered that feature, but I'm pretty sure PD doesn't tell you the sexuality of your respondents.

@ Max
credit where credit is due... that was AGT that outed CivicScene and FD Element, you and I had this conversation just recently... Sept 8th and Sept 9th respectively were the disclosure dates :-)
Sorry Mike no disrespect.

Except that the work they do is on behalf of (from the stratcom.ca homepage):

non-profits, advocacy groups, unions and political candidates become more effective in their work, and as a result create a positive impact in our local and global communities.

Interesting given the head of the organization is an advisor to gregor, no?

On their "Our Values" page they list:

Professional ethics: Our staff practices the Code of Ethics in Professional Practice of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. We believe in donor-centered, ethical fundraising; all of our charges are fee-based, not commission-based. Our Consultants are members of the American Association of Political Consultants and the Marketing Research & Intelligence Association and adhere to their ethical codes. We have been nominated for the Ethics in Action Business Award for our commitment to socially responsible and ethical work practices.

I believe a complaint is in order for submission to any of the above.

I suppose that if Westbank either wanted to
a) target a certain sub group for inclusion in their project or
b) target a certain subgroup for exclusion from their project,

then yes- I could see how one could accept a poll that attempts to discriminate accordingly (in the truest, ie. Mirriam - Webster intransitive sense of the word).

If however you want to live in a world that does not discriminate (neither for nor against any subgroup) then you might find the question uncomfortable (a nice way of saying frickin inappropriate to the point of heinous).

The question - not allowed in many work environments - is offensive - period.


@Mike

Love it! :-D

@ George:

My apoligies to both, and yes, I do believe credit be given where credit is due.

I think I am somewhat distracted by the report on the mass slaughter of huskies up at Whistler.

My heart hurts for those poor animals, and I wish a world of hurt on those involved.

Why do I think those 100 huskies will get more ink and community attention than three men dieing tragically in a flophouse fire in East Van. That's the state of media affairs in our animal obsessed world.

ps I'm a dog lover so no nasty comments please

I just did a StatsCan poll that was a result of someone calling me at home. It was about health care. They asked me about my sexuality. Is or is that not legal? I told them I am homosexual. Maybe I shouldn't have. I certainly didn't have to answer the question and I doubt anyone else would be required to respond to such a question in any poll. Just another perspective. Perhaps I'm not terribly paranoid about Big Brother.

@statscanperson thanks for the different perspective, but with all due respect, I think a poll on health care would be a little different than a poll on developers and housing, would it not.

@Jim

There are a great many of us that have spoke out and are still speaking out against what we believe could have been an avoided tragedy at Pandora house and what looks like a cover-up.

With the Huskies, it is just unbelievable in this day and age, and with groups that will take and rehabilitate these dogs that something so barbaric could take place. It is surreal. It is something none of us could even imagine or would think of happening. And for the current owner to state that they though a certain number of the dogs would be humanely euthanized is just another cold slap in the face, as if to justify actions that have been take. I can't even wrap my mind around it.

One tragedy does not take from the other - both need to be dealt with.

Both need groups to speak for them and let those 'in charge' know we will not accept this knuckle dragging behaviour, lazier fair, attitude toward life.

It is not acceptable. Not at all.

@ Max
Apologies to Mike for being off topic, I felt this was an interesting point to bring to the table...
REALITY CHECK: BC SPCA’S FUNDING SLASHED BY B.C. LIBERALS
by Rob Fleming on Monday, January 31, 2011 at 2:20pm

In response to this morning’s revelation of the killing of as many as 100 sled dogs in Whistler, this reality check went out today, showing how the B.C. Liberals have steadily reduced funding to the BC SPCA, despite the society’s legislated mandate to promote animal welfare and investigate incidents of animal cruelty

Jan. 31, 2011

REALITY CHECK: BC SPCA’S FUNDING SLASHED BY B.C. LIBERALS

The B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) is the body which conducts cruelty investigations of pet and wild animals in British Columbia.

Despite being the only organization with the provincially legislated mandate to investigate cruelty complaints, the BC SPCA receives no direct funding from the B.C. Liberal government.

The B.C. Liberals have steadily reduced the amount of funding to the BC SPCA.

Direct funding

- From the late 1990s, the BC SPCA received an annual grant of $71,500. The money was directed toward training for special constables. Special constables are the officers which conduct cruelty investigations.

- The grant was cancelled after the 2009 election.

Gaming grants

- The B.C. Liberals have steadily cut gaming grants to the BC SPCA since 2003.

- In 2003, the society received $475,000.

- That number dropped to $407,000 in 2005, then to $325,000 in 2006.

- Since 2007, the society has received $250,000. That figure represents about 10 per cent of what the BC SPCA has spent on animal cruelty investigations annually, and roughly one per cent of the society’s annual budget.

- The society has not yet received a commitment for gaming grants beyond the 2010/2011 fiscal year.

The BC SPCA

- A registered charity under the Societies Act, the BC SPCA receives the bulk of its income from donations and community contracts.

- The society conducts thousands of cruelty investigations each year, while operating 37 branches across B.C.

George,

As much fun as it is to listen to two voices and draw meaningless conclusions, the simple fact is this headline is misleading. It's not the first time this blog has intentionally misrepresented something. It's disappointing that the authors feel the need to aim for the bottom and as I said, not necessary given the ease at which you can find honest fault with this current government.

@ boohoo:

What is misleading about this headline?

Was there not a question about sexuality which I still am not sure is legal or not.

And the fact that Andrea Reimer has been identified as s the voice behind the poll is more even more distrubing.

As a paid City Councilor and city representative, she should have a hands off approach to any polling they, Stratcom, or Vision are conducting.

Otherwise, this poll is tainted and disputable.

Not sure what you mean by a misleading headline. I've read it over 20 times and it looks pretty accurate to me. Maybe get your prescription checked boohoo. I think you might be suffering from permanent blurred "vision" that needs corrective eyewear.

Still can't get over that a developer feels it necessary to ask people how they are going to vote and who they are sleeping with in order to build a tower. This all seems so incredibly bizarre to me. Doesn't pass the sniff test.

Boo
with all due respect,
I find your back handed insults toward fellow commentators condescending,and cheap. I think it is unfair of you to characterize our conclusions as meaningless.

Are your conclusions or flippant offerings the only ones that are valid, because that is the way you are coming across.

It is very difficult to take you seriously, that is why you are constantly accused of being a Visionista...deflection is your game.

Could I have some clarification please which title are you referring to, the one on this thread or the report on SPCA funding ?

What on Earth is a sitting city councillor doing polls for a developer? Maybe this is her night job?

WEG
can you say conflict of interest..

Ok, we'll break it down.

Was this poll commissioned by Vision representing Vision? Was it paid for by Vision?

I think maybe even Mike is confused cause his headline blares out 'Vision pollster gets personal...' but in his little poll it says 'Vision Vancouver-linked polling company'

So which is it? Vision? Or a company that's done business with vision?

Guilt by association is a lot different than guilt.

Let me break it down for you boo..

Vision Councilwomen Andrea Reimer asking questions on a poll misrepresenting herself as an impartial pollster for a company commissioned by developers the company Westbank owned by Ian Gillespie known pal of Jim Green of Vision fame...

Said Councilwomen asking questions of sexual orientation that aren't even allowed on a job application.. you connect the dots boo..

IMPARTIAL, ETHICAL POLL I THINK NOT!

Who is deflecting now George?

Is it a Vision poll, or is it a poll done by a company with ties to Vision?

Big difference.

As for Reimer, is that true or is it just idle speculation?

Both, they are one in the same.

Boohoo, if Vision wanted to 'get away with this poll' they would have left out the obvious, including the voice-over by Reimer.

If there were doubts as to links between the two, Stratcom and Vision, I would suggest that the blurred line is now vision clear.

oh sorry forgot one thing....

several Council meetings ago Aaron Jasper said to Raymond Louie....referring to a conversation held between them before said meeting....

"What goes on in the family stays in the family" I'd say this poll fits into Vision's incestuous idea of family/developer/poll company....

no boo not idle speculation... you never know who you are trolling with... do you?

Max,

I ask again, is that actually her or just blog rumour mongering?

Guilt by association is ok with you eh? Fine line my friend...

boo

1.
deflecting present participle of de·flect (Verb)
1. Cause (something) to change direction by interposing something; turn aside from a straight course.
2. (of an object) Change direction after hitting something: "the ball deflected off his body". More »
Merriam-Webster - The Free Dictionary

â–ºno deflection on my part, I'm right on point here... never wavering from my opinion...

I guess I don't George, please enlighten me.

You have yet to answer a very simple question. Is this poll through vision? Or a company that's done business with vision?

Deflect, in contrast to divert, implies a turning (as by bouncing, refracting, or ricocheting) from a straight course or a fixed direction

one and the same my friend...

Answer to your question friends with benefits..

obviously you are a lousy poker player....

Right.

Two simple questions. No answers. Thanks for coming out.

Like I said, it's a shame Mike feels he needs to 'manipulate' shall we say, the facts to prove a point. Pretty pathetic given that finding honest factual fault with vision is still like shooting fish in a barrel.

Must be election time!

A quick listen to Reimer on a number of Youtube clips suggests to me that despite some similarities there's not much chance it's the same voice on the clip linked to in this article.

Although I note that George appears to have downgraded his assessment from a statement of fact in comment #1 to it now being an 'opinion'.

Some actual proof would settle the question... or even some examples of similar instances.

Of course, the real question is why would Vision bother? There's no advantage to be gained by using a councillor for this v/o work and an obvious downside w/r/t the credibility of the poll. Hard to imagine why the polling company would agree to such an arrangement, or even why the client would ask for it. Someone would have to come up with credible answers to those issues before I'd give the theory serious consideration.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BviJ8nJxOI

...same voice, same silly antics, same inflections.... same lapse of judgment, maybe , maybe not...everyone can judge for themselves..

You can fool some of the people some of the time.. but you can't fool all of the people all of the time...

Sometimes in life when we try to deflect, we piss off someone willing to have the tenacity to keep digging..

bring out the back team... deflect deflect deflect...

Your:

"Still can't get over that a developer feels it necessary to ask people how they are going to vote and who they are sleeping with in order to build a tower. This all seems so incredibly bizarre to me. Doesn't pass the sniff test."

is not all that surprising Craig. It fits the pattern. Remember last week's press conference with the Director of Planning sitting side by side with the developer of the Shannon Mews rezoning proposal. Sniff sniff.

Perhaps Andrea would like to talk with Mike and go on the record in regards to the allegations then. Was she or was she not asking the questions that are on that video?

And Boo, if Mike had said "Vision POLL gets personal with questions about sexuality" then you would have a leg to stand on. He said "Vision POLLSTER gets personal with questions about sexuality."

He then proceeded in the article to explain how Strategic Communications are connected to Gregor and Vision. He made his point crystal clear.

Just because you don't like the headline, doesn't mean it's wrong.

As someone who was "polled" I am reasonably comfortable that the "pollster" was a typical poorly-paid, poorly-informed call centre worker and not anyone currently on City Council, Vision or otherwise. (The only levity during the survey was when I challenged a question and the pollster responded "Yeah, that is a pretty bad question...") I think this line of dicussion is distracting from some other important issues. What was surprising in participating in the survey was how badly worded the questions were - it became evident that the survey was designed to produce a particular outcome, not to truly measure the opinions of those affected by the development. It is highly inappropriate in my opinion that a very well-funded company be permitted to engage the community in this way on a property subject to an active rezoning application. As a result, I hope the findings of this flawed survey will not be used by the City in their decision process for the site.

I agree with you Westender1 your pollster probably was as you described... but the fact remains that the voice in question, on this video does not pass the conflict of interest test.

as noted by another, Reimer does need to come forward and deny that it was her on this video....but the silence to take words from boo...is deafening.

Asking someones sexual preference IMO is relevant here, as it mines for information to target for votes.

Taken directly from Stratcom website

Targeting doesn’t just mean more phone contacts; it also means varying the type of contact you have with voters. It may mean a more persuasive call that is either positive towards your candidate or negative towards your opponent. It could mean more targeted direct mail, targeted candidate canvass, broadcast messages and more paid canvass to supplement volunteer efforts. These tools are all elements of an effective strategy and they should be used more often.

Getting out the vote

You will be missing a key opportunity in your election campaign if you focus on getting out the vote effort only on election day. Many voters are not home on election day from the time when they leave in the morning right up until when the polls close.


At Stratcom, we don’t just offer a suite of high-quality professional services. We will create a strategy to win your campaigns. Our specialty is knowing how to integrate all the necessary elements of research and communications to achieve victory – whether you’re running for office, advocating for social change, or pushing to win new government policies.


The last sentence for me, says it all.

Paul,

I don't know how many times I have to explain myself. I don't care about vision. I don't care about the NPA. I think our whole system is bs because it dominated by political bs like this post and subsequent comments.

I don't like the headline because it's misrepresentative of the facts. Not because it's right leaning or left leaning or whatever other bs political paradigms you want to throw out there.

I mean look at you guys. 'Hey that sounds like a councillor'. 'Yeah, it kinda does'. and then a few posts later we have max stating 'the voice has been identified as Andrea Reimer's'. Oh really? When did that happen? Is it too much to ask for some simple facts?

"Reimer does need to come forward and deny that it was her on this video....but the silence to take words from boo...is deafening."

It's my understanding that in Canada we put the burden of proof on the accuser. And usually that proof requires more than idle speculation.

Maybe we should see if Reimer floats too?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fr8DIg3oHFI

Putting any anti-Wiccan sentiments aside for a moment, here is the full text of the survey from Stratcom, as posted by the West End Neighbours:

http://westendneighbours.wordpress.com/sets-the-record-straight/strategic-communications-survey/

Out of interest, how does anyone think this would have played out publicly if instead of the final question being

"I’d like to ask your sexual orientation? Heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual?", it asked

"Are Black, Jewish, Chinese, Irish or Mexican?"

In the meantime, I suggest someone take a weigh scale and a duck to the next council meeting to conduct a little weigh-in. If you can't scare up a duck, perhaps a chicken will do.

@boo.

"I think maybe even Mike is confused cause his headline blares out 'Vision pollster gets personal...' but in his little poll it says 'Vision Vancouver-linked polling company'"

I'd like to suggest that when you have one of your top donors and political advisers doing communications work on one of your key policy planks (STIR) and you ask questions that do not have anything to do with the success of a housing dev't (such as are you gay? and how will you vote?) that Vision Vancouver has direct involvement in this questionnaire.

That is what I assert and it would be great to have Westbank or Stratcom explain what their strategy was with this push poll.

As for the Reimer soundalike, maybe that's why she was hired ;-)

Mike- re your comment about the poll :
"you ask questions that do not have anything to do with the success of a housing dev't (such as are you gay? and how will you vote?)"

With all due respect, in the minds of whoever developed the poll the question has A GREAT DEAL to do with how successful the housing development may be. The poll identifies reactions to some hypothetical amenities a developer may propose in exchange for higher density, something most developers want and crave (and sometimes need for financial viability of a project).

If you read the questions (and I posted a link previously) Stratcom strategy reveals itself. See the following series of questions that were being asked (I have edited for brevity - SR standing for the interviewer):


SR: Now I’ll read you a list of some amenities which Westbank might be required to provide in exchange for its proposal being approved.... The first one, a community space for Qmunity, BC’s Queer Resource Centre. Would you support or not support that amenity?

Some 16 questions later.....

SR: Next statement will be “Existing discretionary zoning already allows a 20-storey building. The new rental housing and the Qmunity space, which will be created in exchange for allowing the extra two stories and the floor space are well worth it.” So would that statement make you more or less favourable to the proposal?

Some 7 questions later ....
SR: And “In order for the development to be approved, the developer may be asked to provide the West End with community space for Qmunity and Gordon Neighbourhood House, including a day care centre.” Would that statement make you more or less favourable to this proposal?

The developer wants to know whether provision for a Gay-Oriented Resource Center would garner enough support in the community to allow it to add density (at least two floors). There is a recognizable strategy being played out by the developer and the communications company, and Vision is the power broker they are trying to appease. A major political supporter provides a community based amenity that a PR company demonstrates will appeal to a targeted subgroup that also supports the political agenda and in return the rezoning application will be looked at favourably.

Age old strategy. Beyond the usual developer playing the angles in order to ease opposition to rezoning, what creates the big smell is the discriminatory (intransitive verb) aspect that rises when a poll concludes by asking a personal question about the respondent's sexual preferences that are no one's business whatsoever.

Good piece though, and keep up the good work

Douglas, I don't disagree with your post, but feel compelled to comment on one aspect of it. You note:
"The developer wants to know whether provision for a Gay-Oriented Resource Center would garner enough support in the community to allow it to add density (at least two floors)."
But this is NOT about two extra floors. The developer has requested over 100,000 square feet of additional floor area beyond what is currently permitted by the zoning - a five times increase in the permitted floor area on this site. The phone poll was crafted to avoid this issue, and to intentionally mislead people about the trade-offs being made in exchange for the rezoning.
I'm very disappointed that the City allowed this situation to be created, and think they need to be playing a stronger role in the consultation process. Developers should be responding to a set of community priorities as outlined in a community plan - not going out and "beating the bushes" to create support for a particular development formula that suits their purposes.

Unbelievable!
The only time when robertson, reimer, meggs, you know...Vision in general, are making so much noise and getting their names into the news is when they shit where they eat or vice-verso. It works like a charm every time! However, despite their diverse group of hetero-bi-homosexuals...from Hollyhock they are too kosher for my shirt.

I agree. Your last sentence is excellent and sums up a growing problem. The City of Vancouver seems to have abandoned a 'Community Plan' and replaced it with a 'Vision' (may the god of puns forgive me - I could not help myself).

FYI I work in the construction and development field myself, and the lack of an accepted community plan does lend for problems. The developer has a set of goals he or she wishes to attain. Sometimes a project must simply be a certain size or configuration just to be feasible. I applaud the original intent of planners to provide incentives to developers (density, height and parking relaxations come to mind) in exchange for some true tangible community benefit. It tries to tie development to a win-win situation.

However, the lack of an accepted neighbourhood community plan has led to spot rezoning, a process which lacks vision with a small 'v'. The resulting implied or perceived interference with or bypassing of time-honored planning processes by our elected officials and their moneyed backers does not appear to serve the community or the city well, as it treats urban growth opportunistically.

It also sounds like my aunt Martha, but last I checked, Andrea Reimer isn't my aunt Martha.

I know councilors get paid a modest salary relative to the time commitment they put in for the never ending meetings and events they take part in. Some, like Andrea, get supplemental income for sitting on metro Van committees which take up up even more time.

Given all that, I hardly think Andrea would have the time, inclination or the desire to risk being exposed, of all things, for taking on a moonlighting gig as a pollster calling residents of the West End.

However it's quite clear to me that if you can't connect the dots on this one between Vision, Stratcom and Westbank, then in the very least those dots are so big to the point of rubbing up against each other at fundraisers and social events.

Westbank is a donor to Vision through shell companies that are established for individual developments. Councilor Louie indicated in council that the STIR program is their "hand out" to their "partners" the development community - an incentive I would add, was crafted by the development industry.

On Stratcom's website it's quite clear they are aervicing left-leaning, non-profit, political organizations. They don't list one single private for profit organization, or indicate anywhere that they do. That's not to say Stratcom would turn down a contract, but why would Westbank hire a polling company with no specialization in the development industry?

Vision Vancouver donor Westbank hires the Stratcom organization by coincidence to conduct an unethical push poll regarding their particular rezoning proposal that benefits from Vision's STIR policy, which by coincidence is an organization that was supported by Joel Solomon funding, which by coincidence Stratcom was also an advisor/supporter of Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver.

All just to figure out whether people would want to rent as Mike put it, cubicles in the West End?

All by coincidence. How about that.

Thank you Douglas and Westender1, couldn't have said it better myself.

Personally I like your coincidence theory. And I still think Oswald was good for the Kennedy assassination, by the way. LOL - cheers !

Who said anything about the NPA boohoo? I just said "Just because you don't like the headline, doesn't mean it's wrong." Nowhere did I make mention that you don't like the politics behind it.

You seem to think it's inaccurate. However as I said, it's extremely accurate. So the only explanation for your negativity is that you don't like the headline. You must either think it's sensational or over dramatic. Regardless of that, it's still not incorrect.

Paul & Mike,

Why is it 'vision pollster' in one place and 'vision linked polling company' somewhere else.

Simple question. No answer.

Sorry if I want actual information rather than inference, heresay, rumour and speculation. I don't like the headline because it's contradictory to the story. It's either one or the other, which is it?

You got an answer before boohoo. You're now just trolling AGAIN. Good day.

No Paul, I didn't. I was told it looks bad, connecting the dots is easy, they are buddy buddy so you know it's obvious, etc...

While that might be true, it's not an answer, nor is it fact. I'm continually surprised at how comfortably people are willing to just accept as fact blog rumours.

FACT:
Stratcom is polling West End Residents with respect to their political and sexual preferences

TO QUOTE:
SR: Just a few a questions here so we can group your responses with those of other people.

- If the Vancouver municipal election were held today, which party or candidates would you most likely vote for? COPE, NPA, or Vision Vancouver?

- Did you vote for Gregor?

- I’d like to ask your sexual orientation? Heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual?

The rest may just be merely remarkable coincidences (thank you Dennis O'Bell). But hey Boo -is the headline so off-putting to you that you can't get past it? I'd be more concerned about vested interests probing peoples political and sexual preferences? Or are you one of the people who doesn't have a problem with that kind of probing?

boohoo,

It appears boohoo that you are willing to ignore the egregiousness of what facts are presented, choosing instead to focus on the minutia of a possessive noun in a title despite the fact that at one point in the past, and possibly present and future, Stratcom was a VISION POLLSTER. All things considered, would it make things all better to move on to the substance of the piece upon Mike adding an "apostrophe ess" ('s) after 'Vision' in the title?

Is it reasonable to you that by happenstance a developer hires a non-profit and politically connected strategic polling company with no business to speak of servicing the private sector, nevermind the development industry, who happens to be partnered with Renewal Partners for seed capital, to conduct a push poll asking people about their income and sexual preferences? Is it reasonable?

And in your answer can I suggest that you attempt to address more than just semantics?

Dennis...lol,

It's a very simple question I've asked. Still, no response.

They have worked for vision in the past. Ok, does past associations = current guilt?

It doesn't matter what I think is reasonable, whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Thank you boohoo,

Frankly it's refreshing to see more conceptual value being brought to the discussion than what is typically expected, which as I've interpret from what you've written before: the political party system for municipal elections is flawed, and why should we expect the next government to act any different?

Seeing as how the cynic card is not being played in this one instance for a change, let's explore,

"does past associations = current guilt?"

Well given the poll is a manifestation of the efforts to push through this development under the auspices of a Vision/developer city policy (STIR), in this instance yes, my opinion is that past associations = current guilt.

And on a side note, I suspect the judges and lawyers involved with the Bacon brothers would be interested in looking at "past associations" in their particular instance too.

Right Dennis, the history of the Bacon brothers would be very relevant but prior to them being found guilty they are alleged to have done this or that. Innocent until proven guilty. That's been my point the whole way along. This headline and nearly every subsequent comment has tried, convicted and executed based on nothing but past associations.

Sorry, not good enough.

What's funny is you bring up my cynicism about the system yet I'm the one defending the process! I guess I'm an equal opportunity cynic while most posters here aren't :)

BOO says: "This headline and nearly every subsequent comment has tried, convicted and executed based on nothing but past associations"

I agree with Mr. O'Bell that the dots appear to connect up well. As this is a conversation about civic affairs, there is no way to avoid the conversation straying towards that pattern of dots. However I am concerned that so few people would speak up about the line of questioning employed by Stratcom at the end of the survey.

Boo - you have not commented on whether a company has the moral right to gather information on any given individual's sexual preference (the CONTENT of the story). Do you have any opinion on the latter questions (voting and sexual preference) asked by the research company?

Do you believe that marketing companies are entitled to solicit information that government previously declared as none of its business? Do you believe the obtaining of such information to be vital to the financial viability of a development project? Would you care if the final question of the survey had been altered to ask "Are you a Jew" ? Does any of this bother you?

Past associations are germane to how this push poll took place in the manner that it did.

With an advance indication from the city, Westbank bought 1401 Comox proposing to rezone and build under Vision's STIR policy. The Vision STIR policy was created in consultation with the development industry which included Westbank. Westbank hires Vision political advisor, and polling company Stratcom, who crafts a public response from polling favourable to the STIR development. Westbank donates to Vision. Stratcom donates to Vision.

But let's ignore all that and talk about a possessive noun.

Again,

Dennis, I agree past associations are important. But this headline assumes that past associations = current guilt. That's inaccurate and just leads to more speculation. Notice how easily people believed it was a sitting councillor doing the calling? I note that accusation has vanished.

Words matter Dennis. They make a big difference.

douglas,

While I appreciate your interest in my opinion on the subject, I've already given it repeatedly.

Sorry Boo , I re-read all the comments and not once can I find a comment by you regarding the pertinent question that inspired Mike Klassen to write the blog:

"While the arrangements made with Qmunity might help to explain why the pollsters asked if people were heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual, these questions indicate a move by Vision Vancouver to enter "the bedrooms of the city" to locate supporters."

You said you gave your opinion repeatedly, but you have never commented on the essential question that inspired the piece. Have you an opinion about anything other than the pronoun problems in the headline? You say words matter - you are right. So do labels. And Stratcom is classifying and labelling people in a manner that must have bothered Mr. Klassen enough to write about it. Personally I believe it a most important question, as such an approach lends itself to abuse if the information is then used against the sub-group at a later date. And so again I ask:

Do you agree with polling companies identifying, labelling and differentiating their respondents on the basis of their sexual orientation?

I hate to repeat the question again (and won't after this time) , but your replies have not once touched on it, and I am very inclined to agree with those who believe your modus operendi is to deflect and avoid specific questions.


PS - if it makes things easier, let's try taking one word out of the headline, so it reads:
"pollster gets personal with questions about sexuality"
Would that headline garner a response?

douglas,

My very first post. I don't think you tried very hard.

"I mean....come on you guys.... The question is ridiculous and it is dumb that they ask, but try being honest in your slamming of vision. It's not like it's hard to do it honestly...."

There you go.

You claim I'm avoiding direct questions? lol!

Indeed you did. My bad for not picking that up - sorry.

I got incensed with the comments becoming focussed on the pollster's connections and away form what to me is such an important point- the impropriety of any pollster (regardless of political affiliation) compiling data based on sexual preference. Not that the affiliation and connections aren't an issue (they are, and I would throw my hat in with Mr O'Bell there) but the nature of the probe bugs the hell out of me.
Cheers

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