Stuart, I hope you run again

Post by Mike Klassen in

8 comments

2009_stuart_mackinnon I was not entirely surprised to read the quote from Green Party park commissioner Stuart Mackinnon in the Vancouver Courier yesterday. Mackinnon told reporter Sandra Thomas:

"I'm not saying I won't, but I've found the last couple of years discouraging," Mackinnon told me last week.

Mackinnon is unsure whether he was more effective as a resident with a keen interest in parks and recreation or as a commissioner wading through the bureaucracy that comes with the position.

"I need to decide where I can be the most effective," said Mackinnon, noting his top priority is his job as a special education teacher.

As of this week Stuart says he isn't sure if he'll run again. I hope that he does.

I've only met Stuart a couple of times, and have had coffee with him once last spring. I know that we don't agree politically on a number of issues. But I'm absolutely convinced that Stuart is an excellent representative for our parks.

Through the benefit of our discussions, reading his words and following his conduct on the Park Board, I know that Stuart is driven by passion for parks. He is young, honest, smart, and puts principle ahead of his own ego. People like him in public life are sadly in short supply, which is why I encourage him to commit to run again.

A possible reason for Stuart's frustration with Vancouver politics I believe has to do with the bad hand he got dealt by Vision Vancouver. The Green Party was once the home of Mackinnon's friend Andrea Reimer, a one-term school board trustee. The Greens, COPE and Vision decided to make room for each other on combined slates in 2008, in order to take power away from the weakened NPA.

Stuart became the only Green Party candidate elected. While he tried to work collaboratively with all members of the Park Board, when he voted against Vision's budget cuts, the knives came out. Last July it turned ugly, with Aaron Jasper issuing a press release attacking Mackinnon's character.

One of the bright sides of Mackinnon's work at Park Board has been how well he has collaborated with NPA commissioner Ian Robertson. There have been rumblings among backroom types on whether the NPA might leave a spot open for the Green Party's Mackinnon on the 2011 slate.

To me, it's a no-brainer.

While Stuart may take a few different positions than his NPA colleagues, my guess is there will be more that brings them together than separates them when it comes to supporting our parks.

Stuart Mackinnon has been a strong advocate for Vancouver's parks, and a great elected representative. I hope Stuart runs again in 2011.

- post by Mike

8 Comments

Speaking of staying put - this just up.

Councillor wants to continue fight against homelessness
VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980)
Jordan Armstrong | Email news tips to jordan.armstrong@corusent.com
2/10/2011


Kerry Jang has taken his eyes off Victoria.

The Vision Vancouver Councillor says he's now made up his mind, and would rather stay at City Hall, "After seeing the housing report and how far we've come over the last two years, I think that if re-elected, I can continue that work and get us over the top and end homelessness."

Jang had been considering offers from the NDP to run in the next Provincial Election.

"Progress on homelessness?" Sure, Raymond. Here's my response to that in this week's 24 column:

http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/Columnists/CityCaucus/

I think you mean 'Jang'.....

But, it is also up on CKNW that Louie plans on staying at the hall as well.

I would echo that sentiment, and also encourage Stuart to stay on as a valued member of the Park Board. He is a great Commissioner, knowledgable about all aspects of Park Board programs and policies, and a great individual to deal with in person. He cares about Vancouver, and about continuing the amazing tradition of preserving our parks and environmental heritage for our children.

The public and city need Stuart's continued presence and participation.

I concur with you Mike. Stuart is a fine Commissioner and has represented not only the interests of our parks and recreation facilities well, but all citizens of Vancouver. I too encourage Stuart to stay on. Particularly if there is, hopefully going to be a number of new Commissioners, having a couple of voices of reasoned experience to help the newbies is important.

There are also a number of important opportunities and challenges this Vision Board has not had the foresight to deal with this term, and if Stuart continues to work well with Ian and the new Commissioners a lot can be accomplished. Wouldn't that be a satisfaction Stuart?

The problem I'm certain that Stuart MacKinnon realizes is that running again on his own as a Green Party rep without the backing of Vision or COPE means the chances of him being re-elected are greatly reduced.

Plus if the NPA were to leave a spot open for Stuart by running only 6 candidates for Park Board this may further screw his chances as those associated with COPE and Vision would not support anyone associated with the NPA.

Until the municipal electoral system changes with a publicly funded system with campaign spending limits no one associated with a smaller party or even Independents have a chance of winning.

Thanks for the kind words. Jamie Lee's analysis is probably accurate, however I would never base my decision to run again on whether I could win or not--elections are about ideas and presenting the people with a choice.

As I wrote in my last blog "My time on Park Board has had its disappointments--especially the nastiness of some of the other Commissioners in their personal attacks. I don't mind a good debate--in fact I long for it, as real debate has been conspicuous in its absence at the Park Board--but there should be no room for petty personal attacks. Parks and green spaces seem to have taken a back seat to other issues this term. The continuing cuts in services and programming due to budget constraints, and the lack of interest in the environment for most of this term have also been disappointing. Pet projects and political posturing have been the biggest priority it seems to me."

My decision will be based on where I think I can be most effective. Since both the Straight article and the Courier's I have had lots of people calling to urge me to run again or even to run for Council. I am heartened that so many people see the need for advocates of parks and green spaces on the Park Board. With a few months before a decision has to be made I have time to consider my options. I'll be sure to let you all know when I have made up my mind.

I agree with Stuart MacKinnon and I think an election is about putting forth ideas and presenting a platform which voters can vote on. I am hoping that Stuart runs again because he has brought forward issues which no other Commissioner has. That being said I hope Stuart runs as a Green Party representative with a few other Greens and that the Green Party secures a majority on Park board because Vision at the Park Board has been a disaster.

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