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