GlobalTV's top story for Saturday features journalist Gary Mason on Patriot Hearts
For our readers who've not kept track of recent posts here on CityCaucus.com as well as other city stories hitting the wires, this is a sum up of the week's stories.
The week began with continuing blowback over the sudden departure of the City's Manager of Property Use Carlene Robbins. As media reports followed up on our breaking news story, we asked "Was Robbins pushed or did she jump?" Later in the week the Vancouver Courier's @Naoibh O'Connor confirmed what we reported earlier, that Robbins is suing the City of Vancouver. In my Thursday 24 Hours column I wondered aloud whether the City would once again use a confidentiality agreement to silence Robbins as they had done with Judy Rogers and Ark Tsisserev. The City is adament that Robbins quit and that her resignation came as a complete surprise to them.
At the beginnning of the week we also provided our analysis of another political race that may affect the make-up at City Hall – which NDP candidate will get Kash Heed's job? In our post, "Louie vs Jang: who will run for NDP in Vancouver-Fraserview?" we look at who wants to jump off the SS Vision before it hits the November 2011 iceberg.
Last Monday we reported on how the developer Westbank, currently in a dog fight with West Enders on a large STIR development, used Vision Vancouver pollster Bob Penner & Strategic Communications to conduct a push poll. The questions bordered on a massive invasion of personal privacy, slipping in questions about housing type, political voting choices and whether the respondent was gay or straight. You can bet all that data is being poured over by Mayor Robertson's handlers.
On the policy front, we waxed about whether Vancouver needs to build in guarantees against any future garbage strikes by considering essential service status to waste collection and landfill management, or look at contracting these services out. On another policy debate – whether we bring modest increases in height to the DTES – I shared my 24 Hours column which argues in favour of mixed development.
On Tuesday we were pleased and relieved to let our readers know that we had won not one but two challenges to the decisions by the City of Vancouver to restrict access to public information. One was the guest list of Vancouver House, which we are told will be released in its entirety without any names blacked out. The other was the amount paid to Sierra Systems consultants for their review of the circumstances around the Olympic Village. The public is still waiting to get a complete copy of the report conducted by Sierra.
We welcomed another detailed analysis by @FairQuestions Vivian Krause of Joel Solomon's activities about funding a variety of causes using money from US-based charities. And Daniel took Delta Mayor Lois Jackson to task for her idea of leaving Translink and using her city's task dollars to pay for her own transit system. Doesn't Translink operate the roads and transit that goes to Delta too? We don't think she wants to cut her city off from the rest of Metro Vancouver, does she? After all, she's only the Chair of the Metro Vancouver board.
Our coverage this week ended with the revelation by 24 Hours' @BobMackin and GlobalTV news that the new biography by St. John Furlong and journalist Gary Mason Patriot Hearts had some telling remarks by the former VANOC CEO about Mayor Gregor Robertson.
This week the message out of the Vancouver Mayor's office was all about how in only 2 years they're on the cusp of solving homelessness. Apparently they plan to do this using PowerPoint. In this week's council meeting about the subject, the City released a PowerPoint signed off by "PowerPoint Penny" Ballem (aka P-Cubed) only ten minutes before the council began discussion. So much for the media or the public to weigh in with a little advanced research, eh?
Yes, it sure feels like the majority of reports out of the Hall are being done in bullet form using one of the proprietary tools made by Microsoft that people still use. That the City continues to deliver these reports at the eleventh hour is something that a post-Vision government should commit to correcting.
Finally, @MichaelGeller has written copiously on the subject of housing and homelessness, and he's recently weighed in on his blog about the subject of rental housing. His post, and the 119-page report he refers to (yes, it's not a PowerPoint, hallejulah!), are worthwhile reading.
We're working on an analysis of the political spin coming from Mayor Gregor on the housing topic, which we'll be posting this week.
- post by Mike