"Our mayor is failing us, and I can no longer stand by in good conscience"

Post by Mike Klassen in

5 comments

24hrs vancouver
Read Metro Vancouver's third largest daily – 24 Hours

This is my column from 24 Hours this week...

"I reached a turning point a few weeks back on hearing news about a tragedy...Our mayor is failing us, and I can no longer stand by in good conscience."

These are the words of NDP MLA Gregor Robertson as he announced on February 24, 2008 that he would be seeking the leadership of the Vision Vancouver party and would be running for the mayor's job.

According to his statement, Robertson's "turning point" arrived after the death of a homeless man named Darrell Mickasko, who had set himself alight trying to keep warm on a cold Vancouver night. Gregor even mentioned Mickasko in his inaugural speech.

In the early morning hours of December 22, 2010 three men sleeping on the back deck of an Eastside flop house on Pandora Street burned to death after a faulty electrical cord reportedly set some Christmas decorations ablaze.

Hours later on the evening of Dec. 22, Gregor Robertson posted the following message to his Twitter account:

"going offline till january. family time beckons. thanks for your 2010 tweets+comments. happy holidays all!"

Despite subsequent attempts by reporters to get the Mayor to make a public statement about what happened on Pandora Street, Gregor has remained silent.

There hasn't been even so much as a message of condolence to the families of the victims Garland McKay, Dwayne Rasmussen and Stephen Yellowquill.

You'd expect that someone who used the fiery death of a homeless man as his stated motivation for running for office might put off his vacation for a few hours when a similar tragedy happens under his watch.

But as we've seen continually, when the going gets tough, Robertson runs for cover.

After an outcry from critics and friends of the victims, a coroner's inquest was requested by city council. It would be a chance to clear the air of successive controversies surrounding the Pandora Street fire, such as the apparent dismissal of a senior property use inspector Carlene Robbins. Robbins is now suing the City of Vancouver.

However, when would the coroner's inquest take place? This is an election year, and rest assured no politician wants any controversy in the headlines during a campaign.

It turns out that decision was left to city manager Penny Ballem, the person Robertson handpicked for her job. It was Ballem's recommendation that got the inquest date moved to nine days after the 2011 election is over.

Some have asked whether the City's goal of keeping the "street homeless" count low trumped life safety concerns on Pandora Street. A coroner's inquest could have helped Vancouverites to answer this before heading to the polls.

As for Gregor Robertson's conscience; funny we don't hear so much about that anymore, eh?

- post by Mike. Follow @MikeKlassen & @24HoursVan on Twitter.

5 Comments

"Our mayor is failing us, and I can no longer stand by in good conscience"

I think that will be the rallying cry for THIS election....never has a mayor accomplished so little, or taken so much credit for work done by previous administrations.

Neither I, nor anybody here, voted for Penny Ballem. Yet everywhere I turn these days, there she is as the voice of Vancouver. Time to hand control of civic government back to elected representatives, and not some unelected, partisan bureaucrat.

Penny Ballem has an unwritten mandate. A complete conflict of interest with the city manager's role. This is straight from a reliable source. "Promote Robertson at any and all opportunities and shield Robertson from any bad news at all costs"

Both have to go. Back to whence they came. Robertson scamming free bus rides and Ballem to over-billing for consulting.

Oh wait, they're both doing that now! Gregor is scamming the voters by taking credit for previously negotiated deals, and Penny is scamming the taxpayer for around a million dollars by consulting to piss off every single city employee.

When they both go, we'll be saying, "tough eh".

Shame on you Mister Robertson for manipulating the date of the Coroner's inquest into the Pandora St tragedy. Holding this after the civic election is a crass political ploy that will surely become an election issue if the msm ever wake up. If I were the NPA I would be screaming blue bloody murder about this right up to election. STOP blaming the coroner and look in the mirror for a change!!

The Thought of The Night

"Penny to Gregor:'I'll have to carry you, and remember, you can't admit to anything. You're too pretty for Bastille!'"

Admission of guilt is not a crime, is an act of maturity. But for that you need to be a bigger man, a much, much bigger man.

And while Mark Emery is doing time in an American prison (why American is still a mystery to me)our politicians and highly paid bureaucrats are having a Free Run at our economy, at our resources, at our monies.

In Vancouver, 'Pandora' is only another dent in Vision's armour. Don Gregor de la Mancha is hiding inside, barely even blinking from fear, while his skinny Penny 'Rocinante' Ballem is galloping away in the sunset carrying her precious load. Don't they both make for an exquisite apparition?

Having said that, a question still lingers, when are they going to stop acting?

As Sancho 'Garr' Panza would say, while 'Don' boot shining ' There's no business like...SHOE BUSINESS.'

I say, these boots he's shining day in day out from the pages of his Vancourier rug, are ready and made for walking, so let's give it to them, let's walk them out!

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

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