Anton gets unanimous council support for moving up Pandora inquest

Post by Mike Klassen in ,


magee-tweetMagee unveiled (and just a little grumpy) – click for larger

Councillor Suzanne Anton stared down Mayor Robertson and the Vision/COPE council, and it looks like the governing party blinked. During Tuesday's meeting city council passed Anton's motion (with minor amendments) which urged council to request that the B.C. Coroner's office to reconsider staging the Pandora Street inquest AFTER the November election.

As media reported earlier, Gregor Robertson pointed the finger at the Coroner's office for the decision to hold the inquest post-election, which was influenced by City Manager Penny Ballem's recommendation. Robertson said repeatedly that it was the Coroner whodunnit, not City Hall.

If you think the vote to request moving the inquest prior to Election Day in November sat well with the Mayor's staff, just look at the tweet Chief of Staff Mike Magee blasted out on Tuesday evening:

NPA ignored death of Darrell Mickasko. Now try to exploit tragic fire on Pandora Street for political gain. Shameful.

You have to pity Darrell Mickasko. Not only did he have an extremely hard life and a tragic demise, he's been a continuous political prop for Gregor Robertson and his key adviser Mike Magee for over three years now. It was in February 2008 that Robertson first used Mickasko's name as an excuse to quit his MLA's job and run for mayor.

Now 37 months later Magee is once again using Mickasko's name for his social media cheap shot.

(At least the public can now see Mike's tweets, which he hid from public view until asked why the transparency-challenged Magee couldn't just let us all in on his musings.)

We agree with Anton that it's important to get the Coroner's inquest over with for the sake of those involved, and to answer important questions raised by the incident. Here's a copy of the release she emailed out tonight.

Vancouver council passes NPA motion to request Coroner to move Pandora Inquest prior to November election

Vancouver, BC – During Tuesday's Vancouver city council meeting, a motion put forward by NPA city councillor Suzanne Anton was passed unanimously to advise the B.C. Coroner's office that the City is now prepared to cooperate with the Pandora fire inquest prior to the November election. The motion was amended by Vision Vancouver but the intent remained the same.

Anton's motion noted that the Coroner suggested two dates to the City: October 28th, and November 28th. Mayor Robertson had supported the choice to hold the inquest after the election, claiming that staff would be too busy to participate during the civic vote.

"I'm glad that Mayor Robertson has reversed his previous position, but it would have been preferable if he had stepped in immediately when he learned the earlier date was available," says Coun. Suzanne Anton. "Shifting to the earlier date will help to close a chapter sooner for the family and community of the victims, Dwayne Rasmussen, Garland McKay and Steven Yellowquill."

"At the time of the tragedy, Vision councillors said there was nothing more which could have been done," says Anton. "A long-term staff member of the City who had been dealing with the issue left her job. Citizens deserve answers to these issues as well, and it is better to have them prior to the election if possible."

"It is important to know soon if the City can do anything to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future," adds Anton. "I look forward to hearing back shortly from the B.C. Coroner's office."

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- post by Mike. Follow @MikeKlassen & @CityCaucus on Twitter.


I think Mike Magee should
remember that when he is busy pointing a finger....there are always "three fingers" pointing back at himself, and in this case his political comrades...

It is time that politicians stop riding to office on the backs of the poor and the marginalized...

Very glad to see that the politics will be removed from the Pandora Street inquiry, and that due process will be served...

I wonder if Magee realizes the sad irony of his statement.

Had the city not ignored the obvious and documented issues at the Pandora property, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Kudos to Councilor Anton. At least someone is pushing for the right thing to be done by these men and their families.

Magee and Remier seem to have attended the same 'tweet' twit school of no grace and no morals.

Slight reorder to Mr. Magee's words.

"Vision exploited the tragic death of Darrell Mickasko for political gain. Now they ignore the fire on Pandora Street. Shameful."

I don't know why Mr. Magee thought it prudent to comment at all on this subject - other than to apologize for the mishandling by his Mayor.

Paul you captured exactly what I was thinking. Good on you! Magee's tweet show's his level of class.

I'm not sure if Vision is knowingly trying to mislead the public? Or are simply unaware they're doing it?

The sooner we have a civic election the better in my opinion. Kudos to Anton for keeping this issue at the forefront. New we need the coroner to do the right thing.

George, Max, Paul and Jason, this is an extremely marginal improvement.The mere possibility of starting the inquest earlier is hardly cause for celebration. Remember the BC Coroner's office is at this very moment under investigation by the provincial auditor-general for issues of timeliness (lack thereof to be more precise), effectiveness and independence. A petition and/or email campaign to our new solicitor-general Shirley Bond is surely in order at this time. Justice delayed is justice denied for the families of the three victims.
As for Mike Magee's "spin" it sounds more to me like twisting in the wind.

Great idea Gerry...

An email campaign to request a speedy resolve to this situation ...I know this will bring peace of mind and closure to the family...

I've just sent my email to the Minister. Let's hope she's listening! We owe it to the three men who died on Gregor's watch.

Really?! Seriously?! What was Mike Magee thinking when he wrote that?

Didn't he know that he would look like a partisan, mean spirited, semi-hysterical douche?

I guess not.

All that fake bonhomie that he projects, pretending he just wants to get to know ya.

Warning to all non Visionistas---there's nothing to talk to this guy about.

Unless you want it used against you later.


I've just sent my email to Minister Bond...

Please everyone send your email and post when you're done...send a message on behalf of the families of these three men that died on Pandora Street December 23 2010..

Send a loud message to Mike Magee, Vision and the Mayor....Lets support the families of these men.

Thanks to staff at the Towers of City Caucus for the forum..

I agree with AGT after reading Magee's tweet. He really is the Chief of Gaffe. He should think twice before sending out these kind of stupid and insensitive messages. And he's supposed to be progressive! Ha!

Spin this one for us Mr. Magee!?
Which City Hall non-believer will get thrown under the bus?
Or will they just try to pass the buck the same way every bureaucrat that was hounded did?
Will they blame it on the victim? (a supposedly speeding crotch rocket rider).

Dear Members,

As some of you know, there was a tragic traffic accident outside our gates on SW Marine Drive at Kullahun Drive last Thursday. Many of you have voiced your concerns regarding the danger at this location resulting from the parking on SW Marine Drive. We wanted to send out a short notice to let you know that we share your concerns, and have been working diligently since December of 2010 in an effort to have NO PARKING signs installed. Unfortunately, no one has been willing to help us, until now. We have contacted the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Police, the UBC RCMP, and the Musqueam Band. The only action taken to date has been by the Musqueam, who installed NO PARKING signs on Kullahun Drive.

Now that a tragedy has occurred, we seem to have everyone’s attention. We have been in constant contact with the UBC RCMP, the City of Vancouver and the Ministry of Transportation since the accident. They have indicated that NO PARKING signs will be installed, however they will not commit to a timeline. We are insisting that this be done immediately to avoid any further accidents.

In the meantime, we are recommending to members and staff that the exit further east on Salish Drive be used to access SW Marine. Traffic has slowed at this point and the view of oncoming traffic is much better.

We will keep you updated with any further information that we receive.


David Wood
General Manager/CEO

This up on CKNW;

Bylaw amendment meets resistance
Doug Herbert | Email news tips to

The Pivot Legal Society is up in arms over a proposed by-law change it says will hurt the homeless among others.

Pivot lawyer Scott Bernstein says Vancouver hasn't consulted with the public noting the bylaw amendment was only posted to the City's website Tuesday, "You can't set up a structure in a residential zoning, you can't leave your structure overnight from 8pm to 8am, you have to take the thing down and put it back. The restrictions they're proposing here are onerous for many different people, including the homeless, and also people that want to express themselves like the Falung Gong."

Bernstein says this is a problem because the 2009 BC Court of Appeal decision in Victoria vs Adams, found that restrictions on temporary shelters violate Section 7 Charter Rights of Homeless People.

The proposed amendments go before Council Thursday at 2pm.

What I find rather interesting....
Does this not appear to be a control of any protesting at the Olympic Village site by housing/poverty groups...

I think that and more.

No protesting, period. If a group wanted to protest housing by setting up tents on the city hall lawns, this would prevent that.

As well, for the homeless that camp out in various areas.

Two of the gentlemen in my area sometimes spend the nights in the alley way, or under the covered area of one of the front buildings.

This would put a stop to that as well.

So in the last few days, there have been new 'security' measures put in place at city hall which include a 'panic button' which can be pressed during council meetings (oh, sorry, duress button) and now a stop to protesting and another lash out at the homeless.

April 5th a concert was held on the City Hall lawn by Carnegie and DTES residents, before the meetings re Chinatown development....

Vegas not Vancouver pictures are being linked to this story all over the internet....

If I was a cynic I'd say I smell an attempt to silence the people..but who is the Wizard behind the curtain...

I never even considered the homeless sleeping under awnings....

Just heard Mr. Judd state to Mayor Robertson that this in NO way effects the homeless, nor the right to FREE speech protests....if you can afford the fees...

does this effect Film... is this a fee grab...fees for right to protest!!!

RS prohibition on speech just structures in neighborhood long as you can afford a permit fee...

Is a shopping cart with a tarp covering it considered a structure...under this bylaw YES!!

Mr. Judd says a homeless person sleeping in an alcove not effected
BUT a sign stuck in the ground is a structure.....this is bad are you listening to this online??

What about a kid with a lemonade stand??

What kid? What lemonade stand? Did he or she get a street-cart permit as per our requirements? Are those organic, fair trade lemonades? Are the Dixie Cups bio-degradable? And does the vendor cycle to their stand, or use some other form of alternate transportation?

The city cannot answer the question 'what about a kid with a lemonade stand' until the kid in question is more forthcoming with information. If you tell us where the lemonade stand in question is situated, we can check our records to see if he or she applied for a building permit.

In the meantime, thank you for bringing the subject of illicit lemonade stands to our attention.

What about political signage?

(Probably not allowed if it promotes another party)

I've just developed a whole new respect for Councillor Cadman over this issue...

He got Mr. Judd to admit that a meeting was held with the Chinese Embassy in regard to this issue!!!

Dr. Bellam admits she was the one to direct that meeting.... now she cites CONFIDENTIALLY protect her employees.. aren't all these people our employees???

Good for him...

So Dr. Bellam now states setting up a table to collect HST signatures is breaking the bylaw and is illegal...oh my..

troubled waters...very confusing...

@ George:

It mentions three groups were contacted. We know the Chinese gov. was one, who were the other two??

North Korean and Libya govs???

Anyone have the number for CSIS????

Well the HST tables are illegal, you can stand there but not put sign post in ground..

Seriously if you can tune into the COV ...listen to council live, speakers going till 6.... really scary stuff...

Chinese government considered stakeholders in the development of this by-law... OMG!!

Just outed myself....old guy here forgets that the world has progressed to Twitter...and CC staff is working hard to get the word out...

I got carried away, sorry Mike (blushing)

I find your comment intriguing Max...I wonder how long these discussions have gone on, and it leads one to rethink this ...

You bet.

This just up on CKNW News...

Coroner's Inquest date moved
Marcella Bernardo | Have an Olympic update? Email it to Marcella

A new date has been set for an inquest involving a Vancouver fire that killed three men shortly before Christmas. It has been moved to October 24th to ensure it wraps up before this fall's civic election.

Coroner Owen Court and a five-member jury will learn more about the December 22nd tragedy at an illegal rooming house in the 28-hundred block Pandora Street.

Last month, Council unanimously voted in favour of holding the November 28th Inquest before the election on the 19th.

That application, which has now been approved, was made amid allegations the city deliberately tried to delay the hearings.

The fire, which killed Steven Yellowquill, Dwayne Rasmussen and Garland McKay was sparked by a faulty electrical cord.

It happened after the city repeatedly threatened to revoke the owner's business license.

Check out!

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