For over 2½ years Mike Klassen has written hundreds of posts, filed numerous freedom of information requests and exposed stories of misspent funds at Vancouver City Hall. CityCaucus.com have been the de facto opposition during this time, keeping an ear to the ground on the issues people care about. For these reasons and many more I will share below, I think Mike Klassen should put his name forward as a candidate for Vancouver city council.
I’ve known Mike for most of the past decade. We first met not long after the ill-fated 2002 civic campaign. I vividly recall how when I first met him he had a real passion for politics and public service. Call him old school, but he firmly believes that politicians, when focused on the right set of priorities, can truly make a difference and improve our individual lives. He’s also acutely aware when politicians come to office with a hidden agenda how it can prove to be problematic in so many ways.
There are many reasons why I think Mike would make a great city councillor in Vancouver. He’s well informed, he cares about people, and he listens. Most importantly he really loves Vancouver, the city he was born and raised in.
Besides his small business background, as an active Eastside community volunteer he also brings to the table a perspective on council that is often in short supply. Not only does Vancouver need more representation from east of Main Street, they also need that person to have a strong voice at the decision-making table. I have no doubt that Vancouverites would get that with Mike.
I have mixed feelings about encouraging my good friend and CityCaucus.com colleague to run for public office. How will it impact our blog? Like it or love there's no denying it has reshaped the dialogue in local civic politics. Will people look at Mike differently as a politician versus a columnist with 24 Hours? I don’t have the answers to those questions, but I still think Mike should take the plunge.
The fact that this civic affairs blog has allowed tens of thousands of people to get connected to Vancouver City Hall is something few of us could have imagined a few years ago. Mike’s combination of wit, analysis, political cartooning, and sense of fairness in his regular posts have got many people engaged and interested in what’s happening in Metro Vancouver politics.
By throwing open the doors to our online civic dialogue in Vancouver, Mike has also had a chance to listen to what has been on the minds of average voters on a daily basis. If you don’t believe me, just check out the over 10,000 comments we’ve received on a myriad of issues.
So do I think Mike Klassen would make a great city councillor? Absolutely. If he wins a seat as part of a majority NPA government, I think he would bring a lot of depth and political experience to the team.
If Mayor Gregor ends up winning another majority, the voters would be well served by having someone like Mike hold Robertson accountable during his second term in office. As with the blog, I'm pretty sure Mike would touch on a few of these issues on a campaign:
- A big focus on openness and transparency at City Hall and putting the brakes on Vancouver's culture of secrecy
- Achieving value for Vancouverite's overstretched tax dollar
- Listening to neighbourhoods and strengthening community engagement
- Banning foreign donations to civic politicians
- Completing the Millennium Line out to West Broadway & improving UBC connections
- Standing up for the principles of a non-partisan public service
- Ending subsidies to developers through the STIR program
For 24 Hours newspaper, who've recently lost columnist David Eby to the Vancouver-Point Grey byelection, and have columnist Bill Tieleman heavily involved in the upcoming anti-HST campaign, losing Mike as their civic affairs columnist will be a veritable hat trick. It's a measure of the quality of that commuter paper when so many of their writers are being sought for public life.
- post by Daniel. Follow @CityCaucus on Twitter.