Gloating about lobster bash exposes Vision Vancouver "arrogance"

Post by Kathryn Marshall in

57 comments

kraftdinner.jpg
Marshall says she doesn't expect public officials to eat KD at events

When was the last time you had a lobster dinner?

I can tell you exactly when the last time was for Vision Vancouver City Councillor Heather Deal. She chowed down on the red delicacy a few weeks ago at a convention in Halifax she was attending on the taxpayer’s dime.

Deal had the gall to brag about her lavish feast on Twitter, with photos and all, along with tweets about the great swag she received for free and the fun entertainment.

We don’t expect politicians to eat Kraft Dinner at these conventions, though it may do them some good. We expect them to show some discretion and humbleness when they’re acting as city ambassadors and enjoying the good life on the taxpayer’s tab.

To make matters worse; one of the items on the convention agenda was homelessness. I guess all that talk about how to solve homelessness really works up an appetite, the kind only lobster can satisfy.

Mayor Gregor Robertson came to Deal’s defence, claiming she was only trying to be ‘transparent’ by posting her food, swag and a play-by-play of all the fill on Twitter. Let’s be clear; the only thing transparent here is the shameless, embarrassing gloating from an elected official dazzled by the fancy perks of being in office.

Deal’s social-media bragging shows hypocrisy and lack of judgement, especially given that she champions issues around poverty and affordability. But Robertson’s spin is far worse. It exposes the arrogance and entitlement that voters loathe to see in the people they elect as their representatives. It also exposes a weakness in what has historically been a strength of Robertson’s: Managing appearances. In an absurd attempt at forgiveness, Deal has promised to donate a free hat she was given to the homeless.

This presents an opportunity for the Non-Partisan Association, Vancouver’s right-of-centre municipal party which is vying to take the reins of power from Vision in November’s city election. The Deal lobster dinner should be a centrepiece of a campaign showing Vision obsessed with perks and ignoring issues that matter to the voters.

- Post by Kathryn Marshall. She is a writer and broadcast commentator on Canadian politics and current affairs. Kathryn has worked on political campaigns across the country at all levels of government. She is originally from London, Ontario and has also lived in Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta. Kathryn has a BA in Women’s Studies from the University of Western Ontario and is currently completing a Law degree at the University of Calgary. Before Law School she worked for the Fraser Institute, Canada`s largest think tank.You can follower her on Twitter @kvmarshall.

This column first appeared in 24 Hours Vancouver on Monday, June 12, 2011.

57 Comments

Seriously?

But this event was planned as part of the FMC in Halifax.

Had Vision decided to boycott the event, these self-indulgent right-wing self-serving hacks would complain that Vision doesn't take homelessness/city issues seriously.

It's "damned if they do, damned if they don't" so I'm not sure why we're trying to make issues out of non-issues.

How about writing an article on how the NPA is a party at odds with itself. Tell me, which Councillor candidate helped found Vancouver Not Vegas, opposing the casino downtown.

Well, that sentiment certainly isn't party policy...

Mark:

As someone who has attended more than their fair share of conferences/conventions over the years, 'dinners' like this are very often extras, as you buy a ticket for the dinner - and very little is accomplised. They are nothing more than booze-ups. Now I have no problem with people attending on their own dime, but when it is on the taxpayer's back I would hope that our elected politicians show a measure of monetary discretion. After all, the rest of have to.

It seems Toronto Mayor Ford had zero problem passing up this event.

And back to the question as to why Councilor Chow attended when he is leaving municipal politics.

One more - read the side bar article - the OP piece on politicos travel expenditures. It seems Councilors Deal and Stevenson were in the top 5 travelers for Metro Vancouver for 2009.

Who said anything about boycotting the dinner? I think the point of the story is less about what they eat and more about what politicians do after they've eaten ie tweet about it to their constituents

Both Robertson and Deal have both admitted what the councillor did was a mistake. So why are you still defending it? Bizarre.

Max,
Do you think that the fact that George Chow is thinking about a run for Provincial politics is the excuse Vision will use for Chow's presence?

Off topic,

Mayor Robertson considering calling in RCMP to help police tonight... liquor stores downtown closing at 4:00 pm.

Go Nucks...

Sad. Deal is so ignorant she tweets about Vision's wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars. That says volumes of what she thinks of the folks who pay taxes in Vancouver. Mayor Fauntelroy actually tops Deal by referring to the ignorant tweets as transparency. Transparency is the taxpayer’s window into how government spends money taken from taxpayers. To mock that concept with such a facile statement Mayor Fauntelroy shows complete contempt for Vancouver taxpayer’s and a very shallow understanding of the importance of transparency.

George:

Even if he does, I still find it unacceptable that he would travel on municipal dollars.

I agree...

RE: Extra Police for tonight...

John Teti from Barwatch has stated that most bars have seen a 60% increase in business.

Big $$

Mayor Greggie just announced that "we've set the new bar in North America as the most fun city"


The policing budget has been completely blown - hitting $1.2 M.

The Province said if the Canucks win, they will help with celebration costs.

FYI - when Suzanne Anton first brought up the idea of asking the Province for monies to help offset policing costs - CBC ran the story. You should have red some of the comments about how 'stupid' she was for doing so....

Yet now, Robertson is following suit. I wonder if the VV supporters will state the same stupid comments or, if they will back pedal as well.

hmmmm so we are the most fun are we...for some people we might be.

I hope for the Mayor's sake that we don't lose ANY services to pay for all this fun... some of us can't party downtown... and some of us don't really care about hockey..

Note to Gregor, if I want to party, I'll pay for it myself...I expect the same from you..

Could we please stop talking about "Celebrations" until we having something to celebrate? Not that I'm superstitious.......

city plans for tonight are not party plans, they are security plans. Glad to see the province stepping up to help. If tonight concludes without a major incident, we should all simply say thank you to whoever designed the game plan.

100,000 people requires a game plan - whether it is hockey, or fireworks or the Olympics. I would much rather it be a party rather than a riot.

We all but knew this was coming. Vision Vancouver's crowning achievement after three years in gov't is "we ended the reign of No Fun City".

Yup, that's what it all comes down. Unfortunately, and people will be stupid enough to buy in to this and vote for him as a result.

Mayor Dimwit better hope the "party" doesn't turn nasty in the next while or he will be wearing this one. Big time.

He won't wear it.
The finger will get pointed at the cops.
The City has invited everybody down town to PARTY just like the Olympics.

Deja vu


The more 'adults' and families that go downtown tonight the less likely the night will turn into a brawling drink fest.

Consider it 'social engineering'!

I don't want to go down town.
I'm too old.
We're watching the game in our comfortable chairs.

OMG it is going to be a long stressful night.

What are the odds?

Oh no. Looks like the nuks, playing the kids game of hoooooookey are once againg snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.Dont forget what Rolf Haris said in his 1973 song "VANCOUVER TOWN". He sang, "ARE THEY AUSTRALIAN I WONDER? THEY ALWAYS SEEM TO BE DOWN UNDER". Oh well, noththing changes in 40 years or so. Just too bad the tax payers get sucked into paying for this nonsense.

Hey Daniel,
This post. what a load of crap this post is. Deja vu. didn't we do this a few days back? Move on CityCaucus. Did you have to go to 24 Hours to get 'Tsakumis' filler? Slow news day? At least you could have gone for a 'NPA candidate' or a good writer from a reputable paper , ooops you do guest shots in there too! LMAO We could only hope that by the end of this week you are going to bring up today's game in Boston, and the vast amount of waste... of money in Vancouver. By the way things are going right now on the ice all I can say is Go Bruins...

@Ned:

24 hours is one of the largest circulated papers in the Lower Mainland. If it were to run full circ in BC, it would outpace The Province.

So I am guessing 240,000 weekly readers, disagree with you.

As for your cheap jab at the Canucks - it is just as cheap and inappropriate as that 'link' you posted several days ago.

Could not agree more with the most rececnt comments here. Mayor Fauntelroy and his clown council decide to set up massive street parties to exploit the Canucks succes (so far) and bleat like dumb sheep when the bills have to be paid. Rather than going to the Orca bay sports, Fauntelroy again shows comtempt for taxpayers by going cap in hand to the provincial governement to bail him out. Sounds much like his homelessness policy; cynical promise that cannot be kept without the provincial goverenment to bail him out. Sounds like some of the spoiled brats I went to universtity with who sepnt freely and cried to mommy and daddy when the bills had to paid.

Hear hear. Our pretty boy mayor goes crying to the Premier to cover his policing costs. Waaaaaah Waaaaah. Let the tears flow.

The Canucks might be winners, but our mayor is a whiner. Or should I say he's a Weiner?

Robbie should stop sending cheap jabs at the premier about picking up his costs. You're the mayor of BC's largest city, start acting like it buddy. Stop wasting all your money on stupid green stuff and start paying for cops to police the streets.

GO CANUCKS GO

Max...
First thing first. that 'link' is on the web. I didn't make it up. It may have been in bad taste for you but I used it as a prop, no pun intended, and it didn't make justice for the way I look at the politicians in this country (all levels)
Second, excuse me, if your hockey game is better on your TV but on mine the Canucks...suck. Big time. It's like it is playing with pucks in Boston. No team with that play deserves to win the Cup. They are a disgrace. If you hope for another lucky night on Wednesday, forget it. But sure for your benefit...Go Canucks...weeeeeeee!
Third, have you notice that half of the posts in here are related to ghockey and not to Deal and Lobsters? Last time I read something by this 24 Hours novice out of 100 comments were a brawl between you, George, Chris Keam, Richard and some others...nothing to do with the post. daniel might want to try lifting up the quality of his "columnists" LOL

somebody peed in Ned's corn flakes..he's rude and cranky today..

Ned:

There is a lot of crap posted on the web and it is up people to vet whether posting or repeating it is valid,in good tase...or not. So don't try and play that card with me.

As for the Canucks, I will support them come hell or high water and look forward to the next game.

As for all that is 'hockey' - this is a huge event, and not just for Vancouver.

I often wonder when Canadians will hold the same pride in their team sports that the Americans hold for theirs. They show a lot more patriotism - they don't bail and throw in the towel the way some here do.

As for the supposed 'brawl' - it reverts back to all things bike and diversion. There are those that wish to divert attention from the topic at hand for their own agendas.

FYI - I have zero problem asking the Province for assistance in covering off costs. Like I mentioned, this goes beyond 'just' Vancouver.

One last thing Ned - most mentally handicapped persons would never intentionally hurt someone, never call others names or refer to them in a derogatory manner.

Just sayin'.

Me thinks if the Canucks lose the next game, there is going to be a big mess left behind the next morning. Can u spell '94 riots? This city will be mightily pissed if Bruins take home the cup. I would avoid the downtown.

I was downtown during the '94 riots Jason - at a restaurant at Robson and Burrard. I walked out to leave, took a look at what was going on and walked back in.

Much of what happened that night was something brand new to Vancouver - journalists referred to it as when Vancouver lost its innocence.

A lot of the instigators were from out of town. Kind of like the Black Bloc and the Olympics. They live to cause s**t.

Here's the problem. I don't hear the hue and cry from other municipal governments crying for money. They acted responsibly by planning and sponsoring/promoting events within their budgets as opposed to Fauntelroy who seemingly planned and held the party without the ability or foresight to pay the bills. Moreover, were it not for Mayor Fauntelroy's party at tax payers’ expense, many if not all of these people would be in the suburbs (crowded sky trains from the burbs to Vancouver)from whence they came spending money in privately owned bars, restaurant and bistros paying big tips to hard working wait staff and ensuring small business owners who put their own capital at risk earn a decent living.

Actually you are wrong skippy. They did plan a budget for the police - $668,000. But, they have over shot that budget.

And let's face it, Vancouver is the draw for these games. People are here from accross the Lower Mainland, the Province, other Provinces and the US.

It is part in parcel the benefit of being a major city.

The city does not see money coming back from taxes being collected during this time. John Teti from Barwatch stated there has been a 60% increase in business at the local establishments. On top of that are taxes collected from hotel, transit, soveniers, tickets etc. These monies get flushed back into the general revenue of the Province. So why shouldn't they be asked to kick in? They are getting huge dollars out of this.

And for any that know me, can tell you I am far from a Robertson/Vision supporter.

skippy,

Funny I was thinking the same thing...

If memory serves me, at first Mike put a call out for Rodgers arena to open up for out of town games...and another poster suggested community centres as well..

Then Gregor not to be outdone decided to go bigger and to close the streets... at one point the TV screens were upgraded to larger ones... Gregor should be on the hook for this one..

Ego and political gain..and we get to pay for it... nice.

OK I just read Max's post ... maybe I'm wrong :-)

we will not have riots simply because the Olympics have taught the VPD that there is more than 1 method of crowd control. Notice: no hats, no dogs, no batons, no riot shields. Add in some wise anticipation and the help of some social media and you can be reasonably confident that everything possible has been done.

Now, if we can just convince stupid, male 20 something 'adults' that getting fall down drunk is really not that much fun - we would be laughing!

Budgeting for 680k and spending 1.2mil is irresponsible and wreckless. As for the increase in business for the downtown bars, I suspect that happened in 1994 Cup run with the unfortunate loss to the Rangers. Those bars downtown were full then and they are full now. The revenue that downtown bars earn ( you do quote bar watch, most restaurants here in the west side are empty) are not from those folks in public spaces but from those who travel to downtown from various parts of Vancouver or from the burbs who sit in the bars and watch the game and drink and eat. The fact is the tax payer funded parties simply draw people from other locations at tax payer expense for Faunteroy’s political gain. The ideal approach was that at Rogers arena where a fee was charged, money went to charity and the minor ancillary benefits you speak of arose anyways. Even if I accepted your view, which I respectfully do not, the responsible approach would have been to seek private sector funding or budget properly and spend within that budget. The wrong approach is to hold the party and run to the provincial government for money.

Julia:

Good luck with the 20 something males -Earlier, I was watching 4 guys on the roof of an apartment building across from me - drinking. I was wondering how long before one would take a tumble....

Still can't figure out how they got up there as they are usually locked off.

***********NEWS BULLETIN*************

We interrupt this regularly scheduled post to bring news that will gladden the heart of ALL Vancouver TAXPAYERS:

http://tinyurl.com/3ovcbcy

OK, so it's the Mav's Parade. But, hey ho, lookee here---the OWNER of the Dallas mavericks is going to PAY for their own NBA championship parade.
Classy!

What?!?!!

No eager Mayor or Governor leaping into the fray (and in front of any TV camera in the vicinity) to promise to shovel more taxpayers $$$ on a multi-gazillionarre pro sports team owner, in his time of glory?

What is it about asking the Aquilini's to defray at least part of the cost of policing and--as long as the Premier doesn't go out and make another Kreskin-like prediction on the 7th game outcome, which, so far, hasn't worked out so good---a possible victory parade, that our local and provincial politicians NOT UNDERSTAND??

Are they "afraid" to ask the Aquilini Family to do the right thing? Or is that promised ice rink, campaign donations, etc. etc. supposed to cover the cost of who-knows-what-is-gonna happen tonight and beyond (not to mention the last week's worth of extended use of cops, big screen TV's, etc).

Make no mistake about this---all the largesse from your local government and its fatuous Mayor are helping to support and subsidize the Canucks brand extension. All the hype, the crowds, the big screen TV's, the crowd control mean more lucre into the coffers of the owners who sell more branded gear, towels, water bottles, etc.

So, I have to assume that the CoV is getting a percentage of sales for this off-book support of the Canucks?? (*doubling over with laughter*)

Or, are our pols so desperate for any acknowledgementt and hoped for pitiful halo effect that they have had a hand in creating the ultimate outcome, that they promise,in a moment of supreme hubris (or whilst smoking whatever in growing in the Cov garden), that it's OK to use OUR money to sponsor a PROFESSIONAL sports team's victory parade?

Gee, I bet, if WE pay for it. why, the Preem and Mayor will even get to stand on some stage during the parade and drone on about something or other. That's some more expensive advertising.

Are they nuts? Yes, apparently, they are.

I have an idea.

Let's not Hear One. More. Bloody. Word. from either the Mayor or the Premier about the Canucks, including: who is going to win, who is their fave player, etc. etc. etc. until after Game 7.

And they can take off those walking billboard jerseys, while they're at it too---and donate them to sick kids at Children's Hospital.

Until they do, they are embarrassing themselves--and us--with their craven politicising and opportunistic blood-sucking of an event that has nothing at all to do with either of them.

BTW, what exactly is the sound of 100,000 pairs of eyes rolling?

I guess I am standing alone on this one. City just handed out nearly a million bucks in Vancouver 125 dollars that most of us will never see. At least in this case, we are keeping commercial property damage to a minimum, we are keeping local restaurants in business and paying taxes (note: business is lousy at the moment) and that means people are working extra shifts, earning tips, spending their windfall and nobody gets hurt.

There is going to be a party downtown with or without supervision. Which would we prefer- reactive or proactive policing?

Do I think everyone should chip in a little - absolutely. Perhaps they already have but nobody's talking!

You are bang on with your comment. Mayor Greggie didn't want to be outdone by Klassen who was pushing to open up Rodgers Arena to the fans. So he decided to start shovelling money off the back of the truck for these costly and filthy street parties. Whatever happened to his green agenda? Have you seen all the pollution these fan zones create? I counted thousands of water bottles everywhere on the ground.

I agree with the other commentors. Isn't this a private hockey team owned by a private family? Then why are so many tax dollars going toward the parade and security?

If any other group was causing this kind of disruption, even if it's a positive one, they would be asked by the city to pick up some of the tab. Not so for the canucks.

Instead what we got here is a mayor that wants to be on stage with the canucks when they hoist the stanley cup above their heads. He wants that photo op so bad, he's willing to use millions of our tax dollars to get it. What a joke he's become.

I was at the Oakridge mall a few days ago during one of the games. You could roll a bolling ball through there and not hit a soul. So just how is the canucks generating economic activity? Ask the merchants of that mall how business is booming during the playoffs. Not!

Only the pubs and restaurants are reaping the benefits. These are the same whiners who said nobody would be in their establishments after the 12% HST was implemented. So much for their credibility.

Gregor Robertson lecturing about transparency is like a hooker lecturing about chastity.

Bob, just like the Olympics... the economic stimulus shows up - just in different places. Is this hard on conventional retail? Without a doubt. Is this good for the industry that has been hard hit with the HST and tougher drinking laws - yes but it is short lived.

We seem to be of the opinion that the current civic government can prevent people from coming downtown and prevent them from assembly. Give you head a shake.

So, which is worse- doing nothing and have some fan trampled to death because they are near the front of some crowd? We would all be yelling at the city- why did you not see it coming... why didn't you do something. The city steps up and deals with a situation that they have very little ability to stop and we are lighting our hair on fire because it costs money.

I really think this conversation is counter productive to holding our civic government accountable. It is making us look a little naive.

Julia, you miss the point. But for the public viewing areas, the crowds, the disruption and thus the cost would be much less. Also diverting money away from otehr businesses into the bar business dowtown is not a net increase but simply money spent elsewhere. The olympics had hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate sponsorships and there was a net inflow of people from outside of vancouver and the lower mainland hence an overall net benefit. This goes precisely to the issue or accountability. A poltically motivated, costly bad decision made by Mayor Fauntelroy.

THX Bob..

skippy:

It is tough to arrange corporate sponsorship on the turn of a dime.

Most companies start planning out their sponsorship dollars 6 months to a year in advance of the following year. Comparing the Olympics to the playoffs is like comparing oranges to apples.

Will you be in thhe same frame of mind for the upcoming 125 Birthday Celebrationss or any extras that may arise from the National Out Games in July?

Situations happen and you cannot always predict them in advance.

The fan zones are great. At least 100,000 people thinks so!

For the shops that have seen a downturn in business, well, that is part of business. The playoffs are a huge draw for Vancouver. I doubt you would see anything different if people were told to stay home and watch the games - those people would take that opportunity over shopping at a mall.

I wonder if gregor got the proper permits for this shindig,if he shows up at game 7 maybe the VPD should throw the cuffs on him,and give him a little squirt and a buzz while they drag him off kicking and screaming.LOL

Skippy, I think we may end up disagreeing on this one.

The city has put up seed money to assist the Downtown Business Association in 'activating' Granville mall during the summer months. Why do you think that is? Because people are coming down to the bars and restaurants regardless of whether there is a sporting event, or if they have been told to stay home. It is still a free country and freedom of assembly is still legal. Same is true for the hockey games.

Believe it or not, that 'activation' may slightly increase the numbers on the street but believe me - they would come anyway. All the activation does is add some eyes on the street, distraction, safety and civility.

TV screens is far cheaper than riot gear and lawsuits after the fact.

The "activation" basically means that 100,000 will be massing together in one locale. Static, not continuously moving (because they will be focused on the screens).

I don't know a lot about crowd control, but this 'penning' of so many people in one area seems counterintuitive to me.

Dispersal and proper exit strategies to clear people out of the downtown area was a key people problem in '94.

Should tempers flare, I know I wouldn't want to be at the centre of that action.

I do support the closing of liquor stores at 4pm on game day. At least that may be one element that can mitigate any potential crowd problems.

Max & Julia
I raise the issue of the Olympics only because Julia did the same. I agree, it is comparing apple to oranges. Here is my basic premise and why I posted under this heading which refers to arrogance and carelessness with taxpayers dollars. We all know the series has the potential to go to 7 games. The City knows the basic hourly rates for the police force and what the overtime rates will be for the extra hours worked ( all in the CBA). A prudent financial approach would be to plan and thus budget for worst case scenario, which we are in, 7 games. This is standard practice in private industry when spending shareholder dollars. In the City's case, they budgeted $680K called the party and now have a bill of $1.2 mil. Now, they go cap I hand to the province asking for mote tax payer dollars. That is the point, perhaps in artfully I was trying to make. A good idea poorly planned for because politics overwhelmed prudence with tax payer dollars. The pattern is the same with the HEAT shelters. As far as other initiatives you mention Max, those are planned and one can only hope more rigorous fiscal prudence applies. Good ideas that promote this wonderful city but lack serious adult planning respectful of the money we earn and they tax away from us is, as was the case in the lobster fest in Halifax, is arrogant and careless.
Go Canucks…..

do you realize there is about a billion dollars in accumulated budget surplus stashed away at city hall.

Ever notice at the end of the year there is never any carry forward cash into next years budget to offset the need to increase taxes. No, no... they simply ask for the full amount for the coming year and whatever is left gets quietly squirreled away for some sort of rainy day or pet project.

Why don't they earmark some of that slush fund to cover such 'surprise' events instead of whining that they need more money.


are we sure they haven't spent all those funds by now? LOL

Julia:

I had that conversation with a NPA candidate. He mentioned he had been going over the city's finances over a period of a week and could not figure out why the tax increases, parking metre increases etc, when there was money ( a lot of money) sitting on the books.

Live Site was a disaster. Police "plan" a disaster. Mayor a disater. All this unholy sports worship a disaster.

You're welcome. I do weddings and bar mitzvahs too...

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