Vancouver Mayor's office accused of data mining petition for political purposes

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


Mayor's office staff busy mining the data goldmine they received by way of a petition

I just received a copy of an urgent notice from the West End Neighbours association (WEN) whereby they slam Vancouver Mayor Gregor's office for what they believe to be an invasion of privacy. It smacks of the new Vision City Hall paradigm on personal privacy written about by Mike Klassen recently.

A number of the 11,000+ people who signed a petition against spot zoning approvals in the West End are beginning to receive direct marketing from the Mayor's office. Here is a copy of the letter in its entirety (our emphasis):

Dear Neighbour,

We're sorry for sending two messages in one week. This is a special situation alert as a courtesy to let you know what is going on.

To the thousands who have signed the WEN petition, we regret to report that the Mayor's Office has been gleaning your personal contact information from the petition forms for sending messages that we find objectionable as the misuse of personal information the Mayor acquired by the petition. This practice by the Mayor's Office has implications for citizens' initiatives all over Vancouver.

West End Neighbours has written to the Mayor asking him to stop this use of your personal information, and to Vancouver's Privacy Officer to investigate. You can see copy of the e-mail from the Mayor's Office as well as our letter to the Mayor on our website here.

(If you have received an e-mail or other unsolicited contact you believe to originate from your signing of WEN's "No Rezoning Without a Comprehensive Plan" petition, please let us know at, with your comments.)

We remind you that the deadline for a survey by the Mayor's West End Advisory Committee is Friday, June 10. Last week we wrote to the Mayor expressing our concerns about the Committee and its survey. (He has not yet responded.) If you intend to complete the survey (or if you plan to complete another copy), we welcome you to review our comments about the survey here, before you complete it.

We are also trying to obtain fresh information about WEMAC's upcoming schedule of activities, without success. We have concerns about where this is all going, but expect things to become clearer within the next few weeks. Updates will be posted on our website.

West End Neighbours

Here is a copy of the letter Randy Helten (a one-time big Vision supporter) sent to the Mayor's office:


Dear Mayor Robertson,

cc Vancouver City Council, City Manager Penny Ballem

We are writing to formally request, on record, that you instruct your office to immediately stop data entry and the sending of e-mail messages to addresses you have acquired from West End Neighbours’ “No Rezoning without a Comprehensive Plan” petition sheets.

West End Neighbours (WEN) learned yesterday that your office is using this personal contact information for the purpose of promoting the “Vancouver Mayor’s Office Newsletter.” The same message from your office (see below) is also promoting a survey by the West End Mayor’s Advisory Committee (WEMAC), about which we sent you a written complaint on June 2 (and still await acknowledgement and response).

We have numerous concerns regarding the Mayor’s Office’s use of personal information obtained through any citizens’ petition.

We believe that the use of the personal email contacts and other information from a petition for the purposes of building the Mayor’s newsletter mailing list is inappropriate. Sections 32 and 34(1) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act are clear. The City must ensure that personal information in its custody or under its control is used only for the purpose for which that information was obtained or compiled, or for a use consistent with that purpose. The personal information on our petition was submitted to Vancouver City Council with regard to concerns of the 11,500 signatories about rezoning and the need for a comprehensive plan in the West End. We promised signatories that their privacy would be protected and are certain that they did not intend their signature to elicit an invitation to receive a city-wide newsletter mailing from the office of the Mayor. We note that your office did not contact WEN to indicate its intent in advance, to use the personal information on the WEN petition for this purpose, which at least would have been a minimum courtesy.

For the reasons stated above, we hereby:

Restate our request that your office immediately stop the entry of data and sending e-mail to addresses acquired from WEN’s “No Rezoning without a Comprehensive Plan” petition sheets, until further clarifications can be made to WEN’s satisfaction.

Request a written confirmation from the City that from this point onward, information will be used only for the purpose of communication on topics specifically related to the petition content, and for no other purpose. (We would also like to know how many of our petitioners have already been sent the Mayor’s office’s e-mail message.)

Request an assurance from the City that this private information has not been and will not be disclosed to any other party, including advisory committees, elector organizations, persons not employed by the City, or external consultants.

We hope that you will show the courtesy of respecting our position, and that you will have the desire to build public trust by recognizing our concerns and requests.


R. Helten
President, West End Neighbours

Once again, the Mayor appears to be unnecessarily causing a stir in this neighbourhood. Readers may recall that Vision's former paid blogger wrote this threatening post aimed at Randy Helten, suggesting that he knew where Helten's family members lived:

Do you have a family member who owns property across the street from the 22-storey high-rise rental apartment tower on the site of St John’s Church at 1401 Comox Street?

Also, does another family member of yours own a penthouse unit above the TD bank on Bidwell and Davie, which is across the street from a proposed 19-story tower?

It appears that when it comes to getting what Mayor Gregor wants in the West End, scruples are secondary.

We'll continue to monitor this over the coming days to see how many of the signatories to the petition end up filing complaints to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

- Post by Daniel. Follow @CityCaucus on Twitter, or "Like" us at


if we were to take Boohoo's advice on the subject, we would simply delete the email from the Mayor - what's the big deal... it's only an email!

Glad to know someone besides me thinks City Hall is playing a very scary game with personal information.

Well Julia, it is just an email. You don't need to open it, read it, react to it, believe it, or anything if you don't want to.

If they were phoning you that might be different. If the emails were asking you to support something political, that would be different. If they were sending you political mail to your house, that would be different. But come on, these are pretty innocuous emails about what's happening in the City. I don't understand what you're afraid of.

Here are the last few I've received:
--Large crowds expected to cheer Canucks; Georgia to close at noon
--Women & children bike ride to explore city
--Vancouver’s only cemetery offers new burial space
--Property tax due date in effect regardless of Canada Post service disruption
--Digitizing Early Vancouver project celebrates Vancouver’s 125th birthday

and so on. Pretty boring stuff.


What is stopping them from using any of the methods of contact you listed?

After all, they now have that information at their finger tips - in a 'database' and with whatever notations the city wants to add in.

To me, this is a sort of control measure.

Well on a positive note, that may be 11,000 lost votes for Vision.

perhaps they will be phoning me. We still don't know how the information will be used and by whom.

I have yet to see an clarification.

Well I don't know what information WEN gave, but you were concerned regarding the opt-in with only your emailing submitted.

I still don't know what you're actually afraid of. You keep making it sound like they'll use your email for some clandestine or nefarious activity. What are you thinking they'll do?

Don't you feel special Julia...

You're on "the list".

Kind of like you might be say in ...China...


This is what I received:

1- Vision and Robber cheer for the Canucks; Georgia to close at noon, see ya there
2- Women & children bike ride to explore city on Vision's and Gregor's separated bike lanes
3- Vancouver’s only cemetery offers new burial space - New People Allowed
4- Property tax due date in effect regardless of Canada Post service disruption, you will collect regardless...we have to pay for 1, 2, 3
5- Digitizing Early Vancouver project celebrates Vancouver’s 125th birthday. We at Vision will always celebrate this date and Robber encouraged us to do it.
See how it works boohoo?
Next email that you'll get it will say 'Vote Vision an Gregor Robber Stone' Solomon 500 approved message.

The wording in that survey is interesting.

"Next email that you'll get it will say 'Vote Vision an Gregor Robber Stone' Solomon 500 approved message. "

How about a deal then. If that's the next email I'll never say anything about this ever again. And if it's not, you can stop lobbing out conspiracy theories and fear mongering.

How's that?

Boohoo, how would you feel if a 'rah rah rah Suzanne Anton - aren't I wonderful as your NPA elected official' email popped in to your inbox with a email address on it?

Given the uproar about the Province spending money on explaining/promoting the HST as a political agenda, I would say you would be pissed, even if you are not willing to admit it here.


Do you want me to copy the full text of the emails I've been receiving? They are nothing like what you or Higgins are describing.

It's starting to sound a lot like you guys are just raging without even knowing what you're raging about.

Why the hell did people put their email on the petition if they didn't want email.

No wonder Vancouver is the no fun city. It's because of people like these. The mayor has every right to try and keep in contact with people in the city.

I vaguely recall vision squealed like stuck pigs when Sullivan sent out a newsletter from the mayor's office. Funny how when they're in office their standards appear to change. They call that hypocrisy where I come from.

Boohoo I would stop while you're ahead. You are going to embarass your self again. You can't be naive enough to think vision is just going to use this database for some vanilla sounding newsletters.


Here is where it is blatantly clear that this is a generational divide..

Most of the posters here, remember someone in their family being profoundly effected by going to war, to fight for our Freedom..

Things the current young people take for granted and are so willing to throw away, to vote lock step with an ideal that sounds so perfect....

Have everything given to them and live in tiny spaces, and grow your food do what our government says...

They do know better than you do...even if they let you think you are involved with the decision making process. (eye roll)

Mark my words, one day you will wake up and feel stifled, by the lack of privacy or freedom of movement, or just damn angry that you aren't allowed to make decisions for yourself...

And that day will come... be sure of it.

The Mayor does not have that right Ryan...

he works for us, we pay his salary..he has not asked us for our permission...

he took it from us..big difference

No one is raging boohoo... we are discussing...

funny how you feel it is raging and fear mongering,you are being very quick to label folks here for their opinions...Indoctrination 101?

those are very familiar sounding words... do they email you speaking notes every morning..

Ok Larry, so what do you think they are going to do? I've asked this several times. What sneaky things are they going to do with your email??

"What sneaky things are they going to do with your email??"

that is just the first step of intrusive junk mail..

OK everyone, relax. In a perfect world nobody would abuse information provided in good faith - but it happens. For now, Gregor and the city may be playing by the rules - horray for that.

All we are doing here is discussing the slippery slope of data collection and the ethics involved in how that information is used.

We have to provide an email to participate on this forum. If we start getting political messages in our inbox - will we feel duped? I will.

I want my contact information to only be used for the purpose I gave it for in the first place - nothing more, nothing less unless I give permission.

George, I don't even know where to start with you anymore.

Yes, I get told what to say through my daily email from my vision overlords. This is on top of our weekly meetings in our green bunker where we plan clandestine operations to annoy people on the internet. Happy now?



The fact that I irritate you boo is a perfect example.

I won't bend to your thought process, and it bothers you... I have a great memory...

Others don't have a problem with me... only folks with your particular agenda..and you do have an agenda... like I said I have a great memory.


First post:

"Glad to know someone besides me thinks City Hall is playing a very scary game with personal information."

Last post:

"For now, Gregor and the city may be playing by the rules - horray for that."

So which is it?

My thought process? My agenda?

You keep throwing that out there like some kind of scary boogyman. What is my agenda George?


see it's working...

you need to read Julia's comment closely boo she said "may"...

may be following.. it is a slippery slope..that is the point.

Acutally Ryan, no he doesn't.

Boohoo, my first comment does not contradict my last.

Am I skeptical about what might happen as we move closer to November and the stakes get higher - absolutely. Will it be too late to do anything about it - probably. Is it a reasonable exercise to extrapolate what may or may not happen - you bet. Why, because now is the time to address the concerns- not after it is too late and the damage is done.

What's working George? I honestly have no idea what you're getting at.


What damage? Everyone is throwing out these accusations that they'll do something with your email. Like what??

Julia, your point about how participants here would feel if they started getting NPA or Mike Klassen newsletters is very apt.

One of the problems with some of this site's more regular and argumentative visitors is that they are never content with putting forward an opinion or response but are determined to compel agreement with their position, even if that is no more than "they're all the same" or "it doesn't matter", by continuous and ultimately boring repetition. Whether this is deliberate disruption or just a particular personal habit is hard to say.

Still, the discussion area on this blog is still vastly preferable to the desert of consensus found on VO, or the suppression that occurred on the late Civic Scene. And that in fact does occur, as I've discovered, on The Mainlander where the price for querying the statement, "The NPA is attempting to make electoral gains by transmuting the affordability crisis into an ethnic one" is exile to the Siberia of "your comment is awaiting moderation."

Also I find Daniel now and Mike in the past to be very good hosts who, unlike another local blogger from whom I've decided to take time out, manage to refrain from insulting participants, tempting though it must sometimes be!

"Boohoo ..... You can't be naive enough to think vision is just going to use this database for some vanilla sounding newsletters."

Larry, like George, you are starting to make big assumptions - is it catching?


I would be happy to receive newsletters from Anton or Klassen or whoever. If I don't want them, I could delete them or block the email. I still don't understand what the fuss is about. IF the emails from the City were political ads for Vision, then you have an argument. Until then it's baseless accusations and fear mongering. I suppose I am an optimist and give the City the benefit of the doubt.

What is VO? I've never heard of the mainlander either but I'll check it out.

Boohoo, you are far too naive.

How do I know that the next time I go in for a building permit that my email address (which they will require) will not have a little red flag on it that tells the clerk (in the now highly politicized civil service) that I don't agree with the political party that runs the city and it's a perfect opportunity to make me regret the day I ever complained to the mayor or anyone else.

You think it is far fetched? Perhaps. Do you think it is possible? Maybe not this mayor but how about the next one?

Have you ever wondered what Google does with all your keystroke information? Ever wondered how you get ads on websites that magically match some of your latest internet searches? Ever wondered if strangers out there know far too much about you and you can't control it?

Ever talked to friends or family that have lived in police states about privacy and personal information?

If you had, you would be far less passive about the 'slippery slope'.

Boohoo, if you really would be happy for that to happen then you are entitled to that view. Equally isn't it just possible to accept that many other people are jealous of personal information and deserve to have that feeling respected rather than ridiculed?

VO is Vancouver Observer.


If you are truly scared that the current administration is one step away from a police state then there's not much in the way of rational argument I could offer.

I would suggest investing in a junk email address for when you sign up for things.

Boohoo, am I really scared - no. Do I have a junk mail address - absolutely. (2 as a matter of fact) Do I dump my cache every couple of days - without fail. Do I use a different browser for searching than for my online banking - you bet I do and even then, I will NEVER bank using my smartphone or ipad.

I consider myself average intelligence, tech savvy and worldly wise - hence I do what I do. Do I post online with an alias - yes... and why do you think that is

did I say the current administration is 1 step away from a police state?

read it again. All I say is caution is far more prudent than hoping for the best.

It seems the city is seeing a shortfall in parking revnue downtown. $2M worth.

I wonder what they thought would happen when the push all things bike.

On-Street Parking and Enforcement Revenues ($1.99 million)
(Parking Meter Revenue and Municipal By-Law Fines)

Although On-Street Parking meter revenue is increasing, the year-end revenues are
projected to be lower than budget by $1.9 million. This projection is based upon the first
quarter parking revenues not being to the level predicted, and possibly indicating an
overall decrease in vehicles parking downtown.

This council aligned itself with the Communist Party of China with it's protest structure bylaw, the
most repressive municipal legislation in North America. Whose counting the steps?

Max not only a loss of revenue but now they have increased upkeep costs.As far as the email bun fight I think it is an intrusion that no one asked for and a cheesy way to lobby people.But thats how it works they just keep picking away until we dont notice anymore,and that is a danger.

The problem is that the mayor's office harvested the petition email addresses to solicit them for the mayor's newsletter on housing issues, when the petition is about another matter altogether. That's a no no. Further, the mayor's spam solicits people to participate in a survey that also has nothing to do with the petition. Also a no no.

Democracy cubed, eat it and love it!

I am with Julia on this one.
Many years ago the collection of personal info. it started with the "Friends of Larry" ONe COPE backstabbing later it metamorphosed in Vision, the Friends of Joel. Sounds Christmasy but it's not it is a Joel is no Santa on the contrary more like Grinch if you are not on hiis list of friends.. THis Email list is a shorter version of Gregor's Facebook Friends List...or not Friends.

Julia says:
"How do I know that the next time I go in for a building permit that my email address (which they will require) will not have a little red flag on it that tells the clerk (in the now highly politicized civil service) that I don't agree with the political party that runs the city and it's a perfect opportunity to make me regret the day I ever complained to the mayor or anyone else."
Exactly. After listening to Solomon's 500 years speech:

this is no longer a conspiracy theory. It's a wake up call.

Most people do not like spam and do not want to want to be added to "newsletter" mailing lists without their consent. Once people realize their personal contact information will be abused in this way, they will be very wary of signing petitions. That is an erosion of our democratic rights.

correction Who's counting the steps?

Thank you, Julia, for understanding the heart of the matter. It's not just about sending me emails, it's what else can be done with the information. Ironically, before this current council - and the new City Manager - I may not have taken a situation like this too seriously but with the way things have been going over there, I have some pretty grave concerns about how such information might be used against me.

"I may not have taken a situation like this too seriously but with the way things have been going over there, I have some pretty grave concerns about how such information might be used against me."

Again, please to specific! What nefarious 'thing' do you think having your email on file might do to you???

ummmm, if you go back and read the original blog post, you will note a situation with the West End Neighbours Association.

I think that is specific enough.


You either get it or you don't.

The 'how' City Council gathered this information is the problem here, along with the misuse of the information.

These people signed a petition. Now, who knows who has access to their information and this database.

And it may hinder others from signing petitions in the future in order to avoid just this situation.


boohoo chooses not to get it, he is a very bright guy... this is blog mining (trolling) at it's best...

I have a great memory...and I pay attention to people... and their habits...occupational hazard I'm afraid..

boo plays naive and dumb, but he isn't.

But he likes to play...


Everyone has an agenda.. even George.. What it means is that my beliefs are different than yours. Nothing nefarious..

George isn't pushing up daisies yet..remember that one boo?

You can fool some of the people some of the time... but you can't fool everyone...

I actually wish you would start being serious and discuss issues, instead of your silly come backs with non answers..Your negativity is tiring after awhile.

Serious debate with you could be interesting.. so you see boo it works both ways... only a troll, conversation mining, plays the way you and a few others do...

Sad, because I know for a fact that you are a very bright fella... with interesting ideas..

Ryan - neither the mayor nor the city has the right to contact anyone via their private e-mail without that person's express permission. That's a given under our privacy laws. WEN would have that right as the petition signers freely gave their e-mail address to them on the petition.

I made a FOI request on March 11, 2011 regarding my personal information being shared with other departments to harass,abuse and cause me harm. The city of vancouver code of conduct bylaw forbids this as well as the FOI Act. I kept reminding this department that they were supposed to provide me with this information within 30 days which had long past. I then received the email below from B. VanFraassen claiming she was just new in her position. I have seen her name in other stories on here so can anyone tell me if it is true that B. VanFraassen just started her new position on May 2, 2011. Thank you

Subject: FOI request # 2011-065
Date: Mon, 9 May 2011 19:28:09 +0000

Good Morning Traysea: First, let me apologize for the delay in response to your request. I am sorry this is not complete at this juncture. I can only say that I am new to this position, having only started with the City on May 2nd and so cannot respond specifically as to what caused the delay. However, I can tell you that we are close to completing your request and are currently in process of reviewing the records prior to their release.

Thank-you for your patience. Please feel free to call or email me if you have any questions or comments at any time,

Barbara J. Van Fraassen, BA
Manager, Corporate Information

Provincial privacy legislation (FIPPA) prohibits the access,, collection use and disclosure of personal information without a person’s consent. Clear violation here by the Mayor’s office. They have accessed the data, collected it in a data base and are now using it for purposes other than for which it was disclosed. The fact that a persons privacy rights have been violated is the issue and it is not up to the victim of those violations to read the mind of the person who committed the offense and determine what uses will be made with the stolen personal information. It should be noted as well that in the absence of a either a complaint or other objection from the persons affected by the theft of personal information by the Mayor’s office, their silence will be interpreted as consent that the data can be disclosed to Vision Vancouver or any other political party or affiliated entity or contractor. Thus, the data can be used for multiple uses by other organizations. This in my view is cyber harassment as it penalizes a citizen for exercising their right to voice their opinion in the form of a petition through a minimum of e-mail harassment and further disclosure of personal information.

I sent an email to the parks board commissioners(PBC)and staff about a very aggressive park ranger Andrew Nolan(AN)harassing me in Stanley Park on January 14, 2011

I provided my full name under the belief that this would be kept confidential for obvious reasons(my safety and retaliation being a few)

January 21, 2011 the supervisor of AN sent me this email:

From: Jung, Jenny (
Sent: January 21, 2011 6:22:39 PM
To: Traysea Traysea (

Further to my email of January 18, 2011, I'd like to thank you once again for bringing this matter to our attention. While I am not at liberty to share specific details regarding the action taken to address this matter with the employee involved, since performance management issues are an internal employee relations matter, I can tell you that appropriate corrective action has been taken. Please be assured that we take our responsibility to review and address concerns raised by our customers very seriously since we value your patronage.
I considered this issue resolved.

March 4, 2011 - I sent an email to the (PBC)and addressed Aaron Jasper (AJ),chair of park board. I told him that he had no business being the chair of that board let alone a commissioner based on his comments to the media..

March 10, 2011 - I come home to find an animal control officer (ACO) standing in my building discussing me and my business with other tenants.

She told me that their records showed that my dog wasnt liscensed.I asked her who had called them to complain, she told me she could not tell me based on privacy issues. I told her I knew it was someone from the parks board office because of the complaint letter I had just sent to them a few days ago.

I made a FOI request through city hall for all details re: this $250 ticket on March 11, 2011. On May 20,2011 some but not all my information was given to me, well past the 30 day timeline in the FOI Act.

I was furious. Someone gave this very ranger (AN) my name. He then called John Gray at Animal Services to see if my dogs were liscensed. They did not have my current address and I have lived here for 4 yrs. So ACO#12 went to my previous address and when she was told I didnt live there anymore, she insisted on entering the building to discuss me and my dogs. They refuse to reveal to me who this person was.

John Gray than contacted the VPD requesting my personal informatin in his capacity as crown counsel. He is not a lawyer nor is he permitted to practice law so how can he do anything in the capacity of crown counsel.

ACO#12 came to my home to fine me $250. She also has submitted documents to the city prosecutor re: other offences I supposedly committed. The prosecutor told me that he has no obligation to tell me what these alleged offences are.

Park Ranger AN is also animal control officer#30. I learned this myself and none of the parties involved told me this either

I have now been blown off by the managers at the parks board, animal control and have been told that B. VanFraasen, their manager will be responding to my questions.

This has not happened yet so I contacted Penny Ballem myself and requested the staff invovled be investigated by her office. She replied, telling me that she had forwarded my email to the Director of Legal services who will be providing me with a response.

All these people have committed offences according to this code of conduct bylaw. Does anyone know why Penny Ballem would send a citizen's complaint to the director of legal services

The FOI ACt and the city of vancouver code of conduct bylaw states no one can share a person's confidential information with other depts for purposes it was not intended for. No one can use a person's personal info to harass, abuse or cause them harm.
So why has everyone clammed up, even the city manager and have referred me now to the director of legal services, Prior to this the managers Andrew Nolan and John Gray referred me to B. VanFraasen to get answers. This office doesn't deal with complaints about city staff does it?? This park ranger is also getting the names of dog owners in the park with their dogs off leash, sends them away with a warning but then calls John Gray to see if their dogs are liscensed and if not,at a later date AC shows up and fines them.

Animal Control also is running around the West End with cameras and taking pictures of anyone they see with dogs off leash. But they won't reveal why they are taking this pictures and neither will the Mayor's office. Isnt this an invasion of a person's personal information.

And park rangers do not have authority to ticket dog owners, enforcement is not the jurisidiction of the parks board, it is animal control's job

Thank you for your time

And so it starts.

Did I mention you are dealing with union folks, who, don't always play by the rules and protect their own?

I am very sorry you are having to deal with this.

And, this is why we need change come this November.

"Does anyone know why Penny Ballem would send a citizen's complaint to the director of legal services"

My guess would be to cover their a**'s, if you are being harassed..or targeted they need to have legal...I hope someone with legalize responds to your comment.

I'm sorry this is happening to you as well.

I'm not clear, can you explain why you sent an email to Aaron Jasper.. I didn't totally understand...

I know Aaron Jasper can be a pit bull..especially when he is angry..

Thank you George. I am sorry this harassment is happening to me also. I sent an email to Aaron Jasper and the other park board commissioners because on March 3, 2011 Jasper began his early election campaign and was doing newspaper and radio interviews stating that in his opinion the current off leash dog policy in "his" city wasn't working, that stricter enforcement was needed, that he wanted park rangers to be able to ticket dog owners like they can for smoking ect. The topic of off leash dogs in this city is a very heated one and has been since at least 2004. Unfortunately the park board commissioners have refused to acknowledge the large number of dogs living in this city. I have very detailed facts showing this so his comments were unfounded and false. So I sent an email stating Aaron Jasper's comments were out of line, that he had no business being the chair of that board let alone a commissioner. I also stated that I hoped he wasn't planning on running in the next election. I then pointed out how every park board since 2005 had failed the dog community. I also commented on the Nelson Park off leash space that is now half the size it used to be and that it was like taking your dog to a huge kitty litter box. That it was worse now and we were promised a new and improved area. I also pointed out how he played a big role in this park turning out the way it did and that many dog owners refused to even go there now, myself included.

He clearly didn't appreciate that as he is always bragging that he helped with this Nelson Park improvement project. I am a dog owner and have dealt with every park board except this Vision dominated one. I provided hard core facts showing that dog owners were not the problem, it was the park board that was. 5 days later Animal Control is at my home claiming their records show my dogs were not liscensed.

I should mention that once I received my FOI request from city hall and learned that someone had given this park ranger I had complained about my name to then call animal control, I emailed his supervisor wanting to know how this ranger got my name and asked her if she gave it to him. Please note how there is no mention of the fact that Ranger Andrew is also animal control officer#30. I also learned this by myself not from anyone at city hall or parks board. I still have not even told anyone I know this yet. Someone has though because Andrew Nolan has now removed Animal Control Services as one of his employers from Facebook. But under his likes/interests Aaron Jasper is still mentioned, the only park board commissioner as well as the Stanley Park ecology Society. This society has been a huge opponent to any off leash areas in parks and John Gray who is the assistant manager of Animal Control Services is also a founding member of this bird loving saving cause and is still on the board of directors. He is using his position at Animal Control to further his environmental cause by obtaining people's personal information and using it for purposes it was not intended for. Dog owners in stanley park are being harassed, city staff are running around with cameras now snapping photos of dog owners with their dogs off leash and are refusing to state what they are going to do with these photos. Isn't this an invasion of a person's privacy. Doesn't one need the permission of a person before taking their picture.

I asked Tom Hammell in the liscensing dept which also oversees animal control what bylaw allows them to do this and again I was referred to Barbara VanFraassen. This is the email I received from Park ranger supervisor.

From: Jung, Jenny (
Sent: May 24, 2011 11:27:06 AM
To: Traysea Traysea (; Bromley, Malcolm (

Hello Traysea,
Firstly, I am sorry the sequence of events has caused you concern. I can assure you the incident that you had reported was dealt with as indicated in the previous e-mails. I can also assure you that Ranger Andrew did not contact Animal Control as I did not share your name or e-mail with him. I did, however, share you e-mail with his direct supervisor as we conducted the investigation together. The Lead Ranger is off for the next two days. Allow me to investigate further and I will share more information on Thursday.

Jenny Jung
Park Ranger Supervisor

I told her I had evidence that he did as I had made an FOI request. I then started getting the run around so I went to the park board meeting on May 30,2011 to ask all the park board commissioners which one of them gave my name to this park ranger to harass me further. As soon as Aaron Jasper knew I was there in the room, he immediately started acting nervous, was fidgeting, got up twice and went over and whispered something in the manager and general manager's ears. He was definately sweating. I waited until all the agenda items were dealt with and before he closed the meeting I stood up and said I wanted to know which one of them did this. He closed the meeting and practically ran out of the room which made me angry. Ian Robertson came right over to me and looked me right in the eyes and stated that it was not him. I told him that I knew this, that I knew it was Aaron Jasper. He seemed sympathetic. And Stuart Mackinnon was the only commissioner who acknowledged my complaint about the park ranger harassing me in the park on January 14, 2011 and emailed me thanking me for my email and that he had furthered it to staff to investigate so I knew it was not him either. I then got into it with Jasper himself in the hallway and I asked him if he could look me straight in the eyes and tell me that he did not do this and he could not. You can always tell if a person is lying is they can't look you in the eyes as they are denying any involvement. His demeanor throughout the board meeting and the way he closed the meeting and ran out of the room so fast confirmed my suspisions but after talking to him personally, I knew without a doubt it was him that was behind this harassment.

General Managers and City Managers do not go to all this trouble for some park ranger that was only hired in 2009. It is very obvious that this ranger is doing Jasper's dirty work for him. However as he is doing this, people's personal information and privacy rights are being violated and these people are using personal information to harass, abuse or cause harm to others and this is not permitted. The FOI ACT as well as the City of Vancouver Code of Conduct Bylaw clearly states this so this is why I can't understand why I am getting the run around and now even Penny Ballem is refusing to investigate this matter and has directed me to the legal services department.

I must admit I don't bother voting. I think most politicians are like Aaron Jasper. Dishonest, self serving and arrogant. I also know that I have gone to the media in the past re: information I uncovered about past board members misleading the public re: off leash issues. Several stories were done in 2005/2006. I have dealt with this board since this time trying to get more off leash space downtown. And I have never ever been visited by Animal Control a few days after a newspaper article appeared, or they were questioned by reporters or I told them they suck.

It is very, very disturbing that a politician would react in such a hostile manner and retaliate against a member of the public for voicing their opinions about this person. This is my right. It is so unbelievable. A person like this who uses his position to abuse the public has no business being a politician. He is clearly capable of anything. Is there any office that investigates politicans like this please? If so could someone please tell me the name of it so I can make a formal complaint because city hall clearly has his back.

@ Traysea,

First may I say good for you.. Aaron has been known to use dirty tactics in the past... As Aaron likes to say what goes on in the family stays in the family..

I commend you for the detailed documentation you have obviously kept...

Thank you for posting this and I know there is someone reading this that will be able to direct you.

This is that slippery slope we have been speaking of and your excellent post is proof that our worries do have merit.

I personally am not a dog owner, but the majority of owners I meet are extremely responsible...

Have you ever considered putting your dog on a skateboard, or a bike? I understand that in that case, your dog would have many more rights and freedoms with the Parks Board, and City Hall...

I understand that they don't even have to follow the Highway Traffic Act. Cyclists and Skateboarders yell that at me every time they blaze through a stop sign or cut me off on the sidewalk.

Thank you Traysea for being so brave and going up against this administration... you are right, and I know we all will start researching to find some help for your situation.

May I have your permission to forward your post?

Traysea - when you say you were being "harassed" in Stanley Park, was that because you illegally had your dog offleash?

Subject: RE: Traysea
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2011 23:38:15 +0000


I have had a chance to look into this and given the numerous departments and people already involved in this file, the Park Board, as part of the City of Vancouver, will work on a consolidated response for you.

Peter Kuran
Deputy General Manager

I was very upset at reading this as he had no right to discuss this with the other departments involved. My question to them was very simple- Who gave this park ranger my name? And has he been fired for continuing his harassment towards me after my initial complaint re: him where I was assured he had been dealt with accordingly and my complaint taken very seriously. This is a very simple request so I did not understand why Mr. Kuran felt the need to go to the other departments involved. And again, my privacy rights were being violated as my concerns with the other departments had nothing to do with the parks board. I then realized that he did this so that all parties involved could try to get their stories straight and then hide behind Barb VanFraasen. I sent him an email asking why he did this and I told him she had nothing to do with my requests and I wanted answers from him. This was his response.

From: Kuran, Peter
Sent: June 2, 2011 11:04:18 AM
To: Traysea; Bromley, Malcolm
Cc: Van Fraassen, Barbara


As per my e-mail to you yesterday suggesting a consolidated response, Barbara Van Fraassen, Manager, Corporate Information and Privacy for the City of Vancouver will be coordinating responses to you. Please direct all your future correspondence to her. Thank you.

Peter Kuran
Deputy General Manager

I sent several emails after this requesting this office provide me with answers and they were just ignored. I have sent several emails to B. VanFraassen requesting she send me the correspondence for all departments and have been ignored. This is when I filed a formal complaint with the City Manager Penny Ballem and this was her response to me and many other people

From: Ballem, Penny
Sent: June 9, 2011 9:53:46 PM
To: Traysea; Rae, Shobha; Van Fraassen, Barbara ; Bromley, Malcolm
Cc: Gerber, Ellen ; Connell, Francie

Dear ms Traysea thank you for your email - i have forwarded it to our legal department for resonse to you - thank you pb

Penny Ballem


And this is where I am at currently with this matter. Oh, I forgot- the city prosecutor is looking over some other bylaw offences that I "allegedly" committed and is deciding whether to prosecute me or not. I have repeatedly asked him to tell me what these offences are and he has told me that he is under no obligation to provide me with this information. That if he decides to prosecute me I will receive a summons to appear in court.

This is harassment and abuse. Period. For animal control to go to all the trouble they did, showing up at my previous address where I have not lived for 4 yrs, asking around the building about me trying to find my current address, John Gray then emailing the VPD requesting my current address in his capacity as crown counsel, showing up at my current address where I have lived for 4yrs discussing me with other tenants in the building, fining me $250, submitting paperwork to the city prosecutor to cause me more harm. This is absolutely unacceptable so yes George, please forward this to anyone and everyone you know that may be able to help me here as this is very wrong. I did not write a complaint letter to the parks board commissioners, specifically Aaron Jasper so that I could be harassed like this. And I can provide more than enough documentation to prove everything I have stated here.

[comment edited]


It sounds as if the issue is the dogs being off leash... that started it...

Now to me it appears that the bigger issue is.. "the man got in your face", I'm assuming you are a woman, that to me is a bigger concern...

If I were a woman alone in a park, and someone got in my face... if I were that man's boss I'd be running to legal as well, to cover my a**.

Have you spoken to a lawyer, if cost is an issue, search for a legal clinic.. do not deal with civil liberties, David Eby...

I have concerns when I hear a woman alone is persecuted in such a manor in an isolated park area...

Funny people smoke pot illegally in parks freely,I see and smell it all the time, but legal cigarette smokers and dogs.. not allowed..

I do recommend you license your dog.. and if any Councillors or Park Commissioners are reading this...and they are... perhaps they can help us get cyclists licensed as well.

All things being equal..

The issue here has absoluely nothing to do with my dogs being off leash. I also did not come on here to debate this with anyone. I read what city hall had recently done with other people's personal information and thought perhaps someone could give their opinion re: what they were doing to me.

I replied to your post asking me if you could forward my post and stated "by all means". I also offered some other facts but see now that the majority of my post has been edited and I don't know why.

I am also confused as to why you now think my dogs being off leash is the real issue when you understood what the real issue was yesterday.

Perhaps this is what people do on this site, look for debates but I am not interested in debating anything with anyone. I just wanted others to know what city hall did with my personal information and how they used it against me. I also don't like the majority of my post being edited as then nothing makes sense to people reading it.

I see now that this site is trying to turn this into an off leash debate and get that topic started and I am not going there.

I will say this though- if cyclists want to be on the road with cars then they should have to get a drivers liscense, they should be required to pay insurance every year, they should be required to obey all the traffic laws and only then should they be allowed on the road with cars.

RE: liscensing my dogs

Why should I be required to pay the city every year to own my dogs?? I pay for their food, their treats, their toys, I pay for their vet bills which let me tell you are not cheap, I pay more rent because I have dogs, the list goes on so what in the hell do I owe the city. It is the most outrageous thing I have ever heard. Back in 2005 when the city decided to raise the fines from $25 to $250 I asked the Mayor's office, the general manager of Animal Control, who referred me to my local MLA Lorne Mayencourt who told me Animal Control knew he had nothing to do with this. Its called passing the buck because no one could tell me where my money was going. I was told it went to off leash dog parks- we don't have any or I would be happy to lisense my dogs to maintain them. I was told it goes towards supporting the local animal shelter. Well hey- I love animals but I already have my own to support and it ain't cheap.
Why should dog owners be the ones responsible for paying for this place? The SPCA thrives off of donations only.

I am sorry but I am not going to just let the city rob me year after year ecspecially when it is almost a crime to own a dog in this city, the way we are treated.

If they want to use that as a reason then all children should be liscensed also and those fees could support social services and all the kids that end up in their care because of their drug addicted parents who walk away with no punishment whatsoever. Or those fees could create more daycare facilities in this city which are needed.

And do you know what George- there are more liscensed dogs in this city than there are registered children in both elementary and secondary schools.

I am not getting into this debate with you because you don't own a dog so you have no idea. It has also been proven in studies that apartment dogs are the most well trained and mannered. This makes absolute sense if you think about it. If you can't see how well what can I say.

My dogs being off leash is not and was not the real issue of my original post and I am disappointed that you now see it that way.

I just read the ending of your last comment stating city council and park board commissioners were reading this

Well that is too bad that the majority of my post was edited and removing important facts from my post is not helping anyone, ecspecially people who are being screwed, harassed and abused by these elected self serving, dishonest assholes.

I can only assume the person editing is a dog hater too.

you post may have been edited so the owner of this forum does not get sued. Making accusations with names attached is technically slander unless it has been proven in a court of law.

Let's all take a deep breath.

I'm sorry you misunderstood my comment. I said that you should license your dog to protect you from further problems.

But now that you've come back swinging, I can understand why there might be some miscommunications with anyone that does not agree with your opinion.

After your verbal attack towards me quite frankly I'm sorry I bothered trying to offer any assistance...

Good Luck with your situation...

"The issue here has absoluely nothing to do with my dogs being off leash."

With due respect Traysea, if your breaking the law lead to what you see as persecution, then it has everything to do with it.

Upon re-reading your posts where you disparage the Stanley Park Ecology Society and some other "bird loving" group, one can only assume you view your choice to own a dog and let it run offleash in Stanley Park is somehow a "right" that trumps that of the wildlife in the Park and the laws designed to protect it.

What Traysea has shared here is not about our opinions on the dog issues,its about the right to have an opinion,its about the stazi like approach the powers that be took to oppress Traysea opinion.

Firstly, I really laugh at people like you who remind me that I was breaking the law by letting my dog off leash. You make us sound like murderers. And you know what Bob some laws are just so unfair, unjust and so stupid that they need to be broken. I do not rob, steal, sell drugs, kill people so I am just fine with the fact that I break the law by letting my dog off leash so my animal can get exercise and be healthy. And yes I choose to own a dog and that is my right. And so do about 150,000+ other people in this city and the number gets bigger each year. DOGS ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE AND THE PEOPLE WHO RUN THIS CITY NEED TO REALIZE THIS.

And you clearly did not re-read my posts or maybe you are somewhat mentally challenged as what I said about the Stanley Park Ecology Society was this:

John Gray is one of the original founders of this bird saving society and is still on the board of directors. This group has been a major opponent of any off leash space in any parks ecspecially Stanley Park.

He also now is the assistant manager of Animal Control services and is using this position to further his bird cause and is abusing his position by harassing dog owners such as he did to me. He violated my privacy rights, he lied in his reports, he had his staff lie in their reports, he called the VPD and requested my information in his capacity as crown counsel. This man began his career as a zookeeper picking up monkey crap and now he is the assistant manager of the city pound. He is not a lawyer nor is he legally permitted to practice law so how does he think he can do anything in the capacity of crown counsel.

The fact that he is in animal control and is a founder of this group is a huge conflict of interest.

And you are dam right that I am entitled to walk through any park or go to any beach with my dog off leash. I would be more than happy to take my dog to an off leash beach or dog park if there was one around that was decent. I prefer to go to off leash areas as its good for the dogs to play with other dogs, you meet great people and you can have a great time without "breaking the law". And I know that 99% of dog owners would be just as happy to go to off leash areas also.

However, this city doesn't create off leash areas to accomodate us. And the ones they have already created are horrible, little gravel filled areas in far off locations and this is why there is a problem with off leash dogs in this city. I have personally been to every single off leash dog "park" in this city. And let me tell you, there are 3 at the most that could be considered a park such as Spanish Banks. The other places are just tiny pieces of grass or gravel in a back corner somewhere. Furthemore, there are over 220 parks in this city and it is laughable that the parks board thinks they are giving us the world by offering off leash space in only 31 of those parks.

And yes, myself and every other dog owner in this city have more rights than the birds that live in Stanley park. We pay taxes, birds do not. And there are more than enough trees in that park for all the birds to live in.
My dogs do not chase birds or wildlife in the park and 99% of other dogs do not either. It is groups like the SPES that make these false claims.

Children, the elderly, "people" that go to the park daily to feed the ducks and wildlife cause more harm than dogs ever will. And you know what Bob- feeding the wildlife is also against the law. So I guess its okay with you if park rangers approach children and little old ladies, get right in their face and yell at them to stop feeding the birds. And then follow them really closely behind yelling this again and again as they are trying to leave.

And if the parent of that child or the little old lady dare make a complaint to the parks board about this ranger and sign this letter with their full name, Jasper and the park ranger can call whatever department deals with this bylaw, give them this person's name and retaliate against them. Is this okay with you also Bob.

Whether I was breaking the law or not is irrelevant. Park rangers have no legal authority to ticket dog owners, dog enforcement is not and never has been the jurisdiction of the parks board though Aaron Jasper has decided he wants to be the "dog park enforcer" and wants the parks board to have control of dog enforcement.

I would also like to mention that Jasper told the media he wanted park rangers to be able to ticket dog owners after I had written a complaint about this very upsetting incident with the park ranger. It was like a slap in the face and it was very disturbing that this guy was okay with park rangers being aggressive towards women who visit the park. I don't care if my dog was off leash- that man had no right dealing with the situation like he did. He was way out of line but he has the full support of Jasper so he had a great time trying to intimidate and scare me. All he had to do was tell me to leash my dogs in a nice manner and that would have been the end of it. But he chose use tactics that were abusive and scare me and this is why I complained. I certainly did not think that an elected person would stoop so low as to retaliate against me and have me fined and try to prosecute me for god knows what other offences they have claimed. What these people did is absolutely unacceptable and illegal. THAT IS THE ONLY ISSUE HERE!!!

The parks board should be doing something about the illegal activity going on in the trails located right across from the childrens playground in stanley park. This has been a well known cruising spot for men for over 30 yrs. They are in there 24 hrs a day having sex, leaving used condoms laying everywhere, drug paraphenilia and the parks board just turns a blind eye. However if you walk your dog through the trails off leash in that park, they want to fine you $250.I don't think so Bob.

And I am positive that parents would not be thrilled to know that this sort of activity is going on right across from where they take their children to play. The park board refused to respond to my email re: this.

Okey dokey, Traysea - based on this recent post I can now see why the last one likely got a heavy edit.

please remember that the people here are not your enemy and it is really unfair to talk to them as such.

I am very sorry if you felt verbally attacked by me. It certainly was not my intention. It also was not my intention to get into any debates with anyone on here re: off leash dogs, politics.

I simply wanted to comment on what city hall and the parks board did with my personal information as this was what the story was about.

Your post did not come across in the manner you have described and I felt attacked and I reacted as I would to anyone re: the topic of my dog being off leash. My opinions will never change on this issue.

I truly appreciate your initial offer to try and help me George but I don't see how you really could. It appears the only way Im going to get this issue resolved is to sue city hall and all parties involved. And if these people continue to harass and abuse me I will have them criminally charged.

If you have any other suggestions I would be very grateful to hear them and again I apologize if you felt verbally attacked. This has been a very stressful and upsetting situation. Sincerely,

re: "He [John Gray} also now is the assistant manager of Animal Control services and is using this position to further his bird cause and is abusing his position..."

You will never defeat our Feathered World Order. We're going to fill the Lions Gate Bridge with trees and then fill those trees with birds. There will be no room for imperialist humans and their running dogs. Maybe John Gray will be the Saul Alinsky of bird-supremacist community organizing. I've suspected all along that "social change" was for the birds.

Aaron Jaspers' bio on Vision Website from the man himself- Pinnochio

"In all aspects of the Park Board’s mandate, Aaron has been a strong advocate for the importance of engaging stakeholders and residents in meaningful consultation."

Is he for real??? He has been a strong advocate for ignoring what the residents say. He has been a very strong advocate for violating resident's privacy rights and using their confidential information for purposes it was not intended and has used resident's confidential information to harass, abuse and cause them harm for writing a complaint letter.

And if you dare send in a letter disagreeing with his views and statements made to the media-he is going to go to great lengths to make you pay by again violating your privacy rights and using your confidential information against you to harass, abuse and cause you harm.

"meaningful consultation" means you better agree with him and his views or he doesn't want to hear from you. And if do dare to disagree with him, he is going to make you pay.

This big goon will get brown nosing city employees to do his dirty work for him and send them to your house to fine you and also possibly prosecute you for the very things for which you disagreed.

He then says:
Under a Vision administration, the Park Board worked with community partners and planted three fruit orchards and expanded the number of community gardens throughout our city.

I say:
The city desperately needs more off leash dog space you silly fool, not community gardens. There was $100,000 approved in the 2008-2011 capital plan budget for off leash dog parks and only $20,000.00 was used in 2009. So where's the remaining $80,000.00. I don't recall seeing any money approved for community gardens but I could be wrong. And why did he close down the last parks board meeting on May 30, 2011 and run out of the room when I stood up and wanted to have a "meaningful consultation" with him re: him using my personal information to harass, abuse and cause me harm.

He then says:
Working closely with Mayor Robertson, Aaron and the Vision Commissioners secured millions in federal infrastructure funding which allowed the Park Board.....

Isn't there 3 other people on the board that are not vision commissioners???

This guy is a complete joke. He is dishonest, self serving, spiteful and arrogant. He has taken politics to a new level in this city with his bullying tactics and childish behavior.

I have received a letter from the legal department re: my personal information being used for purposes it was not intended and to harass,abuse and cause me harm. It is very frustrating and an attempt to blow me off. City hall is protecting these employees rather than punish them.

Anyways I sent it to citycaucus email address and asked if they could please post it for others to see how dishonest city hall is and how they dealt with all very serious issues involved by blowing me off. Hopefully they will post it.

Penny Ballem covers up unethical actions of Aaron Jasper, vision park board chair and several city employees doing his dirty work for him.

I received a letter from the legal dept for the city that Penny Ballem spoke of. It is from a lawyer named Iain Dixon.

Since when does the legal department deal with FOI requests or complaints from the public about city employees.

You made requests for informaion under the "FIIPA". The City has responded fully to these requests by letter.


It contains information relating to the sharing of information between Park Board staff and Animal Control. Park board staff routinely collaborate with their colleaugues in other city departments to address By-law infractions observed in public parks and beaches.


Further, it is standard practice that City staff, including Animal Control staff, charged with enforcing By-laws to obtain personal information from the VPD for the purposes of our investigatoins and enforcement. This type of information sharing is permitted by FIPPA.


It is also standard practice to take photographs as evidence of offences to facilitate the enforcement of the City By-laws and subsequent prosecution of those offences.


Robert Leblanc of the city prosecutor's office is in the process of reviewing the material relating to your current ticket. Your email will be treated as a specific request for disclosure of any and all document relevant to the offences you are currently charged with.


As per the city's disclosure obligations the City Prosecutor will be forwarding you that material in the near future.

The city of vancouver strives to treat each and every citizen of Vancouver in a fair and respectful way. We ask all people who deal with the City to treat city employees in the same way.


Please address all future correspondence regaring any issues you may have regarding the Animal Control office, the park board or any other city of vancouver entity to Robert Leblanc at the city prosecutors office.



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