Anton makes surprise appearance at Vancouver Police Board today

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

30 comments

vancouverpoliceboard.jpg
Volunteer members of the Vancouver Police Board pose for a group photo

When Mayor Gregor Robertson received the email request from NPA opposition leader Suzanne Anton to attend today's Vancouver Police Board meeting, one can only imagine what was going through his mind. I'm sure he must have thought "what is this effin NPA hack doing at my meeting."?

It is considered quite unusual for a sitting politician to come before the Vancouver Police Board and make a presentation. The last time it happened was back in January 2010 when NDP MLA Jenny Kwan spoke to the Board.

Today's showdown at the Police Board meeting will be quite the media spectacle. That's because it's the first time both Mayor Gregor and his embattled Police Chief Jim Chu will be in the same room since Robertson's Riot. In addition, Chu has placed the topic of the riot on the agenda.

The public meeting starts at 1 pm (Wednesday), but Anton won't likely get an opportunity to question Mayor Gregor until about mid-way through the meeting. Our sources tell us that Anton will not only be pressing the Mayor for some answers regarding riot preparations, but she will also be providing a series of concrete recommendations.

Anton will apparently highlight the fact that unlike an Olympic Games, the odds are in favour of us experiencing another Stanley Cup playoff run in about 10 months. Given the fact we are heading into a civic election this fall, Anton may well be chairing the very Police Board she is presenting to this afternoon.

Over the last several weeks, there have been numerous attempts made to find out just how many police were on the streets the night of Robertson's Riot. To date, Mayor Gregor has refused to divulge that information. However, in the days that followed the mayhem, Robertson admitted he asked Chu for that number, but he refused to provide it to him.

The Mayor's messaging regarding the riot has been all over the map. Initially he blamed the riot on a small group of "hooligans and anarchists." That assertion (a.k.a. spin) was proven to be false. It even led one prominent activist to tell the media that no self-respecting anarchist would wear a Vancouver Canucks jersey to a riot.

Anton's open letter to Robertson also captures a few of the contradictions in the Mayor's statements. Here is an excerpt:

Today, Mr. Mayor, you published a piece in the Vancouver Sun, so it appears you are finally ready to discuss your role in the riots, albeit a very one-sided discussion.

Your opinion piece raises more questions than it answers. For example in the Globe and Mail on June 25, you are quoted as saying: "I didn't know any details. That's how the system is set up. ... I have full confidence in the chief and the chief is responsible for that plan."

Now, in your opinion piece, you say: "I spoke frequently with Chief Jim Chu throughout the playoffs about police preparations, and ensured that everything the VPD asked for in terms of city resources, they received." Which is it, Mr. Mayor?

Today you say there were "well resourced and coordinated plans for the Stanley Cup playoffs downtown, which were constantly adjusted.... A wide range of city departments and stakeholders were involved in the planning of the live sites, liquor store closures and street management." Then you say, "Now we need to rely on an independent review to identify what the shortcomings were."

It may not be the kind of high drama we're witnessing over in Great Britain with the Rupert Murdoch scandal, but today's Police Board meeting may well generate some fireworks.

- Post by Daniel. You can follow us on Twitter @CityCaucus. Or you can "like" us on Facebook at Facebook.com/citycaucus.

30 Comments

I ask for live-tweeting and hopefully somebody will shoot video with their home camera since most digital still cameras now take video as well.

Please.

This should be very interesting..one of the Board members has experience with the 1994 riot review..

Patti Marfleet has had experience leading major multi-disciplinary projects, including the Vancouver Riot Review (1994); E-Comm (1995 - 1998) and the Vancouver Y2K project (1998 2000). Since her retirement from the City in 2000, Ms. Marfleet has served as a Director on the E-Comm Board.

http://vancouver.ca/police/policeboard/profiles.htm

If anybody should have been raising red flags about a possible riot it's Marfleet. I didn't know she wrote the City's 1994 riot report. I wonder if the media will ask her any questions about that???

I've taken this from the twitter feed...

"Just confirmed with Van Police Bd that NPA Coun. Suzanne Anton will get at least 5 mins to speak @ today's meeting @ cop shop. Topic? Riot."

My question is this..does the board not represent the COV taxpayers?

Why is there a 5 minute limit on a COV Councilor to speak to the board...

excuse me?

That is ridiculous, and can be viewed as a way to block dialogue...I hope this comes from the Board and is not influenced by Gregor...if the later, what is he trying to hide?

stop criticizing Robertson. He's giving Anton 5 minutes to speak. That's five minutes more than most dictators or oppressors give their political opponents. Cut him some slack. Anton should be grateful he doesn't bar her from entering the room.

Vision kool aid drinker...

you are joking right...you can't be that ignorant/stupid...he can't bar her they both work for us... my tax dollars pay Gregor, and I'm not fooled by a pretty face,like some people...

I cut nobody slack for being an idiot, on my dime...give him a break.. eyes rolling LMAO

After 5 minutes, he is shutting her mic off....

"That is ridiculous, and can be viewed as a way to block dialogue...I hope this comes from the Board and is not influenced by Gregor...if the later, what is he trying to hide?"

If it is from the board and just procedure, do you think they have something to hide as well? Or is your knee jerk reaction to this kind of thing tied solely to gregor.

George, I am pretty sure it was a joke.

Hopefully, there are some board members with the courage to follow Council's tactics on the 5 minute rule. When it is someone council likes... they keep asking questions of the speaker so they can keep the person at the podium long after the 5 minutes has run out.

She will show up with overalls and a pitchfork and talk about wheat for 4 and a half of those minutes.

you know Julia,

Normally I would say it was a joke, but I am in the complaint/grievance process because a Non Profit Board ignored/condoned a serious abuse issue, several politicians refused to allow time to hear the complaint...

It had to be taken to the Provincial government..it is still going through the channels.. so with that being said you can understand my concern...

You do realize that Anton is NPA, not wheat farming, back-yard chickens all things bike, Vision Vancouver.

This is off topic but well worth the read. All things Tides Canada, Hollyhock, Joel Solomon and his 500 year plan....for us.


http://www.farmfreshsalmon.org/charity-plenty-very-long-tentacles

WOW, I just heard a segment on CTV where Jim Chu said the VPD had no calls or prior intelligence about the riot.

I guess I should have called them and told them to read their own twitter feed. hashtag #VPD was FULL of red flags as early as noon.

Using Twitter is as much about listening as talking. I guess nobody told the VPD that it is a good idea to listen.

I am gobsmacked.

Chu also snidely commented on Anton's appearance, when he was asked by CKNW what he thought of her comments, noting that she said in her opening that she was running for Mayor---and that he was not going to comment.

I can tell you by the tone of his voice how dismissive and angry he was (even though it appears Anton took great pains to congratulate the cops for doing what they could. And who knows how well they actually did. Guess the review will give us some insight. Or not). Yes, so it was political, Jim.

But she brought a few good ideas to the table.

It's all very curious, indeed. Whatever can it all mean?

I saw Jim Chu on the Global coverage saying that they had no 9-1-1 calls, or intelligence from Transit Police about the amount of already problematic people heading down town on Sky train.

I'm not sure if that's what he meant by prior intelligence.

I guess we'll just have to wait for the review to be finished.

Here is a copy of Anton's speech to the board if anyone is interested.

---

Thanking you for hearing me today.

As you know, I am a city councillor in the City of Vancouver and a candidate for Mayor in the upcoming civic election. I am here also speaking on behalf of the citizens of Vancouver.

The June 15 riot caused extensive property damage, gave the city an international black eye, and caused terrible trauma to employees. As you know, many were trapped in the backs of their businesses for hours. They did not know if they were going to survive.

There are two common themes in everything I hear.

The first is: Everybody has lots of questions. Here are some:

* How did the riot happen at all? It was a Canucks game; but the fan zones were run by the city.

* Who was in charge?

* Why did the city seem to miss the lessons of 1994? The council of the day set out a detailed road map of how to prevent future riots.

* Was there an effort to ratchet down police costs on the eve of the finals? What were the budgetary constraints faced by the VPD?

* How many police were deployed? How many came in from other departments? What advance arrangements were made?

* And then of course there are many questions about the cost to the businesses and the cost to the city. Does the black eye we got that night impact our economy and future prosperity?

These are just some of the questions I have heard. It is my sincere hope that the independent provincial review and the city's own review will help us answer many of them. I know I join you in looking forward to the results of their work.

The second common theme I hear is: Regardless of who was responsible for what - how do we prevent a riot from happening again?

The riot has many people questioning the ability of our local authorities to plan for the large events we love to enjoy and participate in together. People want to celebrate downtown. We are the regional centre. I don't feel this "us versus them" which sometimes comes up in the riot discussions.

Vancouver is everyone's downtown. But people want to be safe and need to be safe.

The great legacy of the Olympics was that incredible sense that downtown Vancouver is a place where we can all celebrate. But since June 15, that has changed. Now we have the concern that our city and our region may have lost some of that great Olympic legacy. And that would be a serious loss.

The Olympics are a once in a lifetime event for a city. But for Vancouver - and the Canucks - the Stanley Cup Finals could become a pretty regular occurrence. And as a sports fan, I can safely say it is not a stretch to imagine us hosting the finals again next year.

In fact, it is very likely that in a very short ten months from now, the next Mayor will be leading plans to host Game One of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals.

What will be different? Here are my suggestions:

1. All plans for Stanley Cup Playoff celebrations must be debated and approved by City Council before being implemented.

2. Be clear that the Mayor - and Chair of the Police Board - has overall responsibility and accountability for next year's celebration.

3. The Mayor should lead daily briefings in advance and during the Stanley Cup Finals for the public and the media. In addition to providing important public safety information, the briefings will be an opportunity to answer questions, highlight celebrations throughout the region and reassure the public that the mistakes of the past are not going to be repeated.

4. Clarify the use of downtown closed circuit surveillance cameras for the Stanley Cup finals.

5. Starting immediately, engage regional colleagues and the provincial government in establishing a more comprehensive coordinated regional police unit focused on security planning for large special events - based on similar initiatives developed for the Olympics and anti-gang units.

6. Help the City with advocacy to both the Vancouver Canucks organization and the provincial government for assistance during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As you will know, the financial windfall is significant during the playoffs - but not to the city. Board members can be very effective in assisting the city with this advocacy.

I want to conclude by commending the women and men of the VPD for their superb service to the city the night of the riot. I had the opportunity to speak to many of them that night and also over the past month, to convey the good wishes that I have heard from so many in Vancouver.

I would also like to recognize Chief Chu and his team for their hard work and extraordinary effort during the playoffs and finals. Chief, you had an almost insurmountable challenge. You and your small 1300 member force were asked to manage a difficult crowd of 150,000. May the results of the deliberations of this Board and the two inquiries ensure that that does not happen again.

My opinion of Chu has been steadily dropping in the aftermath of the riot. He looked like a breath of fresh air after Graham but unfortunately weak, petulant and evasive are the words that now come to mind.

Clearly there won't have been 911 calls before the riot, but were there calls made on the non emergency service? Did regular police patrols really notice and report nothing? Presumably the inquiry will give answers but the chances of any of this bunch taking responsibility are somewhere between nothing and zero.

Glissando, thank you for the Neruda quote, it reminded me that I lent my copy of 'The Captain's Verses' to my brother in law and still haven't got it back. But to even compare those sublime words to the banality of our civic leaders!

So what came of this?

There were 911 calls before the riot started. I know because I called 911 at 6:07 pm from the fanzone within a half block of the starting point for the rioting.
I reported on the drunken & aggressive mood of the crowd and was told that no one was being let into the area. We left just after to see that not only were people coming in, but the fences were down and people were pouring into the area while police stood and watched.
I also approached an officer there to express concern for the direction the crowd was headed. Both in person & on the phone, the police were clearly not interested in what I had to say.

Thanks for this information Pamela..I thought it was odd that not one person noticed. or called in ...

Those 911 recordings should be included in the coveru... review process.

@ Pamela

Interesting comment.

As I understand the reporting of the meeting Chu specifically stated there were no 911 calls prior to the riot. Enough time has elapsed for him to have checked the records. Without commenting on your or his truthfulness, and again assuming the reporting is correct, I wonder if it would it be a resigning matter if he was shown to have given a false statement to the committee.

I was incorporating #VPD, #YVR, and #riot into my tweets and scanning efforts from mid afternoon on the 15th as it was apparent to me that the talk was on. I did notice the VPD tweets appeared to be oblivious (similar to - enjoy the evening, we have your back) wonder if they were pre-scheduled and staff were not listening to the chatter.

CKNW news just stated Mayor Gregor has sent a letter to Minister Bond stating Police Board is over worked, and requires a few more members and more funds for their efforts???

If meetings go over 2 hours they at this point in time, the pay rate bumps up to five hundred something,the last meeting was 15 minutes long....does this strike anyone as odd?

I'm not sure, but to me it seems excessive..interesting timing..

It is interesting George, considering Robertson placed a hiring freeze on both the police and fire departments.

And...he cut their budgets...

I'd actually forgotten that point Max,

I was thinking more along the lines of bringing in more Vision friendlies..

Induces an automatic knee jerk reaction to take place..sadly...

No need to apologize for the 'knee jerk' reaction...you are probably right on point.

This helps...a little more information..but even with it being a provincial decision..

I question it at this point in time, because of the riot discussions..I've never personally been comfortable with the choice of people Christy Clark has chosen for the review..

http://www.vancourier.com/news/12th+Cambie/5142194/story.html

On this one I am torn.

I think there have been many mistakes.

But the biggest problem for me is that we have '1200 police in Vancouver'. Not all of them are patrol,etc.

Can we send them all downtown for these HUGE events?

The rest of the City would scream like mad. Justifiably.
Hey, I've got a problem and where are the police?

Do I want to pay for more police (as a taxpayer) Not really.

So the question is?
Can we have huge events?

On the Vancouver taxpayer's budget.

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