Editor's Note: If you've been a regular reader of CityCaucus.com over the years, you already know that our creative and witty commentors are a big reason why so many people tune in each day. One of our more provocative and popular contributors to the comments section is someone that goes by the nom de plume "Glissando Remmy". I don't know who he/she is (really!), but I've been intrigued and amused by their numerous entries on this blog.
Last week Glissando approached me and asked if he/she could post on CityCaucus.com. Although I had some hesitation due to their anonymity, I decided to give it a try.
Here is the first official post. I hope you enjoy it!
The Thought Of The Day
“I understand people's urge for more exposure, and height and density, but what's with ... the Donkey Suit?"
The Councillor sits inside, in the front, because he likes to commandeer, he's talking a lot, yet he doesn't know where he's going.
The City Haller sits in the back, he pretends to listen, but is facing the other way because he needs the air. A funny looking duo.
But here's the punch line... The Developer... is riding them both! The Donkey Suit... that's your Vancouver! It's worn out at the seams, the hoofs are almost gone, neither ear is pointing up, it doesn't even look like a suit any more, a Mexican blanket thrown over a pile of seedless watermelons, it's more like it.
Our three caballeros? Riding and hoofing absent minded into the sun, on the road... to nowhere.
There. Presented in Technicolor, the past and present development & planning process and leadership, 'riding' out of the City Hall these days.
This City Council and Mayor wouldn't be sitting for two days in a row to listen to grievances from hundreds of Vancouver citizens, if the above wasn't true.
For the past three years, this council have sent their message to each and every neighbourhood, sound and clear: “You are going to raise chicken, tend to bees, make your own loves, grow your own vegetables and bike to work. We'll meter your water, we'll portion your air and we'll later explain to you what's with the newest carbon offset footwear. Buy organic, stay natural, have a free-run spirit, but stay in range so we could keep an eye on you.”
It shouldn't be this way though.
Start with a neighbourhood pocket. Meet with the people. Listen to what they have to say. See what they want for their community. Enquire about their future needs. Explain the alternatives. Offer them your professional advice. Ask them for input and respect their ideas and creativity. Take it to The Developer and show it to The Councillor. And last but not least... listen to them.
This should be your City Haller.
Build what is needed not what is most profitable. You'll make money, don't worry! As some businesses with repeat customers would tell you, that is a proven strategy. Be fair, be involved and stop pushing contribution envelopes. Sooner or later, all those bad promissory notes are going to bite you... Walk, not ride the Donkey! And last but not least... listen to them.
This should be your Developer.
Stop mingling in The City Haller's affairs. Stop giving advice when you have no advice to give. Stop accepting envelopes stuffed with promissory notes from The Developer. Stop pretending you know where you're going. You should be the 'glue' and the 'maitre'd', the 'facilitator'. And last but not least... listen to them.
This should be your Councillor.
As for the Donkey Suit, it's only a Donkey Suit. It's been used as such for generations, and will be used as such for generations to come. The question is, who is going to wear the suit? Are they going to own the suit, is it going to be a rental, or is it going to be a 'free spirit' as it should be?
Planning, developing and leading a city, any city, should start with the Donkey Suit. Anything else are simply inconveniences, nuances and distractions. There would be no need for marathon meetings if the planning would always start with... “the people the Donkey Suit is made of”.
We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.
- Post by Glissando Remmy. You can follow Glissando on Twitter @GlissandoRemmy. You can also follow us on Twitter @CityCaucus.