Was Mayor Gregor Robertson really clueless about riot preparations?
After making a brief appearance on the Bill Good Show a few days after Robertson's Riot, Mayor Gregor has not fielded any questions from their listeners. That's all about to change on Monday morning as His Worship makes his way to the CKNW studios and they open up the lines. You can anticipate questions on everything from the riot, mini-wheat fields on front lawns, back yard chickens, bike lanes and much more.
The last time Mayor Gregor was on the air with Bill Good he was still spinning out how the riot was caused by a small group of "hoodlums and anarchists." That initial spin has since been proven to be false.
If you don't want to wait until the November 19th civic election to hold Robertson accountable, you may want to get your dialing fingers ready at around 8:40 am. If you live in Metro Vancouver, you can call the CKNW open line at 604-280-9898.
Robertson also published a real nose stretcher opinion piece in the Vancouver Sun over the weekend regarding the riot. He states (emphasis ours):
I've said from Day 1 that, as mayor, I am ultimately responsible for public safety. 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.
Really Mr. Mayor? You accepted ultimate responsibility for what happened? That's clearly not what you were telling the media only a few weeks ago.
Unfortunately Robertson's guest column didn't shed any light on the role his office played in the lead up to and during the Game 7 riot. We also still don't know how many police were on duty that fateful night. We can only hold out hope that he'll include this kind of information his next opinion piece.
Meanwhile, the NPA continues to apply pressure on the Mayor regarding Robertson's Riot. Late last week opposition leader Suzanne Anton wrote an open letter asking for answers to some very difficult questions. Here is a copy of her letter:
On June 27th, I asked you, Mr. Robertson, to discuss the Stanley Cup Riot and answer some of the public's questions about your role and the City's in the planning process. You shut off my microphone.
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."
Except that the independent Provincial inquiry is limited in its scope. It will not be investigating the role of mayor and council in encouraging 100,000 plus people to come and celebrate. What about all those other city departments. What about that "cross-departmental planning" you talk about, Mr. Mayor?
Today you say: "We should leave no stone unturned in our analysis." And: "We need to identify what mistakes were made and how things could have been done differently. There are now three internal reviews underway at the city, police and fire departments..."
And yet, Mr. Mayor, it took four weeks, a great deal of pressure and a motion from me to get an internal review. Even now, there is still no assurance of independence. All the departments must report to the very people--you and the City Manager--who were the top decision makers in the planning process. How can the public believe this will "leave no stone unturned?"
What you choose to see as "political posturing" and trying "to score cheap political points" are actually attempts to ask relevant, important questions in a forum that allows public input. You seem to treat any attempts to hold you accountable with contempt. You have shut off my microphone in council, you have refused to discuss this with me on the radio.
So I ask you, Mr. Mayor, where does the public get answers? Where do you account to the public for your role in this?
So, one more time, Mr. Mayor, here are some of the questions the public has been asking:
- Will the businesses and public affected by the riot be allowed input into this review?
- Did you participate in and review the plans with the City Manager, department heads, the Police Chief and the Fire Chief to ensure the safety of our city, its residents, its businesses and its image?
- Will you, Mr. Mayor, your staff and Councillors make available all the documentation and internal written communication they have for the planning of the Stanley Cup playoffs?
- What was done in the planning of the celebrations to ensure the safety of citizens and businesses?
- What role did the fan zones play? Were they well planned and well managed?
- Were crowd and liquor control plans adequate?
- Was transportation in and out of the city (buses, taxis, skytrain) effectively coordinated?
- Do you know the number of police officers that were on the street that night - or not?
- Was the previous experience, like the City's own Review of the Management of Large Events in the City of Vancouver from 1994, considered?
- Did the VPD approach City Councillors, the Mayor's office and/or senior city staff after the San Jose series and notify them that additional resources may be required? (Chief said he did)?
- Why did you not raise the issue of downtown security on the night of game seven at the police board meeting that day?
- When did the City start to lose control of the downtown live sites, and what were the backup plans?
- Do any city by-laws need to be reviewed or improved to give police more authority to crack down on rioters and looters?
- The public expects their elected officials to be accountable. So I ask you, Mr. Mayor, when will you be accountable and answers the questions Vancouverites are asking?
There is currently one independent review of Robertson's Riot taking place by the Province of BC. In addition, the City of Vancouver is undertaking several internal reviews regarding what went wrong. You can expect the riot reviews will begin reporting out sometime in September.
If you have a question that you think Bill Good should pose to the Mayor tomorrow, please post it in our comments section below!