It's rather doubtful many politicos will be hanging out here next month
It may be the dog days of “bummer summer,” but that doesn’t mean your civic politicians have gone to sleep. With less than four months left until they head to the polls, many of them are busy preparing for an election battle that may yield some interesting results.
In Vancouver, a number of lengthy reports are making their way onto council’s agenda faster than you can ride into downtown on a separated bike lane.
First Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Vision caucus introduced a new 162-page green manifesto. It’s a high-level wish list that its political supporters say will transform an already green Vancouver into an urban old-growth forest.
Although he may be well intentioned, the mayor’s latest attempt to halt global warming is very light on specifics. It’s also void of a bottom line that would provide voters with some certainty regarding how much all this is going to cost.
The lack of financial details in Robertson’s latest pronouncement is no oversight. If the mayor wants to secure another three-year mandate, he won’t do it by scaring voters with the threat of even higher property taxes.
Another significant report that dropped into the lap of city councillors last week focused on homelessness and housing. If you recall, Robertson promised voters he would “end homelessness” by 2015 if he was elected. That commitment has since been redefined to simply cover people sleeping outside, a.k.a. “street homelessness”.
Despite all of his political rhetoric, Robertson can’t hide from the fact that overall homelessness is getting worse under his watch. You might say it’s the mayor’s own version of an “inconvenient truth.”
Once again, this housing report provides taxpayers will little information regarding what these initiatives will cost. Not surprisingly, what the campaign-style document does include are a series of glossy images of Robertson’s caucus colleagues.
Let’s hope when voters return home from summer vacation they demand answers as to what the mayor’s lofty campaign promises will end up costing them. Otherwise, they’ll have little reason to complain after the election that these plans are breaking the bank.
What remains unclear is whether introducing these types of policy initiatives in the dead of summer will help to erase Vision’s record of goofy initiatives. The mayor may hope so, but for some reason I think the topic of backyard chickens, wheat fields and beehives will remain a point of discussion for some time to come.