August 2011 Archives

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Gregor Robertson's fun zone turned out to be anything but after Game 7 was over

We are pleased to feature a cross-post written by Bob Mackin who is the editor of the 2010 Goldrush blog. Here is his most recent column regarding the secrecy surrounding Mayor Gregor Robertson's Stanley Cup fan zone.

On Dec. 8, 2008, when Mayor Gregor Robertson was sworn-in, he promised the following to citizens of Vancouver.

"As your city government we will lead with a bold vision. We will set clear targets, measure success, and be accountable for our actions. 

"That accountability must extend to every aspect of City Hall. When the city uses your money, you have a right to know where it’s being spent, and what it’s being used for. When leaders fall short of that standard, public confidence is shaken.

"Over the next three years, we will rebuild that confidence, and ensure transparency, accountability and public debate at City Hall.

"Politicians do not always live up to that responsibility, I know. But I also know that there were literally thousands of people voting last November for the very first time.

"My commitment to them, on behalf of every member of my team, is that I will not let you down on making City Hall more open and accountable."

That's right. Mayor Robertson promised more transparency, not less. No asterisks. No ifs, ands or buts.

So why all the secrecy about anything related to the 2011 Stanley Cup riot? Is it because of the Nov. 19 civic election and the fear that the ill-fated fan zone and his handling of the riot may cost him his $144,394-a-year job?

In the absence of a truly independent and transparent review of Vancouver city hall's planning for the fan zone and response to the riot, it is incumbent on us in the media to dig for the facts and show them to you. City hall has undergone an information clampdown and is delaying disclosure until at least mid-September. It has offered no assurance whatsoever that any information will actually be provided. It is a question of both if and when the information gets to daylight.

City of Vancouver's Freedom of Information office, which falls under the office of Robertson-hired city manager Penny Ballem, is making great efforts to delay requests for all manner of information about the fan zone and June 15 riot. The city is even hiding behind the FOI process (that it claims is over-burdened), instead of routinely releasing information to journalists -- even when confronted with facts verified by third-parties! Perhaps Robertson and Ballem are truly embarrassed that I found out they hired a company to manage the Stanley Cup fan zone just two days before the series started on June 1.


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