"Don't you dare try to blame the riot on me, buddy"
It's been rather intriguing to watch a half-dozen or so senior staff at Vancouver City Hall move into major butt-covering mode once the independent review regarding Robertson's Riot was made public. If finger pointing were an Olympic sport, several of them would have been awarded a gold medal for their performance.
Now that a week has passed since the Furlong/Keefe external report has come out, it's painfully obvious not a single person at City Hall or the VPD will ever be held accountable for their ineptitude. Despite a litany of documented goof ups by senior bureaucrats, the Mayor and his caucus colleagues aren't prepared to do a thing about it. They continue on their message track that Robertons's Riot was a "learning experience" and it's simply time to move on.
On June 15th Vancouver suffered a one billion dollar hit to its international reputation. There was at least $5 million dollars worth of damage inflicted upon local businesses. There were also countless employees and merchants who terrorized. Therefore I ask the following questions:
- Has a single employee at Vancouver City Hall been reprimanded, demoted or fired?
- Has a single civic politician been tarnished or forced to hand in their resignation?
- Has a single person been charged with a riot-related offense?
Sadly, the answer to all those questions is 'no'.
Contrast what happened in Vancouver to what went down earlier this week in Seattle. Lolita Simonyan, a city employee, made the mistake of using a city-owned vehicle to drive to a local casino.
Compared to creating a riot by inviting 150,000 people downtown in a confined space without an adequate security plan, Simonyan's transgression seems rather tame.
Now do you want to venture a guess regarding what her employer did to her? Rather than just accept her apology, she was fined $365 and provided a severe reprimand. In addition, she's had to face the embarrassment of having her name splattered all over the news media (and now this civic affairs blog).
The reason I make this comparison is because I remain extremely frustrated regarding how there has been zero accountability – nada – at City Hall regarding the riot. One employee goofs up and uses a city car to go to the casino and gets handed a fine. Meanwhile, another helps to facilitate a massive riot and we chalk it up to a "learning experience."
Once again...I believe the buck stops with Mayor Robertson. Both the City Manager and the Chief of Police report directly to him. Has he hauled them into his office and read them the riot act (pun intended)? Is he holding them accountable for their poor planning related to his hastily conceived fan zone? If he looking at letting one or both of them go? Not a chance.
Mayor Gregor and his political apparatchiks simply want the riot issue to fade away from the headlines. Firing or reprimanding one or more of the City's top brass now would only serve to keep the story alive for a few more days. It's much better to hunker down and simply hope the story fades away well before the November 19th election. If I were a betting man...I think they'll succeed in their strategy.
Vancouver wants to earn the title of the greenest city on Earth. But after what I've just witnessed over the last few weeks, there's no risk it will win any awards for accountability.