CityCaucus Redux: Vision Vancouver arrogance caught on infamous audio tape

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

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This unbelievable video reveals that Mayor Robertson is completely out of touch

It was this incident that helped catapult mayoral candidate Randy Helten into the media spotlight. We thought it might be timely to share it with you again as part of our CityCaucus Redux series. Subsequent to this post being published in July 2010, Helten quit Vision Vancouver and started up a new political party called Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver. Hope you enjoy!

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It is a rare moment of candor from our slickly managed and pre-packaged Hollyhock figurehead Mayor. Gregor Robertson, sounding like he just landed in Vancouver from Mars, turns to his Vision councillor colleague and asks, "Who are these f***ing hacks? Are they NPA hacks?"

"NPA hacks" is the label which Vision Vancouver uses for all who disagree or challenge them. Randy Helten of the West End Neighbours? NPA hack. Ned Jacobs? NPA hack. Me? Mais oui!

Name-calling and labels are the easy out for those who don't have the patience to understand the issues. From the get-go Vision Vancouver has circled the wagons, eschewing public process and relying upon spin to gain favourable notice for their weak term in office. If you do not agree with Vision, you are immediately personna non grata.

Whether it's accurate or not, Mayor Robertson is perceived by many to be a puppet of his handlers. Robertson's Chief of Staff Mike Magee – the person who really holds the levers of power at Vancouver City Hall today – clearly has failed to brief Robertson as to what the community's objections to a "Mayor's Advisory Council" might be. Surely Gregor assumes he's doing the right thing – he's going to provide access to a pre-selected group of West Enders to himself. Who could possibly complain about that, he wonders?

"NPA hacks" of course.

Vision Vancouver have the earmarks of a one-term administration. Whether it's Aaron Jasper & the other aimless Vision reps at the Park Board flip-flopping their way from one decision to the next. Or whether it's Patti Bacchus & the Vision/COPE trustees dutifully abiding by the wishes of their BCTF masters. Or Councillors Tim Stevenson, Heather Deal and Mayor Robertson chuckling about how the public would like to be consulted.

The arrogance is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

As of my coffee break I've already had over a dozen people forward me this video link. It's pretty clearly going viral – as it should. Short of shutting down YouTube, Mike Magee and Kevin Quinlan in the Mayor's office can't control the spin on this story. Gregor Robertson will hide under his desk all day avoiding media calls as he does whenever there is a communications crisis from his administration. 

What the Mayor and Councillor Stevenson should do is apologize for their arrogant and inconsiderate remarks. Then someone should help Gregor to bone up on what's happening in the City he tries to lead. If there is something that Vancouver voters will not abide it is this kind of arrogant government.

What was turning into an uneventful summer at City Hall just got a whole lot more interesting.

UPDATE: The Gregor swearing at the public story has gone viral. Hundreds of views of the video already, plus CKNW ran the story at top of their 10am newscast, the Vancouver Sun is running the story at the top of their web page. The Mayor's office and Frances Bula are working hard to spin this as a "humanizing" moment for the otherwise tightly scripted Robertson. The public isn't buying it.

UPDATE #2: Gregor Robertson apologizes. In a statement released this morning, Gregor Robertson came out from under his desk long enough to apologize for his "inappropriate" remarks. We've still not heard from Councillors Tim Stevenson and Heather Deal for their derisive laughter at the expense of the public who waited all evening to give their remarks. As for the media who came to defend Gregor, they'll have to do some 'splaining too.

- This post was first written by Mike Klassen in July 2010

1 Comment

Transparency in the political process? Yup; only occasionally and by accident. This clip shows with abject clarity the type of cynical, self-righteous, self-serving, specious characters that make up our political leadership in this woeful time. It's disgusting - so much so that it has overwhelmed people into their own counter-cynicism and widespread apathy.

*How is this self-perpetuating cycle going to be broken?*

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