A committed community volunteer seeks your support

Post by Mike Klassen in

43 comments

polling-place-2011

"The neighbour you want to have," that's how my fellow city council candidate Sean Bickerton recently referred to me. I can hardly think of a higher compliment.

Being a good neighbour means a lot to me. It's about looking after the people around me. It means standing up for my community.

For years now, I've participated in any way I can to support my community. That's meant contributing articles to a neighbourhood newspaper, walking on evening foot patrols, or doing graffiti paint-outs. It's organizing our annual block party, or maintaining a community website.

I've been a co-organizer of our community's annual Keep Vancouver Spectacular litter clean-up. This year our community group hung our third set of neighbourhood-themed banners along Fraser Street, a unique community-driven project in Vancouver I helped to coordinate.

As falling enrollment threatened to close the school in our neighbourhood, I did my best to fight for the facility. This included organizing parents to plant and water garden boxes at the school over the summer to improve the appearance of the grounds for prospective families, and producing a promotional video of parent testimonials.

Many are not aware that there are opportunities to volunteer across the city, as well as on several advisory boards at the City of Vancouver.

One of the most gratifying volunteer roles I had was serving as Vice-Chair of the Vancouver City Planning Commission. Our committee worked hard to create A City Built for Change, a roadmap for cities on how to adapt their urban fabric in the face of demographic, economic or climate-driven change.

When it comes to volunteer pursuits over the past three years, the most fulfilling project for me has been CityCaucus.com. Together with Daniel Fontaine, we researched and wrote over 2,000 blog posts which have driven nearly 4.7 million page views, and helped hold Vision Vancouver's feet to the fire.

So what lies ahead? Voters will decide.

On November 19th, I'll be on the ballot, and I hope that you'll vote to give me the privilege of serving you on city council with the NPA.

Our NPA candidates are a hard-working team of people also driven by a passion for our city, and we're led by candidate for mayor Suzanne Anton who has the right stuff to lead Vancouver.

- Post by Mike Klassen. Mike is a city council candidate for the Vancouver Non-Partisan Association (NPA). Follow Mike on Twitter or on Facebook or visit his website at klassenforvancouver.com.

Be sure you vote in your local municipal election. In Vancouver advanced voting continues 8am - 8pm on November 16th only. Voting Day is Saturday, November 19th, 8am - 8pm. Voting locations can be located at the City of Vancouver website.

43 Comments

Good luck Mike!

Generally I am a Vision supporter. But I appreciate inteligent commitment and passion and I don't need to agree with people on all points in order to vote for them. Sean and Mike both got my vote.

Mike Klassen brings municipal politics down into the mud with this blog and then paints himself as floating above it all? No thanks. That type of hypocrisy deserves an unchecked vote box.

Best of luck on Saturday, Mike. Your dedication to your community and city has impressed me.

I respect your opinion, OM. However, I know that I feel comfortable with what I've written on CityCaucus.com. If you can cite some of the 'mud' that concerns you, this is a great forum for discussing it. I know that we always took care to confirm the details of our reports. If we got it wrong, then we would acknowledge it.

Thanks, Steven & Julia, for your kind words. I look forward to possible discussions together "up at the Hall" :-)

Mike,

How comfortable are you addressing criticism? It seems that many of our local representatives and leaders will do anything but speak to the most contested aspects of their platforms. Instead, they choose to sidestep, obfuscate, or spin. Will you now, and if elected, while you hold office address direct questions regarding all aspects of your campaign, your objectives if elected and your qualifications to lead?

Thanks,

Leon

Leon, I will respond to questions directly. I've been critical of how my opponents like to avoid tough questions. I accept that this is part of being in public life.

The NPA have committed to an Accountability Accord. This will result in greater openness at what is now known as the "sealed fortress" at Vancouver City Hall. For more info, see this page:

http://npavancouver.ca/respecting-your-vancouver/

"I will respond to questions directly."

Does City Caucus block ads from specific sources? If so, which ones?

Why was Spartikus banned from posting to this website?

He was?

Yikes...that was one of the best things about this blog, that short of anything overtly racist or crazy people were allowed to speak their minds (if not berated and mocked for it!). Shame if that's not actually true.

Is it?

Mike,

What is your take on the Cambie Corridor Plan? Support it?

Organ Morgan, almost an anagram to Greg a Moron.

Mike, you have my vote Saturday.

Although I may not agree with all of the NPA policies I'll be voting this Saturday for the NPA team in the hopes that we can take back the city and have some accountability at city hall.

We CAN make Vancouver more liveable without pitting neighbour against neighbour in this farcical positioning of have/have not, sustainability and "I'm more green than you" entrenchment.

I get where you are coming from, and that was my initial reaction. I find CityCaucus often takes low shots and makes things partisan when they don't need to be. This is even more true of the conversation in the comments.

But Mike has some real insight into economic development and zoning issues and I don't think he is in the pocket of big developers. He has paid his dues and shown that he cares about the city.

And I think politics works best when there are strong opposing views that are forced to work to a consensus. I like minority governments.

I do hope we (Vancouver) continue to invest in cycling infrastructure though, and divided bike lanes are a big part of the long term solution.

Mike,

Thanks for your thoughtful response. I agree with you regarding the profound need for transparency; especially now with so many unfolding and imminent challenges. I look forward to reading your responses to the many frank questions you will doubtlessly receive in the coming days. This city desperately needs leaders who value and exude clarity of communication and transparency in execution the way their constituents value the same.

Thanks,

Leon

"Open the Doooooor, Gregor" (another song worthy of a Riotson parody) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-vvKLopleA&feature=related

I'll be saving a spot for you on my ballot Mike. One piece of advice, I'll be voting for Tim Louis as well for the one simple reason that he responds to citizens e-mails. I disagree with him on many things, but he does not forget who he is accountable to. It may only be a one line reply, but its more than most Vision or NPA councillors have done in the past.

Mike,

I'm really happy to be supporting you and the entire NPA campaign. I have never been very much into municipal politics and this is the first time I have actually got involved. I suppose I really never had a reason to do so. I felt the city was being adequately managed. Even under Senator Campbell, I felt the best interests of the city were being handled.
It's not until this council boldly went where no other council has gone that finally got me angry/upset/passionate enough to take action.
Vision's secretive way of running the city is unacceptable. Their unwillingness to engage in meaningful debate has forever changed Vancouver politics for the worse.
Many of your detractors (Chris Keam, Spartikus, Boohoo) accuse you of being mean-spirited. I disagree. When dealing with bullies such as Vision Vancouver, you must push back. You must say, NO MORE. I refuse to be belittled. I refuse to be silenced. And I will let everyone know the real issues, not the spin Vision Vancouver puts out.
It will be a wonderful day when I can finally address council and know that THEY ARE LISTENING. Too many times have I seen legitimate views get dismissed as theatrics or somehow less worthy, because they don't match with Vision Vancouver's priorities.
Vision Vancouver believes this is their city, well come November 19th, they will learn it's not THEIR city, it's EVERYONE'S. I look forward to your swearing in and many future years of common sense at city hall.

I don't recall accusing CityCaucus of being mean-spirited Paul. I think there are instances where they claim one thing and then do another (ie no personal attacks). I've taken them to task for it.

But I've spoken personally with Mike about accusations leveled at me on this site. He was more than helpful and responded immediately by pulling a post littered with falsehoods. I was grateful for that. I'm a little less enamoured of Daniel at times, as he has on occasion positioned my personal opinions as being an attempt to be Pro-Vision, but it doesn't mean I would stand them both to a cold pint or a glass of vino if we crossed paths.

If one is going to have strong opinions in this world, there will be times when there's a heated debate. Can't take it (too) personally.

Good point, brilliant. That's something I've heard on many occasions about Tim, and I'll do my very best to continue to be responsive on all social media.

Thanks, Chris, for your passion and willingness to debate the issues respectfully. I predict we'll be having many more conversations one day.

Another person who responds to e-mails in very short order - Mayor Diane Watts.

CK -- So you're saying that you never ever go a little overboard in your comments? Hmmmm let's go to the video tape shall we?

"An unsubstantiated allegation and a personal attack. You're 0 for 2 on your own code of conduct rules Mike."

"The crocodile called and wants its tears back Mike."

and my favourite...

"Clearly an incorrect characterization Mike. The more you treat your readers like idiots the less likely we'll participate on your blog"

Yet you keep coming back.

Thanks for your attention. :) G'day.

I'm quite sure I've never said mike is mean spirited. Often my posts are radically interpreted or wild assumptions are made of them without clarification. Frustrating.

"CK -- So you're saying that you never ever go a little overboard in your comments? "

Ummm, no Paul, you're saying that. If you read the thread, you'll note Mike and I aren't at each other's throats. :-). Thanks for the highlight reel.

cheers,

CK

Chris,

"Spartikus" has never been banned from leaving comments on this blog. Not sure where you are getting that information from? He/She is more than welcome to leave comments anytime.

Daniel
Editor

I never said you were at his throat (or vice versa) I claimed you are a detractor who characterized him as mean-spirited.

I've given you the quotes. Would you like to retract those comments? Perhaps even give Mike a positive comment or two, without any negative slant?

Didn't think so.

Mike I voted mainly Vision last election. Not this time. I already voted for you and 7 other NPA and Carr and one independent. Good luck on Saturday. We need a change.

Paul T.

You move the goal posts so often I'm never sure where to find the uprights.

Instead of being Mike's guardian angel, I humbly suggest it would be better if you looked to your own online behaviour, such as the repeated claims that the NPA installed hundreds of kilometres of bike lanes, despite having been corrected on this misrepresentation more than once.

Hi Mike,
You certainly have my vote. The City Caucus blog has been a huge learning for me. I previously had not paid much attention to city politics but you have done, for me, a significant civic service exposing the scope and nature of the issues and allowing a free flow of ideas from many divergent views which I hope speaks well of a sincere commitment to transparency and consultation no matter who dissents or their opinions. Good luck.


Thanks, skippy & Linda!

Daniel:

I think Keam is confused - I believe AGT may have banned him from his blog.

But then again, Keam may have been as well.

M

Chris:

You are splitting hairs.

Bike lanes vs bike paths.

Does that make it better for you?

Or are you suggesting those kilometres dedicated to cyclists were a was of tax dollars?

Congratulations Mike! As one of your "actual" neighbours, I can vouch for all the amazing work you do for the 'hood. Its much appreciated and makes our area a better community.

You also have my vote for the critical thinking you do around civic politics. Good luck in the running. I'd like to see you do as much for the city as you do for your neighbours.

Max:

Not that I was talking to you but, huge differences between a sharrow, a bike lane, a bike path, and a sign that says 'bike route'.

The NPA made some excellent advances in Vancouver's bike infrastructure, but the distinctions are important and deliberately conflating them serves no one.

Chris:

You seem to have zero problem interjecting into others conversations.

That aside:

I feel the same way when Vision takes back pats for bringing 1500 units of new social housing to the city.

"I think Keam is confused - I believe AGT may have banned him from his blog."

Yep, Spartikus was blocked on Mike's Twitter feed and had a comment he tried to post here that never went live, but it's true that he may well be able to still post this blog.

Now to my other question. Are any Google ad users blocked from buying space on City Caucus?

Best wishes Mike! You already got my vote @ advance poll, along with your NPA team. Anton was the ONLY council member who stepped up to meet with and genuinely listen to my community 2 yrs ago.

Meanwhile, despite so-called community consultation re Higher Heights, tonight the Visionistas went thru next steps to approve an ADDITIONAL 40+ storey skyscraper at 1265 Howe (at Drake)

When they're not accusing citizens of being "f**ng NPA hacks" it seems they're trying to fool us all with their shams of consultation.

Cambie corridor--do you think it's a good plan?

Yes. Mike Klassen gets my vote.

The answer is no to your question regarding Google ads being blocked. Once again, not sure where you are getting your information.

Daniel
Editor

Hi Daniel:

Thanks. It just seemed odd to me that Vision campaign ads haven't shown up on your site. It would have been my first move. In fact, I would have spent whatever it took to monopolize the attention of your audience as much as possible, both to reach swing voters and deny my opponents that soapbox. They certainly have the financial ability and it would be a smart move IMO.

cheers,

CK

Many thanks, Marguerite. Your years of public service are a standard by which all elected officials should measure themselves. And gracious thanks to my friend and neighbour Lilli, who is the hardest working community volunteer I've ever known.

I met Chris Keam this morning at the Broadway Skytrain station. Chris, so good to finally meet you in person.

Today I received the following email from a Vancouver voter whose identity I will not share. Needless to say I was encouraged by their words. Here is their note to me:

As a leftist 40-something living on the East side, I wouldn’t normally support an NPA candidate, but I find your articles in the paper well-crafted articulate and thought provoking (even though I often find myself disagreeing with your conclusions). You obviously have a passion for politics and you’ve laid out a respectable path to achieve those goals. For these reasons, I find myself compelled to support your desire to be on city council and have allocated one of my 10 votes for you.

Well, the voters certainly did decide. Decisively.

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