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July 22, 2014

Demand That Trish Kelly Be Reinstated to Vision's PB Slate

Trish Kelly, Demand That She Be Reinstated to Vision Slate

Note to Trish Kelly, you may want to go directly to the message, the plea, I make to you, the forgive me, please bear with me, rambling discourse you'll find when you click on the link). That link will also take you to audio of the interview you did, on Monday, with your former college mate, Matthew Lazin-Ryder, on CBC's much-listened to afternoon show, On The Coast.


Today, VanRamblings issues a demand to Vision Vancouver to re-instate their top vote-getting nominated candidate for Park Board, Trish Kelly, to the 2014 Vision Vancouver slate of Park Board candidates.

I think it is unconscionable that Vision campaign members worked to convince Ms. Kelly to drop from the Vision Vancouver Park Board slate.

As West Coast LEAF Legal Director Laura Track tweeted out on Friday ...

Laura Track

In her Open Letter, Georgia Straight journalist Miranda Nelson writes ...

Trish, you had my vote, one hundred percent. You're open, you're honest, you're funny, and you're unafraid. Those are the sorts of qualities I look for in my civic election candidates. Fearlessness. The ability to laugh at oneself. And the willingness to talk about a woman's body without a lick of shame.

Your resignation is a massive disappointment. I appreciate that you don't want to make the entire campaign from here on in about your work as a sex-positive activist. But, why not? Why not talk about women's sexuality and sexual health in addition to all that tired old blathering about view corridors and bike lanes?

Vision Vancouver lost a great candidate in Trish Kelly. Who am I supposed to vote for now?"

Exactly. As Ms. Nelson suggests, there are enough "dusty old men" who will run for political office this autumn. In 2014, Trish Kelly is the candidate of the moment, the game-changer candidate who will garner broad support from all quarters of the voting electorate, the funny, warm, engaging, progressive, politically acute, incredibly smart and articulate voice for a new and better age, for the Vancouver not as it was, but as it will come to be.

Surely there is, in all seriousness, no thinking individual who honestly believes that an under read, pipsqueak, misogynist, salacious, slut-shaming, and clearly delusional jerk of a white male amateur political blogger shamed Trish Kelly into stepping down from Vision Vancouver's Park Board slate — not that any of those things are true.

In case the concept eludes you, let me assure you that Ray Tomlin did not drop Trish Kelly from the Vision Vancouver Park Board slate.

Vision Vancouver dropped their top vote-getting nominee for Park Board.

A note to Vision Vancouver co-chairs Maria Dobrinskaya and Paul Nixey: in Trish Kelly, you now have the highest profile candidate for Park Board of any candidate running for office this fall. Over the course of the past week, since the "controversy" first began with the publication of the "offending" video, through until today, Ms. Kelly has gained broad community support — not to mention, immense sympathy — for her candidacy, from all sectors of the voting public, even among those who would not previously have considered voting for any Vision Vancouver candidate, but who are prepared now, and on voting day, to cast their ballot for Trish Kelly.

Let's face it, as the old maxim goes, "There's no such thing as bad press."

When voters head to the polls in November, many of them won't recall what the "issue" was that had brought Trish Kelly to greater prominence, what they will remember is her name, at which time when inside the poll booth, as they're marking their ballot, they're likely to say to themselves, "Well, I remember seeing her name quite a few places. Hmmm, I don't remember where, though. She's young, she sorta reminds me of my niece. It looks like she's got a good head on her shoulders. Oh god, what the hell, I can't make heads nor tails of this mass of names on the ballot. I'm just going to go ahead and place an X beside her name, and be done with it."

I know Vision Vancouver campaign chair, Mike Magee, to be an avid follower of social media. Surely Mr. Magee, and others on the Vision campaign team, must have noticed that social media sentiment respecting Ms. Kelly's continued candidacy has been running better than 100 to one, in favour.

Whatever kvetching there was in the early going, among a very small coterie of people, by week's end that sentiment had reversed.

In respect of the "offending" video that allegedly caused so much controversy, gimme a break: there's no nudity, there's absolutely nothing salacious or inappropriate about any of the video's contents, and as The Straight's Miranda Nelson writes (reflecting the overwhelming sentiment expressed on social media, the comments section of blogs, and online mainstream publications), the video is, "one of the best videos that's emerged during a municipal election cycle that I've ever seen."

Hello, Vision Vancouver: you can't buy press like that. And you dropped Trish Kelly from your Park Board slate because you thought she might be "a distraction"? Shyeeaah. A distraction of the best possible kind.

"It wouldn't even allow for a full discussion in which we could engage on some of these important issues, because the four-second sound-bite or pull-quote would not allow for the discussion she wanted to have," Maria Dobrinskaya said in the press release. "It was a very tough decision, and none of us is very pleased with where it all ended up."

Heartwrenching. Nonsense. Poppycock. Bring Trish Kelly back!

Another note to the Vision Vancouver campaign team: Vision Vancouver has courted the LBGTQ+ vote like mad the past year and a half. Now they've dropped Trish Kelly, the standard-bearer for that community. Surely they must realize the LGBTQ+ community is apoplectic at the decision that Maria Dobrinskaya and Paul Nixey announced last week.

After so successfully courting the LGBTQ+ vote over the past year and a half, and given how tight the upcoming election is likely to be, how is it that the Vision Vancouver campaign team has suddenly become so gun-shy, so conservative in their approach to the upcoming election that they feel they can afford to alienate a core constituency of their vote?

Longtime political activist Michael Geoghegan writing in response to Jarrah Hodge's article in The Tyee, titled Crap, I'm Ineligible for Public Office ...

"... all political parties are increasingly vetting out anyone who may be the least bit interesting or inspiring and people wonder why voter participation continues to decline. Either we as an electorate have to overcome our hypocritical views or increasingly be governed by the bland and / or those sociopathic enough to be solely focused on the pursuit of power since childhood."

Or as another commenter wrote, "... she should stay in. We need more voices, not just those approved by opinion leaders."

Why didn't Maria Dobrinskaya and Paul Nixey simply issue a press release last week stating, "Despite the hurtful, unjust, unprincipled and sensationalist campaign that was launched in recent weeks against Vision Vancouver's 2014 lead Park Board candidate, Trish Kelly, Vision Vancouver stands behind Ms. Kelly, our support for our outstanding community activist candidate for Park Board remains firm, remains strong."

Wouldn't such an approach be the more principled approach?

Vision had identified three core constituencies of support going into the 2014 Vancouver civic election: the LGBTQ+ vote, the cyclist vote, and the Union vote — each of which they expect to come out in droves at the polls on November 15th. Now Vision has set about to alienate their LGBTQ+ vote by dropping a powerful, feminist high-profile member of a constituency whose support, over the past year and a half, they've sought to garner.

I'll say it one more time: re-instate Trish Kelly to Vision's Park Board slate.

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To all those who have called VanRamblings a prude (puh-leeze, gimme a break), I am well aware of what the response of the haters will be to today's VanRamblings column — as they set about to rewrite recorded history, and woefully misinterpret everything that has been written on VanRamblings about Ms. Kelly — how this alleged "changed" stance on Trish Kelly will be received, "Oh, so Ray Tomlin's issuing yet another mea culpa, now he wants to have it both ways, first he slut-shames Trish Kelly, now he wants her back on the Vision slate. Well, he's still an asshole."

Y'know what? Go for it.

I've got broad shoulders, and can take any criticism directed my way.

What I can't take, though, what I won't stand for is you sitting back and doing nothing to rectify what you rightfully perceive as a wrong — that Vision Vancouver, unilaterally, dropped Trish Kelly from their Park Board slate, and that you believe — as I do — that Vision Vancouver's decision was wrong, egregiously, unforgivably, verging on irredeemably wrong.

So, all you activists out there, here's my advice: start a Twitter meme that will bring Trish Kelly back into the political fray, force Vision Vancouver to re-instate Trish Kelly as their lead, top vote-getting candidate ...

.@trishkellyc Don't let any bastard blogger stop you from running. @VisionVancouver #trishkelly4parkboard #sayitloud #standproud #vanpoli

We demand that @trishkellyc be re-instated to @ParkBoard slate. @VisionVancouver #STOPslutshamming #TrishKelly #standproud #vanpoli

Hey @VisionVancouver folks. We want to vote 4 @trishkellyc 4 @ParkBoard #ReinstateTrishKellyNow #TrishKelly4ParkBoard #vanpoli

Demand that the Vision Vancouver women who have provided succour to Trish Kelly since she was forced to step down by Vision Vancouver, who have offered their personal and social media support to Ms. Kelly, that they insist that Trish Kelly be re-instated to Vision's Park Board slate.

Demand that current Park Board Commissioner / Council candidate Niki Sharma not only add her voice to the chorus of support for Ms. Kelly, demand that Niki Sharma insist that the Vision campaign team immediately re-instate Trish to the Vision Vancouver Park Board slate — and tell her that on Twitter, by e-mail (, on Facebook, or when you see her in person campaigning on the hustings with the Mayor.

Demand the same thing of Vancouver City Councillor Andrea Reimer, who first brought Trish Kelly's candidacy forward, demand action by Vision Vancouver eminence gris, Heather Deal, and demand action from Vision Vancouver Park Board Commissioners Constance Barnes and Sarah Blyth that their party's top vote-getting candidate for Park Board remain on Vision's 2014 Park Board slate, as the strongest, high profile — and wildly popular — candidate on this year's Vision Vancouver Park Board slate.

Call, write, or connect any way you can with Vision Vancouver's Maria Dobrinskaya and Paul Nixey, or Vision Vancouver Executive Director Stepan Vdovine (office:604-568-6913, Local 104 — which we have to believe is also the number, if not the local, to reach Maria or Paul). E-mail — and tell each of them that the decision to drop Trish Kelly was wrong, and that if you were going to consider voting for Vision Vancouver this autumn, the chance of your casting a vote in their direction now has lessened considerably given the egregious decision that was taken by the party to drop Trish Kelly from their Park Board slate.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 7:16 AM | Permalink | VanRamblings

July 21, 2014

The Greens' Stuart Mackinnon Blogs on Parks and Recreation

Better Parks, Stuart Mackinnon

July? Must be the silly season in Vancouver politics

Being an election year, this summer is a lot more political than usual. In non-election years the local press often has difficulty finding stories of interest on the civic scene. Not this year. Not a day goes by that there isn't some sort of story to shake things up.

What seems lost in most of these stories is what I think is most important to voters: Vancouver. Not infidelity, not youthful exuberance, not the internal machinations of giant political machines. Vancouver. The city and its problems. Its future. Its plans.

I hope we can all get back to what is important soon. For me and for this blog that would be parks and recreation. I hope that in this year's election we can have a real debate about what the Park Board actually does. The Park Board website describes it this way:

"exclusive possession, jurisdiction, and control over more than 230 public parks in Vancouver and a large public recreation system of community centres, pools, rinks, fitness centres, golf courses, street trees, marinas, playing fields, and more."

I hope in this election this is what we will discuss.

We need to talk about the state of our parks and playing fields. We need to discuss governance and volunteerism at our Community Centres. We need to debate fees and access. We need to talk about future growth and current maintenance. We need the electorate to understand the importance of these public assets.We need candidates that are concerned about the things the Park Board actually does.

So here's a challenge: From now until the election on November 15th, let's talk about Parks and Recreation.


Stuart Mackinnon has granted VanRamblings permission to re-publish his Better Parks column.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 4:16 PM | Permalink | Vancouver

July 20, 2014

Decision 2014: COPE Sanctions Cyberbullying and Hate Speech

Sarah Beuhler, COPE Membership Engagement staff personSarah Beuhler, Coalition of Progressive Electors Membership Engagement Co-ordinator

In today's VanRamblings column, I had originally intended to address Vision Vancouver's decision to drop Trish Kelly from their Park Board slate — but with your kind indulgence I will take leave of writing on that subject matter, and instead address the relatively small, yet virulently vocal, coterie of social media 'haters', who this week have waged a remorseless, verging on barbaric, campaign of harassment directed towards me, that previous to this week, I had only a bare academic understanding of, having read about the events that led to the suicides of Rehtaeh Parsons & Amanda Todd.

On Saturday afternoon, July 19th, Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) Membership Engagement staffperson, Sarah Beuhler, published the following Facebook post, a relatively innocuous, but well-written, 'attack' on me, one of the lighter condemnations to which I have been subjected.

Sarah Beuhler posts on Facebook

Now, I think Sarah's post above represents fair comment — which is not to say that I am not somewhat taken aback by her dismissive "salacious jerk of a white male amateur political blogger" comment, but as I say, she writes well, and even though I am not the angry old white man that Gregor Robertson identified as his NPA opposition earlier in the year — I am old, I am white, I'll give Sarah that — I am nonetheless somewhat taken aback.

I am particularly flummoxed because for some 40+ years I have remained a member in good standing of the Coalition of Progressive Electors. Now, I understand that with the so-called Left Front in charge of COPE, and COPE having virtually expelled David Chudnovsky some months back, not to mention alienating Stuart Parker — each of whom are, heaven forbid, that most dastardly of creatures, a white man — that my membership in Vancouver's 2nd oldest civic party may very well be in jeopardy. I hope not.

Sarah continued to take me out to the woodshed, and give me what for ...

Ray, for Christ's sake, will you back off the martyr's pose. I do not know you "so well" nor am I questioning your bloody humanity ... your intentions are meaningless in this regard, I could only speculate about why you feel the need to play the role you've appointed for yourself in municipal politics. If you are also hoping to be treated as some kind of hero for the crap you post, you must be very disappointed. At this point your blog comes across as attention seeking and from the brain of a disturbed person ... I suggest you ask yourself if the world needs another straight white man blogging in such a hideous manner about the minutiae of municipal politics.

Oh, God — I am so grateful that Frances Bula and Emily Jackson are reporting on the civic political scene. Perhaps The Courier's Mike Howell and The Sun's Jeff Lee should step aside, as well. After all, they're white men, what could either have to say that would be of any possible interest?

And, too, I suppose there was no value in my posting the video, and the audio of the morning press briefing, of Non-Partisan Association mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe's announcement that he was entering the 2014 Vancouver electoral race. And, clearly it was pointless to post Vision Vancouver's response to Mr. LaPointe entering the race for elected office — who could possibly be interested in that? Salacious material, indeed.

And who in their right mind could give a tinker's damn about the drama that's been going on at the Riley Park Hillcrest community centre association? And one has to imagine, as well, that there's not a single soul in the city of Vancouver who has ever given a passing thought to our city's poor park maintenance, and what that means for the livability of our city — well, not anybody in the Left Front, that's for damn sure. Maybe the rest of us, a handful of Vancouver voters — who knows? I suppose, though, as Sarah writes, all those columns constitute only the inconsequential blathering of the "salacious jerk of a white male amateur political blogger."

For those who are interested, I responded to Sarah in the following form ...

Of course, you're entitled to your opinion — but I think it is small-minded, and ill befits a person of character, as I have believed you to be. Earlier this afternoon, I wrote the following to a friend about you ... "I have had a fun, supportive and pretty darn terrific relationship with Sarah in recent weeks. We have spoken at various events — I am, and have been, explicitly supportive of her, we DM one another regularly on Facebook, and I have felt for some time now that it is Sarah who will keep COPE ED Sean Antrim in line during the course of the upcoming fall election campaign. Sarah is great, possesses an incredibly infectious sense of humour, and is more full of life than anyone I know in COPE. I would reasonably have expected that Sarah - being fair-minded - would have contacted me before setting about to publically call me a "salacious jerk", call me "a white amateur political blogger", after which, invoking the left's "right" to censorship of all which they don't approve, set about to recommend that I "shut down (my) bullshit" blog ... what is wrong with these people? Do they not know that words have consequences — does Sarah not know that she is explicitly calling for censorship of ideas ... what a rocky, unforgiving and dangerous road to go down.

To which Sarah responded: "Censorship? hahahaha. Yeah, okay Ray."

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Upon sharing Sarah's correspondence, an associate replied as follows ...

Who are these uncouth, insensitive people? I think what you are thinking about and writing about is relevant. Don't get into a discussion with these type of folks. Address the matter shortly and to the point, then forget them.

Another friend simply said, "Raymond, don't take this stuff seriously."

Vision Vancouver Council candidate Niki Sharma gives advice

Yes, that is current Vision Vancouver Park Board Commissioner, now a Vision Council candidate, Niki Sharma, offering advice. Here's my reply ...

Ray Tomlin responds to Niki Sharma, on Twitter

Reasoned, responsible, serene — okay, okay, my reply wasn't any of those things. Still, I stand behind the sentiments expressed. Sometime soon, I'll address the "dumped @trishkelly" comment, at length, ad nauseum, on the subject that just doesn't want to seem to die (hint: I'm calling for the re-instatement of Trish Kelly to the Vision Vancouver Park Board slate).

Now, I could continue to write about the near constant, belligerent, abusive, inhumane, belittling, holier-than-thou schoolyard bullies, who from what I can tell are devoid of empathy or even the slightest degree of humanity, the cynical, destructive, & despicable creatures who have waged an unrelenting campaign of hate directed towards me this past week — but why bother?

In point of fact, those who daily write or call me, who stop me on the street, or greet me in a coffee shop, all of my closest associates — ranging across the political spectrum (you know, people of conscience, people possessed of wit) — and even, honest-to-God journalists in this town with whom I speak on a regular basis, remain encouraging and appreciative.

As the urban maxim goes, "Haters gonna hate." VanRamblings is not going anywhere, not now, not soon. I'll be here reporting out on civic issues through until election day, November 15th, and beyond. The 2014 Vancouver municipal election is, perhaps, the most crucial election in Vancouver's 128-year history — the more voices in the fray, the better.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 12:31 PM | Permalink | VanRamblings

July 19, 2014

Boyhood: The Movie of the Summer of 2014. A Must-See Film.

The indie movie of the summer, destined for significant attention come Oscar time, a groundbreaking winner of multiple awards at film festivals across the globe, an utterly original film work by director Richard Linklater, Boyhood opens in Vancouver next Friday, July 25th.

In a summer that is full of blowed-em-up-real-good special effects films, and a steady diet of overblown, mediocre sequels and merchandising tie-ins, any one who loves cinema — the art form of our age — keeps their eye out for the joyously human-scale independently-financed film.

In 2014, there was joy to be had in the patient, elliptical comic movements of small, independent films like Jon Favreau's Chef, in the black-and-white landscapes of Pawel Pawlikowski's Ida, or the artfulness of Jillian Schlesinger's Maidentrip, a home movie that transforms into a personal documentary of immense force, not to mention the improbable collision of styles (mystery and realism, both magic and kitchen sink) that propels Jeremy Saulnier's $37,000-budgeted wonderment of a film, Blue Ruin.

Now we have Richard Linklater's 12-years-in-the-making Boyhood, the one must-see picture this summer that has broken all sorts of box office records in limited release. As we did last week, VanRamblings will present a series of capsule reviews, linking to the full reviews of a range of critics. For the record, you should know that Boyhood is sitting at an impossible 99% on Metacritic as, improbably, is the case on Rotten Tomatoes. We're talking 136 out 138 reviews are over-the-moon for Boyhood.

Those who love cinema will want take note.

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon

You may be better off seeing Richard Linklater's Boyhood without much advance preparation, the way I did at Sundance last January. But given that this 12-year mini-epic of family life has been widely pronounced as the independent film of the year, I think the cat's out of the bag. There's always considerable danger in proclaiming the greatness of a work that presents as modestly as this one does.

Boyhood wants to sneak up on you and steal your heart ... there isn't anything else quite like Boyhood in the history of cinema.

One of the precedents, I suppose, is the love-and-marriage trilogy beginning with Before Sunrise that Linklater has made with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy across 18 years, although those tell discrete stories separated by many years. Boyhood is something else again, almost a combination of Michael Apted's Up documentaries, Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander and Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons, but translated into Linklater's Texas-Zen aesthetic and the world of the 21st-century American family. In its own quiet way, it's a world of marvels.

Manohla Dargis, NY Times

The first shot in Boyhood, Richard Linklater's tender, profound film, is of a cloudy sky. The second is of a boy staring up at that sky, one arm bent under his head, the other flung out straight on the ground. He's a pretty child with calm eyes, a snub nose and a full mouth. It's a face that you get to know and love because, even as this child is watching the world, you're watching him grow. From scene to scene, you see the curve of his jaw change, notice his thickening brows and witness his slender arms opening to embrace the world and its clear and darkening skies.

Filmed over 12 consecutive years, Boyhood centres on Mason (Ellar Coltrane), who's 6 when the story opens and 18 when it ends. In between, he goes to school; argues with his sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, the director's daughter); and watches his mother, Olivia (Patricia Arquette), struggle with work and men while paying the bills, moving from home to home and earning several degrees. Every so often, her ex-husband, Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke), roars into the children's lives ...

The film's visual style is precise, unassuming to the point of seeming invisibility and in the service of the characters, with compositions that remain unfussy and uncluttered, even when the rooms are busy. When Mr. Linklater films a landscape, your eye locks not on the camerawork but on the beauty of these spaces and the people in them — the enveloping greenness of the neighborhood in which Mason first rides a bike, and the tranquillity of the watering hole that he swims in with his dad.

Radical in its conceit, familiar in its everyday details, Boyhood exists at the juncture of classical cinema and the modern art film, a model of cinematic realism, its pleasures obvious yet mysterious. in Boyhood, Mr. Linklater's masterpiece, he both captures moments in time and relinquishes them as he moves from year to year. He isn't fighting time but embracing it in all its glorious and agonizingly fleeting beauty.

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And, finally, my favourite review of Boyhood, the best non-review review you'll read all year, the most soul-baringly evocative writing you'll read anywhere, anytime in 2014. Make sure you click on the Hitfix link below.

Drew McWeeny, Hitfix

I am nine years old. I am lying in the back of the 1977 Plymouth van my parents are driving. It is the middle of the night, and we are leaving Dunedin on the first leg of our move to Texas. I am crying. My best friend Oli Watt, my next-door neighbor, said goodbye to me earlier in the day, and we've made promises to write and call on the phone, but I know that I am leaving behind the life that I've enjoyed up to that point and that whatever comes next, it will be different, and I am afraid, and I am sad, and I am sure that nothing will ever be this good again.

I am sixteen years old. I am lying in the back of the car driven by my nineteen year old girlfriend. It is the middle of the night, and while I'm supposed to be at school in the morning, I don't care at all. I am stoned and drunk and happy. My parents hate this girl that comes to pick me up in the middle of the night, who always knows where there's a party, who has way more sexual experience than me, and they've tried to stop me from seeing her, but I am desperate for what I see as necessary sensual memory, fodder for the writing that I want to make a career of, and I know that it's destroying the relationship I have with my parents who I adore for adopting me, but I have to do this, I have to live like this, and it is amazing and it is dizzying and I am sure that nothing will ever be this good again.

I am twenty-six years old. I am sitting on the bed in the room I share with the woman I am about to marry, and she has just told me that she is leaving. I am yelling at her, but I can't hear myself. I'm thinking about all the plans, all the conversations, all the promises, and I am thinking about the child we almost had, the choice that was made, the horrible space it left between us that nothing has worked to fill. I am crippled by both the love I have for her and the yawning suspicion that I really am a terrible person, not worth the love she's wasted on me, and I know that if she leaves, I'm done, there's no way I ever find anyone else, and I am sure that nothing will ever be this good again ... read on ...

Ellar Coltrane, six years of age, in Richard Linklater's Boyhood

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 7:22 PM | Permalink | Cinema

July 18, 2014

Vision Park Board Candidate Trish Kelly Withdraws From the Race

Trish Kelly

On Thursday afternoon, Vision Vancouver Park Board candidate Trish Kelly made the very difficult decision to withdraw her bid for elected office.

Ostensibly, according to community buzz on social media, Ms. Kelly chose to drop out of the race for Park Board, resultant from a "shaming" campaign that it is alleged VanRamblings had commenced earlier this week, with the July 14th publication of a blog post on VanRamblings.

Ms. Kelly is quoted in the July 17, 2014 press release issued at 4:02pm by Vision Vancouver ...

"After 25 years of serving my community, I put my name forward as a Park Board nominee to move my life as a community activist fighting for social justice issues, to claiming a seat at the decision-making table. Unfortunately, my work in theatre and as a sex-positive activist is being sensationalized — and will clearly continue to be distracting from my efforts in the community and in the election campaign," said Trish Kelly.

"I have never hidden from this work. I hold no shame nor regret for the work I have produced," continued Kelly. "I have dedicated, and will continue to dedicate, much of my life to contributing to my community, to having difficult conversations, and to making myself vulnerable in order to make space for others."

I sincerely regret that Ms. Kelly has chosen to withdraw from what was certain to be a very difficult campaign for office for Vision Vancouver this autumn electoral season. I could not reasonably have expected, or imagined, nor did I wish for Ms. Kelly to withdraw from the Park Board race.

In laying out the next four months of VanRamblings posts, I had at least three posts that were to be published regarding Ms. Kelly's appropriateness for office, each one of which would be explicity supportive of her candidacy.

I anticipated endorsing Ms. Kelly, as I will current Vision Vancouver Park Board Commissioner Trevor Loke, because I think it is crucial that there are strong, reasoned and passionate voices on Park Board who are committed to advocating for the early implementation of the recently-approved Park Board Trans and Gender Variant Inclusion Policy. I believe that Trish Kelly would be a key advocate for moving the policy forward — hers was, and is, a powerful voice, on this very important issue. Ms. Kelly's withdrawal from the Park Board campaign race may jeopardize early implementation of the policy, and under no circumstance would I — nor would many, many other members of our community — wish that to be the case.

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Perhaps you haven't read the VanRamblings post that in having gone viral has caused so much consternation in the community — you should. And, please, read past the inflammatory title, into the actual content of the post.

In making the decision to make the video available to the general public, and voting electorate of Vancouver, as I suggest in the post, I deliberated on "the morality and appropriateness" of publishing the video.

Finally, in the hours and minutes prior to the publication of the post, and Ms. Kelly's — as I say in the post, "entirely necessary" — video, I asked myself the question ...

If the Toronto Star were to be provided with a copy of a potentially controversial video of a top vote-getting candidate for civic office, would The Star act as a gatekeeper of such 'news', and forego the public interest in keeping the video to themselves, and therefore out of the public debate?

The answer was clear: in the interests of openness and transparency, and in the public interest, The Star would run with the video.

Thus, early on Monday morning — under the fair use provisions of Canadian copyright law — the post first appeared on VanRamblings.

Since publication, my many detractors on social media, and elsewhere, have called into question my integrity, my ethics, my commitment to social justice, and my humanity, one commenter on Facebook writing about ...

" ... the tripe that passes for prose in this sad little blog post ... I unfortunately live in South Surrey and can't vote for Ms. Kelly. But if she would pledge to introduce a bylaw banning VanRamblings I would happily organize friends and family to vote for her."

The comment above is one of the kinder things that have been written about me in recent days, and the worthiness of VanRamblings. You will find a sampling of social media commentary at the end of today's post.

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Knowing of my penchant for writing at length, in recently commencing coverage of the upcoming Vancouver municipal election race, I made a conscious decision to keep the posts short and, wherever possible, pithy.

Not today.

I am a feminist. There is no more important issue to which I have dedicated my life than support of the women in my life, the promotion of women's rights, and the realization of an utterly safe and productive environment for all women and children, here and elsewhere across the globe.

The untoward suggestions that have been made about my character, and the notion that in publishing the "offending" July 14th post I, in any way, meant to shame, cause injury, or sought to inhibit Ms. Kelly's campaign for elected office, are anathema to the core beliefs that are fundamental to the way I have brought myself to the world, and the struggle in which I have engaged all of my adult life to promote the fair treatment of women.

I have a daughter who I love with my whole heart, who as a young girl was raised with feminist values that were incorporated into the very fibre of her being — an education on the role of women that was valiantly supported by her mother, who is among the strongest women I have ever known.

I say "among" because my daughter is the toughest-minded, the strongest, the most socially-conscious activist woman I have ever met, and she has been so from the youngest age, through her PhD, and beyond. There is no one of whom I am more proud — Megan's life, and how she brings herself to the world, is fundamental to hers, her mother's and my core principles on the absolute necessity of a more just world for women.

The notion that I set about to hurt Trish Kelly is akin to suggesting that I would hurt my daughter, or the women I love — such a notion is abhorrent.

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In the pre-feminist days of the 1970s (yes, Betty Friedan had published the seminal feminist text The Feminine Mystique in 1963, and Simone de Beauvoir was an activist feminist writer from an earlier age, as was anarchist political activist Emma Goldman), in the days before the 1972 publication of Gloria Steinem and Letty Cottin Pogrebin's Ms. Magazine — which gave popular voice to the notion of women's equality and women's rights (yes, for you younger folks, there was actually a pre-feminist era when all that is now taken for granted was but a fairy dust dream) — Cathy, my once and forever beloved, and mother to our daughter — would each Wednesday meet with other women in a "women's consciousness raising" group.

During the course of those consciousness raising sessions, my job was to remain at home, to cook, to clean, but most importantly, to set about working with Cathy to create the conditions for a relationship that would be based on equality of opportunity and circumstance.

Throughout the early 1970s, Cathy and I picketed the aboriginal restaurant on Davie, whose Swedish flight attendant owners discriminated against and exploited their aboriginal female staff. Cathy and I would drive down from the Interior, where I was teaching and Cathy was working for the Ministry of Human Resources, to join the picket line at Bimini's on West 4th, when the owners refused to negotiate a first contract for their largely female staff.

As the first paid 'Co-ordinator' / Executive Director of the Tillicum / Fed-up Food Co-operatives, the realization of a workplace based on equality was central to the work I took on. In another post, I will write about my work with a pioneering group of lesbian feminist women — an activist adventure that was among the most satisfying political experiences of my life.

As an editor at the Peak newspaper, at Simon Fraser University, I wrote searing essays that resulted in the realization of The Association of University and College Employees Union, a union mainly composed of women, and from then on the negotiation of a first contract. Those essays also served to create the conditions to break the "glass ceiling" that then existed — where women were assigned to the "menial work" (when we all know such work is hardly menial), and never provided the opportunity for advancement — in the end, after months of activist advocacy writing, several men resigned their senior administrative posts, and in every case an able woman was promoted to take the place of her former boss.

In 1973, arising from my work with an activist NDP government in creating Student Employment Offices at post-secondary institutions across the province, rather than place myself in a senior administrative position, I took on the job of secretary — because, again, as we all know that is where the "real work" takes place, the typing of letters, the answering of phone calls, the arranging of schedules, the creation of a filing system, and all that goes into running an efficient and productive office.

In the latter half of the 1970s, as an activist BCTF Learning and Working Conditions Chairperson, support and promotion of the women with whom I worked was central to the work I took on. I consistently refused offered posts that would have enhanced my career, in favour of ensuring that a woman would be placed in that post. In my time as an L&WC Chair, I worked with Linda Shuto at the BCTF, as she set about to create the first Status of Women office in any non-governmental agency on the continent.

In 1977, I led a movement — later taken on by the BCTF, the BC School Trustees Association, and finally the provincial government — to ensure that women kindergarten teachers would not have to suffer classes of 30 or more, as the school district set about, as it was finally determined, to abrogate the Schools Act. In the end, the senior administration of the school district had their employment terminated for cause, and the School Board was placed into trusteeship, as the provincial government set about to establish a new, more just formation of that Interior school district.

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And finally, for now, allow me to tell you about the single most rewarding activist venture in which I was engaged this past decade.

Hired as the IT person at First Student Bus Lines, I was called into a meeting with staff early one 2004 September morning, where all bus drivers and attendants were informed by management that henceforth the hourly wage of $10 - $12 would be converted into a contract wage of $36.25 for a 12-hour, or longer, day. School bus drivers and attendants are not covered under existing labour legislation in the province — leaving the employer to demand of their largely recent-immigrant women staff virtual serfdom.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 5:54 AM | Permalink | VanRamblings

July 16, 2014

Vision Vancouver Welcomes Kirk LaPointe to Decision 2014

Vision Vancouver

Vancouver City Councillor Heather Deal, writing on behalf of her colleagues in Vision Vancouver, late yesterday afternoon posted an e-mail to the many thousands of folks who subscribe to our municipal 'majority party' government's subscription e-mail blast 'reach out' facility.

In an e-mail titled 'A clear choice', Ms. Deal stakes out Vision Vancouver's position on a key issue of differentiation between Vision, and lead opposition party, the Non-Partisan Association.

The argument is clear and reasoned, and presents to the voting public a stark policy difference between the two, what now seems to be, old-line municipal electoral parties.

Today, the NPA announced that Kirk LaPointe is their candidate for Mayor. On behalf of all of us on the Vision Team, we want to welcome him to the race. Anyone who puts their name forward to seek elected office deserves our respect, and we look forward to the campaign ahead.

Our campaign is going to be about ideas for how we can move Vancouver forward. The need to build the Broadway Subway to improve transit and grow our economy. To keep moving towards becoming the greenest city in the world. Building new affordable housing, so people of all incomes can live and work in Vancouver.

That's what our campaign is going to be about. And it's going to show the contrast between what we offer, and the choice voters have with the NPA.

Mr. LaPointe has obviously spent a lot of time considering whether or not to run. He looked long and hard at the NPA, their positions and their policies, and liked what he saw.

In his launch today, he refused to stand up against Kinder Morgan's massive expansion of oil tankers in our waters. We believe that's the wrong direction for Vancouver - both for our economy and for our environment. There's too much at risk.

This summer, when you're out biking the seawall, running at Spanish Banks, or having a picnic at Crab Park, think to yourself: is a massive expansion of oil tankers in our local waters the direction we want Vancouver to go?

That's just one of the many choices voters will face when they cast their ballot in November's election.

With the NPA announcing their Mayoral candidate, we can expect the campaign to start to heat up. And throughout the next four months, we'll be offering our positive agenda to help move Vancouver forward.


Heather Deal

Vision Vancouver

Now, we don't know who actually composed the e-mail — we fully accept that the sentiments expressed in the blast reflect Ms. Deal's position on the issues raised, but recognize that the compositional job is generally turned over to a member of the communications staff — but whoever composed the e-mail has crafted one of the best written 'press releases' we've read this electoral season, as warm and evocative in its prose as anything we've read this year, the e-mail inviting the reader to consider, if just for a moment, just what is at stake in the 2014 Vancouver civic election.

Congratulations to Vision Vancouver for adopting a circumspect, politic, resonant, prudent and engaging tone for the upcoming electoral campaign.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 4:17 PM | Permalink | Decision 2014

July 15, 2014

Decision 2014: Meet Vancouver's Next Mayor, Kirk LaPointe

Meet Kirk LaPointe, the next Mayor of Vancouver, and current NPA mayoralty candidate

Father, husband, raconteur, journalist, editor, nobody's fool, not beholden to special interests (read: developers, or Joel Solomon / the Tides Foundation / Hollyhock), a man of wit and intelligence who is possessed of warmth, charm and élan, a man of the people who grew up in a single family household that experienced desperate straits of poverty and want, a person who entered the profession of journalism because, as he told VanRamblings just prior to his campaign commencement address on Monday morning, "without journalism, I would never have been provided the window on the world that was afforded me. I have been fortunate in my life. The time has now come to give back, to help make the lives of families and children in our city better, to give back to the people of Vancouver."

In 2014, Kirk LaPointe has re-fashioned the NPA as the Naturally Progressive Association (or, perhaps, as he suggested, the No Preferred Advantage municipal party — this a comment on the blaringly obvious marital tryst that Vision Vancouver has formed with developers in our city — the NPA, Vancouver's municipal party seeking office that is on your side).

VanRamblings recommends that you watch and listen to the commencement speech Mr. LaPointe gave to those assembled at Jack Poole Plaza yesterday morning, in order that you might gain some early insight into just what kind of man has come forward to seek the Mayor's chair, "in 2014, in 2018, and beyond" he suggested to VanRamblings, and others.

Prior to meeting for the formal, 10am campaign kick-off announcement, just west of the Trade and Convention Centre, Mr. LaPointe met with selected media for an informal Monday morning breakfast 'briefing', and had the following to say on the issues facing our city, & why it is he has chosen to come forward to offer his name in candidacy for the Mayor's chair ...

An edited version of the Kirk LaPointe, NPA Mayoral candidate, media briefing | July 14, 2014

Media present at the introductory interview / media briefing, which took place at Kafka's Coffee & Tea, on Main and East Broadway, from 8:15 a.m. til 9:05 a.m., on Monday morning, July 14, 2014, included: the Globe and Mail's / Vancouver Magazine's Frances Bula; Vancouver Sun civic affairs reporter, Jeff Lee; Mike Howell, 12th and Cambie columnist, Vancouver Courier; Emily Jackson, civic affairs reporter, MetroNews; Raymond Tomlin, VanRamblings civic affairs blog; Bob Mackin, civic affairs freelance journalist.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 10:12 AM | Permalink | Decision 2014

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