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July 28, 2014

NPA's Kirk LaPointe: A Democrat, Thinks For Himself, On Your Side

Georgia Straight editor Charlie Smith has written about Non-Partisan Association mayoralty candidate Kirk LaPointe — former Managing Editor of the Vancouver Sun, CBC Ombudsman, and current publisher-editor of Self-Counsel Press — on a couple of occasions, once six weeks prior to his Monday, July 14th candidacy announcement, the other this past weekend.

Throughout the 2014 electoral campaign, Mr. LaPointe will post to The Vancouver I Want, his 2014 Vancouver civic election campaign blog.

Earlier today, in light of the fact that Charlie Smith makes reference to The Vancouver I Want blog post in his weekend piece, VanRamblings requested permission to re-post Mr. LaPointe's blog post, supplemented by a re-posting of a few of Mr. LaPointe's Twitter offerings — which, it should be pointed out, on both counts, Mr. LaPointe wrote himself, sans intervention from the NPA's Communications team (not that the team isn't helfpul or competent, but rather that Mr. LaPointe is his own man, and when words appear in print under his name, they'll be words he has actually written).

Vancouver Kensington

Kirk LaPointe, in The Vancouver I Want: Latest Learnings

Kirk LaPointe, NPA candidate for Mayor, 2014

On the 2nd week of my candidacy, what I am learning and reflecting upon:

Kirk LaPointe asks Vancouver civic election candidates to sign a Code of Conduct

1. I may wait for the proverbial cows to come home for my opponents to agree to sign a code of conduct to avoid personal attacks in the campaign.

Kirk LaPointe, NPA candidate for Mayor, Asks Vision Vancouver for Budget Transparency

2. I may wait for the proverbial cold day in Hades for my opponents to open the city's budget books and permit us a line-by-line examination of how, where and what government spends. Until we get the how, where and what, we have every right to suspect why.

Kirk LaPointe, NPA Mayoral candidate, Vows to Work With Senior Levels of Government To End Homelessness

3. Our homelessness issue is not going to be solved on our own in the city. We need a new national conversation on health, justice, income and education, and Vancouver has to lead the discussion. This government makes a mistake by promising to end homelessness (or, as it has reframed the matter in a more modest objective, street homelessness) when it knows it's an elusive goal on its own.

Kirk LaPointe, NPA candidate for Mayor, Questions Vancouver Proposed Purchase of Granville Island

4. Until we understand how the Port of Vancouver might run Granville Island, Gregor Robertson and the Vision council members should not be pulling out the chequebook to offer to buy it. And if they are serious about it, they have an obligation to consult the community on what they would do and how it would be better than the Port plan. Granville Island became the great neighbourhood under federal watch, not under the city. Ideology should not trump the benefit of the doubt.

Kirk LaPointe, NPA candidate for Mayor, Opposed to $100 million Purchase of Arbutus Corridor

5. Until we understand what Gregor Robertson and the Vision council members want to do with the Arbutus corridor, they should not be pulling out the chequebook to buy it from Canadian Pacific Railways. If the asking price is $100 million (which is what it was several years ago), how can that expenditure be justified except through eventual development? And if that's in the cards, Gregor Robertson and the Vision council members should level with the neighbourhood.

Vancouver Broadway Corridor, LTR / Streetcar as an Alternative to a Tunnel

6. Until we understand how Gregor Robertson and the Vision council members intend to finance a subway to UBC, they should not be claiming it is a "new" offering in its literature and commercials. Perhaps "speculative" or "notional" would be the better term to apply to the line. Financial dance partners are required (Ottawa, Victoria, UBC) but the mayor is on the floor alone on this one. It will take billions of dollars from something other than the city, and many years, so "new" is a fib that should be fixed.

Kirk LaPointe, NPA candidate for Mayor, on Trusting Public Servants, Translink Stoppages

7. When did we stop trusting public servants? Bad enough that Gregor Robertson and the Vision council members permit our city executives to forbid public servants to talk directly to the media. But why would we heed the Robertson/Vision call for an independent investigation into two SkyTrain stoppages? TransLink has explained what happened. If there is a reason to distrust this explanation, we should hear it now. If there is a deficient contingency plan, then let's just fix that. But there would be many more matters deserving of an independent investigation ahead of this.

'Kirk LaPointe, NPA candidate for Mayor, Tells Vision Vancouver: "Re-instate Trish Kelly';

8. While I might not always agree with Trish Kelly on policy, what happened to her was distressing. She contends she was dumped from the Vision Vancouver ticket on park board and that she didn't step aside (as Vision Vancouver claimed). Her eight-years-ago performance art video might discomfort a few people, but I had hoped we were well past gendered responses and could also understand how social media shares ideas. Her nomination support indicated immense potential in public life and I hope she finds her way there soon. Her expulsion is an odd move for a party that professes modernity, tolerance and inclusiveness.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 12:51 PM | Permalink | Decision 2014

July 27, 2014

Meeting Courage with Courage: Valuing Women's Lives in Politics

Mia Edbrooke and Kyla Epstein of One City Vancouver, two of the seven women who released the statement 'Meeting Courage with Courage: Valuing Women's Lives in Politics'Mia Edbrooke & Kyla Epstein, co-authors of Courage: Valuing Women's Lives in Politics

The following statement was issued by One City Vancouver, on July 23rd ...

Meeting Courage with Courage: Valuing Women's Lives in Politics

Of the fifteen One City Organizing Committee members, seven of us are women under the age of forty.

Needless to say, the sudden resignation of Trish Kelly as a Vision Vancouver Park Board candidate has, as they say, hit close to home.

The seven of us are the daughters of women who, since the sixties and seventies, have fought for a seat at the table — and in many cases, won.

We are recognized for our work and are valued for our participation in our communities. Many of us have partners who do their share of the housework, and most of us have or will take maternity leaves and other hard-won benefits. We see people like us in positions of power. We also know that there are fights yet ahead. Women working in and out of politics face judgment based on their appearance, age, family situation, gender identity and sexuality, far more than men do. As younger women, many of us have had to fight harder than men do to legitimize ourselves in the workplace and in our community lives. This struggle broadens our perspective, sharpens our compassion, and brings us together. We simply can not afford to remain silent on this matter. There is too much at stake.

The seven of us know that, should we decide to run for public office one day, we can expect to see any number of things dredged up, especially in the feeding frenzy that is social media. Perhaps it will be over some article we wrote in university; whom we dated, or whom we didn't date; whether it's okay for a woman with younger kids to enter into public life; images of us dancing on an art car at Burning Man; private photos that we took with a former partner; our hair, our weight, our clothes, or whether we're shrill and angry when we assert our position on an issue.

It takes a courageous woman to stand for election, to declare that her voice has worth, in the face of such attacks.

For real social change, institutions need to meet the courage of these women candidates with courage of their own — to stand with women through personal attacks, and to call out the attackers.

At One City, we found it chilling that the decision-makers who hold power at Vision failed to act to affirm their support for Trish Kelly.

Political parties need to say loudly and repeatedly that a woman's (or anyone's) appearance, private life, gender identity and sexuality do not diminish their worth as a candidate. In fact, progressive political parties need to fully embrace the diversity and sex-positive activism of women.

We want to build a world where women candidates' whole lives are valued, where a woman's history, experiences, and choices are recognized as making her the person she is today.


Alison Atkinson; Anna Chudnovsky; Cara Ng; Christine Boyle; Kyla Epstein; Mia Edbrooke; & Thi Vu. Members of the One City Organizing Committee

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 2:28 PM | Permalink | Decision 2014

July 26, 2014

VanRamblings Announces Campaign to Buy Vision Vancouver

Buy Vision Vancouver

VanRamblings would like to announce today, the creation of a Kickstarter campaign to Buy Vision Vancouver.

As part of VanRamblings' one billion dollar Kickstarter campaign, at the time of his resignation, on or before November 14th, Mayor Gregor Robertson would receive the sum of $5 million; thereafter, Mr. Robertson would receive the sum of $1 million per year, for a period not to exceed 75 years.

Current Vision Vancouver City Councillors, as well as the new Vision Vancouver Council slate member, and the lone incumbent Vision Park Board Commissioner seeking re-election in 2014, would receive an immediate payment of $1 million at the time of their resignations, plus the sum of $200,000 per annum for a period, again, not exceeding 75 years.

The campaign will also provide $10 million to Trish Kelly — just because.

The offers made above do not extend to the members of the Vision Vancouver Board of Education. Vision Vancouver members of the Board of Education will have to run under a banner other than Vision Vancouver.

At the conclusion of a successful Buy Vision Vancouver Kickstarter campaign to raise one billion dollars, in addition to the payments made to sitting members of the Vision Vancouver caucus, VanRamblings would seek to make available an immediate payment of $1 million to each of the core members of the Vision Vancouver campaign team.

VanRamblings is fully cognizant that such a campaign, and the proposed commitment of monies that is suggested above, would most probably find competition from Joel Solomon, the Tides Foundation, and Vancouver-based developers, including Wall Corp., Westbank, Polygon, Concord Pacific, and others, but we feel well assured that in raising the sum of one billion dollars that we would be fully able to meet any prospective competitive bid for the attention of members of the Vision Vancouver team.

As part of VanRamblings' Kickstarter campaign to Buy Vision Vancouver, and given that Vision Vancouver would no longer run for elected office in 2014, or in the future, and so as to ensure that come November 15th there is no municipal party that might gain a majority foothold at City Hall, the campaign would make available to each of the Coalition of Progressive Electors and the Green Party of Vancouver, the sum of $6 million, in order that both of these municipal parties would find themselves well-funded and able to compete fairly for the voters' attention — fair's fair, after all.

Just go to

If you want to see this happen, if you want to be rid of Vision, make a pledge for whatever you can afford, $5, $10 — just keep in mind, we need one billion dollars! Gifts for those who donate: for $10,000, you can enjoy a 1-week summer vacation in Stanley Park; for $25,000 you get to spend the day with VanRamblings, which as we all know, is every person's dream.

With Vision Vancouver having withdrawn from the electoral process, on November 15th we could all look forward to the election of a government of municipal unity, most probably comprised of members of the Coalition of Progressive Electors, the Green Party of Vancouver, and the Non-Partisan Association — with no municipal political party gaining a majority at City Hall, or Park Board. Thereafter, the good citizens of Vancouver may well look forward to the return of good government at City Hall, and Park Board.

Addendum: In the interests of transparency, it is necessary contributors to the Buy Vision Vancouver Kickstarter campaign understand that VanRamblings would receive a small administrator's fee out of the monies raised from the Buy Vision Vancouver Kickstarter campaign, such monies not to exceed $1 million per year — adjusted for inflation, of course.


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Settle down now. We're kiddin'. We're joshin'. Just havin' a little fun. There's no Kickstarter campaign to buy Vision Vancouver. What's that? Ah, all right, I see ("They're already bought-and-paid for" — hmmm, if you say so). That's it. Nothin' to see here folks, move along now.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 12:01 AM | Permalink | VanRamblings

July 24, 2014

At Issue: Form of Development, and the Livability of Vancouver

For VanRamblings the single most important issue that voters will address in the 2014 Vancouver municipal election is: form of development. The key question in this civic election: what kind of city do we want going forward?

Form-based code addresses the issues of land use, urbanism, building structure (e.g.low-rise vs tower), heritage preservation, the scale and types of streets and blocks that we live on, development density, design guidelines and neighbourliness, transportation infrastructure, affordable housing, the development of green space and the accessibility of our community recreation centres, and perhaps most importantly of all, community visioning, neighbourhood consultation, and community planning.

Almost all of the civic issues related to form-based development are addressed by, and are almost solely within the purview of, our city government through the adoption and enforcement of municipal regulation.

The Greening of Our City: Envisioning Vancouver's Future

Vancouver ranked 9th for number of towers

At present, with a majority Vision Vancouver government at City Hall, we have a municipal administration that is more strongly tied to the concept and practice of high density, podium and tower high-rise development — as if Vision Vancouver is deep into the pockets of Westbank, Wall Corp., Concord Pacific, Polygon, and a handful of other large development companies — than any Vancouver city government since the woeful days of Terrific Tom Campbell's 'development at all costs' municipal administration.

Under a Vision Vancouver civic administration, over the past six years, our city has become almost unrecognizable from the city we have so long loved as the pace, and podium and tower form, of development has cloaked and distorted the concept of the livability of our city, almost beyond imagining.

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Low-Rise Buildings in Vancouver, a Green Alternative to High-Rises

In 2012, working with a group of fourteen landscape architecture and three planning students, Patrick Condon — University of British Columbia Chair of Urban Design and Landscape Architecture — addressed the question of how Vancouver might reasonably approach the reduction of energy use and consequent greenhouse gas production in the city by at least 80 per cent, by 2050, and how that laudatory & necessary goal might be accomplished.

The answer: the construction of compact, low-rise structures across the city, along its arterials and throughout its neighbourhoods, as a greener, more workable, more energy-efficient alternative to the present form of high-rise development that has so captured Vision Vancouver's imagination.

Dr. Condon and his students wrote that with the expansion of the footprint of the West End and Yaletown towers into neighbourhoods across the city:

"First, if you follow that approach you end up with two cities. A city of gleaming glass towers spread like beads on the string of the Skytrain line, disconnected with the surrounding areas they overshadow."

"Second, it sentences neighbourhoods between stations to a future of slowly aging residents, gradually shrinking populations, more empty classrooms, restricted access for young families, fewer commercial services, and an increased dependence on the car to get around."

Third, "While it is true that high-rises, when combined in large numbers, create GHG-efficient districts, the buildings themselves are not as efficient as mid-rise buildings. High-rises are subject to the effects of too much sun and too much wind on their all-glass skins. And all-glass skins are, despite many improvements to the technology, inherently inefficient. Glass is simply not very good at keeping excessive heat out, or desirable heat in. High-rises, according to BC Hydro data, use almost twice as much energy per square metre as mid-rise structures."

Fourth, "While high-rises are an attractive option now, how will they age? And how adaptable are they to changes in family circumstances."

Fifth, "High-rise buildings built largely of steel and concrete are less sustainable than low-rise and mid-rise buildings built largely of wood; steel and concrete produce a lot of GHG. Wood traps it. Concrete is 10 times more GHG-intensive than wood."

"Sixth and last, our guest lecturers made us painfully aware that people living in single family homes do not appreciate high-rises as neighbours. Politically, it is a nonstarter. So the prospect of supplying the tens of thousands of housing units that our young families and elderly need through the construction of high-rise structures seems naive at best."

Dr. Condon and his students explored an alternative strategy.

What might happen if the population of the city doubled, and all new residents were placed in areas outside of the downtown core, avoiding wherever possible the problematic high-rise? The outcome?

  • The retention of existing neighbourhood quality, the supply of enough units to house the burgeoning wave of elderly, energy efficiency, housing for young families, housing equity, and neighbourhood preservation through the gentle infill of existing residential streets.

  • The construction of tens of thousands of primarily mid-rise wood frame mixed use commercial / residential buildings on arterial streets.

Typically, four-storey structures replace rudimentary one-storey commercial buildings. When completed, the same or similar commercial enterprises re-occupy the ground floor commercial space. As units are gradually added, neighbourhood commercial services and transit become more viable, as thousands of new potential customers live near bus or streetcar stops, and commercial services. Such a salutary scenario offers particular benefit to (the fastest growing portion of the population) elderly residents, who would have the advantage of walking distance access to transit stops, neighbourhood clinics, inexpensive cafés, and social support facilities.

VanRamblings would ask, then: why, why, why would any thinking Vancouver resident consider for one moment voting for Vision Vancouver, a greenwashing, high-rise-development-happy, secretive, non-consultative, park-unfriendly, anti-neighbourhood, tunnel-digging, absolutely uncommitted to the construction of affordable and social housing, homelessness creating civic party of such rank municipal incivility?

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Vote for low-rise, human-scale development. And, streetcars.

VanRamblings has just begun the conversation on form of development.

In the coming months, we will be return to the subject again and again and again, as in the next instalment we set about to explore streetcar development as a workable, human-scale alternative to Vision Vancouver's 'too developer-friendly for words' dark-and-dreary tunnel down Broadway.

Patrick Condon. "For the cost of one Skytrain tunnel along Broadway, the city could build a streetcar infrastructure across the entire region."

Are you listening, Non-Partisan Association (in particular, you, Mr. LaPointe), Coalition of Progressive Electors, Green Party of Vancouver?

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at 1:35 AM | Permalink | Decision 2014

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 you've dropped Trish Kelly, the standard-bearer for that community. Surely you 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 misrepresent 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

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