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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.

A message, and a plea, to Trish Kelly

Trish, I know that I am the last person whose words you would want to read, and whose counsel you would heed, but I would ask that you give consideration to what I am about to write.

If I might suggest such, I believe that the Vision Vancouver campaign team is unmoored at the moment, adrift in the electoral sea that is Campaign 2014. When Maria Dobrinskaya and Paul Nixey asked that you speak with them, and arising from that discussion you made the very difficult decision to withdraw your candidacy for Park Board, I believe the conclusion you reached was not in the best interests of the Vancouver electorate.

Now, I am not suggesting that Maria and Paul were not well-intentioned when speaking with you — they are seasoned politicos, have put in tremendous work on two overwhelmingly successful campaigns for elected office, and based on their experience of the electoral political process, I am sure that they felt that the decision that the three of you mutually arrived at was in the best interests of the party, and those with whom you ran on the New Voices, One Vision slate.

The decision you made displayed uncommon generosity and heart.

But, if I might, I would like to suggest to you that the decision that was reached was not in your own best interests, nor was it in the best interests of Vision Vancouver, or your colleagues on the slate you put together and, most importantly of all, for the voting electorate of Vancouver.

From what I've read, it would seem to be the case that Maria and Paul suggested to you that your candidacy for Park Board in the upcoming election would be a "distraction", and with heart and spirit the three of you reached a very difficult conclusion.

Trish, your candidacy does represent a distraction — but a distraction of the very best kind. You are a distraction, Trish — your very candidacy diverts attention of away from what was to the possibility of what might be. The hope you embody, your countenance, your articulate presentation of self — your interview with Matthew Lazin-Ryder on CBC's On The Coast was lovely beyond words and expression, the wisdom and the character that you displayed shone through, as it has since you first began your work as a community activist at 12 years of age.

I want to say to you that I am sorry for the part I played in causing you distress and hurt — that was not ever my intention. I had read the commentary on Alex Tsakumis' Facebook post where the video first became public, and came to feel that a counter-narrative was necessary. As I wrote:

"We release the video today in order that the video not find itself inserted as part of a future "dirty tricks" campaign directed at Ms. Kelly — say in late October or early November, when the release of the video might have maximum damaging effect on Ms. Kelly's nascent candidacy for Park Board, (as well, we wish to fight against the) misogynist, slut-
shaming, anti-woman conduct that is, woefully, so prevalent today."

Setting aside the inflammatory title of my first post last Monday (a dig at the Vision campaign, and nothing more), and the National Enquirer-style reference to "potentially explosive" video, Monday, July 14th's VanRamblings post and the follow-up July 18th post were, and are, in the main supportive of you, and supportive of your candidacy — despite all the noise and the social media chatter which might suggest otherwise.

I am writing to you today to plead with you to reconsider your decision to withdraw you candidacy, and to consider approaching Maria and Paul, as well as Niki, Constance, Sarah, Andrea and Heather, and ask them if they might help you to find a path that would lead you back to, once again, becoming a Vision Vancouver candidate for Park Board.

As I have written elsewhere on today's blog post, you are now, by far, the most high profile candidate for Park Board in this 2014 Vancouver civic election. Over the course of the past week, an immense sympathetic support has emerged for your candidacy — not just among your Vision colleagues, but among a vast portion of the electorate in Vancouver. You have emerged in the greater public sphere as articulate, sincere and very, very bright, an able and engaging speaker and, given your relative lack of electoral experience, a near-seasoned veteran of the political fray.

What more could Vision Vancouver want from a candidate — you now have a public profile most pols can only dream about, immense sympathetic public support, and a unified consensus across the population that you are a smart, engaging and articulate young woman whose honesty and sincerity shines through in the most heartfelt manner possible. You are then, Trish, the perfect candidate for Vancouver Park Board.

You were telling Matthew Lazin-Ryder on Monday ...

"If I can lay ground work for the conversation, to say that this is something that is acceptable, that we want to challenge ourselves to be more brave about allowing women to have sexual agency, or own their sexuality. For politicians to be transparent about the histories they have, then maybe in the future, we will be able to accept more people into public office. This is concerning for me, right now of course because this is me personally, but I want to take this opportunity to leverage what's happened into a broader conversation that addresses the systemic issues that I don't know that we could address inside of a political campaign."

Trish, the future is now. Not only can you have the conversation within an election campaign, you must (even if you don't necessarily speak of it regularly on the campaign trail, your very candidacy is testament to the issue of agency). You can make history, Trish. Right now. In 2014.

I am sure you've heard Hiller the Elder's philosophical quote ...

"If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?

Your candidacy has emerged at a watershed moment in our social and political history. The time to take the leap into politics is not four years hence, but now, in 2014. The intolerance of the past must be just that: in the past. You have now been provided with the opportunity to represent the community in which you have emerged as a compelling spokesperson. Given all the events of the past week, in all humility I am going to suggest to you (and I know this is hard to hear coming from me): you have an obligation, NOW, to run for political office under the Vision banner.

I plead with you today to reconsider your decision, not for me, not for you — but for the community and the ideas you represent, to let everyone know that intolerance in 2014 is not acceptable, that your candidacy for Park Board is NOT a distraction, but an entirely necessary political act.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at July 22, 2014 7:16 AM in VanRamblings


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