Tag Archives: Politics

Side Glance With Al Tee On Vancouver’s Next Mayor

21 Feb

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe late Venezuelan populist Hugo Chavez had a phrase he would use when elections and referendums didnʼt go his way;

Por Ahora

Roughly translated it means for now or for the moment. I have been thinking of that phrase ever since our own populist Mayor Gregor Robertson, announced in early January that he wouldnʼt be seeking re-election. Gregor said he was declining to run again in order to; “ …make space for new voices and leaders.

Personally I am not much bothered by Gregor and his legacy as mayor. Despite having good intentions and the guidance of his Tide Foundation comrades, Gregor never solved this Cityʼs problems. Then again, what Mayor would have solved them? Kirk Lapointe? Meena Wong? Peter Ladner? Suzanne Anton? Marc Emery? Those were some of the other choices for mayor during Gregorʼs reign. What I do find amusing though is Gregorʼs departure from elected office after considerable soul searching with family. Sure. He isnʼt done politics. Given that between 1973 and the end of Gregorʼs tenure, there have been 7 other mayors, two of whom became premier, one became an MP one an MLA and one a Senator, Iʼd say Gregor will find some other political position. He is only leaving higher office por ahora.

So who is going to come sweeping into City Hall with “their fresh ideas and soCityHallPeanutlutions? “A lot of names have been bandied about as future mayor but no one has mentioned a return of the greatest candidate ever; Vincent “ Mr. Peanut “ Trasov. Certainly the City would be no worse if Trasov dusted off his Mr. Peanut suit and ran for mayor like the time he did in the 1974 election and got 2600 votes, a ton of press, and the endorsement of Beat Generation poet William S. Burroughs. As to who may actually end up warming the big chair at 12th and Cambie, it is like coaching changes for the Canucks. Only a few of the names should be taken remotely serious.

The Early Scouting Report

Libby Davies:

A veteran East Van political warrior, Davies sat on City Council from 1982-1993 then graduated to the big leagues and represented Vancouver East in Ottawa from 1997-2015. With a fine taxpayer funded indexed pension, why ever would she want to get back into the contact sport of civic politics? Also she ran for mayor in 1993 and lost to Phillip Owen.

Don Davies (no relation to Libby):

He has been the MP for Vancouver Kingsway since 2008 and generally is the perfect politician. Meaning, he has not said or done anything stupid and quietly goes about his business. Why would he give that up so he can be harangued about a missed garbage collection or neighborhood parking?

Adrianne Carr:

Everyone in this City who makes even a minuscule attempt at recycling considers themselves Green. So why not Adrianne Carr, the Green Party City Councillor since 2011, as Mayor? Sure she seems nice enough, but she hasnʼt exactly been the tallest weed on City Council. I couldnʼt tell you one thing sheʼs said or done. Maybe Iʼm just not paying attention. But certainly one has to be a little skeptical about the Green Party given itʼs non-stand on the Site C project. Youʼd think a hugely expensive and environmentally questionable power project would be right up Greenʼs alley. Either way my preferred Green mayor would be Stuart MacKinnon on the Parks Board. He seems interested engaged sincere and occasionally wears a kilt.

Spencer Chandra Herbert:

A former Park Board member from 2005-2008, Chandra-Herbert has represented the West End as an MLA since 2009. Currently his talent is being wasted as a back bencher in Hulk Horganʼs government. If I was going to cash in my scavenged empties and donate to anybodyʼs campaign for mayor itʼd be Chandra-Herbert.

Hector Bremner:

I havenʼt figured out if this freshly minted by-election winner. Is he incredibly naive or way too enthusiastic? A former assistant to the BC Liberals own Jabba the Hut (Rich Coleman), Bremner ran as a Liberal MLA for New West in 2013 and lost. The beneficiary of low voter turn out and dissatisfaction with Vision in winning the recent City Council bye-election, Bremner claimed; “ Vision is done. “ Does this guy not watch sports? Doesnʼt he know you donʼt talk about the shutout mid-game and you never bad mouth the first place team? Bremner also claimed he would donate his councillorʼs pay to charity saying heʼd give it to; “ Whatever worthy cause. “

Raymond Louie:

Heʼs been a City councilor since 2002. Thatʼs right five terms. He also lost the Vision nomination for mayor in 2008 to Gregor. Iʼm sure Louie feels either heʼs part of the solution or not part of the problem.

Those are all the names of interest por ahora.


A Side Glance By Contributing Writer Al Tee – Vancouver Politics Circa 1970s

9 Oct

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince I was a kid I have followed local politics. It started because of my Dadʼs friend Bill Street. Mr. Street wouldʼve been a perfect casting choice for an episode of Mad Men. He was a flashy big-time lawyer, with a big house, and a few secrets on the side. Chief among them a hot car his wife didnʼt know about. It was stashed in a downtown parking lot and possibly a hot girl parked somewhere as well. Mr. Street had also briefly been a Vancouver City councillor.

In the early 1970ʼs Mr. Street was slated to be the NPAʼs candidate for mayor. But then the Vancouver Sun published an article by noted journalist Allan Fotheringham, that accused Mr. Street of being the NPAʼs bagman. Fotheringham alleged that Mr. Street was the developers lawyer at City Hall. The fixer who for a price could get development plans approved. Mr. Street was also alleged to be the guy who come campaign time would give the developers money tree a shake for contributions. Needless to say, Mr. Street was forced to withdraw as the NPAʼs candidate and the party was obliterated in that election by Art Phillips and his Electors Action Movement (TEAM) party. My Dad was furious at the Vancouver Sun and Allan Fotheringham. To this day Iʼm still not sure whether my Dad was outraged because he thought the factual allegations were libelous, or he thought how dare you rat out my friend Bill.

Mr. Streetʼs brief run for mayor has long faded from view, and the only physical evidence remaining is a campaign button I salvaged from amongst my late Grandma Teeʼs curios. But the point of this historical anecdote with an upcoming civic by-election nigh, is that this city has always been a developers town. From the moment George Vancouver dropped anchor in Burrard Inlet to now, someone has always been thinking about subdividing and building. The question is do the council hopefuls think they are going to change that and how would they go about hitting pause on the current situation? I think Iʼll try asking them. Stay tuned.

By Contributing Writer Al Tee

Off The Beaten Track – Casa Verde & Spartacus Books

19 Jul

ACasaVerdeccording to Robert Stone – I recommend the Netflix doc “ Get Me Robert Stone “- the past is prologue. Now if you donʼt subscribe to that theory then you most likely werenʼt inspired by my suggestions to stop in at what was once Commercial Village. But if you do, you may want to check out another curiosity. Right in the middle of Commercial Street, at 3532, is a restaurant. Itʼs called Casa Verde and unless you were looking for it, you wouldnʼt even give it a side glance. With itʼs fading green awning and neutral storefront, the place looks like one of those “ social clubs “Tony Sopranoʼs pals would hang at. But actually itʼs a real restaurant. A Portuguese restaurant thatʼs been run by the same family for twenty years. Iʼm not going to review Casa Verdeʼs fare. Which is a good thing. I may not be the best food critic given that I did not like the much praised and acclaimed Savio Volpe on Kingsway and Fraser. I can tell you that the proprietors of Casa Verde recommend the salted Cod or their weekend chicken barbecue special. But thatʼs not whatʼs interesting. Whatʼs interesting is that behind Casa Verdeʼs almost invisible storefront, thereʼs also a banquet hall that holds up to one hundred. The hall feels like it should be accessible through a bookcase operated secret passage. Itʼs discreet and it might be the perfect venue to roll out your start-up launch, or throw that party when your new single drops.

On the other hand, maybe you donʼt have time for something as frivolous as checking out a restaurant you may never dine in. How could you have time when thereʼs injustice and inequality in the world? After all, you are a social justice warrior. Thatʼs why you live in East Van the birthplace of Vancouverʼs progressive thought. East Van was home to the first Lefties on city council Bruces Yorke and Erickson and the Godfather of Progressive Vancouver Trout Laker Harry Rankin. Itʼs also home to long serving former NDP MP Libby Davies and future long serving NDP MP Jenny Kwan. So itʼs ironic that in your rush to those committee meetings youʼve never stopped, right at where Commercial Street meets Commercial Drive, and checked out Spartacus Books at 3378 Findlay.

Spartacus Books is Vancouverʼs original Lefty book store. Itʼs been around since 1973 and for years was a beacon of socialist thought on the Downtown East Side. But eventually evil forces – think developers not CSIS- conspired to run Spartacus Books out of itʼs long time location and over to this innocuous spot under the Sky Train behind the Croatian Cultural Centre. Banished to this location, Spartacus Books soldiers on encouraging truth justice and the East Van way. Theyʼre friendly folk, mostly volunteers, and they wonʼt try and force feed you Das Kapital or insist you watch a North Korean video. If youʼre trying to establish an ideological position, validate your East Van political street cred, or just worry about the fires of capitalism being highly infectious, Spartacus Books can help.SpartacusBooks

By Contributing Writer: Al Tee



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