Tag Archives: Politics

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

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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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