Tag Archives: VanPoli

Another Side Glance With Al Tee: Politics & Robo Kennedy

18 Oct

RoboKennedy (2)Kennedy Stewart wants to save us. He wants to save us from the NPA, Kinder Morgan, and big money influence at City Hall. I know this to be true because the four robo-calls I got from him said so. Kennedy Stewart also sent me a mailing, dropped off a handbill at my door, and opened a campaign office in my neighborhood. He really wants to save us.

Why?

Why does a guy who has represented Burnaby federally since 2011, now need to be our mayor? Has he solved all federal related issues in Burnaby South? Or will federal NDP leader Jagmit Singh – soon to be parachuted into Stewart’s Burnaby seat – provide a better level of understanding and representation for the issues facing Burnaby?  Kennedy Stewart has been around politically since he ran federally and lost to Hedy Fry back in 2004. But he’s never run for a civic position in Vancouver. Not School or Parks Board nor City Council.

For a guy who claims a long relationship with Vancouver, he’s been noticeably absent from city politics. Generally people who run and become mayor have some kind of political or civic involvement. I think the last guy that ran for mayor who didn’t have that connection was Bill VanderZalm. Come to think of it, didn’t Christie Clark try and run for Vancouver mayor in 2005?

To be clear, I am not comparing Kennedy Stewart to two often loathed former politicians. I’m just saying I find something about his whole candidacy improbable. I’m reminded of a guy angling for the nice corner office with a view.

But of course I’m wrong. I must be. A form letter included in my Kennedy package mail out, was from vaunted East Van political warrior Libby Davies. She says we need Kennedy’s leadership in Vancouver and that I should dig deeper to support him. How deep? How about $200?

Kennedy plans to build 60,000 units of various types of residences in the next 10 years. Anyone who’s ever been involved with any kind of home reno knows, it’s usually longer than you predicted and more expensive. Still, you got to applaud his problem solving confidence which he has according to one of his pamphlets because;

“ I know cities. “

You know who else knows cities? People who live in them. People who live in this city don’t like it when their garbage isn’t collected. They don’t like it when there’s problems with transit. They don’t like annoying neighbors who break by-laws or make by-law complaints. People especially don’t like it when the whole town shuts down because it never seems prepared to handle a dump of snow. People don’t like it when traffic speeds down their street cause the city refuses to put in a roundabout or a few speed bumps. People don’t like it that there’s less free parking on public streets.

It’s one thing to be in Ottawa putting up motions, it’s a whole other thing dealing with contentious building projects and people protesting outside your home. Not to mention the irate citizen with a tax beef who accosts you in the lobby of city hall.

Kennedy Stewart most likely will be the next mayor and maybe if I talked to him I’d see things differently. Unfortunately after 4 robo-calls I’ve heard enough. But in fairness to Kennedy, I did get 2 robo-calls from Ken Sim and one from one of those Vancouver parties. I won’t vote for them either.

By Contributing Writer Al Tee

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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