19 July 2008

Former Green seeks Vision

Ex-school trustee Reimer will run for city council nomination

Gerry Bellett, Vancouver Sun

Published: Thursday, July 17, 2008

VANCOUVER - Former Green party school trustee Andrea Reimer is seeking a Vision Vancouver nomination for Vancouver city council.

Reimer, executive director of the Wilderness Committee, was campaign co-chair of NDP MLA Gregor Robertson's successful bid to win Vision Vancouver's nomination as mayor.

Vision Vancouver now has four councillors sitting on city council, George Chow, Heather Deal, Raymond Louie and Tim Stevenson.

A nomination meeting to pick candidates for council, school board and park board in the November civic election will be held by Vision Vancouver on Sept. 20. No site has been announced for the meeting.

Vision Vancouver says it has more than 14,000 members.

"I love Vancouver," Reimer said Wednesday in a news release. "It is a city of amazing people, diverse neighbourhoods and incredible natural beauty.

"But as we move into a new century, new challenges have found Vancouver," Reimer said. "Our inability to meet these challenges is making Vancouver a city of stark contrasts."

Reimer has launched a campaign website listing three "big ideas" for Vancouver: Making it the greenest city on earth; a city of compassion, and of opportunity.

She will hold a meeting next Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden.

Robertson will take on the Non-Partisan Association's candidate for mayor, Coun. Peter Ladner, who defeated Mayor Sam Sullivan for the NPA nomination. Robertson defeated Coun. Raymond Louie and park board member Allan De Genova for the Vision nomination.


Melissa De Genova returns to the NPA fold

July 16 2008, Straight
By Charlie Smith

I suspected that park commissioner Al De Genova's fling with Vision Vancouver was probably over after he was trounced in his bid to become the party's mayoral nominee last month.

I became even more convinced when I asked him at a recent park board meeting whom he will vote for in the November mayoral race in Vancouver.

De Genova wouldn't answer my question, even after I specifically asked if he would support the NPA's Peter Ladner or Vision Vancouver's Gregor Robertson.

De Genova would only say that he would support his daughter's candidacy for park board for whichever party she chose to align herself with.

Tonight, Melissa De Genova's fling with Vision Vancouver also ended when she announced in front of her proud papa that she will seek an NPA nomination for park board.

She said that Vision Vancouver had strayed from the direction it was originally on when former mayor and current Liberal Senator Larry Campbell helped create the party (i.e. a federal Liberal direction).

There was always something fishy about Al De Genova's entry into the Vision Vancouver mayoral race, which was enthusiastically backed by Sen. Campbell and other federal Liberals.

It's true that De Genova's family defected to Vision Vancouver in 2006 after Mayor Sullivan suspended the five-term park commissioner from the NPA caucus.

But De Genova is a real-estate agent, and Vision Vancouver is really the NDP farm team in Vancouver. There aren't many real-estate agents who support the NDP.

Eearlier this year, it almost seemed as if the federal and provincial Liberals wanted to hedge their bets by preparing a Vision takeover if their man Peter Ladner didn't knock off Mayor Sam Sullivan for the NPA nomination.

Now De Genova's daughter has returned to the NPA fold (yes, she and her father played significant roles in Sam Sullivan winning the 2005 NPA mayoral nomination over then-federal and provincial Liberal Christy Clark).

And Ladner was present at tonight's announcement when Melissa declared her intentions.

Don't kid yourself folks. The 2008 Vancouver mayoral election isn't just a race for control of City Hall.

This will also be a dry run for the provincial contest in May of 2009, with New Democrats backing Robertson and provincial Liberals backing Ladner.

Whoever wins in November will give those provincial backers a bit of momentum when they go after the big prize--the legislature--six months later.

Parks board wannabes launch bids

Community activist Aaron Jasper among many COPE, Vision candidates

Sandra Thomas, Vancouver Courier

Published: Friday, July 18, 2008

Vision Vancouver and COPE have not yet decided if they will run a joint slate for parks board in the November municipal election, says COPE spokesperson Ellen Woodsworth.

"We've been informally discussing a joint slate, but I can't give you an answer just yet," said Woodsworth, external chair of the COPE negotiating committee. "But I'm expecting it to be decided long before the [Sept. 28] nomination meeting."

As the two parties talk, more Vision and COPE hopefuls are publicly declaring their plans to seek a nomination for parks board. COPE recently announced three new candidates will seek nominations, including SFU geography professor John Irwin, former parks board commissioner Anita Romaniuk and teacher Omar Kassis. Incumbent Loretta Woodcock will attempt to win a third term on the board.

At Vision Vancouver, Sarah Blyth of the Vancouver Skateboard Coalition, web developer Steve Tannock and Aaron Jasper, director with the West End Residents' Association, have declared. According to Vision Vancouver, Constance Barnes is also considering a run for a parks board nomination, but as of the Courier's press deadline had not made a decision. Barnes is the daughter of Emery Barnes, who was elected to the B.C. Legislative Assembly in 1972 and was re-elected four times.

Vision members will select candidates for council, parks and school board Sept. 20. Vision co-chair Mike Magee did not return phone calls before the Courier's press deadline.

Jasper says he was driven to seek a spot on the board because despite his best efforts as a community activist to influence city policy the real decisions are made by elected politicians.

"A lot of people have asked me, 'Why do you want to be a politician and be under that constraint?'" said Jasper. "But I feel such frustration. How many hours can you spend at a city council or park board meeting fighting to be acknowledged?"

Jasper said he was considering a run for the board when Gregor Robertson won the mayoral nomination for Vision Vancouver, and Robertson's win convinced him to do it. Robertson stepped down as the NDP MLA for Vancouver-Fairview earlier this week to concentrate on his run for mayor. Jasper said he likes Robertson's commitment to the environment and sustainable living.

"I really wanted to rally behind Gregor and his progressive platform," said Jasper. "I honestly believe in what Gregor stands for and I think it's a good fit with his values."

Jasper said the parks board should play a strong role on behalf of sustainability. He added the board should also consider public opinion more when it comes to making decisions.

Jasper has a long history of community activism in the West End and, besides volunteering with WERA, is a founding member of the West End Integrated Neighbourhood Network. Jasper also works with groups such as Renters at Risk and Save St. Paul's Hospital. He was instrumental in having community gardens included in the redevelopment of Nelson Park, helped organize the West End's first Car Free Festival and is working on the West End greenways project.

Jasper will officially announce his candidacy this Sunday.

11 July 2008

Readers crushed by QE Park trees

Vancouver Courier

To the editor:

Only in Vancouver could a body elected to preserve and protect our parks vote to cut down 70 living healthy trees and then vote to protect one dead stump.

For the NPA parks commissioners our parks are money-generating tourist spots rather than the playgrounds of the residents whose taxes pay for them. They will cut down the trees in QE park so tour buses spewing carbon can stop for five minutes to catch a glimpse of the North Shore mountains better seen from other places in the city. And then they will chain up a dead stump, so once again tour buses can stop for a photo op.

Let the living live and let the dead rest. That is the way nature intended it.

Stuart Mackinnon,


© Vancouver Courier 2008