Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May 4...the Deadline to file Nomination Papers for NPA

Today is the last day to file my papers as a potential candidate for the NPA in the upcoming election.

Over the past few months, a variety of people have been urging me to run for Vancouver City Council. They include a significant number of former Civic politicians, many people in the Media, and citizens from all walks of life and of various political persuasions. Surprisingly, I have been strongly encouraged to run by a number of current and past members of the City Hall staff. I say surprisingly since I often thought these same people shuddered when I walked through their doors at City Hall! But now, they are so concerned about the poor and uncertain decision making, and generally bad morale in the Hall, that some of them have been my most ardent supporters.

I have given a lot of thought to running, either as a Councillor, or as the candidate for Mayor. (My Goodness...if my father, may he rest in peace, knew just who was encouraging me to run for Mayor, he'd be astonished....and quite frankly, I'm astonished and flattered. However, I realize this is not so much praise for me, but concern over the current administration, and a general indictment of the current state of politics in Vancouver.)

However, for a number of reasons, I will not be filing papers this time around. At a later date I may set out my reasoning if anyone is interested, but my reasons should be no great surprise to most of you. The fact is, my family and I enjoy a wonderful and very satisfying life; I am involved with very interesting projects and have good clients and business colleagues; and I enjoy working at my own schedule, travelling to far off places on a fairly regular basis whenever I want.

Moreover, Civic politics seems to be increasingly partisan and I am not comfortable being a partisan politician. It is also becoming very nasty, especially in the blogosphere and in the social media, where anonymous commentary can be very hurtful. As I told the Courier's Mike Howell when I announced my candidacy three years ago, I do not have a very thick skin, despite my many years in planning and real estate development.

So, to all of you who took the time to encourage me to run, thank you. To all the candidates who are planning to run, I offer my best wishes.

I am not leaving the Vancouver Civic Affairs scene. On the contrary, I plan to continue with Bill Good on CKNW for as long as he and his producers will have me. I also plan to write more regularly for various publications.

And on June 9th at Simon Fraser University, on the 40th anniversary of my first job at Irving Grossman Architects, and Environment Planning Associates, I will be giving a talk on my first 4 decades in planning and development...titled Forty Years On...which is the title of a well-known school song in UK...that was my father's school song...something he used to sing it to me as a young child.

For me it's now 40 years on. But it won't be marked by a start in politics!


Super Busy said...

Ah, but you ARE a "political animal"! you are willing to say provocative things, state publically your opinion on various city developments and have a kindly face that encourages all of us, no matter what are political stripe is, to listen to you and receive from you a Listening you have politician's qualities! Good luck with your decision. Note: All power is "partisan" in a democratic country/city/province.

frank schliewinsky said...

michael - you should confess that the real reason that you don't want to run is that you'd have to shave your head and wear that diamond ear stud (left ear? right ear?)

Michael Geller said...

Thx Super Busy...and yes are right...

(Frank told me last election that I needed to do something about my rather boring appearance if I wanted to win...sadly, he was right!)

Frank Murphy said...

Vancouver's loss. All levels of government right now need people comfortable enough in their own skin to enjoy life and savour the good stuff as part of their public persona. All the best Michael!

Margot Paris said...

Michael, I was by your side for that 2008 municipal election adventure. You came within a whisker (1253 votes? I know you'll confirm the number).

I couldn't tell at the time whether you were disappointed or grateful at the outcome. Still don't know - maybe both?

Can't believe it has been 5 years since you declined a 2nd shot at political life, and 8 years since that crazy 2008 campaign.

If you ever change your mind...I'll jump in again.