Sunday, November 13, 2011

Slate Voting is for Dummies: Part 2

So here are some more names of people I plan to vote for, or am seriously considering as we approach Election Day 2011...

Park Board

In addition to supporting Stuart Mackinnon, Gabby Kalaw and John Coupar, I also plan to vote for Constance Barnes-Vision Vancouver. I first met Constance during the '08 election and she was always very gracious, despite the fact that I was 'on the other team'. I'm told that she's hard working, honest, passionate and worthy of re-election.

It's difficult for me to support other Vision candidates since I'm disappointed with many of the Board's decisions over the past three years, especially the decisons with respect to Bloedel Conservatory and the Children's Farm.

Over the past few years I have got to meet other NPA candidates for Park Board. Dave Pasin is a hard working, community spirited guy, as is Casey Crawford and Jason Upton. I believe both are deserving of close attention and would be good additions to the board. I have known of Melissa de Genova since she was a young girl. If you want a youth advocate, she certainly fills the bill.

Over the past week I have been communicating with a very interesting lady who's an Independent Candidate for Park Board. Her name is Freyja Pri Toor and her website is
School Board

I still need to learn more about other School Board candidates. While I have briefly met Fraser Ballantyne and Stacy Robertson of the NPA, I would welcome advice from those of you who know them and other good candidates.


In my first blog posting I supported Sean Bickerton, Mike Klassen, Sandy Garossino and Geoff Meggs for Council. Based on the comments I have received, it would appear that not everyone is as keen as me to have Meggs on Council. So here are some other choices.

I have always been impressed by the dedication of Vision Councillor Heather Deal. I also like her as a person. A biologist who once worked with the David Suzuki Foundation, she strikes me as a very committed person who would be prepared to work collaboratively on a mixed Council. I will be voting for her since I'm hoping and expecting it will be a mixed Council.

Andrea Reimer is a Vision Candidate for whom I also have a high regard. While we have often disagreed on issues, she's been prepared to sit down and discuss our differences. We come from such different worlds. Depending on what happens over the next week, I may well save a vote for her.

I've got to know Raymond Louie a little bit over the years and think he's been an effective councillor. I appreciated the fact that he modified the laneway housing zoning bylaw to allow single storey laneway cottages on deeper single family lots; something I wanted to see. We haven't had many other dealings in recent years but I'll be considering his name when I'm in the voting booth.

I will be voting for Adriane Carr of the Green Party. While I don't know her well, I admire her longstanding commitment to serving the public. Over the years we have met at various planning and sustainability events, since she has a background in these fields. She strikes me as open minded and caring, and I was impressed to learn from a Cambie Street merchant that she was one of the few people who took a genuine interest in the property taxation issues he and other merchants are facing. Ironically, the same person told me Mayor Robertson displayed absolutely no interest in their plight....I say ironically since the Mayor was at one time so publicly associated with these merchants!

I have known NPA candidate Bill McCreey for 35 years. He was a member of TEAM when I arrived in Vancouver in the 70's. He was a good architect in his day, with many innovative ideas. While we haven't always agreed, and I know that he can be argumentative and abrasive at times, he's somebody who would be a good addition to Council. Given that so many decisions relate to architecture and planning, I think it makes sense to have an architect on Council. I'll be voting for him.

There are a number of other strong and qualified NPA candidates. I don't know George Affleck but he has an extensive background in communications and media. Elizabeth Ball has served on Council in the past and is committed to furthering the arts in Vancouver. I'm told she's going to win again! Joe Carangi is a very interesting guy. While he's a lawyer, you wouldn't know it on first meeting. He comes across as 'Joe Average' and fancies himself as the people's candidate. While I think it is important to have professional expertise on Council, maybe it is OK to have someone who just wants to represent the little guy. That's what Joe wants to do.

By all accounts, Ken Charko is an accomplished businessman who has decided to put something back. A number of my acquaintances speak highly of him, but I just don't know him well enough to 'endorse' him at this stage. Hopefully I'll learn more in the last week of the campaign.

Jason Lamarche is not someone I'll be supporting, and not just because of his recent problems over past internet activities. I was put off my his very first video interview and I don't think he's ready for Council.

The last two candidates Francis Wong and Bill Yuen are two very affable and dedicated members of the Chinese community running for the NPA. Bill is a former School Board trustee and Francis has been active in Chinatown. I would like to see them both on Council.

And oh yes, before I forget, like the 'strategic alliance' did in their pamphlet....


Suzanne Anton. I know she's not perfect, but none of us are perfect. However, she has a passion and a comfort with people that Mayor Robertson rarely exhibits. She really wants to be Mayor, whereas I often think the people behind Robertson want him to be Mayor more than he wants to be Mayor.

I must say, on a personal level, I find Gregor Robertson to be a very pleasant guy. But he seems vacuous to me. I just can't get a sense of who he is or what he really wants.

Suzanne on the other hand is very clear about what she wants to see happen. I don't always agree with her, but she does listen and is prepared to change her mind. Some have accused her of 'flip-flopping' a bit unfairly, in my opinion. But as a number of media commentators have noted, she has developed quite a bit over the course of the election campaign, and if she wins, I think she will become a good Mayor. I support her unreservedly.

So I hope this is helpful in providing some additional information about the candidates. If you haven't already done so, please check out Part 1 of this posting since it includes the names of those candidates I would most like to see on Council, Park and School Boards. I look forward to your comments.


Edward said...

Thanks for your endorsements, Mr. Geller. I appreciate your thoughtful efforts to avoid the slate-vote and think about who will really be good for Vancouver.

Unfortunately, I suspect that many voters who are not as well-tuned to civic politics will not have the time to wade through the long lists of candidates in order to make informed choices. Most - as history shows - will not vote at all, and many of the rest will largely stick to slate voting based on general ideological identification. It isn't any easier when many of the big party candidates (the only ones that get any significant media attention, such as it is) campaign with predictable and largely meaningless talking point phrases rather than make concrete statements. I realise that wards also have problems, but until we get them (or some version of them), I think slate voting will continue to dominate among most who vote and, more importantly, the average voter just won't bother voting if he or she is baffled by the list of names.

For the most part, I won't challenge your endorsements. There are likely more suitable candidates than there are positions, and a good mix of ideology and origin will be good for the city.

My only points of real curiosity/contention are:

- Freyja Pri Toor: I haven't ever heard her speak live, but I did follow her Twitter feed for a short time, where she seemed a bit flaky, and I'd already written her off as one of the inevitable crazies who run. Since you seem to like her, though, I'll dig a bit deeper.

- Bill McCreery: So far, I just see a cranky old conservative, which is not out of necessity (completely) bad, but the fact that he doesn't even live in the city cancels him out right off the bat for me. He should live in Vancouver or run for Richmond council. I'll be voting for residents.

- Suzanne Anton: I've heard Suzanne speak at various events around the city in the last few years, and while she may be a reasonably competent manager, I really get the feeling that she has absolutely no understanding of the lives of people who don't share her own socio-economic world. Oh, she tries, I think, but I just don't think she's every really going to get the rest of us and, as a result, will never be able to govern with any kind of compassion or empathy. I'll be holding my nose when I do it, but I'm likely going to cast a vote for either Gregor or Randy Helten (though the latter's apparent NIMBY-based philosophies are not appealing to me).

- Ken Charko: Turned me off with his suggestion to close the bike lanes during foul weather seasons. Just having a successful business is not sufficient qualification for council. Like Mr. Lamarche, I think Charko needs to spend some time maturing and become a better thinker before he's ready for council (though I suspect Charko is already mature chronologically).

Unknown said...

Hello Michael, I would like to help you get to know Ken Charko a bit better. I have known him for more than 2 decades and he is a man of great integrity and is always making decisions for the greater good. I support Ken with the utmost respect. He has both strong business experience and one of only 2 candidates that has had to manage multi million dollar budgets. And as an appropriate balance he is a strong supporter of arts and culture in Vancouver. He owns The Dunbar Theatre, one of the last remaining independent movie theatres in Vancouver. As representative of independent theatres across BC as a Director on the Motion Picture Theatre Association for the past 12 years he has experience dealing with industry issues at all levels of government. How I like to describe Ken is that if he can manage to successfully run a single screen in the most competitive film market in the province, he can only be an asset in running this city. He is winner of the Consumer's Choice for Business Excellence three times and winner of the Trinjan Award for ethnic diversity in the workplace. I could go on and on about why he is qualified but I would like to invite you to sit down and meet with Ken and find out for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Michael I think it was unfortunate that you didn't win a council seat three years ago. I appreciate your logical , rational approach on issues and your willingness to look at all sides of issues.

Michael Geller said...

Thanks for your comments and kind words.

In response to Edward, as I noted, I don't know Freyja, but I did go onto her site and was intrigued. She won't win, but I decided to mention her because I didn't think she was a 'crazy'. One day I may meet her and find out.

Bill can be cranky, no doubt about it! While his address is Richmond, he does in fact have a home in Vancouver, and will be voting in Vcr. (He's living in Richmond at the moment because that's where his partner works.)

Suzanne. I don't think of her as an 'elite'. Yes, she now lives on the Westside of Vancouver, but she genuinely enjoys meeting and being with people from all walks of life. What many don't know is that she's a keen cyclist, has effectively cycled across Canada and around Europe, staying in hostels, etc. etc. She's definitely not a snob.

Ken Charko. As I said, I don't know him. While his suggestion that some bike lanes be closed down in winter months initially struck me as odd, I can understand why someone might think that way.

As the subsequent comment shows, some people who know him do have a high regard for him.

I hope this is helpful...again, thanks for the comments.

Anonymous said...

Stuart mackinnon are you serious. wait until you hear the story that will be coming out about stuart he's quite a boy

Anonymous said...

Ι got thіs website frοm my friend who infoгmed me rеgаrԁing this
webѕitе аnd now thіs time I am vіѕiting this website and reaԁіng very infoгmatіve articlеs or rеviеwѕ аt this place.
My web page - make him love you again