Could we be seeing cracks in the united Vision Vancouver front?
Here's a bit of Sunday speculation: what if things aren't going quite as smoothly as everyone thinks within the Vision Vancouver caucus?
It's difficult for the public and the media to know what's really taking place because Vision politicians hold most of their debates in private rather than in the council chamber.
If cracks were surfacing, this bunch would go out of their way not to publicize this.
They saw what happened between 2002 and 2005 when open warfare within the anti-NPA forces denied Jim Green the mayoralty and gave their opponents a bare majority.
There have already been signs of division within Vision. A key member of the coalition, CUPE Local 15 president Paul Faoro, wasn't happy with the way the city manager's office rammed through the last budget. CUPE Local 15 represents city inside workers.
Meanwhile, Vision councillor Raymond Louie's former campaign manager, Neil Monckton, has publicly criticized Mayor Gregor Robertson for promoting a tax shift from business to residential property owners. Vision councillors opposed a tax shift in their previous term. Keep in mind that Monckton was the campaign manager who orchestrated the 2002 COPE landslide.
Here's another thing to consider: Vision park commissioner Raj Hundal has publicly condemned the lack of a ward system in Vancouver. He knows that his chances of getting elected to council have probably diminished because the mayor won't take up the cause of electoral reform.
More recently, former COPE councillor Tim Louis, who is no friend of Vision, recommended a joint mayoral nomination involving members of COPE and Vision Vancouver.
Louis emphasized that this nomination should be a democratic decision. The idea of a joint mayoral nomination was shot down by Vision executive director Ian Baillie.
This is the same Ian Baillie who was a former aide to ex-Vancouver Kingsway Liberal MP Sophia Leung. Reporter Frances Bula wrote on her blog earlier this year that Baillie was chosen over Stephen Learey, a close associate of Green and Vision councillor Geoff Meggs.
Shortly before the 2008 election, I wrote a blog post suggesting that Robertson should watch his back.
That was because the tightly-knit NDP faction with links to the Vancouver-Kingsway constituency had some ideological differences with Robertson, whose enthusiasm for all things green doesn't always match the objectives of organized labour.
Since taking office, however, Robertson and his chief of staff, Mike Magee, have not taken many visible steps to win over those who supported Louie's mayoral-nomination team.
(In a rather amusing aside, if you search www.raymondlouie.ca, you end up on the Vision Vancouver home page, which is plastered with pro-Robertson messages.)
Robertson has remained quiet about the possibility of local schools being closed in Vancouver-Kingsway thanks to the B.C. Liberal provincial budget.
In addition, Robertson did virtually nothing to help New Democrats in the last election, giving only a last-minute endorsement to the lost-cause efforts of Jenn McGinn, who represented his former constituency of Vancouver-Fairview.
Moreover, Robertson hurt the NDP by saying "hooray for the carbon tax" and calling for a three-peat for Premier Gordon Campbell.
Meggs's wife is Jan O'Brien, the provincial secretary of the NDP, whose job is to help elect Carole James as premier. O'Brien hasn't gotten much help in this regard from Robertson, who owes his political success in part to the NDP machine.
Now, there are murmurings of a media hit list linked to the mayor's office. There's no proof, but it's the type of story that will cause some reporters to become even more snarly to prove that they're not going to be intimidated.
What if this is part of a plot by New Democrats within Vision Vancouver to create some uncertainty over Robertson's leadership?
What if the real goal is to have a democratically fought nomination for the next Vision Vancouver mayoral candidate?
Because this time around, there's no guarantee that Robertson will generate the kind of support he did in 2008.
And the NPA is so weak that anyone could probably run with a "Vision Vancouver" label beside their name and win the mayoral race.
If there is to be a challenge to Robertson, I bet it would come from Louie with the support of Faoro. But I also wouldn't rule out a mayoral run by Meggs or another provincial New Democrat who wants a mayor who will stand up to the B.C. Liberals before the 2013 provincial election.
The only thing that will dampen this Sunday speculation is if Vision Vancouver's board publicly declares that the mayor won't have to seek a nomination in a democratic contest in 2011.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.