Mike Hansen: Vancouver should talk to gangs about violence

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      Mayoral candidate Mike Hansen on his plans for the future of Vancouver

      As your mayor of Vancouver, I will bring the city into the 21st century. I will dispense with the title, “Your Worship” and retire the “necklace and sceptre” to the museum, as symbols of the past. No more “champagne visions and caviar dreams”.

      I promise the citizens to be “your every day mayor”, never leaving the city except for emergencies. By using video conferencing, with full disclosure of all city business, including police board meetings, delivering focus, transparency, and openness.

      We will introduce many new and exciting venues, like Vancouver Public Access Channel, so Vancouverites can tune into the entire goings on at City Hall. Along with competitive events, youth mentoring, and a scholarship program, called the City Gang. Vancouver’s citizens can now expect accountability.

      In 2005, during my last run for mayor I pledged a First Nations healing centre in the DTES. As part of my 2008 campaign, I pledge to implement the very same plan.

      My platform is restoring Vancouver to the jewel it once was. I will focus my administration to homelessness, crime and street drug use. Homelessness will be mitigated by 2010 with the introduction of a “Homeless Lottery” that “pays double, so play often”. Each month I will contact Ottawa and Victoria and demand “match funding”. An other source of funding is a levy of two to three percent on all fundraisers in Vancouver. As it’s all about giving, they should be more than happy to promote such a worthy cause.

      Crime is a big one. Gang violence is escalating. We will write a strategic plan for crime fighting. How do we stop the gang killings? As mayor I will initiate roundtable discussions with gang lawyers/representatives, to work out a compromise to stop the gang killings. Must we wait to bury our children before we make the right move? Do we have to wear bulletproof vests to go downtown for the evening? With citizens’ security being of utmost concern, our police must not play “games 2009” but dedicate their time to serving their employers.

      We cannot allow this to happen while criminal gangs rule the streets. I pledge to make the VPD the highest payed civic police in Canada, after ridding the department of criminal officers (mayor of NYC, Michael Bloomberg did it to over 300). I will implement a revolving gun amnesty, and the police servants will come and pick up any gun and give a cash voucher. This will be the start of removing guns from the street.

      In the best interests and safety of the citizens and the overloaded police servants, we will administer a Euro-style strategic plan dealing with the sex trade and cannabis tolerance, in the city of Vancouver. Focusing on more prevalent issues. I will remove the political sentiment “supporting the troops”, from police cars and replace with the Canadian flags. Are they proud Canadians? Flags will also be placed on fire trucks and ambulances.

      Drugs: if you go to www.focusvancouver.ca, at the top is the “Harm Reduction Pilot Project”; this might be used as a template for a Medical Access Program that will be compatible with our drug problems.

      On the fiscal front I will focus on granting tax incentives and permit easements to developers/landlords who build or open homeless shelters, low-cost housing or rehabilitation centers. Seniors who have paid property tax on principle residences for years, will no longer have to pay Vancouver’s portion of the property tax.

      Focus, no visions or dreams.

      How would you reshape your municipality? The Georgia Straight is publishing articles on its Web site from mayoral candidates in Metro Vancouver. For more information, e-mail webeditor@straight.com.



      George T. Baker

      Nov 6, 2008 at 2:49pm

      One issue with this policy is the assumption that gang leaders want to talk to you. You might force them there with handcuffs, but these guys do not really dig the whole social order-thing. That is what makes them gangsters in the first place -- the whole "I will kill you if you don't do it my way" mentality.

      It would be nice if you got them to the table but as a fan of outside the box thinking, this one fails a key test -- any basis of reality.


      Nov 6, 2008 at 3:56pm

      If my good friend George T Baker would have read ALL of the platform on this issue, he would have noticed that I said "Gangsters lawyers & reps", not gangstas. Sometimes we only read what 'we' want to hear.
      In all reality in his message, Goerge T Baker reads only the parts he wants to.
      George must realize that this is just a start of my plan. Tip # 1, hold most of your cards close to your chest.
      Thanks for your input, George.
      Buy the way, what do you know about gangsters, maybe you can help me as an 'adviser' when I'm mayor of Vancouver?
      Make Mike Mayor


      Nov 6, 2008 at 8:29pm

      Finally a candidate who makes sense. Why not engage in 'round table' discussions with the gangster's lawyers and reps? After all the Canadian led mission to Afghanistan is engaging in 'round table' discussions with the Taliban to stop the violence, shouldn't we at least try to do something in our city? How else shall we stop the violence and murders on our streets?

      It seems that we could take a good example from New York where Mayor Bloomberg cut crime including violence/murders by 20% with less cops, a smaller budget and less resources. Hmmm......



      Nov 7, 2008 at 12:54am

      Given the fact the various entrenched political parties are beholden to a small but powerful corporate and union elite it is becoming painfully obvious that independent candidates
      represent the last true bastion of democracy in Canada. When you also consider that a handful of right wing corporations control our mass media, we have a democracy in name only.
      As for dialoguing with emmissaries from the so called gangster community, how can we not acknowledge them as a significant part of our society that should be at the table when we attempt to make our city a better place to live? I can hear the shrieks of indignation and derision already so why don't we analyse this rationally? Organized crime provides products
      and services that are in significant demand. The annual death toll in Canada from all black market drugs combined is approximately 1700. There are between 500 and 600 murders in Canada every year. Barely half these are committed by gangsters so the total death toll nationally, caused directly or indirectly by this group, is under 2000. Compare this with the number of deaths annually caused by products that corporations protected by our federal and provincial governments produce: Tobacco 40,000+, alcohol 20,000+, legal pharmaceuticals 23,000 (though researchers admit the real number is at least 10 times higher). Despite all the fear that is mongered by right wing politicians and mass media, the violent crime rate is decreasing and the reality is you are at least 50 times more likely to be killed by something your government endorses than something they consider illegal and dangerous. When will we ever mature as participants in what's left of our democratic process and start supporting those independent candidates who don't have the heavy baggage of political debt?