Randy Helten plans to “re-double efforts” following civic election bid with Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver

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      While Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver didn’t secure any seats in the civic election, mayoral candidate Randy Helten is encouraged by the inroads the electoral group made during its debut campaign.

      The elector organization secured thousands of votes during the election, including 4,007 for Helten. Elizabeth Murphy led the group’s four council candidates with 19,644 votes, while the second candidate Nicole Benson was not far behind at 17,893 votes.

      But it wasn’t just the poll results that Helten sees as positive, but some of the issues that became part of the discussion at all-candidate meetings and other campaign events.

      “Considering the odds against us in this election, we feel we’ve made a significant achievement, both in our election voting results, and in our ability to introduce the topics of election campaign financing, and also respect for neighbourhoods and decision-making,” Helten told the Straight by phone.

      “I think that we were a major factor in bringing the issue of developer funding and the need for campaign finance reform into the discussion.”

      Mayor Gregor Robertson told reporters on election night that he intends to focus more on community engagement and on “working with neighbourhoods” during the next term.

      Helten said NSV is taking Robertson’s comments with “a very large amount of cynicism”.

      “It’s almost exactly what he said after the last election,” he claimed. “And what we found was that there were huge problems with the way they were consulting with neighbourhoods.”

      Helten said the acknowledgement of neighbourhood concerns follows opposition from community groups at city hall during recent years.

      “A lot of neighbourhoods have created a lot of push-back, including the West End, so I think they’re responding to that,” he said.

      NSV plans to continue to advocate for “better neighbourhood representation” in Vancouver during the next term, according to a statement released by the group today. Members of the group have provided policy analysis and input on council decisions during the last five years. Helten, who has been a frequent speaker at public hearings and council meetings, also intends to persevere with the municipal watchdog websites he founded.

      “I feel more than ever that neighbourhood-based decision-making is important, and through Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver and CityHallWatch and MetroVanWatch, I’m planning to re-double my efforts to make change happen,” said Helten.

      “With NSV we’re still discussing how we can be most effective, but I think that we’ll be really trying to reinforce the strength of the grassroots level, and also to put a bit more energy into empowering neighbourhoods so that they can be very alert to what’s going on at city hall, and to have an influence on decision-making there.”

      Helten added that the group is “very happy” that Green candidate Adriane Carr got elected to city council. Carr was one of six candidates NSV recommended, in addition to the three COPE candidates, the NPA’s Bill McCreery, and independent Sandy Garossino.

      But he noted that NSV is also concerned that the new council will be dominated by Vision and the NPA.

      “One asks how can they possibly look at all the interests of all stakeholders when they have such a huge debt to those who paid for them to win the campaign,” he claimed.

      A central aspect of NSV’s platform was a push for campaign finance reform. In a statement released today (November 24), the group argues that “regulators should never be funded by those they regulate”.

      Helten also expressed disappointment at the departure of COPE from city council after none of their candidates were elected.

      “We’re very sad that they’re not in there now, and we hope that they re-gain some strength,” he said. “Even during the next three years, we hope to still be in touch with them and have a good relationship with COPE.”

      Helten added that it was “almost miraculous” what NSV achieved in terms of votes next to the city’s major parties, on a budget of just $40,000 for five candidates.

      “If you look at the size of the budget and the length of the campaign, the amount of media coverage and so on, it’s quite amazing that we achieved that much, almost really through word-of-mouth,” said Helten.



      Working Together

      Nov 24, 2011 at 5:59pm

      Hopefully he will take a more constructive approach working to improve the quality of high density development rather than just being opposed to it. NSV should also work on better informing their supporters regarding the benefits of high-density development.

      The election results show that the vast majority of people in Vancouver support or at least aren't against high density development especially the younger people that voted overwhelmingly for Vision.


      Nov 24, 2011 at 9:23pm

      In the business world a tried and true method of keeping competitors at bay is to covertly create a competing business in order to take market share from your closest genuine rivals. I've personally been involved in such a ploy in the lucrative and competitive advertising sector. Frances Bula wrote quite a convincing investigative piece in 2005 which showed the links between the NPA and the James Carl Green campaign. I intend to keep digging for evidence that the NPA was instrumental in the creation of the NSV. Of course there are obvious links between the parties but Randy Helton has taken great pains to promote the fiction that the NSV is a party with a broad base of support. They wish.

      Something stinks and it is redolent of right wing NPA sleaze.

      Terry Martin NSV candidate

      Nov 24, 2011 at 11:03pm

      @sleepswithangels You are completely wrong,I have been involved with cope for almost 30 years,am a strong supporter of Tim Louis, have always voted against NPA,and have been outspoken in my critsizm of the NPA.To suggest that I would be involved in an NPA plot is absurd.Talk to people who know me well and you will find that the idea is laughable.Some people who know me well are Tim Louis,Mel Lehan,a little less,Fred Bass Ellen Woodsworth,many other people in cope.So feel free to contact them and get the truth.

      Joseph Jones

      Nov 24, 2011 at 11:04pm

      sleepswithangels – I encourage you to keep digging. That activity may prevent you from doing something even less productive.

      Of course, in a sense, the NPA was indeed instrumental in the creation of the NSV. The NPA brought on EcoDensity™, causing NSV to coalesce 2007-2008 out of the lead-up "consultation" and the seven nights of public hearing.

      Vision let NPA take the hit for that one in the 2008 election, and then forged ahead on the arrogance that, no matter what Vision did in its term, voters would have nowhere else to go.

      The strategy worked. There is no telling how much of the 2011 vote for Vision was driven by fear of NPA, especially in the race for Mayor.


      Nov 25, 2011 at 12:37am

      Ellen W lost her seat thanks to NSV. I hope NSV is ashamed.

      NSV Ne'er-Do-Wells

      Nov 25, 2011 at 12:38am

      @sleepswithangels Whether Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver are a creation of the NPA war machine, created to drain votes from Vision, thus allowing the NPA to slip into office, the results of last week's election certainly give the lie to such a thesis.

      As it happens, all you have to do is read the confused, distracted, distracting and almost incoherent NSV commentaries published in The Straight prior to the election to know that NSV lacks anything approaching a coherent vision, that the nascent, johnny-come-lately civic party lacks not only a history in electoral politics but a tradition of, and commitment to, political democracy.

      Hell, NSV mayoral candidate Randy Helten couldn't even find his way clear to supporting the creation of neighbourhood councils in the course of his rambling Georgia Straight commentary.

      How ironic that the nascent Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver civic party emerged as the only party running in the recent municipal election NOT to commit to the creation of neighbourhood councils as a key feature of their platform.

      Forget the NSV ne'er-do-wells. Rebuild a grassroots COPE.

      Jonathon Ross

      Nov 25, 2011 at 9:14am

      Considering how active the attack bloggers are post election I'd say that NSV scared some people.


      Nov 25, 2011 at 10:12am

      @ Terry Martin: It only takes one person, usually a founder or leader of a new entity, to know the true agenda of that entity. Members and co-founders can easily be kept in the dark. I'd love to know what was REALLY going through your mind when you posed for the photo standing right beside an NPA candidate. I've met Mel and Ellen a number of times so I'll be sure to quiz them...eventually.

      @ Joseph Jones: Creating a strategy/ploy, such as I've suggested, doesn't automatically mean that strategy/ploy will be successful. The NPA "braintrust" is closely linked to strategists in the CPC and BC Liberals who, in turn, have taken direction from the US Republican Party.
      Are we to believe the NPA wouldn't do something sleazy? We're not all as gullible as Terry Martin.

      @NSV Ne'er-Do-Wells

      Again.....failure of a strategy doesn't mean that strategy doesn't exist. One reason the NSV platform lacked coherence was because the author(s) of the platform lacked the true integrity of a genuine political movement.



      Nov 25, 2011 at 2:47pm

      sleepswithangels, if you would like to talk about it, identify yourself and send me (Randy) an e-mail. You can find my contact address on www.cityhallwatch.ca. Don't hide behind the veil of anonymity yourself. While you're on the website, read up on some of the evidence showing what's wrong and why City Hall needs to change, and it may also dawn upon you that on Nov 19, our civil society lost a chance to eliminate corporate campaign contributions from influencing our political system. Part of the problem was that the mainstream media gave very little coverage of NSV, and the voices of good candidates were drowned out by what may have been as much as 9 million dollars of NPA and Vision spending. But we won't know the numbers until they report at the last possible moment, about 6 months from now.


      Nov 25, 2011 at 3:27pm

      FYI Randy Helton...the Georgia Straight is a Vancouver institution and can be considered a major media outlet...at the very least within the city limits. If it wasn't for the Straight your party would not have fared nearly as well as it did.

      As much as this may irritate you..the reality is there is no advantage to be gained for me by becoming a public (non anonymous) figure. Think of me as a protector and champion of democracy who doesn't seek the limelight but prefers to focus on exposing backroom deals and then, by grace of public forums like this one, bring my findings to the public.

      Of course...this "noble" venture doesn't preclude me from sounding like a real prick sometimes. Suck it up...politics has always been more like a bloodsport than a knitting bee. Sometimes it takes a nasty asshole like me to uncover dirty deeds. Whether or not they're "done dirt cheap" is a subject for another post.

      Look at the bright side...in this comment I revealed my sex...you can now eliminate 50% of the population in your quest to uncover my identity.

      You're welcome.