Vancouverites seem to be increasingly disenchanted with both the city’s ruling party and its established opponents. Amid organizing for new electoral organizations like TEAM (or The Electors Action Movement of the Lower Mainland) and the Vancouver Cedar Party, another entity is offering an alternative in next year’s civic election.
It’s called Vancouver First, and its executive director, Jesse Johl, claims that the group has about 1,000 members.
“The other parties have too much negative baggage, too much negative history, and a fresh start was required,” Johl told the Straight in a phone interview.
Johl isn’t a greenhorn on the civic stage. He is the president of the Riley Park Hillcrest Community Association, one of six neighbourhood associations suing city hall in connection with their ongoing fight with Vision Vancouver over control of the resources of community-centre associations.
Johl was acclaimed as a council candidate by the Non-Partisan Association but was dropped before the 2011 election.
“Vancouver First’s philosophy is simple,” Johl said. “We’re about getting back to the core principles and reasons of civic government: schools, police, fire, parks, community centres, streets, sewers, the basic inner workings and functions of a city. We’re not here to save the world. We’re just here to save the city.”
He brushed aside a suggestion that the field may be getting crowded for opponents of Vision.
Is his group open to working with other parties to kick Vision out? Johl replied: “Never say never.”