Glen Chernen: Legitimacy is my basic expectation for Vancouver

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      I am running for Vancouver city council to provide principled leadership to our local government. I have been compelled to act, as I and many others have questioned the authority and the legitimacy of our current administration. The more I looked into various issues, the more it seemed that something was broken with our city hall. I have found that the same set of rules do not apply to all of our residents. It is time to ask what kind of basic expectations should we have of our local government.

      We have a limited amount of options as citizens to disagree with city hall. Until recently we had the option to vote the government out every three years which has now been extended to four-year terms without public consultation. The average resident expects to have a small degree of influence on our politicians by communicating with them by petition, speech in council, letters or peaceful protest, etc. In the past three years all of these methods have failed for citizens regardless of how disproportionate their objection has been against city policy.

      The concept of a fairly run public hearing in Vancouver is now widely understood to be impossible. It seems like most projects have been approved before the hearing and vote take place. Many that follow Vancouver rezoning now understand that if you want to get the highest density and highest profit possible, then holding a fundraiser for an influential politician might be your best bet. I can not accept to live in a city which changes the rules daily and is rewriting or ignoring contracts when they suddenly become too inconvenient. A government like this cannot have the “legitimate” support of the people.

      I want to live in a Vancouver that protects some basic ground rules of “legitimacy” as argued many decades ago by celebrated American philosopher John Rawls and recently retold by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, David and Goliath. They both described a government in which most people could live without having to protest when confronted with disagreeable decisions because the government was operating with these three basic ground rules of legitimacy:

      1. The people who are asked to obey authority have to feel like they have a voice—if they speak up, they will be heard;

      2. The law has to be predictable;

      3. The authority has to be fair. It can’t treat one group differently from another.

      I believe that it is up to our leaders to act in best faith without playing any favourites. We must all have the hope that our government can treat us all equally and that when we speak we will be heard. Our laws cannot randomly change daily behind closed doors and without disclosure. These are some of the basics that I am standing up for to help bring a principled and legitimate government to the residents of Vancouver.

      Comments

      7 Comments

      GZLFB

      Oct 11, 2014 at 1:24am

      Odd choice of word, predictable. They are, one can expect them to grow, expand and be much more in numbers. To the point where ignorance of the law is not just an excuse, it's bloody predictable.

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      Odds Bodkin

      Oct 11, 2014 at 3:07pm

      Boilerplate pap.

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      Henrik Shiner

      Oct 12, 2014 at 10:46am

      This guy is a decoy duck at best!

      Mark A

      Oct 12, 2014 at 11:46am

      Voters - if you disagree with how Vancouver has been run over the last 6 years - thinks about your vote and what it can do. Please do not split the vote and allow vision back in. Put you vote to the person or organization n that has the best chance to clean house at City Hall and give us the Vancouver we want.

      Forest

      Oct 12, 2014 at 12:46pm

      I'm curious. Given their locale and the offered statement above, is the Cedar Party a party for disgruntled Dunbar residents who are pissed about the city's "pro-density" policy'? i.e.: The "no laneway homes, townhouses or condos in my neighbourhood crowd"? If so, is this not just a one-trick pony party?

      Bryan stewart

      Oct 12, 2014 at 5:46pm

      I happen to live in East Van, and I fully support Cedar and what they stand for. Openness and accountability, not a one trick pony

      RUK

      Oct 13, 2014 at 11:07pm

      I, for one, welcome our new lightning bolt overlords, and long may their mighty Camaro Z28s of justice spread the fumes of legitimacy over our city

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