NPA candidate Kirk LaPointe lives and works outside of Vancouver, so why run here?

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      Last night at a candidates' discussion on neighbourhood planning, nobody made an issue of NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe's residency.

      LaPointe is running for mayor of Vancouver but he lives outside the city's boundaries on the UBC campus.

      This is an unincorporated area of Metro Vancouver that's part of Electoral Area A, which is represented by Maria Harris at the regional district.

      Meanwhile, LaPointe is publisher of Self-Counsel Press, which is located in the District of North Vancouver.

      He's also an adjunct professor of journalism at UBC. This part-time gig also takes place outside of city boundaries. 

      His wife, Mary Lynn Young, is an associate dean at UBC, so she doesn't work in the city, either.

      Yet he wants to be mayor of Vancouver, where he doesn't work and doesn't pay property taxes.

      He's also not a tenant in Vancouver, so he doesn't have a landlord who pays property taxes in the city.

      One of the few ways in which LaPointe finances Vancouver public services is when he puts coins in parking meters.

      But he's already announced that he wants to lower the amount collected by eliminating meter parking on Sundays and statutory holidays and by stopping enforcement after 8 p.m. rather than 10 p.m. every night of the week.

      I'm surprised that his opponents aren't asking why LaPointe is, in effect, promising to give himself a tax cut by reducing parking fees rather than focusing on property taxes, which residents pay to the city.

      There are other questions that need to be asked.

      If LaPointe is interested in serving his community (as he so often states), why didn't he run for political office in the District of North Vancouver, where he earns a living?

      Why didn't he run to become a director for Electoral Area A, where he lives and where his wife earns her living?

      Is he so special that he has to be mayor of Vancouver rather than seeking office in less glamourous locales?

      LaPointe's communications adviser, Ann Gibbon, informed me in August that the NPA mayoral candidate and his family have been working with a real-estate agent and have been looking at houses so they can "relocate" to Vancouver.

      Until he actually sets up residence in the city, his only real connection to Vancouver—from the perspective of democracy—is his ability to vote in elections to the Vancouver board of education. Yet he chose not to run for school trustee.

      At the risk of belabouring the residency issue, I'll raise one more point.

      UBC is policed by the Mounties.

      In the past, I've suggested that the university might be better served if the Vancouver Police Department took over those duties.

      If LaPointe wins the mayoral election, he will become chair of the Vancouver police board.

      Will he absent himself from discussions over whether the VPD's jurisdiction should be extended to the area where he currently lives?

      Or would he sit at the table and discuss an issue that might be in the best interest of his neighbours and his employer at UBC, even if it might not be in the best interest of Vancouver taxpayers?

      LaPointe likes to present himself as the king of transparency on the campaign trail. 

      Perhaps he can clear the air in the comment section about how he would approach the issue of policing at UBC.

      While he's at it, he could also take a moment to explain why the only taxes that he's prepared to reduce are those that he, as a nonresident, pays into the Vancouver treasury through parking meters.

      I looked up carpetbagger in the online Merriam-Webster dictionary.

      Here's the second definition: "a political candidate who runs for office in a place where he or she has lived only for a short time".

      LaPointe doesn't live in Vancouver, so until he moves to the city, he doesn't qualify for that term.

      Comments

      55 Comments

      LWoww

      Oct 16, 2014 at 1:14pm

      Are you flicking kidding me? UBC being in electoral area A is a bit of a ridiculous concept anyways, but Lapointe running in Van isn't as far-fetched as sayyyy Christy Clark "winning" the Kelowna district when she lives in Vancouver (did she ever make the move?). Until this article, I had no idea that UBC was "in North Van" but maybe that was because of poor city planning in the first place. This article is a bit of a stretch, do better next time.

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      Cindy

      Oct 16, 2014 at 1:16pm

      Lapointe's former colleagues at Postmedia are in the bag for the NPA this time around. They refuse to point out simple things like Lapointe's lack of residency, platform, or his connections to the oil industry.

      Bravo to Georgia Straight for breaking the media embargo on facts about Kirk Lapointe.

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      Jack

      Oct 16, 2014 at 1:17pm

      Nobody has made an issue of this because, quite simply, it isn't an issue. No one cares. I think most people consider UBC a part of Vancouver, despite the fact that it's "unincorporated".

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      RUK

      Oct 16, 2014 at 1:27pm

      Wouldn't these questions need to be answered by Peter Armstrong, who IS the NPA?

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      Just visiting

      Oct 16, 2014 at 1:30pm

      I have wondered this from the very beginning. He's not qualified to be Mayor and council would be a much better first step for him. This whole campaign seems like an ego thing.

      Like him or not, at least Gregor ran a business and had political experience before he ran for Mayor.

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      Jack

      Oct 16, 2014 at 1:38pm

      Part of Kirk's attraction is the fact that he isn't a career politician.

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      cosmicsync

      Oct 16, 2014 at 1:52pm

      I disagree with LWoww. I think Charlie has posed some fair questions.

      On the off chance that Mr. LaPointe decides to reply to them in the comments section, here is another one for him: how does he plan to address the reduction in revenue resulting from his proposed changes to Vancouver's parking meter policy? Will he raise other taxes/fees, or cut services?

      When the BC Liberals came to power in 2001, one of Gorden Campbell's first acts as premier was to cut personal income tax by 25%, as well as cutting and eliminating taxes paid by corporations. This move was certainly popular with his base, but the result has been a steady increase of fees for things such as MSP premiums and drivers licenses, an education system that doesn't have the funding necessary to meet the needs of students, ballooning provincial debt and a dramatic increase in the gap between what the richest 10 percent earn versus what the rest of us do.

      Of course, letting people park for free on Sundays and holidays and after 8:00 PM shouldn't cause quite as much havoc as the BC Liberals' tax policies have, but I am always concerned when would-be politicians toss out ideas like this as if there will be no undesirable consequences.

      There is no free ride, Mr. LaPointe. So tell us now how you intend to make up for the reduction in revenue your proposed tax cut for drivers will create.

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      Ned

      Oct 16, 2014 at 1:57pm

      Charlie, you're having a "birther" moment.

      Non-issue

      Oct 16, 2014 at 2:19pm

      I don't want the NPA running the city (I haven't seen any reasons to think they'll be an improvement), but this is a non-issue. UBC is a part of the Vancouver community, even if it's technically outside of the boundaries. Do you seriously think someone living at UBC would be too disconnected from the rest of Vancouver to run for office, and can't be involved in the Vancouver community? Give me a break.

      Doktor

      Oct 16, 2014 at 2:34pm

      Ned, brilliant comment. Now we have "birthers" on the left. Plus Harper-style "just visiting" attacks.

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