Patti Bacchus will not run for Vancouver council or school board in October

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      After the Vancouver Greens announced that Pete Fry would be their council candidate in an upcoming Vancouver by-election, it prompted me to speculate who might run for the two other parties with council representation.

      One name that has been bandied about is Patti Bacchus, the former Vision Vancouver chair of the school board.

      But today, Bacchus informed me that she won't be running for council or school board.

      In the last election, she attracted more votes than any other candidate on the ballot with the exception of Mayor Gregor Robertson.

      Education Minister Mike Bernier fired the Vancouver school board last year after a long-running budget dispute.

      The announcement came on the day that trustees were about to pass a balanced budget.

      Meanwhile earlier this year, a WorkSafe B.C. report found that there was a "toxic work environment" at the Vancouver school board, which made it "untenable for members of the senior management team to remain in the workplace".

      It cited the actions of certain unnamed trustees in contributing to the problem.

      After the report was released Vision Vancouver trustees issued a statement saying they were proud of their record of advocacy, community engagment, and ensuring that all communities had a voice in decision-making that affected them.

      "We treated all VSB staff with respect and courtesy and we did not participate in or witness workplace bullying or harassment," the Vision Vancouver trustees said at the time. "We are concerned to hear the findings of the report and agree that workplace bullying and harassment are unacceptable."

      Bacchus entered politics partially as a result of Christy Clark's failure, as education minister in the Gordon Campbell government, to provide seismic upgrading to schools.

      B.C. Liberal offers reminder to voters

      After the NDP government announced a school board election in Vancouver, B.C. Liberal education critic Mary Polak called the Straight newsroom to express her thoughts on the matter.

      She began by saying it's "wise" that the school board election was timed to coincide with a by-election to fill the Vancouver council seat vacated by Geoff Meggs.

      Mary Polak joined then premier Christy Clark at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015.

      "I'm a former school trustee and I know that very often, school board elections don't get a lot of attention, don't get a lot of participation, and particularly by-elections don't tend to," Polak said. "Here's a situation where [with] the previous board, two independent investigations found that they were not providing adequate leadership and in fact there were issues around bullying and an unsafe workplace environment.

      "This is a school board election that the voters of Vancouver really need to pay close attention to, and carefully, carefully analyze who it is they're selecting for their vote for this upcoming by-election," she added.

      Before the conversation ended, Polak revealed that she won't be seeking the leadership of the B.C. Liberal party.

      Polak was chair of the Surrey school board when it prohibited a Surrey elementary teacher from using books in his classroom featuring same-sex parents.

      In 2002, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against the board in a landmark decision involving LGBT rights.

      She was elected to represent Langley in the B.C. legislature in 2005 and held several cabinet portolios, including environment, aboriginal relations and reconciliation, and children and family development.