George Affleck: Vision-COPE alliance doesn’t care to listen to the people

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      I have spent a lot of time at Vancouver City Hall during the last few months. I am trying to get to know the place in preparation for my bid for a city council seat in the upcoming Vancouver civic election. I like to sit upstairs, in the public gallery, watching the process unfold. However, there is one thing I have noticed more than anything—a complete lack of listening on the part of the Vision-COPE alliance councillors.

      I am not a new spectator to city council. In the past, I’ve experienced it as a concerned resident on one issue or another, and as a former journalist I reported from there. I understand that part of what happens is party politics. I know what you are going to say and, yes, I am now a member of a party and an election campaign as well. But an election is different. Once in council chambers, the business of the city and the people of Vancouver must be the primary focus of its elected officials.

      The combative attitude in council chambers grew ugliest during the debates about the hockey riot. Whether you liked her questions or not, Coun. Suzanne Anton had very good questions about the riot that were never answered. Sure, her mike was turned off because she went over her five minute maximum (just so you know the math, this gives the Vision-COPE councillors 45 minutes to ask questions to Anton’s five as the lone NPA representative). But it goes deeper than that. I think Mayor Gregor Robertson’s comments about the people of the West End that were caught on tape because he left his mike on were more indicative of the mood and style of council. If you don’t recall the incident, it was when Robertson called several concerned residents a bunch of “NPA hacks” when in fact they were big Vision supporters who just wanted to be heard by city hall. They were not heard, and neither was Anton—it was a mockery of the all-inclusive, respectful way we hope our elected officials would behave.

      Is it arrogance? Is it a hidden agenda? Maybe fear? When you have the kind of majority the Vision-COPE alliance have had the last three years, a virtual monopoly of power, the wise thing to do is not to abuse your power. Or your supporters, for that matter. Listen to them instead. Just a tip.

      If the Vision-COPE alliance had listened to the businesses along Hornby, maybe they could have built a bike lane that was not contentious. The NPA built hundreds of kilometres of bike lanes over the years with great success and no complaints. Gregor Robertson rams a couple through and bam, all hell breaks loose. It’s obvious the Vision-COPE alliance really doesn’t care about those businesses on Hornby and they certainly don’t care to listen either.

      Suzanne Anton and my fellow NPAers understand a politician’s job is to represent the people. You can’t do that if you stop listening to what the people have to say.

      So fellow Vancouverites, we need a council that respects and listens to our needs—whether it is our businesses, our neighbourhoods, our schools, or our parks. I ask for your support as an NPA candidate for Vancouver city council—because I would love hear what you have to say and I have two very large ears to do it with.

      George Affleck is a Non-Partisan Association candidate for Vancouver city council.




      Oct 27, 2011 at 3:37pm

      What the NPA is feebly trying to call bike lanes are in fact the most dangerous style of so called bike lanes which forces cyclists to dangerously ride between parked cars and speeding traffic with about a meter of space to ride in while dodging car doors opening.

      As for consultation never under the NPA was I consulted on anything they did. Under Vision I have been asked my thoughts on many different policies. Under Vision I have felt listened to and they have brought forth policies that for the most part I agree with.

      The NPA's only position is to undo what Vision has done, this isn't leadership it is reactionary conservative philosophy. The NPA has been hijacked by federal neo cons. trying to push an uncaring hateful agenda don't be fooled by their populist propaganda hey will say anything to get back in power.

      The media in Vancouver for the most part is run by Conservative supporters and are acting as NPA propagandists. The Georgia Straight is mostly okay but even they buy into the contrived hate on of Vision that is being pushed. Vision isn't perfect but they really do care about Vancouver and it's citizens, the NPA only cares about power.


      Oct 27, 2011 at 4:07pm

      It seems ridiculous to run an editorial by a candidate for office during an election campaign.

      Having said that, Mr Affleck: if you can't tell the difference between a separated bicycle lane and a shared bike route, I don't want you anywhere near making decisions on transportation planning. And, to be frank, it makes me question your ability to think critically in other areas as well.

      Or do you think Vancouverites are stupid and can't see through your feeble potshot at Vision?

      NPA: please go back to the drawing board, come up with some real policy ideas, and then we'll talk.

      Ke Dongshan

      Oct 27, 2011 at 9:09pm

      Did this man write this himself, or is it a collection of talking points conjured by NPA backroom hacks? This man thinks he has electability merely by strolling the halls of City Hall, therefore all the people who actually work at City Hall and all those who want to put forth policies are not electable. How lazy and elitist! Make sure this man is at the bottom of the polls on November 19.


      Oct 27, 2011 at 9:18pm

      I can't say I think much of the Georgia Straight for running a partisan piece so close to the election, without a rebuttal. And I don't know much about the NPA, as a relative newcomer to the city, and still don't have much of an opinion.

      But for those of you who claim the current government listens and cares about the people who live in this city, here's an example of Vision Vancouver's ability to listen: The pop-up parks they tried to ram through on streets in Vancouver, blocking residents' access to their homes and driveways and inviting people to urinate on our homes, party until 3 a.m. under our windows, and go through our trash. Funny, they didn't want one on 10th right next to City Hall, but they wanted one a few blocks away where people actually live. How did they consult with us? They didn't. They left a flier on our front porch telling us it was a done deal but we were invited to have a look at the layout. When we turned up to complain, the 19-year-olds they'd funded for this publicity stunt were shocked -- shocked -- that we might be upset that they had been approved to block our driveways for three months -- MONTHS, not days or even weeks -- without telling us in advance.

      It became quickly clear, as well, that the planners weren't going to listen to us and were going ahead with this mess until another government agency turned up and complained that they'd be blocking access to services for the handicapped and elderly. Homeowners -- the people who pay Vision Vancouver's salaries -- clearly don't count for much around here.

      I'm all for parks, but don't put the money into publicity stunts like this. Put it into our actual park programs, which would have a lasting impact. And this brilliant idea appears to have turned out just as expected when installed on Robson -- people sleeping and urinating outside on the "park," garnering negative national media attention for the city.

      What an idiotic process, with no input from the people affected most by their decisions until after the decision is made. I don't know much about the NPA, but I can tell you I'm not enthusiastic about Vision Vancouver after this experience.

      Martin Dunphy

      Oct 27, 2011 at 10:14pm


      The above article is run under the heading "commentary". As such, it does not require a "rebuttal". The reason we are running it so close to the election is that it is a public service for our readers so they can familiarize themselves with the platforms and viewpoints of the various municipal candidates in the Lower Mainland before they vote.
      If you browse through the "Municipal elections 2011" box above, you will find 39 (and counting) commentaries from candidates for mayor, city council, park board, and school board.
      Have a nice day.


      Oct 28, 2011 at 8:07am

      I think Marianne's story regarding the Vision Vancouver approach to ramming things through is an appropriate summary of the unwillingness or inability to hear from people afffected by their decisions. An online forum is not consultation. And no Mr. Meggs, neither is the election - becoming elected does not give you the right to ignore your constituents.

      Darrell 'Saxmaniac' Zimmerman

      Oct 28, 2011 at 1:48pm

      Same old crap. Let's elect some indies this year. here's a good slate: Me (Darrell 'Saxmaniac' Zimmerman) Mayor
      Lauren Gill council
      Sandy Garrosino council
      and anyone else but an incumbent !!!!!!!!!!!

      The point?

      Oct 28, 2011 at 2:35pm

      Even if I did agree with what's said here, what about it is supposed to make me want to vote for him?

      There's lots of finger pointing and complaining, but no suggestion about how to make the city better.

      You can't run a platform based around blame. If you're going to complain and make accusations, back it up with some suggestions and solutions (applicable to most of the NPA campaign, actually).

      Richard Campbell

      Nov 1, 2011 at 10:50pm

      Seriously? In the ten years since the NPA approved the Bicycle Plan which promised bike routes on five east-west downtown streets, they weren't able to get even a painted bike lane eastbound through downtown. I guess George has never cycled on the suicide lane on Burrard where cyclists are stuck between moving buses and trucks or he would have quickly changed his mind about Hornby.

      If he has a better solution on Hornby that is safe and better than the current lane, it would be great if he would bring it forward rather than just complain about the existing one. We the people need people on council that have positive solutions and are able to get things done.

      Su-Laine Yeo

      Nov 10, 2011 at 11:26pm

      Where are the "hundreds of kilometres of bike lanes" built by the NPA? I'm guessing that this statement is a reference to the bikeway network on side streets such as Adanac. The bikeway program has been a tremendous success both for cyclists and for neighbourhoods, but they don't solve the problem of getting cyclists around downtown. The NPA deserves credit for getting the easy cycling infrastructure projects done, but you can't build a great city on only easy projects.