Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Sullivan finally agrees to a debate

with 2 comments

Frances Bula, Vancouver Sun

This is what passes for news this morning. In fact its one of those announcements that’s not an announcement, as there is no date and no location. So no debate yet.

It is as fractious as the Democratic nomination. The incumbent had to, reluctantly, agree that the nomination should be open. But he really does not want to have a process that might actually have some substance. And his supporters have even managed to get Peter Ladner to make a loyalty oath to the political party that is not a political party. In terms of decision making there really is not much to choose between them. Peter Ladner lost all credibility for me when he reversed himself on the Burrard Bridge bike lanes. He had been up to that time an advocate for cycling. But of course what Sam wants to do is spend ridiculous amounts of money to protect (in his mind anyway) car capacity. The conversion of GP lanes to bikes being an important shibboleth for the DVBIA and the car driving community that would actually have no impact on car use, as it is the intersections on either side that control traffic flow. Indeed, such is the symbolic value that Sullivan would not even allow a trial conversion, for fear it might actually work.

Ladner’s case for running is the Sullivan is not electable, given his record. Which might well be true, but Ladner’s is not much different. Which is why the debate is so important to him, as it is the first opportunity for him to distinguish between his policies and those of the current Mayor. And of course that is exactly what Sullivan and his supporters fear most which is why the only date suggested for the debate so far is the morning of June 8, the day when NPA members vote on the candidate.

I think this whole process has damaged the NPA more than it has damaged Sullivan – who’s hopes of re-election were slim and are now that much worse. Because there is nothing of substance here, and it seems to be only about personalities. Forget the people who hold NPA membership cards , and think in terms of the wider electorate. My bet would be that the  people of Vancouver are tired of the NPA and its assumption that it will rule Vancouver for as long as it likes. I suspect – hope – that there is a desire for change at 12th and Cambie, and that this charade will only hurt the NPA’s turnout, whatever the outcome.

And the Burrard Bridge is not the only issue – or even the most important one. But my suspicion would be that fear and loathing are going to be – and EcoDensity may be Sam’s achilles heel.

Written by Stephen Rees

May 26, 2008 at 7:19 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. Remember, too, that the only reason that Sullivan was elected mayor and NPA controls council is because James Green stole just enough votes from Jim Green in 2005.


    May 26, 2008 at 7:28 am

  2. That was a sad and ironic turn of events. Anyone out there know a SAMUEL Sullivan who would volunteer to run as an independent this time around?

    Of note, both Vision and COPE support removing one lane from general traffic on the Burrard Bridge for bikes, Vision for six-month trial. Vision also supports looking at building a parallel pedestrian/bike-only bridge for about 20% of the cost of the NPA’s idiotic sidewalk outriggers. I’d predict that will escalate to 30% as time passes, but still worthy of consideration.

    There is a fair chance that Vision and COPE will support one mayoral candidate this time, so the slim NPA majority may well disappear. Sullivan has also been getting bad mainstream press too, and I’ve heard he’s sounding more desparate in his telephone campaiging. All good signs, if you ask me.


    May 27, 2008 at 12:10 pm

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