Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vancouver Civic Election: Post-Voting Numbers Nugget....

.....It's The Density Stoopid!



Last night, during the live flogging, I gave CKNW election-coverage moderator-man John McComb a hard time for his repeated utterings of content-challenged rhetoric that were so inane they bordered on the mockumenteric mutterings of a mellifluous mannequin.

And now I'm going back at Mr. McComb again.

This time to revisit his ridiculously naive comment near the end of the night that, upon looking at the Red/Green poll-by-poll results map, it looked like things were pretty much split right down the middle between Gregor Robertson and Peter Ladner.

Now, the 'split-down-the-middle' comment is actually considerably less insightful than the utterings of the titanness of the twitter, Miss604, who made the pithy observation that all those poor people in the NorthEast quadrant went to his Gregorness while the rich folk of the West went for the P-man (whose family's money is) behind Business Vancouver.

What Miss 604 failed to mention, however, was the fact that her own neighbourhood, not to mention pretty much the entire downtown core and all of the west end, went Vision.

And therein lies the real golden nugget of the thing.

Perhaps we should actually have one more look at that poll-by-poll results map before I explain.

OK, OK, OK....I will admit that on first blush, both Mr. McComb and Miss 604 were right.

But the thing to realize is that none of that matters anymore.


Because there's something missing from that map.

It's right there in front of you, but you cannot see it unless you utilize the theatre of your mind.

And squint while you utter the word.........



What the heckfire am I talking about here?

Well, look at that map, above, again.

Notice Downtown?

Notice all of Kits?

Notice almost all of False Creek?

Notice the burgeoning Main, Kingsway and Knight St. Highrise corridors?

Notice the density in every single one of those neighbourhoods?

And finally......

Notice it all went to Vision.....

ALL of it.

Which makes me wonder how long it will be before the good folks of Red Rump Shaughnessy, Dunbar and Point Grey start demanding wards they can call their own.

Which will be ironic in the extreme.

Not to mention most 'Cremey'.


Looks like Mr. McComb and Miss 604 had the jump on the venerable Lotuslandian CBC who posted up the following after all was said and done: "the vote split along clean geographic and socio-economic lines, with Vision taking the mayoral vote in East Vancouver and Kitsilano, and the right-of-centre NPA sweeping the more affluent westside neighbourhoods and some polls in South Vancouver....." no mention of the entire downtown or the West End or Coal Harbour, none of which is low on the 'affluent' scale, as for density/numbers, well (gosh, thought that the Cluffmaster Flashish Anti-Insight Factory Workers at the Ceeb had taken the night off - guess I was wrong).....


Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's A 'Big Green Tent' Landslide In Vancouver


(live blogs #1 and #2 follow on posts immediately below)


It's his Gregorness, Mr. Robertson, for Mayor.

Pretty much a clean sweep on Council....only one who didn't make it is VV'er Dhaliwhal (Reimer in!).

Pretty much a clean sweep on Parks Board....only COPEatista Anita Romaniuk didn't make it (Blyth in! yay!; Zlotnik the Park Killer out!!!! yayer!!!!)

Schoolboard has a couple of RedRumpers: Gibson (by a whisker over good guy COPEster Bill Bargeman - really too, too bad) and Denike (ugggggghhhhh!), otherwise another clean sweep.

And those Capital issues....Well, despite the fact that our property taxes (ie. no 'Get Out Of Property Fund Free' card for us), Vancouverites voted overwhelmingly to spend money on infrastructure that everyone (ie. not just the Olympics and/or the million dollar Condo buyers) actually need.

Great night, all in all, if you have a single progressive bone in your body....

And as I said at the tail end of Live Flog #2..... Have to wonder if this means it is now safe for Estelle Lo to come back to work, especially if his Gregorness decides to call an 'In Camera' council meeting to discuss 'personnel' matters involving 'Judy! Judy! Judy!'
And while I said it already on the Live Flog, I'll say it again here.....Good on FABula for stopping the spin of Mess'rs Fontaine and Tieleman dead on the not-soGiant98, because Mr. Macomb sure as heckfire wasn't going to do it.
Hi eteba!


Vancouver Civic Election Live Flogging Part Deux....


(live flog session #1 is in post directly below....also please understand that I've left this up, unchanged, sloppy drums and all because it was written entirely on the fly with immediate impressions thrown other words, no attempt was made to get to a level of deeper analysis - that will come later )

9:15pm: Geller really dropping off the bottom of council....Is Anton getting an alphabetical save?.....No Funcouver is alive and well in NPA Marriot Ballroom.....FABula caught blogging on not-soGiant98....

9:20pm: Whoops, I was off last time...Geller back in Capri pants want up to date numbers - they're here. Interestingly, there is quite an East v. West split.....looks like this election is bring back the old class warfare swords (that's one thing Smilin' Sammy actually did right last time when he got folks to sheath 'em)..... still a lot of Southside polls to come in...

9:25pm: I'm really proud of my fellow Vancouver questions, all three, are way, way, way up 3:1....poor fuzzy Senator DaVinci....he can't figure out where the polls are coming from.....if he looked at the map he would see that Ladner has pretty much already shot his Westside wad.....Tieleman catches up to us bloggers in the FeverSwamps - mentions the East vs. West Split in the map (with a slight North South tinge)....It's actually quite striking how polarized it is....Uggggghhhhhhh....Zlotnik is almost back in Parks Board race - hope the wad really has been shot....Senator daVinci does make one important point - all the Twittering going on is coming from Visionista kids, not NPA sad-sacks...

9:28pm: Some of the Southsides are now coming in.....looks to be kinda they may recoup a little...Top kinda/sorta independent councillor at the moment - Chris Shaw of WorkLessParty (and anti-Olympic advocate).... Ellen Woodsworth is not there - not sure there are enough strong Vision polls left to get her back up above the bar....Tieleman starting to spin already - moving his Gregorness towards the middle.....

9:30pm: Think Meggs might be in a bit of trouble, near the bottom of the pack with a lot of Red states still to come in (and Meggs as the union guy may have a real problem there.....FABula is the dissenting punditocratic voice - says COPE will survive.....incredible how naive (stoopid?) many of the proMedia commentators are.....good on FABula for standing on her ground and giving us the real deal (really dig that she doesn't grind her own POV axe)....FABula now making the BigTent argument....

9:31pm: Interesting split on Schoolboard...somehow Denike is still there - sheesh!.....FABula is actually now starting to run the notsoGiant98 show by asking folks to voice their expertise....brings up the Millennium 'default' issue...Macomb knows nothing....Frances says she has the 'numbered documents'....Raymond Louie, despite the Globa-TV ambush is kickin' butt for Council - Macomb wants to know if Millennium is a big issue for him (is the man stoopid? - has he been paying attention?)

9:35pm: .... Interestingly, the only Red States left are deep Point Grey....Will those good folks remember that Mr. Zlotnik ripped the heart out of the Park in their backyard?.....I think Meggs is now safe....he's 9th....Capri pants is 11th (how was that Springsteen concert anyway Kimmy?) but 2000 votes behind....Flipside (and it's too bad) Woodsworth will not get back...

9:43pm: ....With a lot of Southside polls still to come, will be interesting to see how much Dhaliwal (Vision) and Singh (NPA) can get back because they are both well behind (think they may have cancelled each other out).....Stephen Quinn wants to know if his Gregorness won because of his looks.....How about the VV GOTV effort oh MightyQuinnish one...HeadGirl says the NPA thing was a 'TEAM' is she going to run with Nancy C. next time out....sheesh....go get yourself some Creme.....

9:47pm: .....SouthEast corner is going outlier Red....things could really tighten here....not many Green States left....Can the punditrocracy not see this?....Capri pants on not-soGiant98.....ha!.....she knows nothing about polls...everybody loved me!.....

9:50pm: more putative GreenStates left....HERE COMES WOODSWORTH ON THE OUTSIDE!!!!!!....Bye-Bye Geller.....Same for Zlotnik - and good riddance!!! Only Anton, with her alphabetical-assist is left for the Red-Rump party..... Making fun for Woodsworth's desire to decrease transit ticket prices....and how much laughing punditry is the Olympics going to cost us, exactly?

9:52pm: Fontaine is's a retroVote....There is diagonal line across the City although the green goes way West through Kits.... Wonder how many votes Eby would have gotten?

9:53pm: Only 10 polls left....Betty K in third....where is 'James' Green tonight?.... Re: the South Asian vote and why they can't elect a (non-Ward) candidate, FABula hits 'em with facts again - they've only got 30K votes so can't make the City-Wide nut, which I think (with all my heart and head) is just plain nuts (thanks for that one too Shammy!).....

9:55pm: Woodsworth and Geller neck-and-neck in the backstretch.....Capri pants fading.....

9:57pm: M Paulsen and Senator daVinci get into an interesting (and honest) conversation on campaign spending; head girl says little or nothing except for a clipped 'I agree with that', although I'm not exactly sure what she was agreeing to (she doesn't agree with rolling reporting however).....

9:58pm: Hey! An old friend and compatriot of mine (and a lover of Pacific Spirit Park, take that Private Golf Course lovers!), Maria Harris, has just been elected representative for Electoral Area 'A'.......

9:59pm: Only one for sure Red State left with at least 5 Green States.....I'm calling Woodsworth in, Geller out.....Heck I'll even take short odds on it.....

10:00pm: Yup.....Woodsworth is pulling away from Geller now....Zlotnik now two out!....It's a about the GOTV effort now somebody....pleasssssseeeee!!! .......Anton says we are all dopes because we didn't elect Geller, has no idea why her party got smoked....figures she got elected because she has something to do with Astroturf fields, or some such thing....Quinn says she made it because of 'hard work' and signage, think he's slyly referring to the alphabetical-assist....

10:02pm: Last remaining RedRump party member Ian Robertson is now in danger of dropping off the bottom of ParksBoard slate (kinda sorry about that because he's actually pretty good)....Sarah Blyth is way, way, way in!

10:05pm: Still SouthVan votes to come and Dhaliwal is charging, hard.... he could pass Woodsworth, or even Meggs....this could be interesting because the next above, last remaining RedRumpist, Anton, is too far up....

10:08pm: Only three polls left....two in SouthVan..... Dhaliwhal is only 9oo votes behind Woodsworth....I think he could do it....and then the folks screaming about buses coming to big tent nomination votes will just have to shut the heckfire up....

10:12pm: .....Anita Romaniuk only 500 behind Ian Robertson Parks Board....three green states are all that's left...will she make it?....His Gregorness is on stage, sounds a little Gordo-like (just in timber, no hate mail please Visionistas!)...

10:15pm:.....Just one poll's all done.....Woodworth is in - Dhaliwal will just fall just short...RedRumpers Left are: Ian Robertson Parks....Anton with alphabetical-assist is in on council....Schoolboard has Denike (blechhhh!) and Gibson....

10:17pm .....His Gregorness gives kudos to shout out to Greens (one on Parks - Stuart Mackinnon ) and COPEatistas for helping to erect the BigTent.....damn....wish Eby was there....

10:22pm.....Just noticed COPEatista Bargeman is only 16 votes behind with one single green State left....he could overtake RedRumper Gibson....

10: 25pm:.....Hmmmmm.....wonder if this means it is now safe for Estelle Lo to come back to town?....Could there be an 'In Camera' personnel matter meeting coming?


Vancouver Civic Election Live Flogging....



Post-flogging update
: please understand that I've left this up, unchanged, sloppy drums and all, because it was written entirely on the fly with immediate impressions thrown other words, no attempt was made to get to a level of deeper analysis - that will come later )

7:36pm: I'm hoping those capital plan items on the backside of the ballot make it, but given that it is going to take a year-over-year property tax increase, filling those 'yes' ovals was just one more reminder of how much we could use an extra hundred million dollars or three....

7:41pm: Looks like turnout will be the kingmaker this time around.....By comparison North v. South may not be the big factor it was last time given that the ethnic vote may split.

7:46pm: I've got my dueling banjos dilemna beat....Ceeb with the Mighty Quinn and 'The Hooks' Monte Paulsen on the transistor.....(not-so)Giant98 with Mr. T and FABula on-line with headphones slightly askew so that I can flip back and forth with ease and now knob twiddling....Let's get rockin'!....

7:50pm: Party locations....Vision at Hotel Vancouver......NPA at Marriot Renn. on W. Hastings (you can run back and forth between 'em!)....COPE at home base E. Brdway.... (courtesy AmFAB).....

7:51pm: Still nothing up on the VSun 'Ticker' Blog.....Have I mentioned recently that CanWest is doomed?.....CTV-BC has a pretty good looking province-wide results page up....will be interesting to see if it turns out to be more than just a pretty face....

7:54pm: AmFABula is telling us that the campaigns say Vision will win...turnout makes everybody wonder if it will be big....and how much slate breaking occurred (which could prove problematic for COPE)....

7:59pm: There goes Randy's Vinyl Tap on the Ceeb.......Bring on the Mighty Quinn.....

8:01pm: Polls closed.....Now I can say it....I was a Slate-Breaker....but mine went the other some Visioners didn't make it (not COPE/Greens).....

8:05pm....CBC calls Belcarra!......(everybody acclaimed in that hotbed of participatory democracy).....Senator from daVinci arrives from viewing not-yet finished SE False Creek Condo... says it could go either way.....

8:10pm: Screw all this talk about 'Election Fatigue'.....I think we should be forced to vote once a month....fifteen minutes of paying attention every fourth Saturday might do us good....

8:13pm: notsoGiant98 is 10 min. behind Ceeb, finally called Belcarra!

8:17pm: Now everybody's talking about how the Boondoggle is only a 'potential' loan.....On notsoGiant98 Tieleman and Fontaine agreeing on the Boondoggle (Sammy's Revenge!)...FABula actually weighs in with real numbers - says boondoggle didn't make that much difference....

8:21pm: Ceeb's Mighty Quinn makes fun of NPA.....Apparently the Head Girl, Jennifer Clarke (is she shinin' her candidate's shoes?) frowns....All this idiot talk about 'why is Ladner wearing the boondoggle business?' is really stoopid..complex negotiations my derriere....However, I do agree that Ladner may have been hamstrung by the 'drift-away' factor after he destroyed Shammy.....

8:27pm: Folks staying away from NPA party in, surprise!, droves...24 hrs blog has a decent line-up with AGT, The IChing King and IrwinLoy.....McCome on notsoGiant describes FABula as a VanSun columnist (ha! tell us Frances, tell us.......why?)..... oh, and I have I mentioned recently that CanWest is doomed.....

8:32pm: ....VSun blog calling for a massive victory for his Gregorness...also have Cadman ahead of Anton (yay!).....

8:39pm:......An entire pack of Halsey-Brandts are running in Richmond....none in running....Best moniker of night so far...'Sweet Lou' Sikora in CoqTown courtesy Mr. Tieleman....Pretty face results page on CTV website is useless...Corrigan crushing in Burnaby....
Watts up 10:1 in Sliverville....

8:47pm: Re: Turnout....without even saying it out loud FABula makes the case for wards to...

8:52pm: Robertson up 2:1 on Ladner.....early results are councillor sweep Anton just off the slate but the polls are Eastside ....although I don't think I agree with Daniel Fontaine that there will be huge Eastside to Westside drop-off this time....

8:57pm: All pundits laughing at Betty K...just ahead of NewGardenParty....Anton back in top ten...Andrea Reimer near top of the pops....Looks like Dhaliwal might fall off Vision wagon....Geller, the most reasonable of the NPA'ers in my opinion is way behind....

9:00pm: BEST NEWS OF NIGT SO FAR!!!!!! Parks Board has Sarah Blyth in and Marty Zlotnik way, way out (although this is one that could have a big East West swing)....

9:05pm: Ceeb's Susan Macnamee has Anton in the Vision camp.....MightyQuinn corrects her....Meggs is currently in...Pol successfully making transition to politician....?

9:10pm: Hello Visionistas in the Ballroom! (got an off-line message of PG on some screens).....feel free to give us blow-by-blow in the comments.....

9:12pm: opening Live Flogging post #2 upstairs....


(not-so)Giant 98 False Equivalencies....


7:30pm CKNW newscast (ie. with polls still OPEN)....CKNW conflates the $173 fine with the $100 million boondoggle bailout.....


FABula Knows....



Double-Secret Probation 7:28pm update....On her Pro-Blog (ugh!), FABula says Peter Ladner is praying for a low turnout.....and it looks like that is not entirely outside the realm of possibility...

But she won't tell.

At least not until 7:30pm.

Update, 6:55pm.....Frances is reporting an 'unverified' exit poll as a 19 point advantage for his Gregorness....I think you've gotta be really careful with this kind of stuff in Vancouver, because there can be huge swings depending on which stations are polled (East vs West and, just as importantly these days....North vs. South)....


(Beer, this might be a way for you to pick up a few bucks from the Sliverville punters and/or folks with connections to the Preem's old friend Paddy K.)


I Love Voting



I love the expectation.

And the trepidation.

And the sheepish looks of some.

And the righteous looks of others.

And everything in between.

I even like the lines and all the buzz that goes with them when they're there.

(there was a fantastic bursting-with-buzz line outside Laura Secord school when I was picking up Bigger E from choir practice as the fed-voting drew to a close on Oct 14th)


There was no line-up at my Cedar Cottage polling station when I breezed through at lunchtime today.

And everything went smoothly.

Except for two things.....

First, I took a wee exception to a boisterous 'scrutineer' even if he was just 'joking around' when he was hollering at folks that they had just been 'scrutinized' as they received their ballots (actually made a bit of a fuss about this with the folks running the show because, to my way of thinking, scrutineers should not be saying anything to any voter because it is always possible that their comments could be perceived by some poor soul as being intimidatory).

Second, the party affiliations on the ballots were so darned small, and I had forgotten to bring my reading glasses......this was not a trivial matter as I did not 'slate-all-the-way' so I actually had to pay attention...... and squint real hard...

Because I will be chained to my exam marking desk most of the evening, I won't be heading to any of the parties like last time.....But I will be listening to the festivities on the radio.....It's Stephen Quinn (no weekend work for the Cluffmaster, thank the goddess) with Monte Paulsen (of the Tyee's invaluable 'Hook Blog') on the Ceeb (690AM); the (notso)Giant 98 (980AM) has Mister T and FABula.....Duelin' Banjos!.....can't wait.....


Baby It's Cold Outside.....


Well, actually it's not.

Cold outside, I mean.

But the frost has touched down at Harvey O's place.

Or, to be more precise, Mr. Frosty has surfaced over at Mr. Oberfeld's blog.

And, yes, we are talking about 'that' Mr. Frosty.

Forst became "Frosty" in 1960, when he was hired by CFUN. There he teamed up with Al Jordon, Dave McCormick, Ken Chang and Brian Lord to become the Good Guys, who were on air 24 hours a day with modern music, bringing the local radio market into the modern world.

Three years later, a lot of the CFUN staff had moved on. Forst took his father's advice and went to CKNW, where he was hired by program director Hal Davis in 1964. From there he worked his way up to a million dollar salary contract, top ratings, and 31 years as the morning voice of CKNW. His ratings in Canada are unsurpassed.

And what's more, he's hangin' out in the comment threads.....if you go to this post you'll see what I special attention to the top and bottom of the's pretty entertaining.

In a whacky, "better-days-of-a-Lotusland-long-since-past", kind of way, of course.


Just to keep everybody up to speed, one of the commenters that outs Mr. Forst at the end of the thread, AG Tsakumis, used to work for Wee Willy V. which, I think, explains the subtext to his comment (which is at the very bottom of the thread).

In the old days,
B.t.Z. (ie. 'Before the Zalm'), when I was in gradual school and my then girlfriend, now wife, C. made most of the money (such as it was), we lived in an apartment in Kits (back when you could still rent 'em - heckfire we even moved down the street once). Anyway, C. was hooked on Mr. Forst's morning radio show (truth be told, I think she kind of liked that 'On-The-Buses' segment with Bill Good Sr. even more). Unfortunately, however, one day tragedy struck. Apparently, that very morning Frosty said something disparaging (gasp!) about The King, Richard Brodeur, who by then was pretty much on his last legs as the Canucks pre-zeppelin-sized leg pad goalie. Anyway, when I got home from the lab later that night (with the telltale residue of a revello on my lips) there was big, hand-written sign above the kitchen tabl that said 'Frosty Must Go!' in 144 pt type....I think we listened to Hal Wake for a couple of weeks straight after that.....


Friday, November 14, 2008

If You Only Vote For (And Against) One Candidate In Vancouver Tomorrow....


Vote For:
Sarah Blyth for Parks Board.....
Because she actually works to build parks. Real parks. For all Lotuslandians.

Vote Against:
Marty Zlotnik for (anti)Parks Board....
Because he actually works to destroy parks. Real Parks. Not for all Lotuslandians anymore.


And just so he and his know it for sure.....All The Cremes' Horses And All The Creme's Men won't make me or mine forget that Mr. Zlotnik is THE NPA member who orchestrated a fauxian 'Save-The-Private-Golf-Course' campaign as a prelude to cutting the Heart Out Of Pacific Spirit Park.


Are There Known Knowns That Sam Sullivan's Chief Of Staff Doesn't Know?


Apparently so.

And what's worse, it appears that the current (and soon to be former) Mayor of Vancouver's 'Chief of Staff', David Hurford, likes it that way.

How do we know this?

Well, after emphatically denying any (and all?) suggestions that he might have potentially/possibly been involved in the rumoured leak of a supposedly stolen document* at City Hall, Mr. Hurford purportedly had this to say, in a comment he left to a post at Frances Bula's Am-Blog**:

"In fact, it is my practice not to attend in-camera meetings. As Chief of Staff I am able to attend but because I am also Director of Communications and dealing regularly with reporters, there are many confidential things that frankly -I do not want to know."

Which explains a lot, don't you think?

About the inner workings of the disastrous administration of Mr. Sam Sullivan I mean.


*Of course, it is important to keep in mind that there is no actual physical evidence that the 'document' in question was ever stolen or ever leaked to anyone.
**AmBlog = Amateur/Personal Blog; Ms Bula also has a ProBlog at
And yes, for the record, the first thing I thought of when after reading Mr. Hurford's comment was 'Rumsfeldian in the Extreme!' Then I thought of little Scottie McLellan. Then I thought of a hybrid of the two which led to a small bout of reverse peristalsis that led me to step away from the monitor for a few minutes.


Leaks Don't Give Away Our Money....

.....Bailouts Do!

Man, I hate it when I have to keep agreeing with the Mace-Man:

"It's now been more than a week since details of a secret $100-million loan by the city of Vancouver to help save the Olympic athletes village project were first made public. Yet, with a just a day to go before one of the most important civic elections in Vancouver in decades, there remain many more questions about the deal than answers.

But that, of course, is just how the politicians and bureaucrats who run this city want it. Instead of dealing with the serious issues that swirl around the loan, they have diverted the public's attention to the more mundane question of how the information got out.

Now the whole matter has descended into a farce to a degree rarely seen on a civic stage the size of a city like Vancouver. The police have been called in. Councillors have agreed to take lie-detector tests. One poor politician was, for all intents and purposes, outed on television as the likely perpetrator of the leak......

Gary Mason, the original 'Receiver-In-Leak', is absolutely right, of course.

However, in addition to the 'politicians' and 'bureaucrats' who want us to focus on the leak as a criminal act rather than as citizenry-protecting-whistleblowing, Mr. Mason fails to finger the third leg in the 'Leak Triangulation Conspiracy'.

Which is the extremely wooden Lotuslandian Pro-Media Monopoly.

Case in point, Wednesday night's egregious Global TeeVee story from Ron Bencze that inferred that a Vancouver City Councillor may have been the 'Leaker-In-Chief' based entirely on the fact that he was 'gasp!' at City Hall doing his job with a bunch of other staff members and at least one other council member when he was supposed to be doing it.

Which is nothing short of codswallop of the worst kind.

Worse, in fact, than just about anything you can find in the most overwrought Fever Swamps of the Interwebz.


And now the CanWests of the Global are wantonly wallowing in their own codswallop as well.


Shake Your Money Taker....


So, almost immediately after I posted this, in which I reiterated that the Fortress Investment Group has lent Millennium more than twice as much money as we have, I received a couple of long and lingering visits from, guess who?

(and no, it most definitely was not either Cummings or Bachman)

And just in case you've forgotten, Fortress is also deep into Whistler mega-developer, Intrawest.

And that investment is really, really big (as in billions).

And the really big backers behind those billions almost called in their chips on Fortress recently.

So, I dunno know about you but that suggests to me that the major investor in the Olympic Village Boondoggle (ie. Fortress) might be looking for a little extra junior partner-provided cash to hoover up.

Especially if that cash from the junior partner (ie. the City of Vancouver) is real instead of a teeny-tiny, hidden-hedgefund nut that has already been leveraged a hundred times over.

If not more.


Actually, a whole bunch of good folks from '' have come calling in the last hour or so..........Looks like, maybe, they too don't give a hoot-in-heckfire about all this 'Leak-Triangulation-Conspiracy' codswallop either.....


Five Things That Make Me Wonder What The $100 Million Bailout Is Really For, Exactly (v4.0)...


Reason number one......

If the Olympic Village /Condo King development on Vancouver's False Creek is only $60 million dollars over budget, why are we giving the developer, the cash-strapped Millennium Group, $100 million?

Reason number two....

The developer of the Olympic Village in Vancouver, Millennium, is also having trouble making the nut on a project in Nanaimo. Interestingly, it would appear that, unlike the City of Vancouver, the City of Nanaimo is not pumping liquidity into stalled project in their own backyard. So, if that's the case, where will the money come from?

Reason number three....

Double interestingly, the developer of the Olympic Village in Vancouver, Millennium, is having trouble making the nut on a project in West Vancouver too. As in Nanaimo, there is no local municipality on the hook for the West Van project So, if that's the case, does it not mean that there are a whole lotta private money-shakers holding a big whack of Millenium chips?

Reason number four....

Doesn't Millennium already owe the private money-shaker 'Fortress Investment Group' $750 million? And didn't Fortress itself very recently threaten to call in it's chips on Intrawest up the road to the tune of $1.7 billion because its backers were barking at them from the hedge-fund bunker?

(Number five still to come)

Kinda makes you go matter who you're voting for (or against) tomorrow.

Doesn't it?


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Smilin' Sammy's Democratic Deficit Derangement Syndrome


Because in Sam's world, whistleblowing is anti-democratic.

As is the people's right to know how their money is being spent.

In fact, according the current, and soon to be former, Mayor of Vancouver, the two together are downright criminal.

Or some such bizarre and twisted pretzel logic kind of thing.

Robert Matas of the Globe and Mail has the story:

"VANCOUVER — Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan asked the police Wednesday (Nov 12/08) to investigate the “theft” of documents from city hall that revealed that city council had authorized a loan of up to $100-million to the financially strapped developer of the 2010 Olympics athletes village.

“I met with the [city's] legal department this morning and they gave me a full briefing of my options. I decided immediately to take the option of calling the police chief and asking him, on behalf of the city, to launch an investigation into the alleged internal theft of classified documents,” Mr. Sullivan said.

“I believe that the businesses and agencies that the city does business with need confidence that their information will be respected,” he said in an interview. “Citizens need confidence in the integrity of the people who represent them.”

Mr. Sullivan also speculated about the impact on the increasingly bitter municipal election campaign. The financial information could be used to influence the outcome of the election, he said. “And that goes beyond just criminal. That goes to the very heart of the integrity of our democratic system,” Mr. Sullivan said.


This is codswallop and deflector spin at its worst.

Because the so-called 'leak' is not the story.

The real story is the top secret $100 million dollar bailout using phantom cash from a City of Vancouver property endowment fund that currently has no cash.

And as the Pivot Legal Society, a group that actually knows something about the law, is saying - the entire premise of the thing being done in secret may just be bogus in the first place.

Not just because it was anti-democratic, but also because it probably was not even legal.

The secrecy I mean.

Again, from Mr. Matas' story:

Later Wednesday (Nov 12/08), Pivot Legal Society, a community advocate group in Vancouver, filed a complaint with the B.C. Ombudsman against the city, alleging city hall did not have legal authority to hold a meeting in secret to discuss the $100-million loan. The group says closed-door meetings are allowed only if public discussion of the acquisition, disposition or expropriation of land or improvements in land would harm the city's interests. Those provisions do not cover discussion of the $100-million loan, the group says.


Five Things That Make Me Wonder What The $100 Million Bailout Is Really For, Exactly (v3.0)...

Number One......

If the Olympic Village /Condo King development on Vancouver's False Creek is only $60 million dollars over budget, why are we giving the developer, the cash-strapped Millenium Group, $100 million?

Number Two....

The developer of the Olympic Village in Vancouver, Millenium, is also having trouble making the nut on a project in Nanaimo. Interestingly, it would appear that, unlike the City of Vancouver, the City of Nanaimo is not pumping liquidity into stalled project in their own backyard. So, if that's the case, where will the money come from?

Number three....

Double interestingly, the developer of the Olympic Village in Vancouver, Millenium, is having trouble making the nut on a project in West Vancouver too. As in Nanaimo, there is no local municipality on the hook for the West Van project So, if that's the case, does it not mean that there are a whole lotta private money-shakers holding a big whack of Millenium chips? And, further, if there are, who's first in line, the money-shakers or the City of Vancouver, if things go sideways?

(Numbers four and five still to come)

Kinda makes you go matter who you're voting for (or against).

Doesn't it?


Everybody's Favorite Candidate Who Is Not Running For Vision....


.....Weighs In

And Mr. David Eby is most definitely not a happy camper re: the Olympic Village Bailout Boondoggle:

"Hard to know what happened in that closed room, but I'm choked that every councillor present, from Cadman to Sullivan, voted for the $100m loan guarantee, and voted for the meeting about it to take place in camera.

It's taken a few days to process, but man, what was that about?

It's enough for me, right now, that Vision and COPE seem to have recognized the mistake, and that Vision mayoral candidate Gregor Robertson has pledged to get to the bottom of the loan guarantee in public, to keep me from voting NGP (Nude Garden Party), but I hope that those who voted in that closed room are deeply embarrassed about what took place...."

And as our good friend Bob said when he sent the Email with the link to Mr. Eby's post:

"Damn, I wish he would have made it through the Vision nominating process . . . ."

Hard not to agree with him.

Well, actually, both of them.



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Forget Millenium For A Moment, Here's The Real Evidence That Financial Sky Is Falling...



Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Starbucks Corp., the world's largest chain of coffee shops, reported fourth-quarter profit that fell more than analysts estimated after customer visits declined for the fifth consecutive quarter.....


We are all doomed I tell you.


That Mr. B., He Ain't No Pollyanna, No Siree


David Berner has a few more choice words for the Lotuslandian punditry who are following the shiny deflector spin bauble while babbling 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' when it comes to the $100 Million Dollar Bailout Boondoggle of Vancouver's Olympic Village:

Today the headlines are all about who leaked the (Oct14th secret boondoggle meeting) document?

Who cares?

Let's say for a moment that the world is not entirely black or white.

Let's imagine that somewhere in the middle ground All Secret and All Exposed are not reasonable options.

When you hear Philip Owen or any other elected official going on about how the public will know things in due time, of course you are offended by the sheer arrogance.

But certainly it must have been possible, it must still be possible, for City Hall to share enough information with the public about SPENDING $100 MILL LION TAXPAYERS MONEY to satisfy our grubby little curiosity.

Sensitive negotiations can be respected.

But when an elected body of alleged government promises enormous amounts of public funds on a deal shrouded entirely in secrecy, something is off kilter.

And all the happy-go-lucky columnists insisting that everything will be O.K., kids, does not make it either right or suddenly pleasing.

Good stuff, no?

Well, apparently, it is not quite good enough for the august Province, a publication who's owners are currently spending massive amounts of money on ad buys in a futile attempt to convince we, the useful idiots of Vancouver, that it is actually the thinking citizen's newspaper of record in this town (ha!).


And in case you missed it earlier.

CanWest is doomed.


Meanwhile, 'KnoWards Sammy' says we should just stop whining because, according to him, it's a beauty of a deal that we should all be proud of. And besides, why should we worry our pretty little heads when the lawyers are on the case....or some such nonsense. that a canary feather we see stuck in suddenly Smilin' Sammy's teeth?


Hey, Mr. Ladner!



Update 4:00pm Tues Nov 11/08: The City's current out front-man on the Boondoggle, Mr. Ken Bayne, refuses to divulge where the $100 million for the bailout came from....see bottom of post....

So, according to FABula's piece, and Peter Ladner's words, in the Globe today, the cash for the $100 million dollar Olympic Village Bailout Boondoggle did not actually come from the oft-offered-up 'Property Endowment Fund':

Vancouver didn't raid the city's much-valued Property Endowment Fund as a source for a potential $100-million loan to the builder of the city's Olympic athletes village.

That's because the fund's almost $200-million in cash reserves have already been depleted to pay for what the city has to build on the site.

Both Non-Partisan Association Councillor Peter Ladner and the city's general manager of business planning, Ken Bayne, say that there's no more cash to go after in the $2.7-billion fund because the rest is held in land and fixed assets, much of it social housing.

"The cash is tapped out," said Mr. Ladner, who, as the head of the city's finance committee, has been embroiled for almost a week in trying to explain to an angry public and media critics the intricacies of the loan.

Council had approved a loan of up to $100-million to Millennium Developments, the private company that is building the $1.1-billion Olympic athletes village, if needed to cover construction-cost overruns.

Which, of course, begs the question.......

Just where, exactly, did the money come from?



Oh, ya....and there is a bit of awful irony buried deep within FABula's piece that, if truth really be told, almost makes me (really, truly and honestly) weep*:

"The current Opposition, Vision Vancouver, was attacked repeatedly in the 2005 election for proposing that the fund be used as a subsidy to enable a third of the Olympic village to be sold or rented at lower rates to middle-income residents."

You do remember that 'proposal' don't you?

In fact, if I remember correctly it was actually pretty much a 'done deal' that even the developers had bought into in the dying days of the previous Larry Campbell/Jim Green administration.

And the crux of the done-deal was a truly equitable 33-and-a-third split between 'high-market/affordable/subsidized' housing that would have cost the Property Endowment Fund approximately $50 million.

Imagine that, if you will.

A thing that would have cost half the current Boondoggle that would have actually benefitted the citizens of Vancouver instead of, oh say, a bilious bulge of hedge-fund backers buried in a bunker, errrrrr.....Fortress....., beneath the bitumen-encrusted sands of Bismark North Dakota.

Or some such nebulous place where hedge-fund bamboozlers who back ponzi-schemes go to ground after they've taken everybody else's money.

But I digress (again).


Whatever happened to that done-deal that would have helped so many by spending so (relatively) little, you might be asking?

Well, it was scrapped immediatly after the James Green-assisted Council of Smilin' 'KnoWards' Sammy Sullivan took power because it was deemed 'too expensive' and 'too much of a risk' for the future of Vancouver.

Of course, that scrapping would never have occurred if every single NPA councillor sitting with Sammy's one seat majority had not voted for it.

One of whom, by the way, was none other than the very same Mr. Peter Ladner who is quoted at the top of this post.


*And/or quiver with rage.
And yes, one of the great things about hanging about in the bloggodome for awhile is that, like an elephant, it doesn't forget (what you wrote already).
Oh, and just so nobody else forgets, including Lotusland's most Pollyannaishtic Pundits, the current City Manager, who apparently didn't get along with the currently absent CFO, was all in for the scrapping of the 33-and-a-third done-deal too.
Finally, the very fine fellow from the City, Mr. Ken Bayne, who is cited by Ms. Bula above, is apparently one of the staff who, according to Gary Mason's Globe story today, was promoted when current CFO Estelle Lo was shunted off to Buffalo earlier this year by the very same City Manager mentioned above......"In April (2008), Ken Bayne, one of the central architects of the deal with Millennium, was promoted to general manager of the new business planning and services unit. This made him responsible for new corporate business and other services that were formerly part of the Corporate Services Group that had been overseen by Ms. Lo.Responsibility for the Property Endowment Fund and the Capital Financing Group - the two primary funding sources for the city - was also taken away from Ms. Lo by the city manager."....Hmmmmm......sounds like some City Staff, including some at the top of the heap, just might have a little back-dated self-interest built into the bailout decisions being made these days. Don'cha think..... maybe?
Update: Mr. Bayne appears to have been thrust out-front on this one suddenly....He told CKNW (4:00pm Newscast) that this is all business as usual, but most definitely did NOT tell them (or us) where the $100 million came from.


Banging CanWest's Gong On The Olympic Village Boondoggle....



And, once again, we're talking about the The Toronto Globe and (rebuilding-its-Empire?)Mail.....

First up.....Gary Mason with the scoop on Vancouver's absent Chief Financial Officer Estelle Lo. Mason says that she really has resigned and that she was worried about the City's financial exposure to the Boondoggle for at least a year.

Next up....FABula , who tells us that the portion of the City's property fund that really counts in times like these, the liquid part (ie. not the useless, long-gone long-term leases), is all tapped out.

Finally, Brennan Clarke tells us that the Boosters of the Boondoggle, Millenium, really are in trouble in Nanaimo.

Oh ya.

And in case you missed it.

CanWest, who's columnists and reporters are all workin' away, as busy as beavers, telling us that everything is OK while they follow the bouncing 'missing document' bauble, is doomed.



Remembering Mr. Beer 'N Hockey's Grandfather....


....For making it possible for us to do all the things we do.

Like comparing "joggers to junkies".

For real.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Ex-Mayor Philip Owen Compares Gregor Robertson To....

......Karl Rove and Dick Cheney!


Wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't heard it with my own two ears on the (not-so)Giant98's 7:00pm Monday newscast.

Oh, and for the record, Mr. Owens more 'sober' written statement is here, archived for us by AmFABula (whose dual-site blogging, Amateur v. Pro, is driving me crazy, by the way)....There is plenty there to discredit/dismiss/laugh-out-loud-at as well, including the ludicrous conflation of the 100 million dollar bailout with an honest-to-goddess 'real estate transaction'.....


Where The Heckfire Is Pat Burns When We Need Him?


Is it just me, or is Vancouver radio dead, especially in comparison to the wild-eyed-riding, blitzkrieg-bopping-brand of talk-radio we used to have round here.

I guess this topic popped into my head tonight as I was making the rounds of the local tubes looking for the latest on the 100 million dollar Olympic Village bailout boondoggle.....

I mean, can you imagine how much more interesting it alll would be to have Mr. Burns, or Mr. Bannerman, or Mr. Webster, or the Rafeinator, or even David Berner on the air for 10 or 12 hours a day straight instead of stupid, not to mention repetitive, sportstalk and/or brain-dead "traffic, news and weather-together" pablum, right about now.

In comparison, the sanitized 1/2 hour blocks on the Goodship Watercarrier and the highly selective ranting of Ms. Clark b/w fluffy kitten stories just don't cut the mustard.

And as for that faux outrage of Mr. Adler from wherever the heckfire on the continent his bunker is located.....?

Don't even get me started.


Update: Reader JJ let us know, off line that there is a 6-8pm alternative...."It's not much, but I don't know if you've heard about the Dave Brindle show on Talk 1410 - he hosts a mostly call-in show that focuses mostly on political and local issues like Insite and tasers. It's a fairly amateur affair and light on substance, but it might sate your appetite for talk radio between 6 and 8 pm on weekdays."....At the very least, it's worth a listen, I reckon.


Vancouver Mayoral Race - Show Us The Money!


Late last week, after the $100 million dollar bailout boondoggle became public, NPA mayoral candidate Peter Ladner tried to start a little blow-back against Vision candidate Gregor Robertson by repeatedly suggesting that Mr. Robertson had raised way more money ($400K comes to mind) than he, Mr. Ladner, had for his nomination campaign. Furthermore, numerous partisans down on the killing floors of the Bloggodome (ie. the comment threads) started screaming about how tons of the Gregor money had actually come from 'gasp!' developers.

Well, both candidates have since released their nomination numbers and, according to Frances Bula at least, there isn't a whole lot to separate them except perhaps the per vote dollar amounts (which is a category that FABula concludes Mr. Robertson wins, hands down) and the fact that it was Mr. Ladner who garnered more developer-bund-booty.

Now, of course, it is quite possible that the released numbers do not truly reflect reality (if only we had that rolling reporting system that they have in, say, Seattle!). However, at this point no one on either side has made much of a fuss about the other's numbers.

One interesting tidbit is a side-by-side comparison of the released numbers that has been done by Brendon Walters (who is, it must be said, an up-front Vision supporter).

Because it is most illuminating, I reproduce Mr. Walters' chart comparison here.
(click on image to enlarge)

So, based on all this, I can't wait for an enterprising young pro-media type to ask Mr. Ladner the following.....

"Where's the beef?"

And if Mr. Ladner can't pull out a stack of grade A hamburger patties and/or a T-bone steak or two when he responds?

Well, would it not be reasonable to then conclude that the NPA candidate has, once again, hoisted himself on his own hyperbole petard?


We Was Framed!


The $100 million dollar Olympic Village bailout boondoggle saga is getting weirder and weirder.....

Because now NPA mayoral candidate Peter Ladner is saying that he and stablemate, B.C. Lee, were 'set-up'.

Monte Paulsen, in the increasingly go-to 'Hook' blog at the Tyee, has the story.

And it is truly bizarre:

A sensitive document assigned to NPA Coun. Peter Lander (sic) went missing for two days after the Oct. 14 in-camera meeting at which Vancouver City Council approved loaning up to $100 million to the developer of the Olympic Village at Southeast False Creek.

The document, which was later found in NPA Coun. B.C. Lee’s office, is suspected of being the mystery source on which The Globe and Mail based a Nov. 6 report that broke news of the city bail-out.

“B.C. Lee and I have been set up on this,” said Ladner, who is the Non-Partisan Association candidate for mayor.

Ladner’s version of events is as follows:

“We had a closed meeting... The meeting consisted of all the councilors and a number of senior city staff,” Ladner said. He refused to say whether or not Finance Director Estelle Lo was present at the Oct. 14 in-camera meeting.

“Every councilor was given a numbered document,” Ladner said. “We were asked to leave the documents behind” prior leaving council chambers.

“At the end of the meeting, I put my document on the table, and left the meeting, and was seen leaving the meeting with nothing in my hands. As was B.C. Lee,” Ladner said.

“Two days later, the document with my number on it appeared on his desk, after he left his office unlocked,” Ladner said.....

Looks to me like somebody's popsicle-stand doth runneth over with melting merchandise.

Or some such thing.


And as for the framing of the frame....well, that came earlier today from Vision councillor Tim Stevenson.


Five Things That Make Me Wonder What The $100 Million Bailout Is Really For, Exactly (v2.0)...


Number One......

If the Olympic Village /Condo King development on Vancouver's False Creek is only $60 million dollars over budget, why are we giving the developer, the cash-strapped Millenium Group, $100 million?

Number Two....

The developer of the Olympic Village in Vancouver, Millenium, is also having trouble making the nut on a project in Nanaimo. Interestingly, it would appear that, unlike the City of Vancouver, the City of Nanaimo is not pumping liquidity into stalled project in their own backyard. So, if that's the case, where will the money come from?

(Numbers three through five still to come)

Kinda makes you go hmmmmmm.......

Doesn't it?


Sunday, November 09, 2008

What Is It, Exactly, That Vancouver's Director Of Finance Does Everyday.....Part Deux


Part One of the CFO's job description is here.

Part Two, especially as it pertains to the CFO's absence from the Oct 14th meeting in which the $100 million dollar bailout of the developer of Vancouver's Olympic Village was unanimously passed 'in camera', was taken directly from the 'Vancouver Charter'. We found the bits highlighted in RED especially interesting:

Director of Finance to report on revenue and expenditure

219. The Director of Finance shall, as soon as practicable in each year, and in any event by the thirtieth day of April, cause to be prepared and shall submit to the Council a report setting out his estimate in detail of the anticipated revenues and expenditures of the city for that year.

And if anybody from the pro-media in this town ever actually gets to talk to Ms. Lo, we also think the stuff in red would be extremely interesting to ask her about (ie. with respect to whether or not she believes each was executed in full).


Please note: I took out the dates of when each provision was passed and/or modified, purely as a space/eye strain saving de-pixelation measure.
Thanks to commenter Bob over at Harvey O's place for pointing us towards the relevent section of the charter.


Something's Happening Here........


Actually, I'm not talking about protests and signs and such because I'm pretty sure the two guys leading the charge on this one hate all that stuff.

After all, they are not snivelling young snarkoleptics who do nothing but pour bilge on the floor of the Bloggodome all day long.

But they do hang out here.

In the 'dome I mean.

And they are kicking up quite a fuss about the weird and wonderous way's Vancouver's pro-media works these days.

Which is somewhat ironic because both are veterans of the scene.

The Lotuslandian media scene I mean.


First up is Mr. Harvey Oberfeld who has had all sorts of critical things to say about the local media recently, not the least of which was when he took pretty much the entire 'lectronic division to task over their swooning sycophancy at the feet of Premier Gordon Campbell's lockdown-assisted economic stimulus press release that was packaged as really, really, really important, 144 point headline type, breaking 'Newz':

It was bad enough three private television stations aired in the Vancouver market (CTV, Global and CHEK) abandoned their integrity and embarrassed themselves by giving Premier Gordon Campbell a full 12 minutes in the middle of their major evening NEWS shows to make a partisan, political speech … unedited and uninterupted and unchallenged.

What the spineless wankers or partisan corporate bean-counters, who now run these stations, don’t seem to undertand is that the major evening news is the ONE PLACE viewers have, until now, always expected to be able to turn to and see top quality journalism, telling the truth about what’s going on in our society … all of it delivered clean, spin-free and laid out in honest, critical stories by highly principled reporters on an indepndent, totally UNCOMPROMISED show.


And Thursday morning, I would submit, CKNW was even worse.

There was talk show host Bill Good, introducing “special” extended coverage on the economy … not only completely filling his own three-and-a-half hour show, but also Christy Clark’s two-and-a-half hour show that would follow that.

Now it IS possible CKNW had those SIX HOURS of special programming on the economy “and it’s impact on you” planned for days or weeks … nothing to do with the premier’s speech Wednesday night. If so, they should be still embarrassed: so late out of a gate that opened weeks ago!

Good stuff, no?

And that is just one sample amongst many.....

Next up, is our old friend from his radio days at the (no-longer-so)Giant'98, Mr. David Berner, who is currently (ie. at this very minute) on a rampage about the $100 million dollar Olympic Village boondoggle. And as part of his commentary on that subject Mr. Berner is starting to get steamed with some in the local media. For example, today he took Pete McMartin to task for an 'everything's gonna be fine folks' bit of pollyanaism that Mr. McMartin wrote in yesterday's VSun. The following is the money quote on the McMartin column, but Mr. Berner's entire post on the subject is worth the read:

"You think the Olympic Village project is going to be just fine? What's your name, Pete McMartin? What are you injecting these days? No wonder so many educated people support Insite - they know they may need it soon for themselves....."


The kind of pushback from old pros like Oberfeld and Berner described above is all the more interesting, and probably all the more important, given the multitde of whispers and sighs that I have come across in the both the pro- and not-so-pro-media insinuating that Gary Mason's original Scooptacular on the Boondoggle was soft and/or unfair because it didn't have any named sources attached to it.

Thing is, in the entire avalanche of words that have been spoken and written in the ensuing days since the Scooptacular hit the streets, I have not seen a single word, or even a single letter or singlepunctuation mark, which indicates that anything in Mr. Mason's original story was off the mark.

So.......Keep on plugging Mr. O. and Mr. B.

Because we, the people of Vancouver, clearly need thee.


Oh, and for the record, despite the fact that I often enjoy and respect reading about Mr. Berner's POV, and, despite the fact that he, apparently, has similar feelings in reverse, we do not always agree - Insite would be just one example.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

More Studs...


Mr. Terkel is interviewed by Marian McPartland on 'Piano Jazz' from 1992 (and Studs ends up pretty much interviewing her as well).

Man, he really was a great man.

(and Ms. McPartland is one helluva dame)


Five Things That Make Me Wonder What The $100 Million Bailout Is Really For, Exactly...


Number One......

If the Olympic Village /Condo King development on Vancouver's False Creek is only $60 million dollars over budget, why are we giving the developer, the cash-strapped Millenium Group, $100 million?

Kinda makes you go hmmmmmm.......

Doesn't it?


Sometimes A Sign Is Just A Sign....

.....And sometimes it signals something more.


I was riding across the Point Grey Lands today and suddenly came to the realization that, from afar at least, I couldn't tell the difference between all the Re/Max Realty signs mixed in signs from the NPA lining 16th Ave.

Strange that congruence, eh?

(Mr. Zlotnik's signs excepted, of course.......but that, I think, is likely a whole different game of golf ....).


What Did Vancouver City Council Know....

.....And When Did They Know It?


Update, regarding an actual for real/kinda/maybe statement to come from Ms. Lo at the bottom of the post.

Well, one thing is for certain.

When Vancouver Council met, in secret, without cameras, on Oct. 14th to vote on the $100 million dollar Olympic Village bailout they did not know the views of the City's Chief Financial Officer, Ms. Estelle Lo.

How do we know that they did not know?

Because Ms. Lo, who it has been reported by Gary Mason had concerns about the the deal, was not actually at the secret meeting.

Frances Bula (who we figured had to be workin' on this one given that she disappeared for a couple of days), has the story in today's Globe:

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver's finance director was not present at the in camera meeting where city councillors approved a $100-million loan to a private developer building the Olympic athletes village.

That absence of chief financial officer Estelle Lo has Vancouver's opposition councillors so concerned that they initiated an emergency motion at a meeting last night to be allowed to have the loan decision reconsidered, now that they have read reports that she had long-standing concerns about the city's financial involvement in the project.

Why does this matter?

Two reasons:

1) As we pointed out yesterday Ms. Lo, who is (was?) in charge of a huge bureaucracy at City Hall, is most certainly someone who would truly understand the deal and all its potential ramifications - good or bad.

2) If Ms. Lo's views and/or concerns (ie. her 'information') were hidden from Council members during the 'In Camera' meeting then a strong case can be made that the secret vote is now null and void. After all, it was the current sitting-duckling-slathered-in-mayonnaise Mayor Sullivan himself who told Robert Matas of The Globe the following: "They all (the councillors) saw in camera information and they all agreed this is the right way to go."

Of course, there is a third reason this really, really matters, particularly if relevant information truly was suppressed before the vote was taken to give all that money (ie. our money) to the private developer (ie. Millenium) to ensure that they could maintain their 'enviable position' in which they would be able to take their time (ie. be able to wait until the market heats up again - ha!) to sell all those the luxury condos that they got to build as part of the project.

And what would that third reason be?

Well, how about this:

Peter Ladner is doomed.


Update: I went on over to FABula's place and asked her if she, or anyone else she knows of, has actually spoken to Ms. Lo, who is currently in Hong Kong visiting her Mom, about this thing since it broke earlier this week. Here is Ms. Bula's most gracious, and pseudo-tantalizing, response: "The only person I know of who has spoken to Estelle from the media is Allen Garr. She wasn’t especially forthcoming, I understand, but he will likely have more about that in his Wednesday column in the Courier."
And please note Ms. Bula's most interesting insertional qualifier......'from the media'......does that mean that someone who is 'not from the media' has also spoken to Ms. Lo who has then passed on information to someone who is 'from the media'.....Just askin' (especially given that I have come to understand that Ms. Bula rarely inserts words that don't mean something)....

Double Secret-Probation Update: The Courier's man at City Hall, Mike Howell, has some juicy, on-the-scene takes on, as Peter Ladner apparently called it, "
all that kind of stuff",
from a crazy, mixed-up, whack-a-doodle-dandy Friday at 12th and Cambie.....