Friday, November 30, 2007

How Carole Taylor Can Really Help....

....We, The People Of Vancouver


C. and I first moved to Vancouver in 1985, stayed for a while, left for a while, and then came back for good to raise our kids.

She plays her guitar for a living all over town with other people's very young children.

Me, I stay put on the far western edge of town where I get to play at being a science geek about half of the time.

The rest of the time I teach lots of people's older, no-longer-really-children/almost grown-ups about various bodily structures and functions*.


When we came to town the first time around, way back when, C. worked at a daycare while I went to gradual school**.

So, as you can imagine, we had very little money at the time.

And one of the things we liked to do for fun and cheap (ie. free***) entertainment was to watch Vancouver City Council Meetings on cable access TV.

And I'm not joking - it really was fun to watch.

Because that was the late '80's and you had a mad-cap council where Bruce Eriksen would eye-check his partner in the good fight, Libby Davies every five minutes to make sure he said the right (left) thing.

Of course, you also had Harry Rankin spouting off/pontifcating/making sense/driving you crazy on all manner of things progressive in the most engaging manner imaginable.

And then there was the Mayor of the time, a young Gordon Campbell.

And the lady who had the Mayor's back - Carole Taylor.


Now, if truth be told, it is very difficult to tell what Ms. Taylor's politics really are.

And given that she's come to Mr. Campbell's rescue time and again on all sorts of levels since those heady days of the go-go '80's, it's difficult, on the face of it at least, for a waygone lefty like myself to get all worked up about the possibility of her running for the Mayor's chair in Vancouver now that she has signaled she will step down as Mr. Campbell's current provincial Finance Minister.

But here's the thing.

When she was on City Council, oh-so-many years ago, Ms. Taylor was also independent enough that she was able to give the occasional wink and a nod, and sometimes even a few words of praise, to an initiative coming from the other side that she thought was a good idea.


Can you imagine what it would do to the current ruling NPA in general, and Smilin' Sammy in particular, if Ms. Taylor were to now run for Mayor as an independent?

I mean, I don't know about you but I can hardly contain my glee at the very thought of it.

And here's something else to consider.....

If were to take this route to the mayor's chair Ms. Taylor ability to rise above partisanship would be aided by the fact that, as an independent of means who could raise more than enough Phillips, Hager & North-assisted**** money on her own, she would not be under the thumb of the NPA bagmen (for an example of what the Bonfires of the Bagman's Vanities can do to an NPA mayor who tries to go their own way see: Owen, Phillip).

I mean can you just imagine the possibility of COPE, Vision and NPA folks all rolling up their sleeves, slugging it out, and then putting their best stuff on the table in good faith so that they could, in the end, come up with something like, say, a real honest-to-goddess sustainable density initiative with a true (and truly significant) affordable housing component that is both pedestrian and transit friendly where anyone and everyone can, and will want to, live, work and play.


*And, for the record, once a year I play guitar (badly) for those older no-longer-really children while Bigger E. and littler e. sing and play the piano respectively (but that's another story)
**Gradual school is a place where you get to muck about for a bunch of years becoming an expert and one teensy, tiny thing until you decide, bit-by-bit, little-by-little, that you finally want to stop.
***The other thing we liked to do for free was go to Vancouver Canadians games. Back then they really were essentially free as then-GM Stu Kehoe's philosophy was to get people into Nat Bailey Stadium and then take their money. Now, well, while the cost still pales in comparison to other local pro-sports, a Canadians ticket just may be the most expensive minor league baseball ticket in all of North America. Heckfire, it's actually cheaper to sit in the cheap seats at an Oakland A's big league game than it is to do the same to watch their rookie-league prospects make errors and hit pop-ups in Vancouver.
****And don't forget Ms. Taylor's husband Art Phillips was not an NPA man when he, himself, was the Mayor. Instead, Mr. Phillips actually helped start up the centrist 'TEAM' party that once counted amongst its members that notorious no-good, commie-pinko, centrist do-gooder, leftist bahstahd, Mr. Michael Harcourt.
Now this is interesting.... Jamie Lee Hamilton has an interesting take, which is that Ms. Taylor will actually build a civic 'Team' of her own.


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