Going back to Cali
Why wasn't Mayor Gregor Robertson in town Wednesday to attend a press conference announcing the opening of the city's rent bank?
After all, the guy talked about the benefits of the bank in his re-election campaign and the need to help those people trying to make their rent every month.
Surely, there had to be a good reason for his absence.
Here's what I heard from people who may or may not be reliable sources. They say Robertson couldn't make it to the Woodward's building for the announcement because he was:
a) Caught in a bike jam on one of the downtown bike lanes after some hipster on a fixie stopped suddenly to stroke his ironic moustache.
b) Blowing some mean tuba in an all-day jam with the moustache-less Justin Bieber before his electrifying gig at Rogers Arena? (Seriously, there was a tweet that surfaced Wednesday saying @MayorGregor is "membership card holder 000003 of the Justin Bieber fan club."
c) Still suffering from a tryptophan overdose from eating too much organic backyard bird over the weekend?
Well, if you guessed none of the above, you're more switched on to the political scene than yours truly; I really thought a day with the Bieb was the reason.
Turns out, Mr. Mayor was in San Francisco, a familiar city to Robertson who once lived in the Bay Area when he was close to Bieber's age. He and his brother Patrick lived with their mother in Portola Valley, a town an hour south of San Francisco. Robertson attended Corte Madera middle school and Woodside High before returning to the North Shore to finish grades 11 and 12 at Carson Graham secondary.
OK, enough childhood history. Robertson was in San Francisco Wednesday and Thursday on another one of those business missions with the Vancouver Economic Commission.
Wasn't he just in London with the same crew for the Olympics? Or was that Chicago? Or New York City? Can't keep up.
Anyway, an informed source in the mayor's office sent me a dispatch to let me know Robertson would be hanging out with Canada's consul general in San Francisco, the "Canadian Trade and Investment Team" and promoting Vancouver business and working to recruit new investment.
Apparently, his schedule included meetings with San Francisco mayor Edwin Lee and senior execs from Disney, Sony Image-works, Clean Tech LA, LA Clean-tech Incubator, RocketSpace, Accelerator, GREE International and THNK, among others.
He worked a speech in there somewhere at something called the 2012 Meeting of the Minds conference, where he was to talk about Vancouver's economic growth and some green stuff.
Rita Ko, who is the mayor's director of operations, accompanied Robertson on the trip. I'll have to do the math at another time to figure out how much this cost taxpayers.
As regular readers will know, the Vancouver Economic Commission gets the majority of its funding from the city. So when you add up how many commission staff went on the trip, along with the tab for Robertson and Ko, I'm sure it cost a few bucks.
As for the official opening of the rent bank, I give you a canned statement from a press release in which Robertson says the bank will help prevent an estimated 1,600 evictions: "These small timely loans will help those residents regain their financial footing so they can continue to contribute to our community and local economy."
Now if the city could only create a bank for seasoned journos who could use a top-up to fund a well-deserved trip to San Fran this fall.
I'm sure it would be a hit. email@example.com