Sadly, another year of hunting, gathering and - still having trouble with this one - tweeting is over.
Sniff, sniff, sob.
That means it's time for my annual awards rollout in which I pick the best, worst, odd and perplexing city hall tales I wrote about or witnessed in 2012.
In no particular order or relevance, they are:
Worst eyesight award: Vision Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang for falsely accusing Vija Poruks, assistant commissioner for the Coast Guard's Pacific region, of fleeing the balcony in council chambers. With TV cameras rolling, Jang criticized Poruks for not sticking around to hear how upset he was about the feds' decision to close the Kits Coast Guard base. Except it wasn't Poruks in the balcony. It was some other mysterious woman. Jang later apologized to Poruks.
Most media-shy first nations chief award: Ernie Campbell of the Musqueam Indian Band, who decided not to seek re-election and will be officially replaced Jan. 3 by his son-in-law Wayne Sparrow. Over the years, I've left messages for the chief at his home, at the band office and on his cell. Never heard back. Thought I got lucky recently when a man who answered the chief's cell sounded exactly like Campbell but that man said Campbell was asleep. By the way, I got Sparrow on his cell on my first try.
Best coup for a car dealership award: The Dilawri Group of Companies, which bills itself as Canada's largest automotive group, for convincing the city's bike-riding-greenhouse-gas-fighting mayor to don a hard hat and turn some sod at a ceremony to break ground for_ an Audi dealership at Second and Burrard? What else can I say but Vorsprung durch Technik.
The Rodney Dangerfield of neighbourhoods award: Hooray! The Downtown Eastside wins again! With its open air drug market, homelessness and mental health issues, the area continues to be a political blind spot for all levels of government and gets no respect. World-class city? Really? Keep on rockin' in the free world, Vancouver.
Most elusive NDP member to vote at the Vancouver-Fairview tilt between George Heyman and Geoff Meggs award: William B. Davis. Yes, the same William B. Davis who is better known to The X-Files cognoscenti as "Smoking Man" or "Cancer Man." I saw him in the voting room, went to chase him down and then, just like that, he vanished.
Best defender of the bagpipes award: Awright, awright, it's the kilt-wearing Scotsman himself, Mayor Gregor Robertson. Back in April, there was much hubbub about overseers of the city's street performance permits program refusing applications from pipers and others. Apparently, there had been some noise complaints. So Robertson went all Braveheart, lifted the restriction and then slaughtered a live haggis in an ancestral shout-out to his clan. Or something like that.
Worst press conference location award: A back alley. The City of Vancouver's communications unit convinced us media types that it was a good idea to cram into some city staffer's garbage can pen to hear the mayor announce that all food scraps could be dumped into your green bin. Because I didn't want to go all Braveheart on the camera guys or mix it up with the well-dressed TV personalities wedged into the pen, I stood back and had to imagine what the mayor was saying and doing, which makes for great copy. Pretty confident, though, he scraped the remains of a haggis, the carcass of a backyard chicken, a bushel of rotting wheat and some soiled copies of the Courier into the can. (See 2011 election campaign stories for the obscure food references).
Happy New Year, folks!
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