Received an email the other day from a reader who reminded me of something I wrote in April 2017.
It was about city council and how much money each of the 11 elected representatives earned and whether they bring value to the job; for the record, it’s more than $82,000 for councillors, more than $160,000 for mayor.
The reader asked for a follow-up.
So, I’m obliging…sort of.
First, here’s what I wrote back then…
After being a dedicated council watcher for what seems like an eternity, I can say that not every politician at city hall always earns their keep, or brings value to an argument.
I’m not going to name names.
But let me give you a clue…
Grab a piece of paper, write down each councillor’s name. Next to it, write at least one good idea or policy that he or she has introduced that could have made or made a noticeable difference in this city.
Not the party, the person.
If you get stumped, then you’ll have your answer or answers to what will become an $82,000-a-year question in next year’s civic election.
Well, that election is only a few months away. In fact, it’s Oct. 20.
So now that we know only four incumbents are seeking re-election, it’s probably a good time to get out that pen and paper and get a head start on rating Melissa De Genova (NPA), Heather Deal (Vision Vancouver), Adriane Carr (Green Party) and former NPAer Hector Bremner (Yes Party).
But don’t expect me to help you do the research. Loads of information is available on the city’s website, where you can find out how each of them voted on, say, tax increases, the Northeast False Creek Plan, various housing developments and bike lanes.
You can even watch previous council meetings, where you can see what each of these four had to say about an issue, and how they conducted themselves on the council floor. You can also email them—first name, dot, surname @ vancouver.ca to challenge them.
Reading the Courier is also a good suggestion for insight.
As for the dozens of council wannabees, some of them, including mayoral candidates, have been very active on social media. Some have held news conferences. All, I expect, will be going full tilt come September—or at least they should be, if they’re interested in getting elected.
Housing is obviously the number one issue in this campaign.
But incumbents and wannabees may want to include three other issues in their campaign, as identified by city manager Sadhu Johnston in a memo he wrote to council in March of this year. The memo, which was recently posted on the city’s website, had to do with the launch of a “new look” home page on the website.
Here’s what Johnston wrote: “The home page has been visually updated and re-organized to make it easier for users to access the information they most need. For example, we know from our statistics that some of the topics users of our site are most interested in are tax management, permits and garbage pick-up, so those items are now prominent as part of a ‘quick click menu.’”
So there you go—it’s all about taxes, permits and garbage.
Adjust your platforms accordingly, candidates.
As for getting up to speed on housing, voters and candidates should probably check out an event Aug. 28 hosted by the City of Vancouver Renters Advisory Committee and LandlordBC. It’s called “Delivering rental housing in your community” and runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at city hall.
You must register in advance.
Emphasis will be on the “financial considerations and the critical role municipalities and their political leaders play in the process.” What you will learn, according to organizers, is “invaluable knowledge to inform your campaign and ensure you can speak with authority on the subject of rental housing when canvassing your constituents and debating your competitors.”
And, hopefully, when speaking to a reporter.