Thank you Gregor Robertson for the bountiful feast of stories

City hall news hounds enjoying healthy harvest in election year

12th and Cambie

I want to begin by personally thanking Gregor Robertson for almost 10 years of service and deciding that he will retire as mayor of Vancouver in the fall.

Such sincerity, however, should not be translated by regular readers as don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-on-your-way-out type of sarcasm, or the opposite sentiment: well-wishing of the gushing variety for a mayor who served the citizens of this world-class city to the best of his ability.

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Nope G-man, it’s really about the chaos you caused.

I’m confident I speak for all city hall news hounds when I say this has been a bountiful year for stories about the mayoral race. And the daily harvest—sometimes hourly—has us scrambling to gather all the fresh news and get it to market each day before the sun goes down.

Frankly, I can’t keep up.

I’m guessing neither can you.

So what I’m going to do here is bring you up to date on what I know—that’s as of Tuesday morning at 10:30, he said, knowing messages left yesterday and this morning could be returned and leave this summary wilted and ready for the green bin by afternoon.

Let’s begin with the Vision Vancouver camp.

Ian Campbell, a hereditary chief of the Squamish Nation, officially announced Monday that he’s seeking the mayoral nomination with Vision. He’ll face Taleeb Noormohamed, a tech entrepreneur and one-time federal Liberal candidate in North Vancouver.

Vision isn’t saying whether other candidates will compete for the job, but likely contender Coun. Raymond Louie took himself out of the race last Friday. Vision members will choose a winner June 24 in only the party’s second mayoral nomination contest since its inception in 2005.

A few days before news broke of Campbell’s run, Burnaby-South MP Kennedy Stewart made it official that he will run as an independent for mayor. Stewart is counting on his experience as an MP, his years as an SFU political scientist and his connections with progressive parties in Vancouver to give him an edge in the race.

His entry in the contest, coupled with Vision deciding to run a mayoral candidate, has made for a crowded centre-left circle of candidates. Shauna Sylvester of SFU’s Centre for Dialogue, who is also running as an independent, likely wasn’t expecting the company after having launched her campaign April 5.

That circle could get more crowded if Green Party Coun. Adriane Carr takes a run. Last time I spoke to Carr, she told me she was willing to wait until Vision chooses a candidate June 24 before deciding what she’ll do.

Now to the NPA…

Just when you thought NPA Coun. Hector Bremner’s campaign to become his party’s mayoral candidate was looking like a possibility—according to him he signed up 2,000 members—a news bomb exploded last week when the party’s board rejected the rookie councillor’s bid.

We still haven’t got the full details but Bremner has blamed a takeover of the board, a campaign to discredit him and racism—among other reasons—for his falling out with the NPA. Party president Gregory Baker has since sent Bremner a confidential letter explaining the board’s rationale for the decision.

Some board members have resigned and potential candidates such as Adrian Crook, who aligned himself with Bremner, have left the party. Bremner told me he will be on the ballot in October but won’t say whether he’ll stick with his party as a council candidate or run as an independent mayoral or council candidate.

In the meantime, park board commissioner John Coupar, financial analyst Glen Chernen and businessman Ken Sim will battle it out May 29 for the right to be the NPA’s chosen one.

Wai Young, meanwhile, won’t call me back. Months ago, she was thought to be interested in a bid with the NPA. She has since set up a website and is being backed by a new organization called Coalition Vancouver.

Finally, the Vancouver and District Labour Council continues to facilitate talks with Vision, the Greens, OneCity, COPE and TeamJean in an effort to reach some common ground on issues to potentially run a unity campaign.

It remains to be seen whether that common ground will see those parties eventually rally around one candidate for mayor. Meanwhile, the sun is still up and we’ve got six months to go. More abundance to come. Enjoy the feast.

mhowell@vancourier.com

@Howellings

 

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