Today Mayor Gregor Robertson issued a vague apology during the CBC debate. We now know what we had been suspecting for a number of days now — Mayor Robertson sees the writing on the wall and is desperate to avoid defeat Nov. 15th. After six years of ignoring community concerns, three days before voters cast a ballot, he expects the electorate to accept his mea culpa and trust him yet again.
Did it take six years for the Mayor to read his mail? Check his voicemail? Listen at Council meetings? Listen to his own planners? Why did it take six years for Mayor Robertson to come to voters hat in hand, mumbling mysteriously that he has not met our expectations?
Vancouver voters are well acquainted with Vision’s empty promises. Vision’s actions — and sometimes lack of actions — have run exactly contrary to past promises they made before other elections. It’s hard to find the sincerity here. Vision’s actions that have pleased their buyers — developers — have led to unprecedented renovictions, displacement, and have brought harm to families, working people and vulnerable folks.
Let me share with you just three brief examples of how Vision is no better than the NPA:
1. Vision was elected in 2008 promising to end homelessness. Three years later, up for reelection in 2011, they changed the goal to ending “street homelessness.” This effectively meant that all the folks living in shelters were no longer considered homeless.
2. Vision eliminated the requirement for City Councillors to be present during Public Hearings — they are now permitted to drop by, vote and leave. Imagine a court trial where the judge rendered her decision without having been present during the trial.
3. Vision passed a bylaw that gives developers a complete refund of their Development Cost Levy if the developer builds a certain percentage of the units as “affordable.” Not bad you say — at least we now get some affordable housing. Except they changed the definition of affordable. Any rental unit, no matter how expensive the rent, is now considered affordable.
Meena Wong said today, “I can’t imagine what the city will look like with another four years (of Vision)…Where are the affordable homes? You don’t make luxury condos more affordable by building more, just like you don’t make Rolls-Royces more affordable by building more of them.”
I couldn’t agree more. Vancouver has enough Rolls-Royces.
This is my twelfth campaign and I have never sensed more momentum and appetite for change. There is no difference between Vision and the NPA. People across the city have had enough. We have Vision running scared. A vote for Vision is a vote for the NPA is a vote for Vision is a vote for the NPA. They serve the same masters — developers.
Take courage friends. Let’s send a clear message to the developers and their friends. Vote Meena Wong for Mayor, vote COPE.
On November 15th, let’s make a Vancouver we can all afford.