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DaVinci's Successor
November 18, 2005 8:49 PM   Subscribe

On one side: Jim Green, the Alabama-born, opera-loving Vietnam draft-dodger, a hard-nosed community activist and the choice of the local tabloid and the outgoing mayor (himself the inspiration for not one but two Canadian television series) who together fought to bring harm-reduction (i.e. sanity) to Vancouver's drug-plagued downtown eastside; on the other: Sam Sullivan, the surprising underdog, a paraplegic -- and former lead singer in the "Spinal Chords" -- who, he's proud to say, was flat on his back and on welfare 20 years ago, then taught himself Cantonese and is the longest-serving member of city council. Who will be the next mayor of Vancouver? (It'll be close.)
posted by docgonzo (41 comments total)

 
I'm going to vote for Jim Green on the theory that he's already pretty much running things anyway.

Also, as a friend of mine said, I kind of what to see what will happen.
posted by jokeefe at 9:10 PM on November 18, 2005


^^
want
posted by jokeefe at 9:10 PM on November 18, 2005


Also, if you're speaking of colourful personalities on City Council, don't forget Tim Louis, who has large laminated photograph of Che Guevara attached to the back of his wheelchair, and who recently called for Vancouver open a city-owned, non-profit brothel to protect sex-trade workers.
posted by jokeefe at 9:15 PM on November 18, 2005


I get the impression that Vancouver is really really great. Is that accurate?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:20 PM on November 18, 2005


Vancouver is the most civilized city on the North American west coast. Liberal and realistic ideas and policies concerning drug use, I believe, is one of the main reasons for that civilization.
posted by telstar at 9:23 PM on November 18, 2005


Tim Louis is the only guy among the COPE/Vision candidates that I wouldn't vote for simply because he is so overtly, blatantly ideological. And I'm sick to death of the political mileage he wrings out of his wheelchair, something that Sullivan, at least, doesn't do.

Looking forward to voting for Jim Green and Time Stevenson, though.

It is interesting to note that the Sun has endorsed nearly a complete NPA slate, plus Stevenson and a couple of others, while the Province supports Green. Used to be that the Province would lean to the right and the Sun to the left.
posted by solid-one-love at 9:26 PM on November 18, 2005


Just another remark here on how weird it is to live in a place where there's a sort of parallel universe thing going on with Da Vinci's Inquest. They base a show on the City's coroner, who gathers a strange aura or charisma as a result, which helps get him elected mayor. Then the show continues with the fictional coroner, Da Vinci, also elected mayor. I'm looking forward to Da Vinci: Senator, which should show up a year or two after Larry Campbell accepts his appointment and moves to Ottawa.

PG: I love my city. And yeah, the smell of pot does come wafting along the streets wherever you walk, pretty much. I've actually forgotten on occasion that it's illegal. The place isn't perfect, but it's good enough. It's going to be hard to move away next year (knock wood for my doctoral funding to come through). And damn but it's pretty here with fresh snow on the mountains, too.
posted by jokeefe at 9:53 PM on November 18, 2005


I get the impression that Vancouver is really really great. Is that accurate?

Aside from the fact that it rains roughly 300 days a year, yes, Vancouver's pretty great.

I'd be inclined, though, to humbly suggest that some of the stuff that makes the subject matter of this thread seem so great is in fact what makes Canada in general really really great.

But that wouldn't be very Canadian of me, and in no time someone - a fellow Canadian, almost certainly - would reply with stats about the weather in Winnipeg in January or somesuch.

Really really great. Seriously. I think we're onto something. We're all just too Canadian to broadcast it.

posted by gompa at 10:53 PM on November 18, 2005


I'm moving to vancouver.
posted by shmegegge at 12:28 AM on November 19, 2005


300 days a year? I love rain...damnit! Why am I living in Kansas?
posted by hototogisu at 12:34 AM on November 19, 2005


If it really does "rain" 300 days a year, which I kind of doubt, then it's not the rain I'm used to back in Ontario; I'd classify it as a heavy mist.

No, Vancouver isn't perfect; its nightlife isn't great, entire stretches of Broadway double as urban desert, and I've never seen so many homeless people in my life. Plus there's a strange lack of civic discussion; "urban planning," such as it is, seems to be left up to developers, which I guess is true of many cities, but there's no real outcry over this. Thus much of the downtown peninsula is now covered in condos.

But aside from that, yeah. Vancouver really is that great. And if you live there, you don't have to worry that the entire country hates you, just the entire province.
posted by chrominance at 12:44 AM on November 19, 2005


We've got the best Asian food anywhere outside the continent itself, too.

Now I'm hungry.
posted by jokeefe at 12:45 AM on November 19, 2005


I guess it depends what kind of nightlife you want; I mean, this is no Manhattan, but I never make it to all the gigs I would like to, and the Film Festival and Fringe Festival are good, amongst other things. (The Writer's Festival isn't worth bothering with, unfortunately.) And the condos downtown make up one of the best urban environments in North America-- people actually live in the city core here, and the condos are better than houses in the suburbs sitting on quarter acre lots on perfectly good farmland.

Sorry if that sounds like I'm having a go, chrominance. I know the city's not perfect, but there are lots of reasons I love it here and perhaps I'm a little protective of my hometown.
posted by jokeefe at 12:55 AM on November 19, 2005


Heh. Interesting how we start with a post about a specific political race and move immediately to how much we love this city.
posted by 327.ca at 5:17 AM on November 19, 2005


Jim Green called me once -- he wanted a wind turbine like ours -- and described himself as "the mayor of Vancouver". So I guess he already is; in his own mind, at least.
posted by scruss at 5:32 AM on November 19, 2005


Isn't the founder of wikipedia from Alabama?
posted by The Jesse Helms at 6:00 AM on November 19, 2005


And if you live there, you don't have to worry that the entire country hates you

I realize you're talking about Ontario, but I get the same feeling about living in Alberta...
posted by fossil_human at 10:44 AM on November 19, 2005


scruss-- that's awesome; we're just in the process of looking at putting a raft of solar panels on the roof of our Co-op.

I'll be heading out to vote after one more cup of tea.
posted by jokeefe at 11:14 AM on November 19, 2005


Don't forget the other Jim Green.

Personally I would have liked to have seen Christie Clarke run instead of Sullivan, her fall would have been that much sweeter.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 11:22 AM on November 19, 2005


fossil_human: Yeah, I guess Alberta doesn't have it easy either. But Albertans like other Albertans; no one likes Torontonians.

jokeefe: You're absolutely right about the core being one of the most livable in all of North America. I just wish it were more like the West End than Yaletown, and guess where all the new developments are? Condos are more human-friendly than suburban houses, but the West End apartments are a magnitude better than condos.

As for the nightlife, I stand by that; there aren't very many options if you want to do something after midnight other than head home for a nightcap or hit Granville's skank district. But I seriously meant it when I said Vancouver is a great city, despite its flaws. Certainly Toronto has its fair share of problems too, and Vancouver is likely to get more interesting with time (whereas I'm not so sure about Toronto). Case in point: this mayoral election.
posted by chrominance at 12:53 PM on November 19, 2005


chrominance: From what I've read, Vancouver is considered to be a model of urban planning. E.g.

I agree that the nightlife can be a bit slow though. Didn't they recently increase last call to 4 a.m. to help that out a bit? Also, do you think it is because of a lack of venues, or are people just too worn out after a full day of hiking/biking/skiing/<insert outdoorsy activity here>? (Or perhaps the green bar-alternative keeps people home eating cheetos and laughing with friends?)
posted by mzanatta at 1:22 PM on November 19, 2005


Granville Street with the new zoning-- the bars open until 4 a.m. on weekends-- is a horrorfest. A couple of times recently I've come out the Commodore after a Saturday night show, and trying to pick one's way through the drunken chaos is an experience I'd rather not repeat. It's like a magnet for every fratboy and girl within a two hundred mile radius. [/vent]

And yeah, since the Sugar Refinery closed, there aren't a lot of after hours places. But, you know, if you head home, then you can get a decent night's sleep and be ready to go for a hike in the North Shore mountains the next day (thirty minutes from downtown and you feel as if you're in the forest primeval).
posted by jokeefe at 1:23 PM on November 19, 2005


chrominance! Your blog. Thanks for the downloads-- were you at Broken Social Scene last weekend?

Um, that's just a leedle bit of derail, isn't it? Oh well, we don't get the election results until tonight, so perhaps we can talk about indierock. Erm.
posted by jokeefe at 1:33 PM on November 19, 2005


And chrominance, this is hilarious/amazing, from your Best-of 2004: "Overheard at the Vancouver show: “HOLY SHIT ARCADE FIRE, SAVE MY LIFE WHY DON’T YOU?”"

Yeah. It was just that kind of show. I took a friend who still hasn't quite recovered. Me, I'll treasure it forever.

Damn, I really have to get out of the house and get some coffee/vote/get some work done instead of shooting my mouth off here.
posted by jokeefe at 1:44 PM on November 19, 2005


I've never made it all the way west to Van before. To us flatlanders, Vancouver has a sort of legendary reputation as hippie love-in mecca. I'm headed there for a choir festival in May, and I'm really looking forward to experiencing it myself to come to my own conclusions.
posted by raedyn at 2:38 PM on November 19, 2005


From what I've read, Vancouver is considered to be a model of urban planning.

... unless you happen to live in the Downtown Eastside.

To us flatlanders, Vancouver has a sort of legendary reputation as hippie love-in mecca.

Now, I like Vancouver fine -- Mrs. Docgonzo is from there and we hope to move back at some point -- but I gotta say: No-one is more uptight about being laid back than Vancouverites. There's a strange intolerance about Vancouver. It's no Montreal.
posted by docgonzo at 4:09 PM on November 19, 2005


Does anyone have a link for the incoming Vancouver results? The City's website promises results as they are counted but there is no sign of them.....
posted by bowline at 9:17 PM on November 19, 2005


Ah, here it is.
posted by bowline at 9:40 PM on November 19, 2005


Looks like James Green stole enough votes from Jim Green to give the win to Sam Sullivan.

This is bullshit. The word on the street is that in fact, James Green's campaign was financed by Sullivan's campaign manager. Sullivan is an illegitimate mayor.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:43 PM on November 19, 2005


Hang on - if you add James Green's votes and Jim Green's votes together they only add up to about 450 votes or so more than Sullivan's votes. Surely, James Green (who has been campaigning for a year) got SOME of his own votes. Is it too much to suppose that he got at least 451 votes? Because if he did then Sullivan still won fairly.
posted by ironisokratic at 12:54 AM on November 20, 2005


I'd be surprised if there wasn't some sort of trouble over this, actually. I nearly voted for James Green myself, just because I was in a hurry.
posted by jokeefe at 12:59 AM on November 20, 2005


While it's entirely possible that a third candidate named James Green caused voter confusion and swung the election to Sullivan, the truth is we'll never know how many voters intending to vote for Jim Green voted for James Green instead. While an argument can be made that the voter's real intentions weren't honored, ultimately it is the voter's responsibility to vote properly.

In a democracy, though, none of this matters. Sullivan won. If it turns out that Sullivan's campaign-manager actually financed James Green's campaign, I'd be pretty surprised, and I'm about as cynical as they come.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 1:22 AM on November 20, 2005


Is it too much to suppose that he got at least 451 votes?

526 votes, actually, and yes, based on the number of votes that other independents got.

Again, this is bullshit and illegitimate. Do we really want to allow this kind of thing to happen? What if three years down the road some shady tricksters form a new party called the NRA (as opposed to the NPA) and find a Samuel Sullivan to run for mayor as well as running a slate of similarly-named nominees for council?

It's gaming the system, hoping to play on not merely the stupid and hurried, but the huge number of people in the city for whom English is not their first language.

There is no way to justify this kind of behaviour or the result of this chicanery. None.
posted by solid-one-love at 2:14 AM on November 20, 2005


I have now been informed that there will be an application to the Supreme Court to declare the election invalid under Section 115, Chapter 55 of the Vancouver Charter, probably based on section 123, which would prohibit the scheme that I have described above.
posted by solid-one-love at 2:22 AM on November 20, 2005



It's gaming the system, hoping to play on not merely the stupid and hurried, but the huge number of people in the city for whom English is not their first language.

There is no way to justify this kind of behaviour or the result of this chicanery. None.


Except that there is no actual evidence of any wrongdoing; and you may simply be villanizing this individual, James Green, by virtue of his name.
posted by mek at 3:25 AM on November 20, 2005


Well I just read section 123 solid-one-love and didn't see any restriction against running a candidate with a name similar to another one.

While there are many prohibitions about vote buying, nothing is said about creating confusion, which it seems is your claim.

What evidence do you have that Sam Sullivan's campaign manager paid for James' Green's campaign, as you allege?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:16 AM on November 20, 2005


I've followed the Van mayoral race from a safe distance (Richmond) this year and have to say both candidates appear a little self-loving and unintelligent. Jim Green unimpressed me with blathering on about himself while completely ignoring a caller on CKNW. Sullivan initially impressed me with a few smart statements but went on to agree with the illegal teacher's strike (I can agree with a strike, but not an illegal one....BCTF is a fucked organization) and I lost respect for him.
posted by Kickstart70 at 4:52 PM on November 20, 2005


This is bullshit. The word on the street is that in fact, James Green's campaign was financed by Sullivan's campaign manager. Sullivan is an illegitimate mayor.

According to this Globe and Mail article, "James Green"'s campaign office was in the same complex as Sullivan's. And there's still no explanation as to how "James Green" was able to afford that fancy-shmancy bus.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:06 PM on November 20, 2005


Well, there was nothing on the local TV News about some big conspiracy, nor a court challenge. So I went through the tedious process of registering for the Globe & Mail's site, only to be told that I needed to purchase the secret-squirrel Insider-Edition to access the article. I found a work-around by googling news though, I think.

Alas, I am no further enlightened. The other shade of Green's sharing of an business address with Sullivan is a bit of a coincidence, though.

His background is murky as well, to put it mildly. It seems that he had some financial difficulties in the past. The talk about the bus cost is intriguing. The only reference I found online came from from him actually. In discussing the bus's cost, he quoted it at about $300/day.

"For someone to talk about a little bus which might cost $300 to $400 a day and suggest there is some dark conspiracy behind me is a joke," Green said.

I do happen to know that this rate might hire you a ten passenger van for a day, so now I am curious.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:45 PM on November 20, 2005


PareidoliaticBoy, I initially found that article through Google news, had no inkling that it would be unavailable if one just clicked on the link. My bad, but good on you for figured out a way around it.

And I'd love to see the results of a few sharp accountants pouring over the campaign finance books of the three camps and looking for suspicious coincidences a la Tom Delay and TRMPAC.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:56 AM on November 21, 2005


What if three years down the road some shady tricksters form a new party called the NRA (as opposed to the NPA) and find a Samuel Sullivan to run for mayor as well as running a slate of similarly-named nominees for council? - solid-one-love

I believe this is why ballots in some countries feature pictures of each canidate.
posted by raedyn at 8:00 AM on November 21, 2005


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