Vancouver’s in-control municipal party, Vision Vancouver, votes as a bloc. You’re surprised? Parties exist to march in step. They call it discipline.

The just updated Vancouver Council Votes web site covers 39 of the most contentious issues to come before City Council 2009-2011.

Most of the contention surrounds “planning” — aka spewing out turgid bureaucratic justifications for handing over as much as possible as fast as possible to the local real estate speculation industry. What else is a poor city to do when so much of its economic base has slunk off to elsewhere?

On four separate occasions, four different Vision councillors have strayed. First, a roll call of the rigid toers of the line: Heather Deal, Kerry Jang, Gregor Robertson, Tim Stevenson. Now to inspect the anomalies.

George Chow on 24 September 2009 opposed the form of development slated for 1450 McRae Avenue. No coincidence — Chow has strong connections to Shaughnessy. (When the earlier main vote took place on 1 April 2008, Chow with Deal joined NPA’s Capri in opposing the sizeable McRae development at the edge of that special region.) Four sessions of previous public hearing saw 53 persons speak in opposition and 7 in support. On the correspondence side, 4 letters supported and 427 opposed. Amusing side note: one of the speakers in opposition back then, Tony Tang, is now the 2011 Vision replacement for George Chow.

Andrea Reimer on 18 May 2010 opposed the rezoning of 2250 Commercial Drive (Van East Cinema). Reimer lives to the south of that location. The developer proposal involved outrageous fudging, perhaps too much for Reimer to stomach. Chase the details on that 2250 Commercial rezoning if you need a purgative.

The Mainlander’s Tristan Markle debated CityCaucus’ Daniel Fontaine from 9am-10am on CKNW’s The Bill Good Show, AM980, Tues June 28.

Topics included:

  • the social causes of the Stanley Cup riots;
  • unsafe conditions in SRO hotels;
  • municipal environmental initiatives;
  • decisions by COPE and the civic Greens on whether to run joint slates with Vision Vancouver.

To listen, click here and go to ‘Bill Good Show – Tues June 28 – Hour 1’.

The Mainlander vs. CityCaucus debate will continue next Tues July 5th on The BIll Good Show, AM980, 9am-10am.

Today was quite a day in the world of partisan Vancouver civic politics. The civic Green Party held a special general meeting at noon to discuss electoral cooperation with COPE and Vision Vancouver. Meanwhile, COPE also held a special general meeting at 3pm to debate and potentially ratify an agreement with Vision, proposing the following slate:

City Council: Vision 7 / COPE 3

Parks Board: Vision 5 / COPE 2 – (plus one position offered to civic Greens)

School Board: Vision 5 / COPE 4

Interestingly, the civic Green Party membership voted to reject the Vision-COPE offer of one seat on Parks Board. The Greens voted instead to work with COPE alone, should the COPE membership reject Vision’s terms later in the afternoon. The Greens also voted to reject any cooperation with Vision, and to hold their nomination meeting in mid-August 2011.

COPE’s special general meeting, with about 200 members in attendance, began with a member from the floor trying to get a motion on the agenda to negotiate with the Greens instead of Vision, but was defeated in a close vote.

The highly polarized membership then heard arguments for and against the proposed deal with Vision. Those against argued that the last three years have proven that Vision City Councilors do not vote progressively, that they won’t caucus with COPE, that they continue core NPA policies, and that COPE needs to distinguish itself more clearly from Vision in order to win and make real change. Those in favour of Vision’s offer argued that COPE and Vision share more commonalities than differences, that the NPA is much worse than Vision, and that it is desirable to avoid vote-splitting with Vision. The coalition vote passed, with more than one third present voting against.