Thursday, February 14, 2008

Alex Tsakumis on the NPA and Ladner in Friday's 24 Hours


By A. G. Tsakumis 'Rebel With A Clause'

With His Worst-ship's minions spinning the Mayor's mind-numbing performance at a blinding clip, trying desperately to resurrect Sir Spamalot's fortunes, out from the comforts of the NPA silo sprang one Coun. Peter Ladner, this week.

It turns out that it only recently occurred to Mr. Ladner – bright light he – that the railroading of an undemocratic nomination process by those seated at the Civic NPA's boardroom table, was unacceptable. But is this really the case?

In the last few months, I've written several times about these 'greenlight' rules that the NPA have concocted and Coun. Ladner knew full well sometime ago of the manipulation of the board by the Mayor's henchmen. But the rules chosen by the NPA Board, on further observation, are only a rubber-stamp for those who are seated as the Mayor's partisans.

Otherwise, if the current polling returns what is expected to be dismal results for Citizen Spam, he will find himself parked, with good reason, before a big red stop sign, and hardly a greenlight.

For how do you approve a candidate whose numbers are in the urinal?

On Wednesday night, the NPA meeting was an uncomfortable mess. All of NPA caucus was invited but only Coun. Ladner, commissioners Houghton, Robertson and Trustee Gregory attended. Amusing, too, that the Mayor, who you would think would be pulling for a fight, sent, instead, Stephen Rogers and Chris Bennett, his co-chairs to plead his case.

In the end, all caucus members in attendance upheld their beliefs that open contests would be best. Only Rogers and Bennett whined about switching (read: optimally righting) the process.

But in the end, no decision was made.

And wasting no time at all, Georgie Higgins, the Mayor's chief political operative was trying to publish a list of caucus members who supported the Mayor and the offside process. That must be in addition to the most recent list of reported endorsers, most of whom would be big names if this were 1985.

But how 'bout just reporting that at this point in 2005, the NPA had more than 2,500 members? Today's tally? About 800.

The silliness of the details and the players notwithstanding, the bigger picture here is unmistakable. The NPA have little leadership, if at all.

If Sam Sullivan was, as he says, "ready to take on all comers", he wouldn't cower from any fight. But like the washed-up prizefighter, whose manager must protect him, he talks tough – while hiding from legitimate opponents.

And Coun. Ladner's appropriate objections with his party are ultimately assailable by his incredibly poor execution. He's been foolishly coy with the media this week, about his clear mayoral ambitions, breeding accusations of cowardice instead of courage.

Mind, this is the same Peter Ladner who could have landed the NPA Mayoral nomination in 2005, were it not for his embracing of a bloody bike lane for the Burrard Bridge (think of the environmental impact of fumes from delayed traffic, oh, but Peter doesn't want the Port Mann twinned). The flood of emails, at the time, to the NPA from angry westsiders wanting to burn Park 'n' Ride Pete in effigy, was remarkable.

It has yet to arrive to Coun. Personal Landmine that people don't give a rat's derriere about community gardens and bike lanes, before the safety of their families and how the NPA increased their tax burden.

But it will, one day.



No comments: