Saturday, November 8, 2008

Villagegate will not go away

Yesterday, the Globe's Gary Mason, followed up his Villagegate story with this:

Vancouver council owes misled taxpayers answers

The piece is well worth your reading.

As is this letter to the editor in today's Sun:

The alleged approval of a $100-million loan to Millennium Development Corp. by Vancouver city council at an in camera meeting, if true, requires an immediate inquiry by the province. It has the effect of transforming the city into a commercial bank, and this lies outside the limits of council's powers over the disbursement of public funds. Vancouver taxpayers should be outraged by this cavalier use of property endowment funds to finance what is effectively a two-week event.

John Robertson, North Vancouver

Both Mason's column and the letter are in sharp contract to the sunny, rose-colored glasses adorable little modest take by the perennially jolly Pete McMartin.

Pete is a good fellow and a helluva good writer, but some day he have to take the propeller cap off his head, get out of short pants and notice that not all stories end happily ever after.

This Olympic Village bit of poison is one such story.

As I said yesterday, Gregor Robertson and the Vision strategists will keep this issue front and centre for the next week, and that's politics.

But the story deserves long legs.

One regular contributor to this site threw in this yesterday:

Left West Vancouver in the lurch on the development at Evelyn Drive - after three or four hearings and hundreds of expensive staff hours to prepare...
Left Nanaimo in the lurch on a multi-complex downtown development after hearings and hundreds of expensive staff.....

and this:

And, David...
Suzanne Anton said this about why Vancouver Council not giving taxpayers any details, "It is not in taxpayers' best interests to know all the details."

I hope that isn't true. I hope Anton did not say that. She is also someone who got my early vote.

Think about this:

Men and women, many of whom have never run a company or earned very much money and now earn $50,000 a year are making momentous decisions about the expenditure of hundreds of millions of taxpayers dollars.

I am to believe that Sam Sullivan, Raymond Louie, Kim Capri et al can safely swim in the shark-infested waters of Big Deal Real Estate?

And I am to swallow whole this fantasy on faith because I am too sensitive or stupid or unschooled to share in all the secrets?

I don't think so, kids.

Today, Robert Matas, writing in the Globe, quotes my blog posting of yesterday, under this headline:

Loan for athletes village set to alter mayoral race

Speculation builds about how voters will react to controversy

His quote is accurate:

"Peter Ladner's bid for the Mayor's chair is finished," commentator David Berner said yesterday in an online posting on his website. "It is Over. Buried irrevocably by the Olympic Village story," added Mr. Berner, who identified himself as a disillusioned supporter of Mr. Ladner.

But, in speaking with Robert on the phone last night, I did not and do not characterize myself as a disillusioned supporter of Ladner.


I still hope he wins.

There are 15 people running for the Mayor's chair. Thirteen will get a few votes each. That leaves Peter and Gregor. They may not either be the best possible person on earth to be the Mayor of Vancouver in a perfect world. But they are the only two serious contenders.

And, of the two, in my opinion, Peter Ladner will make a better mayor.

If he can get past this infuriating dirty piece of business.

From David Beers, Editor, The

Hi David

Great post, with the usual take no prisoners Berner thrust.

But it's not true no other media have been on this. At The Tyee, for example, I believe I got the ball rolling on this scoop by reporting Ladner's admission that city hall was underwriting a 'struggling' Olympic village:

and then our reporter Geoff Demibicki followed up with this:

The Globe's Gary Mason got the (as yet unidentified) source that allowed his editor to go with his piece without a single named source. But city hall has stonewalled all other attempts, I can assure you.

Great Moments in World Leadership

How many times has Silvio Berlusconi been arrested or charged with crimes?

Ten? A dozen?

And like all good comic book characters, he can proudly claim, "Thirty-two arrests, no convictions!"

The fact that he is the richest man in Italy and owns all the newspapers and TV stations, among other things, and that the Italian people keep re-electing him Prime Minister does not speak well for a country many of us love.

Now, he has shown his true "colours."

In Moscow on Thursday, Berlusconi referred to President-Elect Barack Omaba as “young, handsome and suntanned.”


Of course, the man is an idiot, Of course, he is tasteless and crude and inferior.

But why do they keep electing him?

Roy Orbinson