Friday, October 31, 2014

VictoriaVIsion Video - the Cliques and Secret Clubs of Victoria

In Victoria, you need to know someone to get something done. There are so many little clubs and cliques. They verge on being a cabal of "local businessmen" and "community leaders." For the most part, they stay in the shadows.

We are choosing to be the very opposite of this and be open with who are supporting and if we have time, why

Yes we did it front of the Masonic Hall, no we do not believe in Masonic conspiracies

A Question for all Sooke Candidates

Paul Holmes is a good friend of mine and lives in Sooke, here is one question for all the people running for election in Sooke:

My question to all ‪#‎Sooke‬ candidates in the upcoming election...
Each day 400 students go to Poirier School. Bordering on this is the Woodland Creek development. In their planning for the approach to the school along Arranwood, the developer has used the standard road width, allowing for only one sidewalk, effectively forcing dozens of children to unnecessarily cross the busy street twice each day.
In our view, this is not only poor planning, but is also an accident waiting to happen.
In the interests of children's safety, will you commit to working with the Woodland Creek developer, and/or provide the appropriate funding and by-law changes to ensure a sidewalk is built along the side of Arranwood from Caffery to Poirier School?
UnlikeUnlike ·  · 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Power of Incumbency in Victoria and Saanich

The electoral system we use for our local elections give incumbents a huge advantage.   This table looks at how many incumbents councilors ran in Victoria and Saanich and how many of them were re-elected.  

Election year        2011 2008 2005 2002 1999 1996 1993 1990 Total
Vic Inc running        8*   5    6    6    6    6    4    3   44
Vic Inc re-elected     5    5    6    5    5    6    4    3   39   
Vic Inc defeated       3    0    0    1    1    0    0    0    5
Vic New elected        3    3    2*   3*   3    2    4    5   25*
Saanich Inc running    7    6    5    7*   7    5    7    *   44
Saanich Inc re-elected 7    6    5    6    6    4    6    *   40
Saanich Inc defeated   0    0    0    1    1    1    1    *    4
Saanich New elected    1*   2    3    2    2    4    2    *   16*


  • In 2011 one of the Victoria incumbents was Marianne Alto who was elected in a 2010 by-election
  • In 2011 one of the new people elected in Saanich was former councilor Nicola Wade
  • In 2005 one of the new people elected in Victoria was former councilor Geoff Young
  • In 2002 one of the new people elected in Victoria was Chris Coleman, an incumbent that had been defeated in 1999
  • In 2002 one of the incumbents Saanich incumbents was Nicola Wade who had been elected in a 2001 by-election
  • In the total of new people elected for Victoria it is 25 candidates but only 23 individuals.  For Saanich it is 16 candidates and 15 individuals
  • Victoria incumbents have managed a 88.6% re-election rate, in Saanich it is 90.9%
  • Over eight elections Victoria has averaged 3.8 new councilors per election
  • Over seven elections Saanich has averaged 2.1 new councilors per election
If we count councilors successfully running for mayor in Victoria we have Bob Cross in 1993, Alan Lowe in 1999 and Dean Fortin in 2008.  In the 1990s a number of sitting councilors ran for mayor and lost, two in 1999, one in 1995, one in 1993 and two in 1990.  

The last person to be elected mayor of Victoria and not had never been a councilor was David Turner in 1990.  Before that it was  Courtney Haddock in 1969.

In Saanich the current mayor was a sitting councilor when he ran in 1996 as was his competitor.

VictoriaVision Video: The Stink Over Sewage

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Victoria Council Candidate Margaret Lucas has very diverse supporters

So far I have never seen a group of people on Facebook come out in an unsolicited way like this in support for one candidate.   Margaret Lucas has a very diverse group of people that like her.

What I find very interesting is that both Susan Brice and Lynn Hunter back Margaret.  Susan Brice was the BC Liberal MLA for Saanich South from 2001-2005 and was the Social Credit candidate in the 1989 Oak Bay Gordon Head by-election.  Lynn Hunter was the NDP MP for Saanich Gulf Islands from 1988 to 1993.

Here is the Facebook posting:

Inform yourself for the City of Victoria election - One page with lots of links and all the info you need ‪#‎yyj‬
Victoria BC is an interesting city off of the coast of BC. I think it has everything to be one of the great cities on earth other than the public will to be the best.
  • Robert Randall I have met Margaret Lucas; she manages the Hotel Rialto. Smart business person, knows a lot about issues and downtown and would be a good fit on council in the style of Bea Holland and Helen Hughes.
    21 hrs · Like · 1
  • Susan Brice I agree with you Robert. Margaret Lucas would make a great addition to council
    18 hrs · Like
  • Lori King yes i concur
    5 hrs · Like
  • Bernard von Schulmann I should go have a coffee with her given the people that are recommending her
    4 hrs · Like
  • Susan Brice I first met her when we served together on the Coalition to End Homelessness and then working in the downtown are myself for the past 5 years I had occasion to see her working positively on downtown economic issues.
    1 hr · Like · 1
  • Lori King yes, i knew her through chamber of commerce, believe she was a director there, maybe a chair but she was always very pleasant and very sharp lady
    1 hr · Like
  • Lynn Hunter Been trying to get her to run for years.
    4 mins · Like
  • Bernard von Schulmann Interesting the support for Margaret Lucas - a former BC Liberal MLA as well as a former NDP MP backing her

Social Media in the Saanich Council Race

It is the social media age so how well are the candidates in Saanich doing?   Not that well

Facebook "likes" or members
Colin Plant     618
Fred Haynes     250
Vicki Sanders   243
Richard Atwell  209
Shawn Newby     185
David Shebib     98 - running for mayor in 13 municipalities
Marsha Henderson 65

Colin Plant is the leader on Facebook but 618 "likes" is not a large number of people.

The following candidates do not have campaign Facebook pages and use their personal/professional profiles in the election
Judy Brownoff
Susan Brice
Paul Gerrard
Frank Leonard
Rebecca Mersereau
Dean Murdock

The following candidates have no Facebook presence I am aware of
Vic Derman
Nicola Wade
Leif Wergeland

Twitter Stats
Candidate    followers following tweets recent activity?
Frank Leonard  3,562     1,353   13,673  yes
Dean Murdock     869       834    1,214  2 days ago
Vicki Sanders    420       485      572  yes
Richard Atwell   243       474      280  yes
Colin Plant      129       152      226  yes
Rebecca Mersereau 81       271       61  yes
Susan Brice       73        48        7  no
Shawn Newby       59        87       77  yes
Marsha Henderson  33        32       35  4 days ago
Paul Gerrard      30        53        2  no
Fred Haynes       17        11        5  no

Mayor Frank Leonard is a regular twitter user and has been so for sometime, so it is not a surprise that he way out ahead everyone else.

This is a link to a Twitter list of all the Saanich candidates

Candidates that do not seem to have Twitter accounts
Judy Brownoff
Vic Derman
David Shebib
Nicola Wade
Leif Wergelund

Overall, three of the current council are functionally not using social media -  Vic Derman, Nicola Wade and Leif Wergelund

A short video of Colin Plant, candidate for Saanich Council

The more I get to know Colin Plant, the more I am impressed with this guy.  I first learned about him last June via a recommendation from Lana Popham.

I have met hundreds of people that have served on municipal councils and I can say this man has all the attributes to make for a great councilor.   He is smart, he is innovative and can think outside of the box, he has a vision, he is open, he is funny and speaks well, he "plays well with others" and most important of all, he listens well.

In Saanich I highly recommend voting for Colin Plant for council

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

24 candidates for Victoria Council does not need to be daunting

Updated last 5:37pm Oct 29th 

The norm for the City of Victoria to have the most candidates for council of any municipality in the CRD.   The average  for Victoria is 28 candidates but this year we "only" have 24.   Even 24 may sound like a huge number to consider but the candidates are not all of the same quality or seriousness when it comes to the election.   Here is my attempt to take 24 candidates for council and reduce to a manageable nine to learn about.

First, six of the candidates are incumbents and they are going to be re-elected.  It would be a truly stunning result if any of them lost.   Vote for them if you want.   Their almost certain re-election means that the Victoria City council election is really for the two vacant seats.

We now are at 18 candidates competing for two seats

Next there are the three candidates who are putting in at best minimal effort into the election.
Saul Andersen, Sean Murray, and Douglas Stewart.  If anyone of them does not like that characterization of them or their campaign, offer me some proof you are serious.

Then there are six  candidates that seem to little more than one person teams:
Jonathon Carroll, James Harasymow, Ryan Moen, Jeremy Olafson, Paul Servos, and Gordon MacKinnon.

We are now down to nine candidates vying for the two vacant council seats.   This is the list you should be doing your homework on and decide if you want to support them or not.  Two of these people will be councilors after the election.

Here are the nine with some quick comments I can add:
  • Steve Filipovic - He has run for mayor twice and once for council.  He is very active in the Greens locally.  He an amazing carpenter and a good guy to have a beer with.  He has also organized Earth Day here in Victoria for 2 decades now.   
  • Hilary Groos - Her father was the Liberal MP for Victoria from 1963 to 1972.  She is fourth generation Victorian but I know little about her life  October 29th - I had coffee with her, she is the sort of no nonsense, intelligent and innovative person Victoria council could use.  She is what I would call an "aber Balte" which would only make sense if you are part of my ethnic group
  • Ian Hoar - A man in his early middle age that grew up in the City of Victoria.   I know a number of my friends that really like him.  
  • Erik Kaye - He ran for council in 2005 and lost.  He is closely connected to the NDP.  He has worked a lot on transit issues.  Ted met him in person and liked him.
  • Jeremy Loveday - He started the youth poet laureate for the City of Victoria.  Politically he is connected with the NDP.  How hard a candidate campaigns is a reasonable indication of how much effort they will put into council - Jeremy has been campaigning hard.
  • Margaret Lucas - She is a local businesswoman involved with tourism and retail.  I have not spoken with anyone that knows her personally.  Ok, so this changed today as I had four people spontaneously say they support her and her fans come from across the political spectrum.
  • John Luton - He was a councilor from 2008-11.  He is a serious cycling activist.  He is also connected to the NDP.  As a councilor he was very supportive of the new Johnson Street Bridge
  • Andrew Reeve - He is the youngest serious candidate.  He was active with Amalgamation Yes and has ties to the federal Liberals.
  • Justin Stephenson - He grew up in Victoria and has moved back after a career that took him to senior levels in Canada in venture capital as a managing partner with RBC Capital Partners.  He works a lot with social enterprise in trying to make our world a better place.
With nine it is reasonable for you to speak with all of them in person.  Go for a coffee with them and find out who they are.

I can honestly say that I do not know enough about three two one of the candidates to know if they are worth voting for or not.   (things change as I find out more and more about the candidates)

From the nine above I would vote for Hilary Groos, Jeremy Loveday and Justin Stephenson.

VictoriaVision Video - Housing Affordability in Victoria

Another one of our videos focusing on issues that matter in the local elections.

We had planned to film on the sidewalk in Quadra Village but the heavy rains drove us inside

Thinking About Comunnity Gardens, Compost and School yards

It was a very, very wet day when we recorded our first videos.

Here is Shawn DeWolfe speaking about community gardens.

My Endorsement for Mayor of Victoria...

 ... and thoughts on the other candidates.

After attending last nights mayoral question and answer session hosted by the James Bay Neighbourhood Association I am ready to declare my personal endorsement for the mayoral race in Victoria. I will be voting for Lisa Helps.

To be fair I have liked what she has been saying from the beginning of the campaign but I needed to see her and the other candidates in person before I could decide. Especially so after Steven Andrew entered the race as I have always enjoyed his reporting style and have a perception from that of someone who is a "straight-shooter" etc.

Lisa's obvious knowledge of the issues, her voting record (ie. voted against the bad bridge deal) and her willingness to share ideas and try new approaches contrasted sharply with the other candidates. I can see why people I normally don't agree with are endorsing her (see: Gene Miller's article for Focus). Her experience on council and level-headed approach is in sharp contrast to the other options available.

Dean Fortin, the incumbent was never going to get my vote. His performance last night made me want to take a shower as he wriggled out of answering any hard questions and showed himself the smooth - verging on "slippery" - politician who has led the NDP farm team for so many years. I suppose you cannot be mayor without having repeated yourself hundreds of times but his practiced pandering to the crowd rang hollow too often and his sidesteps were masterful. When asked about sub-regional sewer as an alternate to the billion-dollar boondoggle he deflected the question by pretending to be willing to consider local options but only with a set of conditions that sounded to me like they would be impossible to meet within the city limits. If we are going to solve the sewage mess we have to have all options on the table including discussing any and all options for locating processing facilities.

Ida Chong has been brought in to lead the charge from the "business community" apparently. This strikes me as odd since it seems Lisa Helps has as much or more credibility in the small business world than career politician Chong. What really stood out was what an empty shell Chong is in this race. Despite having been provided the questions in advance by the JBNA it became clear over the course of the evening that she has no grasp of any of the issues James Bay residents are concerned with. To make it even worse, early in the evening she declared herself "non-partisan" and then immediately, and for the rest of the evening, steadfastly recited a litany from the neo-con playbook for every question. Like her former boss Christy Clark she simply ignored the questions asked and restated her pledges to control spending and freeze property tax rates for four years. The insulting part of that particular combination is that several times she declared in the same breath that she would build new and improved infrastructure. Not only did she not specify what exactly she would build but she never explained how she was going to do so without ever looking at tax rates. Sad to see this nonsensical rhetoric imposed on this race.

Stephen Andrew was, as I said, of great interest to  me going in. While I have previously stated that I am not supportive of candidates for mayor who have never served on council I was willing to listen to what he had to say. Although I enjoyed much of what he said I heard nothing to change my initial position. Just the opposite. He seemed lost and continued to fall back on his habits as a journalist. He had some nice opinion pieces but he is clearly a great critic. He would have made an excellent councilor and I told him after the meeting that had he been running for a council seat he would have had my vote.

The same thoughts applied to Jason Ross who spoke eloquently and persuasively about the issues. I did not agree with everything he said but I believe he is the kind of person that we could use on council. Unfortunately he chose to run for mayor. Perhaps he is following the Ben Issit route and will use any profile gained in the mayors race to boost a run for council next time. With so many in mayors race this time I don't think that strategy will work and I certainly heard nothing from him that would lead me to believe he is anything other than sincere. Looking forward to hearing more from him in the future.

Perennial candidate David Shebib managed to behave himself and actually contribute some articulate, if radical ideas to the evening. He was actually less annoying than Chong with her stock soundbites repeated ad nauseam and he out did her on the tax question. She only proposed a tax freeze while Shebib declared that we should all simply stop paying taxes. I also found it interesting that Shebib was the only one to call out the lack of media coverage of the event last night - even if he did over-estimate the population of the city by 30,000 people or so.

Finally there was Changes the Clown. What do I say about this guy. I support his desire to fight child poverty but since that is a provincial and federal matter I find his contribution to the mayors race to be little more than an annoying sideshow. Amazingly enough he was reasonably eloquent and every time he passed on the opportunity to answer a question not related to his platform I did a silent cheer and gained more respect for his efforts. In the end I found him less obstructionist than Chong. I only wish he had used his horn at least once as it got caught in his chair several times as he tried to get up to answer questions. For that much effort it should have given some entertainment.

So there you have it. My thoughts on the mayors race in Victoria thus far.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Townscape Rediscovered - A film about the creation of Centennial Square

I am posting this 1960s film about the creation of Centennial Square because Ted and Shawn have not seen it