Monday, February 07, 2005


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside


In a dramatic general members meeting of COPE held yesterday, party stalwarts appeared to embrace COPE Councilor Fred Bass' message to the mayor of Vancouver, Larry Campbell. In the message, council's most gentlemanly councilor--Bass--appealed directly to the Mayor-- asking him to stop acting like a trojan horse and lead a united COPE into the next election.

Upon hearing the message and the applause it garnered from the COPE membership, Mayor Campbell and his sidekick, Councilor Jim Green immediately left the meeting. Where the two went off to is anybody's guess. I'd say though, since the Princeton hotel and bar is a mere block away from the meeting location, chances are Mayor Campbell and Councilor Green wound up there to plot their next move.

What is clear though about the response from Mr Green and Campbell is so typical of these two men. Whenever thy don't want to hear what others may have to say, they simply vanish and plot revenge from wherever it is that they wind up.

From my vantage point I'd say the COPE gig is up for Mayor Larry Campbell and Councilor Jim Green. They have attempted to rule the roost with-in the COPE party, while conveniently disregarding the COPE platform, what other COPE councilors or members believe in or have to say. If Mr Campbell and Green don't get it together soon, COPE will have no choice but to revoke their memberships.

So what happens next?

For starters Mr Campbell will lead a new group into the next municipal election. Its pretty clear, his group will run in opposition to COPE Councilors Tim Louis, Fred Bass, Anne Roberts, David Cadman and Ellen Woodsworth. His allies will include Councilors Jim Green, Raymond Louie and possibly Tim Stevenson. The latter is only a possibility since he is running in the May provincial election and it is far from clear whether he wins that seat.

Moreover, Mayor Campbell has approached a number of women to run with his group. His hope is to soften the bully image others have of him. Included among his requests are for GREEN school trustee Andrea Reimer and former COPE mayoral candidate, Carmela Allevato to join him. Apparently, COPE park commissioner Heather Deal, has also expressed a desire to join the Friends of Larry group.

My feeling is that Trustee Reimer will say no. Ms Reimer has many female supporters and these women are concerned over Mayor Campbell's bullying style. Ms Reimer only needs to seek the advice of departed police board member, Kelly MacDonald, to find out what its really like working alongside Mayor Campbell. Carmela Allevato will say yes because she desires to sit on council. Chances of her winning are poor. Ms Deal, a very good friend of Councilor Green will say yes. My feeling is that while she topped the park board election two years ago, voters still do not know her well enough to vote for her.

Friends of Larry will run other candidates and the most likely of them is Am Johal, another close associate of Mr Green's. Other names surfacing include, Collingwood Neighborhood house president and Yes for Wards backer , Kerry Jang. Included in the A list names is Little Sisters owner and gay activist, Jim Deva. I'm not sure though if the hugely popular Deva will say yes.

Mayor Campbell believes that by creating an ethnically diverse and broadbased coalition, he has the ability to paint his opposition as either being too far right or too far left. Strategically, he will position himself in the centre of the political map. As many politicians know, this is where most voters see themselves.

Will it work?

I'd say only if COPE or the NPA allows it .

For certain, look ahead for a shifting political map with many plots, curves, twists and turns. Interesting times ahead indeed?

Jamie Lee Hamilton