Monday, April 11, 2005



Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside

It was with interest that I read in last week's georgia that Councillor Jim Green took exception over comments made by Straight publisher Dan McLeod, concerning favortism regarding Green's former boss, Premier Glen Clark.

The tiff erupted over a motion that Jim Green was promoting which would effectively remove a longstanding policy which ensured that all newspaper boxes in the city must apply for permits and pay a prescribed fee for the right to place their boxes on city property. Green's motion was to allow city staff, the discretion of picking and choosing who received these permits. Apparently, Mr Clark's group had placed their boxes all over the city without first obtaining the proper permits or paying the appropriate fees.

Mr McLeod of the Straight, concerned over this blatant attempt by a city councillor of using his political office to help a friend, voiced his concern. He questioned why a new paper was being given special treatment over a number of longstanding papers, which played by the rules. Mr McLeod, leveled that Councillor Green was in fact, displaying cronyism toward a friend.

Mr. McLeod hit a bulls eye. Councillor Jim Green appeared to be using his political office to bestow a benefit to a newsgroup (24 hours) headed up by his former boss and good friend, Mr. Glen Clark.

What happened next was Councillor Green and his less than charming sidekick, Mayor Larry Campbell, took offense to being exposed and immediately lurched into attack mode. These two men resorted to childish behaviour, calling Mr. McLeod and other councillors disgusting names. City Councillor Anne Roberts who was chairing the meeting tried valiantly to bring control to the meeting.

Mr Green in a last ditch effort of saving face, informed Mr McLeod that he sued the NPA once and wasn't afraid to do it again. Mr. Green, using a flimsy excuse that Glen Clark was never his boss, but had in fact, been hired by an-order-in-council of the provincial cabinet.

Councillor Jim Green should know better. He knows very well, during his days of being chief organizer at the Downtown Eastside Residents Association, that Mr Clark who was a key minister to the Mike Harcourt government, came calling. Clark and Green traveled to the southside of Chicago, USA, to study a banking system down there that Glen Clark desired to open up here. The bank became known as the failed Four Corners Bank.

Mr Green, long before the bank was incorporated as a crown corporation or a financial institution headed up planning meetings for the bank. This started in 1992 after Mr Green left his job at DERA. Of course some may well say before he was pushed out of DERA.

During 1991, now Councillor, Jim Green, was under extreme pressure to resign from DERA. This was the time of a staff revolt and investigation regarding misuse of public funds at DERA. Staff morale was very low and a major firing had occurred.

The late Lawrence Bantleman, who taught Mr Green everything there is to know about social housing and housing co-operatives was unceremoniously turfed from his job of being Green's mentor. This careless disregard of a highly respected staff member outraged other staff.

What happened next was unusual. Staff at DERA went on a wildcat strike. Instead of displaying leadership at this critical time, Jim Green instead chose to flee the city. He holed himself up in a isolated spot on the island owned by stalwart union leader, Homer Stevens.

The administrative assistant to Jim Green, Karen Sorensen, despite numerous attempts to contact him, proved fruitless. Ms Sorensen, a highly respected union leader, while being on the job only for a short few months, was left cleaning up the mess that Jim Green left behind. Karen Sorensen, consulted with union leaders and together they managed to calm things down. The picket line came down and discussions started over the firing of Mr. Bantleman.

Mr. Green upon his return, promptly deep six-ed his highly regarded administrative assistant. Mr. Green was non plussed that the firing of his former ally, Mr Bantleman, may be overturned.

This act by Green enraged community members, most notably Ken Lyotier, who took a leadership role in demanding to review the DERA financial records. Mr Lyotier as a member of DERA had the right to peruse the books upon reasonable request.

Mr Green, feeling the heat, decided it was time to take up the offer from Glen Clark to head up community planning meetings for the proposed new bank. He moved on to the Four Corners. Mr Lyotier was given a key position by Jim Green to sit on the board of directors of the Four Corners bank.

Forwarding back to the recent development which just took place at city council, hopefully, my readers may now have a better understanding of why Councillor Jim Green has threatened to sue Straight publisher, Mr McLeod. Jim Green though is wrong to assert that Glen Clark was never his boss or that Clark ever hired him.

Most importantly, and quite sadly, Councillor Green's actions to favour friends and insiders is an affront to the basic premise of political integrity.

Perhaps its time for Councillor Jim Green to once again, move on.

Jamie Lee Hamilton