Friday, July 01, 2005


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside


Well all that is left is the crying. While it is now official that Mayor Campbell is retiring, all questions point to whatever happened to this unique personable character who held out such promise for the citizens of Vancouver when he swept into power in 2002?

To say that he wasn't wildly popular would be a fabrication. He was then but it just goes to show you what a difference a day can make. Or in this case, just short of three years.

For starters, as most everyone has stated previously, Mayor Campbell thought the job was one which he was well suited (no Armani's here). He believed he could do whatever it was that he desired. He soon found out that he had to work with 10 city councillors who were elected along with him. They also represented the electorate. This meant also treating them as equals. Moreover, he would need to consult with more than just his good buddy at the time, Councillor Jim Green.

Simply put he did not I think have a grasp of what it took to be Mayor. Perhaps he wasn't used to dealing with live people. Perhaps he didn't understand that in politics, everything doesn't just happen, it is arranged.

While most everyone loved his straight shooting ways, almost immediately it became apparent Respect was not in his Worships vocabulary. Neither is it in Jim Green's. He seemed unable to respect differing opinions. Everything to him was black and white. Those he differed from, he called them names or his attitude became belittling or berating of them.

I remember I was excited when the Mayoral race took place in 2002. Although I was personally hopeful of Vancouver electing its first Female Mayor, this obviously was not in the cards. I thought OK I can live with another middle aged white guy in a suit at the helm because this one had great personality. I remembered his days of being Coroner. I even had contact with him. He was warm and charming. He appeared so genuine and concerned for the underdog.

So what happened?

Well it appears that we really don't know someone until they are put to the test. In the case of Mayor Campbell, his political leadership skills were put to the test. And in his own words he came up painfully short.

For starters, he did not work well with council. He detested meetings. He scorned those with different viewpoints. He was intolerant. He became a bully.

But why?

I guess sometimes Middle age Men become intoxicated with power. Just ask Councillor Green. They believe they know everything. They actually think they can do anything. They surround themselves with sycophants. And in the case of Mayor Campbell, he bought hook, line and sinker everything his good ole buddy Jim Green politically told him. But was he being set up to take the fall so Jim Green wouldn't look bad in the public's mind, when he rose up to become Mayor?

An internal source claims the two men had struck a deal back in 2002. Mayor Campbell would do one term as Mayor for COPE if Jim Green would run for Councillor. Mr Campbell agreed to pave the way for Jim Green to assume political leadership (the Mayor's chair) after the one term. There was allegedly a golden handshake.

And now, Mayor Campbell must be thinking oh why did I ever trust him. I even hired those (Mr Green) recommended to be my political aides. This ensured Jim Green had a pipeline directly into the Mayor's office. He would be steering the ship behind the scenes until it capsized. Even the Mayor's top aide Geoff Meggs knew what was going on and apparntly already has accepted another job which starts in September.

Larry Campbell came across as the bad guy time and time again. Jim Green was not on the radar screen until it became obvious that Mayor Campbell was doing only one term. This way there was no public scrutiny of Councillor Green which kept him from being in the hot seat.

Mayor Campbell surely must be thinking oh great I may not even get the coveted Senate seat because I now come across as being UnSenator like. And Jim Green who comes across as having similar personality traits as mine may get the plum of being the Olympics Mayor. But one thing you never counted on Mayor Campbell was the public perception of your personality having deep character flaws while Jim Green's personality hasn't yet been put to the same test. Was this arranged by Mr Green long ago with his good friends, Geoff Meggs and Stephen Leary, your two top political aides who continuously advised you?

A message dear Mayor Campbell in all of this is never in politics do you place 100% trust in those you consider political allies. Especially with the likes of Mr Green who adheres to the practice of political treachery. In fact he's an expert on it. Just ask anyone who has worked closely with him in the past.

And now Mr Campbell, you can add yourself to the list!

Bon Voyage Dear Sir!

Jamie Lee Hamilton