Monday, July 11, 2005


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside


Well I had quite the chuckle when I read Columnist Allan Garr's latest opinion piece when he states that both COPE and the NPA are becoming unglued over the announcement that Mayor Larry Campbell is retiring. He goes on to mislead readers when he articulates that the Friends of Larry Campbell/Jim Green have better fundraising abilities, broader support and better organizational expertise than the NPA and COPE.

Ok I hate to admit it but Mr Garr really did make my day with his latest column. It had my friends and I howling over its zaniness. In particular, the comment that the NPA and COPE were becoming unglued had us doubled over with laughter. It was quite the journalistic stretch. Really Mr Garr I hate to say it but I must. It seems to be you who is becoming somewhat unhinged.

Its laughable when Garr claims broad city support for the Friends of Larry Campbell/Jim Green group. Their Friends website has only been able to post the names of 70 people who were/are willing to publicly endorse the efforts of the Mayor and Jim Green. This is out of a population of 500,000 City of Vancouver citizens. Even then it took from February 15,2005 to the present time to attract these smallish in number Friends. I'd say this is a strong indication of the level of non-support the current Mayor and Jim Green have.

In regard to organizational abilities, I'd say the fact that COPE at its recent AGM attracted some 300 members, shows them continuing to enjoy strong public and organizational support. Likewise for the NPA who attracted 700 members to vote in their nomination meeting in June. Claiming the Friends to be at the same level as the NPA and COPE in organizational strength just shows Mr Garr to either not care abot his writing or he might be losing it.

In reality, COPE and the NPA are way farther ahead than the Friends group on many fronts.

In terms of Fundraising, I'm reminded that COPE just recently hired paid staff and have almost paid off the considerable debt, which Mayor Campbell and Jim Green saddled them with. I also re-call that in June the Mayor and his Friends had to cancel their latest fundraising effort because of poor ticket sales. Nor have they hired any staff. Nor do they have an office. And their website is never updated and of a rather poor quality. They don't even have their own membership list. In fact, they stole COPE's, including outdated ones.

The NPA with a membership fee of twenty five dollars with over two thousand members re-inforces that fundraising isn't a problem for them. In fact, at a recent NPA fundraiser where Councillor Peter Ladner displayed his leadership abilities, over 500 attendees at $160.00 a pop enjoyed the rousing speech delivered by Mr Ladner.

Since Columnist Garr does not use any credible evidence to back up his outrageous claims, I can only deduce that he, like Frances Bula of the Vancouver Sun is willing to fabricate stories in order to gain journalistic favour with certain politicians. Even if it means misrepresentation of facts. Tsk Tsk Mr Garr.

Jamie Lee Hamilton