Monday, November 27, 2006



Today, his worship, Mayor Sam Sullivan introduced his Project Civil city report to Vancouver citizens, which he postulates will address public disorder on our streets, combat homelessness and restore public confidence. These lofty goals he hopes to achieve in time for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic games. His implementation plan has set goals of reducing disorder and homelessness by 50% in our city.

Outstanding looming questions that his report doesn't adequately address is why is the Mayor waiting until 2010 to realize his outcomes? Another concern is how will his 50% reduction philosophy be measured? Does the 50% reduction philosophy refer to just increasing criminal charges against poor people for public disorder?

Since Mayor Sam Sullivan came into power, many caring, progressive and forward thinking citizens of Vancouver, honestly believed his worship had the compassion, commitment and ability to ensure a civil, caring and just society for all Vancouver's citizens, including its neediest ones. As I mentioned a few weeks ago the Mayor has disappointed a significant number of former allies and supporters. Whether he can overcome this obstacle remains to be seen.

The Mayor though with his civil city report appears to be treading into further dangerous territory. In my opinion, pushing for the police to have even greater powers is concerning. His lobbying for them to have greater authority to approve charges sets a dangerous path. Currently, charges must be approved by crown counsel who have the expertise in matters of law. Normally, the Police are trained to ensure public safety prevails and Crown is entrusted to ensure a lawful society remains intact for citizens.

The Mayor in his report appears to muddle things. Most noticeably, and troubling, he champions our City moving toward an authoritarian and police state and citizens must be concerned over this.

Don't forget the Mayor has been the biggest champion of a philosophy called 'harm reduction' which anybode can now see has created harm production. If the Mayor truly wants Vancouver to re-establish itself as a model city for the world, unfortunately, he may need to move on to ensure this dream becomes a reality.

While Mayor Sullivan had capable skills and even admirable ones as a City Councillor, unfortunately, they appear unsuited to being Mayor. Citizens deserve a Mayor who is politically decisive, who listens to community minded people and sets in motion achievable action plans for the betterment of society. Instead, our Mayor has turned over political leadership to government bureaucrats who are unaccountable to the public. In politics this is a no-no and Mr. Sullivan will pay the price for this.

Sam Sulliivan had a glorious opportunity to solidify his political support in this City and quite frankly, and it pains me to say this, in one year since being elected, he appears to be blowing it all away.

In his Civil City manifesto, he continues to champion expanded Injection Sites and free Heroin distribution centres even though as we can now see, this hasn't helped our most troubled citizens nor has it improved the quality of life for those who prefer to live in a civil society. In fact, it has created an uncivilized city.

Mayor Sullivan had opportunity after opportunity to appoint a key person to spearhead a special committee to oversee and guide Vancouver's most troubled neighborhood, the Downtown Eastside. He chose instead to invite law breaking citizens to confer with him while ignoring law abiding citizens who try to improve the fortunes of the oldest neighborhood in the city. His continued support of Harm Reduction has led to an out of control Parasitic Industry which feeds off the vulnerable, weak and poor.

The only aspect of Mayor Sullivan's report which has any merit is the desire to re-think Institutional care from a perspective that is grounded in humane, compassionate care. This humane, compassionate care model is ideal for those with major mental health issues including those living with severe drug addiction problems. Unfortunately, this one aspect of an otherwise indecent proposal is too little and too late.

Since assuming office, the Mayor addressed pet issues of his, instead of addressing the most glaring, pressing and persistant ones. He took his advice from a City Manager who is paid close to three hundred thousand dollars a year. Being paid such a handsome salary, you would have thought, she might have advised the Mayor not to turn over political decision making to her. Judy Rogers, the city manager, must now share some of the blame for the City spiraling into an abysmal mess. It continues to be an ugly, troubled and mean city.

The only possible solution to the city's woes is for some political leadership to emerge. So far this scenario appears unlikely as the members of the governing NPA Council have sat willingly silent while the Mayor has slid from one crises mode to another. The only thing that they can be assured of if they don't start acting independently or stepping aside from under the Mayor's shadow is that they will all go down together on the sinking ship, Sullivan.

Jamie Lee Hamilton