From the historic renewal of the Downtown Eastside and the Woodward’s redevelopment, to the Portland Hotel Society, to InSite, to the city’s thriving arts scene – in pretty much every big initiative to make this city fairer, more affordable and more liveable, you’ll see Jim Green’s hand at work.
It was a cold, cold Saturday night by Vancouver standards. I headed toward the Wall Centre in a state of frigid apprehension, my anxiety only partly numbed by the cold, and the knowledge that my trusty sketchbook was in my backpack.
While nearly every objective measure suggested the party I was supporting, Vision Vancouver, was about to win the city’s municipal election, a few recent polls suggested the race had tightened up sharply in the last few days. And they suggested the momentum was with the NPA, Vancouver’s right-wing civic party.
The NPA’s campaign had focused on several targets they evidently considered tempting, including the city’s urban agriculture policies, and new separated bike lanes on a few downtown streets.
In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been so worried. One of the NPA’s last public events included someone dressed in a chicken suit holding a sign that said “Homeless Chickens.” Here’s a handy rule of thumb: If, a day or two before an election, you find yourself appearing at press events with people dressed as chickens, chances are the Big Mo is with your opponent.
The TV coverage I saw was on Shaw’s Community Channel 4, which (as far as I could tell) had managed to find a panel of four white male commentators. Come on, people, what is this? A tech conference?
For a brief while, Gregor Robertson’s NPA challenger, Suzanne Anton, was ahead by several hundred votes. But then a few more polling stations reported and their positions flipped. Not long after that, it became clear that every Vision candidate was cruising to victory, and the mood at the party switched from Confidently Hopeful to Awfully Damn Happy.
Once the results were more or less clear, Anton delivered her concession speech. It was classy and gracious, and I liked the part toward the end refuting the idea of politics as a thankless job.
Now, classy and gracious are good. But just once, I’d like to see a defeated candidate really cut loose on the voters.
Speaking of speeches – if you’re ever in the position of writing a victory speech (and here’s hoping you are!), you have one big challenge: the crowd is deliriously happy. That means every line for the first five to ten minutes is an applause line.
(In my defence, a] I never claimed to be a caricaturist, and b] I was standing up and juggling a sketchpad, a beverage and a Sharpie fine-line marker.)
If you’ve ever accidentally soaked your shoes in a puddle on a freezing day, you’ll appreciate how miserable the experience can be… and how desperate you can be to get to your home, school or workplace to change into a spare pair.
When you’re living on the streets, though, it’s more than just discomfort. Cold, wet feet can quickly become agonizing to walk on – adding a big barrier to finding a job, food or shelter for the night.
And I’m going to let Kate Dugas from ChangeEverything.ca take it from here:
A few months after its launch, ChangeEverything and the people that make up the community here, made a difference in the lives of some people living on the streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with successful drive for warm clothing during a particularly bitter cold snap. Since 2006 we have used ChangeEverything.ca to collect thousands and thousands of items of warmth for folks living in the DTES of Vancouver..
Cold wet feet are a huge reason people living on the street get sick and even die in the winter. Getting clean dry socks to local shelters is a great way to help alleviate this problem. So this year we are focusing on socks!
So start looking through your closets and drawers. We’ll take mis-matched socks that are clean and in good condition. But even better, we’ll take ones that you went out and bought especially for this purpose. Reply with a comment on this post if you have leads on enormous quantities of socks, or if you just have a few pairs or even one pair to give. Each pair will totally make a difference. It’s true. Believe it.
I am also working on having a Vancity “Got Socks” account opened. Watch this space.
PS -oh and please spread the word. tweet this. add it to your facebook. emai your friends about it, heck post it to your fridge! see if your kids want to take up a collection at school for socks. whatever you can think of, the wackier the better.
I’ll be performing a stand-up set at Vancouver Twestival, the Twitter-centric fundraising event taking place Saturday, Sept. 12 from 4:00 – 7:00 pm at Ceili’s Irish Pub and Restaurant. (Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not the gentleman featured in the photo that Google Maps displays.)
I love the spirit behind Twestival – 200 local Twestivals happened last time around in cities around the world – and Rebecca Bollwitt is a total mensch for organizing it again. This year, the funds raised through ticket sales and a silent auction will go to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation – an added bonus, because I’ve been working closely with them on their Be a Superhero Facebook app and personalized video.
Get tickets and more details here. I hope I’ll see you at Twestival!
As a former resident of the West End, I’m just going to pass this news release along verbatim. It shouldn’t need saying, but the key message is this: if you’re coming to the neighbourhood to catch the fireworks, be decent to the locals.
Tuesday July 21, 2009
For immediate release
Spencer Herbert, MLA (Vancouver-West End) and West End Residents Association president Brent Granby are welcoming the fans of the Fireworks to the West End for the first of four HSBC Celebration of Lights events beginning this Wednesday, and are reminding visitors to respect the neighbourhood, and local residents.
“Our neighbourhood is impacted like no other when it comes to the HSBC Celebration of Light. With tens of thousands of visitors in our parks, and beaches it’s important for folks to remember some basic good neighbourly etiquette” said Granby.
“This a great event for tourism, and for the businesses of the West End” said Herbert. “But we can’t forget that this is happening right next to a densely packed residential neighbourhood so the needs of local residents need to be paid attention to.”
Herbert and Granby are requesting that people remember to pick up after themselves, respect the diversity of the community, keep noise to a minimum, use transit or bikes to get to the event as streets will be closed, and remember that they are celebrating in a primarily residential neighbourhood.
“As an elected leader I’m looking forward to supporting the Vancouver Fireworks Festival Society and the City of Vancouver in their efforts to put on a fabulous festival in the West End, while continuing to watch out for residents concerns about problems that can occur with an event of this scale,” continued Herbert.
Spencer Herbert, 604-660-7307
Brent Granby, 604-716-2824
The video camera you might find in your cell phone (or in your next cell phone) is typically associated with jerky video clips of drunken parties. But lately, cell phone video has taken on far more serious tasks – capturing everything from human rights abuses to the death of a young woman in Iranian street protests.
Students in this class will get a crash course in the art, science, and theory of the “pocket production” – in other words, how to make extremely short, low-tech, low-or-no budget dramatic and documentary films using cellular telephones and/or disposable digital video cameras. Included in this intensive combination skills/studies class are sections on cinematic storytelling, scriptwriting, editing theory, and visual literacy. Approximately half of the class time will be devoted to making a “pocket doc”.
$1150 / 1br – Gorgeous little gastown loft (1 bedroom), pet friendly (Gastown, Vancouver)
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Seeking eco-friendly, progressive values, urban-oriented tenant for my gorgeous little gastown loft:
625 sq ft 1 bedroom overlooking Maple Tree Square
bright, open loft-like feel:
hardwood floors (laminate)
stainless steel dishwasher and fridge
rooftop deck/bbq overlooking northshore
5 minute walk to Crab park & oceanfront
5 minute walk to Tinseltown
5 minute walk to Chinatown
secured bike room in bldg.
pet friendly (max 2)
bike storage in parkade
note: no parking stall. Great for eco-friendly people – transit to everywhere, super-easy
note: no storage units
note: no smoking (including guests)
neighbourhood is awesome
fabulous little restaurants (Irish Heather, Six Acres)
loads of non-chain shops and coffee shops
overlooks Maple Tree Square
Outdoor jazzfest, cycling races, filming, other city events just below, in summer
vibrant streetscape (tourists in summer, moderate nightlife all year)
more character than anywhere else in the city, imho!
OPEN HOUSE: Sat. Feb 14 1:30 – 4:00.
E-mail to confirm you will be coming by.
Hey, Vancouver communicators – check out this one-year term position as a communication consultant with Vancity.
There: now you’re unstoppable. You’re welcome.