One of the rare occasions where people are paying attention to the candidates in the upcoming civic byelection on October 14.

When running for office, it’s hard not to engage in the Generality of Good Intentions.  Identify the problem and declare you’ll work hard to solve it.  Without being too specific.
On top of verbal mush, however, candidates can sprinkle crunchy nuggets of nourishment – any proposal that would make a big difference if implemented and yet realistic enough to actually happen.
Two of the candidates on either end of the panel above at SFU City Conversations put forward examples.  Jean Swanson (independent but COPE supported) proposes a variable property tax.  The City couldn’t do that now, but Swanson wants increases of several percent on residential properties assessed over $5 and $10 million (‘Mansions’) – to raise over a hundred million dollars for housing and regulation of the existing rental stock.
Hector Bremner (NPA) is emulating what Gordon Campbell as mayor was good at: proposing something quite radical without being seen to.  He’d rezone the whole city at once as part of a big plan that would obviate the need for spot zoning.  And in doing so, make once-sanctified single-family zones places for multiple dwellings.  It’s what a lot of urbanists are calling for, but didn’t expect it to come from the NPA.
If those proposals were seriously undertaken, it would be the biggest change in the civic culture of Vancouver since the amalgamation of 1929 that created this town in the first place.  But they could be done.
Candidates from both ends of the political spectrum are capturing the agenda.   One might also capture a council seat.


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