As you might have noticed, those commenting on ‘Civic Savvy’ – our savvyards – go mostly unnamed. That’s their choice. But they’re asked to speak frankly as insiders – something that might be lost if their names are attached, and so anonymity is respected. Here’s a guy, though, who speaks publicly as a columnist with the North Shore News and as a media and communications specialist. Paul Sullivan has lived on the North Shore since 1989, and is up to speed on who’s running there and why.
“There’s a changing of the guard as household names bow out,” he notes, and that’s opening up opportunity for the opportunists: “the one-issue wonders – NIMBYs who have no interest in solutions, just complaining about the culture and the process, even though they don’t know or care about the opportunities to engage.” Traditional long-serving leaders like District mayor Richard Walton is the antithesis of a grandstander, observes Sullivan. “He’s a coordinated thinker. Yes, things therefore moved more slowly – but there were not a lot of false moves.” Walton is one of those not running again.
Because there’s not a lot of public conversation around the election and diminished media coverage, Sullivan fears that gives the opportunists an easier chance, and subsequent councils could be led by those without experience. That’s a recipe for mismanagement. Why, he wonders, does the public devalue expertise for politicians who have to handle tough and complex issues when we wouldn’t stand for that in other professions like, oh, neurosurgery or car repair?
It’s not that there aren’t ‘serious people’ running – those who have experience on councils and an understanding of the issues from multiple perspectives. Here are some of those he identifies – without endorsement, just recognition.
Guy Heywood and Linda Buchanan, running for mayor in the City of North Vancouver.
Roger Bassam and Michael Little, running for mayor in the District of North Vancouver.
Mary-Ann Booth, running for mayor of West Vancouver.
The problem is that voters don’t know who they are.
There’s also a ballot question of interest in the District of North Vancouver: should the City and District amalgamate? Sullivan’s prediction: District voters will vote overwhelmingly in favour of a study. District Council will do a study. The City of North Vancouver will say: ‘Get stuffed.’