Policy & Planning
October 18, 2018

Reality Bites Trump Named Buildings

As reported in the Seattle Times New York City owners in a 377 condo unit tower at 200 Riverside Boulevard on the Upper West Side went to court to have the name “Trump Place” removed off the 46 story building. The judge ruled that the residents “were not obliged by contract” to keep the name, and this week the big brass letters are being stripped from the building.

Close to 70 per cent of condo owners had voted to have the Trump name banished, citing security and resale concerns associated with it. This is the fourth building in New York City to have the Trump name banished, joining hotels in Toronto, Manhattan and Panama City in ditching the association.

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Charleson Park, Saturday, while I escaped for a few hours from the steady drumbeat of 2018 civic election tweets, robocalls, e-mail and paper flyers. The well-known bullshit overdrive.

I do have to express my disappointment that there’s no one busting photo-ops in a chicken suit. What the hell, already!  Have we grown up a bit or something?

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This is the first post from our newest contributor, #SaveChinatownYVR community and cultural advocate Melody Ma. Follow her on Twitter @MelodyMa.

The Save Our Skyline YVR advocacy group aiming to protect Vancouver’s public views and view cones issued a survey to Vancouver mayoral and council candidates to understand their positions on public views.

The future of Vancouver view cones and public views were a contentious issue during the PavCo Tower rezoning council vote this past July, and the Northeast False Creek (NEFC) Plan council vote earlier in February. The next Mayor and Council will be voting on upcoming NEFC rezonings for a Concord Pacific development, which includes buildings planned to protrude through the view cones. They can also decide to review and adjust the existing view cone policies, which was a frequently discussed topic during the debate on this topic throughout the year, as the last review was almost a decade ago.

All mayoral and council candidates were asked to participate in the survey. They were provided with all the resources and policy documents needed to answer the questions proposed. If candidates did not provide an answer, their positions based on their past voting records (if incumbent), or known public statements online or at public hearings, were included when applicable.

Any late candidate answers will be added to the website as it is received up until this Saturday’s close of polls at 8pm.

To view the candidates’ full answers to the questionnaire, click here.


The survey questions aimed to learn about candidates familiarity with and positions on tower development in light of the existing policies on public views.

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This is an election like no other. While “unprecedented” is an overused word, it seems true for this campaign more than any other since the late 1930s:

  • Only three incumbents from the previous council.
  • More new parties than most of us can distinguish.
  • Credible independents, with a receptive electorate.
  • Campaign finance rules that, with some breaking of their intentions, changed the way the game is played.
  • A tumbled ballot.

Throw in a low turnout, split voting on left and right, along with a shift to densifying neighbourhoods and a decline of voters in aging communities (thanks, Andy Yan, for that data), and you have an outcome that no one can credibly predict.

I thought for awhile that this may be an election which changes the direction of Vancouver in a way that happened in 1972 when the NPA lost to TEAM.  That marked the end (and beginning) of an era.  But my sense now is, maybe not.  While there will be some momentous decisions to come, particularly with respect to neighbourhoods that haven’t seen much change in generations, the City will continue on as it has, with Council adhering to the foundational assumptions which all previous councils, regardless of ideology, have held:

  • Large and continued investments in basic infrastructure and maintenance.
  • Reliable emergency services.
  • Gradual but not dramatic increases in property taxes, still heavily weighted to the advantage of residential over business.
  • Ongoing commitment to local-area planning – but in the context of a city-wide strategy.
  • Opportunistic levering of senior-government funding, especially for housing and transit.
  • Continued immigration but less concentrated ethnicity.
  • Disproportionate support for arts, culture and social services, providing regional-scale programs, supports and institutions.

Because we’re a rich city, we can do all that and not have much political division on the basics.  Our politics may seem extreme (and shifted to the left), but in fact we have the luxury of debating and dividing over social issues and relatively trivial interventions (bike lanes!) that keep Vancouver’s reputation for leadership and controversy intact.

After attending numerous candidates’ forums (at least for mayor and council), I’m impressed by the overall level of competence and concern among those running.  These are mostly good, sane people running for office, who care sometimes passionately, but seem capable of getting along with others.  While there are certainly characters and outliers, we’re going to be in good hands.


So who am I going to vote for?  I was avoiding a commitment, ostensibly maintaining an ‘objective’ persona for purposes of commentary.  But who am I kidding?  Already in this space I have profiled candidates I think worthy of office, and have been reported on the donation I made to a mayoral candidate (thanks, Charlie Smith).So here are some of the people I think would serve us well.

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Poll-topper Kennedy Stewart, Vancouver mayoral candidate for the 2018 civic election, has gone public with a stronger message.

I’m hoping that it’s the result of a few squadrons of analytical minds chewing away at internal polling and, well, reading the tea leaves. He certainly seems to be more confident of the potential number of voters receptive to this message.

See the poll and related material below.

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Update: things have evolved, no big surprise. The Vancouver 1st mayoral candidate has disgraced himself in my eyes, and other eyes, with a now-deleted video around the subject of SOGI education. This calls into question the judgement of candidates who ally themselves with this mayoral candidate.  I note that only one Van1 candidate has left the party over this.

I have also learned more, and revised some scores as a result. Many thanks to friends who prompted me to review some of my thinking. 

The 2018 civic election in Vancouver will ask voters to pick from a daunting list of candidates — 1 Mayor (from 21 candidates), 10 Councillors (from 71), 7 Park Board Commissioners (from 33), and 9 School Board Trustees (from 33), a grand total of 158 candidates.

Price Tags editors Ken Ohrn and Colin Stein have decided to share their personal slates and selection rationales; look for Gordon Price as he plays objective pundit on a screen near you on election night.

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