May 7, 2019

A Little Institutionalized Rant from George Affleck on Red Meat, the Mushy Middle & the NPA

In George Affleck’s world, the only thing worse than the politician who tries to please everyone is the politician who only focuses on the base.

So you can understand why the only thing to possibly vex him more than last council — in which he withstood endless punishment from a neo-leftie Vision Vancouver majority — could be this council, the least experienced in…possibly forever.

The two-time former NPA councillor, alongside friend of the podcast Rob McDowell, joins Gord to dissect the goings-on at City Hall. And if there’s one common theme, it’s that this NPA caucus is very, very different from past NPA caucuses.

No surprise — Vancouver’s favourite artisanal-partisanal political party apparently tends to shape and reshape itself every election cycle (at least according to this particular trio, who would know); the last reshaping led not only to Affleck stepping back, but resulted in a party unable to attract enough voters from the “mushy middle” to elect a mayor, and thus plunging the city into uneasy, unpredictable coalition territory.

So why *did* Affleck extract himself from the last campaign? Who’s shaping the NPA today? Is the 2022 election already looking like  slam dunk, or a problem….or both? And how many NPA councillors have an eye on the mayor’s chair. (Hint: all of them.)

Most importantly, what would he have done about the 420 coughuffle? (This is the discussion that earns us our first E for explicit content.)

We hope to have him back; in the meantime, you can hear more via his UnSpun podcast on The Orca media network with Jody Vance.

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Past Vancouver City Council candidates — and Price Talks pundits — Adrian Crook and Rob McDowell return to the podcast to give their latest letter grades to our local leaders.

And much ground is covered in the process, including Rental 100, the Broadway-UBC subway, and the back-story to the cold shoulder given to Vancouver Rape Relief’s grant request. Plus, teapot tempests such as councillor budgets, and the big mistake Kennedy made early in his mayoral tenure.

The team also ruminates on two of our North Shore governments, and their tin ears for the true needs of their communities. What to do? A few good ideas are tossed around, and one “truly awful, awful” one. (Tell us how you really feel, Gord.)

But back to Vancouver. Our esteemed duo answers the most pressing questions about our trail mix of a local government. Why should the parties caucus? Who helped the newbie councillors walk back problematic votes? Who’s filling the role of hood ornament? And how corrupt are we, really?

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From A to F, where would you grade Vancouver City Council?  This was the question posed by Gordon Price to two of “The Independents” — podcast guests and past Council candidates Adrian Crook and Rob McDowell.

In this end-of-year wrap up, and summation of standout moments in council chambers over their first two months in office, Gord, Adrian and Rob talk about all manner of hot topics, many of which will be back on the agenda (and in the Comments section and your news feed) in the new year.

Spatial justice. Consultation, the city-wide plan, and ‘clean slates’. Uncomfortable council seating arrangements, and creative alliances (ie. the “GreeNPA”). Our new mayor, and electoral reform.

Oh yes, and which outlaw was ‘most wanted’ for unspeakable crimes in the District of North Vancouver….and what’s in store for development and densification on the north shore?

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In the opening op-ed, Gord blends some historical context into the current debate over renovictions and the state of Vancouver’s mid-rise rental stock, in a profile of West End icon The Berkeley.

Then, a deep-dive interview with former diplomat — and independent council candidate in Vancouver’s recent election — Rob McDowell.  A professional adjudicator and mediator, Rob talks about his entry into the political world over three decades ago, his decision to run for council for a third time, first as an independent, and the challenges to come for the city’s divided leadership.

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