Above — Vancouver Courier website shows over 1,500 Facebook “likes” for the column
UPDATED: January 31, 2018
In my time as a Courier columnist, I have never received such a strong outpouring of emails, comments and social media interaction as I have on my commentary on Gregor Robertson’s time as mayor of Vancouver. In every case, those who emailed me did so for the first time. One writer claims she had never written to a newspaper in her life, but my column compelled her to write nonetheless. I am humbled by the response.
Over the past two decades as a blogger and web writer, I have discovered how important it is for readers to have their voices heard too. Each time I receive a note from a reader, whether they agree or disagree with me, I always write back.
With newspaper publishers struggling to keep papers afloat through diminishing advertising, “letters to the editor” sections have been shrinking. It is a shame, because like many I find these some of the most thoughtful comments in these publications. I have compiled these notes below here on my blog for others to read…
** Ms. Ford is a former Vancouver city councillor
I just now had the chance to sit down and read the January 18 Courier and want to tell you that I appreciate your column on our out-going Mayor Robertson very much. You nailed it with your observations and I hope you have had much positive feedback. We have all been very unfortunate to have had Robertson for as long as we did. My husband and I particularly appreciate your comments regarding the garbage on our sidewalks and streets and the down-trodden look of our boulevards – not to mention the overflowing garbage receptacles that require a call to 311 to get emptied. We used to remark that it was “all a big joke” – you can’t be the “greenest city” and not be a “clean city”. We know that is not a priority considering all the problems in our city but we sure noticed it.
We needed a Mayor without hubris, a person of integrity capable of questioning himself and his actions, who understood the weight of his responsibilities, ensuring that everything he did as Mayor was above scrutiny and for the benefit of all of the people of Vancouver. In my view, he failed to do that and we are the losers for it. I won’t comment on his personal life other than to say that you just can’t allow yourself to take your eyes off the ball when you are Mayor, no matter what situation you are in.
You are right – it will take years of hard work to recover and I’m honestly not sure if we are too late. Hope not!
Sure am looking forward to the next election but boy, how I wish I could have voted against them all just one more time. Oh, you didn’t mention the raises they gave themselves and maybe they were underpaid, but the timing was just distasteful to me when so many in the city were, and still are, struggling on our streets.
Used to be a Vision supporter years ago…
Hi, just read your column on Mayor Gregor and you have brilliantly hit the nail on the head there. Why people support this elitist, developer favouring guy has always been beyond me, keep up the good work with your keen observations on Vancouver issues, along with Alan Garr and Mike Howell, lots to ponder with upcoming mayoral election and who knows what we will get there.
Jan 18th column “us and them”
Well said and accurate.
Too many are blinded by his eco-screen when he really has seriously damaged how the city works.
I applaud some of his green efforts, namely increased recycling and greening of the city, but seriously bemoan his dictatorial style and eerie US sourced funding.
Thanks for so clearly calling him out for what are his true legacies.
Dear Mr. Klassen,
I just read your article about Mayor Moonbeam which struck a chord with me. How sad that in his 10 years in office he has failed our wonderful city, which many tourists are now avoiding because his cutbacks in funding the city & parks have resulted in litter all over the city & neglected parks. We should have realized that he was only interested in his own ego when he refused to be sworn in at City Hall & we, the taxpayers, had to pay for him to rent the Italian Cultural Centre for his first inauguration. He has divided the citizens by ramming down our necks Bike Lanes all over the city, he does not seem to understand that Vancouver is not a flat area like Amsterdam, and obviously our winters are extremely rainy like many monsoon countries.
Keep up the good work and thank you.
Courier article Re: Mayor leaves a city divided between us and them
Thank you for your article in the Courier on January 18, 2018.
I have never written to a newspaper. After reading your article I felt compelled to write.
To me what you said was so perfect I wish it could be on a billboard where everyone could see it.
I was born and raised in Vancouver and am saddened to see the downward spiral the city has been going on since Gregor Robinson has been Mayor.
I sincerely hope our next mayor can bring our once beautiful city back to its former self before Gregor Robinson ever came on the scene. He can not leave soon enough for me !!
Thank you again for your article.
Great reporting A10 Courier! Keep informing public!
I just read your article on the Mayor – excellent article and so true.
The line that resonates most with me is civic pride – Vancouver is currently strewn with litter as you say.
I have lived here for 9 years and walk enormous amounts every day either downtown or on Westside. The increase in street and park rubbish over the past short while has been staggering.
If you have ideas how to change things – I would love to hear
Gill Winckler – an annoyed resident
Your “Love” Letter to Gregor
Thanks for this article. Fantastic! The public needed this reminder of the ever-growing list of Gregor/Vision failures, lest they forgot any.
Just read your article on Robertson this evening in the Vancouver Courier. Couldn’t agree with you more and will be hoping the door will hit him in the ass when he finally leaves 12th and Cambie.
From a resident and home owner in Vancouver here’s a few more examples:
– The ‘thin street’ proposal for Marpole, Westend and Grandview Woodlands which was met with huge opposition and finally backtracked.
– Giving Point Grey multi-millionaires a very nice new private road and even nicer new driveways all on the back of tax payers.
– Sept 2017 city council voted to amend regulations so that they will no longer be required to hold public hearings before rezoning and placing ‘Temporary’ modular housing on city properties.
– Burrard Street Bridge upheaval for bike lanes when upgrading sidewalks would have suffice. Hasn’t anyone seen the Brooklyn Bridge…
– Spending millions of dollars on the Stanley Park Causeway barrier due to the unfortunate death of a cyclist. (I’m also a cyclist so not anti-bike)
– Proposal on the table to turn one lane of the Cambie Bridge into a bike lane.
– Vancouver City Council rejecting Beedie proposal on building in Chinatown on numerous occasions when it would appear they’ve fulfilled requirement that were not initially met.
– Believing some Chinatown supporters that it will continue to thrive by keeping out new development, new businesses and new money. They’re living in a dream world and I can say that as a Chinese person who has been around when it was actually relevant.
– Property owners not allowed to have any say on how to deal with trees on their properties.
– War on cars in downtown Vancouver. Parking and driving in downtown core is horrendous making it so unattractive to dine, shop, watch movies and just visit.
– City proposes 3.9% property tax hike for 2018.
These are just some from the top of my head…I’m sure there’s a lot more.
Just a brief note to commend you on the article about Gregor Robertson. Your accounting of his shortfalls was numerous. I tried to balance this off by thinking about his legacy of accomplishments. Unfortunately, like most politicians, too many promises were made that seemed to evaporate in the actually plan(s). As you also indicated the “blaming game” seemed to be a favorite strategy.
Perhaps there is a glint of vision in the infamous bike lanes. I am a biker too, but I am doubtful, we will be an Amsterdam culture too soon. Those bizarre construction projects on both sides on the Granville Street bridge and the calming project of his former neighborhood also seemed like unusual priorities. One thinks the investment could have been applied to somewhere better like the Downtown East Side.
But the biggest failure may have be in the housing crises that likely has always been a clash with his strong real estate relationships. So many years have gone by with such little progress. Although, now the Modular Home Strategy may finally be a reality. It is getting a bit of attention here in False Creek where I live. Then add to this the Opioid crisis which still appears to be going nowhere but up. What to do?
Now with the bailing of other counselors, this year may be a real game changer for the administration. Do they take a second look at housing or drug addiction? Maybe a more favorable approach to the port development, pipelines and even that crazy Viaduct. And even more instrumental the new St Paul’s hospital. It will be an interesting year in Vancouver.
PS Your radio interview on the traffic issues was also thought provoking.
Well said & bravo!
So well said!! I’m sure you left some out. I will be working hard to get better leadership elected on Council this fall.
Thanks, Maureen Charron
Great article re: Mayor Moonbeam,
Well done! At last someone with the guts to tell it like it is. Too bad the majority of NPA on council weren’t so forthright and outspoken.
Dear Mike Klassen,
This was perfectly written, parallels my feelings exactly and it made my day… thank you so very much for telling it like it is and holding back nothing… I don’t know who emailed me this article as it mysteriously arrived in my inbox, but someone out there knew I needed to read your brilliant piece.. well done Mr. Klassen! ?
AA! ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!
I pray that your TRUTH PIECE (a rarity amongst the neutered press) doesn’t cost you your job or worse than that get you silenced by a senate appointment! LOL!
Many thanks for your article “How we won’t miss you, Gregor Robertson, let me count the ways”. It summarizes all my thoughts about the mayor from the year I returned to Vancouver in 2008 and noticed his absence during the snow storm to present day.
Following were comments left on the Vancouver Courier website:
Mike Klassen, you are a rare occurrence in journalism. Excellent article. It’s rare you find someone in the media who tells it like it is. Many know of Robertson’s controversial failings, such as bike lanes, homelessness, housing affordability, traffic congestion. But you brought up so many other shortcomings the public never got to hear about. I am so glad to see the last of him. Good riddance! Hope the remaining Vision councilors who haven’t quit and who supported his failed policies do the same.
Excellent commentary from Mike Klassen. Mike remember things I forgot too.
Signed, Lysenko’s Nemesis