Tag Archives: mayor

Vancouver Election 2014 – Initial Reaction

I’m sure none of the parties are entirely happy with yesterday’s election results. Vision retains control of City Council, with Mayor Gregor Robertson and 6 councillors re-elected, but suffered big loses on Park Board and School Board. The NPA and Greens both gained seats, but neither had the breakthrough they were looking for at City Council. COPE, and all of the smaller parties, didn’t even come close to electing anyone.

Only 11 of the 27 candidates I voted for won, but I’m reasonably satisfied with the results. Vision still has a majority at City Council and can continue to push improvements to bike infrastructure and the urban realm. I hope that Adriane Carr will find a way to join Vision on the Greenest City plan instead of opposing it and everything else.

I plan on doing a deeper analysis of the election results once the spreadsheets are published to find out what happened (my big questions are listed at the bottom), but here is a quick look at the numbers.

Turnout

  • 25% more people voted this election than last time. That is huge!
  • In 2011 there were 144,823 votes cast. In 2014 there were 181,707 – 36,884 more.
  • Turnout will likely still be less than 50%, but take it with a grain of salt.
  • People who move away or die are rarely removed from the voters list, inflating the number of registered voters and skewing turnout percentages.

Vancouver mayor votes past 4 elections
Mayor

  • Gregor Robertson did well, winning with 83,500 votes (6,500 more than 2011).
  • The narrower victory was a result of COPE not a stronger NPA.
  • COPE’s mayoral candidate, Meena Wong, received nearly 16,800 votes.
  • The NPA gained 15,300 votes, but its vote share only increased by 1%.
  • Nearly 3,000 voters chose “None of the Above” for a mayor, twice as many as in 2011.

Vancouver_2014_city_council_votes
City Council

  • 6 Vision, 3 NPA, and 1 Green
  • Only change is Melissa De Genova replacing Tony Tang.
  • Adriane Carr did amazingly well, attracting 74,077 votes from across the spectrum.
  • Carr’s popularity didn’t extend to other Green council candidates, who weren’t close.
  • Randomized ballots are needed. Top 5 vote getters have ABCD names.
  • 3 elected NPA candidates outpaced their Vision rivals, but didn’t extend to full slate.

Vancouver_2014_park_board_votes
Park Board

  • 4 NPA, 2 Green, 1 Vision
  • Vision got wiped out.
  • Lots of contentious issues: whales in the aquarium, community centre independence, bike lanes in parks.
  • Most disappointed that Brent Granby missed a spot by 1392 votes.

Vancouver_2014_school_board_votes
School Board

  • 4 Vision, 4 NPA, and 1 Green
  • Closest race last night: Ken Clement misses last school board spot by 255 votes.
  • Incumbents Woo and Denike (expelled from NPA for homophobic views) are trounced.
  • After just missing spots in 2011, NPA elects Ballantyne and Robertson.
  • Not sure why newcomer Joy Alexander did so well, other than listed first alphabetically.

Note: All charts show candidates receiving more than 10,000 votes.
Asterisks (*) indicate incumbents.

Some questions I’d like to answer.

  • How important is being one of the first candidates alphabetically?
  • Where are the regional pockets of support (harder to tell with open voting)?
  • Why did Vision do so bad on Parks Board?
  • Which candidates had the same supporters? See 2011 council correlations.
  • Was vote splitting a problem?

My Endorsements for Vancouver’s 2014 Election

plan
Vancouver’s election is only 10 days away. Advanced polls opened yesterday, so you can vote now. The only thing holding you back is choosing who to vote for. Vancouver’s ballot will likely be the most intimidating ballot you’ve ever seen. You have to pick 1 mayor, 10 city councillors, 7 parks board commissioners, and 9 school trustees from a list of 108 candidates! Don’t worry, I’m here to help.

I’ve read all the platforms, quizzed the candidates on twitter, participated in the reddit AMAs, read their survey responses, and attended a debate. Here’s my take.

Disclaimer: I’m heavily biased toward bike-friendly, environmentalist, hipster candidates who will improve Vancouver’s livability. The issues most important to me are transportation, the environment, the urban realm, and the tech sector. I recognize affordable housing as Vancouver’s biggest challenge, but I don’t think there is much the city can do to address it.

The Parties

  • Vision – The incumbents lead by Mayor Gregor Robertson. Running on their track record over the past 6 years, including separated bike lanes, Greenest City, laneway housing, and food carts. I love what they’ve done for Vancouver. Platform includes pushing the Broadway Subway plan, opposing Kinder Morgan pipeline, and creating affordable housing (all of which they have little control over). Criticized for not consulting enough with neighbourhoods and causing too much change.
  • NPA – Main challenger. Right-wing party lead by Kirk LaPointe. Promising to “consult more” which could mean anything or nothing. Platform was only released yesterday, but it includes more outdoor swimming pools, attracting oil and gas companies, and goodies for people who drive. Doesn’t like separated bike lanes.
  • COPE – Former left-wing powerhouse, now ghost of its former self. I used to volunteer and support them, but the party has been wrecked by infighting and their best candidates have left for Vision, PEP, and OneCity. Platform includes a $15 minimum wage, a bus pass for every Vancouver taxpayer, and a tax on empty homes.
  • Greens – Up-and-comers. Won first council seat last election and poised to win more this time. Riding wave of environmental concern, but with few environmental ideas of their own. Likes to oppose things, like the Broadway subway and new density, which I would argue is an important part of making Vancouver more sustainable. I voted for Adriane Carr last election, but regretted it as she ignored environmental issues.
  • Cedar Party – Bike haters who enjoy suing the city (and losing).
  • Vancouver First – Oddball party of homophobic, former-NPA school trustees, a disgraced community centre chair, and a former-Olympian.
  • Public Education Project (PEP) – The best COPE school trustees now running under a new banner.
  • OneCity – One candidate. RJ Aquino, formerly of COPE. One of my favourite candidates from the last election.

My Endorsed Slates

2014_endorsements

Mayor (1)

  1. Robertson, Gregor (Vision) – Vancouver’s hip, cycling mayor

City Council (10)

  1. Reimer, Andrea (Vision) – leads the Greenest City initiative
  2. Deal, Heather (Vision) – food cart champion
  3. Aquino, RJ (OneCity) – best ideas on affordable housing
  4. Sharma, Niki (Vision) – passionate about social justice
  5. Meggs, Geoff (Vision) – transportation guru
  6. Louie, Raymond (Vision) – finance wiz
  7. Jang, Kerry (Vision) – focused on housing homeless
  8. Tang, Tony (Vision) – seniors advocate
  9. Stevenson, Tim (Vision) – provocateur of Russians
  10. Barrett, Lisa (COPE) – former Bowen Island mayor and bike racer

Parks Board (7)

  1. Granby, Brent (Vision) – Super knowledgeable, favourite twitter follower
  2. Tull, Coree (Vision) – Double Rainbow Dodgeball founder
  3. Loke, Trevor (Vision) – Young and running for re-election
  4. Rumbaua, Sammi Jo (Vision)
  5. Girn, Naveen (Vision)
  6. Evans, Catherine (Vision)
  7. Romaniuk, Anita (COPE) – advocate for riverfront parks and restoration of streams

School Board (9)

  1. Bacchus, Patti (Vision) – current chair and outspoken advocate for public schools
  2. Bouey, Jane (PEP) – former COPE
  3. Clement, Ken (Vision)
  4. Giesbrecht, Gwen (PEP) – former COPE
  5. Lombardi, Mike (Vision)
  6. Payne, Cherie (Vision)
  7. Wong, Allan (Vision) – former COPE
  8. Wynen, Rob (Vision)
  9. Alexander, Joy (Vision)

Alternates – Some other decent candidates:
City Council

  • Fry, Pete (Green) – Strong advocate for Strathcona and cyclist, but anti-development
  • McDowell, Rob (NPA) – only NPA candidate that responded to HUBs bike survey.

Parks Board

School Board

  • Oak, Mischa (Green) – LGBTQ advocate

Vote Vision Vancouver – Reason #3: Urban Agriculture

Trout Lake Farmer's Market
Reason #3: Urban Agriculture
Vancouver has always been a strong supporter of urban agriculture. The 100-mile diet was developed in BC, many restaurants showcase local ingredients, and the Farmers Markets have been growing since 1995. Vision Vancouver has continued that support by making legislative changes to support the farmers markets, increasing the number of community gardens, and allowing Vancouverites to keep backyard chickens and bee hives.

This shouldn’t be a political issue, but for some reason Suzanne Anton and the NPA have decided to attack Vancouver’s food security policies, even though former NPA mayoral candidate Peter Ladner is one its biggest supporters.

Vote Vision Vancouver – Reason #2: Separated Bike Lanes

Dunsmuir Bike Lane Opening Day
Reason #2: Separated Bike Lanes
From a numbers perspective, Vancouver’s separated bike lanes have been a huge success, and continue to be even as the weather cools. However, that hasn’t stopped some hotheads from turning bike lanes into a political issue.

Vision Vancouver deserves full credit for having the courage and conviction to create not one, not two, but three separated bike lanes in downtown Vancouver. They’ve also doubled the cycling budget, added traffic calming to residential neighbourhoods (especially along bike routes), and tendered an RFP for a bike share program.

It’s difficult to pin down the NPA’s position on bike lanes. Suzanne Anton originally voted in favour of the bike lanes, but later rescinded her support. The NPA takes offence at being labelled as anti-cyclist, but have suggested a moratorium on downtown bike lanes, ripping out bike lanes, removing bike lanes during the winter, and licensing cyclists. I’m not sure how to classify their plans as anything but anti-cyclist. They need to read this post: Debunked: Arguments Against Cycling.

The future of Vancouver’s cycling infrastructure will be one of the largest outcomes of this election. If the NPA wins, we could lose the separated bike lanes in the downtown. If Vision wins, we will likely see more bike lanes, a bike-share program, and a continued shift away from automobiles.

Vote Vision Vancouver – Reason #1: Street Food

Roaming Dragon
Reason #1: Street Food
I think the single biggest improvement to the city in the past 3 years has been the expanded food cart program. Don’t get me wrong, JapaDog is great, but it is so nice to see more than hot dog carts on the streets of Vancouver.

There are so many awesome new food trucks. My favourites are Tacofino, Cartel Taco, and Arturo’s – I can’t get enough Mexican fusion and they’re all within a few blocks of work. Even if you’re not a taco-fiend like me, there is something for everyone, including a vegan food cart – Loving Hut Express, and too many others to list here. If you’re looking to keep on top of Vancouver’s burgeoning street food scene, I highly recommend Vancouver Street Eats – they even have an iPhone App.

Even though our street cart program is only 2 years old, the quality and variety won high praise from The Guardian’s international food critic. Good-bye hotdog, Vancouver’s street food culture is growing up.

Poll Shows Mayor Gregor Robertson With Huge Lead

The latest polling numbers released in the Vancouver election are good news for Mayor Gregor Robertson. Thankfully, Suzanne Anton’s anti-bike lane agenda seems to be floundering.

What interests me is the analysis of the numbers done by Frances Bula in the Globe and Mail – Poll shows Gregor Robertson in lead but predicts divided council

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson starts the 2011 municipal campaign with a comfortable lead, but could end up heading a divided council that could stall the agenda of his Vision Vancouver party, a new poll suggests.

What a flawed conclusion. The raw numbers from the polling are as follows:

Mayor
Gregor Robertson 68%
Suzanne Anton 32%
Parties
Vision 37%
NPA 29%
Green 19%
COPE 11%

I’m guessing the conclusion that this would result in a “divided council” was made by taking the party support and assuming that it would correlate with the number of councillors elected from each party. But that’s not how the voting system works.

Each voter gets 10 votes for city councillors, to distribute as they see fit, but only the NPA is running a full slate of 10 candidates. COPE and Vision are running a co-operative slate of 7 and 3 candidates respectively, and the Green party only has a single candidate for Council.

Only the last sentence of the G&M article addresses this:
“since Vision and COPE are supporting each other and their supporters are likely to vote for each others’ council candidates, the two parties had combined support of 48 per cent in the recent poll.”

This is key. That and which other 9 candidates the 19% of respondents backing the Greens will vote for.

Because the pollster doesn’t ask about 2nd choice preferences, it’s difficult to judge what combinations of candidates voters will choose. But there is one indicator – the vote for mayor, which Gregor Robertson leads 68% to 32%.

Conveniently, if you add up Vision + COPE + Green party support, you get 67%. So, it’s highly likely that supporters of those parties will vote for candidates from the other parties. The only problem is there are 11 candidates and only 10 spots. That will likely allow 1 or 2 NPA candidates to squeeze in, but is unlikely to lead to a “divided council”. I wonder if Frances Bula was just trying to add some drama to the election.