My friend Tara Mahoney, one of the cofounders of the Gen Why Media Project and an excellent (if accidental) model for how to use social media, posed a question on Facebook that elicited several cynical answers: “so what’s the general consensus - do people like Gregor Robertson?”
The responses to her survey question about the current Vancouver mayor moved me to speak. Here is my answer:
"just gonna put this out there but… he’s the mayor. and in my mind, his job is mainly to shepherd the press to issues of concern and figure out how to bring city residents together around those issues. to elicit citizenship. and i think he’s been effective in this with respect to promoting hyperlocal community development (for me, the first of many steps in any major change to a city’s landscape), sustainable living and city services (this mayor and council have gone farther than almost any other in the world in furthering a big-picture, systems-minded approach to lowering municipal costs through long-term solutions like waste management and bicycle infrastructure), and homelessness (the HEAT shelters, for example, are a real wakeup call on the pervasive NIMBYism in Vancouver’s middle-class neighbourhoods and the expense of bandaid programs and to eleviate a problem that gets worse as care for people with mental health and addiction issues is defunded). his involvement around each of these areas will have a lasting legacy. and for that reason i support him. that said, his inability to shake the yoke of local developers has been disappointing to say the least, but not surprising. and is more revealing of our city’s/culture’s addiction to fast money and myopia than it is of our elected leaders’ deficiencies."