3 min

Who I’m voting for

Change is in the air

Every generation gets its chance politically. Two decades ago, angry at police harassment and city hall bureaucracy that hurt our businesses and our community, gays and lesbians helped make Mike Harcourt mayor of Vancouver.

We got results.

Now, it’s our generation’s turn. We’ve got policing problems again, of a different kind. And rogue city hall bureaucrats are no longer even subtle in the way they pick on our community. Whole areas of Vancouver have been neglected by the politicians who, after 16 years in power, now run city hall like a private preserve.

This city faces profound challenges coming to terms with its drug addicts, its decaying neighbourhoods, its homelessness, its layers of red tape that hold back our fun options, its 1950s policing style and gay-bashing.

As COPE councillor Dr Fred Bass says, our city hall is “an underachiever. We should be leading the world in a number of dimensions and we’re not doing that. I think we stand potentially on the threshold of a very different city this election.”

My personal choices for mayor, council, school board and parks board are below. You’ll notice it includes some lesbians and gay men, but not all (see pages 14-19 for profiles of gay and lesbian council candidates and some straights who are strongly supportive of our community’s issues).

All my picks strongly support the four-pillar approach to drug addiction, the single most important issue for this election.

If you have different choices, that’s great and that’s democracy; just make sure you get out to vote for your picks.

For Mayor

Larry Campbell, COPE

Easiest voting choice I’ve ever faced. He’s a former cop, the real-life model for DaVinci’s inquest, and a man with a true vision of leadership for Vancouver. He’ll tackle the toughest problems, involve neighbourhoods directly, play hard-ball to get to genuine community policing. Smart man. Big heart. Knows how city hall really works.

For Council

Ellen Woodsworth, COPE

Long-time activist lesbian with roots in the Downtown Eastside, poverty issues, housing issues, equality issues. As grass-roots as candidates get, Woodsworth will shake up city hall. A real gem.

Duncan Wilson, NPA

Endorsed by the Funcouver campaign sponsored by Granville bar owners, Wilson has sat for nine years on the parks board. A proudly gay man with strong political instincts, Wilson promises to be a breath of fresh air on an NPA council. Good on cutting red tape, regulations discriminating against our gay bars, sex arcades, and Pride Parade. And he supports safe injection sites-right away.

Tim Stevenson, COPE

I was not the biggest fan of Stevenson at the provincial level, but I think he’d be a good city councillor. He educated himself on municipal gay issues and then marched a herd of queers before the other COPE candidates to be sure they understood what our community is up against. The gay United Church minister has become wonderfully outspoken against the use of city rules to enforce outdated moral values.

Tim Louis, COPE

He’s the first to admit that it’s taken him until this election to understand some of the particular hassles our bars, sex spots and the Pride Society have suffered. He’s big on minority communities having more say in policing.

Alan Herbert, vcaTEAM

City hall sure needs this gay guy’s brains on planning, transportation and regulation issues. This guy is a must- have.

Nancy Chiavario, vcaTEAM

Former NPA councillor who was booted out along with Alan Herbert three years ago, the gay-friendly Chiavario wants to get a handle on the excessive bureaucracy at city hall. She’s great on housing issues, too.

David Cadman, COPE

He should have been elected mayor three years ago. But Cadman is running for council this time and has a great chance at being elected. He’s big on overhauling policing to make it work for our community. And he totally gets how our community is singled out for enforcement by city bureaucrats.

Brent Bazinet, vcaTEAM

Coming on strong on Funcouver issues, political rookie Bazinet wants to trash “paternalistic” government regulation. This gay businessman has great ideas for downtown transportation, a ward system and social housing.

Dr Fred Bass, COPE

He’d champion citizen initiatives at city hall. And he thinks that the gay community, as a cultural community, should be getting more financial help from the local government. Before this election he was a big fan of red tape. The education he’s had from the gay community has converted him-now watch him challenge the unequal enforcement we get.

For School Board

Jane Bouey, COPE

As I said last election, “I wish I had two votes to give her.” She’s huge on making schools safe for queer youth, curriculum change. Standing up to the provincial cuts to education. In fact, the entire COPE school board team looks pretty good.

For Park Board

Laura McDiarmid, NPA

The NPA’s best listener, McDiarmid respects citizen input. This right-on dyke promises our community’s input on redesigning Nelson Park. She’s made sure our park-sex bunnies aren’t hassled by park staff. Hopefully, she’ll support a substantial monument to Aaron Webster and 911 phones in Stanley Park (though not path lighting).

Gareth Kirkby is Managing Editor for Xtra.