Thursday, November 13, 2008

Larry, did ya lie?

Pivot Legal Society is blaming all three political parties -- NPA, Vision, and COPE -- for keeping the big secret.

Pivot issued a press release yesterday announcing that they have complained to the Provincial Ombudsman that the City of Vancouver did not have "legal authority" to conceal information from the public about the $100m Olympic village loan guarantee. “This complaint targets all three major municipal parties represented on council right now,” said Laura Track (pictured at left of above photo taken this year), housing campaigner with Pivot. “To our knowledge, not one councillor stepped up and voted against holding the meeting in secret or insisted on public debate.”

The Pivot press release leaves me wondering if former Vancouver mayors Larry Campbell [Vision] and Philip Owen [NPA] lied to us on Remembrance Day. The two ex-mayors held a press conference at Olympic Village to announce that the public should not be suspicious, that a secret in-camera meeting about a $100M deal is the way things are supposed to be done.

But Pivot tells it differently. Pivot claims in their complaint that City of Vancouver bylaws allow in camera meetings only when discussion of the “acquisition, disposition, or expropriation” of land or improvements would harm the interests of the City -- and the $100m loan guarantee raised none of those issues.

Larry, did ya lie?

Track says there are better ways to spend this $100M and other guarantees for developers which will come out of the City's Property Endowment Fund. “We’re told that the Property Endowment Fund has now been emptied to support the development of luxury condominiums. If the City can use the PEF to subsidize private Olympic developers then it can certainly use it to finance social housing."

“We need public debate on how the Property Endowment Fund is spent, not secret meetings and bailouts for Olympic developers”, says Track.

To get a link to the original complaint, go to

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