The Other Jim Green...
A couple of weeks ago, 24 Hours published the first of my series of columns on the upcoming municipal campaign in Vancouver - unfortunately, in my haste to write about the grand dust-up between Christy Clark, Sam Sullivan and Jim Green, I missed someone.
The other Jim Green. Or, rather James Green, as he’s decided to be known on this November’s mayoral ballot.
Between Jim, Sam and Christy there is no lack of political experience. All have been around the block at least once and it shows in their polished spin. They know both the hot buttons and the personal hobby-horses to stay away from.
Their political masters, those shadowy figures behind the scenes, coach them to avoid the issues their supporters abhor and embrace issues that might take votes from their opposition.
However, it appears James Green, a former Delta school trustee, TV producer and long-time Vancouver-area resident (his family started one of the first cabarets in the raucous early days of the city) has no such figures talking into cell-phones and plotting his every move.
He swears that his name is an unfortunate coincidence and that he is not a straw-man for the NPA or anyone else with a Councilor Jim Green axe to grind (ahem, like Tim Louis).
This James Green figures he was elected as an independent in Delta and that he can do it again in Vancouver, especially with a good campaign and positive intentions.
His program is pretty standard. He wants to build a strong economy and decrease residential and business taxes. He wants to deal with homelessness and drug addiction. And, finally, he wants to review creative solutions to the transportation crisis that threatens to cripple Vancouver. Nothing that we aren’t already hearing from the NPA and Vision Vancouver.
But there is some innovative stuff when you dig deeper: joint ventures and public-private partnerships – and some pretty gutsy alternative revenue generation methods.
There is a certain sweet naiveté to his claims that he can work with all sides and build our town up to become that shining city on the hill. But, maybe voters are getting tired of the polarization that has taken over City Hall like their big brothers in Victoria and post-Gomery Ottawa.
Maybe he has a point. Certainly Sam Sullivan thinks that is the case and is trying to build a team that can move the NPA past those games.
And perhaps his skills as a high school teacher will come in handy when the council chambers erupt in chaos. It took all of Larry Campbell’s loud mouth bullying to keep the crowds in control some nights last year. And let’s not forget how the public loved him.
So will Vancouver voters buy his respectful brand of politics? The original Jim Green doesn’t think so and lumps him in with the other publicity-seeking second-rate mayoral candidates that litter the over-long Vancouver ballot.
But his candidacy will certainly stir things up a bit – just in case you thought this fall’s municipal campaign was looking boring.
Published today in 24 Hours Daily