Sam, Jim and Christy - Game On!
Three big names are being bandied about to replace the big shoes of departing mayor Larry Campbell, although none can match his uncanny ability to connect with electors.
Sam Sullivan, Christy Clark and Jim Greene have all taken very different paths to municipal politics and represent vastly different visions for our City.
What follows is Part 1 of your 2005 municipal politics guidebook, starting with declared mayoral candidates. Over the next few months, I’ll be examining the various council candidates and their competing visions for the City.
Let’s start with Sam Sullivan, the longest serving current City Councilor in Vancouver and a candidate for the NPA mayoral spot. Sam is no stranger to tackling tough issues head on. He led the 2003 kNOw Wards campaign and pulled together a diverse group of allies who believed that a ward system would serve to divide the city. Throwing his own money behind the project, he took responsibility when an 11th hour radio spot snafu placed the campaign outside election advertising rules.
Sam, a quadriplegic since a skiing accident at 19, supports innovative solutions to the downtown drug problem, a position that has often placed him in hot water with other NPA members. A federal conservative from the progressive side of the ledger, Sam’s supporters in his campaign range across the political spectrum.
Next up is Christy Clark, a Port Moody resident and former BC Liberal Deputy Premier who is going up against Sam Sullivan for the NPA nomination. While a surprise candidate to many observers, her re-entry to elected politics comes as no shock to those who know politics runs in her veins instead of blood.
First elected in 1996 as a BC Liberal MLA, Christy’s activism in politics extends back to her childhood and she is often credited with a major role in the re-build of the BC Liberal party in the 1990s. Backed by prominent BC Liberal fundraiser, Martin Zlotnik, Christy counts many key BC and Federal Liberals among her supporters.
Whether you view her candidacy as a serious challenge for the mayor’s seat or a serious attempt to keep her name in the news, she will inject a level of glamour and interest to a campaign that, until now, lacked punch.
Finally, there’s Jim Greene – the erstwhile Friend of Larry Campbell. With the shattered pieces of COPE scattered around his feet, Jim Greene is betting that his new Vision Vancouver team will bring together the rational factions from NDP-aligned COPE along with other progressives in Vancouver. Given the levels of personal distrust among the left-wing set in town, Jim Greene is probably one of the best to re-build that coalition after the bitter feuds of the past three years.
No stranger to controversy either, Jim has a well-developed career outside of politics as a University-level Anthropology professor. A proud draft-dodger, Jim has lived in Canada for over 30 years and, like Christy, simply can’t stay away from politics – most recently he ran against Gordon Campbell as a provincial NDP candidate in 2001. Jim Greene, like Sam, holds a strong passion for downtown eastside and poverty issues, as well a commitment to sustainable development in Vancouver.
Christy and Sam will have their showdown at the NPA nomination meeting slated for September 24th. On September 25th, the race begins!
As seen today in 24 Hours Daily