Friday, November 11, 2011

From tent city to the Village?

Occupy Vancouver's next rally, on Nov. 12 at 1:30 p.m., is a pro-housing march after a noontime speech by University of British Columbia Urban Studies chair Elvin Wyly on "the Vancouver housing shortage (and) overpriced condos" and a 1 p.m. speech by Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver mayoralty candidate and City Hall Watch-er Randy Helten on how campaign finance and corporate influence have tainted city hall.

Where will that pro-housing march go?

The Occupy Vancouver website doesn't show the route, but I'm going to guess: could this be the day that Occupy Vancouver meets the Olympic Village?

The Olympic Village, which went into receivership on Nov. 17, 2010, is now known as the Village on False Creek and remains the most controversial luxury housing development in Canada. The Olympic Village's lender once was a division of Fortress Investment Group, the debt-laden, Wall Street hedge fund that, through a subsidiary, foreclosed on victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

According to the fifth point of a six-point motion passed at the Nov. 10 general assembly (see below), Occupy Vancouver members would like to move to the Village, into the portion of units that were originally to be set aside as non-market, social housing. The inventory of 252 was halved when Vision Vancouver decided to give unionized first responders, teachers and nurses first dibs. Residents of the other half of the so-called affordable units have been burdened by a confusing and costly utilities regime run by a company with ties to Vision Vancouver.

In 2008, a different OV -- the Olympic Village -- changed the course of Vancouver politics and enabled Vision Vancouver to win election to Cambie and 12th.

It can be argued that Occupy Vancouver, though leaderless, has become the dominant force of the Nov. 19, 2011 civic election, dictating how both Vision Vancouver and the NPA have campaigned.

If Occupy Vancouver visits the Olympic Village, will that cause Vancouverites to ask more questions about the billion-dollar bailout, such as how much it's really costing taxpayers and could the money have been better spent on housing the homeless?

Passed by General Assembly, Nov 10, 2011

That if BC Housing, Judy Graves, or any representative of any housing
agencies come to Occupy Vancouver to offer housing options to those on
site, that members of this tent city collectively, and in solidarity
with one another and the movement, negotiate as a block for housing
with the following, or other, stipulations.

1) That those receiving housing from the tent city at occupy Vancouver
be housed in the same vicinity as each other, and ideally, the same
building, to maintain the vital community that has grown here, and
continue the movement in accessible, local, social space.
2) That those housed continue to maintain collective bargaining rights
in dealing with building managers and non-profit housing providers
regarding tenancy rights issues once housing has been provided. This
is to ensure adequate and appropriate housing options for those with
families, pets, or other ‘barriers,’ and to avoid slumlords,
infestations, and restrictive conditions preventing guests.
3) That BC Housing or some other entity provide daily transportation
funds or provide a shuttle bus between the new housing and the
Vancouver Art Gallery, to ensure accessibility within the Occupy
Vancouver movement.
4) That the encampment at the Vancouver Art Gallery continue, in order
to, amongst other things, allow those who have not yet been provided
permanent housing an interim safe, warm, and dry space to sleep and to
connect with housing agencies to secure housing.
5) That this housing be at the site of the promised, but lost, social
and affordable housing at the Olympic Village.

6) Before a final decision is reached, it would be brought to the
General Assembly for approval.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Things to make you go, "hmmm...."

Mayor Moonbeam
So who produced the clever satirical Mayor Moonbeam video that is going viral on YouTube?

I asked NPA campaign manager Norman Stowe -- who emailed me the link on Nov. 8 out of the blue -- and his response was: "Not ours… but I love it."

It's a well-produced satire. Slick, you might say. Do I believe Stowe? No.

Notice how the video doesn't use the Vancouver Canucks' logo, but it does include the Olympic rings and the Stanley Cup. All three are trademarked, but usually those who dabble in the world of satire are not afraid to poke fun at corporate logos, regardless of the distance of the corporation's head office.

Dear Freevancity -- the YouTube account name attached to this video -- contact me and tell me more, please!

UPDATE (Nov. 10 morning): Evidently the producer spent too much time worrying about the Canucks' logo and not enough on getting permission to use the music. New York-based MPL Music Publishing Inc. -- part of Beatle Paul McCartney's empire -- found out and was displeased. The video is gone from YouTube. The "Mayor Moonbeam" tune was from "Mr. Sandman," which was written by Pat Ballard and recorded by the Chordettes in 1954.

UPDATE (Nov. 10 afternoon). "Mayor Moonbeam" lives! Dave Teixeira, who I originally knew as wrestling impresario Dave Republic, has preserved the video on his site. You can enjoy "Mayor Moonbeam" here.

"Bum, bum, bum, bum..."


When Mayor Gregor Robertson did a media scrum on Nov. 5 in the aftermath of the death of Ashlie Gough, he did it with his back to the wall of the Vancouver Art Gallery, near the building's Hornby Street entrance.

I asked him if he would go to the protest camp, a couple dozen metres north and around the corner on the VAG north plaza.

He said:

"I've been on this site many times over the last couple of weeks. Every day over the last several weeks."

Robertson did not go to the Occupy Vancouver camp on Saturday night to offer his condolences or diplomatically and kindly tell the campers that he supports their message but not their mess. Instead, he walked across the bike lane he built and got in the passenger side of a waiting car.

Within minutes, I asked Chris Shaw and Eric Hamilton-Smith, both involved with Occupy Vancouver. They told me they had no recollection of seeing Robertson on the site.

I Tweeted and blogged about it, encouraging any witnesses of a Robertson visit to Occupy Vancouver to tell me what date and time he was seen.

No response.

I asked City of Vancouver spokeswoman Wendy Stewart who referred me to the Mayor's assistant Lara Honrado who did not respond. So I contacted Vision Vancouver spokeswoman Marcella Munro on Nov. 8, who said:

"I know he has been down, but I will need to check with him re. specifics."

UPDATE: On Wednesday afternoon, I got an email response from Honrado, who said:

"As the Mayor has said, he has been to the Occupy Vancouver encampment several times without the media present. There are no photos of these visits but they have occurred throughout the duration of the encampment."

Still no answer to the simple question about precisely when did the Mayor visit.

I continue to wait.

Coun. Suzanne Anton, his mayoralty opponent, has visited at least twice. Randy Helten, a former Vision Vancouver member and mayoral candidate for the new Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver was there on Sunday. Shaw told me that he saw Coun. Geoff Meggs there on Wednesday.

"He went through liked greased lightning," Shaw said.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, who comes from the same left side of the political spectrum as Robertson, visited Occupy Seattle. McGinn, in fact, seems to have achieved what Robertson can't: an uneasy truce with the Occupiers. The protesters in Seattle have permits including a lengthy list of bylaws they must respect while exercising their right to free speech!

McGinn even hung out with them and gave them coffee.

So I am no further ahead in my quest to answer this question:

Has Mayor Gregor Robertson really visited the Occupy Vancouver camp on the north plaza of VAG? If so, when? Does anyone have photos?

The Juice Man and The Powdered Juice Man

Mayor Gregor Robertson is on heavy rotation on CKNW with advertisements pumping up Vision Vancouver council candidate Tony Tang. The ad says that, like the Mayor, Tang is a businessman. Funny, Tang's bio mentions he has an engineering degree, has been a volunteer and that he has a "rambunctious dog." But it makes no mention of being involved with any business. The ads are in such high rotation, that one has to wonder: is the fate of Vision Vancouver's majority riding on Tang's shoulders?

Tang has the same name as that famous juice that sustained astronauts (and us kids in the 1970s).

Robertson is the infamous co-founder of Happy Planet Foods, whose juices have only been ingested on this planet.

He says he owns less than 10 percent of the company and was noncommittal when I asked him if he made any effort to persuade majority owner Earth's Own Food Company of Burnaby from closing the office on Powell Street in Vancouver last February. Read my stories about the Mayor of Vancouver's former Vancouver company here and here.

Monday, November 7, 2011


City of Vancouver lawyer Ben Parkin has a 2 p.m. date on Nov. 8 with a judge at British Columbia Supreme Court in the Law Courts at Robson Square, near the Occupy Vancouver camp at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Or is it 9:45 a.m.? The chambers schedule (below) that includes the case known as City of Vancouver vs. Sean O'Flynn-Magee, Jane Doe, John Doe and other unknown persons (File S-117498) says it's in the 9:45 a.m. session.

City of Vancouver wouldn't hustle this matter before a judge when people aren't expecting? A stealth application to avoid an occupation of the court? UPDATE: The "Attendance List for the 8th Day of November, 2011" still lists the application in the 9:45 a.m. session, but the more authoritative "Vancouver Supreme Court List" shows the city application is to be heard by Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie in room 55 at 2 p.m. (MacKenzie was the judge who presided over the Basi-Virk B.C. Rail corruption trial, which occupiers might call a case of 1% crony capitalism.)

Website List

City of Vancouver's bid to end Occupy Vancouver on the docket

Parkin's mission, as ordered by Mayor Gregor Robertson and city manager Penny Ballem, is to convince a judge to order protest structures removed from the Vancouver Art Gallery where the protest began Oct. 15. The city also wants the authority to empower police to enforce the Land Regulation Bylaw on VAG property, which is leased by the city from the Province of British Columbia. Robertson and his governing Vision Vancouver party are desperate to end the protest camp for fear that NPA challenger Suzanne Anton will gain in popularity as the Nov. 19 election approaches.

The legal filings do not explain why Sean O'Flynn-Magee was chosen. Occupy Vancouver, like all the Occupy Wall Street clones, is supposedly leaderless. Magee is a digital journalist in Vancouver and here is his Facebook page.

The legal filings (below) spell out the reasons for the city's injunction and the laws it wants to enforce. Specifically, the Land Regulation Bylaw says it is illegal, without permission of the city manager, to:

(d) construct, erect, place, deposit, maintain, occupy, or cause to be constructed, erected, placed, deposited, maintained or occupied, any structure, tent, shelter, object, substance, or thing on city land.

The city is also pleading sections of the Bylaw that ban lighting fires and burning materials; depositing garbage outside of garbage containers; and removing soil.

This may not be a slam-dunk for the city. In fact, it's plausible that the protesters' lawyer could introduce a City of Vancouver Tweet sent Oct. 15 via Hootsuite as evidence that city manager Ballem permitted the protest!

@CityofVancouver #occupyvancouver rumour you will be kicked out at 10pm false, but pls allow others nearby to sleep tonight by lowering PA volume!

The city did not become serious about regulating activity on the site until Nov. 4, the day after a camper nearly died of a drug overdose and the day before a camper did die of an apparent drug overdose.

Even if the court approves the city's application, the Occupy Vancouver protesters vow to stay and resist authorities. Stay tuned.

City of Vancouver's application for a court order against Occupy Vancouver

Check the record, Robertson

Politicians say the darnedest things, don't they?

Case in point. Mayor Gregor Robertson on CKNW on Nov. 7, 2011 when Bill Good hosted a debate between the incumbent and his challenger, NPA Coun. Suzanne Anton. The dominant topic for the hour-long debate was the future of the Occupy Vancouver tent village protest, 21 storeys below the CKNW studios, at the Vancouver Art Gallery's north plaza. Host Good challenged Robertson on his support for the protest, which began Oct. 15, 2011. The exchange is at the 11:00 mark on the CKNW audio vault file.

Good: "Mr. Robertson, you did say the occupiers could stay indefinitely. Why did you say that?"

Robertson: "That's not correct, what I said was..."

Good: "You did say that."

Robertson: "No, you can check the record on that. The protest could be indefinite. People have a right to protest in Canada, that is our right. The encampment has never been acceptable. It's against city bylaws and we've been clear about that all along."

Oh, really, Mr. Mayor?

I checked the record.

Below are your quotes from Jeff Lee's story in the Vancouver Sun on Oct. 18, 2011. The headline was "Occupy Vancouver can continue if it remains peaceful: Gregor Robertson."

The story remains online and it contains no clarification or correction.

“Obviously safety and cleanliness is crucial to the protest continuing, and violence won’t be tolerated,” Robertson said. “It is premature to say in terms of timelines [how long the protest will last] given the magnitude of this protest globally. I think we’re close to a thousand cities with these protests.”

“I believe this movement has a lot of support and kudos to the protesters and police for keeping it constructive and peaceful,” he said.

“I think everyone’s waiting to see what takes shape in terms of outcomes and agendas. There is a lot of energy around it and it has yet to be seen what results from this.”

The key word in the well-meaning Occupy Wall Street-inspired protests around the world is occupy. Occupy means "to take or hold possession or control" and "to reside in as an owner or tenant." In the context of the Occupy movement, protest and camp are one and the same. From these protest camps, the followers aim to create a movement. Mr. Mayor, you encouraged and enabled the protest camp, even when occupiers said they were gearing up for a long stay outside VAG. You accepted the camp, despite the bylaws that exist. Bylaws that could have afforded you a chance to strike a constitutional balance between public order and free speech. Don't hide from it. Now you're trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube and it's not going to be a pretty end.

Here's a suggestion. And you can thank me later for this. Charter a BC Ferry, invite all the occupiers for an all expenses-paid cruise up the coast to the campground at your Hollyhock getaway on Cortes Island and feed them as much juice and soup from your Burnaby-based Happy Planet Foods company for the rest of winter. Set-up a round-the-clock Livestream feed so that Vancouverites and others around the world can watch the general assemblies and other activities for months to come.

#OccupyHollyhock would be cheaper in the end and create the peaceful outcome you say you want.

Vancouver Police have more important things to do than a mass arrest of protesters. (Like solving the gang war.) Crown counsel has more important things to do. (Like reviewing the charges recommended against 60 alleged Stanley Cup rioters and looters.)

You have more important things to do. Like clowning around with your fake Movember mustache and campaigning for re-election on Nov. 19.

Because you surely don't want to go down in history as just a three-year NDP MLA and three-year Vision Vancouver Mayor. And you surely don't want to hear these three words: "Mayor Suzanne Anton."

More roof problems at B.C. Place

More trouble for B.C. Place Stadium, where the Sept. 30 reopening was anything but smooth.

The French headquartered cable erection company hired by a Quebec steel subcontractor is suing for almost $6.5 million. B.C. Pavilion Corporation, the taxpayer-owned stadium’s operator, is named as a defendant.

Freyssinet filed a lawsuit in British Columbia Supreme Court on Oct. 31, charging Canam with breach of contract, breach of statutory trust and equitable fraud. Problems have been festering for many months. Here's my update from Aug. 4.

PCL Constructors and Canam Group were awarded a $122,864,581 contract on Nov. 18, 2009, according to the Freyssinet court filings. Canam hired Freyssinet as a subcontractor for $30,124,377, “but were unable to agree on all terms.”

"Nevertheless, Freyssinet commenced work on the improvement in July 2010 and on Aug. 23, 2010, Canam and Freyssinet signed a subcontract, backdated to Nov. 20, 2009," said the lawsuit. "However the subcontract was signed without Canam and Freyssinet agreeing on the cost of the erection work budget."

Freyssinet claims Canam failed to keep work on schedule, directed labour and equipment without Freyssinet’s knowledge or consent, interfered with Freyssinet foremen and “permitted rates from Montacier International, a company related to Canam, for labour for erection of the cable which were higher than agreed upon.”

Canam announced in November 2010 that it would “follow an alternate method of erection of the cable, without consulting with Freyssinet and without Freyssinet’s consent.”

"Through 2010, payments were made by Canam on account of the invoices, but Canam then wrongfully ceased making payment to Freyssinet."

Freyssinet says it is owed $6,466,892 by Canam, which claims Freyssinet owes it $24,137.756.44.

A Sept. 29, 2011 letter by Canam alleged: "Due to Freyssinet's negligence in preparation of the cost budget and the construction methodology, there was a significant cost overrun which Canam was required to bear in the fixed price contract with PCL."

"Canam intentionally and wrongfully made the demand to recover alleged damages for financial losses arising from the completed work. This was a wrongful, tortious act constituting equitable fraud."

As of Oct. 19, certificates of completion had not been issued for the head contract. The stadium reopened Sept. 30.

The Freyssinet claims have not been tested in court. I am waiting for responses from Canam and PavCo.

Penny says pack up now, protest later

A letter has been posted at the Vancouver Art Gallery's north plaza where Occupy Vancouver's camp was erected Oct. 15 and 23-year-old Ashlie Gough of Victoria died Nov. 5 of an apparent drug overdose.

Below is the text of the letter from city manager Penny Ballem. It is not a court order, but a request. Occupy Vancouver general assemblies have previously reached consensus that the campers will not respect requests from the city that are not delivered by officials during a general assembly. See the Twitter photo of the City of Vancouver notice by @DorianBanks at this link.

"To: The persons occupying the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza and surrounding grounds.

The City has long supported the right to gather and carry out peaceful protest. The Occupy movement is a global protest addressing a number of important issues of concern to our citizens.

However, the safety of people is paramount. Much work has been done to cooperatively find solutions to safety issues on the Occupy Vancouver site. However, over the last 4 days, there has been an escalation of safety concerns in the area of fire safety, injection drug use, the presence of pests and other hazards. Saturday there was a death in the encampment and on Thursday November 3 there was a near death du to drug overdose.

Staff have been directed to end the encampment in a way that can be done safety and peacefully while respecting the right to protest.

The Vancouver Art Gallery site will remain a site where protest is welcomed and the city commits to retain the stage and electric power for the sound system…. at the ongoing Occupy Vancouver protest.

However by this notice we ask you to take your tents, belongings and any other items or structures off the city immediately so that the safety concerns can be addressed.

Signed this 7 day of November, 2011

Penny Ballem, city manager

The letter comes two days after Mayor Gregor Robertson held a media scrum near the Hornby Street entrance of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Robertson did not go to the camp. He claims he has been there, but I have received no evidence from the city or independent witnesses that he has been at VAG's north plaza between Oct. 15 and present day.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Occupy Vancouver notebook: He came but did not see

He arrived by car after 8 p.m. and walked across the bike lane he built.

He stood to the left of the soft-spoken police spokeswoman and waited for her to finish. The left is where he is most comfortable.

His back was to the Vancouver Art Gallery wall as he faced the cameras and microphones. His handlers were nearby. Deputy city manager Sadhu Johnston was in the shadows.

“A young woman has lost her life and it is a terrible tragedy, our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and her close friends,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Obviously really, really tragic circumstances. This loss of life and the overdose a few days ago clearly demonstrate that the situation here at the encampment has deteriorated.

“I have directed the city manager to expedite the appropriate steps to end the encampment as safe as possible, with a safe resolution being absolutely critical.”

Will it be a court order delivered by police that ends the Occupy Vancouver protest camp which began Oct. 15? He did not say.

The Mayor was finally taking action and talking semi-tough because of 23-year-old Ashlie Gough’s death. She had been found in a tent, unresponsive, around 4:30 p.m. Police wouldn’t confirm that she died of an overdose. Gough (right) was from Victoria. (This is her Facebook page and here is her hi5 page..)

She was dead on arrival at hospital. Coincidentally, the punk band DOA played a 5 p.m. gig on the steps of the old courthouse amid a surreal scene as dusk turned to darkness on the crisp Saturday night.

An area of the plaza bordering on the Howe Street sidewalk was cordoned-off with yellow police tape. Several civic workers in fluorescent safety vests over their street clothes stood around, smoking cigarettes inside the tape, keeping guard. Some wore Occupy Vancouver buttons. Some wore Remembrance Day poppies. Some wore both. Police inside the area spoke with some of the distraught punk and hippy campers -- some call them squatters -- as they consoled each other.

One man toting an “End Tent City Now” sign walked along the Georgia Street sidewalk, oblivious to the situation unfolding. Protesting the economy is good, but squatting is not, said Greg Burke. He was followed by a camper with a makeshift sign of his own that said “LOL” with an arrow pointing to Burke's sign.

“I have no political aspirations, I don't belong to any political party,” said Greg Burke. “I’m a 23-year old disenfranchised youth who works two jobs to bust my ass to have the things I have and I don't think a bunch of people can come here and have everything handed to them."

Reporters gathered near a fire truck, waiting for someone from Occupy Vancouver or the Vancouver police or fire departments to talk about the tragedy. Suddenly a man was grabbed by police and forcibly removed from the plaza. Cameras rolled. Then the 9/11 Truthers appeared, blocked cameras and shouted “corporate media scum!”

The conspiracy theorists were blocking the media from reporting on a potential case of police brutality. Fancy that!

A group of well-dressed women in their 50s and 60s stopped by, on their way to a birthday party and posed for photographs with the police officers, who stood with their backs to the scene. One of the cops took the photo for the giddy ladies. They all smiled but the misery continued behind them.

The band played on. There was slam dancing and pot-smoking and beer drinking. Did they know one of their own had died?

Occupy Vancouver member Lauren Gill, an addiction services worker, was shocked that the show went on.
“It’s a real tragedy, is it the breaking point? No,” Gill said. “I’m sure we’re going to support each other through this.”

But it may be the breaking point for the Mayor, who tried to say all the right things for a Mayor whose future will be decided by voters in just two weeks.

“We want the protest to continue, the encampment is not okay anymore,” he said to the media. “We can have a vibrant robust protest here, but having people die on this site, having ongoing issues that really undermined the bigger picture is not okay.”

The Occupiers stood on the edge of the media scrum, wondering aloud why he hasn’t solved homelessness and why other drug overdoses elsewhere in the city don’t attract similar attention.

The Mayor, who instructed top officials to take steps to end the camp, did not take steps of his own towards the camp. He did not go there to offer his condolences to the friends of the dead woman or repeat his media lines.

Safety would not have been an issue. There were enough police to guard him. The Occupiers, who declared the plaza a “self-ruling autonomous zone” insist they’re peaceful. They even cheered him at city council on Nov. 1 when he thwarted mayoral opponent Suzanne Anton’s motion to shut down the site.

That was then, this is now. A woman is dead. There is an election campaign. The Mayor has an image to protect and a job he wants to keep for another three years. Opinion polls before Nov. 5 indicated he’s in a can’t lose race for re-election. Now he’s in a can’t win situation with a tent village that he originally enabled.

So he walked south and crossed the bike lane he built and departed in a car on Hornby Street at 8:20 p.m.

* * * * *

During the scrum, I asked the Mayor if he would walk down the sidewalk, turn the corner to the tent village and meet the residents. I also asked him if he had been there yet.

He didn’t answer the first part of my question, but said: “I've been on this site many times over the last couple of weeks... every day over the last several weeks.”

“I have not seen him once,” said Chris Shaw, a volunteer medic and well-known anti-Olympic activist and author. “The Mayor is playing politics with a tragic incident, if it happened two blocks away he would not have cared.”

“I've never seen him down here,” said Eric Hamilton-Smith. “I'm down here a lot, most of the time I'm usually in the tent getting some work done. I can't speak to the fact that he says he's been here. I don't want to call him a liar, but I've never seen him personally.”

I’m hoping the Office of the Mayor will disclose the days and times of the Mayor’s Occupy Vancouver visits. There is no reason to keep such visits secret. If I’m forced to file a Freedom of Information, it could be a long wait.

Anton visited the camp on Oct. 31. She returned there on Nov. 6 to pay condolences to Gough.

* * * * *

Hamilton-Smith had an interesting take on Gough's death.

“Today's incident was a clear reflection of that, the fact there are so many marginalized people in society where they have lost hope and hate themselves so much where they can't find any fulfillment in life so they turn to drugs,” he said.

“Look at the people who become discouraged, the unemployed. that labor market transition from unemployment to exiting the labor force.”

Said Shaw: “It had nothing to do with it being on this site, if it had been somewhere else the person would have died.
“(Robertson is) playing politics with a tragic indecent and trying to use it as an excuse to shut down the camp. that is an embarrassment to his campaign.

* * * * *

The man who overdosed Nov. 3 on heroin at Occupy Vancouver was treated and released from St. Paul’s Hospital only three hours after he was revived from cardiac arrest, according to volunteer medic Leah Pagels.

Volunteer medic Mathew Kagis was first on-scene Nov. 3 and performed CPR to save his life.

“Going into cardiac arrest, you should be under observation for 24 hours,” Pagels said. “That to me is ridiculous that somebody overdoses and is released back into the street because they’re stable. That’s basically sending him back to die.”

He returned to Occupy Vancouver and was taken to Vancouver General Hospital on Nov. 4 after medics became concerned with his condition.

Pagels said the man is an aboriginal from Arizona who lost a leg in a freight train incident. He waited five hours for treatment at VGH and was transferred to detox for a week. She said his name is Tyler, but declined to give his last name.

“I find him very pleasant, a guy that hasn’t been given the best opportunities in life,” she said.

* * * * *

Shaw is one of at least three candidates for office in the Nov. 19 civic election involved with the camp. He is running for the De-Growth party for city council. Housing activist Gill is a candidate for council, under the RICH banner (Rent Is Crazy High). Darrell “Saxmaniac” Zimmerman is running for the mayoralty. He is the infamous stuffed lobster-toting, saxophone player who disrupted the Board of Trade mayoral debate on Oct. 25.

They could be doorknocking, mainstreeting, fundraising and baby-kissing. They’re at Occupy Vancouver instead, trying do do what they think is the right thing for society.

* * * * *

The coroner investigating the death was Kate Corcoran, a former Vancouver TV reporter who won awards for her work at CKVU and CTV 9.

* * * * *

Volunteer medic Danika Surm was moved emotionally twice on Nov. 5. First by 10-year-old aboriginal Ta'kaiya Blaney's beautiful song (watch it here) and later by Robertson's media scrum.

"Gregor, I am not that political. I am also not supportive of violence. But honestly, Gregor, today I could have taken you down. I was that angry. And I was that ashamed of you. If only you could be as astute as Ta'kaiya...and she is only 10 Gregor. Shame. Shame on you. Shame on everyone that wishes Occupy away because of this event (this death). Find a better reason. Don't shut it down because you suddenly feel guilty about a death in your city. It's just another death, why start feeling guilty now?"

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