Make up your minds!

Listen, we know politicians are always saying one thing and then doing another.

There’s even a delightful word for it that does a grave injustice to comfy summer footwear — flip flopping.

Councilor Jeanne Harris let Mayor Tim Leavitt have it this month when he did what she saw as a surprise vote on the light rail sales tax.

But several observers remarked to this maven about how they were surprised that not one, but two, of Vancouver’s finest elected officials would pull a 180 in the matter of one week.

This time it was over the parks levy set to go before the voters in November.

During a workshop discussing the ordinance on the 11th, the levy seemed to have unanimous support.

“I have no problem putting something out to voters,” Councilor Bill Turlay said.

Councilor Jeanne Stewart wanted to know if the extra money that would be freed up in the general fund, should the levy pass, could be promised to go to public safety. But the city manager and others explained to her that the city council shouldn’t/couldn’t forcefully dictate budget decisions that would be made by future councils.

So she said OK.

“If people want to maintain the quality of parks, and shift it to a new line item on people’s property tax… I’ll advocate for 35 cents (out of $1,000 assessed value),” Stewart said.

Flash to June 18, when the public hearing and vote happened. I wasn’t taking notes, because I was there for the fireworks stuff happening later and assumed another 7-0 vote was a foregone conclusion.


Instead, Stewart asked the same questions about funding public safety (and got the same answers). In the end, both she and Turlay voted against putting the vote to the people.

I’m always curious when people are against a vote. Especially when they are the most vocal in calling for a vote in other areas, such as light rail.

I’m a fan of the approach: If you don’t like it, vote no. If you do like it, vote yes. Democracy at work.

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