Tuesday December 12, 2006
Sam in a jam
By BILL TIELEMAN
Public opinion is the thermometer a monarch should constantly consult.
- Napoleon Bonaparte
Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan is in serious trouble.
That's the only conclusion one can draw after 24 hours last week uncovered a mystery public opinion poll about the mayor, his policies and potential opponents in the 2008 election.
We still don't know who conducted the poll by Justason Market Intelligence in late November.
But we do know the questions are designed to find out what Vancouver voters think of the increasingly beleaguered mayor and if they would prefer to replace him in the next election.
We also know it wasn't conducted by Sullivan's ruling Non-Partisan Association or the two opposition parties Vision Vancouver and the Coalition of Progressive Electors. Nor is the mayor's office responsible.
Since 24 hours broke this story Friday the mystery has deepened. Did a Sullivan supporter poll to find out how unpopular the mayor is? Could it be an attempt to block any effort within the NPA to get rid of Sullivan by showing he can still beat the opposition?
NPA councillors Peter Ladner and Suzanne Anton both say they are not involved, as does Marty Zlotnick, the NPA backroom powerhouse and Park Board Commissioner who called Sullivan's $800,000 "eco-density" study a "waste of money".
"Not only is it not me but I haven't the faintest idea who did it," Anton said in an interview.
The polling questions, given to 24 hours by two readers who were phoned at home, include:
Describe Sullivan's first year as mayor in three words;
- Would you vote for Sullivan or potential mayoralty contenders Vision Vancouver councilor Raymond Louie or former councillor Jim Green, who lost to Sullivan in 2005; David Cadman, lone councilor for COPE; or Tim Louis, a COPE councillor defeated last election;
- Would you support prescribing drugs for addicts, presumably heroin, which Sullivan has already asked city staff to investigate;
- What percentage of addicts do you believe stay off drugs after completing treatment programs;
- Would you support Sullivan's "eco-density" proposal of smaller housing units and greater urban density in your neighbourhood?
- What party do you prefer - NPA, Vision or COPE? Briefly describe that party.
Rumours abound in Vancouver political circles about who could have sponsored the poll, including independent Park Board commissioner Allan De Genova, who quit the NPA in November after a fight with Sullivan, and Christy Clark, the former B.C. Liberal deputy premier who lost the NPA mayoralty nomination to Sullivan in 2005.
Messages left for De Genova and Clark had not been returned at press time.
Or was the poll done by a supporter of a potential Sullivan opponent for Vision or COPE in 2008?
So the mystery continues - as do Sullivan's troubles.