Which civic opposition party has made the most noise in the first quarter of the 2014 election year?
Not the Non-Partisan Association, COPE or the Green Party. But the Cedar Party, a new citywide group based in a Dunbar storefront.
Its leader, political rookie Glen Chernen, has declared his bid for the mayoralty and also declared a legal war on the ruling Vision Vancouver party. His is the first name listed on the Feb. 14 B.C. Supreme Court petition asking for a judge to disqualify Mayor Gregor Robertson from office for not disclosing a conflict of interest — over city hall’s untendered lease of a civic building to HootSuite. Robertson responded March 10 with a defence statement that called Cedar’s petition “an abuse of (B.C. Supreme Court) process for rank political ends” and denied the conflict of interest allegation.
Chernen’s name also leads the petitioners on court documents filed March 7 that want Robertson and Vision Vancouver’s seven councillors ousted by a judge for failing to declare another alleged conflict of interest: Vision Vancouver’s alliance with alleged “real estate lobbyist, consultant and negotiator” Gary Pooni and the Vancouver Is Awesome lifestyle and culture webzine. Pooni and founder/editor-in-chief Bob Kronbauer are directors of VIA’s parent company, The Awesome Media Network Inc., and they share a downtown office. Neither Pooni nor Kronbauer are named as defendants. The package of evidence Chernen filed in court is below.
Chernen denies the court actions are gimmicks to raise Cedar’s profile. No dates have been set for court hearings in either matter. Here is my story about how courts have dealt with previous municipal conflict of interest allegations in British Columbia.
The Office of the Mayor had no comment about the March 7 filing and Pooni did not respond. Kronbauer emailed this prepared statement:
“Their legal allegations are absolutely untrue. This is a desperate attempt by a political party. We write about people and organizations who are doing awesome things in the city. We’ve made 12,384 blog posts over the last six years, including many with former NPA mayor Sam Sullivan, current mayor Gregor Robertson, and any future mayors of this city. If Chernen is elected as Mayor of Vancouver we look forward to profiling him and sharing all of the awesomeness he brings to the city. As for their other claims, we’ll be responding further through our lawyer.”
More to come as this story develops.