Just as when he dismissed concerned citizens as “hacks” and rode Skytrain two zones on a one-zone ticket, Mayor Gregor Robertson’s latest ignoring of traffic law is most revealing.
But what it shows, in my opinion, is not a flattering vision.
His Worship appears to think he’s above the mere masses. He’s not illiterate, so I could only conclude he believed that he didn’t have to exactly observe all the transit zone rules when he underpaid his fare … close enough was good enough; he’s not a political novice, yet couldn’t seem to understand how people can actually show up at “public” meetings to honestly and sincerely criticize or suggest changes to his proposals… unless they are partisan hacks.
In a radio interview Tuesday, respected city blogger Frances Bula suggested that outcomes on almost everything before Vancouver council these days seem to have been decided before any public meetings actually begin, and any “hearings” process or discussion are just a formality in what has become a rubber stamp process.
Of course, when caught and exposed publicly, Robertson has apologized and tried to downplay the seriousness of his publicly displayed personal arrogance.
The latest cycling incident is another perfect example.
The Province’s Ethan Baron, in a good piece of reporting, recounted how Vancouver’s First Citizen, ignoring a red traffic light, rode right out of the Dunsmuir bike lane directly into the path of a transit bus.
“He came around and didn’t even stop. He did not stop or look,” said Coast Mountain bus driver Michele MacDonald, a 15-year transit veteran. Apart from adding a frightening incident to her day, Robertson could also have been seriously injured, she added.
She only noticed it was The Mayor after the incident when she pulled up beside him … and at the next traffic light (he did stop!) she told him “You of all people should look left before you make a right turn on red.”
“You of all people” … Busted again! No problem … been there, done that before. So Robertson once more ap0logized … but apparently only to the bus driver.
Baron reports the City’s Chief Magistrate, when interviewed, was reluctant to admit wrongdoing. He said he wasn’t going AGAINST the red light, which was red, but argued it was only meant for traffic going straight (huh?) but he was turning right … in the crosswalk, so that was okay.
I see. So you can turn right on red lights now in Vancouver WITHOUT stopping? … You just have to stop if you plan to go straight ahead? … You can also drive in a crosswalk? (And we already have known for some time that cyclists need not stop at Stop signs either … whether going straight through or turning right … or left … inside the crosswalk. And you don’t really have to wear a helmet either … it’s only a suggestion.)
This is the New Cycle Society Robertson has wrought. Try these new rules …. and if YOU ever get charged for doing any of that, subpoenae the Mayor as your “Expert” Witness.
What we’re really seeing evolving is here in Vancouver is what I call a Selectively Ruled Society: the rules only apply to certain people, not to others; laws applied to certain people, not to others; and enforcement is used as a political instrument as much as a legal one.
Membership certainly has its privileges!
For example, if a group of Vancouver motorists decided that, on Sunday afternoons, they would only stop or slow down “as needed” at traffic lights or stop signs, the crackdown would be immediate and costly. But EVERY last Friday of EVERY month in Vancouver now, thousands of cyclists totally ignore traffic laws, traffic lights, stop signs, motorists’ rights’, pedestrians’ rights’ … in a city-wide fit of self indulgence and disrespect for others: but totally get away with it. Why?
A new law about to go into force will turn me into a criminal if, even in a remote place on Spanish Banks beach, I light up my pipe and I have no doubt a bylaw officer will readily strike; but let a few dozen show up for a doobie fest on the beach some evening or a few hundred in the plaza in front of the Art Gallery, and I’d bet none would be charged. Why?
On sidewalks in some areas of the city, there are retail blanket-like shopping malls on city sidewalks up and down entire blocks, with no interference; but let a small retail business owner put a sandwich board sign or couple of tables and chairs on a city sidewalk and the wrath of regulation will soon reign down from City Hall. Why?
It’s all part of Vancouver’s “new” society that applies different rules and enforcement levels to those in favour and those who are not (that’s most of us).
Seen in this light, Robertson ignoring of rules and lack of respect for proper process is just part of the new standard in Vancouver … a “free pass” … good for all zones! … if you’re part of the “in” crowd.
If you’re not … then YOU have no rights, and they’ll force you to comply …and, of course, pay to support their bad habits.