Ex-NPA campaign manager Bob Ransford, former mayors Harcourt and Campbell endorse Robertson

Vancouver Civic Election 2011: High-profile public-affairs specialist says NPA's Anton is reckless and has a poor grasp of economics, so he's switching sides.

Former NPA campaign manager Bob Ransford has announced that he is supporting Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver in the 2011 municipal election -- due to the inexperience of the current NPA. 

"I've been impressed with Vision ... I like the fact that that they are thinking of Vancouver for the longer term," Ransford told The Vancouver Observer Monday. "The quality of the candidates at Vision are head and shoulders above the quality of the candidates that the NPA has assembled."  

Ransford, a public affairs consultant and Vancouver Sun columnist who specializes in urban land-use issues, was the campaign manager for Peter Ladner's mayoral nomination in 2008. He worked with several of this year's NPA candidates last election, including mayoral candidate Suzanne Anton. But he said Anton doesn't have a strong enough grasp of city planning to earn his support.

"[Anton's] limited understanding of planning and urban land economics scares me," he said. "I think both developers and residents alike should be concerned about her sort of reckless approach. [The NPA's] approach so far to density has been to build buildings higher. Well, higher buildings aren't the answer to density." 

Ransford also said in a press release that Robertson provided "strong, steady leadership on issues like affordable housing and public transit".

"Vancouver faces some serious challenges in the coming years, whether it's making smart planning decisions or addressing our affordability crisis, and Gregor Robertson and the Vision Vancouver team are the ones with a plan to meet these challenges head-on," he said.

On the topic of challenges facing Robertson in his re-election bid, Ransford said that the Occupy movement could pose some risks.

"I think Occupy is a very volatile issue, but I think the mayor has handled it quite smartly so far," he said. "I've seen a de-escalation of tension over the weekend." He said that the Mayor should work to see that the issue does not become any more volatile before people head to the polls election day. 

In addition to Ransford, former Vancouver mayors Mike Harcourt and Larry Campbell, have announced their endorsement of Gregor Robertson, according to a Vision Vancouver press release. 

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