Vision Vancouver celebrates party's successes at fundraiser

Schmoozables: Councillor George Chow and School Trustee Mike Lombardi at the Vision Vancouver 2010 fundraiser.

It was billed as a chance to mix and mingle with the mayor and Vision Vancouver elected officials. Last night, at a Vision Vancouver fundraiser at Coast Plaza Hotel on Comox Street, Gregor Robertson made good on his party's promise.

Robertson entered the room to the sound of Indo-Canadian drummers and after his speech there was a dance to bring good luck to the proceedings.  The title of the evening was "Vision Celebrates Vancouver."

Following this, the mayor hung out for hours in the convention room with more than 400 people. He sampled food from a buffet which included sushi and samosas and talked with students, business leaders, developers, union representatives, activists, other politicians, constituents and media types.

People like Mickey McCleod, CEO of Salt Spring Coffee, waited for a moment with Robertson.  McCleod said that Robertson's "Green City" vision for Vancouver had convinced his company to reject offers from "all over B.C."and chosen Vancouver as the city that be home to their new corporate headquarters.  Community leaders from throughout the city talked over their issues with Vision Vancouver City Councillors Heather Deal, Kerry Jang, George Chow, Andrew Reimer and Tim Stevenson.   School Board Trustee Mike Lombardi wore a colourful "Italia" World Cup band, and expressed his support of the team.

City Councillor Geoff Meggs, who suffered a cracked vertabrae after a biking accident a few months ago, was no longer wearing the neck brace he'd donned for the last weeks at City Council.  With a slightly sheepish expression, he  admitted to giving in to enjoying the media spotlight so much that he got back on his bike a bit prematurely to join in the celebration of the inauguration of the new Dunsmuir bike lane.  His physical therapist wasn't amused but he had enjoyed it thoroughly, he said.

At least one Vision Vancouver elected official sounded battle-weary.   Patti Bacchus, looking beautiful and elegant, talked about what she described as personal targeting by a Minister of Education with a cold heart, a general accountant who can't see the children for  the numbers on a balance sheet, and a provincial government that thinks schools can be treated like miniature business enterprises. 

 "It's been brutal," Bacchus said of the drama that's unfolded in the last month over the funding of the Vancouver Public Schools. Bacchus has a child at Lord Byng and another at Total Education and said the struggle to maintain support for Vancouver's schools is very personal for her. 

A group of mothers of school aged children gathered around Bacchus and expressed appreciation for her advocating for Vancouver's public schools.

Parks commissioner Sarah Blyth was one of them.  Blyth wore a long black dress and  joked with Bacchus that she considering the idea of dating.

I spent a long time talking with the people from Salt Spring Coffee about why they had to leave Salt Spring.  They couldn't get zoning for reasons that were complicated and revealing about island politics, and gave a window into class warfare, but that's for another post.  The room had cleared by around 9:30 p.m., but some remained, although the party had been officially over since 9 p.m..

Amy and Gregor Robertson stood talking with a couple.  Amy Robertson was dressed for an elegant evening with leggings on  to facilitate the bike ride  she and Gregor would be soon taking from the hotel on Comox Street home to Douglas Park.   When asked if Robertson always rides his bike, Amy responded, "Just about always."

The last people in the room were the mayor, his wife, the Salt Spring Coffee people, a reporter, and one more person.

When all was peeled away at the Vision Vancouver celebration,  there was Mike Magee, chief of staff, finally eating a little dinner, and a handful of staff to tie things up. The guests were long gone, but the mayor and his wife remained, thanking staff and volunteers.  

Among the Vision Vancouver party goers, the Robertsons were reportedly the last to leave the hotel.

School Trustee Mike Lombardi shows off his "Italia" FIFA World Cup bracelet.

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