It was Kermit the Frog who first opined: "It's not easy being green."
And if you doubt that amphibian's aphorism, just ask Mayor Gregor Robertson. When it comes to his Greenest City strategy he can't get no respect, or as much as he wants to. And, more to the point, he can't keep the media away from that other issue-which I will mention in whispering tones so as not to wake any of my colleagues: "THE STANLEY CUP RIOT!!"
For sure there were dozens of folks lining up at the council committee meeting last week supporting the Greenest City strategy. But beyond the converted this stuff is too often considered "too aggressive" what with backyard chickens and those "goofy" wheat fields. And you can still get the boys at the Jericho Tennis Club wound up by mentioning the @#%#@ Hornby Street bike lane.
Besides Vancouver is hardly the regional leader on these issues. When it comes to the proposal to recycle food waste and reduce the amount of junk per capita we are taking to the landfill, the title goes to Port Moody with a population about onetwentieth of Vancouver's. How humbling.
And even when people write about the wisdom of recycling banana peels, they grumble (lightheartedly I expect) about the clouds of fruit flies that swirl around their compost bins and fall into their Merlot.
Nonetheless, the mayor and his team would have us focused on that rather than drift to THE STANLEY CUP RIOT!! There are those troublesome questions about whether or not Robertson read the report on the 1994 riot and just how many cops the VPD deployed and why won't the chief tell you the number anyway?
I actually asked Chief Jim Chu that very question on Sunday to which he replied: "If I told you there were 350 what difference would it make?" To which I replied: "I haven't got a clue." After all what do I know about police deployment?
As you may know there are several investigations into the riot. City staff are doing an internal inquiry. As are the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Service, TransLink, the provincial Liquor Control Branch and the VPD. Then there is the external inquiry headed up by former Nova Scotia deputy justice minister Doug Keefe and former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong (what the heck was Christy Clark thinking when she appointed him).
Last Friday an op-ed piece by Robertson appeared in the Vancouver Sun. It seemed to be an attempt to get the media off his case on the riot and talk about, I don't know, the new food carts and recycled food scraps. The headline was "Let independent review of Game 7 riot run its course."
It didn't work. Monday morning Robertson was on The Bill Good Show talking about- well-the riot. A new factoid emerged. Robertson now knows the number of police involved. How many? Not saying.
The next day a story appeared on the front of the B.C. section of the Globe and Mail. The headline: "Not enough police at riot, mayor says." This was accompanied by a flame-filled photo, one cop in riot gear and another busting some kid.
Then the lede: "Vancouver's mayor now says the police were understaffed in dealing with the Stanley Cup Riot last month and that the chief of the Vancouver police agrees."
The control freaks in the mayor's office went ballistic. This is not news.
They apparently got on the phone to the paper's editors in Toronto (as if that ever does any good).
In fact, if that story seemed a bit familiar, it is because, two weeks earlier a story on the front page on the Globe's national edition quoted Robertson saying: "Chief Chu has said-and I agree-that in hindsight there should have been more police deployed that night."
And then Wednesday there was the police board meeting with Robertson and Chu expected to address you know what-again.
What can I say? Chaos is so much more titillating than community gardens.
Kermit was right.