LAUTENS: West Van's B-Line buster has further plans in mind

The B-Line? Soon to be old news. New news: Nigel Malkin plans to ride the sticky transit issue to further challenges of West Vancouver’s town hall establishment. Or haven’t you seen the “Nigel for Mayor” buttons?

Surely you jest, I flung at Malkin, then coined a phrase: “Many a truth is spoken in jest.”

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His reply, marrying his (very English-y) wit and jaunty candor: “The ‘Nigel for Mayor’ is very real but as you all know I would not want to be stuck in a chair at council meetings. (The buttons) were made only to put added pressure on our mayor. If I do ever run for mayor, please hit me and remind me it would not be a good fit at all.”

Monday’s meeting was called to debate a motion by Coun. Peter Lambur and seconded by Coun. Bill Soprovich – and good on both councillors – that would substantially change TransLink’s B-Line plan.

Allow them equal sincere conviction: Couns. Craig Cameron and Nora Gambioli had vigorously knocked B-Line opponents, Gambioli twice demanding that Lambur withdraw his motion.

The meeting heard dozens of speakers and ran from 6 to 10:30 p.m., ending without overtime or a shootout. To be continued at council next Monday.

Malkin has mustered the most thoroughly organized pressure on West Van council and its bureaucrats in memory, if not forever, shaping a coalition of business and community leaders – what other issue has drawn the opposition of two former mayors, Michael Smith and Mark Sager, and attracted a standing-room-only crowd like last Monday’s to a council meeting? “Ordinary” West Vancouverites who may not have attended council for years, if ever.

(Interjection here on a touching example of the B-Line’s effect on Ambleside businesses. Anne Eady cites the effect of lost parking on the long-established Anna Wyman dance studio. Eady, a dancer and organizer of West Van dances, has a soft spot for the studio.)

No doubt: West Van cries out for more buses. But allocated where needed. It’s disgusting that sometimes Horseshoe Bay riders on the 257 stand all the way to Vancouver, and that elderly opera-goers to Sunday matinees boarding at Park Royal must rely on good manners for seats.

Malkin is one of nature’s outliers. Having no previous political experience, he intuitively knows the great secret hidden in front of our faces about politics: The only fun is elections.

And winning them? A sentence without parole to the most damnably stultifying, tedious, soul and often marriage-destroying activities on earth. (To say nothing of ethics, decency, morals. See next item.)

No, Malkin is an impressively organized and almost superhumanly energetic visionary. Details, actual governance – not for him.

The hours he’s spent organizing rejection of the B-Line? He’s exhilarated. Malkin: “We are down to the last five yards. We have the ball and the opposite team is worn down and tired. So it is up to four council members to stop the B-Line at Park Royal.”

His next mission? “As for the next steps, I know we must tread carefully as nothing could be as easy as the B-Line. This was so polarized and the district could not really have played their cards worse. 

“Our next target is the (2195) Gordon project,” he says. “So I have three of my team looking at it and other similar projects so we can try and find the best value for West Vancouver.”     

There lies Malkin’s potential fatal flaw: The lurking danger of over-reaching. He blandly assumes that the “team” will stick cohesively together on issues beyond the B-Line.

No movement, political party, religion, nation or Tuesday afternoon book-lovers club has, or ever will. Vocal B-Line opponents like John Cave, David Jones, Scenery Slater, Chuck Walker, Graham McIsaac, Maureen O’Brien, Jim Finkbeiner, Bob Musters and many others are individualists, not likely to dance to a single bandmaster.

But the challenge to arrogant TransLink and the pressure on council would have been impossible without Malkin. (I’m fascinated that at least three media commentators didn’t even mention his name. Too used to drinking the media’s orthodox bathwater, perhaps?)

In real life, as it’s called, Malkin is the 54-year-old owner of several businesses including a Marine Drive laundry and carpet service. Who better to take town hall to the cleaners?

• • •

Justin Trudeau’s press conference yesterday reinforced my prediction: The Liberals will fudge and smudge the SNC-Lavalin issue (“job blackmail” – Green Leader Elizabeth May), which will fade into tedium. They’ll win the fall election.

• • •

Haste makes red face. Mark Senner, not Stenner, is the chair of the West Vancouver Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors. And Graham McIsaac has no theological degree but is a trustee of the Vancouver School of Theology Foundation. Like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, I was misinformed.

• • •

Speaking of mistakes, I’ve long wanted to confess a blunder in assessing presidential candidate Donald Trump as championing long-ignored Americans – a rude though shrewd buffoon, I thought, preferable to the Clintons and all they represented of official Washington’s putrefying side.

Wrong. He’s a psychopathic threat to American bedrock decency and to the world.

rtlautens@gmail.com

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