Sunday, November 23, 2014

Political Integrity

As one who has run for political office I always tried to campaign as I live: with integrity. I'm certainly not perfect, but I do my best to live with honesty, respect and more.

I know all too well that there are many politicians who will do what it takes to win an election, including lying, making promises they cannot (or will not) keep, and bowing to the wishes of their funders rather than the electorate.

Thus I am most concerned about a well-supported accusation that one of the local councillor candidates for Nanaimo's Council, who barely gained enough votes to be reelected, has been accused of breaking Elections BC rules on voting day (November 15, 2014). There is evidence strongly suggesting that she engaged her supporters through social media -even after being told by Elections BC that day that she was breaking the rules.

I have written Elections BC requesting that they investigate. They are the best body to do so. If the allegations are correct, and that she continued to tweet and F.B. post after being told not to, she could be fined something like $5,000 and/or go to jail. But she would not lose her seat unless she graciously stepped down, creating a by-election.

Her public response thus far has been to say that she is being persecuted. This is not a good sign. Since she appears to have admitted to engaging in this activity, and as a candidate was responsible for knowing the election rules, if she is not willing to be held accountable for her actions then is she but one more example of why so many are turned off from politics? I hope not. If Elections BC determines that she broke the election law I think it only honourable that she resign her seat and run a new campaign, hopefully one that is above reproach.

We need to regain some trust in our elected officials. What is the alternative?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Choosing Nanaimo's next Council

As I reflect on the Nanaimo municipal election November 15th I am aware that the candidates have real skills and talent, so the choice is very difficult. I think I could work with virtually all of them (a good sign!).

So how to choose? I made up a list of my values and then tried to rate the candidates based on that list. Not an easy task. There are a lot of candidates, many of whom I do not know. I sourced my information from in-person, on-line, newspaper and the opinion of others.

Oh, and because incumbents usually get enough votes I have not included them on this list; although Fred Pattje earns my respect because he goes to the most community events, takes personal interest in connecting with people, is willing to take on city staff, is a team player, is an independent thinker, is willing to change his mind (e.g. Leadercast), understands how to make the city more sustainable and shows his care for people and the city.
I chose based on my perception of their ability to:

1. connect with and really hear where people are coming from
2. be astute managers –which includes putting sufficient effort to listen to people; do their own research; attend meetings and public events; and be able to make their own decisions (vs. blindly vote along with others)
3. think through problems creatively, preferably by finding “win-win” solutions for all involved
4. balance fiscal restraints with community needs
5. sniff out when staff are trying to manipulate councillors to vote a certain way
6. have a vision of sustainability and affordability for the community and our planetary home (most candidates did very poorly on this, in my estimate; more info about their opinions appears at the bottom of this document and is well worth checking out)
7. be authentic (not fake or egotistical)
8. be a team player: genuinely work with other councillors and the mayor
9. Extra point for being a woman (my bias: we need more of them)
10. Extra point for being First Nation (again my bias, for the same reason, especially after the Colliery dams were saved by the then Chief Douglas White)

Please note that none of the above parameters consider the usual “right-left” wing perspective, although those who are stuck in a narrow perspective are unlikely to score very high on most of these parameters.

Those who received 5 or more points:

Karen Hovestad: 8/10
Bill Yochum: 7/10
Gail Adrienne: 7/10
Gord Fuller: 6/10
Leon Cake: 6/10
Fred Brooks: 6/10
Geraldine Manson: 5.5/10
Steven Cockrane: 5/10

For mayor only two made 5 points or more:
Bill Holdom (6/10)
Bill McKay (5/10)Both are strong leaders, but with very different styles. I wish we could have both!

Please note that one can elect to vote for as few as one councillor. Do vote only for those whom you really can support. That's what I'll be doing.

It appears more interest is being expressed in this election as there is a mood for some change in city hall. I am glad that people are becoming engaged. Cities increasingly have the most important level of government when it comes to livability. Please vote. Here is the website to the voting locations: