Voices comment: The big question remains ‘who is expecting what’????? We note the largest expense for the Mayor was salaries at over $33,000; Kerry Morris’ run was supported entirely by volunteers from the community.
From the North Shore News today:
Editorial: Chequered Past
The province has dragged its feet long enough on bringing in some reasonable limits on municipal campaign donations and spending.
In civic election campaign finance documents made public this week we’ve seen record spending for council seats and chains of office in both our own community and others around the province. We won’t argue that accepting a donation from a person or business automatically amounts to a conflict of interest.
And a bigger campaign budget doesn’t always buy you a win. Ask some of the also-rans who put up a small fortune of their own money about that.
But the perception is bad and for many, perception is reality. Runaway spending and lavish donations in civic election campaigns sully the discourse at the council table and erodes public faith in the system.
Toronto outlaws business and union donations for municipal candidates. Quebec and Manitoba cap spending in city elections based on the size of the population. We would welcome a combination of either. Local government should not be a hobby for the independently wealthy or a business expense for developers.
Of course, any new rules should come with watchdog power that provides Elections B.C. teeth to enforce them and to investigate complaints. Ultimately, we feel a community is best served by a council that reflects a diversity of ideas, values, expertise and backgrounds – and the best way to get that is to level the playing field. It’s time the wild west of B.C.’s civic elections got a lot less wild.
Campaign spending by City of North Vancouver candidates in the 2014 municipal election demolished old records.
Mayor Darrell Mussatto spent $74,051 in securing his fourth term, according to campaign finance disclosure documents released this week, while his main challenger Kerry Morris, spent even more, at $79,226.
The main difference, however, is where the money came from. Mussatto was up front during the campaign that he would be seeking financial support from developers, businesses and unions, which together made up the vast majority of the $91,394.79 he raised.
Morris campaigned on refusing donations from developers or businesses outside the city and limited personal donations to $300, so $70,911.52 came from his own pocket.
Among the developers contributing to the mayor’s campaign were Polygon Homes, Staburn Lower Lonsdale, Westbank Projects,
Anthem Properties, Marcon Developments, Hollyburn Properties, all of which donated either $1,000 or $2,000. Bigger donations of $5,000 came from Pinnacle International and RPMG Holdings, the parent company of Onni. Darwin Construction put up $5,125 in two separate donations.
Concert Properties’ president Brian McCauley made a personal donation of $2,000 and $3,000 came from Michael Gooding who is connected to FDG Property Management.
The single largest donation was $11,053.91 from KT Properties Ltd., whose president Tom Nellis is also a director of Playtime Community Gaming, a bingo and slot machine hall owner.
Outside the development industry, several of the North Shore’s major employers supported Mussatto’s campaign including Neptune Terminals ($2,000) and Seaspan ($2,000) as well as private school Bodwell Canada ($1,000), Sunshine Cabs ($1,000), Lower Lonsdale pub Sailor Hagars ($1,000) and Lonsdale Quay Market ($1,500). For union support, Mussatto drew on the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 389, which employs city workers, for $1,950, the Canadian Labour Congress ($5,000) and CUPE BC ($3,000).
Most of the money ($33,2984) was spent on salaries and wages, the rest going to Internet and print ads, brochures, rent for his campaign office, billboards and election signs and postage. Mussatto also had shared expenses with the candidates he was endorsing including Couns. Linda Buchanan, Holly Back and Craig Keating, plus contenders Kathy McGrenera, Matt Clark and Iani Makris.
Keating’s total expenses came to $24,197, Buchanan’s – $27,848 and Back’s – $11,251, drawing on many of the same donors as Mussatto, albeit in smaller amounts.
Rounding out the city council table, Coun. Rod Clark spent $2,361, about half of which was out of pocket. Coun. Pam Bookham spent $3,450 mostly self-funded and from individual donations, and Coun. Don Bell spent $11,570, most of which came from family and friends and a handful of businesses.
Mussatto said he stands by the legality and the ethics of his campaign fundraising and that development is key to his goal of creating sustainable neighbourhoods.
“They’re buying into my vision,” he said. “I have a very clear vision. I think I’ve been very consistent in my 21-plus years on city council. I have not wavered. I’ve been very clear that we have to combat climate change. We have to build a more sustainable city and I think we’re doing a very good job of that,” he said.
The average cost of a winning campaign in the District of North Vancouver
was just under $11,000 with Jim Hanson leading the way at $27,726 and Lisa Muri (who topped the polls) at the low end, spending only $1,013.
Though every West Vancouver incumbent who ran won re-election, the council seats still came with a cost. Coun. Mary-Ann Booth topped the list at $22,374, almost half of which came from real estate lawyer John Sampson. Couns. Michael Lewis, Craig Cameron and Christine Cassidy all spent between $10,000 and $16,000 with a mix of self-funding, individual
and business donors. Coun. Nora Gambioli spent $4,321 and Coun. Bill Soprovich, a habitually frugal campaigner, spent $1,991, half of which came from his realtor son Jason. For the second election in a row, Mayor Michael Smith ran unopposed and spent nothing to do so.
Under election laws, any money left over from a campaign is held in trust from the municipality and can be accessed by the candidate again for his or her next run in that jurisdiction. If the person opts not to run again, the money goes into the city’s general revenue.