We have received a copy of the following letter sent today to City of North Van Council:
We thought we were finished with the 2014 local election and questions and concerns about donations. Now, with the Lower Lonsdale Business Association (LLBA) delegation before CNV Council last Monday, we have many questions. So much media coverage is currently focusing on donations to all levels of government, and the practice of payment for access to politicians (lobbying). We have an example of a non-profit group (LLBA) , partly financed by the CNV, donating $5500 to a candidate (Iani Makris), or multiple candidates. This was the focus of a previous post in Bell’s North Van City News: http://www.northvancitynews.com/partisan-group-is-funded/
Our previous post with the North Shore News coverage of the meeting is here: https://nvcityvoices.wordpress.com/2016/05/14/lower-lonsdale-bia-gets-a-second-chance/
The editorial in the NS News (Self-improvement) is here:
‘Yes means yes. Silence – in the case of the Lower Lonsdale Business Improvement Area – also means yes.
The City of North Vancouver will likely use a counter-petition for a proposed Lower Lonsdale BIA later this year, a process that has been the province’s system for establishing more than 70 BIAs around B.C.
BIAs charge all the businesses in their area a levy and an elected board decides how the cash will be spent in the interests of the business community.
What is particularly unjust about using a counter-petition is that it barely affords the “no” side a fighting chance.
Unless a majority of business owners vote against the BIA, the city may set one up. And it’s the landlord who is asked to vote on the counter-petition, not the tenant businesses. Landlords can happily pass the bill to their tenants through triple-net leases.
But while the methodology is counter-democratic, the BIA itself could still be a boon to Lower Lonsdale, particularly as the waterfront community readies for a sea change.
The Shipyards may soon boast a plaza alongside a skating rink/splash pool. Neighbouring Moodyville’s population is set to quadruple.
Capitalists often attribute their success to outworking their opponents, but this may be an instance when LoLo’s shopkeepers could benefit more from collaboration than competition.
However, when it comes to those second-storey white collar offices, for whom street beautification and marketing isn’t particularly helpful, and another monthly levy is nothing but a burden, silence isn’t golden – it’s time to be heard.’ http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-self-improvement-1.2254830
We (Voices) have received copies of two Letters to the Editor (not yet published):
NVCV – BIA May 2016 2 from Aiki Enterprises
NVCV – BIA May 2016 from Kerry Morris
There are many comments on social media about the current conduct and voting patterns of some members of Council. For those who need a reminder of who is funding the majority of development in the City of North Van, you’ll find familiar names here: http://contributions.electionsbc.gov.bc.ca/pcs/LESearch.aspx
Voices comment: This is news from Ontario, recent campaigns in BC have not resulted in similar changes. From a North Shore News editorial in February 2015: ‘Local government should not be a hobby for the independently wealthy or a business expense for developers’. The majority slate (Mussatto, Back, Buchanan and Keating) on Council in the City of North Van was primarily funded by developers, businesses and unions.
From The Star:
Reforms to the Municipal Elections Act expected to be announced Monday could let municipalities ban corporate donations.
quoting in part:
“We realized it was important to get councils in place who prioritize the protection of the environment and the interests of their citizens at least as much as they prioritize the development industry interests,” she said.
Among other findings in the report:
MacDermid says the influence of the development industry on elections is not remote, and directly affects the quality of life of residents.
“Just look at the GTA,” he said. “There is urban sprawl everywhere. That was developer choices and politician’s choices.
“The evidence is everywhere for us to see about what was the impact of this relationship. We are all paying the cost of this relationship.”
We have received a copy of a letter written by Kerry Morris to RCMP Commissioner Robert Paulson and Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens concerning an alleged violation pertaining to the 2014 Municipal Elections. We are concerned about contradictory statements from the City and ‘what looks to us, at best, like bureaucratic obstructionism’.
Mr. Morris’s letter is attached here NVCV – KMorris RCMP request and our request in support follows:
To: RCMP Commissioner Robert Paulson and
Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens
We are writing in reference to the letter you have received from Mr. Kerry Morris of North Vancouver, BC, dated 21 March 2016, regarding an alleged violation of BC’s Local Government Act and municipal election policy pertaining to the November 2014 general municipal elections in the City of North Vancouver.
On behalf of the community group North Van City Voices, we wish to lend our support to Mr. Morris’s request that you look into the matter. Specifically, we ask that you conduct an internal inquiry to ascertain whether the North Vancouver RCMP detachment was involved in any way in the investigation by the City’s Chief Electoral Officer into that allegation, as detailed in Mr. Morris’s letter.
Was the North Vancouver detachment made aware of the alleged offence shortly after it occurred, as claimed by City staff? Did the detachment investigate any aspect of the allegation (with or without receiving a request to do so), or provide any opinion to the Chief Electoral Officer or City staff as to the merits of the allegation?
Our concern is that the City has been using the (claimed) involvement of the RCMP as a way to deflect Mr. Morris’s attempts to get answers as to why the allegation was summarily dismissed. We realize that Supt. Kennedy has stated that the detachment did not receive a formal request to investigate. However, the above questions remain unaddressed. Given the contradictory statements by the City, we are hoping that you can rule out any RCMP involvement at all in what looks to us, at best, like bureaucratic obstructionism.
We very much appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.
Fred Dawkins and Toni Bolton for
North Van City Voices
from Frances Bula in the Globe and Mail; public comments can be submitted until November 27th:
Critics say proposed legislation allows individual contributors to have too much influence, but minister says it’s all about democracy
Candidates running for city councils and school boards across British Columbia shouldn’t have too many limits put on their campaign donations because that would infringe on free speech and democracy, says the province’s communities minister, who is introducing controversial new legislation on campaign financing.
The proposed legislation from Peter Fassbender’s office does set limits on campaign expenses, based on a city’s population, and on third-party advertising.
But it sets no limits on campaign donations, no bans on corporate or union donations, no requirement to disclose donations before the election and no requirement to report donations in years outside the election year.
That goes against what the province’s union of municipalities, with Vancouver council leading the way, has asked for since 2013 because of concerns about multimillion-dollar elections or campaigns in which one donor appears to have too much influence.
But the minister said there are problems with setting tight limits on donations and who can donate.
“I’m one who believes strongly in democracy and people’s right to be engaged,” said Mr. Fassbender, a former mayor of the City of Langley. “If there is too tight a box [around campaign donations], people will say it affects free speech and democracy.”
Many local politicians from various cities and parties, as well as NDP MLAs, say the proposed new rules will change almost nothing about the current problems in campaign financing and will lead to more public distrust of government.
“It will actually make the problem significantly worse,” said Vancouver Councillor Andrea Reimer. “There is a problem with a perception about the influence of corporate and union donations. If you lower expense limits, but there are no donation limits, a single donor can have much more influence.”
Vancouver-Point Grey NDP MLA David Eby said people in his west-side riding are already suspicious about the impact that developer donations are having on Vancouver council decisions.
The lack of donation limits will only amplify that, he said.
“It’s a huge issue for my constituents. They’re very cynical. And that sort of cynicism isn’t good for anyone in government,” said Mr. Eby.
Vancouver Green Party Councillor Adriane Carr also said it’s disappointing that the province hasn’t budged from its earlier positions.
Besides the problem of not limiting corporate and union donations, she said, the way the legislation sets the expense limits is also problematic.
It’s based on population, not voters, so that cities with large numbers of people not eligible to vote will still have high expense limits.
And the expense limits are so generous that “there will still be multimillion-dollar campaigns,” she said.
The proposed expense limits would restrict Vancouver and Surrey to about $200,000 each for mayoral candidates and about $100,000 each for council candidates. Candidates in a place like central Saanich would be limited to about $15,000 for a mayoral campaign, $7,000 for a council candidate’s.
There is one local mayor who worries that those limits will push small municipalities into party politics, as candidates with low limits combine forces to be able to pay for campaigns.
Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore, who would be restricted to about $40,000, or half of what the local MP is allowed for his campaign, said he’s not sure why the legislation is needed at all.
“I don’t know what we’re trying to fix. I didn’t see out-of-control spending in most cities. And I haven’t seen too many examples of where spending more got someone elected.”
The recommendations in the legislation came from an all-party committee in Victoria, but that committee was only allowed to consider expense limits, not donation limits, said Coquitlam-Maillardville NDP MLA Selina Robinson.
“We pushed as much as we could to expand the role,” said Ms. Robinson, but she and her NDP colleague Jenny Kwan were unsuccessful.
The proposed legislation is being presented for public comment, which can be submitted until Nov. 27. The new law has to be in place by June, 2016, to be in effect for the fall 2018 elections.
Comment from Voices: We have posted previously comments about this story that seems to keep changing from the Mayor’s point of view. In this article the Mayor states, referring to the $7639.10, ‘it wasn’t a loan’. However, ElectionsBC has previously confirmed that this amount was a loan and ‘Mr Mussatto has confirmed his intention to repay this loan’. (http://kerrymorris.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Elections-BC-Whitewash-Mussatto-Campaign-Irregularities.pdf). Councillor Keating’s assertion that ‘the notion of a loan is a figment of Councillor Clark’s imagination’ is certainly contrary to the statement from Elections BC of which we’re sure Coun. Keating is well aware. It would seem that originally the Mayor himself referred to it as a ‘loan‘.
Combine this with the fact that the minutes of the meeting originally incorrectly stated that the meeting was called to order after Councillor Clark spoke. Is “Oh, what a tangled web we weave ….” appropriate in this case?
North Shore News article:
The City of North Vancouver’s Oct. 5 council meeting began with an unexpected detour: Coun. Rod Clark asking for Mayor Darrell Mussatto and Coun. Craig Keating to step down over an alleged conflict of interest.
After the meeting was called to order, Clark raised a “point of privilege,” a seldom-used motion typically used to deal immediately with a non-agenda item. He also distributed a one-page summary of his concerns to council members.
“My point of privilege arises out of a loan for $7,639.10 made by Councillor Keating to Mayor Mussatto in the last election. I believe this creates a conflict of interest in that the mayor and a member of council now have a financial relationship which to date has not been publicly exposed,” read Clark’s statement.
Clark added that in the mayor’s financial disclosure documents filed shortly after the 2014 election under liabilities, “no mention or disclosure of the $7,639.10 loan from Councillor Keating to the mayor is made. This is required under the act. Until this very serious matter is resolved I call on the Mayor and Councillor Keating to immediately step down from city council.”
“Thank you, Councillor Clark and it’s 6:01 (p.m.),” responded Mussatto, before adopting regular council minutes from the previous meeting.
Clark’s point was not discussed further by council.
Mussatto said later he was “unprepared about the point of privilege.” “I just let him do his thing.”
After reviewing council procedure bylaws regarding point of privilege, Mussatto said Clark’s motion doesn’t qualify as such. “He would have to go to court and file a court action against me and say I’m in conflict,” said Mussatto. “I say there is none (conflict of interest).”
Responding to Clark’s allegations, Mussatto said “it wasn’t a loan, it was a cost that we all contributed towards” and noted that he and several other candidates, including Keating, shared certain advertising and campaign costs.
“So one person pays the bill and the other ones give monies towards the person that paid it, based on the percentage. That’s indeed what happened. I paid Craig back and it’s all good.”
“He’s (Clark) saying I did not record that on that form, therefore I’m in a conflict because I didn’t declare it. … I don’t owe Craig money, I paid him back for that.”
Mussatto’s financial disclosure statement for the 2014 election has been amended twice.
In his first amended expense form in April, Mussatto listed an additional $7,639.10 donation from Keating. In the second amendment, the $7,639.10 donation from Keating is crossed off and replaced by two donations totalling the same amount under his own name.
“It’s very hard to follow Elections BC’s process, by their own admission they say that it is very difficult. That’s why they helped us through it all, that’s why we did the amendments,” explained Mussatto.
“… but I’ve been signed off by Elections BC and I’m 100 per cent compliant, they’ve said it has been approved and I’m not in a conflict of interest,” Mussatto said.
“I have settled up all my account debits and credits for the shared expenses with other candidates as per the direction from Elections BC,” the mayor added by email.
Don Main, communications manager with Elections BC, in an email, confirmed that
“the compliance review is complete, unless we are made aware of new information that could require further amendments to the statements.”
Keating said he was “disappointed” by Clark’s allegations “in the sense that Councillor Clark had every opportunity to go to the Elections BC website and take a look at the filings, which I did as he was speaking, and it’s very clear that this notion of a loan is a figment of his imagination.”
Former North Vancouver City Mayoralty candidate Kerry Morris releases a new you tube video that will infuriate his opponents with an outline of a vast array of alleged North Van City civic wrongdoing, dirty tricks and incompetence.
My name is Kerry Morris. I ran for Mayor of the City of North Vancouver against the incumbent Darrell Mussatto, in the November 15th 2014 municipal elections. We are now roughly eight months into this councils mandate. Much has changed in the City since the current council took office, and it seems time that we took stock of both the election, and those changes, lest we forget what we were promised versus reality.
In the opinion of virtually everyone who pays attention to municipal politics in this province, this past municipal election cycle was the dirtiest campaign fight in the history of municipal elections. It was most certainly the dirtiest campaign in the history of the City of North Vancouver.
As a life long resident of the City, I have lived through numerous municipal election campaigns, including the one in which my father ran for council and won, serving three years under Mayor Jack Loucks, along side fellow councillors Stella Jo Dean, Bill Bell, Rod Clark, Barbara Sharp and John Braithwaite. While the names evoke many memories of political hardball, it can honestly be said that until this last 2014 election, no incumbent had stooped so low to retain office.
As taxpayers you need to be vigilant about what is going on at City council, for your own personal health and safety reasons. If you don’t, you may wake up one morning, just like all those 75 renter families living in the Mountain Court property located behind the Lynn Valley mall, getting handed a cheque, shown the door, and told not to let it hit you in the ass on the way out.
Be vigilant, lest you become the next casualty of our local municipal government. My name is Kerry Morris, and I’m running to be your next mayor in the 2018 municipal elections. Thank you.