Comment from Voices:
We have received a copy of the following Letter to the Editor, North Shore News (now published). This complements the column by Paul Sullivan in today’s edition and posted on this site. http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/letters/letter-switch-off-cnn-and-click-on-cnv-org-for-politics-in-action-1.23094072
To: Editor, North Shore News
Are you finding Monday night TV dull? Might I suggest tuning in to NV City council meetings at 6:00 via the city website*. It’s akin to watching CNN but these politics are happening right here in our little city and are affecting our quality of life – every one of us, present and future.
It doesn’t take long to realize that members of our elected council don’t get along well; it soon becomes obvious that there is a concerted effort to prevent the public’s voice from being heard; you’ll get frustrated with the high-falutin’ language used to discuss issues; you may get angry with the constant 4-3 votes in favour of serious changes within our home territory, in spite of large public opposition and you may want to “Boo” loud and clear when the mayor congratulates himself on speeding through another meeting.
City council watching is certainly not dull! You’re either with the powers-that-be or against them but either way next October it’s OUR TURN to take control and have OUR WAY with them —- Election 2018!
So for good entertainment, on the spot education – Watch your city council in action on Monday Nights, form an opinion and , for Heaven’s Sake, Vote next October !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
*update: the link to the Council meeting is usually on the front page of the city website: http://www.cnv.org/. It can also be accessed on the Council meeting page here: http://www.cnv.org/your-government/council-meetings
Only 344 days until the next election on the North Shore.
Oct. 20, 2018. Circle the date.
It’s a Saturday, so that should make it easier to cast your ballot.
Here’s hoping something works, because voter turnout in municipal elections is dismal.
It’s not just a local problem. Everywhere across North America, turnouts are typically under 30 per cent.
The North Shore is no exception – 27 per cent of those eligible turned up to vote in the District of West Vancouver, 28 per cent in the City of North Vancouver and only 23 per cent in the District of North Vancouver.
Two out of three of the mayors, Michael Smith in West Van and Richard Walton in North Van District, were acclaimed, i.e., elected without opposition.
To me, it’s the great mystery of the age why folks don’t vote, especially in municipal elections.
Lots of people vote for premier or prime minister, even though Justin Trudeau has loftier fish to fry than the good people who deliberate over keeping your streets safe, collecting your trash, deciding if you do or do not need a stop sign at the foot of your street, or deliberating on that proposal to put a 20-storey tower next door.
Because all that and more is the responsibility of your municipal council, and by some miracle, we are somehow gifted with intelligent, competent and hardworking municipal leaders such as the abovementioned Smith, Walton, and their City counterpart Darrell Mussatto.
And all the others who eat, breathe and sleep politics.
It’s a myth that being a municipal councillor is a part-time job.
Part time for a workaholic, maybe.
But count on it: whenever your neighbourhood association, fraternal organization, or constituent assembly has a meeting (usually in the off hours), you can count on the presence of a municipal politician, quietly doing his or her job.
You could argue that they’re just working the vote, and yes, they do have to get themselves re-elected if they want to keep serving the public.
But isn’t it a thankless task when they serve the public and more than two out of three don’t bother to acknowledge their efforts by voting?
If you disagree with me, just turn up and vote in the next election, 344 days away. Plenty of time to plan.
My point is, it’s not the fault of the politicians – or maybe it is.
It could be they’re so good, we take them for granted.
Leap ahead to the first work day after Oct. 20, 2018 and it’s a sure bet that the leaves will be swept out of the drains, the trash will be collected, bylaw officers will still be issuing tickets, schools will be open and kids will be learning.
Situation normal. For now.
But I’m afraid that like newspapers (present company excluded, of course), democracy at the local level is becoming a sunset industry.
Older people vote in much higher numbers than the rest of the population. Is it because they’re the last ones who remember what they sacrificed to keep democracy safe for a bunch of ingrates who can’t make it three blocks to the voters booth?
Lest we forget.
I’m not sure how to solve this. I’m not even sure there is a solution.
In my last column, I wrote about the nascent North Vancouver Citizen Action Association, which is at least an attempt to stimulate citizen engagement in the political process.
Marks for trying, although I am worried that the NVCAA will appeal to the same people who are already engaged: the handful of political wonks who steadfastly attend Monday night council meetings and town halls.
There are some who think online voting is the answer. And maybe it is. Instead of all that bricks and mortar activity, just press a button.
You could even register on Facebook.
If you can buy marijuana or a car online, why not elect a school trustee, council or mayor?
If you’re worried about Vladimir Putin hacking the voters list, or making up fake news about the District of North Van, surely he’s too busy messing with the U.S. or the U.K. to worry about the NV.
Got a better idea?
Journalist and communications consultant Paul Sullivan has been a North Vancouver resident since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rise of Madonna. firstname.lastname@example.org
from the North Shore News: EDITORIAL: Same time, next year
Following the non-stop spin cycle leading up to this spring’s provincial election, voters could be forgiven for wanting to pull the covers over their heads and tune out with some binge-watching on Netflix.
Turns out, however, that politics is ubiquitously in the offing.
This month, for instance, marks one year until the next municipal election.
As time marches forward, that is likely to become more and more apparent.
Soon, usually sparsely populated public galleries are likely to get busier, as those considering a run at public office realize it’s a good idea to get up to speed on local issues.
A new civic political party was recently launched in North Vancouver.
All of which means it’s time to start paying attention.
Maybe you’re civic minded and have ideas about how to improve your community. If so, it’s not too early to get your ducks in a row. Politics, even at the local level, is more marathon race than 100-metre sprint.
Citizens, meanwhile, would do well to start tracking votes around the council tables. Actions always speak louder than words.
We’ll also wait with bated breath for the provincial government to make good on badly needed campaign finance reform for municipal elections.
A long winter’s nap can be tempting. But a healthy democracy needs us to pay attention.
So hit the snooze button for five minutes if you must. But don’t plan on hiding out from local politics for long.
The next municipal election is a year away but a new group in the City of North Vancouver is already declaring their intentions for council.
The North Vancouver Citizen Action Association has formally registered as a society and is planning to run a full slate of candidates for mayor and council, who they hope will bring “balance” back to city council chambers.
Former Coun. Guy Heywood was a catalyst for the group and started organizing living-room meetings over the summer. Membership is now in the dozens, Jensen said.
The group is still developing its platform and no candidates have been selected to run yet, but anyone wanting to apply must reject corporate, developer and union campaign donations.
“There is a perceived potential conflict of interest that doesn’t breed confidence amongst the electorate. If this type of issue is important at the federal level and now at the provincial level, we don’t see why it shouldn’t be important at the municipal level,” Jensen said.
The city should also renew its philosophy on density bonusing and infrastructure so the benefits from new development flow to existing residents, Jensen said, listing projects that have been completed in the last decade – the updated city hall, the city works yard and the Lonsdale Energy Corp.
“While the Harry Jerome Centre has been at death’s door for many years. The North Shore Neighbourhood House is in trouble and Silver Harbour has a seismically outdated building,” he said. “You serve the people who are living here now by ensuring we have a community that people in the future will want to live.”
Traffic is another major problem that NVCAA members hope to begin tackling in the next term, Jensen said. Traffic impact studies that come with new developments should be cumulative, not just focused on the number of additional vehicles on the road from one project or another in isolation, Jensen said.
Jensen said the city also needs to do more for transparency and open data, and to co-operate better with the District of North Vancouver and West Vancouver.
There will be no party whip, meaning any elected NVCAA member will be free to vote as they please.
Those who want to run under the NVCAA banner will have to wait until the spring or summer of 2018 before the party will start seriously considering who will be nominated for the ticket. For now, the group’s main objective is to improve the level of civic engagement in the community.
“We want to start getting people involved and then start identifying people who are calm and reasonable and not dogmatic or angry, to participate in civic politics,” he said. “This is really about improving the level of engagement and communication in the city,” he said.
The group can be found online at nvcaa.org.
Municipal elections will be held across B.C. on Oct. 20, 2018.
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