Monday, December 26, 2011

Jim Hanson to run in Seymour for NDP

 " You could be on your death bed in North Van-Seymour and still be elected as a Liberal". The former statement was spoken by David Shreck, former BC NDP MLA for North Vancouver Lonsdale. No question it's a very tough up hill fight for the NDP but, could Mr. Hanson win over Jane Thornthwaite with the BC Liberals sagging popularity? One wonders if the Conservatives run a candidate and the vote is split with the Liberals if an NDP election victory in the DNV-esque, NV-Seymour riding could be on the horizon? The last time the NDP held the riding was in 1972 when Colin Gableman held the seat during the Dave Barrett era.

Jim Hanson is the BC NDP candidate for NV-Seymour.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Smart Meters: What are the risks?

By Dr. Matsen

In many areas, including here in BC, existing analogue electric meters are being replaced with smart meters. There are significant health, safety, and privacy issues involved with the installation of these wireless devices.

The following article titled "Smart meters, what are the risks?" was taken from the Health Action magazine, Winter 2011/12 edition. It explains why we should be concerned about smart meters and what we can do about this issue. The article was written by Jim Waugh, Author & publisher of: “Living Safely with Electromagnetic Radiation.” Consulting in: electromagnetic inspections, mitigation, shielding and low-EMF design. Cell: (604) 788-0743 Web:

Following Jim’s article is a link to a copy of his form letter to BC Hydro giving notice of refusal to allow installation of smart meters. Jim has kindly allowed us to post this so you can use it to send to BC Hydro. Also is a link to a PDF copy of a poster that you can print off and attach to your existing electric meter. The poster is courtesy of Citizens For Safe Technology Society (

Smart Meters: What are the Risks?
by Jim Waugh

No doubt you are aware of the smart meter program that BC Hydro began moving ahead in July. The $930-million program was announced in 2008 by then Premier Gordon Campbell to allow BC Hydro to replace existing analog electric meters with smart meters for all of its 1.8 million customers.

The smart meter program concerns me deeply because there are significant safety, health and privacy issues that BC Hydro is not disclosing to the public. I feel an urgent need to tell as many people as possible why the smart meter program is a really bad idea and what we can do to opt out of it.

Why be concerned about smart meters?

Smart meters using wireless technology are being installed in many American states and European countries (Idaho and Italy used fibre-optic connections ­rather than wireless). The installations have been met with intense opposition from concerned citizens.

Why are these people angry and protesting smart meters with such vigour? They are concerned that wireless radiation from smart meter networks will…. To read the rest of the article, click here: Winter Health Action Smart Meter Article (in PDF format) or here: Smart Meters What are the Risks (in word format).

EMF BC Hydro Refusal Letter

EMF Smart Meters No Trespassing Sign

[For more articles about electromagnetic radiation and smart meters go to:

Jerry Day speaks on smart meters;

Robert Bateman discusses health and Smart Meters 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's on your mind about North Vancouver politics?

This is an any topic post about 'North Vancouver's political players and the decisions that shape our community.' Let's discuss what's on your mind?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Mayor's Slate

One of the things Mayor Mussatto has shown leadership on is the introduction of Slate Politics to elections in the City of North Vancouver. In the Nov 19th 2011 City election, for the second time in a row, Darrell campaigned with a Slate ... not of just 4 ... but several. This, in hopes of taking firm control of City Hall. Slate Politics was unknown in the City until its introduction by Mayor Mussato 2 elections ago. Many slates appeared during the campaign ... The Mussato Slate, the Keating Slate, & various community based slates. None to equal the Mayor’s Slate, however. In spite of Darrell’s best efforts ... 4 truly independent voices were elected. Perhaps, the time has come for an alternative slate to arise & challenge Mayor Mussato in his quest for control of North Van City Hall. Independent thinkers need to band together & present an alternative to the Mussatoization of our City. It is a regrettable situation of Darrell’s creation & leadership.

What do you think?

Rod Clark

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

‘Tis the Season for Giving...

In anticipation of the usual hordes of Christmas shoppers, Park Royal is providing valet parking service, but I didn’t notice many takers when I was at the mall recently. In fact, it seemed rather quiet compared to other years. Could be that with the dire predictions for more global economic turmoil, folks are refusing to participate in the usual orgy of consumption and debt. With the recently announced jobless figures and projected budget shortfall, it’s harder to make merry this year. I find in a season of anxiety and uncertainty, it helps to count one’s blessings and to give to those in need. There are so many worthy causes, but this year, I’ve decided to support organizations close to home. If you cannot give financially, give of your time and energy.
Here is an opportunity to identify good causes that need our support here on the North Shore. Tell us about their programs and services that make a difference in the lives of others.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Transportation Open House

Last year, the District pulled their support for the Joint Bicycle Advisory Committee. The City has since created the Integrated Transportation Committee, an approach that makes more sense. Still it’s important that the City and the District continue to communicate and cooperate on transportation planning. We recently saw the District reverse it’s plans to create a lane for buses and bicycles only on East Keith because of the number of calls and emails they received from angry drivers. Next week, the City, the District and the MOTI are hosting an Open House to consider changes to the Lynn Valley-Boulevard Crescent Corridor. See the details below.
Wednesday, December 7, 5:30 – 7:30 in the Sutherland Secondary School Foyer
The City of North Vancouver, with the District of North Vancouver and Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, invite you to an Open House to discuss options for improving the Active Transportation links along Boulevard Crescent and Lynn Valley through the Highway 1 interchange.
The project goal is to improve the pedestrian and cyclists’ connection through the Highway 1 interchanges and along a corridor from the intersection of Boulevard Crescent and East 19th Street to the intersection of Lynn Valley Road and William Avenue.
My question is has the money spent to date on all modes of transportation in the City and the District been money well spent? And secondly, what should be the highest transportation priorities for the in-coming North Vancouver councils?

Sunday, December 04, 2011

North Vancouver City calls a halt to smart meter program

The City has called for a halt to the smart meter program so should not the District be doing the same? Word has it that BC Hydro is installing meters in the Lynn Valley area right now.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Civic Party for the District of North Vancouver

In light of 'all the incumbents re-elected" in the District of North Vancouver, a civic party may be needed that would present to the voters a slate of candidates that stand for a common set of policies. A Civic Party might also be the 'alternative' the District needs to get more than a 21% voter turnout.

Policies that come to mind are:

Amalgamation of all 3 North Shore municipalities,

Citizen initiated referenda

Adherence to OCP, unless there is a unanimous council vote to amend it

Growth contingent on additional transportation infra structure (roads, seabus, buses, bridges )

Internet Voting

In the District of Mission a slate of candidates (Citizens for Responsible Government) ran 100%successfully as a Civic Party with the purpose of winning over the great advantages of the incumbents.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Secret of Success

Don Bell and Darrell Mussatto have enjoyed tremendous success in their political careers. What accounts for their success? Are there lessons that aspiring politicians can learn from them? Will Bell’s experience as Mayor of the District of North Vancouver and Liberal MP for North Vancouver make him a good fit on City Council? A potential candidate for Mayor in 2014?
Mussatto was elected to a third term with a 74% majority. Will this latest victory give him renewed enthusiasm for the job? Will he go on to rival the late Jack Loucks who served as Mayor of the City for 18 years?
It will be fascinating to watch the dynamic between these political titans over the next three years.

Friday, November 25, 2011

An invitation to post

During the election the topics submitted to the blog by some of the candidates proved to be successful in creating the discussion we're famous for. I would like to extend this invitation to any blogger so if you have a topic you would like to see 'POSTED' please e.mail it to here at the blog. Anonymous 'COMMENTS' have been an important part of the discussions on the blog over the years and if you wish your 'POST' idea to be anonymous please indicate it in your e.mail and it will be 'Posted by John Sharpe'. If you're feeling more adventurous you may want to request permission to become a registered, 'named' poster via the same e.mail.

Looking forward to the discussions.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Election Signage

Recent weather may have taken a toll on candidates signs. If you notice any signs that are misconstrued please contact candidates regarding where these signs are located or perhaps pick them up and email the candidate to let them know where they are for pickup. Candidates can be fined for not getting their signs down 8 days after the election (Nov. 28th).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Every vote Counts

Maybe if Chris Dorais had just smiled or shook the hands of four more people during his campaign he would now be sitting in a School Trustees seat. Dorais was three votes short of Trustee successful candidate Christie Sacre' according to the 'unofficial election results' on the CNV website. Will there be a recount? Did Chris Dorais irk some voters with his brochures that said, 'Re-elect Chris Dorais' when he was actually not an incumbent since he lost his seat in 2008?

The other curious thing is why didn't the DNV post the voter turnout percentage like the CNV?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's a beautiful sunny day to Vote in North Vancouver!

This post is from Ron Polly.

Good morning everyone

A fine day and I hope this is the largest turnout ever.

Carson and I have run a very frugal campaign. We are at about $1,000.00 total. He is running mostly to get the under 30 crowd out. To let them know they do have a voice. To make a difference. The response to his passion and honesty has been over whelming. He has been asked by a lot of people to run again. I am sure he will. We are both very proud of him.

This has been an eye opening experience for both of us. I have found out that we have truly let money take over the municipal election. This is our home and we have sold it for a flashy ads and lots of ugly posters with 15 year old pictures on them.

One of the biggest compliments I have had is how many people said they do not vote but after reading what I have said they will be. That is great to hear. Mostly from the under thirty crowd.

What happens today we have to all work with for three years. Some of the decisions made by this future council will be with us longer than that.

I hope this council to be elected makes is a maverick council. The City of North Vancouver can set an example.

We can move forward on changes to how elections are held here. Place a cap on election spending and contributions from any one source.

Stop the sale of what is called surplus lands by the School District. To not rezone them to high density to be sold off to a developer who made the correct choice on whom to back in this election. I can not believe selling of these properties will not bite future generation in the ass.

Housing for seniors and people with dementia so they never have to be moved off some were as the level of care changes. We have the resources and the people to make this happen. Let us not wait for the provincial government to act. We can show them how it is done.

Actively work with all municipalities to move our recreational facilities forward to be the envy of Metro Vancouver. The more we have access to the healthier or citizens will be. They do not all have to be built now but we do need to secure the lands. That goes right back to not selling off our land bank.

Animals are a common bond. We have no participation in a true refuge for them. It is coldly contracted out and it is long overdue for all three municipalities to have one large communal shelter. This would promote not only the well being of animals but in each other. It would be the start of a true connection of the three. A world class sanctuary would attract visitors wanting to spend time there. There is no wildlife rescue on the North Shore. This also could be included and again be a place for people to be volunteer.

Work at getting more events and business to come here.

Review the early public input process. To make sure that citizens are on the same playing field as those who now have a little too much influence in city hall.

Transparency and public input to be put ahead of all else. Public task forces over multimillion dollar studies.

These are just a few on my wish list. I will be looking with anticipation to see if the next council puts density or duty first.

I wish all who ran good luck today. I think we have lots of good people and some new stars on the rise.

Today I will be taking advantage of the dry weather and working on my driveway. The sand is packed and it is time to start getting those pavers in or I will be laying them on snow it seems.

Looking forward to Sunday then my next big challenge is about to start.

Thank you all for kind words and support.

Yours Truly,

Ron Polly

PS. I wonder if Anonymous is ever going to run for council ?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bill Bell Assessment, Part 2

So enough with North Vancouver City politics, let’s talk about the District. Recently I was asked to give my thoughts on amalgamation and I answered that I thought it was a good idea. I fessed up that when I was a City council member it was only the thought of being overwhelmed by the much larger district that kept me from supporting amalgamation.

But now that I have had a chance to go over the CFIB report on municipal funding I am less convinced that an amalgamated municipality would be any more efficient. Putting together two inefficiently run municipalities do not necessarily guarantee a better organization.

The second reason I am less enthusiastic about amalgamation gets us back to the election…the possibility of having a Margie Goodman as mayor is too disturbing to comprehend.

I shutter when I think back to the days when I was a lowly school board journalist for the North Shore News and she was on school board. Oh she was nasty! Goodman having been an elected official in the district is enough of reason for me to keep the two municipalities separated.

So yes! Richard Walton would be my choice in the District for Mayor, even if he is in denial when it comes to his municipality’s overspending.

As for the council race? The entire council works well as a team…too well, there needs to be some effective voice that is critical of what council is doing. Nothing in politics is that perfect. Where is Ernie Christ and other liked minded critics when you need them? Municipal spending on the North Shore is out of control and it will take a strong politician to cut through the municipal staff’s annual snow job they call the budget process to get spending under control.

I cannot recommend that any incumbent should be defeated or changed, but like the city, some old faces should be replaced with new faces, new ideas and a sharp mind to be critical in a constructive way.

Is someone thinking I would recommend Wendy? Nope, I wish I could as I think some of her ideas and criticism of the present council have been right on the money. Unfortunately some of her criticisms have also been erratic as far as quality and some have not been thought out at all.

Perhaps! And this may be wishful thinking, with the responsibility of being an elected official; Wendy would grow into the role of opposition. John Gilmour and Holly Back certainly have the credentials to be on council, but in my estimation they are more of the same current “team,” rather than a voice for those who want to see more balance of views on council and greater fiscal responsibility.

Finally! The Bill Bell assessment of the 2011 Election, Part 1

For the first time since 1974 (or there about) when I went door knocking for a “progressive candidate” running for alderman in the city of North Vancouver, John Braithewaite, I haven’t paid much attention to a North Shore Municipal election.

With a much inflated ego, during that time as a North Shore Journalist, columnist, election organizer and of course a candidate, I really thought my opinion counted and I could influence the outcome of any election. It’s taken a long time, but with age and hindsight I discovered on the North Shore what I think means diddly, North Shore municipal voters (as opposed to the great numbers of miserable apathetic residents who don’t vote) are an independent lot who are guided in their electoral decisions by some very common concerns and in some cases by some not so common reasons.

In the city where I am most familiar, there are three determining factors to being elected (I am not certain if this holds true in the current election but I suspect it does): CUPE support, Catholic support and Alliance church support.

If you have all three of these endorsements (often just word of mouth support, sometimes in the past, right from pulpet) in the city you are guaranteed a seat on council as long as the voter turnout is low.

Having said this, I think it is time for the voters on the North Shore to shake things up and get rid of some the tired old faces on council.

It needs people who understand when council is being manipulated by municipal staff. It needs people who have a big heart, but can keep the city financial house in order. And most of all it needs people who are willing to say no to increased density and are capable of not being bought off by the promise of developers dollars.

I don’t like picking on individuals but Bob Fearnley needs to go, he has no true backbone and is willing to flip a vote on any given issue. Craig Keating is too smart for council, he manipulates everything he touches and like I, has far too inflated of an ego to be effective as a councillor at city hall. He will make an excellent provincial politician but he has outgrown city politics and should never have run in this election once he got the NDP nomination.

Like Keating, Rod Clark has outgrown his usefulness as a councillor and should not have run; he deserves to be Mayor in my books and should have run for that position this time.

Don Bell, what was on his mind? I wish him the best of luck and with a name like that in the City he will probably get elected, but really? He is not the new face that the city needs.

My good back stabbing friend, his worship Darrell Mussatto, deserves to be reelected, but he does not deserve to have control of the majority of votes on council. If he loses majority, he will either become one the best Mayors the City has seen or his nasty side will come out from behind the grin and he will not make it past the next election. The choice will be his.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vote for a Change – George Pringle

I revealed the 3.6% population increase at Tuesday's Mayor's Debate. The
interesting thing is that BC Stats published this in January. Yet
Darrell's undeclared political party, parrot the line that our growth is
under 1% a year, a total falsehood.

What has not been reported by Ivan Leonard and Rod Clark as they spread
what I found, is when we officially (March's Stats Can census) go over the
50,000 population mark, the Community Charter forces us to add 2 more
members of council. The only way we can stop this is to hold a referendum
six months prior to the next election. An expensive mid-term referendum.

Perhaps Darrell wants a Council of nine so he can run more former NDP
candidates for his union and big developer party. If they ever have a
majority on Council 3.6% will seem like a kick in the shins compared to
the kicks in gut we will get from Darryl's Doc Marten wearing EcoDensity
warriors. Someday the false green clothes will be ripped off of Darrell's
growth addicted wolf, you cannot turn a 4 story apt into a 24 story apt
without dramatically increasing the amount of the city's greenhouse gases
and Darrell has committed our city to a goal in 2050 of, "reducing GHG
emissions by 80%.”

Darryl and Council really dropped the ball in not having a referendum
during this election but of course Darryl would have to reveal that his
addiction to growth has resulted in 2009's 3.6% and a probable 5% in 2010.
Addicts will do anything to hide and protect their addiction.

There is only one candidate opposing Darryl who has committed to
strengthening and even reducing allowable building heights during the
upcoming OCP revision and committing to never voting to amend the new
citizens OCP.

There is only one candidate opposing Darrell who called for Renter Rights
and a Council that does not turn a blind eye to violations of our bylaws
by the same big developers who all want to build their 50 story
"landmarks" in NVan. While Council turns a blind eye to apt buildings
without a simple little wheelchair ramp.

There is only one candidate opposing Darrell who calls for a three year
tax rate freeze, an end to free dinners for Council and staff and sister
city trips to Chiba, the whaling capital of Japan. I would even take a
$20,000 pay cut, cut the $9500 car allowance and donate the money received
from sitting at Metro Van meetings to local North Van charities.

There is only one candidate opposing Darrell who calls for a referendum on
amalgamation. In 1981, almost a majority of the City's residents voted for
amalgamation but the Councilors and potential councilors fear the loss of
two seats as that would diminish their chance at the free conventions to
Whistler that some Councilors take.

It's time to vote for the City, vote for a change, vote George Pringle on
Saturday Nov 19th

Affordable housing is the most important issue

I think the number one issue is affordable housing. With huge Chinese demand, large numbers of Chinese people with lots of money. Supply is not keeping up with this massive demand. So there is a shift in the demand curve to the right. With high demand at every price level. So with high demand, limited supply, price jumps sky high. Foreign investment and Chinese demand here locally driving price of housing out of reach for lots of people. So that this generation of young people will have to move to Prince George or Chilliwack in order to afford a house. This issue is not being addressed by the current mayors or council members except for one. Are big buck developers being given priority here in North Van city so that high density becomes too high. They should restrict 25 tower buildings to the Lonsdale corridor.With increasing population high density is inevitable but, it should be done at a reasonable pace. So in conclusion growth with reason.

John Hutchinson

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics

There are those parading around in this City election campaign quoting growth in our City is 1%.
This, they claim, is within the parameters of our Official Community Plan & therfore to be praised & readily accepted. No problem accepting growth at this rate ... all is well.

Not so ... check out this link ...

Here's some more interesting information.
Top Ten Growth Municipalities: 2009-2010 by percentage
1. Langford 6.6%
3. Surrey 3.4%
4. New Westminster 2.8%
5. Coquitlam 2.6%
6. Vancouver 2.3%
7. Chilliwack 2.3%
8. Burnaby 1.9%
9. North Vancouver District 1.8%
10. Richmond 1.7%

May I also point out that on page 7 of the 2010 Sub-Provincial Population Estimates, North Vancouver City had growth of 3.6% in 2009-2010 and 2.4% in 2008-2009. Wow, more than 3 times what we were told. This growth rate is not sustainable. The Density Genie is just about out of the bottle ... once out the Genie will not go back in. I am all about telling the public the truth & respecting our OCP.

What kind of North Vancouver City do you want to live in?

Rod Clark

Monday, November 14, 2011

Civic engagement or Civil engagement?

Everyone knows how important civic engagement is to me - see the Report of my Civic Engagement Task from last term. But how important is civil engagement to our community? This evening, I received a voicemail message from a constituent. He wanted to know my position on a particular topic. He asked me to return his call, but he also told me not to bother if I disagreed with him. Dilemma: knowing that we probably did not agree, should I return the call anyway? Good manners won out, and I returned the call. As I began to tell him my position on the issue, he hung up on me. I have a thick skin from many years in local politics, so it did not trouble me too much. But it made me think of this question for the North Vancouver Politics forum: how important is civility in today's politics? Jack Loucks used to say, "It's okay to disagree, but not be disagreeable." How do we disagree on and debate difficult topics without disrespecting people and process?

Topic provided by Guy Heywood

Harry Jerome Recreation Centre

Is the current Harry Jerome Recreation Centre really a fitting tribute to Harry Jerome, one of our community’s heroes?

This is a decision for the whole community to make together. That is why I wanted Harry Jerome to be a referendum issue in this election. That is why we must restart our community engagement process.

The Harry Jerome Recreation Centre has almost reached the end of its normal life span and is badly in need of a major renovation or replacement.

A new recreation centre will:

· Last for at least 50 years, before a major renovation.
· Combine the activities from six older buildings into fewer more efficiently organized buildings.
· Save energy and use sustainable building materials and methods.
· Can be built while the old building continues to service the needs of the community.
· Increase the safety and security of both staff and our community users.
· Be eligible for senior government funding.

A renovated recreation centre will:

· Last for about 20 years.
· Use the present configuration of six buildings.
· Not meet our energy usage targets and will increase future energy bills.
· Cost 2/3 the price of a new recreation centre.

Additionally, the present building is not up to modern seismic standards. If Harry Jerome was a school, it would have been already closed as unsafe. We are being irresponsible by not acting quickly to replace this recreation centre. The buildings are also full of asbestos which makes it hard to renovate, very expensive.

This is too important a decision for Council to make without extensive public input.

We need a Harry Jerome we can all be proud of!

Bob Fearnley

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Councillor Nixon suggests a forum

I would suggest a Forum to gauge support or lack thereof around the DNV OCP “support” of alternate forms of housing such as Small Lot Infill, “lane-way” or backyard cottage homes, or duplex development within Single Family neighbourhoods.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Community Learning Program

The primary focus of the new community learning program is to best address the needs of students and to support student achievement. The North Vancouver School Board of Education approved a motion in April 2010 to consolidate the alternate programs to be replaced by a new program – the North Vancouver Community Learning Program. Learning diversity will be offered within the umbrella of the program; designed to support student achievement, foster social/emotional learning and enable alternate pathways to graduation. The program will provide a new image and identity that has an enhanced pedagogical foundation while retaining the best practices from all the existing alternate programs.

The question I would like to ask the community is:

“How would you ensure that the new community learning centre becomes a warm, welcoming and enriching school/community environment for our students who need alternative learning pathways. What programs –ie. Applied sciences, urban agriculture, fine arts, drama/ film, etc, would you see including?”

Best regards,

Mary Tasi
Candidate for re-election for School Trustee – City of North Vancouver

Friday, November 11, 2011

Should parts of the farm be sold off?

Here is a question which I feel is relevant to discuss, both by parents affected by school closures and by the general public.
# - Under what circumstances would you consider the permanent sale of North Vancouver school district land and what would you want done with the resulting capital?

My opinion, the BinionOpinion:

There are twelve properties available to be sold and there may be a small number, due to overwhelming evidence that they do not need to be held for seventy-five years, that could eventually be reviewed for sale. In general I think it would be an exceptional circumstance to sell a property, as some of these can be retained by the Board of Education for lease periods of up to one hundred years and the properties can remain publicly owned and used to benefit the local communities in some other form. Decisions will need to be based on input, discussion and collaboration with various community partners, in particular the Ministry of Education and those communities affected by any proposed change.

Warmest Regards,
Norm Binion

Cultural Centres

I have sent out an invitation to all Mayor, Councillor, and Trustee candidates running in the 2011 Municipal election to ask if they would like an opportunity to provide a topic here on the blog. Below is the first topic from incumbent CNV Clr. Candidate Pam Bookham.

I can understand the desire of the Filipino and Iranian communities to have facilities to organize events and celebrate their heritage. We are all enriched by the visible and distinct diversity of our people and their culture.

The key issue, I think, is whether there is a role for the municipal council to play in the creation of cultural centres? Let's discuss this question openly.

I support an inclusive community. I want our public spaces (HJ, JBCC,NSNH,our library, our schools and hospitals, and City Hall to be welcoming of all our residents. We all contribute to the cost of these facilities.

I support programs that reach out to newcomers and strive to overcome language and cultural barriers.

That being said, do I support tax dollars being spent on cultural centres that serve one ethnic group? No.

Do I think City Council can assist such groups in achieving their desire for a cultural centre? Yes.

Let's talk about this and other important issues.

Best regards,

Pam Bookham

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Candidate Evaluation Guide

Sherril Guthrie designed a candidate evaluation guide for voters in Abbotsford which is also being used in Chilliwack, Mission, Burnaby, Delta and Surrey.

Read more:

Maybe we should have something like this for North Vancouver. This might be a way to know how the current council voted on past important issues without having to search the District Site? It should be clear and presented so the voter can make an educated decision. Many people don’t even want to vote because they have no idea who to vote for hence the low voter turnout.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

A Message to District and City Councils

What message do you think the outgoing 2008 -11 DNV Council and CNV Councils need to hear from the taxpayers? Would you pat them on the back or let them have it? Only a crystal ball would tell us what the configuration of these respective municipal councils will end up being on November 19 but, what would you like to give these councils to think about as their terms come to a close? Leave your message here on the blog (they do read the blog contrary to popular belief) or better still at this Monday nights ( Nov. 7th.) last regular council meeting and have your say in two minutes or less.

Monday, October 31, 2011

2011 CNV Election more interesting

Councillor Trentadue is not seeking re-election so who is most likely to take her seat? Don Bell? It seems he has a huge advantage. That said, there are 19 other candidates which makes it interesting but, Don will be the one to top. Darell Mussatto has some interesting competition especially with George Pringle who has past affiliation with former North Vancouver MP Ted White.
In the District Mayor Walton has a single challenger in Margie Goodman but, she is telling people she doesn't want to win and not to vote or support her. She says she is running to encourage a larger voter turnout and so Mayor Walton won't be acclaimed. Fair enough but, when a candidate files nomination papers they sign and agree to 'fully intend to accept the office' if elected. It is not as clear which new councillor candidate or candidates might bump out one or more of District incumbents seeking re-election but, you can bet that Little, Hicks, and Muri aren't going anywhere.

A DNV Candidate in a neighborhood near you

A map of approximately where all the 2011 DNV candidates live.

FONVCA Candidate questions and answers

The candidate questions and answers are now published on the site.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Clark rips North Vancouver mayor over CAO review North Vancouver city manager Ken Tollstam's last peformance review: 2006

COUN. Rod Clark of the City of North Vancouver is harshly criticizing Mayor Darrell Mussatto for his handling of the city manager's performance reviews.

"I've been trying for three years to get a performance review and set annual goals for the city manager," Clark said in council Monday. "A far-too-cozy relationship has developed between the city manager and the mayor. The performance review and goal-setting for the city manager is the mayor's job."

Clark called for the city to "develop policy on a timely performance review of the city manager and annual goal-setting for this position," a motion that won unanimous support. His motion follows more than a year of verbal requests in council for an update on the review policy.

Ken Tollstam has been the city's top administrator since 1993, after holding a series of other senior posts at city hall. His $254,000 annual salary is the highest of any municipal bureaucrat on the North Shore. His most recent performance review was in 2006. Other senior staff positions at the city are reviewed annually.

Clark said Tollstam himself should have sought out another review of his performance at some point over the past five years. "There has been an almost total failure of accountability for our city manager's position," Clark said.

After the meeting, Clark struck an even more combative tone. "I think it borders on negligence that council hasn't done this and I lay this right at the feet of Darrell Mussatto," Clark said. "He's been the mayor since 2005. In 2006 there was the one cursory goal-setting and review of the city manager and nothing since.

"When I initiated the calls for the review, I was assured by Darrell Mussatto that we would get a report back from him about what Ken's intentions are with respect to retirement and how we would go about a 360 review of the city manager's position. And then nothing, absolutely nothing."

Clark wouldn't say if he had any specific complaints with Tollstam's performance.

Mussatto did not comment on the motion during the council meeting, but in an interview afterwards he said Clark's timing caught him by surprise.

"We had a discussion in camera last week and I felt council heard the answers they wanted to hear, so this just came right out of the blue for me," he said.

"Council agreed last week to do a review of Mr. Tollstam and Mr. Tollstam is going to come back with options, and how other municipalities do it. We agreed on that. So it's not like anyone's trying to hide anything. We'll have a company or a process that we can look at to evaluate Mr. Tollstam."

Mussatto said he expects to see options to consider within two to three weeks, and a new council will make the final decision following the Nov. 19 elections.

Mussatto also said he thought Clark had "a good point."

"We never had a policy with (former mayors) Jack Loucks and Barbara Sharpe. Does that mean it's OK for me not to have a policy? No. I have to take as much responsibility as the rest of council in this getting to five years," he said.

Tollstam said he had no problem with a performance review. Following the consultantled review of his work in 2006, he said, the council of the day dropped the process.

"It was taking up a lot of time and effort for them - these are their comments, not mine - and they didn't feel they were getting bang for their buck," he said. "They thought the better method was to work with the mayor dayin, day-out. We always have meetings every month, just the CAO and council to talk about issues. . . . Council picks out the options they want us to focus in on, whether it's more affordable housing, something in the cultural area, pools, rinks, whatever. My mission is to make it happen."

Controversial ad by Wendy Qureshi in Outlook; Municipal Election is full on.

Since the densification push in the 1990s, hundreds of condos and detached homes have been built in the District of North Vancouver. Population has increased and along with it crime, noise, litter, pollution, and traffic congestion. The tax-base gains are short-term at best and new infrastructure costs that come along with densification are borne by you–the taxpayer.

Most of these motions are passed unanimously by Council in the name of sustainable density. The developers come in, produce only market housing of which there is no shortage in the DNV, and leave with their pockets full of money.

But what about the average person who chose to live here long ago, when life in the District was laid back and tax rates were much lower? How do they feel about sitting in gridlocked traffic idling away their hard earned cash and adding pollutants to our environment? Many people drive cars out of necessity, as there have been few improvements made by TransLink on the North Shore. The three seabuses promised to be in operation before the Olympics still haven’t become a reality and in some parts of the district services have been cut back. Yet our Mayor, who is the chairman of the Mayors’ Council for Translink, voted in favour of a two cent per liter gasoline tax and he also committed to raise our property taxes to fund the Translink Evergreen Line, while we in the District of North Vancouver are left waiting in gridlock traffic as we ponder what will it be like with all the barriers, detours, and obstructions in place when the actual building under our new “sustainable” OCP is underway.

What will our communities look like with an additional 20,000 people moving to the District of North Vancouver? Currently almost every new family buying property in the DNV brings their vehicles. With only two bridges, two Seabuses and an inefficient transit system, plus an additional 10,000 vehicles, I cannot see how the words “densification and sustainability” could possibly define a better life for the majority of residents who own single family homes in the DNV. Sustainable densification is an oxymoron at best, unless you are a municipal government looking for a short term tax-base gain. Who knows what will happen when this tax base gain becomes unsustainable. Will our taxes skyrocket or do we build more centres and invite another twenty thousand or more people to live in the district? And then in the future will we need more and more centres and people, just to remain sustainable?

I attended many of the OCP public participation meetings and none of my comments were written in the hundreds and hundreds of glossy brochures paid for with our tax money. And, just previous to these so-called community input sessions, the DNV stopped advertising the council agendas and meeting dates. Instead they purchased several insertions of full page, full colour advertising in our local newspapers promoting their OCP. This is not open and transparent government. How can you fight something if you don’t know it exists? We should be encouraged to attend Council meetings, not shut out.

I am not against progress, increased population or development, these things will all happen in time anyway and without disrupting the entire District of North Vancouver for decades to come. Why do we need to bring 20,000 more people into the district if not to increase the tax base? The District is entrusted with our money to provide services to residents in our Municipality. Why do they continue to put major resources into new developments while our established infrastructure is in dire need of replacement and repair?

In the DNV we still have kilometers of antiquated asbestos-cement water mains prone to failure. Prudent minds may think why don’t we fix our outdated infrastructure first, before sinkholes appear in our streets caused by broken water mains and creating one emergency situation after another. People wake up to flooded basements and damage – and costly repairs at the expense of the homeowner. Many of our roads are patched and bumpy with manholes either above or below grade. There are ongoing trouble spots in our street network which need attention. Our traffic and transit problems must be solved before any new major development takes place.

My name is Wendy Qureshi and I’m running for Council in the District of North Vancouver.

As a councillor I will be committed to keeping our district vibrant, as it is now and work toward fixing long overdue and neglected problems. Only then we can talk about development in the district, by the people and for the people who live here now–and not for developers and outside government bodies whose interest is not necessarily best for the citizens of the District of North Vancouver.

To accomplish my platform I will need your help! Why not attend a council meeting or two or join your community association? Why not get involved in our Municipality and have your say?

Did you know that in the last municipal election only 17 per cent of the citizens in the DNV voted?

In a healthy democracy it’s people like you who come out and vote for the candidate who will serve you best. You take the time to discuss with your family, friends, and neighbours the important issues facing our communities and our District. Please get them to vote, regardless of what candidate they choose to vote for. The choice is simple: If you want high density then move to the West End or vote for all current councillors and mayor. If you want flowing traffic, safe streets for cars and cyclists, and transparency at district hall — then vote for me.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's time for voters to occupy the ballot box

How many of us have these concerns, yet bemoan the fact that civic election voter turnout is so low? Robert Bransford touches down on a touchy subject in Saturday's Vancouver Sun:

The Occupy Wall Street movement spreads across the globe, yet most people don't bother to vote in civic elections, which affect them most

Do you wonder if your kids will ever be able to afford their own home? Are you a renter wishing you could afford an apartment that's just a little bigger and in a more convenient neighbourhood?

Are you finding your daily commute is taking longer and longer?

Is traffic now congested on local streets when you drive to the grocery store?

Have property taxes and the cost of utility charges for your home climbed to a level where they are now a noticeable financial burden?

Do you often feel as though decisions are being made without your knowledge or input about changes in your neighbourhood that are literally reshaping the place you call home?

Do you worry about the sprawl that continues to gobble up land as it follows the growth of freeway expansion extending up the Fraser Valley?

Have school closures in your neighbourhood over the last few years made you wonder about the future of your community?

If you answered "yes" to one or more of these questions, then let me ask you: What you are going to do about it?

Read more:
And Benjamin Alldritt, the North Shore News' Inquiring Reporter, asked five people on the street:
"Are you interested in this year's civic elections?

But while there’s no shortage of politicians, there are likely precious few voters paying attention. In the 2008 elections, fewer than one in five North Shore voters made it out to the polls.

Will things be different this year?

Three young people approached "on the street" replied:
"They (civic elections) do matter to me, but I should probably learn more. I don’t think local politics is very interesting, but I don’t know why."

"Generally not. I did notice someone going around handing out leaflets yesterday, but most of them just end up as litter."

"I didn’t know they (civic elections) were coming up."


These three responses were in great contrast to two older adults/seniors. Why do you think this is, and how can we encourage our young people back to the ballot box? How does civic politics need to change? Better yet, how do our politicians need to change?

DNV Random Order Candidate Ballot

Monday, 9 AM, October 24th at District Hall candidate names will be 'drawn from a hat' to determine the order they will appear on the ballot for the Nov. 19th Municipal Election

Firefighters Collective Agreement and Memorandum of understanding with CNV available online

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What makes a good candidate?

So what does make a good candidate? Is it humility, critical thinking skills, honesty, empathy, learning ability, integrity, being independent, or communication skills(listening being the most important)?

Or is it a law degree, high IQ, wealth, the ability to speak well, relationships with powerful people, an encyclopedic knowledge of public policy, business experience, a background in government service, or a forceful personalty?

It turns out that maybe it is almost none of the above. I did some asking around of some engaged, local, political, personalities and the most common theme seemed to be "being independent."

It would take some research but, by checking out the 'incumbent' candidates records on how they stood and how they voted on issues, should tell you if they stuck to their positions and were truly 'independent'.

As far as new candidates are concerned, you can really only go by what they say.

Most candidates have websites and those who don't will have a contact e.mail address.

City Candidates

District Candidates

Friday, October 14, 2011

Congratulations to all the candidates in the North Vancouver Municipal Election

Wow! 21 candidates for councillor in the City, 4 for Mayor, and 4 for School Trustee. In the District there are 2 for Mayor, 12 for councillor and 5 for School Trustee.

Best of luck to all candidates!

Doling it out for democracy

This article appears on page 14 of this weeks Outlook-North Vancouver.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Homelessness Action Week Oct. 10 -16, 2011

Last Monday night at the District regular council meeting there was a delegation from the North Shore Homelessness Task Force. The most recent homeless count on the North Shore was a minimum of 117 and that is actually down from the previous count of 123. According to SPARK, CCPA, and the Public Health Assoc. of B.C. a comprehensive poverty reduction and homelessness plan would cost British Columbians $3-4 billion per year. The cost of doing nothing to fix homelessness is at least $8 billion. Page 62 of the New DNV OCP promises to do a number of things to do with wrestling with poverty in the community such as working with senior members of levels of government.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

CNV and DNV Nomination Papers Available Online

If you want to see who is running in the City or the District Municipal Election on Nov. 19th. simply click on to one of the following links.

(District Hall candidates board pictured)

District nomination papers

City nomination papers