Monday, October 27, 2014

All in favour raise your hands

Everyone was in favour with a show of hands on the issue of Amalgamating the two North Vancouver's. They also seemed to agree that something had to be done about traffic congestion.  No surprises there. The first District ACM was pretty stodgy other than an attack by one of the new candidates on two incumbents regarding receiving campaign donations from developers. It was held this past Friday evening at the Lynn Valley Recreation Centre, hosted by the LVCA, and was the communities first live look at hopefuls who want to fill at least two seats in the District on Nov. 15th. Stay tuned for many more all candidate meetings in the City and District over the next three weeks. Check and for times, dates, and locations.


L Leeman said...

It WAS stodgy but it almost looked like it was by design. The format really didn't encourage any exchange between the audience ( citizenry!) and the candidates except by very short written questions, and those were 'organized' and reworded by the host moderator. Having said that, I admit I have no good idea as to how you better handle that many candidates in a room, in an orderly fashion and yet manage any lively exchanges that might want to occur.

What does disturb me a bit is that these all candidates meetings are being run and organized by organizations which are in no way accountable as to the format or the way that they are run. Maybe that's just politics and elections, but it is still disturbing.

There were 2 exchanges that happened where the moderator from LVCA ,( which was hosting the meeting), intervened in the democratic exchange.

At one point one candidate, during his speaking time, named 2 other candidates as having accepted funding from developers operating in Lynn Valley. Since those two councilors had already used their speaking time, the moderator chose to allow them to respond to these 'accusations' out of turn . It wasn't strictly in line with the format that had been outlined, but I thought it was correct for the moderator to break the rules and to allow them to respond. One councilor denied the 'accusation' and one chose not to respond.

However, there was a less agreeable intervention when one audience member, unable to contain himself any longer, spoke up from the floor. He was immediately and rudely threatened with expulsion from the room by the overly aggressive moderator.

What... brownshirts were in the wings? This ain't my vision of local democracy.

Lyle Craver said...

What sort of accountability with respect to format would you like to see?

(I was not present at the meeting due to illness but am an executive member of the community association that organized the event - I ask this as this was pretty much the same format as was used at our 2011 all-candidates and am not aware of any complaints on this score)

As for the organizations running all-candidates, anybody can organize such a meeting and invite the candidates. LVCA has a reputation of being one of the less political associations with a strong record of not endorsing any candidate which includes former association board members.

Generally if a candidate makes a personal attack on another candidate wouldn't you expect him/her to get to reply?

Anonymous said...

E-mail your questions to the candidates. They all have emails and websites with contact me pages on them. I have already had a few candidates answer my questions. We can bypass dodgy ACMs and still be heard.

Quite a few candidates have not bothered to answer any questions from a mere ordinary citizen. This will help me to gauge future response from the candidates on how they may respond after they could be elected.

Answering emails should be a lot easier than door knocking in the rain.

If they cannot bother to answer back, they will most likely not be responsive to citizen concerns while sitting on Council. They simply won't get my vote.

L Leeman said...

@Lyle Craver .. I am assuming your post which seems a bit defensive is in reply to
You wrote:
Generally if a candidate makes a personal attack on another candidate wouldn't you expect him/her to get to reply?

Well,yes, Lyle, I would and I think that is pretty much what I wrote, isn't it?

At the same time, threats of expulsion if you don't shut up RIGHT NOW are not what I would expect and were completely unnecessary. I may very well be wrong, but my impression was that if the person speaking out from the , who is well known, had been someone else with less visibility, that they may not have been threatened in the manner that they were.

Consider that your first complaint for 2014.

But also consider that I am thankful the LVCA did organize an all candidates meeting which allowed candidates to be heard from in person.

Anonymous said...

I thought speaking from the floor out of turn was considered out of order in these functions. Threatening expulsion merely underlines the seriousness of the infraction. Sounds to me like they are following the same procedures as they would in any council meeting. No?

Anonymous said...

Alex Swartz has a long history of disrespecting public processes. He wanted to be disruptive and he was successful to some degree, but the reason the moderator was so gruff with him is history. I suspect Dan Ellis would have been more moderate with others.

Anonymous said...

Which dnv council candidates received campaign donations from developers?

L Leeman said...

Ok Anonymous..5:33
You said:
" I suspect Dan Ellis would have been more moderate with others."

Thanks for the confirmation of my suspicions, which I posted above.

You might not LIKE it but this kind of thing is exactly what concerns me.

You know, folks, it's NOT a council meeting. It's a chance for the citizenry to test and learn about their potential employees.

Alex might have crossed some LVCA determined line just a very little, but it would it be considered wildly out of order in any well run 'meet the candidates' event for a citizen in the audience to challenge a statement by a candidate. It's an ELECTION not a board meeting.

And of course the second opinion of 'Anonymous' (if actually true) would seal the deal that LVCA is willing to discriminate against those that might not toe THEIR line. I dont know who Anonymous is, so I cant be sure of the truth of the statement about ALex.

Mr. didnt like Alex's behaviour? Then give him the same chance you would have given some other less known audience members who didnt actually speak up maybe because of the treatment you doled out to Schwartz. Basically, Mr. Ellis and LVCA, if what has been stated here is true then you are guilty of discrimination.

My opinion is.. good on you for organizing a candidates meeting.. shame on you for supporting the treatment given to an audience member wanting to make a challenging remark at (of all things!) at a 'Meet the Candidates' event.

LVCA is a COMMUNITY organization.. remember?

COMMUNITY doesn't mean 'Thinks like you and should be shut up if he doesnt." It means something else.

Anonymous said...

So what's the actual process for speaking? Was it defined? Was the process being followed by other speakers? Was the person in question out of order? Should he have followed an established procedure in order to have his turn to speak?

L Leeman said...

@Anon 9:06
"So what's the actual process for speaking?"

As far as I could tell, there is no actual process for speaking unless you are a candidate speaking in turn, or you have been granted special leave to speak out of turn by the moderator, a privilege clearly denied Mr. Schwartz. This privilege was granted twice in the meeting, to the two counsellors who had been identified as having recieved campaign funds from a developer and was granted to allow them to respond. I think that was the correct way to handle such a situation.

However, if you were an audience member, an ordinary voter, there were small cards circulated on which you could write a question to be posed not by yourself, or necessarily in your own words, but by the moderator. Further, the choice of who would respond to some of the questions was controlled by LVCA and in the interest of time, sometimes only certain candidates were asked to respond.
The order of the audience questions was determined by LVCA members and there was no mechanism for questioning or rebutting in real time things that the candidates said. This, I think, is what triggered Alex Schwartz to speak out in response to a candidate's claims. We can't really say he was speaking of of turn, as there no 'turns' for audience questions. He had no other formal option to speak available to him at the time. He could have tried scribbling a retort onto a card in few words, and waited until the LVCA got around to reading his card, but the context of his objection would have long been lost and in any case could not have been written on that little card.

It's a tough call when you have so many candidates though. Nonetheless, I still have the feeling that if it had been some other citizen, with less history around LVCA and council than Alex, that person would have recieved much more respectful treatment and maybe had his/her statement responded to by the speaking candidate.

Anonymous said...

Oh come on. It was the introductions! Alex barked out taunts three times during the first fifteen minutes before Dan threatened to kick him. It wasn't about some confusion over when the public would get a chance to speak or some other understandable frustration, Alex didn't like that some of the current councilors said they supported managed growth, when he considered the Lynn Valley proposal to be completely too large. He came to the event not to listen to the candidates, or listen to his neighbors questions, he came there because he hates the current council and wanted to embarrass them. If the moderator can't keep some kind of decorum then these kinds of events will fail. Dan didn't wrestle him to the ground and drag him out of the room, he tried to get across that outbursts would not be tolerated. If Alex wanted to be heard at an all candidates meeting then he should have run as a candidate.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:21am, thanks for offering another perspective for those of us who weren't there.

Anonymous said...

Which councillors have accepted money from developers? Anyone know?

L Leeman said...

`Dan didn't wrestle him to the ground and drag him out of the room, he tried to get across that outbursts would not be tolerated`

Actually, if you have a replay handy, Dan threatened just that.

My memory says he told (threatened) Mr. Schwartz `You will be removed`. what that said to me was `be quiet or I will call the RCMP maybe to wrestle you to the ground`. Some election engagement process huh. Not that DAN has any sway with RCMP, as far as I know, when people are gathering in a PUBLIC place paid for by every one of the people in the room.

So, Anon, why dont you COME ON and have look at how your buddy acted. He was way out of line at his kind of meeting and shouldnt be moderating any more. Nuff said.

Griffin said...

Mr. Leeman, your comments include a lot of conjecture. I would bet that if the people attending the meeting were asked if they approved of, and wished to hear more of the vitriol/rhetoric/ accusations that Mr Schwartz was spewing, I am not sure which is the appropriate word here, they would have voted resoundingly to have the man silenced. They were not there to hear him try to "out" the candidates, they were there primarily to here what they might bring to the table if elected. When a meeting is only two or so hours long, there is only so much time and devoting more than a moment to someone bent on disrupting the proceedings is more than sufficient. "Nuff said", as you so smugly state.

Anonymous said...

Yes he threatened to have him removed, but he didn't do it. It was unfortunately necessary. I am no friend of Dan's, but Alex is a bully and Dan put him in his place, albeit temporarily.

L Leeman said...

"They were not there to hear him try to "out" the candidates, they were there primarily to here what they might bring to the table if elected."

Talk about conjecture.

I, for one, would have have welcomed a format that allowed an audience member to address a candidate directly and to directly challenge statements being made that evening by candidates.

Perhaps something like the Mark Sager meeting at the Zeller's property would be better with a wireless mic and audience speaking their own questions to whichever candidate(s) they chose? My recollection is that bosa's meeting did not devolve into a debacle yet nobody was threatened with expulsion. It wasnt necessary because the audience could approach a mic instead of speaking 'out of turn'...that is to say the citizenry HAD a turn.

Anyhow, this one's been flogged to death. I'm moving on.

Griffin said...

Mr. Leeman, as someone who has attended MANY ACMs over the years, I can tell you with certainty that most people attend these meetings, (particularly the municipal elections, where in North Vancouver, we don't have political parties to sway voters' choices) as an easy way to analyze the candidates and see how they stack up against one another. What you are asking for is an open mic format which can quickly turn into a rant by one or two individuals hogging the microphone with no questions being asked. It is for this very reason that many ACMs have abandoned the open mic format.

As for the Bosa meeting, it may have been dumb luck that nobody disrupted the meeting especially since there was considerable divergence of opinion as to what should be built.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Mr. Leeman wants a public hearing, while all that's being offered is a moderated discussion.

Anonymous said...

...because there are 14 candidates for council.

When there are Mayoral debates they tend to include more direct questions because there are only two or three candidates. When there are 14 candidates and an expectation of fair time at the mic then you can't have the kind of adversarial meeting Leeman is suggesting. 120 minutes less 15 minutes of MC's meeting management, divided 14 ways is 7.5 minutes per candidate Gross and that doesn't include the public asking any questions, disruptions from the audience, technical problems, etc. etc.