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City of Victoria | 2018-2022 | Mayor and council general discussion


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#11761 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 22 March 2023 - 04:48 AM

Comment: There's too much acrimony at Victoria council meetings

 

I am troubled by many things, but I am especially troubled by the polarization and acrimony that characterizes council meetings.
 
 
Marg Gardiner
 
 
 

As a recently elected member of Victoria city council, I am compelled to make public my deep disappointment in this council.

 

I am troubled by many things, but I am especially troubled by the polarization and acrimony that characterizes council meetings. By failing to work constructively together, we are, to put the matter simply, failing the city.

 

________________________

 

We have fallen into the same dysfunction of the previous council, well documented by the MNP’s City of Victoria Governance Review report of July 18, 2022. The previous council deferred this report to the current council.

 

Our council was elected five months ago and has not yet addressed the recommendations in the MNP governance report.

 

Failure to do so has created shortcomings — debate on important issues is routinely cut off; perspectives and input from some at the table have been selectively considered while contrary voices are ignored.

 

Proposed ethical guidelines are missing and ethical lapses are all too common. Council is floundering.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

https://www.timescol...eetings-6738868

 

 

 

During recent council discussions of public safety with the police chief, a councillor suggested that police should tell the public less about crime and provide fewer warnings to the public of dangerous situations, because police bulletins might increase the perception of unsafe streets.

 

While professing to be concerned about public safety, council has ventured forth on “bold initiatives,” charging headlong into an ideological agenda.

 

The majority of councillors think we should set aside sound principles of management and decision-making to make way for accelerated actions. Some councillors speak of bold actions and accelerated programs without planning, expert input or, and this is the most egregious failing, without listening to the public.

 

We must go back to basics. As Victoria councillors we bring differing priorities to the table. We bring passion, impatience and agendas.


Edited by Victoria Watcher, 22 March 2023 - 04:56 AM.

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#11762 Nparker

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Posted 22 March 2023 - 06:54 AM

Nothing will change on this council until at least the next civic election. The wokies are too entrenched in their self-righteousness to ever consider compromise. They will save the CoV from itself even if it means destroying everything.
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#11763 AllseeingEye

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Posted 22 March 2023 - 06:55 AM

Read that in the online T-C this morning and although she is not wrong - she's bang on in fact - I'll bet the next council meeting may be a bit, um..."frosty" insofar as Ms Gardiner is concerned.

 

To one of her main points though if CoV councils could only accept the fact they exist primarily to provide good governance, not to mention deal with such mundane (but important, at least to the common citizen) matters as filling in potholes and possibly above all actually listening to their constituents, they would be perceived in a much more positive light.

 

NOTE to City Council: you do NOT however exist or have a blank check mandate to plunge zealously forth headlong into whatever your latest ideological dog bone happens to be.

 

To wit how would you asses the effectiveness of this city's former council's "letter to Vladimir Putin"? Surely you remember him? He's the pathological sociopath who started the latest European war. The guy now charged by the International Criminal Court with war crimes....remember him? Would you assess that letter as an effective and useful activity for the city of Victoria's elected representatives to expend even a single ounce of energy on? Pretty sure I could confidently answer that one on behalf of about 95,000 citizens. So...you get the drift and gist of Gardiner's message. Now hop to it and fill in those potholes....


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#11764 Mike K.

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Posted 22 March 2023 - 06:56 AM

Isn’t that the plan, to burn it all down?

I’m pretty sure that’s the plan. It’s all happening exactly according to plan. There should be no surprises, nine years in.
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#11765 Daveyboy

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Posted 22 March 2023 - 07:01 AM

 "'It became necessary to destroy the town to save it," a United States major once stated during the Vietnam War.



#11766 spanky123

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Posted 22 March 2023 - 07:47 AM

I’m pretty sure that’s the plan. It’s all happening exactly according to plan. There should be no surprises, nine years in.

 

What I don't get is that the same people who think that the Mayor and council should be working for minimum wage are surprised that we wind up with people funded by SIGs who are then answerable to those SIGs.

 

Paying the Mayor and council a competitive wage commensurate with our expectations would cost the City next to nothing incrementally in its annual budget but hopefully help recruit component, capable people to run who are not focused on their next job. That of course implies that the public is then smart enough to elect them based on merit rather than someone promising them free cake.



#11767 Mike K.

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Posted 22 March 2023 - 07:59 AM

I used to believe that, but then I looked to who runs, and who we elect, to represent us provincially and federally. The pay is great, the calibre of candidate doesn't matter as much as whether or not a well oiled machine of volunteers is behind them.


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#11768 lanforod

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Posted 22 March 2023 - 08:12 AM

That's not exactly comparing apples and oranges though. Provincial and federal elections are driven 100% by partisan politics. It's all about the party. That's only partly true for municipalities.
I agree with spanky here, bad as it may seem optically for a 13 municipal region that really should be 4. If the CoV were to pay its mayor 150k and it's councilors 100k, it could dramatically increase the quality of candidates, for a relatively low cost. Added benefit - it should be considered a full-time job then, and Mayor and councilors expected to put in 40+ hrs weekly (not all do).


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#11769 Mike K.

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Posted 22 March 2023 - 08:16 AM

Municipal politics is a service, not a job.

If we’re turning it into a job, then we need to assess why municipal councillors are spending that much time in that role, and not enable the scope creep.

Maybe we should give them all assistants, too? Secretaries, and a driver? Since they’re so busy, how about we also provide them with a consigliere.

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#11770 Nparker

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Posted 22 March 2023 - 08:27 AM

... of course [this] implies that the public is then smart enough to elect them based on merit rather than someone promising them free cake.

There were some very good candidates running in the last civic election; only 3 of them made it to the council chamber. Never underestimate the ignorance of the electorate.


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#11771 lanforod

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Posted 22 March 2023 - 02:16 PM

Municipal politics is a service, not a job.

If we’re turning it into a job, then we need to assess why municipal councillors are spending that much time in that role, and not enable the scope creep.

Maybe we should give them all assistants, too? Secretaries, and a driver? Since they’re so busy, how about we also provide them with a consigliere.

 

Why? It's a service for Podunk, BC, population 2500.  It's a JOB in a large municipality, IMO. 

It should also have minimum job requirements, IMO, but thats a different issue. That'd disqualify half the current council probably.



#11772 dasmo

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Posted 22 March 2023 - 02:20 PM

It’s already a corporation. With 99.99% of its staff hired and not elected. We should just make it like a co-op. Where we the people are members and we elect the board of directors every year. The board hires and fires the council and mayors.
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#11773 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 22 March 2023 - 02:21 PM

Podunk has no city manager. In Victoria we have over 75 managers earning over $150,000 per year.

Council should just be policy and guidance, lots of staff to implement.
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#11774 Mike K.

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Posted 22 March 2023 - 02:43 PM

But they meddle to the point of becoming busy-bodies serving special interest.

 

Politicians are elected to represent everyone. But in Victoria:

 

Screen Shot 2023-03-22 at 3.39.39 PM.png

 

12,271 citizens, or 17% of the eligible electorate, cast a vote for C. Thompson. Elected officials are not there to solely represent that 17%, they are there to represent the entire 100%. That's what Marg Gardiner is saying, is you can't just raise the political draw bridge and focus on your special interest when you're a politician. You are responsible to everyone, which means taking into account opinions which you don't share. That's what service to your community is, fundamentally.

 

Councillor Thompson proved Gardiner's point.


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#11775 dasmo

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Posted 22 March 2023 - 02:51 PM

That’s exactly what they do now. We are being governed by useful idiots who think their roll is as social activist parenting us plebes because we don’t know what’s right…
Just fix the potholes protect the streams, maintain the parks and get out of the way…
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#11776 Harry

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Posted 09 April 2023 - 08:17 PM

Things on councils wont change until there is an effective mechanism to hold them accountable. Once in, they know there is no way for them to be removed or to be held responsible for what they are doing and they know it. They have no repercussions for their actions. Look at Helps and the **** show she welcomed into the city. Where is she now? In upper government advising on something that she failed miserably at.  Remember the plan with the last council was to " let things get so bad the provincial and federal government would step in and bring the money". The last council paved the way to do almost everything but their jobs. How many times did that council stray from their lane or try to completely defund the police, down play crime or spend cash like it was water. Councils are running with no checks and balances and they know it so they do what they want with no fear of consequences. Now with the example of the last council getting away with everything the new council seems to be following in its foot steps.


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#11777 Nparker

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Posted 09 April 2023 - 10:30 PM

 

...The last council paved the way to do almost everything but their jobs...

Sad, but true.



#11778 Stephen James

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Posted 10 April 2023 - 10:30 AM

That's not exactly comparing apples and oranges though. Provincial and federal elections are driven 100% by partisan politics. It's all about the party. That's only partly true for municipalities.
I agree with spanky here, bad as it may seem optically for a 13 municipal region that really should be 4. If the CoV were to pay its mayor 150k and it's councilors 100k, it could dramatically increase the quality of candidates, for a relatively low cost. Added benefit - it should be considered a full-time job then, and Mayor and councilors expected to put in 40+ hrs weekly (not all do).

just to clarify here:

Are you saying the NDp has nothing to do with local municipal elections in the CRD? Or, more specifically, are you saying the NDP has no interest, connection to, has contributed no strategy or resources to CoV, Langford, or Saanich elections?


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#11779 Stephen James

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Posted 10 April 2023 - 10:39 AM

What I don't get is that the same people who think that the Mayor and council should be working for minimum wage are surprised that we wind up with people funded by SIGs who are then answerable to those SIGs.

 

Paying the Mayor and council a competitive wage commensurate with our expectations would cost the City next to nothing incrementally in its annual budget but hopefully help recruit component, capable people to run who are not focused on their next job. That of course implies that the public is then smart enough to elect them based on merit rather than someone promising them free cake.

I don't see any correlation, other than we'll get more of the "political class" corrupting local politics... the point made in a following post. Absolutely no raise for these folks at the table of a small city of 90,000.

 

Here's an innovation:

Pay them $90,000.00 per year PLUS committees and special projects on one condition only:

they are barred from any municipal, provincial or federal job for 5 years (1 election cycle plus 1 year) after leaving office, and permanently barred from any public office at the Provincial and Federal level. This would remove some of the morons who'll wander off for more entitlements elsewhere.

 

The lack of leadership here is a result of the cruel stage the Provincial NDP has created for auditioning for better jobs. Has nothing to do with the pay. Jerks like Dell just want the opporunity to say "look at me" AND be overpaid for it.


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#11780 pontcanna

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Posted 12 June 2023 - 05:04 PM

Posted 02 November 2020 - 06:10 PM

 

Byelection nominations are starting to appear on the City's website. Stephen Andrew and Stefanie Hardman have already filed to run. A third candidate is Bill Heflin, a semi-retired criminal defence lawyer, according to his LinkedIn profileHeflin's nominators include Victoria Conservative riding association president Brian Siddall and FOCUS magazine columnist Gene Miller. The deadline for filing nominations is this Friday at 4 pm.

 

Former Victoria lawyer, council candidate, disciplined for sexual harassment of client

Jun. 12, 2023

 
A former Victoria lawyer and council candidate has been disciplined by the Law Society of British Columbia Tribunal for sexual harassment of a client.
 
Screenshot 2023-06-12 17.47.26.png
Times-Colonist, 2020

William James Heflin, who ran for Victoria council in the 2020 byelection as Bill Heflin, has been fined $4,348.57 and he is suspended from practicing law for six months. Since Heflin is not a current member of the Law Society of B.C., if he files to be reinstated, his suspension will start the first business day after his reinstatement.

According to the tribunal decision, on or around October 1, 2020, Heflin and X met at a meeting room in the Victoria court house, so Heflin could tell her that he could no longer act as her legal counsel.

Heflin told X his reasonings were based on his thoughts of retirement, plans to run for city council, and his interest in a sexual relationship with her.

When he was out of the room, X turned on the recorder on her phone. Heflin then returned to the room and said “Okay, well, I’m not your lawyer anymore.” X said, “You’re not?” and Heflin replied, “Now I can do what I want.”

Heflin then moved closer to her and straddled her and kissed her again and touched her breast. He then said “just give me a hug” and hugged X, and then kissed her a third time.

After the third kiss, Heflin said “If you don’t stop that we will never get out of here,” which he alleges is because X touched his penis, which she denies. The tribunal made no finding on this matter.

“He harassed and assaulted a client who was in a vulnerable state, in circumstances where the power dynamic was highly imbalanced. Although he has admitted his actions, he refuses to acknowledge the impropriety of them.”
 

 



 



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