If this isn’t something that is of interest to you please just disregard my email. I felt compelled to reach out through my mailing list as I have had 100′s of phone calls and emails about this over the last 5 days.
This is the last week we have to respond to the BC Hydro letters in regard to the three options they have provided for us.
What I am advising those who do not want a Smart Meter and what I have done myself are the following:
- Take the stub at the bottom of the letter they provided with the options and write void across it. (This will prevent being charged $65 for not responding).
- Print the SM Installation Refusal letter off http://www.citizensforsafetechnology.org/
- Mail both of these back to BC Hydro prior to Dec.1 st.
On their website this is also where you can find information on joining the class action lawsuit, this now includes commercial customers also. If you have been given a SM but would like it removed, you want to participate as well. CST along with their lawyers are going to continue to fight for the rights of British Columbians and do everything they can to prevent what many are calling extortion from our Public Utility Company.
If you have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 778-861-9477,
I hope this is helpful!
I am very concerned about a potential social media policy in Maple Ridge that could prevent councillor engagement with the public and instead funnel social media interaction through the District communications department.
I ran my campaign largely on accountability and transparency and have used social media extensively to engage in discussions with the public to keep them informed and to receive their feedback. The public appreciates this, as do I. I feel our Maple Ridge local government as a whole can do much more to engage the public.
When first elected, two years ago now, I wanted to list my social media accounts on my business card and wasn’t allowed. I started a weekly public coffee meeting and was discouraged to continue even after suggesting others could join me and we could make it a Council initiative.
I’ve consistently requested forms of public consultation that have been denied. I asked to put our Regional Context Statement prominently on our home page for public feedback but was told the link buried in a PDF of the meeting agenda was sufficient. I put forward a motion to send out a press release about proposed bylaws and changes to Federal Legislation involving medical marijuana when information had changed after it had already been to public hearing. We were voting with different information than what was available at the time of the public hearing and I was told the press release couldn’t be done because we didn’t want to go outside normal communication policy procedure. My motion was voted down based on a stated communications policy that at October 21st Workshop meeting I confirmed doesn’t exist. Why didn’t the Mayor, CAO, or Member of Legislative Services know that there was no such policy? How is it possible to have a council vote based on policy that doesn’t exist?
Such events prompted me to request a review of our communication policies, including social media. This discussion took place in workshop on October 21. Rather than making our policies more inclusive as was my intention, the discussion was instead turned into ways the District should control social media and the flow of that information. A current practise in Maple Ridge council is that all emails addressed to Mayor and Council, unless addressed to a specific councillor, be responded to by the Mayor only. It is being suggested that the social media policy which will now be created for Council would take this further to have all social media go through and be responded to by the District communications department while preventing involvement of individual councillors. District staff are working on the details of such policy, which will be brought back to council in early 2014.
The stated reasoning to have all social media flow through the District includes:
- “Social media perpetuates issues that should be done with”
- Only the district opinion should be stated publicly
- There is a fear of litigation if council is to speak freely and it isn’t an opinion of the District
- Committee work is our engagement tool as councillors, not social media
- Information is not safe from corporate data mining unless it is put through the district website
- Privacy is at risk for citizens engaging in public discussion. If monitored through the district then when discussions between the public get personal they can be directed to take the conversation off line
- Social media is “misleading” and “disrespectful” and “it’s important to only have the facts (not opinion) out there.”
- There is worry that the public will misconstrue what an elected official has posted on social media and end up discussing inaccurate information and “there is enough of that happening in the newspapers already”
- We should “keep the meeting in the room it is actually supposed to be, that is what the public pay us to do”
- “There’s no benefit to tweeting”
- “Tweeting is self serving”
- If elected officials use social media during meetings, they could accidentally tweet during a public hearing resulting in litigation or having to hold another public hearing
- Social media on business cards gives some councillors an election advantage
The reasoning behind changing the social media flow seems to be full of fear, misunderstanding, and lack of realizing that the world has changed and government in other communities is changing with it. There’s no evidence of increased risk of litigation in social media over any other medium. Corporations can mine data from the district website with ease. Citizens don’t typically engage in public discussion to share opinions they wish to keep private. Social media is an indication of an entities ability to communicate and monitor their image; if there is misinformation being spread social media should be used as a medium to communicate, discuss and inform through meaningful engagement.
Elected officials are public servants who serve their constituency and the people who voted for them. I believe our job is to listen to and engage the public and direct the functioning of Municipal Hall to serve the interests of the people. The public wants to hear and understand our personal opinions – that is why they elected us as individuals. Elected officials are not employees of the corporation and should not be spoken for by the District.
Social media is a very powerful tool for public engagement and the benefits should be obvious. In todays day and age, social media policy should govern interactions to safely and effectively make use of social media, not to try to discourage or prevent it from taking place. After yesterdays meeting it feels like the proposed social media policy would prevent councillors from engaging in public discussion, or in other words, keep us from doing our job to the best of our ability.
Here is the link to Council’s meetings this week! If any of these items are something that you really support or are an area of concern for you and you can’t make the meeting please email email@example.com and/or comment below!
9 am Work Shop – Business Planning 2014-2018, Medical Marihuana Production bylaw amendments recommending this as a permitted use within lands of the Agricultural Reserve, and a discussion on the new PPP extended producer responsibility program.
1 pm Committee of the Whole – Translink and the CEED Centre are giving delegations. Quite a few one year extensions on applications, DVP for 24426 102 Avenue, Community Amenity Program/Amenity Reserve fund bylaws be given 1st/2nd recommended to be sent to Public Hearing in September, Black Sheep Pub would like an increase in seating capacity, Downtown Enhancement Project are just some of the items Council will be asking clarifying questions on in order to make decisions Tuesday night.
7 pm Council.
In reading the recent article in the Maple Ridge Times, “Lawyer views comment,” I got the impression that the District lawyers happened to hear my comments and took the initiative to let the District know my comments were “serious.” In the interest of transparency, I wanted to make a point of clarification as to how the District lawyer became involved by making mention to a letter I received from the Office of the Mayor, signed respectfully by Ernie Daykin.
Mr. Daykin stated:
“Legal counsel was requested to review the video of this meeting to provide an opinion on whether any of the comments made by you during the meeting could be considered defamatory…”
As the city has not yet responded to my question pertaining to what legal rights or protection I have as a Councillor, I informed the District and the Mayor not to correspond with me on anything I was unable to share with the public. I trust that Mayor Daykin is ok with my sharing this clarification with you.
I do not feel this process has been transparent, and am looking forward to the information that will become available when Nicole Read, whom you may know from Action Silver Valley, receives a response to her Freedom of Information request.
Letters in support of Coun. Corisa Bell as a politician that represents her constituents well.
Cinema Politica Ridge Meadows is pleased to partner with Mission based Citizens Against Urban Sprawl Society (CAUSS) for this screening. This non-profit society is made up of citizens dedicated to preserving critical environmentally significant and sensitive natural areas in Mission, British Columbia.
Part of their mission is the protection of streams, wetlands and groundwater aquifers critical to the preservation of our iconic wild salmon population. Their website is: http://causs.ca/?page_id=4
Salmon Confidential is a new film on the government cover up of what is killing BC’s wild salmon. When biologist Alexandra Morton discovers BC’s wild salmon are testing positive for dangerous European salmon viruses associated with salmon farming worldwide, a chain of events is set off by government to suppress the findings. Tracking viruses, Morton moves from courtrooms, into British Columbia’s most remote rivers, Vancouver grocery stores and sushi restaurants. The film documents Morton’s journey as she attempts to overcome government and industry roadblocks thrown in her path and works to bring critical information to the public in time to save BC’s wild salmon.
This film provides surprising insight into the inner workings of government agencies, as well as rare footage of the bureaucrats tasked with managing our fish and the safety of our food supply. The film’s website is: http://salmonconfidential.ca/
Visit our website: http://www.cinemapolitica.org/RidgeMeadows
Tweet us @cpmrp
“Coun. Bell’s recent actions are the epitome of democracy. A healthy one allows questions, sparks debate and permits criticism. But that takes leadership, which Maple Ridge council is lacking.”
– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News
Read the story at: News Views: A point of order
An update on my complaint against Maple Ridge CAO and the municipalities potential lawsuit against me
I wanted to connect with and thank everyone for their support while I continue to challenge the status quo for the purpose of transparency and accountability. I was elected to represent the citizens of Maple Ridge and I will continue to do so regardless of obstacles put in front of me.
Many of you have requested exact details about my formal complaint against the District CAO, and my request for the Mayor to suspend the CAO under Section 151(1) of the Community Charter which reads:
151 (1) The mayor must suspend a municipal officer or employee if the mayor considers this necessary.
It is my position that a failure by the Mayor to act is sanctioning the CAO’s actions as appropriate. Further to that, I’ve been advised that as the charges are serious, I should not speak publicly about the specifics of the HR complaint until the time to do so is appropriate.
My complaint was first discussed on June 10 and filed formally with Human Resources on June 16. On June 18, I was informed by the Mayor that the taped proceedings of a Committee of the Whole meeting on June 17 had been removed from the District website and sent directly, and without my knowledge, to the municipalities lawyer to determine if there were grounds for defamation of character charges against me. I was stunned to learn this. To date, I have been denied a copy of the tape in order to enable me to seek my own legal advice. I have been informed today by District staff that to obtain a copy of the tape, I must file a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to try and obtain the video.
Someone who was aware of the tape, and the request by the municipality for legal advice, had shared the details with the press as of Friday, June 21. I believe this was a deliberate attempt to discredit me, which is why I have chosen to respond to the press. The press should ask why the Mayor hasn’t immediately taken action and why I’m not being provided access to important information and resources.
I believe that I have performed my duties with integrity and respect. I am frustrated at the lack of support and the constant criticism of my desire for answers. My Great-Great-Grandfather Robert Gillespie, who was from Whonnock, fought in WW1 to defend our right to democracy and to open debate. Now, nearly one hundred years later, there is an apparent unwillingness by certain individuals to allow me to participate in discussions for which I constitute elected representation.
Having mentally replayed the events and finally now viewing the tape, it confounds me how my actions constitute any grounds for defamation of character charges. While I am not a lawyer, I can’t for the life of me understand these allegations.
Public Hearing tonight 7 pm Chambers, agenda at bottom of the page on the link below!
If the mayor and council members don’t represent residents, who does?