Urban sprawl in Maple Ridge encouraged by development donations

November 12, 2011
Let me start by saying I am in no way anti-development. Over the next 20-30 years we are going to need to develop enough housing to double our population and develop industrial and commercial properties to provide associated shopping and jobs. This is why the way in which we develop is going to be so important. Urban sprawl – that is building on the outskirts of town leaving areas under serviced by schools, without sidewalks, transit, and street lights – is already a significant problem with our city and I believe is costing us much in increased taxes. If we double our population in this manner we are going to face serious problems, so I believe it is crucial that we develop responsibly now more than ever. I will follow up with this on a future blog post.

The Maple Ridge news recently ran a story titled “Developers court Ridge candidates” which encouraged me to dig a bit deeper into the exact donor lists.  I researched the campaign donations incumbents received in 2008 and have documented them below.  In the first column you will see the incumbent quotes from the before mentioned article.  You can then see my comments and of course click to view the entire list of donors for each person.

Looking at the Council Minutes for 2008-2011 you will see a trend of these councilors voting for rezoning and further development contributing to urban sprawl, while the other two councillors who were not funded by developers typically were in opposition.

Incumbent Incumbent Comments My Comments
Al Hogarth
$8,875
View Donors
“No one or at least not many step forward to offer campaign funds.  My largest contributions came from my own company, passed clients, friends and associates. I view campaign donations no differently than endorsements of groups, unions or other organizations that support not necessarily me but others …” Al’s company, passed clients, friends, and associates would seem to include developers, realtors, contractors, etc.

Note that “Progressive” is listed as “Progressive Construction” in Judy Dueck’s donor list.

Cheryl Ashlie
$1,602
View Donors
“Yes, I have been approached by developers with the offer of campaign contributions. I recognize that this is common practice, but I personally prefer to fund my campaign differently. If I get a cheque sent to me, which some do automatically, I put it in a thank-you card and send it back.  I have set people who assist me – friends, family and one local family that I have always accepted funds from, due to the respect that I have for their commitment to our community. I will report them all out with my usual after-election disclosure forms.” I would consider mortgage companies related to development.
Ernie Daykin
$32,020
View Donors
No comment. The amount of developers on this list speaks for itself.
Judy Dueck
$5,600
View Donors
No comment. Judy was funded by a lot of developers for somebody who works in the school district.
Michael Morden
$11,540
View Donors
“My campaign fund donations are coming from various places as I understand it from my financial agent. I don’t have all the details as to who and how much. He will comply with the rules per Elections BC.You ask about my policy on accepting donations. My policy is that I follow the Elections BC rules and I have the right of refusal of any donations that I deem as an inappropriate donation to accept.

Why is it that you always focus on the developers and the donations they give? What about CUPE and BCTF donating and endorsing candidates? How about adding some other questions to this like the value of in-kind donations such as the value of endorsements from unions? How are some going to account for these kind of things that clearly have enormous value to someone but aren’t necessarily actual monies.

I see that the teachers union endorsed certain candidates the other day in your paper for trustee. What is the value of this? Is this a fair practice?”

You have to google most of Michael’s donors to find out who they are and which are related to development. Google is your friend.
I have received only minor donations, none of which have come from people involved in development, unions, etc. I have funded my campaign almost entirely with personal money.

 

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