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Blog: Speaking-up is becoming a craving

Xun Ke Lao
By Xun Ke Lao
October 8th, 2011

Excerpts from Xun Ke Lao’s blog on Nelson, politics, its Chinese history and everything in between.

By now I see that smug Nelson is really very much like Brigadoon – its reality shrouded in dense fog all year, except for one day when the fog lifts and entering knowingly is possible.

While those on the inside think (pretend) that it is (they are) open all the time.

Meaning – arty, spiritual yoga instructors keep flocking to Nelson, based on unrealistic assumptions.

And the progressives here – feeling the cosmic urge to contribute – serve on all manner of boards of (to a great extent out-there) feel-good causes, because slugging it out over basic civic issues – or just process – with ingrown City Hall is not as glamorous, not as downtown!

Not to forget – a biggie! – that in Royal Nelson’s econo-political stew it’s best to duck and be polite – with everybody – just in case. Unspoken frustration may be expressed in a good long sulk!

Leaving City Hall pretty much to its own – and the Chamber of Commerce’s – devices. Rarely challenged, talking the talk but not necessarily walking it freely and clearly – largely disconnected from those who elected them.

The Harper thing: I am doing what you asked me to do by electing me!

Public input generally is not sought or heeded. In the Council Chamber – during commission-meetings, council meetings, Meetings of the Whole even – councillors, members chat with each other; there’s little speaking-up clearly, even less freely – as in taking a personal stand with conviction and/or even just considering the attending Whole’s need to be able to hear whatever is said. To each other. What microphone! This here is a microphone? Just for me? I didn’t know that! Cool! 

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The Star runs the Council Column – a forum for councillors, taking turns, to express themselves on particular City-related issues – emphasis on issues. This – regularly and for some time – has been the only conduit in town for councillor-specific communication to the public. Thanks to the Star for that! It was Ubiquitous Donna’s turn, in the Sep. 28 column Thinking in sets of threes – the threes blatantly and totally being ME, ME and RE-ELECT ME!

This is ethically troubling – not only because she used for personal gain a forum provided to all councillors for council-business, but also because the Nelson Star supported this by signing-off on it! Both sneaking-up on the reader – in thin disguise! Weren’t all councillors out of town when this column appeared? If so – one wonders how many of the other re-elects got to see it!

…..

Councillor Stacey – as an inside aside, not a public announcement (and not picked-up by the media)-during the last Meeting of the Whole said: the City would definitely not be involved financially in getting the heron to fly. Well, I’ll be! I do not know whether or not that involves the transportation-costs and $6000 for the base-construction, supposedly a pre-condition for getting the post for Nelson. Here now? Splat!

In the meantime, Councillor Stacey had her turn with the Council Column, Oct. 5, which – though lacking substance – stuck to Council concerns. Personally I appreciate this – particularly as she had earlier announced that she would run again, while Ubiquitous Donna – in the same Star write-up – coily straddled the fence.

For many here the Star is still a credibility issue; it needs to make some ethics-based decisions – clearly communicated – to become accepted more fully and by more. Especially in view of the coming election.

…..

Nelson’s administration speaking-up – freely, clearly, comprehensively, timely and believably – would (one more time!) automatically mean transparency and accountability. Would! But – of course – with everybody else concerned soon entering campaign-mode as well – we’re in for an even bumpier ride!

Mind you, according to the City’s website – at least minutes of meetings are available on-line. This – ostensibly – could be something to hold onto.

Yet the most recent minutes of meetings (if) available are:

Regular Council Meeting – Jun. 27, 2011

Committee of the Whole – May 30, 2011

CHC – Feb. 22, 2011

CDC – Aug. 3, 2011

Advisory Planning Commission – “No records on display”

Supposedly, hard-copies can be had for a fee. Which, when and for how much I don’t know, and even just getting info on that may be difficult – City Hall’s voice-mail has been down for several days now!

“Hello, City Hall!” I nudge the predictable.

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