Who are you voting for? TF editorial team shares our picks for mayor, council & trustees

New Westminster City Hall
New Westminster City Hall

Public endorsements of candidates are not uncontroversial. Pat Tracy, editor at the Record, has publicly come out against them, and those who do share their endorsements open themselves to criticism for their choices. Those of us on the ‘editorial board’ of Tenth to the Fraser, who do the daily work of writing for the site, soliciting & editing guest posts, approving comments and interacting with readers and Facebook and Twitter, debated whether or not to share our picks for this election, but in the end we decided we must.

Our rationale is simple: we are uniquely positioned through the work we have done on this blog to get to know more about the candidates than many other voters are able to do. We have met almost all face-to-face, and in many cases have had extended conversations with them about the issues that matter to us. Because we have been blogging and tweeting about the election, we have come to know the candidates and issues far better than we would have as spectators.

We don’t believe that our opinions are “special” and we don’t expect anyone to go out and vote for people just because we tell them to. In fact, we don’t want to tell you how to vote. We want to tell you why we are voting the way we do. We hope that by sharing our opinions it will help others in the city to solidify their choices for mayor, council and trustees. We also hope that others in the city will respond by sharing who they are voting for and why in the comments – particularly those who are better informed than we are. New West politics are complex and even after three years of paying much closer attention, I know I don’t know everything that’s going on in this town. By opening the door to dialogue, we hope to better understand the point of view of those on the other side of the political divide.

Below, you’ll find our picks for the New Westminster municipal election 2011. We’ve organized it by position (Mayor, Council, and Trustee). We will begin by highlighting the candidates that the three of us most agree on. We’ll also share a few ‘honourable mentions’ who stood out. .

The editorial team of Tenth to the Fraser consists of Briana Tomkinson, Will Tomkinson, and Jen Arbo, but we’ve spent a lot of time this past few weeks talking politics with family, friends, and fellow citizens, so the list below has been influenced by the insights gleaned in conversations in real life and online, as well as information we’ve seen in local media. As I mentioned above, if you’d like to share your endorsements, please feel free to do so in the comments. We do ask that you emphasize who you are voting for rather than trashing candidates you don’t support.

These are our personal endorsements, based on our individual ideals, one-on-one conversations with candidates, reading through the questionnaires we distributed to candidates on issues that matter to you, our readers, and what we have seen of these candidates in the years leading up to this election. They do not reflect the views of our businesses, employers, or other organizations we are affiliated with in our fair city, and are our personal opinions only. We’d love your comments on our endorsements, but as is our policy, no personal attacks. We encourage positive discourse and cheerleading for your preferred candidates rather than reprimanding.

Whatever you do on November 19th and whichever way you swing politically, the most important thing is that you need to get out and vote. In New Westminster, we vote for one mayor, six councillors, and seven trustees. Vote for the ones you support. Do not feel obligated to vote for a full slate if there is not a full slate of candidates you support. Just get out there and do it and tell everyone you know to do it, too.

Mayor: Incumbent Wayne Wright

Wayne Wright
Wayne Wright

Why? He’s proactive, experienced and we agree that New West is a better place after nine years of his leadership. Of the four mayoral candidates, we believe Wayne Wright is the best choice to lead our city for the next three years.

Jen: “I’m picking Wayne Wright for mayor. He’s the best choice of the four running, and I think still has something to contribute. He has experience in the tank but is still relevant. I don’t know if I’d vote for him three years from now, but I think he is the right person for the job now, in terms of where New West is and where I want the city to go.”

Will: “I will be endorsing Wayne Wright this election. New Westminster has seen a sustained period of growth, renewal and improvement over the last 9-12 years and there is nothing in the city’s plans to make me think this is going to stop. Almost all of the allegations against his record are spurious, misleading or ‘overly creative’. Mayor Wright seems content to let his nine-year record speak for him and has been running a very laid-back campaign, especially compared to the energetic efforts of James Crosty, the main challenger. From my vantage point, Wright has consistently pursued improvement for all New West citizens, has been generally successful and had fostered an openness and transparency in City Hall that is uncommon in the Metro Van area.”

Briana: “Of the three candidates, Wayne Wright is the strongest choice. He has a progressive vision for this city, which we have seen manifest in several ambitious projects brought to life during his previous nine years on council, including “Wayne’s Wharf” (the new Pier Park) and the new Civic Centre. As an entrepreneur himself, he is supportive of small business but also has the chutzpah to go after larger employers, such as the new TransLink office that is coming to New West. He’s well-connected to developers, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing – the rapid pace of development during Wayne’s time in office has positioned us well for growth. Now that we’ve had so much residential development, it’s time to focus on strengthening local employment, and I think Wayne is our best bet on this front too. I think New West has come a long way in the past decade, and I would like to see Wayne take another three years to finish what he started, and then pass the torch to someone new.”

Councillors: Jonathan Cote, Jaimie McEvoy, David Noshad, Betty McIntosh, Chuck Puchmayr, Bill Harper

Jonathan Cote: Thoughtful, committed, family-friendly and green

Jonathan Cote
Jonathan Cote

Jen: “He most reflects my own personal blend of environmental, family friendly, developer savvy, whole approach that I want for New Westminster.”

Will: “Jon may not be the most persuasive public speaker but he is deliberative and more technically competent on civic, transportation and development issues than any other member or challenger for council. His commitment to sustainability and sound municipal practices get my vote.”

Briana: “Cote is diligent, thoughtful, committed and approachable. I’ve been very impressed with his leadership on environmental issues (there wasn’t even a City environment committee before Cote) and work with the Youth Centre committee. Plus, as the only council candidate with young children, he is the best positioned to truly understand the pressures and concerns of working parents in our city.”

Jaimie McEvoy: Driven, persuasive, kind and brainy

Jaimie McEvoy
Jaimie McEvoy

Jen: “Jaimie represents those that are hard to help. He is also an environmentalist and is a calm rational person. He is a positive person. He has also publicly said he will support a new animal shelter, and that won me over.”

Will: “Jaimie is a tireless voice for those in our city that need advocacy and services. Many on council are involved in outreach and support services. Along with Betty, Jaimie stands out as one of them. Jaimie is a persuasive public speaker and a tireless advocate for New West and municipal rights. Our positions align on traffic and the environment; he will get my vote.”

Briana: “Jaimie took a while to grow on me. I have always appreciated his stalwart support for the underdogs in our society, but I’ve since learned that he brings the same thoughtful consideration and stubborn advocacy to other issues as well. Jaimie is a political animal and seems to thrive on policy debates – not a bad thing, in moderation. I am not as far left-leaning as he is on some issues but I think he brings an important perspective and an unquestionable work ethic to the task.”

Dr. David Noshad: Positive, collaborative, green and tech-savvy

David Noshad
David Noshad

Jen: “Originally I was on the fence about this relative unknown. I’ve heard him speak at the meetings and think he is comfortable working in groups. I found him to be at ease in the spotlight, and I like what he has to say on his surveys. He takes a science based approach and I like that. Over the course of the campaign, I have decided to vote for him.”

Will: “A challenger, looking for a seat on council for the first time, Noshad has impressed me with his fluency with municipal issues (especially for a challenger), his positive attitude and his commitment to work collaboratively with whomever is elected and with all community groups and stakeholders, regardless of affiliation. I believe Noshad would be a force for change on council for economic development and promotion, contributing to an improvement to our commercial and industrial tax base while supporting sustainability.”

Briana: “I like his energy and I like that he brings a new perspective to New West politics. I’m not convinced that version 1.0 of all his proposals will fly here, but he’s going in the right direction talking about business incubation and support as a key pillar of our economic development strategy, attracting sustainable and high-technology industries to New Westminster and generally helping more people to live and work in town.”

Betty McIntosh: Strong, experienced and populist

Betty McIntosh
Betty McIntosh

Jen: “She is a tiger – she’s likely to fight for things more than anyone. She is not afraid to speak her mind. Sometimes she and I disagree on specific points but I know she does everything out of a passion for the city. She also is active and involved with the senior population.”

Will: “Long-serving incumbent Betty McIntosh gets my vote. She has long time involvement with community outreach and is ever present at events, committees and wherever she is needed. She has significant council experience and is a good source of sober second thought. Betty has sharp elbows and has been known to mix it up with other councillors and perhaps her voting record can be seen as populist but for a municipal politician, voting how you think the citizens want you to vote can be a good thing. Added benefit is her connection with the hospital and nursing, helpful in a public health crisis.”

Briana: “Betty is one of the most visible councillors. It seems like she’s out smiling at every public event. That alone is not enough to vote for a person – indeed, I disagree with her on some issues like what to do with the parkade – but I have also seen that she isn’t just there to shake hands and kiss babies. She really does seem to want to engage with people and I think she brings those insights back to council. She has used Twitter the same way, and in fact was one of the earliest politicians to begin tweeting (along with Jon Cote).”

Chuck Puchmayr: Crafty, personable and a long record of service

Chuck Puchmayr
Chuck Puchmayr

Jen: “Chuck is a proven spokesperson for citizens – and knows legislature very well. He’s crafty and personable and when I see him in the community I see the renewed sense of vigour that has come with a clean bill of health. He and I have had some good private conversations at the Farmers Market and I feel like he would do a good job.”

Will: “I have gone back and forth on this one. Pros: long record of good service to the people of New Westminster; extensive work with community groups and non profits; experience required to enter the council and need no learning curve time. Puchmayr also aligns with my views on transportation and the environment to a certain extent, insisting that commuter traffic should not be accommodated with capital projects, but rerouted and diverted as much as possible. Cons, some finger him for a portion of the delay of the NWSS replacement project. He can be scrappy with political opponents, but perhaps also collaborative. He will likely be preparing the electorate for a Mayoral run in 2014. I will be voting for Chuck.”

Briana: “I’m on the fence about Chuck. I was new to New West when he was our MLA, so although he’s got name recognition for me, I don’t really know what he was like as our representative in Victoria. Many people who I respect and who share my values have said they support him, but he was one of the candidates who used Twitter for negative attacks this election, and that left me cold.”

Bill Harper: Level-headed, engaging and sensitive

Bill Harper
Bill Harper

Jen: “Bill represents the need for judicious development. He is level headed and sensitive and I like that he represents multicultural events. I also like his approach to business and economic development. He supports the farmers market. I am kind of surprised Bill is on my list – I’ve had a few colleagues tell me they don’t care for him – but I think he’s a good choice.”

Briana: “I liked his answers to our questionnaire, particularly his comment that he wants the City to use technology to better reach and engage citizens. Bill seems more ‘union establishment’ than I’m fully comfortable with, but he’s another one who is respected by people I respect, and therefore I will probably vote for him.”

Will: “Most likely to get my final vote. I think Bill and I agree on many issues. I think he has the skills and work ethic to achieve continued success as a councillor. However, just as John Ashdown’s antipathy for labour colours everything (in my opinion) so Harper’s close involvement with labour leaves me feeling… unsure. I will have to make this final decision at the ballot box.”

Honourable Mentions: John Ashdown, Lorrie Williams

John Ashdown

John Ashdown
John Ashdown

Jen: “He and I have worked on committees together. I think he is passionate, generous, caring, funny, and willing to learn. I do agree with him that more needs to be done to encourage economic development, but sometimes his anti-union passion is overwhelming and I think he puts too much emphasis on the city doing work small business owners should be responsible for – I think a business owner needs to offer a solid business in the first place in order to be successful. Also, he has repeatedly and openly criticised the Living Wage Policy, a policy I believe in. I’m not sure I can vote for John, as much as I like him.”

Will: “I know and like John. He is tireless and selfless and works very well in a committee/board format. He has given good service to New West on the BIA for 12th St and in the thankless job as the 12th St Festival organizer. While I have my own doubts and problems with organized labour and their influence in politics, Ashdown has a single-mindedness on this subject that I think impacts his decisions on other, non related topics.”

Lorrie Williams

Lorrie Williams
Lorrie Williams

Jen: “Lorrie is a true humanitarian. So much so that I think she would be more effective on a larger scale in the non profit sector, possibly either nationally or globally. I applaud her dedication to arts, culture and humanitarian endeavours.”

Will: “In the circles I am in contact with in the city, and in the online presence, Williams is invisible. Perhaps this is okay but it makes it hard for me to endorse her. I like the fact that she won the Humanist award, I like some of her priorities, as far as I can define them but many of her stated reasons for wanting to remain on council do not resonate with me. (Wait for me Daddy statue, good idea, not a reason to be on council, rabbits, etc).”

School Trustees: Jonina Campbell, Michael Ewen, MaryAnn Mortensen, David Phelan, James Pepa, Glen Richmond and Brenda McEachern-Keen

Jonina Campbell: passionate, dedicated and bursting with ideas

Jonina Campbell
Jonina Campbell

Jen: “She is incredibly dedicated to bringing up active and smart kids. She’s my favourite candidate and I think her passion is commendable. She also acknowledges she doesn’t have all the answers but is willing to learn and brings a team spirit to the table.”

Will: “ I am very impressed by the vision and moral clarity of this candidate. Bursting with ideas, non-political and focused on the well-being of kids, Campbell is a breath of fresh air for trustee. Her active kid campaigns and collaborative attitude cinched my vote.”

Briana: Definitely on my list. I love how she took initiative to create the Growing Up Urban outdoor play activities for kids, and how she believes in empowering and trusting kids. As a teacher and a parent of school-aged kids, I believe she will be able to represent two perspectives that are important to consider when weighing decisions about our schools. She seems collaborative and yet is clearly not a pushover. She also knows how to take criticism and learn from it, which is pretty important given the state of political discourse in SD40.”

Michael Ewen: experienced, approachable and scholarly

Michael Ewen
Michael Ewen

Jen: “He’s extremely experienced and as I have quickly discovered, he is also very funny and has a lot of passion for kids. He also seems realistic in terms of what school trustee can and can’t accomplish. He seems open to exploring things outside of the box but doesn’t seem to overextend.”

Will: “Scholarly and experienced, respectful collaborative and pleasant, Ewen and I agree on many policy issues, including bottled water in schools and the ongoing role of the business company. Sure, he carries some of the baggage of the last few boards but this board will also need some continuity and Ewen could be key in this role.”

Briana: “Michael’s experience really shows in the all-candidates events. He’s relaxed and approachable, listens well and says smart things. I’ve really enjoyed hearing from him on Twitter this election, and I hope he continues with it after the election to answer questions and share insights on school issues.”

MaryAnn Mortensen: Authentic, determined and tenacious

MaryAnn Mortensen
MaryAnn Mortensen

Jen: “She’s not afraid to speak her mind, has kids in mind, and while we occasionally disagree on points, she’s authentic and has navigated through the system (PAC, DPAC, etc) with honesty and integrity. I’m a little put off by her public criticism of people she may very well have to work with and I’d rather see her focus on rising above that. It’s about working as a team for the community, not who said what when.”

Will: “Where Jonina may be a breath of fresh air, Mortensen is a kick in the pants. If anyone is going to shepherd an early conclusion to the school building programs it is the tenacious and fearless MaryAnn. She has shown leadership at the PAC and DPAC level and in her local neighbourhood (and mine) protecting Grimston Park. We disagree on banning bottled water in school (I say ban it, she says no), but, like Betty on council, Mortensen for trustee will keep ‘em honest and crack heads if required.”

Briana: “MaryAnn has my vote. We worked together on the organizing committee for Summerfest in Grimston Park and I have seen that whatever she takes on, she gives it her all. We don’t see eye to eye on everything, but she is unquestionably a strong advocate for children, and that’s a perspective I want to see represented. I hope to see her moderate her stubborn streak and work collaboratively with the board – I know she can do it.”

David Phelan: Positive, focused and respectful

David Phelan
David Phelan

Jen: “He’s a teacher and has young kids in the New Westminster system. I think his voice is needed. He’s got lots to offer and is a fresh perspective. His top issues align with most of mine and he believes heavily in collaboration. David has been very positive in this campaign.”

Briana: “I was very impressed with David. I love his ideas about introducing more hands-on learning for kids, including things like school garden programs and exploring partnerships with community organizations like the Royal City Farmers Market. ”

Will: “Again, a new candidate bursting with ideas, unencumbered with political baggage and focused on student-centered vision for excellence. He is respectful and speaks well. I think he would be a good asset to the group.”

Glen Richmond: Fresh perspective, practical, good ideas

Glen Richmond
Glen Richmond

Jen: “He’s running as an independent – he is a former cop and I think he brings some good ideas to the table. He seems practical and I think his experience as an RCMP officer and RCMP school liaison is valuable.”

Briana: “Glen kind of snuck up on me. I’d never heard of him before the election, but what I’ve heard of his ideas seem sound and I love the perspective he’d bring from his work as a school liaison officer with the RCMP. I agree with his statement that our kids need more play space and fewer portables, and I’d like to see how he intends to make that ideal a reality in New Westminster.”

James Pepa: Enthusiastic, genuine and collaborative

Jen: “I like James, and I like his authenticity and I admit I have a soft spot for candidates who represent the farther corners of New Westminster like Connaught Heights, Massey Victory Heights and Queensborough. I worry with four kids how much time he’ll have to give to the district but I think his enthusiasm might carry him and he seems well supported by his family. I am disappointed he supports the continued availability of bottled water in our schools and I hope that if elected he will be open to reconsidering that position.”

James Pepa
James Pepa

Briana: “I like James too. Though young, he seems mature for his age and genuine. He’s said he wants to reduce wait lists for programs of choice by expanding popular programs, and if he and the board can find a way to do it within the budget, it would be a great boon for kids in the district. I also like that he would support increasing community use of schools, which seems practical to me.”

Will: “If Mortensen is a kick in the pants and Campbell is a breath of fresh air, Pepa is my ray of sunshine. Talk about a candidate with the kids at heart, this is it. Active as the president of Connaught Heights PAC, positive, collaborative, funny and free of any political mumbo jumbo, Pepa could do more than any other candidate to help bring the board back to the people and increase public confidence in their work. Go Pepa.”

Brenda McEachern Keen: Poised, professional and a consensus-builder

Brenda McEachern-Keen
Brenda McEachern-Keen

Will: “Wow another newbie for trustee. I am on a roll. McEachern-Keen has a poise and professionalism that impressed me. She has expressed that she is a consensus-builder and is able to work in a non-partisan way, even with NW and District Labour Council-endorsed candidates. Her professional training in law will be an asset considering the work the trustees must to with the city and the province for the new schools, and with the SD.40 Business Company. She is a pro and it shows.”

Briana: “I was impressed with how hard Jim Goring worked to fill in for her when she couldn’t make it to the first trustee all-candidates meeting! She clearly inspired respect and loyalty. Her legal background is an asset for the board.”

Lisa Graham
Lisa Graham

Honourable Mentions: Lisa Graham, Jim Goring

Lisa Graham

Jen: “I really like Lisa, because I think she speaks a lot for kids who are not part of the mainstream system and I think her voice is very valuable at the table. She’s also all about technology. But she is too long-winded and she loses me at meetings and in her responses to the candidates survey and I find myself tuning out. I wonder if I am the the only one?”

Jim Goring

Jim Goring
Jim Goring

Will: “Like Ewen, Goring is going to know how to get the work done and how to set priorities. The work with the unions and the business company are going to need the tribal memory and practiced hand that Goring offers. All interactions I have had with him have been constructive and sincere. Besides, he reminds me of my Grampa.”

45 Replies to “Who are you voting for? TF editorial team shares our picks for mayor, council & trustees”

  1. Thanks for sharing this, as well as for generally profiling all the candidates. I haven't managed to make it out to any all-candidates meetings this time around, so you've provided a useful source of information.

  2. Interesting picks from the political team at 10th to the Fraser. Why include all the teachers candidates? How will teacher candidate support from the Labour Council impact objectivity on certain issues. Any issues arising which might impact a member of a union from which you received funds could be a conflict. How can a teacher be a supportive member of the BCTF and at the same time, as a trustee, the representative of the employer? What will be placed first — the obligation to the union to engage in job action as directed by your union or your obligations as the ultimate employer authority to ensure that teachers are providing all services without interruption? How is the power entrusted going to affect children's education when obligations to the BCTF get in the way?

    1. Only three of the nine trustee candidates mentioned are teachers.

      I do nto think teachers should be excluded from serving as School trustees in this province, neither should school administrators. As I understand it, you can be a teacher and not support the BCTF. You can support the BCTF and still be an effective trustee. You can oppose the BCTF and still be an effective trustee. I do not see a conflict for a teacher on a board unless the teacher is employed in that district.
      I also do not think the acceptance of campaign funds neccessarily implies that a candidate or trustee will cease to be impartial.

      Some disagree with some of the points. As this topic is often about greater ideologies rather than specific points of debate, it can be difficult to achieve meaningful dialogue, let alone a working consensus.

    2. Hi Doug, we didn't pick those candidates because they were teachers. We selected the candidates based on the impression we got of them face-to-face and the answers they provided to our questions during the campaign. I think that it is beneficial to have a teacher's perspective on the school board, and any potential conflicts that could require those trustees to excuse themselves can be resolved by the remaining majority of the board who are not teachers.

    3. Hi Doug, your point is a good one. I was looking at my choices in terms of "who are most likely to be in touch with the kids they are going to represent". Teachers and parents top that list for me. Different perspective.

  3. Thanks for compiling this thoughtful list of endorsements. I haven't been able to attend the all-candidates meeting but have tried to keep up through the newspaper articles and twitter. I haven't agreed with all of your choices but that's the beauty of democracy! Cheers!

    1. While my 3.5 year old son is not currently enrolled in the New Westminster school system, he is headed there and I have experienced the ridiculousness that is the programs of choice enrolment system, having had to register him for Montessori (a pedagogy I subscribe to) at the age of 6 months. Additionally, Hume Park Elementary is our catchment, and I am interested how its fate will play out should my son not get into the Montessori program (currently offered at McBride). That said, as I outlined in my post a few days ago, the position of school trustee is important to everyone in the community, parent or not.

      1. Not sure I understand why you think the programs of choice enrollment system is ridiculous. There is so much demand that the system cannot keep up with it. So how else than by limiting enrollment can this be run? Both of my kids have been in alternative programs of choice since grade 1. I've stood in lineups, submitted to lotteries, and had my kids do tests. Sure it'd be great if anyone who wanted a Waldorf education (not available on the public dime here **yet**) could just enrol, but reality is that there are limited funds, and, I suspect, also limited numbers of qualified teachers in these "specialized" methodologies.

        1. Perhaps ridiculous wasn't a good way to put it, and I'll retract that word. I think what bothers me with the system is it doesn't take into account people who move into the area later. So, just because I happened to go get my form timestamped and put into a special file when my son was 6 months old, I have a better chance of being a part of the program of choice than say, someone who moves to New West when their kid is 4.5. Maybe I'm misunderstanding how it works (and please correct me if I'm wrong) but the system seems to not have anything in place for people who come later. I don't know if a lotto system is any better though – and I'm not sure what the solution is. I'm not sure how old your kids are, but do you think there is a better system than the "first come first served" one since you'd experienced multiple ways to get your kids into things?

          1. This is a tough one, and something I'm sure the School Board discusses ad naseum. I'm sure that in the end it's a choice of which evil is the lesser one. My kids are 13 and 16, and over the years the system changed at least 3 time and it is of course different for different programs. At one point there was debate at the PAC level about "sibling clauses", that is, if a family has one kid in a program, the next kid should be guaranteed in. I guess my message is: don't like the way it is run? Just wait! 🙂

          2. Having waited in line for 2 or 3 days myself (with those lines getting longer each year), I can say that the current definitely seems like an improvement on that one.
            The sibling clause I believe the school board has little choice about – the Charter [23 (2)] says that they have to have a sibling clause for french immersion, in which case no doubt it's much easier to have one for all programs of choice.

      2. You are more than qualified, you have a lot at stake as your kids entering this system.
        My kids had gone through this system and I had many frustrations including: school project promises, poor understanding by this district administrators, board and teachers how to address health and nutrition: that kids need proper lunch time FACILITIES and TIME (more than effectively 15 min to eat their food – our experience during years at Glenbrook middle school). Watch out for math education – kids were very poorly prepared for university (despite great marks). Glenbrook especially had poor math. There are great passionate teachers who need to be encouraged over incompetent ones they have. That's why PACs (that does not preclude teachers) say on the board should prevail over people with cosy relationship with unions/BCTF

      1. You are more than qualified, you have a lot at stake as your kids entering this system.
        My kids had gone through this system and I had many frustrations including: school project promises, poor understanding by this district administrators, board and teachers how to address health and nutrition: that kids need proper lunch time FACILITIES and TIME (more than effectively 15 min to eat their food – our experience during years at Glenbrook middle school). Watch out for math education – kids were very poorly prepared for university (despite great marks). Glenbrook especially had poor math.

  4. Thanks for this. I've made up my mind on 4 council candidates but am still looking for 2 more…this post has made me reconsider at least one of the challengers.

  5. Well Will, looks like you and Brianna have earned your billing again. Our tax dollars at work. It obviously isn’t what you know.

    1. Hi Stacey, as we have said repeatedly, we are not paid by anyone to run this blog. It is a volunteer effort and the benefits to our families are primarily warm & fuzzy feelings. We have invited all here – particularly those who don't share our picks – to share who they endorse in this election. Instead of attacking us personally and falsely accusing us of having a pecuniary interest in who wins the election, why don't you take us up on the offer and share who you endorse and why? As I said in the article, while we have learned much more about what goes on in New West than many voters, we don't claim to know everything or represent everybody. The best way to ensure your point of view is represented is to step up and write it. As you may know, we accept guest posts from members of the community, and homogeneity of opinion is not required to be published.

  6. Endorsed by the City Caucus blog:

    James Crosty – Mayor
    oGavin Palmer (VOICE)
    oSuzan Wandell (VOICE)
    oBetty McIntosh (Ind)
    oJonathan Cote (District Labour Council endorsed)
    oJohn Ashdown (VOICE)
    oDavid Noshad (VOICE)
    School Board
    oCasey Cook (VOICE)
    oJim Goring (VOICE)
    oLisa Graham (VOICE)
    oMaryAnn Mortensen (VOICE)
    oDavid Phelan (District Labour Council endorsed)
    oJonina Campbell (District Labour Council endorsed)
    oBrenda McEachern Keen (VOICE)

    1. I'm shocked….not. City Caucus is nothing more than an Non Partisan Association blog. SO How interestng that it shows Voice controlling council school board and of course James "I'll govern New Westminster from Wikipedia on my laptop." Crosty for Mayor. Blah.

  7. I've been trying to judge the performance record of our incumbents. Turns out this is basically IMPOSSIBLE. In this respect, I find the "transparency and accountability" of our current council to be unacceptably poor. Try reading the meeting minutes and you will see that 1) most council votes are unanimous, 2) there is no identification of who is asking questions (if questions are asked). So can we see who is actually doing anything? Then, try finding the meeting minutes of all the Advisory Councils that the councillors have to sit on. How can I check their attendance records? How can I find out if they even open their mouths at these meetings, or just sit there? This is a basic element of public accountability that is really missing. And I'm not hearing anyone talk about it.

    1. As someone who personally serves on some of the city committees, I can assure you those who do chair are very vocal/active and try to encourage conversation among committee members. Really happy to see Jaime, Betty, and Jonathan endorsed here — they are all hardworking citizens in our community!

      1. Hi Giuliana, the point is that I have to take your word for it. Not that I don't want to, but you can only vouch for 3, by the looks of it. My friends tell me that some of the other councillors are simply ridin' the pine at some of these meetings. But I can't verify that, either. The point is that this information should be part of the public record, easily accessible by voters. After all, we're paying the councillors. These records are available in other communities.
        My recent post Judging Candidates

    2. Are the minutes all still all unsearchable PDFs ?
      I know I actually looked into the possibility of OCRing all of them just to be able to find "at which meetings was XXX discussed". The most frustrating thing is that they clearly exist in some word processor at some point, and are printed and scanned before being put online!
      One of my main deciding factors for my vote is actually how supportive candidates seem to be of improving transparency and our access to the data that the city holds.

      1. Apparently the advisory cte meeting minutes are attached to the council minutes at some point – they are "presented" to council. I just haven't found them yet. As you point outl, it's a huge job to weed through the minutes to find specific issues and resultant votes. Again, critical facts, like who is doing the talking, are missing. Chris, if you are interested in further discussion maybe we can take this offline and organize something. I'd love to push this.
        My recent post Judging Candidates

    3. Great blog here.
      I watched some council meetings on Shaw Chanel 4. Sometimes their meeting and the blah blah blah regarding breakfasts with seniors and kissing babies at community events made me noxious.

      Jon will get another chance from me for his youth and educated background – hopefully develops into a new generation New West councilor. I think Susan Wandell should have been mentioned and would bring a good balance to this council.
      I resonate with some concerns about teachers for trustees: are they able to lay the law when teachers put their interests first (they could be very articulate about that); there are incompetent people in the administration and teachers. I also know some best PAC members who are also teachers. Trouble with old board members like Ewen, I agree with what he says during elections but he has been part of the board that should be fired for incompetence and failing the school project. how many chances do they get? Lets change them up – can't get any worse, or can it?

  8. Will, just curious, what did you mean when you said Lorrie Williams wants to be on council because of rabbits?

    1. For many people, city bylaws on the disposition of rabbits in NW would be a priority. For me, it is not a priority and this is one of a few (short list) of priorities that she and I do not share. I have no issue with the bylaw or a statue commemorating an iconic NewWest moment but for me, this can be advocated from the citizen level, rather than a priority for a council member.
      This is just me, obviously others disagree and that is OK too. Honestly, there may be other reasons why Williams does so well in elections that I just don’t see (even tho I am looking). Recall she had THE BEST election numbers last time around. That says a lot.

      1. Does New West have a rabbit problem? Where do they hang out? We've got a lot of skunks in Queensborough. (Or one really stinky one.)

        1. Ironically for someone who does not prioritize rabbits (yum by the way) I am in a dialog about the hoppity hare.

          Issue one is that rabbits could potentially be sold in retail locations in the city; ostensibly in poor conditions and to owners ill suited to their care. While no retail outlets in New West offered bunnies, it was thought that at some future date, perhaps near easter, rabbits could be sold. This was a priority for Williams recently.
          Issue two is that these rabbits, having bored their easily distracted new masters, would be released into the verdant wilds of Queens Park (this does happen) and procreate until voila, too may lapins. Coyotes and Ravens (yes Ravens, also eagles) eat them but feral bunnies could be an issue so…
          I would be interested in a bunny but only at the the Royal City Farmers Market, wrapped and ready for stew. So far no such luck.
          Ironically again, a 1950s era city bylaw currently in effect allows for the keeping of some 20 or so of the fuzzy creatures specifically for food production, depending on the size of your lot. 6000sf is required. The same bylaw regulates chickens in this city, making us trendy, by accident.
          So in summary, focussing effort on a bunny bylaw agains the selling of bunnies in NW when the are not being sold but permitting their delicious cultivation is not a top priority for me and not what I look for in a councillor.

          1. Thank you for all the bunny information. I had no idea! I've never really given rabbits, particularly theoretical ones, much thought, one way or the other.

  9. Great Post Guys, Thanks for the kind comments…. Your assumption that I am anti union is incorrect. I am anti Union running civic government which obviously goes against much of your support for the DLC candidates. This sentiment is region wide, not just New West. As for Jens comments about Fair Living Wage. She needs to do some research. The policy she refers to is not the one crafted by, and for CUPE in New West. Check it out then find just one person living in poverty who has benefitted. Check out the New West Policy and how it protects CUPE by not being able to contract out unless paying high wages. Then come back and tell me why Taxpayers should subsidize these higher wages, often paid to students flipping hamburgers at the park concession and living at home. NOT A FAMILY OF TWO WORKING ADULTS WITH TWO CHILDREN which is where the sample $18 + came from. I know it is too late to change her vote as a result of your late submission but she should do her research and justify her concern.

    1. Great reply John, I think that should put some great context to your campaign platform for our readers. We don't gennerally look at the NWDLC endorsments or the Voice affiliation when choosing what candidates we back. It is more about how we think they will work on council etc. What was missed in the above is that my really had to struggle to decide on my council endorsments. It is not an easy task when there are so many good men and women looking to serve.

      Good luck in the election.

      1. True. By the way I beleive you missed Voice candidates Susan Wandell and Gavin Palmer. Two popular candidates. Was this an oversight?

        1. Hi John,

          Our picks were not based on the popularity of the candidates, or how nice they are. I can't speak for Jen and Will, but the reason why you, Gavin and Susan didn't make my list is because some of your policy planks don't align with my ideals and priorities. Every candidate has something to bring to the table, but we can't vote for everyone. I won't vote for a candidate who pledges to cut taxes in a city that is already struggling to fund vital improvements, as any such cuts are likely to impact the services I receive. I also won't vote for anyone who wants to widen roads or increase traffic flow through New West, as I would prefer to see efforts made to reduce traffic and promote more sustainable transportation alternatives. I love Susan's advocacy for the arts and desire to attract more green industries to New West, but she's an advocate for zero-based budgeting, and as I said above, I fear that will result in unacceptable cuts to services and problematic delays in needed infrastructure improvements. Gavin lost me with his harsh critique of city staff (he said in one of the debates that most city staff wouldn't have remained employed if the city was run like a private company) and his desire to freeze or reduce property taxes.

          No one likes paying taxes, but I believe that we get a lot for our money in New West. I would support efforts that look to find efficiencies in government, but unlike some candidates, I'm not convinced that waste is widespread at City Hall, and I have so far been impressed at the level of service I have received as a citizen. I have been lucky so far that I have not needed to make an emergency call to Engineering for any concerns, but I know two people who have and both said they received exceptional service; in both cases, someone was on their doorstep assessing the problem within an hour of phoning City Hall.

          1. I am not disputing your comments Brianna. I am in favour of reducing taxes by being fiscally responsible and accountable. We are over staffed at the management level as are most public services in the region. I am not saying kill jobs. But when I see the waste during my travels, for example a supervisor and one worker watching a third scrape leaves of a gutter grate and discussing it for twenty minutes is what I refer to as waste. My first suggestion on council would to be to contract an outside efficiency consultant to look for, you got it, efficiencies. The mandate of this seemingly prefered and current council has not considered costs to taxpayers when introducing policy. I would bring that much-needed Balance without jeopardizing services.

          2. Hi Briana – Yes, I support zero based budgeting and staff putting their budget together showing what the value to the citizens would be for the costs to be incurred. You might have noticed that in the CFIB report (Will has tweeted about a part of this report) that is precisely their recommendation for all municipalities.

    2. If you think for one second John that I didn't do copious amounts of research before choosing to put myself out there publicly with opinions, you would be incorrect. I chose all the candidates I endorse after spending the last month and a half reading, learning, listening, and talking with various people. I have seen my opinion change on a number of candidates I wasn't expecting to vote for, because when I went into this "silly season" I thought I had my mind already made up. So it has been refreshing to find myself evolving. I have been surprisingly impressed with the transparency and approachability of the Voice group during this election campaign. I chose the mix of candidates I endorsed because they individually best represented what I wanted and collectively I think will make a good team. One of the things I was most nervous about putting my list up publicly was the fact that New Westminster is very tight knit. I didn't want to offend anyone. As I said I have worked with you and respect you and know you are generous and caring. For the record, it's not too late to change my vote. Just because I wrote it on 10th to the Fraser yesterday (although this list was in draft format for about a week while we finalized our picks), there is nothing that says I can't change my mind at the ballot box. Why don't you provide me with fact based research to convince me of your position? With respect, I'm not the one running so I don't really think it's my job to convince you I'm right, I think it's your job to change my mind.

      1. Jen. If you are going to be a political commentator in New West, you should never fear offending anyone. Ultimately, its your opinion, and you are entitled to it and to voice it. There is nothing wrong with being provocative, and pointed at times. As long as you have the where with all to back it up and stand beside and behind your views and opinions. There are some in New West that would stifle opinions that go against the mainstream idealstic thinking. And when questioned on their positions go eerily silent or simply refuse to answer the questions, citing length of blogs etc. From my perch atop my roof, you are very good at what you do,

  10. Great job guys.
    Since this is the owners of the blog speaking I have no problem having them endorse their favourite candidates. When a national newspaper or media outlet does it, that's another issue entirely.

    As a member of the NWEP we have a policy of not endorsing any political candidate. This is something I look for in a non-profit organization. Advocacy groups have to be able to take anyone to task and that's part of the fun in remaining hands-off.

  11. I go back and forth on political endorsements and whether it's appropriate for certain indviduals to give them.
    I'm always a bit puzzled though when people are troubled by media outlets, particularly print publications, making endorsements. Newspapers have a long history of making political endorsements and it is not at all unusual for print publications to have a point of view, expressed through editorials. There's no doubt, of course, that political endorsements can be powerful, particularly when they seem to run counter to the publication's philosophy: just check out the Economist's 2008 endorsement of Barack Obama. http://www.economist.com/node/12516666

Comments are closed.