Archive for the 'the way I see it' category

perfect democracy unrealistic

December 8, 2008

Perfect democracy is as idealistic as communism. The problem is that the realities of human nature get in the way.

One impediment is that it seems people like to think they are separate from government — that it’s an ‘us and them’ — they don’t see (or don’t want to see) themselves as being part of the system. But mere existence has an influence on other people, therefore existence is an inadvertent act of community participation. Read on »

great vision, poor attribution

December 2, 2008

There was an almost-great letter to the editor of the Peace Arch News last week. It was great until the last line.

It was a fabulous statement on community spirit… then included praise for the election results. But absolutely nothing he spoke of was an issue of debate during the election. If anything, it was a clear point of consensus. I have no doubt that each and every candidate would emphatically and enthusiastically agree with the vision he described.

Some candidates volunteer and contribute more to the community than others, but there was no evidentiary pattern in the election results.

The irony of his letter is that, by diminishing other people’s perspectives, he actually undermined his own vision of a community of positive, engaged citizens.

From the November 26 edition of the Peace Arch News: Read on »

one thing I won’t miss

I hate, absolutely hate, the blind, righteous sense of entitlement that some people use to justify bullying and bludgeoning others to get want they want. The selfishness is disgusting. The hypocrisy is mind-numbing.

Unfortunately, maddeningly, how I react isn’t any better. I tend to reflect their behaviour, to mirror it back to them. I become obtuse, stubborn and pedantic.

Friday, I attended an event to honour citizens who have contributed greatly to our community for many years. The idea of the Living Legacy Book is to recognize people who have made significant, positive impacts on our community while they’re still alive rather than wait for their eulogy.

After the ceremony I made an attempt to be helpful for an initiative that a local environmental activist created and has operated for a number of years. Given past discussions, I should have known better. But I thought that, since I am leaving my responsibilities as a councillor, perhaps she would see no need to continue lecturing me on how ungrateful, ungracious, and ignorant the City is with regards to her efforts. No such luck. Read on »

escapism in cynicism

November 20, 2008

There is comfort in cynicism. Assuming that someone else’s greed or self-interest is the cause of my problems allows me to deny responsibility. If it’s not my choice and there’s nothing I can do about it, then I can just resent them and not feel any regret for my own choices.

It’s an escape from having to question my own assumptions.

When a decision is being made in the community and I don’t understand it, if I assume that someone is getting their pockets lined, then I don’t have to think any further; I don’t have to empathize with anyone else; I don’t have to consider new ideas or look for information that I might be missing in order for it to make sense; I don’t have to look to see if there are flaws in my own logic or conflicts within my own expectations.

All I have to assume is that someone in power is giving unfair favours in some secret backroom deal – simple escapism from the discomforts of considering the possibility that I might actually end up agreeing with things I don’t like if I learned more about it and considered it with an open mind. Read on »

community cognitive therapy

October 22, 2008

Sometimes issues are distressing only by how some people perceive them. If the fear is not realistic, the action they request might not be effective or appropriate.

It is these times that I have been accused of not listening. But I did listen. I listened and perceived the issue differently than they did. Read on »

choose hope

October 14, 2008

[This is a note I wrote September 26 while my website was offline. In the interest of openness and transparency, I'm posting it now.]

In my observation in White Rock, it seems the difference between leaders motivated by hope and those motivated by fear is not necessarily their goals, but how they go about achieving them. But what are the unintended consequences of each approach?

political windsock I’m not

[This is a note I wrote September 26 while my website was offline. In the interest of openness and transparency, I'm posting it now.]

I am not a political windsock following the winds of whim. New information changes minds. There’s been too many times in history that demonstrate the majority opinion can and does change.

So, whether it’s 5 or 5,000 people petitioning me, I test the idea against my vision, principles, and values — that’s more important to me than winning or losing votes. I’m here to consider the information available to me and act in the best interests of the community, not myself. Doing what the majority of emails or loudest voices command would be selfish if I truly believe it’s not the best choice.

politically manufactured issue

October 8, 2008

[This is a note I wrote while my website was offline. In the interest of openness and transparency, I'm posting it now.] 

Had the sidewalk construction proceeded without delay, the project would have measured in days, not months. 

The focus of my email published in the newspaper was on personal responsibility and the limits of the government’s ability to stop people from choosing to put themselves in harm’s way. However, the overall focus of the message thread (the many to and fro messages, of which that was one) was on the reason the construction process was so prolonged in the first place. It had nothing to do with the contractors or City Staff, it was Council’s decisions-to-not-decide that created the problem. 

In one of the newspaper articles on this tempest-in-a-teapot, the mayor asks for accountability on my statement, yet she does not hold Council accountable for the construction delay caused by their indecision. 

truth v. manners

[This is a note I wrote while my website was offline. In the interest of openness and transparency, I'm posting it now.] 

Sometimes it seems manners are more important than truth. 

Nobody has yet told me that it’s a good idea to walk in the middle of the road. Nobody has told me that it’s a good idea to ignore safety signs. Nobody is actually arguing that what I said is incorrect. Some are offended that I dared say it at all. Others were offended by my insensitive language — the lack of manners in the words I used. And on that, I agree. 

accountability demonstrated

I am slowly restoring this website after the webserver I had contracted crashed and lost my files. I’ve been able to recover most of it.

Someone told me how to find ghosts of my pages floating around of the Internet. I’ve been copying and pasting them back onto this site. 

Unfortunately, it seems some of the best parts are gone. My notes from brilliant lectures at the 2007 UBCM conference and Bliss Brown workshop could not be found. They were incredibly inspiring and pivotal for me – their presentations changed my opinions on a number of issues. I wanted to share those to show everyone how and why some of my ideas or priorities have changed. 

I believe this website is also an important part of my accountability as an elected representative. Sharing my thoughts and the information I have considered is one way for me to be transparent in my decision-making. It is distressing to me that some of those posts can no longer be accessed, especially since they discuss things that have had a profound impact on my perspectives. 

However, I am doing my best to put everything back as close as possible to the way it was before. The only thing that might not be exactly the same is the time stamp, but I am not editing or omitting any text. I’ll admit, it is tempting to skip or delete some, but I believe it’s important to be open about my growth and the evolution of my opinions.

Dedication to transparency and accountability isn’t something that should be feigned during elections. It should be a perpetual element of public duty. I hope this website demonstrates my commitment to that principle.