Appeared in the North Shore News – November 11, 2011
It is time once again for the sage old gent who has been at this stand for 21 years to give his sage old advice
Feel free to ignore it, as you probably have in past West Vancouver elections with no loss.
First, a favourable nod to former member of the Interested Taxpayers’ Action Committee Michael Lewis, a principal player in shrinking the West Van budget increase toward zero. A possible future mayor.
Perennial poll-topper Bill Soprovich won’t quit and won’t relax. Loves the work. Loves responding to citizen calls. A love reciprocated – this is his sixth election.
Carolanne Reynolds is committed, deserving, but, as a long-time citizen council-watcher and editor of West Vancouver Matters (a labour of love that she underwrites), arguably is more valuable outside than inside the tent.
Vivian Vaughan is the Woman Who Would Have Been Mayor, maybe, second in a three-way split in 2008. She’s of independent mind, brainy, politically not necessarily a team player.
On the other hand. . . . School board chairwoman Mary-Ann Booth plunged right off my recommended list with the revelation that her husband is a lawyer with a firm representing Grosvenor, hip-deep in redevelopment in West Vancouver. This clear conflict of interest would fatally disqualify her from important decisions ahead. On the other hand. . . .
Incumbent Trish Panz made a jibe about something negative I wrote about her in 2008, and she won. No kidding, I like that. Keeps me humble. Panz is a “Pamette,” a total political and personal friend of retiring Mayor Pam Goldsmith-Jones. If you liked the one, you’ll like the other.
Craig Cameron is too sleek, too “downtown” by half for my tastes, his speech stuffed with clichés – will someone please kill the word “transparency” with a stick? My suspicion: Another development-friendly heir of Goldsmith-Jones. And allow that there’s no black/white on that issue, but a matter of degree and kind.
Nora Gambioli has a law degree (Dalhousie), teaching certificate, and diploma in psychology, but in 2008 she impressed me anyway.
Still does. Less impressive: She doesn’t advertise that she ran for the Green Party provincially against Ralph Sultan (a distant second) in 2001. “Environmentalist” isn’t a dirty word to me, but her silence on this point slightly bothers me.
Gregg Henderson may have got the sympathy vote in 2008, his speeches painfully inept, but three years have improved his platform confidence without improving his mind. His foolish pitch to end incamera meetings shows blank ignorance of why, though open to abuse, they exist.
. . .
Finally, West Van voters will have to decide whether the following is important.
A curious reader questioned this statement on Coun. Michael Evison’s website: “Michael is a FCCA Fellow, Chartered Association of Certified Accountants in the U.K.”
The reader couldn’t find Evison’s name on the members’ or Fellows’ list.
A Wikipedia entry describes ACCA as a global body for professional accountants with 147,000 qualified members, who, if they have “sufficient post-qualification experience are designated Fellows, and use the designatory letters FCCA in place of ACCA.”
After we exchanged a few emails, Evison – who is seeking re-election – explained, verbatim: “Thank you for your question for clarification. I am not now a ‘registered’ member. I use the designation as in I’m a Lawyer or an Engineer or a Teacher.
“For the record, I never practised, as in public/private practice. I spent most of my career in financial roles for a variety of companies.
I formally resigned my membership 22 Feb., 1998.”
At best it’s strange that the affable Evison is flaunting an affiliation that ended 13 years ago.
. . .
After West Van acclaimed mayor Michael Smith made it plain in an interview that he was scandalized by union donations in North Van, I questioned North Vancouver’s city and district mayors, Darrell Mussatto and Richard Walton about that.
Walton: “No, I don’t accept contributions from unions. I have maintained a very positive relationship with our unions over the years but am uncomfortable accepting financial support and have spoken very amicably and objectively with them explaining why. They fully understand and have not offered me financial support.”
Mussatto: “Hi, Trevor. Yes, as an ambulance paramedic I am a member of CUPE 873 and I do receive money from them. As well, I receive contributions from CUPE B.C. and from CUPE National. I received money in all my previous campaigns from CUPE since 1993. I also receive money from independent businesses and from individuals. If you would like to donate to my campaign I would be happy to receive it from you! Warning, all donations to my campaign are disclosed as per the provincial government regulations! Cheers, Darrell.”
I prefer Walton’s stand, but whatever your take on Mussatto’s, top marks for his openness and wit. Maybe that’s why his constituents have given him four council and two mayoralty terms for 18 years.
© Trevor Lautens, 2011