Re: "Keep Faith in Election," Letters, Oct. 21
First, if I were going to attend candidate debates (and I am not, for reasons I have explained ad nauseam in previous letters), I would need candid answers from the candidates on only two questions: ? Apart from yourself, who are the five largest financial contributors to your campaign? ? If elected, how would you correct the disconnect between our elected council and the technocrats (the "experts" as some councillors call them) who really run Richmond?
The first question is usually answered here in The News, but after the election.
Having observed the results over the past two decades and the imbalance of power it creates on council and between council and staff, it is hardly surprising that a majority of councillors' and staff's first loyalty is to the development industry, not the voters.
Councillor Greg Halsey-Brandt's frustrated resignation on this score is regrettable but understandable. He is not alone.
Other councillors have admitted as much to me before this. Sadly, the deterioration of democracy is not limited to Richmond, or even Canada. For readers who care and need a more authoritative source I suggest John Ralston Saul's Voltaire's Bastards, The Dictatorship of Reason in the West as a starting point.
Second, if I were going to vote (which I am not, again for reasons already printed in The News), I would plump my vote.
Plumping means voting for only those candidates who can demonstrate they have and will continue to represent your interests. It also means not cancelling those votes out because you want to spend all nine of your votes. Your vote for a candidate you're ambivalent about could knock out the one you really want.
Deciding not to vote was not a quick or easy decision for me. It was not because I am not prepared to do my homework. It must be evident that it is not because I don't value democracy. Just the opposite.
It is because the system is broken, and we can't fix a broken system with a broken system.
That doesn't mean we don't have recourse to other (legal) means of finding justice.
Follow the example of regular letter-to-theeditor writers like Esther McIlveen, Terrance Murphy, Marion Smith, Chak Au and De Whalen among others.
Start a website where computer-savvy folks can raise their mutual awareness. One such website is ditchmond.ca. Attend council and committee meetings at the hall, invite all your friends, ask searching questions.
Support those councillors who are striving for justice through a flawed democratic process.
Join or form a citizen group, get some leverage going. That is how many of the current candidates came to be candidates.
Research the corporate connection and name the CEO who is fulfilling his fiduciary duty by maximizing corporate profits at the expense of democratic deterioration, social injustice, environmental degradation, unsustainability of food supply and declining quality of education.
Follow the money and publicize your discoveries right here in The News.
Get to know Richmond's CAO and his staff by name and sight. Write about it here.
No one I asked recently could name one senior staff member.
Conduct a legal challenge, like the B.C. Supreme Court Appeal over a $35 parking ticket I'm working on, which is costing you, Richmond Tax Payers/Voters, thousands of tax dollars.
Or, you could, like so many, just get mad at me and indulge in that eternally losing game, the blame game and go back to your complaining during hockey commercials!
Dogmatic about democracy, I remain.
Ramblin' Ryan Lake
Gnarly Old Dudes and Dames of Steveston (GODDS)