Mission Election Post Mortem

Dear Friends, Senior Colleagues,Concerned Citizens, Political Candidates,

832 Votes difference placed one foot in the grave for Mission citizens and prevented a move into 21st century leadership. The saving grace may be deemed to be the new crop of eager councillors, those with the strength of conviction and fortitude to provide desperately needed impartial leadership; new and more progressive vision and ideas; to progress with downtown/waterfront, Seniors Activity Centre among many new initiatives started. This will not likely be forthcoming from Mayor Hawes. It never has, and, I believe, never will! Conversely, the jury is still out on whether the bully style and know-it-all mindset at city hall will intimidate newcomers and whether they will succumb to his way or they will convince him to their more visionary and progressive leadership to serve constituents?

The strongest message learned this election, by more informed political observers and sane minded actually concerned voters was, Martin Luther King Jr’s, “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends” and indeed, I shall remember this election for all the shame and harm caused to some otherwise good acquaintances/friends who became casualties of politics and the enablers who permitted the evil to flourish. As stated by, Edmund Burke, “Evil will flourish when good men and women stand by and do nothing”.

Since 1988 I have been what is often referred to as a political pundit, and advocate. This may mean I just follow selected campaigns very closely and analyze figures, study behaviours (given I have a lengthy 35 year seniors executive career, with a heavy involvement with psychologists, so some has rubbed off on me and my deep interest in human behaviours, notably sociopaths and psychopaths, in particular) but equally politics as a profession, notably the people who think they can win and/or do not prepare themselves, given they perceive the job from the perspective the bar is too low and incumbents often do not seem more qualified.

This election at Mission, has some very different scenarios and situations, not witnessed in previous elections, most notably the advent of social media; the implosion of a first time slate and some believing a slate did not and will not work at Mission; like Surrey, a recycled Mayoral candidate, notably MaCallum in Surrey (he lost but was hoping to replace long-time popular Dianne Watts) and Hawes in Mission (to replace his former supporter Ted Adlem), with most unexpected endorsements, of Adlem, coming from the last people you may imagine, signing nomination papers and endorsement by Bob Ingram, Citizen of the Year, President of Mission Seniors’ Association and several other non-profits and surprise, Bryan Fawcett long-time Associate and insider of Mr. Hawes, certainly credible. True to form, Mr. Hawes condoned the few zealots maligning CRMG at will, while some room for complaint, this was, I think, over the top abuse and beyond the pale, at best. Then Mr. Hawes has the temerity to state that a lot of good people were denigrated in those papers – Mission Messenger – but, his statement goes unchallenged. Finally, in many dealings with Mr. Hawes he, like Dennis Clark in recent tirades, near always start out with opponents, first they try to dissuade not working, then they demean saying something like, ‘you obviously do not know what you are talking about’, then, that not working, they try to insult your lack of volunteering or community involvement or that say you support something – untrue but they assume when nothing works they go silent and/or do not accurately answer a question. Sometimes, they may allude to documents which they claim are too long and they do not have attention span to read, they seem to feel must bully or try to win at any cost. Thus, for Mr. Hawes to condone the terrible character assassinations in the Mission Voice is perceived apathetic behaviour by many, enables the abuse of others. I find it repugnant and this probably places me on Mr. Hawes’ enemy list and we await the next go around.

Mission Election Results
Mayor: Randy Hawes 3068
Councillor: Pam Alexis 4267 *
Councillor: Rhett Nicholson 4231 *
Councillor: Carol Hamilton 4164 * endorsed initially
Councillor: Danny Plecas 3463 *
Councillor: Jenny Stevens 2587 *
Councillor: Jim Hinds 2430

* Endorsed by George F. Evens, as well unsuccessful candidates Tony Luck, Jeff Jewell & Michael Nenn
• 2014 Voter Turnout Eligible Voters 24,778/8,259 = 33.33%. An increase of 896 votes, short of votes needed to guarantee a desired change.
• 2011 Voter Turnout Eligible Voters 24,275/7,363 = 30.0% **
• 2008 Voter Turnout Eligible Voters 22,628/5,681 = 25.1%
• **increase of 1,682 votes (5.0%) which contributed to CRMG winning and replacing dysfunctional Council. A similar 5% or approx. 1600 increase in voter attendance would have elected Tony Luck and covered likelihood of potential “CRMG harm loss of votes” and advent of “additional candidates”, not a chance to win but (spoilers) in a close three person maximum race, thus no contingency votes to off-set.
• 2008 Atebe 20.0%; 2011 Adlem 15.0%; 2014 Hawes 12.0% = percentages of eligible voters, which is the only true relevant number to measure popularity of voters and indeed, how many voters are actually, through the Mayor, for example, running Mission by Governance on Council. It is a travesty when you actually carefully consider that the Mayor was elected with 12.0% and in fact 21,707 Citizens’ didn’t vote for Hawes.
• NOTE: The important point to remember, councillors must not allowed themselves to be bullied The mayor is only one vote and while most do not expect leadership, like the non-confidence on CRMG to the Mayor, any four councillors can pass motions and adopt legislation normally and Mission may in fact join the 21st Century and Seniors’ finally be respected.

To deceive Voters, Candidates like to use percentage of actual voter turnout as a measurement of how successful they think they were, which is folly, at best and ignored the massive apathy at Mission, the resultant divided community and worse, the lack of any effective plan to improve Citizen engagement. Thus, 2008 Atebe claimed 79% (a real popular Mayor in his mind); Adlem 51% and now 2014 Hawes 37% of actual voter turnouts.

Abbotsford Election (partial) results for some comparison

Like Mission, I had a cursory involvement with some election goings on, endorsed some Candidates and witnessed a more mature campaign overall, no biased comments by zealots, just really a hard fought campaign by all, particularly given Abbotsford, like Mission has endured, actually even more public criticisms, notably Homeless dilemma.

Mayor – Henry Braun * 16,171 (19.0%) of eligible voters (50.92% of votes cast) **
Councillor – Ross Siemans *
Councillor – Brenda Falk *
Councillor – Kelly Chahal *
Councillor – Sandy Blue *

* Endorsed by George F. Evens, Independent (NEW) Mayor Henry Braun; (NEW) Councillors all from (slate) Abbotsford First (only slate member Vince Dimanno did not get elected). Endorsement published in OCTOBER “News To You” Newsletter, published in www.abbotsfordtoday.ca
– Inc. Councillors (re-elected) Patricia Ross, Les Barkman, Moe Gill and incumbent Dave Loewen * (I endorsed)
– Mayor and four new Councillors can control all votes majority, but maybe Loewen will be onside, as well, so Abbotsford is now poised to meet progress, at last, that sighhh you hear is Citizens’ “sigh of relief at new opportunities and a kinder gentler more professional Mayor
• ** It is rather astounding actually, with all the unrest and negative publicity mostly pertaining to Banman as Mayor, he actually received 15,594 votes (18.0%) of eligible voters (49.09% votes cast) or 577 less than winner Henry Braun. Like Mission, there must be something in the drinking water that so many will still cast votes for a perceived unpopular Mayor.

SOME of what Mission Citizens’ lost, insofar as successful Mayor Plans to improve Citizen engagement
Tony Luck – Planned to commence Citizens’ Advisory Council; Seniors’ Advisory Council; Referendum scheme for major projects; Electronic voting that will increase voter engagement & turnout; endorsed progressing with a non-generational Seniors’ Activity Centre
Randy Hawes – Don’t actually know for certain, mentioned something about Schools becoming “Community Centres” and to be used by Seniors’; to resume imposing his conclusions as historically he knew everything, his ideas were only conclusions he pursued, ignoring public engagement and presumably to perpetuate the increasing void and perpetuation of silos, cliques, and non-inclusive community.

Social Media:
Paul Horn, Mission Hot Seat
• former Councillor commenced “Mission Hot Seat”, a process to have all Candidates answer a series of questions and he would post onto his site, unedited and no comments made – good idea, impartial and Candidates could all feel comfortable and treated fairly.

Artur Gryz, Mission Voice
• shared all Candidate questions and answers, from Mission Hot Seat on his “Mission Voice” but wrongly permitted the public to offer comments, most of which were biased, vitriolic, mean-spirited and unfair tirades by a few overly zealous zealots – terrible idea, biased and possibly the most shameful experience of the local election process and lack of democratic process, arbitrary banning some 20 Citizens for no known justified reasons, other than he could. No Public arbitration.
• tends to lack vision or innovation, often (pirates) news stories from Mission City Record and permits his audience to post comments, as if his property. Plans to (now) shut-down postings for a week or so, to spend time with family (a typical cop-out for Politicians realizing they have no chance to win, so they jump-ship, so we shall see, cynically speaking), having done so much community damage to CRMG Citizens and others, thriving on self-importance and ego-stroking from a small group, celebrated the win with Mr. Hawes, I’ll bet?

Brief analysis of Mission Voice
I randomly selected the first twenty-two subjects for brief review and analysis
I obtained numbers of “Like” and “View Comments” figures, for more accuracy, I deducted the low 10% and High 10% to arrive at a weighted average of posts or 80.0% weighted average..
Ironically possibly, the three highest posts were actually about the election and thereafter would not be witnessed on the site, so this too added credibility and more relevance of the site’s public value, except beyond a few zealots hijacking and first attacking vehemently on nearly every post, the CRMG, then in the last week attacking Tony Luck and Jeff Jewell, all the while praising and advocating views to elect Randy Hawes, which soon included Randy Hawes adding his own vitriolic comments, unopposed due to some 20 or so (including myself) arbitrarily being banned from participation, a censorship and violation of Canadian values and more so, Charter of Right and Freedoms of speech and association, just because the site host could do so under some inane and presumably vastly superior justification and right to do so, under Facebook Guidelines permitting the host to inactivate or un-friend.

Simply, there are followers to every site, every cult, every process and some more blindly follow leaders than others. So, how the Mission Voice may conduct business in future, during non-election, time is anyone’s opinion but many, like myself, would likely never go online, or rarely, at best but some will.
• So, given the audience may be deemed the eligible voter, for comparative purposes, it is approximately 24,775 Citizens to reach and have participate in any given future venue, that attendance as a percentage of this number will give varied ratios of performance. It is interesting, only a scarce few (I believe only 5 out of 24 candidates posted). Most Candidates for office, this election, actually didn’t participate on the Mission Voice, beyond answering questions from Mission Hot Seat, otherwise they, wisely, in my view, chose to not post anything to Mission Voice, may be speaking volumes, as to the site value and credibility, particularly due to obvious condoning bias is anything but certainly not community building. It is rather a very divisive and unfair practice.

Brief analysis, nothing scientific polling, just cursory observation of users of Mission Voice
Topics = 22
Likes= (low 3 = 10%) = 5 View comments Low = 2
Likes= (Average 16 = 80% )= 20 View Comments Average= 9
Likes= (high 3= 10%)= 95 View comments = 43 * these three “High” all related only to Election issues

Explanation: Normally, excluding election issues, only an average 20 indicated ‘likes’ for 16 people viewing, with 9 viewing/commenting. Thus, the public is rarely using this site. During the election process it was hijacked by several zealots touting Randy Hawes and the site host, in my view, lost public credibility, except for small group of enablers, ego strokers and their perceived patronizing remarks.

Thus, in conclusion, one zealot in particular dominating Mission Voice with the most vitriolic and incessant rudeness I have ever witnessed in any campaign since 1988, but didn’t hear a word from Hawes, naturally not, it was in his benefit and served his desire to win at any cost. Tony Luck’s loss by only 832 votes was unfortunate but two unknown harm anomalies existed, first former CRMG association and could Tony secure the 2956 votes from the last election as councillor? The second problem, municipal elections can, with normal voter turnout, normally support three candidates but when two or more additional, like this time, run, with no chance to win except spoil votes, the pressure is on increasing the voter turnout. During 2011 the voter turnout increased 5.0% or 1682 votes and solidified a CRMG sweep. This time only increased by 3.3%, 896 votes.

In all my dealings over the years, with Mr. Hawes and Director Corporate Administration and others, the first obstacle is, usually they ignore you, then, they try to discredit you or tell you you have no idea about what you are talking about. Then they try to demean you, like making stupid claims about your not being a volunteer whereas Mr. Hawes always claims he volunteers like it gives him some special status (volunteering is a personal choice, based upon interest, time and ability, not to be used against a person) and they continue to fight you, often incessantly, like the behaviour recently on Mission Voice to discredit CRMG.

Newly elected councillors must remember they are to serve and not be served; to be responsive to citizens and equally be respectful to citizens, or for certain, like the self-important before, citizens can be fickle, thus you are popular one day and the brunt of citizen criticisms the next by your misdeeds and last, as has just been demonstrated again, total Councils are tossed out and replaced with new people.

Finally, a creed I progress by, Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”. I wish all our new council members well, good health, happiness in your careers and success in your efforts for your community. Possibly during the year I may have occasion to appear before you as a delegation and I hope and trust to witness a professional demeanour from all. My main thrusts this year are to focus upon improvements to animal welfare and legislation to eliminate cruelty. As well, on the human side, to qdvocate/facilitate for seniors in-conjunction and liaison with COSCO (117,000 Member – Seniors’ Organization). My efforts are illustrated in the normally monthly “News To You” Newsletter. Conversely, you can view causes & issues I pursue via my (private) organization or in-conjunction with others, at www.thecouncilclaw.ca ‘click’ CONTENTS, to select the cause/issue of interest to you. As well, pictures are available under Elder Citizen Action Coalition (ECAC)depicting Seniors’ Activity Centres at Maple Ridge, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam & West Vancouver, to give you an appreciation of the facilities, notably as a guide for what is required at Mission, and in the event you have been unable to visit yourself to gain a personal understanding.

George Evens

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