Wednesday, 19 November 2014

City Hall, 2nd Floor: Then and When

In the last pre-election Committee Of The Whole (COW), 20. Oct, 3 Councillors are absent.
In the first post-election COW, 17. Nov, Mayor Dooley is on his way to a Fleetwood Mac concert in Vancouver.

The latter - also last - COW of this term is just so much (more!) political Smallishtown theater. Supporting actors looking for their marks close to Mayor-Elect Kozak just in case wink-wink. Positioning for future advantage: they are line-perfect and aglow with how particularly wonderful the last 3 years have been on/by City Hall's 2nd Floor. 

But no moment of reflection. No stock-taking. No we could - really should! - have done better!

My reality-check presentation starts-off this COW:

A Brief Post-Election Review of Pre-Election Council

Over the past 3 years I have made 31 COW presentations - usually taking-on aspects of Council's work Councillors either weren't willing to touch at all or had touched only superficially. I routinely provided print-copies of the material and links to my blog-posts. My It's-Your-Job! position towards them eliciting little direct response. Except for making me very unpopular for simply refusing to fit into a City Hall culture unacceptable to my principles.

Bottom-line: Input not welcome here!

But then - being present at most Regular & COW Meetings over that time-period - I don't remember a Councillor ever personally taking-on an issue - focused, clear, comprehensive - demanding the 2nd Floor's attention. Not once!

General unresponsiveness of Councillors to inconvenient issues, each other and the mayor directly facilitated expansion of his and the CAO's range.

Incoming Council will have to apportion substantial time and energy to fixing unattended, unresolved or botched issues before initiating new ones. Such as not-at-all-new affordable housing, secondary suites, water-rates, taxation, poverty - all inter-connectable.

A few more general pieces of Council's legacy:
While the Community Master Plan curiously ignores the heart of the matter - Baker Street - it just as curiously prioritizes Stores to Shores - which finally is beginning to raise eyebrows. The reality of this stroll-to-nowhere raising mine in the COW, 22 Jun, 2013.The not-so-masterly plan having many other holes: embraced by Council in total.
Council's addiction to outside consultants telling us - always at a hefty price - what's best for Nelson, while actually knowing little about us. And their reports usually fading away.
Council glowingly approving the Nelson Commons mediocrity - clearly not a tourist-magnet - to become and remain for a long time the very unexceptional center of the Nelson universe. If it is actually built ...
... because Council has habitually handed-out variances, permits to condo-developers - while ignoring what market? and developers' financial integrity. Despite the fact of over 350 advertised-by-Baker-agents-alone available properties in Nelson and vicinity.
Council passing a very restrictive parking-bylaw change which - if enacted - will have great negative impact on downtown. And this only in order to benefit Nelson Commons financially.
And finally - Councillors having spent much time and energy in meetings on bits-and-pieces championed by numerous groups, committees, commissions. Often with similar agendas. Except for funding and - control!

While - clearly - solutions to many issues plaguing Nelson could be found in inter-connecting groups - joining them like so many weak threads twisted together into a strong rope.

Before the previous election, a then-already-very-old-timer on Council expressed a need for fresh blood, new energy and ideas. As there was only going to be one vacancy: fresh blood, new energy and ideas could only have been infused in sufficient quantities by several old-timers leaving voluntarily. I said at the time: it's unfair to Nelson and new Councillors to just hang-in-there for another 3 years. If you're tired - for the good of the Whole - just leave!


Indeed - this Council sleepwalked through much of its term. Generally agreeing
with each other just to get on with it - instead of building consensus based on personal conviction: to arrive at well-balanced decisions.

Undoubtedly - it worked hard, but nobody will remember basic bread-and-butter results. Its legacy will be vital issues producing changes for the better, changes for the worse - and no changes at all.

This is not about blame - but acknowledgement of what is. After all - how can you build on denial?

   (End of presentation as such)

I then address Mayor-Elect Kozak directly - asking her to create an atmosphere in which all Councillors and the public feel free to express themselves clearly/fully - and are heard.
We shake hands, and I leave - missing-out on 2(!) consultants' reports and - of course - the popcorn!

Kozak - while campaigning - is cognizant of current Council not having been fully engaged, wants to facilitate across-the-board communication and further gathering/developing ideas from all. Good! Her first steps towards that: listening to concerns voiced to new Councillors during their campaigns. Good again! And - while totally reasonable - novel on the 2nd Floor!

A large part of her campaign - and its success - was contrasting her leadership-style to Dooley's. It is to be hoped this includes clearly locking-in the decision-making process leading to the implementation-process: Council decides - the Chief Administrative Officer (emphasis on Administrative) implements what has been decided. A growing fuzziness, tut-tutted over by many in the community.
Tightening, streamlining processes - until recently some the pleasure of only a few - will provide more certainty thus efficiency to all on the 2nd Floor. And ultimately Nelson.

... of this term and final post about it.

I look forward to Mayor Kozak and her Council going easy on the glow while leading Nelson from then and when to then and now!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Remembrance of Whatever

While Cpl. Cirillo - family-man and dog-lover, with no physical/psychological combat-wounds to show - will be elevated to sainthood in Hamilton come Remembrance Day - after being shot on his standing-around job in Ottawa by a man with mental-health issues and - for political expediency - praised for this heroic act to high heaven: who remembers those job-over redundants sort-of making it back from experiences of - to the mall-brained - impossible to imagine horror?

They now may want to be nothing more than family-with-a-dog - but what they remember won't let them.

The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.
                                                  Aldous Huxley

Remember who got them there and (if) back like this!

Remember Peace!  

Sankai Juku
Sondra Wampler   

Friday, 7 November 2014

Pelant, NDCC Shape Shifter!

Council candidate Justin Pelant speaks for small business
The Nelson Daily, Nov. 4, 2014
Bill Metcalfe

Pelant's answers to 2 of Metcalfe's questions below - contrary to providing clarity for the non-business/not-wealthy segment of the electorate - may now raise pointed concern among them over his cozy (ongoing yes/no/what) connection(s) with the Chamber of Commerce (NDCC) and Economic Development Partnership (NAEDP).

These 2 questions - in local main-stream media finally! - are a direct result of earlier observations in 3 blog-posts immediately below: the electorate deliberately, consistently diddled for political advantage by 1 Council candidate. 

Why, and when, did you step down as president of the Chamber of Commerce?

I stepped down as president because it could be viewed as a conflict of interest. I had not stepped down when I announced that I was running because two of the other executive council (?) were out of town and we were in the midst of selling our building. So at our next meeting two weeks later, I put forward a motion that I was stepping down. Depending on the outcome of the election I will either come back as past president or I will step down entirely. So I am on a leave of absence right now.

We will probably never know whether-or-not he actually did step down - seeing there has been so much dodging-and-weaving and evidence to the contrary thus far (see earlier 3 posts!).
What we do know: since his candidacy announcement, Oct. 8, until the SPAN all-candidates forum, Nov. 5 - Pelant repeatedly publicly used his connection with the NDCC/NAEDP to give substance to his candidacy for City Councillor.
So what's with this leave of absence?

His only-now-declared intention to have wanted to step down from the start, Oct. 8, and reasons for not doing so then are disingenuous at best. Why wait until cornered to speak-up about it - 2 weeks after he supposedly stepped-down? Clearly - his candidacy was hatched within the NDCC collective - way before its announcement. Thus - had the appearance of a possible conflict of interest actually been on the table then: this could/should have been handled before two of the other executive council (sic) were out of town and before we were in the midst of selling our building.
In the midst of selling our building??? As Joan Rivers used to say: Can we talk?!

Thus far running his NDCC/NAEDP-Botox act for 29 days out of 39 - between candidacy announcement and election. I say: thus far!

Does this apply also to being on the board of the NAEDP?

No, because it is a partnership between the Chamber, the City and local businesses. I have talked to other members on the board and they said,"We still want you on (the board)." I will continue on that board whether I get elected or not, if they still want me.



If possible conflict of interest applies to the NDCC connection - it does even more so to this here Partnership! The NDCC - coaching local businesses - is funded by them and partly by the City. And Chamber Prez Pelant was appointed to the NAEDP-Board by the NDCC. Putting the NDCC in charge of the NAEDP. I am not aware of the NAEDP receiving any funding from the City - you following me so far? Deep breath: while Council candidate Pelant now is-or-not at the NDCC-top - he definitely is on the NAEDP-Board. Same shtick. With not a word from its City reps: Councillors Kiss and Kozak - the latter a candidate for Mayor. And John Dooley - current mayor and NDCC champion - wanting to be re-elected. Probably worried about that - so there's all-around urgency! Got it?
That other members on the board...still want you on (the board) - though cuddly - is seriously immaterial in this situation. If nothing else: a dinky preference over integrity.
Altogether not trust-building! For a Councillor-in-trying!

I don't know Pelant personally, and my problem is not with him but the NDCC: a moneyed old-boys' club of all-pervasive local influence, with the Nelson Star's direct backing and ideologically that of the current mayor. 

Ultimately Pelant is negligible as a viable presence in his own campaign: solely run as a means to get legitimate/permanent access to City Hall's 2nd Floor.

And while one would expect this backing to generate great star-power - it has left him colorless and hardly there there. Left! Because - to the great unwashed - his backers have been unable to seamlessly mesh his candidacy with their intentions: it's all blatantly about the NDCC - see its repetitious Star-coverage - with Pelant in a clumsy orbit, held sort-of in place by the group's gravitational forces only.   

Running for elective City office should mean: for the start-to-finish duration - officially, publicly severing all existing professional ties - and avoiding any reference to them for advantage - with the City!

Not done here - in a watered-down version of American politics! 


Both questions/answers are direct quotes/copies.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Justin Pelant: Neither here nor there!

I think Nelson is a brilliant place to raise kids and have a family.
                                          Justin Pelant
                                                Nelson Star, 8 Oct.

The Councillor-candidates list shows his local address as that of his business on Baker. Where he does not live. Neither does his 5-year old son with his wife. In fact - they don't live in Nelson at all!
But in Bonnington.

Justin Pelant - brilliant!

Vote Integrity!

Friday, 31 October 2014

NDCC: For YOU Cheap!

Continuing the post immediately below.

You just can't have everything you want! I mean - where would you put it?
                                                                          The Llama Parlour
                                                                                       Kathy Lette

Business - simply - is an exchange. An exchange of goods/services of one group for the money of another. One group supplies - the other consumes. Because of their interdependence the assumption that they would work hand-in-hand is reasonable. An understanding based on mutual respect and benefit. Ideally!

But with money the great motivator: inevitably greed kicks-in on the supply-side, and to find ways to satisfy this greed suppliers congregate in their local Chamber of Commerce (CC) to scheme for more. This expert association systematically guiding members in the pursuit.
Not to be too obviously one-note about this: it often cloaks its schemes in righteous community-this-and-that efforts - while the fixed goal behind it all without fail remains more profit for its members.

Just as inevitably - a CC sooner rather than later will attempt to control the whole local show nudge-nudge wink-wink. And - all branches jointly - the provincial and national.

There are over 450 CCs/Boards of Trade across relatively sparsely populated Canada. Then there are Canadian CCs (CCC) in foreign countries. All feeding at the same trough.
If you - for instance - are concerned with bad-bad-bad China flooding the Canadian market with cheap goods - thus eliminating jobs by killing production and what-not nationally: your concern is misdirected. Because the CCC in China - a huge affair in several cities - is making all arrangements necessary for this to happen as expeditiously as possible. Chinese don't manufacture on spec - they're getting orders for stuff from Canada, with the trans-Pacific toing-and-froing facilitated by CCs there/here - all interconnected by following the same manual. Often merchants of misery - literally. 
The more money is involved - the less morals are an issue.

Local money!
The Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce (NDCC) is a small part of that - a part nonetheless. The modus operandi is the same.
Business in Nelson superficially means Baker Street - as does Shop Local! - and when we are consistently told by the NDCC and (current) Mayor Dooley - its champion - that supporting this (small) area by all/any means will automatically have significantly more tax-revenue gush in and create significantly more jobs: all hogwash!
If services/goods offered in Nelson - period - are filling needs of a large enough group, are of good quality and reasonably price - there will be profit and employment. Empty store-fronts on Baker only signify poor business acumen, a diluted/changing market or the proprietor moving on! They are not indicative of a sluggish local economy, needing to be nursed on Baker (only) by City Hall, on taxpayers' time and money. But made to look that way by the NDCC - to get more tentacled concessions out of the City! 
With all that disproportionate attention - the downtown business group has developed an attitude of entitlement. Only taking - never giving.

Very local money!
The coming election is an opportunity for the NDCC - a wealthy old-boys club - to solidify its place at the local feeding-trough by - this time - semi-transparently attempting to insert its man into City Council.
Oct. 8
Justin Pelant, NDCC Prez, also Board-member of the Economic Partnership - flaunts these jobs as qualifications in his candidacy announcement. A connection thought rather too chummy for the comfort of many non-business locals - particularly what with financial arrangements between Chamber and City. Possibly leading to the appearance of City-provided funds indirectly/in part used by the NDCC to get Pelant elected. 

Surely a conflicting moral issue at least - but moral whatever!

And despite Tom Thomson - the NDCC's enabler - announcing once to me and Frances Long, City Hall - only, never publicly! - that Pelant took a leave of absence from the Chamber for the duration of his campaign - according to Pelant himself: he didn't!
Oct. 22
Seeing that the same Pelant is the very present center-fold in an onslaught of Nelson Star coverage, in praise of the NDCC's and Economic Partnership's come-on. Four whole pages impossible to get through. And live to tell.
Oct. 29
And the very same Pelant - in the Star's Q & A with Nelson's council candidates - still/again posturing with I have served on the Chamber of Commerce Board for six years, as well as Nelson's Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership...

On the money!
Clearly - somebody at the NDCC is untruthful: is he or is he not actively involved in the Chamber during his campaign? This is raising questions about motivation and means-to-an-end in all the NDCC wonderfulness paraded by the Star - ever so generously facilitated by Chuck Bennett, publisher and recent president of the Chamber.
Could it be that this never-before push into City Hall (legitimately!) is furthered by the worry: what if Dooley isn't re-elected?! Could it be that Pelant is positioned from within the Chamber as a Doug Ford - with the real candidate being the NDCC and Thomson its mouthpiece?!

A penny for your thoughts!
Oct. 31
The Star - front-page/above the fold - below Election 2014, where else - runs Businesses support fiscal responsibility. Another lengthy NDCC campaign item - thus more accurately Business supports...
Oct. 29
The very same article is already brazenly run online in the Election 2014 section.
Oct. 31
Then it is moved from there into News (more accessible - while not quite so campaigny!) under Business community champions planned, sustainable growth. 
And to the front-page under the heading above above!
Different place, time, heading - but all the same and surely not done by the Star on its own. But in a huddle to accommodate! With/through/by/about Tom Thomson (of course) instead of Justin Pelant (of course). Thomson and Pelant seemingly out-of-sync with each other on basic who-is-what: this can't help either one - thus their cause.
Thomson here essentially repeating positions floated locally on current issues off and on. With all this finagling trying to play it safe towards the center - votes for the Chamber, don't you know! Nothing new - and any concerns he mentions now could/should have been addressed by him/them over time - but weren't, are props only. Campaign blather!
Seeing there are several more Stars to shine before election - we have more of the Chamber's adjustable-to-fit-any-situation mantra to look forward to - but don't.
Nov. 12
Three days! before election - the NDCC will run a debate with the three candidates for mayor, at the Prestige Inn.
According to the Star The questions posed will be prepared by the chamber and local media, including the Star.

Tom Thomson - NDCC; John Dooley - City Hall; Chuck Bennett - Nelson Star. 
All for one - one for all!



Sunday, 26 October 2014

ELECTION: Pelant's Pushy Partners

The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men 
(and women). 
                                                                   Samuel Adams

Oct. 8
The Nelson Star publishes Justin Pelant's candidacy announcement for City Councillor. Background information there has it he is President of the Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce (NDCC), Board member of the Nelson & Area Economic Development Partnership - and he runs a local business. All this while raising a family.
So I wonder - as do others: clearly very busy already, how can he possibly have enough time, energy and focus for the substantial work-load of a conscientious Councillor? Even just preparing for becoming one!
Oct. 16
I message Will Johnson, reporter of this announcement, expressing my concern with the possibility that Pelant's top-level NDCC/Economic Partnership involvement could lead to conflicts of interest - making public clarification necessary.

Oct. 20
Revisiting issues in this Council's unimpressive past - I also raise that of Pelant's candidacy to the Committee Of The Whole (COW) at City Hall. Councillor/Chair Macdonald - who loves attention guaranteed with the position of Chair: here from the present Fire Department and Library yet - won't touch any of it. Still - those in the "audience" hear my concerns: they usually are more my target than the habitually unresponsive Council - safely on the fence.

Oct. 21
I raise the Pelant-issue again in post
City Hall - The Next Generation!
immediately below.

Oct. 21
Tom Thomson, NDCC, sends me an unsolicited clarification stating Justin Pelant is taking (not has taken as of) a leave of absence from the Chamber Board during the election campaign. When (not: If) he is elected on Nov. 15, he will formally step down from the Board and his CHAMBER APPOINTMENT (my capitals) as a member of the Nelson and Area Economic Partnership coordinating committee.

Sooo - Pelant is not-or-what taking leave of absence from the Economic Partnership. Why not-or-what becomes clearer 2 days later!
Anyway - here Thomson does not address why this info to me is not in the candidacy announcement - thus creating the appearance of a conflict of interest. With this explanation seemingly prompted only by my COW presentation and/or blog-post - I must wonder at its timing, intention, even accuracy, breadth of dissemination and let him know - in the same response asking why he (his handler?) and not Pelant contacts me.

Simply - Pelant personally should have - officially and publicly - distanced himself from all involvement with these 2 groups from Day 1 and for the duration of his campaign - instead of this involvement itself (not so) slickly having been turned into the campaign!

The clincher: What with both groups already very comfy at City Hall, and at least the NDCC financially well-supported by it - meaning the taxpayer!

Oct. 22
I message Councillors Kozak/Kiss with my concerns, because both are City Hall's umbilical cord to the Economic Partnership. I expect a soonish response, but understandably - while inexcusably: nothing! After all - Kozak is running for mayor, and Kiss is just about outa here. Bigger fish to fry!

Oct. 22
And wouldn't you know it: here comes the big one! The NDCC/Economic Partnership partnership is running a 4-page self-contained spread in the Star about its totally wonderful, life-giving doings for everybody and everything - featuring a large for-public-consumption photo of Justin Pelant as its poster-boy, holding a wrapped present - gosh-darn, just for me? - in the very center of its front-page and Pelant-this and Pelant-that all over everything. Nelson's savior!

Paid (for) by whom? The NDCC Pelant supposedly took leave of absence from (with the public left uninformed!)? The same NDCC having appointed him to his position with the Economic Partnership - from which he did NOT-OR-WHAT take leave of absence? 
Whatever - as per his candidacy announcement - to the general public he is the/a top-level official with the NDCC/Economic Partnership. And seeing that these groups ran and paid for the surely very expensive spread in the Star - from which he was not removed: he must have signed-off on all of it. Taking me back to: Paid (for) by whom?   

His candidacy announcement is this spread in a nutshell - and the spread is the candidacy announcement in expansive detail. Clearly it all has been of long preparation by a group of people; so Pelant here getting ever so timely star-billing for it - while politically advantageous - is disingenuous at best.
Plainly - their election-construct for/of/with him is anchored in wanting to broaden the business sector's profit-margin - via City Hall.

Seemingly - Pelant's re-invention as City Councillor is indirectly and in part financed by taxpayers - including the other candidates!

The NDCC/Economic Partnership ultimately is about funneling the general public's money into its! members' pockets. That's business! And in a marvelous twist - the presumed-gullible spending public is expected to legitimize more of this by voting for it! Or him!

Big-city politics in Smallishtown! Councillor what? In the COW I mention my concern about the possibility that this election may turn into
City Hall - The Reality Show!
Only a few days later - we're well on our way!





Masaaki Nakayama

Any information within this material or this material as a whole may be used publicly: first agreed on and with source-acknowledgement. 

Monday, 20 October 2014

City Hall - The Next Generation!

Following is my presentation to the Committee Of The Whole (COW) - 20 Oct, 2014. With some clarifications added here: seeing that an individual member of The Whole is only allowed 5 whole minutes - once a month - to state a case to Council. Altogether 15 whole minutes tops for 3 - and if there are only 2 or just 1: it's still only 5 whole minutes per. After a presentation any Councillor may respond with whatever he/she wants - while not necessarily allowing the presenter a reply to it. Particularly when the original topic is inconvenient.
And this is pretty much how far our elected Council will interact with individuals from among those they no longer are a part of - once given the job. By same. The greater part of The Whole!
Democracy in action.

As will be the upcoming local election - and here's how some of it is shaping-up-or-not at City Hall.

COW Presentation
The City of Kelowna traditionally has prepared those even just considering to run for City Council to be somewhat familiar with what they may be getting into.

This has never been done in Nelson - and orientation-meetings for the new group - nobody-knows-when next year - will be of dubious merit. Because the faster they then will have to go - the behinder they then will have to get!

Can't you just see them: breathless and bewildered from the start! No wonder the 2 "new" Councillors say: it takes about a year to get used and into it. It probably wouldn't have to with mindfully measured preparation. Even though the "old" ones talk about hoping for fresh blood, new energy and ideas in a new Council: fresh blood, new energy and ideas present a threat to City Hall's ("old" ones, any "old" ones there) status quo. So wearing the "new" ones down - making them feel dependent - is the way to go. Whatever fresh blood, new energy and ideas brought along largely used-up rather soonish - just to survive. And then fit in.

COW Presentation
Proactively connecting with the electorate ought to be of high priority to Councillors - but never here! True: they have been bogged-down in paper-trails and meetings. Also true: this has left them with no appetite for direct contact with the great unwashed. Although all of it is THE job: the old-timers just stick to their routines - while the 2 now "newish" ones are leaving after one term. They clearly didn't know what they were in for when they tried to walk their idealism on the 2nd Floor.

In fact - with them - now the 3 most recent additions to Council quit after a single term.

So if the incoming babes in the woods are not adequately prepared: this may turn into a bigger problem than ever - seeing there are more of them this time. This probable problem should have been anticipated and - once and for all - addressed. Experience and integrity ought to have dictated the need! The bigger picture! Nelson! But - no! So there may be drudgery - and 1 additional year of that - for at least some of the new "new" ones!
A meeting of individual would-be-candidates with a Councillor of his/her choice - while helpful, what with City Hall not rallying at all - is bound to be subjective.

Of particular concern - for us on the outside anyway - is the very real possibility of a complete change of elected administration. None of the would-be-Councillors really know their way through today's City Hall culture - and current ones will hardly talk about that - with total strangers, anyway.

Their basic introduction to it all - before formal orientation whenever, once elected - would benefit the would-be-mayor-from-outside as well. Many of the same issues and getting to know each other: some of them eventually colleagues.

COW Presentation
What has increasingly colored my view of the current administration's performance - thus my concern now for timely and comprehensive orientation for the new Council - are cases of blatant conflicts of interest within this administration - and Council looking-on.

Personal interests along the 2nd Floor being rather different from professional interest in the electorate as a whole. Will the next Council eventually be instructed from well-entrenched routine or personal responsibility? Who would instruct the possibly new mayor? The CAO?

3 examples of conflict:
The Japanese-earthquake help benefiting only the egos of a very small unfocused group in Nelson and their decisive 2nd-Floor guidance - with Council looking-on.
The parking-variance put in place for Nelson Commons before even applied for - with Council looking-on and promptly granting it.
The drawn-out free P.R. effort on the City's website by quote/unquote staff for Nelson Landing - with Council looking-on.

Now there's a possibility of conflicts of interest reaching inside Council itself. Justin Pelant's - if continuing - presidency of the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce (NDCC) would conceivably put him in frequent conflict in and possibly beyond the Council Chamber. He already has made this presidency part of his campaign - although he should have resigned from it as soon as he announced his candidacy. Even if not re-elected as NDCC President in December - aside from a very-grey-indeed-area overlap - he would still be on its Board.

From another angle: with his work for the NDCC as either/or; also on the Board of Nelson and District Economic Development; all this on top of running a business full-time to support a family: how could he possibly give focused attention to the endless minutiae of a Councillor's work?

Wheels within wheels?

On one hand the idea of a whole new elected administration is very appealing for obvious reasons - on the other hand scary: this may turn into 
City Hall - A Reality Show!

Only 3 out of 6 Councillors are present at this COW. 2 of those absent are the ones leaving (anyway) - the 3rd is running for mayor against the current one who is present and will seek re-election. Awkward!
Although this is an important meeting insofar as the Police Board is present full-force to make its pitch for the Provisional Police Budget For 2015.
This minimal-interest Councillor-attendance is the old glass half-full or half-empty thing. Councillor/Chair Macdonald says small but strong - giving it an unconvincing half-full spin. There will be 3 more meetings of this here Council - and one must wonder about possibly ever-diminishing Councillor-attendance in them.
And then there were none!
Glass empty!

To some degree it matters who's in office, but it matters more how much pressure they're under from the public.
                                                                             Noam Chomsky