This post directly connects with
What DOES Matter (Part 1)
23 July, 2017
Councillor and other local government officials tell of increasing harassment
Nelson Star from Cowichan Valley Citizen
28 Sep, 2017
While one here could have expected far-ranging examples of BC municipal politicians' harassment by the unruly public - the headline is misleading, what with only 2 politicos quoted. Both from the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD). And their recollections dramatically turning a few minor confrontations over a long time-span into harassment, intimidation, assault and defamation!
The rest is thinnishly anecdotal.
There's a - possibly unintended - kicker to be found in this write-up, making clear why what's often loudly objected to by many in Smallishtown politics.
It's the stranglehold re-re-elected often have on the decision-making process: either creating a deadzone by inertia - or monopolizing the process by pursuing self-glorifying agendas.
Usually those re-re-elected anywhere are so not because of the consistently impressive quality of their involvement, but because - over time - they have established a social feel-good support-base: never mind their ever-diminishing need-focused contributions to lulled-to-sleep segments of the greater whole.
Consistent re-election and cross-breeding of elected officials - both the case in Cowichan - can't fail but lead to stagnation.
Bob Day - 10 years as Lake Cowichan Councillor and 4 as CVRD Vice-Chair - is confronted 7 years ago - gasp! - in the store where he still works today. A man "verbally assaulted" him on a "zoning issue".
And again recently: a repeat-complainant 2 days in a row - on a "traffic issue" - same store. The man carrying a placard and "making defamatory statements". Following Day up and down the aisles! This is funny! But maybe embarrassing to a clerk preferring to be known as Vice-Chair of something or other.
That's all - and Day does admit: neither incident was directed at him personally.
Jon Lefebure - North Cowichan Mayor/CVRD Chair, previously Councillor - recollects "only one incident about 12 years ago - double-gasp! - when he was harassed in a public place". Also in a store! No, we don't know...
What we do know is that a person being Mayor and Regional District Chair - at the same time - is a bit much to many in whichever Cowichan. Constituents would have ample reason with this alone to express themselves forcefully.
Like - I mean - what the f**k!
Did nobody raise actual concerns in this "large crowd at a workshop at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) meeting being held in Vancouver this week, dealing with the rise of incivility in local government, and the conduct of the public toward elected officials and staff"?
Seeing that too often self-serving "incivility in local government" prompts the frustrated "conduct of the public" - this write-up could have made its point by intent, if the former had been dealt with first and strongly - instead of the latter only and weakly without context.
But then - it sort-of did make this point after all, just sneaking up on the reader!
So what's (not) to like and (not) to complain about (loudly!) in Cowichan politics?
Any elected BC office should only allow 2 terms tops - particularly now that a term is 4 years very-long. Term-limits conceivably supporting a higher energy-level, more urgency to accomplish something, and a light at the end of the tunnel - if.
That's what this and the previous UCBM meeting should have focused on. And the needed separation of Mayor's Office from Police Board. Aside from the obligatory housing and dope, of course.
Respect does not automatically come with the job of an elected official: it is earned by the official being respectful of the constituency.
Often unsociable social media provide impatient users the opportunity to voice from a distance what they are too timid to do in person.
Or what they have next to no opportunity to voice at City Hall.
But if neither this nor placards will do: vote wisely - don't re-elect!
Deb Kozak, Mayor
Jon Lefebure, Mayor/CVRD Chair