Letter writers respond critically to White Rock council’s in-camera decision to ‘censure’ Coun. David Chesney.

LETTERS: Councillor stripped of his rights

Editor:

Re: Chesney censured over ‘defamation’, April 29.

Editor:

Re: Chesney censured over ‘defamation’, April 29.

Just when I thought nothing else that happens in White Rock could surprise me, I am shocked to read that Coun. David Chesney has been ‘convicted’ of the defamation of a fellow councillor due to an online-newspaper article that Chesney did not write, but apparently published.

The ‘conviction’ was rendered on March 23, at one of those regular in-camera closed-to-the-public meetings that council routinely relies upon to do city business.

Was this decision the end result of what some might describe to be the travails of a secret kangaroo court?

It is difficult to decide, as the city chose to exclude the public from proceedings.

We do know that Chesney had to personally pay for his own legal expenses, whereas the councillor who felt defamed relied on a lawyer provided for by the city.

How fair is that? If an individual believes that they have been defamed, is it not that individual’s responsibility to look after their own legal costs?

Why have any public funds been spent trying to secretly adjudicate “in-house” what appears to be a tiff between two elected politicians that, if well founded, ought to be handled in the court?

The act of “censure” by council is itself a narrow and specific penalty detailed in White Rock Bylaw No. 1860.  It “may be used only to express council’s indignation with a council member’s conduct regarding council business.”

For me, the connection between the “crime” and the “penalty” has yet to be made. Worse yet, council has assessed an outrageously severe and vindictive penalty, one not contemplated by the bylaw. By stripping Chesney of his rights and responsibilities as an elected councillor to serve as deputy-mayor and on committees, those that voted for Chesney have been effectively disentitled and disenfranchised.

Unfortunately, unfairness appears to reign supreme.

Dennis Lypka, White Rock

• • •

I was disappointed that the majority of White Rock council voted to censure Coun. David Chesney.

I read the online article in the White Rock Sun that was supposedly defamatory. I also read a number of other articles written by the same author and I wish Peace Arch News and other community newspapers had journalists who investigated and challenged issues the way he does.

I understand that “likely defamation” refers to how a particular councillor was described in the article.

If the portion of the comments considered defamatory were removed within a week, why did the mayor and the council proceed with the censure? Was this an attempt by the mayor to censor rather than censure?

Was the council reacting to the criticism that its Railway Task Force is totally ineffective and that the chair of the task force be replaced? Is this how future criticism will be threatened – by threats of defamation?

Aroon Shah, White Rock

Communication breakdown

Re: Political fallout, May 1 letters.

I feel compelled to answer Regan Ross’ letter.

I was one of the organizers of the March 23 rally (Condo residents trash city’s decision, March 24).

I am not an unsuccessful candidate or a supporter of a candidate. Neither am I a conspiracy theorist. I am a Canadian residing in White Rock and, as such, it is my duty in this democracy to inform any politician of my displeasure of their actions when I disagree with those actions. I have never spread misinformation or innuendos; all my comments have been truthful.

It is the mayor and council that have a problem with information. I refer to the April 1 meeting at which Mayor Wayne Baldwin is quoted as saying “we did not do a great job of communicating this. It could have been a lot better, and we would like to rectify this situation,” (City of White Rock gets an earful over trash plans, April 8).

I would never have got involved in the waste-collection controversy if city officials had honestly answered my initial questions. But when answers are not forthcoming, I am impelled to take further action.

As far as mayor and council’s great plans listed by Ross, I would really like to have them initiate some of these ideas. I just wish this council would abide by the city’s corporate values and take seriously the stewardship role the electors have bestowed on them, and communicate why they are doing what they are doing so that transparency of decision making is maximized.

I am not being petty or negative. I expect leadership from politicians along with open and honest governance, not decision-making behind-closed-doors.

Ian Routledge, White Rock

 

 

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