Did Vision Vancouver’s Raymond Louie start wheels on 4-year civic election cycle?

DRA Raymond Louie(Update: Councillor Louie failed to respond so far. LMLGA is stonewalling. Stay tuned. We WILL get an answer to this.)

Who was it that started wheels turning to get the shift to a four-year civic election cycle?

We have covered this mystery before, but to our knowledge, one sole article appeared in mainstream media: “Civic bodies elected Saturday get an extra year in power: Four more years ahead,” by Bob Mackin, Vancouver Courier, 10-Nov-2014.

CityHallWatch has been trying for months to get an answer to this question:

Who advanced the motion in the June 2013 executive conference call that the Lower Mainland Local Government Association (LMLGA) submit a resolution to the UBCM to call for four-year election terms?

The answer should be easy. Just two words. A first name and a last name.

We know now that the wheels started with a conference of the executive of the Lower Mainland Local Government Association in June 2013. We started by asking the executive coordinator for the LMLGA, and ended up with the President, Chuck Puchmayr (see e-mail chain below). But they are stonewalling, refusing to answer. E-mail responses have stopped. What are they trying to cover up? Who are they protecting, and why? The failure to respond undermines the integrity of this obscure quasi-governmental body, consisting of elected officials.

Our guess is that it was sitting Vancouver city councillor Raymond Louie, of the incumbent majority party, Vision Vancouver, who started wheels turning in June 2013 that, through a chain of events, ended up with new B.C. legislation giving the winners of this 2014 civic election an extra year in power. We could be wrong, and Raymond Louie or the LMLGA could clear this up, easily, simply by answering the question. So today we wrote to Councillor Louie with these simple questions: “Was it you? If not, who was it?”LMLGA-UBCM-LECFA-4-yr term flow, CityHallWatch

With virtually no public involvement, the provincial government gave the civic politicians 33 per cent more power by extending their term an extra year. This was done under the radar, with no significant media coverage or public discussion. The process was stick-handled by incumbent politicians. It is in the public interest to know who started the wheels turning.

The Mayor and Council did not citizens of Vancouver if they would prefer four-year election terms. But we know who wanted and extra year in public office. After repeated questioning by NDP critic Selina Robinson in Legislature on May 1, 2014, Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Coralee Oakes admitted who it was she had spoken to in Vancouver: Incumbent Mayor Gregor Robertson

Related stories:

Whodunnit mystery of abrupt shift to four-year civic election cycles in BC: LMLGA knows who started it.
(CityHallWatch, September 24, 2014) (Includes detailed text and chronology)

Who is calling for four-year terms in municipal elections? It is a mystery! (CityHallWatch, April 7, 2014)

Epic battles for democracy on two fronts yesterday: BC Legislature and Vancouver City Council. Who won? Who lost? (1-May-2014) B.C. Election Campaign Finance Reform Network

****************

Members of LMLGA Executive as of June 2013

It was one of these individuals who advanced the draft LMLGA resolution seeking the four-year civic election cycle. Who was it? How did they get the mandate to do so? Why are they hiding? And why is the LMLGA protecting that person?

  • Patricia Heintzman, President, Squamish
  • Chuck Puchmayr, First Vice President, New Westminster
  • Corisa Bell, Second Vice President, Maple Ridge
  • Barbara Steele, Past President, Surrey
  • Rick Glumac, Director at Large, Port Moody
  • Barinder Rasode, Director at Large, Surrey
  • Jason Lum, Director at Large, City of Chilliwack
  • Bill Dickey, FVRD Representative
  • Raymond Louie, Metro Vancouver Representative
  • Susan Gimse, SLRD Representative
  • Dave Hensman, Director at Large, Mission

***************

Message CityHallWatch to Councillor Raymond Louie, November 14, 2014

Subject: Did you start wheels on four-year civic election cycle? (LMLGA e-mail/conference call June 2013)

Dear Councillor Louie,

We are trying to clear up a basic fact today, before the election on November 15.

Who advanced the motion in the June 2013 executive conference call that the Lower Mainland Local Government Association (LMLGA) submit a resolution to the UBCM to call for four-year election terms?

Was it you?

For reference, please refer to our web post today.
https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/wheels-four-year-election-louie/

If it was not you, we would be grateful if you, as our elected official representing Vancouver on the Metro Vancouver Board, representing Metro Vancouver on the LMLGA, could indicate the answer.

**************

Excerpts of CityHallWatch correspondence with LMLGA

From: CityHallWatch to LMLGA
Date: Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 1:19 PM
Subject: Re: Query about LMLGA Sept 2013 resolution to UBCM on shift to 4-year municipal elections

Thank you, Mr. Puchmayr,

I respectfully repeat my request for the answer to this question, which has clearly not yet been answered:
Who advanced the motion in the June 2013 executive conference call that the LMLGA submit a resolution to the UBCM to call for four-year election terms?

The detailed explanations of the process are interesting, but not what was requested. I expect the answer would only require two words: A first name, and a family name. That is all we request. A failure to be able to do so throws into question the integrity, accountability, transparency and even the basic administrative capacity of the LMLGA, and the integrity of all the individuals on the executive.

Sincerely,
R. Helten

***********

LMLGA to CityHallWatch, Tue, Oct 28, 2014 
Your question has been answered in detail. Please refer to the previous correspondence which explains, in detail, the genesis and culmination of the process that was used. I will not permit any additional costs on this enquiry from my part time staff.
Sincerely,
Chuck Puchmayr
President,LMLGA

**************

CityHallWatch to LMLGA October 22, 2014 03:50 PM

Dear Mr. Puchmayr,

cc to Corissa Bell, Rick Glumac

As nearly a month has gone by, I resend my request today. Your September respond failed to answer a simple question: Who advanced the motion in the June 2013 executive conference call that the LMLGA submit a resolution to the UBCM to call for four-year election terms, referred to below. It is in the public interest to know the answer. I cannot imagine any reason or public benefit for the LMLGA not to do so. You are a public body, acting on the public behalf. I look forward to hearing an answer.

******************

On Mon, Sep 29, 2014 CityHallWatch to LMLGA
Thank you, Mr. Puchmayr,

We will review these materials again.

In addition, I again request a response to these questions:
Please indicate (1) who advanced the motion [adopted by phone call of the Executive Committee in late June 2013]

That is the most important question.

If your administrative staff don’t have time, these could be skipped, though it seems to me that answering these questions as well would take just be a matter of minutes.
(2) who was on the “resolutions committee” (note that the LMLGA website provides no indication of the existence of this committee, as far as we can see), and (3) who was on the “Convention Sub-committee.”

***************

LMLGA to CityHallWatch
On Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 10:25 AM, 
Dear Mr. Helten,
Regarding your request regarding the LMLGA resolution on 4 year terms. I have enclosed the May 28 2010 joint Union of BC Municipalities and BC Government task force report identifying changes to the Local Government Act including extending the elected office term by 11months beginning in 2014, and then 4 year terms as elections will be moved from November to October from 2018 and beyond. The LMLGA executive endorsed the recommendation of the 4 year terms, which was information the Minister was seeking input on from all local government stake holders. We did not draft the legislation through the LMLGA, this was produced by the joint task force.
Whereas the LMLGA has only one part time staff, we need to ensure that the important work of our organization is not unduly delayed. Therefore I’m passing on the Task force report for your reading. Please also see Bill 20 and Bill 21 2014 BC legislature in the record of Hansard if you wish to read the debates of all provincial members on this matter, so that you can clearly see the genesis of this Act.
Sincerely,
Chuck Puchmayr
President, LMLGA

**************

CITYHALLWATCH TO LMLGA, Mon, Sep 15, 2014 
Dear Joslyn,
cc Executive

Thank you for your response.

Our original questions regarding the LMLGA resolution (which we understand now was adopted by executives only) were:
Who formulated the text, and brought it before the LMLGA?
Secondly, we also requested minutes of that meeting and the results of the vote within the LMLGA on this resolution.

We understand now that the LMLGA does not have minutes of the meeting(s) that deliberated and adopted the text of the LMLGA resolution to the UBCM in 2013 that called for four year municipal terms.

But we hope that you will still be able to indicate (1) who advanced the motion, (2) who was on the “resolutions committee” (note that the LMLGA website provides no indication of the existence of this committee, as far as we can see), and (3) who was on the “Convention Sub-committee.”

Also, we are interested in whether or not LMLGA made an oral or visual presentation to UBCM on the resolution, and the exact results (for, against, abstain) of the UBCM vote on this resolution. If you cannot answer these questions on the UBCM, we would appreciate your introduction of who to contact at the UBCM.

The reason for our interest in this topic is, whatever explanations were provided by advocates of the four-year term, the general public was against the idea when asked by the BC Government task force on the topic, and even the last white paper from the Provincial Government before draft legislation was revealed indicated that the shift to four-year terms was NOT on the agenda. The origins of it getting into the UBCM, the the Provincial government, and then into adopted legislation trace squarely back to the LMLGA. This is why we would like to clarify the murky origins of the LMLGA resolution. I am sure the information requested cannot be difficult to dig up. And we are certain that any observer would see the rationality and justification of our questions.

PS. Just to correct the details, our request was September 4. Today is 11 days later, not two. We had received now acknowledgement of receipt from the administrative office of LMLGA, and the matter is important and timely, so felt it would not be a problem to write to the executives. Sorry for any inconvenience.

***************

FROM LMLGA to CityHallWatch, 15-Sept-2014

Thank you for your email. I brought your request forward to the LMLGA President at our meeting on September 10. I understand that the two day wait since that meeting has been upsetting to you. My apologies that our meeting schedule interfered with you getting a response more quickly. For further information on our meeting dates, please see our website: http://www.lmlga.ca/pages/executive/lmlga-executive-20142015.php.

The Lower Mainland Local Government Association (LMLGA) Executive submitted the Four Year Term resolution to the UBCM in June of 2013. The reason it did not go to the LMLGA assembly before going directly to UBCM is because of the Area Association meeting schedule. All five BC Area Associations meet in April and May, which means that any issue of importance that comes up after those AGM’s must be sent directly to UBCM, or wait another year for the next Area Association meeting. It is important to note that the resolution printed in the UBCM resolutions booklet was very clearly marked as sponsored by the LMLGA Executive, rather than the LMLGA (Assembly). These notations make the origin of the resolution very clear to voting members of the UBCM (which includes LMLGA members). Of course, the voting members of the UBCM vote for or against resolutions that determine the position of the UBCM.

The reason you cannot find LMLGA Minutes capturing this decision is because the LMLGA Executive conducts business in between meetings, as is their responsibility as elected representatives of their region. This particular discussion took place at the end of June 2013 via email and then a conference call. Typically, resolutions meetings are not captured in LMLGA Executive Minutes, as the resolutions committee is a sub-committee of the Executive. We also do not keep minutes for our Convention Sub-committee that plans our annual conference.

No resolution can be put forward to the UBCM without first being passed by Council/Board. The resolution put forward by the LMLGA Executive, was approved by the Executive, and submitted by them as a unit. Any Local Government can put forward a resolution, on any topic, for consideration at the UBCM conference. It does not matter if a subject has been considered and defeated previously, it is part of the democratic process of the UBCM to accept and include for debate, items put forward by its members.

The UBCM assembly voted in favour of the resolution and those results were forwarded to the Province. The endorsed resolution submitted by UBCM to the Province was only one of many factors the Province considered when putting together their legislation on election terms.

Sincerely,
Joslyn Young
Executive & Association Services Coordinator
UBCM & LMLGA

*******************
From: “CityHallWatch (MetroVanWatch)” 
Date: Thursday, September 4, 2014 5:43 PM
Subject: Query about LMLGA Sept 2013 resolution to UBCM on shift to 4-year municipal elections

LMLGA Executive Coordinator: Joslyn 

Dear Joslyn,

We are writing to request minutes of the meeting where the LMLGA Executive formally adopted this resolution, which was later sent to and adopted by the UBCM annual meeting in September 2013.

B94 CIVIC ELECTION TERM LENGTH IN BC

We would like to know who formulated the text, and brought it before the LMLGA. We also request minutes of that meeting and the results of the vote within the LMLGA on this resolution.

Our purpose is to understand the process behind formulation of this resolution all the way to endorsement by the UBCM.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

CityHallWatch

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