COMMENTARY · 2nd November 2010
Well goodness; that’s a mighty negative title for a commentary isn’t it. How dare I say something like that as the headline to my commentary and expect anyone to take it seriously when it seems to imply that local people should not contribute to the community.
It’s quite simple actually. I believe that most will continue to read this and will find the true meaning of the title is more than meets the eye and when they are done reading I hope they will come away with the idea that the written word is much more than just a headline and that to truly appreciate and understand what’s going on you must be willing to do more than make a snap decision on something before you have had the chance to fully explore it.
Over the last few weeks I have had both the pleasure and misfortune to read the words of a man who seemingly out of nowhere has been voicing his concerns and his ideas to better improve the situation in Kitimat. It felt like de ja vu for me as his words reminded me of my own efforts in the community as well over the years whether it be through video or through the written word on sites such as the Kitimat Daily.
This mans name is Steve Connolly. And this commentary is my response to his own commentary entitled “Citizens Must Contribute”.
Mr. Connolly, I like many others over these past few months have had the opportunity to read your many submissions to local media where you raise your concerns over the current state of Kitimat and also your efforts to do research and look for ways to help the current situation as you did with both your submissions to council and local media entitled “Elliot Lake & Kitimat”.
I read through your entire submissions and appreciated the work and research that was done in it and believed you genuinely had the best interests of Kitimat in mind.
But then on Oct.12th 2010 I had the misfortune of reading your commentary titled “Citizens must contribute”.
And Mr. Connolly...you blew it.
Up until that commentary you had come across as an impartial and caring person who wanted what was best for this community and with a single commentary you showed me (and I am sure many others) that the true problems with this community are not coming from within or from city council. In fact the problem it seems is so wide spread that its borders on an infectious disease; one none of us seems to be immune from or willing to do anything about.
You are not part of the solution and in fact you are guilty of the same dysfunction you accuse others of and that sir is the problem we truly face here.
“Over the past year, my many contacts in the City have unanimously informed me that, with Richard McLaren’ s presence, there were at least two councillors who regularly demonstrated teamwork, correct focus and a strong desire to help the City. It is also unanimous that there are members of Council who consistently demonstrate animosity, division, pettiness and poor leadership at a time when cooperation and leadership are most called for. Everyone knows who they are. This feeling is not just held by residents of Kitimat.”****
Who exactly are these contacts you speak of Mr. Connolly? Are they members of the District of Kitimat? Do you think it fair to ask for cooperation and leadership when you engage in gossip and rumor mongering in your remarks; the very thing that has torn apart this community and led to our lack of teamwork?
It is so very easy to criticize someone when one doesn’t have the guts to say whom it is they are talking about or who is making the remarks. Our councils arguments revolve around the concern that they are not being kept in the loop and are being blindsided left and right leaving councillors unable to do there jobs effectively and you seemingly want to encourage more of this Mr. Connolly?
If you have spoken to people in this community and they have singled out others for the problems then have the guts to cite your sources or don’t bother at all.
“The reason that there are six candidates competing for the open councillor position represents the great concern that citizens have for demanding that the dysfunction stop. The candidates deserve great credit for trying to contribute in this way to help their City”
This quote of yours just screams of arrogance Mr. Connolly.
Do you think that all those running are doing so simply to end the so called dysfunction of council? Have you even bothered to look into any of the six candidates and there positions and why they are running? If you had you would known that many are not running just to play the role of savior for Kitimat.
Given the current situation, until the next election, sadly, the entrenched dysfunction will continue. From what I am hearing, only one or two present Council members will have a chance of being re-elected at the end of this mandate. However, the current dysfunction can be contained to some extent if the citizens choose the new councillor carefully. If four councillors can find compromise and work together, then team decisions can be made with little attention paid to those members of Council who continue to inhibit helping the City.
Again Mr. Connolly it seems the reason you are so popular is because you love to engage in small towns favorite past time; gossip.
Gossip is not fact but from your above quote; it would seem you take it as such or you seem to believe you have psychic powers as you can predict the future before its even occurred by saying only two councillors can expect to be re elected and you once again cite an anonymous source to back that claim. Shame on you.
But now here’s the quote that pissed me off the most.
Citizens should vote for a candidate who has experience and, in particular, who also has a reputation for compromise, objectivity, and an ability to work with others respectfully. In particular, the candidate of choice needs to express a strong desire to help end the dysfunction and to organize the City’ s many capable resources to urgently and professionally deal with overcoming the economic downfall.
Who do you think you are? Telling anyone how and whom to vote for even before any of the 6 candidates have had a chance to be part of a debate and inform the populace on theire ideas and stances on the true issues facing the community. Believe me Mr. Connolly there is more than just one issue facing Kitimat and the so called dysfunction of council is very low if it’s even on the list at all.
Council is not dysfunctional; society is; or a better word for it is opinionated, and your opinion is that we should just ignore democracy and elect someone who fits your qualifications. That again is a contributing factor for true dysfunction. We are individuals each with our own unique ideas, thoughts and beliefs and to try and subvert that and expect only one view is the true problem we have.
So now why did I choose the title “Citizens must not contribute”?
It’s because the citizens of this community need to look in the mirror and not contribute to the one thing that is destroying them. I think you know what that is and if you haven’t figured that out by now (or after reading what I have written) then maybe you never will. We will all have to accept the consequences of that.
I know what I need to do; not spend my time at a coffee shop or A&W spreading opinion and instead, keep attending local meetings and debates. To make my own informed decision based on what I hear and hope, good or bad, that my fellow citizens do the same and live with whatever the majority decides.
That’s the true basis for a functioning society.
Comment by Phil Germuth on 3rd November 2010
Read anything i have ever written before- I have never been afraid to mention names. And you can only get sued if you accuse one of doing something illegal- not unethical. I would like to hear your opinion of the last 2 years of this council.
Comment by Mike Forward on 3rd November 2010
Ignoring the not entirely clever article title, I think there is an interesting issue here that has been lost to Mr. Connolly, Mr. Nunes and Mr. Germuth.
Mr. Connolly made a good point(if an obvious one) that the current Council is dysfunctional. This is not news to anyone who has been following meetings since the last election. Be it Councilor McLaren(may he rest in peace) sparring with Councilor Gottschling, Councilor Gottschling sparring with Mayor Monaghan, Mayor Monaghan arguing with the entire Council...there has been seemingly no end to the circus.
Mr. Connolly however went on to imply that only by voting for people of a certain mindset could that dysfunction be remedied. That mindset by his implication appeared to be one spear headed by Mayor Monaghan and Councilor McLaren, one which postulated that the fight against the RTA Power Sales should be left in the past.
Mr. Nunes and Mr. Germuth took up the opposite tact. While not expressly saying one could only vote for people of the opposite viewpoint, it was well known they are both advocates of keeping the fight against RTA selling power going. Mr. Germuth went on to imply it was against the public interest to really do otherwise.
I am not saying(not here, anyway) which argument is right or wrong. My question to all three is why does everyone have to agree on this one issue in order for a council not to be dysfunctional?
When you get a group of people together, they are going to have different opinions, values and ideas of how to approach certain subjects. There will be gaps that either need to be bridged, or the parties will need to agree to disagree. This is the nature of our political system. Regardless of what side of the fence our elected officials stand on with respect to some of the bigger issues facing our town, they need to be able to work together harmoniously to do it, no matter what the viewpoint of the rest of council is.
This hasn't been the case with the current council, as people on both sides of the argument have simply resorted to mudslinging when someone disagrees with them. This is what needs to stop. If Council wants to oppose RTA Power Sales, fine - if they don't, also fine. But they need to respect each others opinions and work together as a group of adults.
People will - and do - vote for the individuals they feel will best represent their interests. Mr. Connolly has made it clear who he would vote for, as have Mr. Nunes and Mr. Germuth. Everyone else will form their own opinions and cast their votes. Ultimately, it will come down to the person elected to stand firm in their beliefs, but also to conduct themselves professionally and reasonably in their duties as a a councilor.
Comment by Brenda Mitchell on 3rd November 2010
I see you never mentioned names Phil and shame on you. Comments like that border on a law suit
Comment by Phil Germuth on 3rd November 2010
I have to agree with Danny on the point of just how confusing your statement was about who has been causing the problems in this council. Besides the latest Enbridge problems it is a fact that every single problem that has been plaguing this council has had to do with RTA power sales. And it is crystal clear which 2 elected officials - after having their private meetings with Paul Henning- have decided to sacrifice the future of Kitimat for whatever they were offered .
Yes Mr Connolly you should have the courage to name names when you make a statement like that.