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COMMENTARY · 3rd November 2010
Philip Germuth
I believe that within our present council there have been 3 groups.

First off in my opinion we had 2 elected officials that were engaging in highly unethical activities with a connection to a certain corporation.

Believe it or not I donít believe that they are responsible for what why this council has degraded to where it is.

Also in my opinion we have 2 elected officials that while I donít agree with everything they do or support- at least they have the balls to stand up and speak their mind - even if they know it will cost them votes. They are the only 2 it seems who believe the first place to start with this council is to follow the rules - imagine that.

Obviously you would assume that I donít believe that these 2 are responsible for why our council has degraded.

I believe our biggest problem is the other 3 elected officials, who seem to be so desperate to get elected next year, have taken the corruption (defined as unethical not illegal acts) and swept it under the rug. They have and have had the power to sway any vote yet they refuse to support anything that might be seen as confrontational.

On every issue that has infected this council right from day 1 - from elected officials supporting the possibility of firing a district employee because of a spouses opinion, from the crap that has gone on in relation to our Regional District representation, from the 'Kemano modernization ' scandal, to the Enbridge issue, not one of those issues was ever properly dealt with.

And we wonder why it keeps going on.

The only way to get closure on an issue and to more importantly make sure it never happens again is to find out how it happened, why did it happen, who was involved etc. And take appropriate action.

The fact that 3 of our elected officialís donít have the balls to stand up and do the right- ETHICAL- thing is why I believe we are in this position.

No I am not going to mention any names. This is clearly not the time.

And I donít think it matters. Any body who has actually been paying attention to what has been going on in council chambers knows exactly whoís who.

Our community does not need individuals who want to be 'professional politicians'. WE need individuals who will stand up and fight for this community.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Wow...That was good!!
Comment by Bill Vollrath on 16th November 2011
An excellent exchange of ideas and opinions. And here it is, "next" November...And Phil is running. Good for you Phil. You'll have one of my votes!
In closing
Comment by Philip Germuth on 9th November 2010
Mike I dont believe that anybody including myself expects this council to spend 100% of their time on the Power Sales issue.

However with this council 1% would be a monumental improvement.

Something as simple as how about every time RTA issues a press release announcing another delay or excuse, that the DOK issue a press release expressing their disappointment with yet another delay but still fully encourage the Board of Directors to fully approve this project and proceed with construction.

Is that too much to ask?

Regarding the recent shutdown of Lines 7 and 8. Did you know Mike that we were told in 2007 that those lines would not be shut down until the Board of Directors had given a " notice to proceed" with modernization?

Yes those lines are forever shut down but still no "notice to proceed " or Board approval.
This would have also been a good time for a press release from the DOK once again expressing disappointment in a civil way.

If we as a council, as a community, drag our asses and do nothing so will RTA when it comes to building a (min) 400,000 tonne smelter.

I am sorry Mike that I cant give you all the proof you desire regarding problems with council.

For two reasons I wont do that:

1) to put it all out now would only cause another round of fighting within council and I think we would both agree thats the last thing Kitimat needs and

2) I have had many private conversations with a majority of our elected officials and others. What I was told was done with the obvious expectation of confidentiality. I dont always support their actions-obviously by this article- but my word stands.

I believe you would also keep your word Mike even if it means you're gonna get criticized for it.

You dont have to believe me if you dont want to Mike. I can accept that.

I think anybody who has either attended or watched a number of council meetings has already decided themselves ,beyond a reasonable doubt, that something stinks.

Comment by Mike Forward on 9th November 2010
First off, as it ties into the discussion we have been engaged in: you have provided exactly nothing in terms of concrete evidence to support your claim that Councilors Goffinet, Corless and Feldhoff willingly or knowingly allowed rules to be broken. You did voice an opinion that a Councilor is to represent the views and interests of the community, and that you do not think those views are being represented, ergo rules were broken. That sounds more like an opinion than fact. There are a great number of consistuents here apart from yourself, and a fair number that feel there are more important issues than the one you continue to carry on about.

You illustrated reasons as to why you have issues with each of those three elected officials. That is fine. You are correct in stating that by running for public office that they open themselves up for scrutiny and criticism. That's the nature of politics.

But again; none of what you have said supports your statement earlier that these three allowed any rules to be broken. As was the case with your other statements about certain members of council being engaged in unethical activities, this statement was completely baseless and unfounded.

Fedlhoff, Corless and Goffinet are guilty of nothing more than following the rules laid out for everyone to follow. Providing proper notice of motion, refusing to derail council meetings with petty personal politics, agendas or vendettas, and not engaging in arguments with citizens who had come out to meetings to give certain individuals a piece of their mind. The fact that certain members of council engaged in these antics so avidly to the point that they were removed as representatives from other groups should serve notice that if you are to be on council, you need to act like an adult.

You are obviously very fixated on a particular issue facing our community. It is fine and well within your right to be opposed to RTA Power Sales, but I urge you to take off the horse blinders and realize that their are a multitude of other issues facing this community as well, and they are all deserving of our time, effort and money. Attempting to discredit others simply because they won't spend 100% of their time and effort focusing on one issue is beneath you.
Comment by Phil Germuth on 9th November 2010
When elected officials are sworn in they take an oath- essentially the rules- that their duty is to do what is in the communities best interests. I will give you one example of each of the three as to what I would like to see.

Councillor Goffinet- one of the nicest , most intelligent people you could ever meet. With a different council Goffinet -in my opinion- would be one of KItimats biggest assets. However I believe that Rob has spent too much time trying to have this council kiss and make up. And its clear that with the present council that is a total waste of time.
I know for a fact that Mr Goffinet knows the difference between right and wrong - it would be nice to see him voice it once in a while.

Councillor Corless- also a pretty nice guy. But I would ask Bob why he thought it was so necessary to change our regional district representation at that time. Our community Kitimat had the biggest advantage on the board as Gottschling was respected enough by the fellow members that he was elected to be second in command. Would you not agree Mike that with all the crap Gerd went thru in his first term the ethical , moral, and best interests of Kitimat would have been served by giving him a second tern without all the garbage. In my opinion what Bob did was akin to kicking Gerd -and Kitimat- right in the nuts.

Councillor Feldhoff- also very intelligent . However conflict of interest has become a problem. If Mario wasnt an RTA employee he would also be a major asset to Kitimat. There have been a number of occasions where Mario should have declared conflict . Now if one is in conflict but still votes on an issue that is in our best intersts - not RTA's- then theres no problem. But that is not whats been happening.

So in a nutshell I hope thats good enough for you Mike. All three of them have many good points too but like all of us nobodys perfect. However when one runs for public office they open themselves up to be scrutinized - and there should be nothing wrong with holding them accountable.

Sometimes politicians need a wake-up call.
Comment by Mike Forward on 8th November 2010
Mr. Hummel, I am not contesting anyone's right to an opinion. I do agree with what you have said about Council needing to get it together. They need to be able to function as a team in spite of each other's differences in opinion on some key issues.
Comment by Gerry Hummel on 7th November 2010
Why don't Mr. Forward, Mr. Metz and Phil all run for council....problem solved! Phil is right in the fact that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to an opinion! Our council better get it together before the next election because I know where the problems lie with this council and I will let that be known at the voters booth. Until then I'll just keep writing to the Dailies because you can't trust the local rag which is just a mouthpiece for Rio Tinto Alcan. Anyone hear any more news of modernization other than some storage sheds going up?
Be specific.
Comment by Mike Forward on 6th November 2010
Again, I'm not going to get into the specifics of RTA as that is not the point of the discussion we are currently involved in.

I am not sure if you are being intentionally vague or not. You have made continous unfounded inferences to unethical activities engaged in by people on council and are now making another vague reference to Goffinet, Feldhoff and Corless "allowing rules to be broken". I will ask directly - what rules have these three allegedly allowed to be broken?

There are other ways to address rules and decorum than just slandering your colleagues.
Darcy and Mike
Comment by Phil Germuth on 5th November 2010
Darcy I see that you are also upset with the way this council is running. Fair enough.

I expanded on what I think is a large part of the problem by giving my opinion. What is wrong with that?

Are you impling that unless one runs for council they are not allowed to have an opinion. You're upset with council too so why is your name not there.Could you please expand on what has you so upset with this council.

Mike I find it hard to believe that you refer to allowing others to 'break the rules' and do nothing about it is taking the high road.

As for being a squeaky wheel yes I 100% believe that the only way we will ever see a new smelter here is by voicing it. The only way RTA will ever build a smelter is if they are forced into it- sad but true.

Knowing that a board of directors are legally obligated to do what is in the best interests of the share holders how do you think they will ever give full approval for a smelter when they are making 800% plus profit selling the power?

If you were on the board of directors or just a shareholder you would not build a smelter either .

And for what its worth I voted for all three of them. I dont get a kick out of doing this and being a business owner I know the consequences that exist when I voice my opinion.

But sorry I refuse to sit here and do nothing while our community is falling apart around us.

Run for council?
Comment by Darcy Metz on 4th November 2010
Mr. Germuth, I found your op-ed piece entertaining, even worthy of the Glen Beck show or some other Fox news program. I especially enjoyed your reference to male genitalia using slang terminology, it only reduced your argument to a junior high school level at worst.

Since you claim to know who really represents what in our city council why have you not grown a set and put your name forward to run for council in this upcoming by election? - Or do we have to wait for next November?

Like many Kitimat residents I too am unhappy with the current state of our city council. With the upcoming by-election I will cast my ballot in the hopes that some fresh blood might improve things, but I doubt it. We'll likely need a full municipal election to see any real change.
I'm grateful...
Comment by Mike Forward on 4th November 2010
...that you are not on Council, Mr. Germuth.

If it is truly your opinion that only by being dogmatic, uncouth and bombastic in your dealings with others that you can adequately represent the interets of our town by being a "squeaky wheel", then I think you have completely missed the point.

We need our elected officials to be able to foster relationships, and they need to be able to do so cohesively as a unit to best represent our interests. They need to convey the respect, civility and integrity we would expect of anyone in our town as they are our chief representatives.

Choosing to lambast the three individuals(I feel it is more than three, but that's a different issue) who have chosen to take the high road and not try and drag their colleagues through the mud just boggles my mind. You can thump your chest and scream until you are blue in the face, but ultimately if our elected officials are unable to look past each other's differences and work as a team, they will doom our town.

The squeaky wheel may get the grease, but you get more with sugar than vinegar.
Comment by Brenda Mitchell on 4th November 2010
I remember being at a Council meeting when Virgil Vales made the same ridiculous accusations that you are making and when Councillor McLaren challenged him he backed off. You challenge a bully and that is exactly what they do when challenged.You couldn't bring down Rich McLaren when he was alive and believe me you won't succeed now that he has passed.He was and still is one of the most honest and caring people I have ever met but you and your "select few" seem determined to spread all this propoganda about him withoug giving it much thought.I am a great believer in Karma and believe me one day it will come back to bite you and we will all be here watching. I would think good honest people could agree to disagree but obviously that's not possible with some people.Have a nice day.RIP Rich-the good people of Kitimat know exactly who you were and you will always be Kitimats Hero
okay before all the comments start
Comment by Phil Germuth on 4th November 2010
The three elected officials who in my opinion need to collectively grow a set are councillors Goffinet, Corless, and Feldhoff.