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REPORTING · 11th November 2010
Merv Ritchie
Video files attached below article

One of the most striking things that occurred on the evening of November 10 is the decision to not vote for the candidate residents had previously selected. Online, in the chat forum while the debate was underway, during the intermission and after the debate, observers were all describing how they had completely shifted their opinions from one candidate to another.

Linda Campbell clearly suffered the most as her statements attracted expressions of shock from the audience. Though at times she was completely misunderstood in her attempts to express herself, at other time she made statements unbecoming of a candidate. Corinne Scott was seen as too smooth, having her answers all prepared for questions from the audience, reading directly from scripts. She spoke too long at numerous points and had to be cut off by the moderator. Edwin Eminado entertained the crowd and drew the most laughter. When a difficult question was put to him he feigned on his Pilipino accent and stated ‘no speaky englais’ which had the audience in an uproar. When he spoke about the medical system he became overtly emotional. He was talked about as a single issue candidate. Michelle deLisser was seen as very competent and prepared to address questions though her answers seemed to be repetitive and without insight. Her references to Rio Tinto Alcan appeared as if she wanted support from the “pro Rio crowd”. Numerous people stated she will one day be a good candidate but not today. Debby Rauhanen was completely unprepared and stated she didn’t have an answer to many questions, agreeing with statements by other candidates without adding much on her own. Mary Murphy was the clear winner in the forum as we were unable to count the number of people who came up to us describing how they had decided to vote for her instead of the candidate they had previously selected. Murphy made her points clear, concise, at times firm and forceful and at other times with great emotion. At almost every opportunity she had to speak she spoke with conviction and said nothing more than she needed to, closed her mouth and left the audience to consider her statements as if they were waiting for the rest. The silences and pause after her statements were evident.

One of the more disturbing statements Murphy made was how she was asked to not run and how if she did run in this race she would not be supported in the full Council election next November. On stage she did not expand on this however after the debate she did. Apparently a number of people supporting labour type positions were asked not to run. She stated two other pro-labour candidates who were on stage with her also refused to bow to the pressure to withdraw from the race. She congratulated them for not bending and standing firm against this unfortunate misguided attempt to obstruct democracy.

The moderator, Thom Meier, expressed great pleasure at seeing the large turn out for the forum stating it seemed more people came out for this by-election forum than turned up for the full Council election forum in November 2008.

Campbell, almost as soon as she began speaking, alienated herself by claiming she was the only credible candidate. She clearly had much more experience in Kitimat politics and the working of government but her words were not chosen carefully. When talking about the budgets and number crunching she stated she was sure Mario Feldoff, a current Councillor, “sharpened his pencil frequently and all day”, this was in a reference to being good with accounting and number crunching but appeared to be taken by the majority of the audience as stating that all he did during the day was sharpen pencils. She was taken to task for her claim in her brochure there was no land for industrial development. She attempted to describe how all the large tracts and marine access was owned by Rio Tinto Alcan and how they were inhibiting access to this land however her message was lost as she fumbled her words.

If an election was won by the cheers and boos from an audience, Eminado and deLisser would be the clear winners with deLisser coming out slightly ahead. From the audience expressions of disapproval we would have Campbell at the losing end followed slightly by Scott. By simple acknowledgment from the applause by the audience for specific answers to questions, Murphy was the clear winner, if a winner could be declared.

The only real winner will be discovered after the vote is taken on November 20, 2010.

The Kitimat Daily recorded the forum and it can be watched in it’s entirety by clicking on the attached files below. The forum is in two parts; the introductions with the first half and the second half after the intermission with the closing statements.

A poll was put up on the Kitimat Daily on October 31, 2010 and was functioning quite well until the 7th of November when an unknown person started using a hacking computer program to vote with an automated script for Scott. This continued at a rate of one vote every three seconds for about 15 minutes adding 106 votes to Scott’s total.

This was discovered almost immediately and a message was put up on facebook drawing people’s attention to this anomaly. The following day, November 8 at two different times, from the same IP address as had previously voted for Scott, between 7:45 am and 7:55 am, delivered 91 votes to Delisser using the same program and then between 18:11 and 18:20 another 91. Delisser has also had a couple different IP addresses vote numerous times but these took a significant amount of time to vote on a multiple basis. As an example IP address voted 21 times for deLisser but it took about a minute for each vote where the previous automated voting took 3 seconds per vote. deLisser stated after the forum she was made aware someone was voting in this manner and told us she advised on her social network she disapproved of this. She stated she has no idea who voted for her using the automated system.

A different IP also chose to vote for Edwin 33 times in 6 minutes on the 8th between 4:46 and 4:52. The other three candidates had no significant excess voting from a single IP address.

The former poll is now closed to voting and the actual results have been recalculated by subtracting the number of excessive votes by a single IP address.

A new poll is up. It will hopefully be used respectfully by all citizens and might provide a clear indication of the shift in opinion after the forum. Please, take the time to watch the forum, talk to the candidates and then register your vote online. But please, consider voting only once.

Please note - the video files below are quite large and may take time to download and begin.
Grass Cutting????
Comment by Rory Brown on 17th November 2010
The big concern in Kitimat is grass cutting? First, the cost of not doing this is the loss of local union jobs. Secondly, we live in a clean, well maintained town, and that helps with possible growth. Lets face it, we need all the help we can get where thats concerned. If the city needs to make budget cuts, lets start with the over paid administration. Do we really need to be paying the salaries that we are? $100,000 + a year is way too much for what they do in a small and shrinking town. Instead of contracting out district jobs, why not contract out our city planners job, or the city engineers job, or the business development planners (yes, we do have one). That should save us well over Half a million a year.
Comment by Marshal Mash on 14th November 2010
I think Corrine Scott had ample opportunity to express her view at the meeting and do not think she should be allowed to post here to "explain" or make excuses for something she said. I don't see other candidates on here doing that and think her post should be deleted.

Everyone, as long as they identify themselves, can use this forum. Oh, wait, no Mash living in Kitimat. Why then should we even allow this? Well you're right. All candidates should feel free to use this service.

Thanks Marshal, if that is your real name.
Comment by Elisabeth Stannus on 13th November 2010
Some of these green spaces should have the lawns replaced by naturalized plantings that look good and don't require as much upkeep( ie. watering in dry times and cutting during growing times).

Maybe instead of hiring workers to cut grass they could do this instead?Many of the green spaces here have no visual interest and are not that well utlilized.

This is on my wishlist for Kitimat. Good luck to all the candidates.
Fiscal Responsibility
Comment by Corinne Scott on 13th November 2010
I was dismayed to read that my point regarding the DOK needing to be fiscally responsible, was misunderstood. I agree with Mary Murphy's statement that Kitimat has not yet felt the whole impact of the Eurocan closure. I did NOT say that stummer student's shouldn't be hired or that union jobs should be cut, but was referring to looking at how our resources are being utilized. We need to look at HOW we're doing business, and if the grass isn't growing because of a dry hot summer, don't waste the time and money cutting grass, but use the services of our employees to a better advantage. I made the statement that it was obvious that the DOK employees took pride in their jobs, because of the well kept beautiful appearance that greets people when they arrive, and whereever they drive. The public areas in Kitimat are beautiful and a credit to the employees that keep them that way. I also feel, and have stated that the snow removal is phenominal in Kitimat. There seems to be a perception among some of the union employees that I am against unions, which I'm not, I've been a union employee myself for a number of years. I've also been in management, and understand both sides of the table. I've also experienced cost cutting as a union member when the province of Alberta implemented drastic budget cuts. I firmly believe that ALL employees need to be included in discussions on how to protect jobs AND be fiscally responsible through difficult financial times by open and transparent communication between management and employees. I've a proven track record of success in implementing that strategy. I feel that it's important for management to go to the employees for their opinion on how to best do the job when a specific goal must be reached. It's the employees that know what work needs to be done in their specific area of the operation, and how best to do it.
It may have appeared I was TOO smooth in my delivery of answers to some of the questions at the forum. Being relatively new to the community, I made sure that I did as much research as I could. As I've met with residents and heard their issues and read the DOK Community Plan, I tried to figure out what type of questions would come up and made sure I understood each. I wrote down my thoughts so I could quickly refer to them knowing that I would only have a minute and a half to reply. Some issues cannot be discussed in a minute and a half and consequently I went over the allotted time on a couple of occasions. What I will say though is that I try to look at ALL sides of an issue through research, before making hasty decisions. I know that in politics, when one is trying to accomplish one thing, it can sometimes be perceived as something else, so I hope that my message here provides a better understanding of what I stand for and what I offer to the residents and employees of Kitimat
Conservative agenda welcomed and needed
Comment by Aaron von Schleinitz on 12th November 2010
I hate to see people lose their job and truly feel sorry for them. However, at some point we have to be fiscially responsible. If Kitimat loses even more industry or residents it is not fair to tax those who remain even more to maintain services a shrinking community no longer needs. Kitimat definetly has fat which needs to be trimed and I support Mrs. Scott for pointing it out.

A turn to the political right is exactly what Kitimat needs to sustain its quality of life and encourage growth.
Being less personally involved...
Comment by Allan Hewitson on 12th November 2010
I was not perhaps as sensitive to the feeling that student hiring might be impacted by a review of costs that is undoubtedly going to be a big exercise for DoK after the by-election.

Being a frequent walker on the back paths and parks, I feel there might be a case for just a little more being spent on this activity. Especially after wet weather, I am often perturbed by the clumps and bunches of grass left behind by the cutters. it tends to be messy and unsightly. Some raking and transportation of the excess to composting - at the landfill and making compost earth available to gardeners -- would be a more useful way to spend a small portion of our tax dollars.

I hear some discussions of sidewalks etc. in Strawberry Meadows. I don't quite know the full rationale of why some roads have sidewalks and others don't. From my observation sidewalks are related to the park walks system and are designed, where they are in place in residential areas, to facilitate pedestrians reaching crosswalks to allow access to schools and other public buildings without having to resort to crossing busy roads at other locations.

This a sensible traceable process. There may be (and are) other locations where available sidewalks can be safety factors, or overall convenience factors, but when we consider the
costs of sidewalks, I would have to be convinced that continuity was the reason for new expenditures for sidewalks in new developments.
I idly wonder how much thought has gone into extending the off-road pathways in the new ares to make accessibility better?
Interesting view of meeting...but
Comment by Allan Hewitson on 12th November 2010
Merv presents a perhaps unbiased and interesting "evaluation" of the all candidates meeting. It was much as I expected also -- however since I missed the earlier ongoing web poll, I was unaware hacker-types were skewing the votes.
All this may be a little irrelevant, as only Nov. 20 will tell the real story. Again we should all remember this coverage is a personal opinion. Others perhaps got different perceptions from the responses.
Comment by VIRGIL VALES on 12th November 2010
I was very disturbed by Mrs. Scott's remark's the other night,about cutting grass cutting.If Mrs. Scott knew anything about the District of Kitimat's operation she would know that the majority of the grass cutting operation is done by summer student's from University during the summer. Hiring summer students is a policy by council.Also we downsize the crew as the grass stops growing during the summer.We have downsized so much over the years that we cannot perform many of our task's without them during the summer,and I hope that we can continue to employ students.We have downsized that even in the winter we hire many casual employees to assist us with snow removal in case we operate over a 24 hour cycle and many of them were Eurocan employees this year, and we cannot function without contractors also for our parking lots.The Municipal Workers Union are the public servants of this community that keep our community safe, clean and livable to the enjoyment of all it's citizens of which we are a part of.You stated how clean and beautiful Kitimat was, that's in great thanks to the many dedicated public servants of this community who make Kitimat our home.
Out of context.
Comment by Mike Forward on 12th November 2010
Mr. O'Driscoll presents some interesting points, but before I get into this I had a slightly different interpretation of Mrs. Scott's lawn cutting reference.

The question posed was, to my recollection, how can we ensure that the property taxes do not take another astronomical leap next year as they did this year. Mrs. Scott had done some research into the budget and noticed some expenditures that might(and I stress might) be a bit redundant. She cited an example of cutting grass when it might not necessarilly need to be cut.

For this year, Eurocan paid their property taxes which was a boon to the district. Mary Murphy was absolutely 100% correct in stating that the full impact of Eurocan closing hasn't been felt in this community at this time, as we won't feel the loss of income from Eurocan until next year. This does mean expenses will need to be cut in order to not increase property taxes and it was a realistic, if unpopular, statement from Mrs. Scott to cite some areas for review.

Now, onto the interesting point from Mr. O'Driscoll. He is absolutely correct in that this cannot be the only solution. These types of expenses should be looked at, but others should be as well including the aforementioned adminstration. A full audit of all expenditures by the city should be conducted to suss out any redundancies and to discover any ways that money might be saved to assist us in retaining services here in Kitimat.
Conservative agenda not welcome
Comment by Sean O'Driscoll on 12th November 2010
I was appalled to hear Mrs. Scott remark that she would be looking into reducing the grass cutting done on our green belt areas as a cost-cutting initiative. Grass-cutting provides a livlihood for unionized workers in Kitimat. Their work should not be seen as wasteful, unnecessary or excessive. My union, CAW Local 2301, has taken the position that if necessary taxes should be increased to maintain the level of services we currently enjoy in Kitimat. This is because we are a Social Union in a socially conscious community.
A conservative agenda - Mrs. Scott's associations with the same are well publicised - of cost-cutting, regardless of the impact on workers or their families are not welcome in Kitimat.
If cost-cutting needs to be made look no further than the top-heavy, corporate-minded, administration at city hall or the "economic contraction" department which despite having millions sunk into it has only witnessed closures. As Mr. Empinado eloquently put it, if you cut the roots a tree dies, but if you trim the top it will flourish. Mrs. Campbell also took umbrage at Mrs. Scott's remarks and I commend Linda for taking a stand for the municipal workers of Kitimat.
I suppose from Mrs. Scott's perspective if you aren't working - she's retired - you don't have a job to lose. Rather, she would prefer to promote "expire" in Kitimat and its moribund funeral-home mentality (at least that gives me a business idea). "Come and retire, then die, in Kitimat, because if its a job you want there are none. Would the last one alive please attach a toe tag!". Personally, in know Kitimat is much more than that.
Comment by Brenda Mitchell on 12th November 2010
Asking certain candidates not to run in our byelection is shameful and I am so grateful no one gave in to the pressure and a big thankyou to Mary Murphy for enlightning us
Asked not to run?
Comment by Aaron von Schleinitz on 11th November 2010
I find it shocking that some candidates were asked not to run. Was it ever stated who had asked them not to run? Was it just an individuals opinion or some sort of organization?

I feel Scott had the best performance. It was close, but felt she had the best answers with her quick response and facts to back it up. Seems a lot of people feel that way, as we see in the poll. I'm really surprised to see Campbell do that well in this poll after last night.
Part two not working?
Comment by T. Bennett on 11th November 2010
Was hoping to view part two of the video, but the link does not seem to be working at all?

One moment please while we rework some uploading difficulty. We will put a note on the top of the article when the tech problems are worked out.
Eye opening.
Comment by Mike Forward on 11th November 2010
The evening was a very interesting one. I feel I left with a better understanding of who each of the candidates are and what they could bring to council.

I too was very dismayed to hear Mary Murphy's statement that she - and others - had been pressured not to run in this election. I'd heard rumors of that fact, but it's very disheartening to hear that they are true. I founds the majority of the candidates to be, in one way or another, very interesting and am confident that the individual voted into the council will be a productive member of that council.

On another subject, I actually felt Corrine Scott had a very strong evening. True that she ran out of time on more than one occasion; but I thought she was well prepared to discuss some pertinent issues, that she had some strong ideas such as a Hospital Foundation, and she has the knowledge and experience to support that.