January 21, 2019
This is an HTML version of the printed Open Letter distributed to island mailboxes Jan 23 2019.
Note: It's not too late... You can still add your name to this live copy of the Open Letter.
Just email the address at bottom of page, and ask to be added.
By now most of you have heard the news: 14 Cortes residents filed a petition (Jan 2/3 2019) to initiate a lawsuit to remove our Regional Director, Noba Anderson, from office.
The primary allegation in this petition is that Director Anderson solicited bribes and delivered kickbacks in return. A quote: Anderson took money from her constituents for personal gain and a number of those same constituents received gifts and grants in return. (Campbell River Mirror, Jan 7 2019). According to the signatories, this bribery took place in the late Spring of 2018. During that time a GoFundMe page was established by Lovena Harvey to ask the community to support a fundraising effort for Noba's dad Bernie -- an elderly man suffering from dementia who burned down his small cabin and was lucky to survive the fire. The cabin was completely destroyed, and so were all his possessions.
Money collected via the GoFundMe page was placed in a separate bank account in Bernie's name. Noba used it to cover part of the cost of adding a bedroom for Bernie to her house, as he now requires more supervised care. 28 people contributed. $2700 was raised locally to help Bernie. The petitioners allege that donors to this GoFundMe effort had connections to island organisations which receive GIA funds from SRD, and that Director Anderson preferentially directed funding to these organisations in response to bribes received.
We, the undersigned, believe these allegations to be unfounded and mean-spirited. While some of us disagree with Noba on various issues, and not all of us voted for her in the last election, we feel that this lawsuit is politically motivated and not in keeping with Cortes community spirit.
We are asking you to consider seriously whether you truly find these allegations against our Director -- and against several of our community organisations and their members -- believable. We ask you to consider the following questions, regardless of whether you voted for Noba Anderson or for George Sirk in our last election:
1. Defamation of our Regional Director... Most of the 14 signatories to this lawsuit are political opponents of Director Anderson. SRD has also been apprised of these allegations against her. Their CAO, David Leitch, with the agreement of the SRD board, has hired a private investigator to look into the matter. This investigator has been interviewing Cortes residents during the first half of January. Was this costly response appropriate, given such flimsy and partisan allegations?
2. Irregular Process at SRD Affects Cortes Issues... Director Leigh, representative for Oyster River, explained her vote to further delay our tax service referendum as follows: She said she had heard concerns from Cortes residents via email. (Campbell River Mirror, Nov 28 2018) Does this mean some people on Cortes are lobbying a Regional Director other than their own, to influence SRD votes on Cortes affairs? RD Leigh has not made the number or contents of these emails public, has not entered them into the SRD record as Correspondence Received, has not shared them with our own Regional Director.
3. Delays and Inconsistencies in Referendum Process... A clear majority desired a tax service referendum in petitions and delegations in 2017; the October 2018 vote favoured proceeding with a referendum by the same margin. In the summer of 2018, SRD promised that if the October vote passed, SRD would expedite the process with a deciding vote in the Spring of 2019. However, in November, a further indefinite delay was imposed. Why has SRD delayed that referendum at considerable cost to the taxpayer?
4. Voter Harassment on Cortes Island... In December 2018, RCMP appeared on Cortes Island, questioning individuals about their length of residence and ID. They said a complaint had been filed alleging "illegal voting" in our most recent election, and that they had been given a list of names. Only nine names were given to the RCMP and as of this date we know of none who were disqualified from voting. Is this a case of partisan voter harassment?
For quite some time now there has been apparent resistance at SRD to proposals brought by RD Anderson, even when they reflect the majority opinion of her constituents. SRD appears to be influenced somehow by minority opinion on Cortes. This seems to be encouraging more and more extreme and un-Cortes-like political tactics from Director Anderson's opponents, culminating now in an attempt to remove her from office.
If you are concerned, as we are, about any or all of the above questions as indicators of an erosion of our democratic process and community spirit, we encourage you to join us in expressing your opinion in an individual letter to the SRD: email@example.com Please address your letter clearly to SRD Board of Directors.
We feel SRD needs to explain... why secret lobbying is permitted; why Cortes issues are handled differently from those of other Areas; why they have imposed so much delay and expense on a simple referendum issue; how much they have spent on their acceptance of weak allegations against our RD; plus any other questions you may have about this situation.
More complete information may be found at this URL: http://www.daclarke.org/Cortes/RDNA_Litigation.html or by contacting De Clarke who is hosting these documents and can help you access them. At this URL, you can read the complete text of the original petition.
Yours for a kinder and more democratic Cortes,
Dana Bass Solomon
Sobhana Dilani Hippola
Dr Peter Elliott
Helen T Cliffton-Wooldridge
Ian Le Cheminant|
J Wayne Roberts
Jean Le Cheminant
Manda Aufochs Gillespie|
Xuan Ly Betz
Donna White Steele
Sabina Leader Mense
Victor Van Buskirk
February 1 -
Anna Van Ermengen
Clio Forsyth Morrissette
Abigail Crespa James
Erik Arturo Juillet
Shana Izen Spevakow
Edward Garth Walton
Rick Ingrasci MD