Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day

Happy 4th of July to our Amercian cousins.

And thanks to Canadian residents born in the U.S.A., like Rachel Davis and Dag Walker, who have been making it uncomfortable for Carnegie Director Ethel Whitty and the Carnegie Board as they deny democratic process to Downtown Eastsiders, including the right to free speech.

Even Corky, reportedly born in the U.S.A., who gained a reputation in Canada as a nudist activist, showed up at the Carnegie Board meeting last evening. At the meeting, members were asking questions about why they were being denied a recount of June's election results for Board of Directors. Board President Matthew Matthew had obstructed that process last week by insisting that those requesting the recount obtain 150 supporting signatures. Last night Matthew said that this Board meeting was not the place to work through this issue, that it would be on the agenda at a subsequent meeting.

We have just learned that a week ago as the request for a recount was being obstructed, lawyer Gregory Bruce, retained by Rachel Davis, wrote Whitty and the Board a letter requesting that they respect Roberts Rules for conducting elections. This is the second time Davis has had to pay for a lawyer as a last-ditch attempt to get the Board and Whitty, who is on the City of Vancouver payroll, to respect the rights of the Carnegie membership.


Rachel Davis said...

After telling Audrey erroneously that she needed 150 signatures to get a re-count, she went out got over 100 from Carnegie's members who are understandably wary of being perceived as openly dissatisfied with the status quo. I think that is really amazing, and shows that Membership dissatisfaction with the lack of transparency at Carnegie is not to be shunted aside.
In any case, the Board is supposed to have a recount if anyone asks for it at the Annual General Meeting, so Matthew's information to Audrey was really just a make-work project designed to discourage her, and divert her from the truth of our membership rights I suppose. Since a re-count was asked for at the meeting, and the request was not responded to properly, (with an immediate recount) our new President, Matthew Matthew admitted at the board meeting last night that there was a perception, as well as a reality, of procedure not being followed, and his solution was to declare a Special General Meeting that will be held to vote on whether we have a re-count or not. This meeting is to be held, wait for it (literally) on July 31st. Why more than a month from now?
And if we are supposed to have a recount at the meeting automatically if it is asked for, how is it fair to have to vote to have a recount 2 months after the fact because they didn't give us our rights the first time around? Since our rights to a re-count is supposed to be automatic and immediate, and now Matthew has offered us a chance to vote for a recount more than 2 months later, forgive me if I don't see this as a fair solution.
Then there is the even more important issue of the Tellers Report, but more on that later....

Earth Man said...

okay I'll bite, what is the Tellers Report?....

Dag said...

The Teller's Report is the reading into the minutes of the break-down of details of the vote: who got what, and so on. It's standard operating procedure. It is in a normal meeting, at any rate, in a legitimate organization, one open and responsible to its members and body.

Carnegie Centre isn't following the rules. Why not? What are they hiding? Why are they afraid to show the results and have them read into the minutes, as is the legal procedure? And now, after all this time elapsed, can anyone trust the results, given that there is a resistance all this time to let the membership see the ballots in the first place?

It looks so crooked right from the start that even a new and supervised election might not satisfy anyone. This is looking more and more like an election from Zimbabwe. What are they hiding? What is in this for Ethanol and her lot? What are they planning to do to the people at Carnegie? Do they have a secret agenda?

Dag said...

Ethanol Mugabe? Here's a bit of background from the Washington Post, that paper know to most as the one that exposed Richard Nixon in the Watergate scandal. Intro fro American Thinker:

The Story behind Mugabe's Crackdown
Rick Moran

"This story in today's Washington Post is an incredible indictment of not just Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and the tactics he used to steal the election, but it also should bring shame to the African leaders who continue to back his rule despite overwhelming evidence that there is nothing legitimate about the outcome of that election.

The story begins last March 30 when notes taken at a meeting between Mugabe and his security forces shockingly reveal that the dictator announced he had lost the election and was going to concede in a speech the next day.

He was stopped by his cronies in the military who no doubt feared the prospect of investigations and trials into their murderous, corrupt rule if the opposition came to power. The military then guaranteed that if Mugabe would announce a run off election, that they would make sure he won."

Cute, eh? Some old Communist grabs power and hangs on till he's well past his best before date, having already made his millions, and they do add up at $104.000.00 per year, and then when he wants to scram outta there and spend it, he can't because his lackies won't let him. So he follows them into the century's most blatantly corrupt election this side of Vancouver, Canada.

Nice work if you can get it. Hire some thugs to bully and ban the opposition, then call it a victory, and go on vacation.

What is going on at Carnegie Centre? Why is it they wouldn't allow people to look at the ballots? Too late now, isn't it? Who could trust the ballots now?

Rachel Davis said...

Yes, it would have looked way better if they had just followed the rules and offered to vote to re-count the ballots then and there. Now, no matter how they try to correct their mistake, there will be the question of why it took them so long to respond, and that is unfortunate.

I wonder if a recount would ever have been asked for at the election if the rule about the tellers' report being read as the election results are read had been carried out. It seems to me that leaving people unnecessarily in the dark makes them suspect that it's not actually naturally night, but rather that the absence of light is due to some really thick wool being pulled over the eyes!

The Tellers' Report is a very important part of our system. Without it there is no bottom line from which to base one's perceptions about the fairness of the outcome of an election. In fact, without it there could be unnecessary calls for re-counts. As a member said to me when told that the President of the Board had called a Special General Meeting to vote on a re-count: "RE-count! How about a count in the first place!?"
The Teller' Report is that first count.
It is supposed to look like this: (taken from Robert's Rules)
Number of votes cast...............97
Necessary for election..............49
Mr. Miller received....................51
Mr. Wilson received..................24
Mr. Strong received..................14
Illegal votes
Mr. Friend (inelegible)...............7
One ballot containing two for Mr. Wilson folded together, rejected....................1

I further quote from Robert's Rules:
"The Tellers' report is entered in full in the minutes, becoming a part of the official records of the organization; Under no circumstances should this be omitted in an election or a vote on a critical motion out of a mistaken deference to the feelings of unsuccessful candidates or members of the losing side"

That was the first line of reasoning for not reading the report that I heard out of Ethel Whitty, Carnegie Director. She said it was to spare the candidates feelings. (That reminds me of the old reasonings for not giving women their democratic rights too, that was also to spare delicate feelings. It's a patriarchal/povertairan common line, the "poor dears" just can't handle freedom/democracy) So then I read her the above passage from Robert's rules about how they should never be omitted due to fear of embarrassment. At that point she showed me a page from the black "policy" book where it says Carnegie does not announce how many votes everyone got. I pointed out that "policy" is not the same as "By-Law", and that the constitution of Carnegie says we follow Roberts Rules unless specifically otherwise instructed in the BY-LAWS.
By the time the board meeting came around though, their deke around the rules had become more sophisticated, in a way.
By the time the board meeting came, Matthew was claiming that the sentence in the By-laws that says the election of directors shall be held by secret ballot "in the manner identified by the chair of the general meeting", means that Carnegie Rules are not to read the teller's reports. At least the subterfuge had switched to the pretending the by-laws okay'd it, as opposed to policy.

There was only 2 problems with the new story...One, is I think it's pretty obvious that the "manner" a chair identifies as the way to run a meeting has more to do with things like whether the ballot box goes to you or you to it, or whether you serve coffee or not, as one member said! Not whether you serve democracy in the form of a basic right like a tellers' report or not! To not do that, you'd have to be a whole lot more specific that just going on vaguely about the "manner" the chair identifies as the way to have a secret ballot!
The second problem is that Matthew Matthew kept referring to his prerogative in his manner of meeting, but gee, Matthew wasn't even actually the chair at the election..........
Why wouldn't they just go ahead and enshrine it in their by-laws? Why leave it to the highly controvertible environs of the "policy book", (the same policy book that says The Carnegie Newsletter is not supposed to denigrate groups or individuals but it does so all the time?!?) I think because that would require registering this highly unusual idea of not having a tellers' report with the Registrar of Societies in Victoria, and they might raise a few eyebrows, at least, if they tried to do that.

Another problem with this election? And, not just this one, but other Carnegie Elections? One of the tellers, one of the people who takes the ballots and counts them, is the director of the Carnegie. She is an ex-officio member of the board, but she is considered to be in conflict of interest if she votes, so she is not allowed to. According to what I can see in Robert's Rules, someone who is not allowed to vote due to it being a conflict of interest situation is not allowed to be a teller either. It makes sense to me.
" The tellers should be chosen for accuracy and dependability, should have the confidence of the member-ship and should not have a direct personal involvement to an extent that they should refrain from voting..."
There were three tellers at this last election, and when I asked how they were chosen, Ethel informed me that one was a member, (who just happened to be a close personal friend of Matthew's that we never see around otherwise) chosen at random, and Rolf Auer is the secretary of the board, and as far as she goes, it's just "tradition" at Carnegie that the Director, a city employee, is a teller at every election.
How can that not be a conflict of interest?
If the ex-officio member is not allowed to be at meetings where there is to be a vote on disciplinary action, (but gee, yes, she was anyway, in my case!) because that would be in conflict of interest, if she is not allowed to vote in general because that would be in conflict of interest, how can she not be in conflict when she's in charge of all the votes?
I would bet she is, and I would email Jacquie Forbes- Roberts, Ethel's boss, as well as mayor and council about this. There's a bit to much involvement by the City in Carnegie Community Centre Board business, I think, from barring Directors who are suspected of linking to criticism of the Carnegie, to being overly involved in Elections where voters rights and proper procedure is thrown to the wind. Here's Jacquie's address:

Tell her you want the teller's report that we member's of Carnegie are entitled to, and a lack of Ethel Whitty as teller next time around, due to conflict of interest on her part.

These two things, a tellers report and disinterested tellers, need to be in place at every election, or there will never be total confidence in the system, and there will always be doubts. That leads to division in the community, which is really unpleasant, and unproductive unfortunate and unnecessary if we all just follow the agreed upon rules.

Anonymous said...

Jaime Lee hamilton was at the last board meeting, (and the election too) and here's a link to the article she wrote about it:

Rachel Davis said...

I've been informed by Jaime Lee Hamilton that Jacquie Forbes-Roberts has been retired. This is a shock considering you'd think she'd wouldn't want to step down while the ongoing investigation into William Simpson, barred homeless former director suspected of linking to criticism of Carnegie, was still ongoing, not tying up that loose end must have been a blot on her career I'd think.
In any case, here's the email addresses of a few folks in the City who are obliged to care about the people in Canada's "poorest postal code" having the same democratic freedoms and processes as every other citizen of Canada! (Ms. Whitty's boss)

This last person is a counsillor who used to work in the DTES for a long time

reliable sources said...


Thanks for the info about Jacquie Forbes-Roberts. That's interesting.

Dag said...

You made the Big-Time! I just wrote a short bit at Covenant Zone.

You'll all be famous.