Kind act

Editor:

Editor:

It was a very dark, cold and dreary winter day. I decided to go for a small ice cap.

When I pulled up to the drive-thru window to pay for my drink, I was pleasantly surprised when the cashier leaned out and told me that the car in front of me had already paid for it.

It really surprised me and touched me that someone would just randomly choose me to be kind and generous to.

The day somehow seemed much brighter and less cold. Now every time I am at a drive-thru window paying for my food, I ask what the car behind me ordered and offer to pay for a coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

My hope is to brighten their day and inspire them to do the same for someone else.

So thank you to the anonymous person who was kind to me because now I practice a random act of kindness at least once a day. Hopefully when you read this you will be inspired and make it a part of your day as well. And maybe when you least expect it someone will choose to practice a random act of kindness on you.

Erin Hager

Ladysmith

Editor:

We would like to thank our friends and neighbours who donated for our cut holly. With your generosity, we have donated $45 to the B.C. Cancer Fund. Thanks again, see you next year.

Lorraine and Jim Szasz

Ladysmith

Editor:

On behalf of my Grade 6/7 class at Ecole Davis Road Elementary School, I’d like to thank all of the anonymous “Santa Clauses” out there that kindly donated bottles & cans to our class, perhaps after reading the article in December about having our recycling stolen over the weekend.

We are so grateful and it has truly restored our faith in what a great place this is to live. It goes to show that the misdeeds of a few can be overshadowed by the good deeds of the many. Thanks again,

Helen Fall & the Grade 6/7 class at Ecole Davis Road Elementary

Editor:

I guess every democracy goes off the rails once in a while – here in Ladysmith it’s not off the track yet, but like the E and N, it’s certainly headed an odd direction. On Jan. 10 council passed seven guidelines that severely limit the ability of citizens to ask questions at their meetings.

Number 1: You must be a resident, absentee landowner or business owner to ask a question. This seems harmless enough, but what happens if a person who is thinking of buying/moving to Ladysmith wants to ask a question?

Number 2: You must state your name and address – fair enough

Number 3: Questions must relate to an item on that meeting’s agenda. The problem? The agenda is put together by the mayor and two senior staff with little if any input from councillors. So, if you want “motherhood is good” on the agenda, you’re in luck. But if your thing is senior staff salaries, well, good luck.

Number 4: You can’t ask a question regarding something that town staff ‘normally’ deal with. Getting no satisfaction at City Hall? Too bad.

Number 5: Questions must be brief and to the point – cause who has time for details, when you have a whopping zero to five questions flying at you.

Number 6: Questions can only be addressed to the chair (mayor) and ‘debates’ with individual councillors or staff are forbidden. In other words, you can’t talk to 85 per cent of the people you elected nor 100 per cent of the people whose salaries you pay. When I asked a question a councillor got involved in the response. Which, as the rules had passed, was now a ‘No No’ – absurd.

Lucky Number 7: No commitments shall be made by the chair in replying to a question from a citizen. Rationale? Back in November a commitment was made to a citizen who had asked a question. So why not an “Oops, sorry, we won’t do that again” instead of a rule?

There wasn’t really a debate on the guidelines – more like a brief discussion. Staff pulled guidelines from other jurisdictions and this was held up as an example of why these guidelines were just fine to adopt. These kinds of ‘but everyone else is doing it!’ arguments don’t work on me when my kids use them and certainly don’t apply to democracy. Also, the point was made repeatedly that members of council are accessible ‘by e-mail, phone, or on the street’. And sure, when you have a conversation in a parking lot with a council member the venue is public, but the big difference is there are no witnesses, no minutes and The Chronicle’s reporter isn’t there.

It also came out at the meeting that the term ‘guidelines’ is a “weasel word” as in there is room for interpretation in their application. Dangerous. Apply the rules to some and not others and folks start screaming ‘favouritism’.

Terms like ‘more efficient’ or ‘more organized’ were used to describe what these guidelines would do for meetings. But since when is democracy supposed to be neat and clean. I like the snow plowed efficiently and my recycling picked up on time as much as the next guy. But efficiency is for public services not public policy/debate. So, if politicians have to stay another half hour answering questions about they’ve done or are about to do well, that’s the job folks.

Asking questions is the cornerstone of working democracies, and the best way to convert the actions of fallible humans into good governance.

So, if they are offensive to citizens, create absurd situations, and they leave council vulnerable to cries of favouritism, who benefits from these ‘guidelines’? Well, I suppose staff at city hall (the folks who composed them) won’t have as many, if any, difficult issues to deal with. But aren’t they paid (really, really well) to do just that?

Please call, e-mail or stop a member(s) of council on the street and ask them how they voted on these guidelines and more importantly why. Just don’t try and do it at a council meeting because, for now, you can’t.

Marsh Stevens

Ladysmith

Ladysmith Chronicle

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