This past Thursday was the first complete Council meeting I observed in a while, due both to Summer break and my inability to stay and observe Council business after the Bosa Blue Sky properties Public Hearing for Pandora got adjourned at 11:30pm on August 27th (post on this coming soon). So what happened?
It was a brief meeting this morning (agenda here and final motions here). Councillors Coleman & Thornton-Joe were absent and the only real thought I had observing the rest of them, is that the meeting (like so many others) played out like game of Ping Pong. The context is always somewhat competitive and usually only partially thought out because hey, you have to move quickly to hit the small ball and win. Isn’t that what running a city is all about?
I digress. So what happened this morning (video here)?
I expected that it would be a short meeting this morning, and I was correct (video here) but what still managed to surprise me was how Council spent their time during this committee meeting. As usual, the meeting started (agenda here) with Mayor Helps presenting her suggestions for the consent agenda (items to be passed but not discussed) and Councillor Isitt pulling most of them off.
Which is good because, why put something on the agenda if it isn’t meant to be discussed? Regarding the consent agenda and undiscussed acceptance of costs for sending councillors to UBCM, I couldn’t help noticing how different the costs are for each member of city council attending this event(largely because of differences mostly in travel & accommodation). For instance if we look at the two requests approved today: Continue reading September 3 GPC Summary & Observations
So I learned a lot about plastic bags and the efforts of the Divest Victoria group while attending the lengthy Council meeting on Thursday (video here agenda here). Why was the meeting so long? Well mostly because a total of 17 people signed up for their respective 5 minutes to address Council and all but 3 of these groups were on the topics of banning plastic bags and socially responsible investing, as driven by the Divest Victoria group.
This clip (see below) from the especially verbose Councillor Isitt (maybe because he missed Planning and Land Use meeting earlier in the day) neatly encapsulates the general level of municipal operational professionalism at play on Thursday night. Continue reading July 23 Council Summary & Observations
The meeting this morning, was, shall we say illuminating?
It started late because everyone only began filtering in at 9am and I’m assuming that they were all late because they were coming from this incamera meeting that was held to consider:
- Labour relations
- Acquisition/Disposition of land and or improvements
- A new municipal service
Originally it was just for “Municipal Service” and so I’m guessing the other two bullets were added late. Speaking of Incamera meetings, I’ve been waiting for more than a month for a response to this email I sent in June asking for more clarity on their incamera disclosure process.
*Note – I brought up my email in discussion with staff while at City Hall a few weeks back and was told that a response was drafted & forthcoming.
Why do I mention this? I do so because the city likes to praise themselves for their open data efforts and yet, something as basic as a set standard for where and how to reveal decisions made incamera isn’t yet established. I say this based on a subsequent conversation with Ms. Hamilton where she committed to responding to my original email and suggested that such a process (e.g., standardized ways of revealing incamera information) is still very much in process. Which is odd to me because you wouldn’t typically think that such a system should be so difficult. Especially when you’ve already praised yourselves for having created it back in 2014:
See pages 11 – 12 in this document for more information):
So what was supposed to happen this morning in PLUC? Continue reading July 23 PLUC Summary & Observations
The meeting started off well on Thursday (agenda here), but it then got frustrating and tiresome once Council (in their Governance & Priorities format) started sliding off topic and speaking around issues instead of to the immediate items at the table. Mind you, their doing so was also fascinating in the sense that it made me reflect on why I was reacting to them the way I did and why it was that I was getting frustrated and confused instead of just tweeting everything.
I realized that it has to do with process. Continue reading July 16 GPC Summary & Observations
It was a big agenda for the planning and land use committee this Thursday but they worked through it (video here). I must say its been interesting watching Mayor Helps evolve in her role as chair, this morning in particular, I quite appreciated how she kept requiring the Corporate Officer (Mr. Woodland) and other members of Council to read out motions and amended motions as they came on the table. Their doing so made the whole thing much easier to follow.
Says the person who is heads down tweeting the whole time!
So what happened this morning? Continue reading July 9 PLUC Summary & Observations
It was a long meeting with a big agenda. Public business was completed at just after 11pm. Of note is that everything other than one item went as anticipated – 1555 Jubilee was unanimously opposed because new information emerged that was really quite shocking. And as for its origins, I did note in my PLUC summary of 1555 Jubilee that something seemed off between the City Manager and staff when the issue was presented to PLUC.
All and all, very interesting. I will write more about it when I get back from my weekend road trip! Video will be posted here when it gets uploaded.
I started off all grumpy this morning because the media table had been shoved back in the back corner of the council chambers which made for both a bad view and terrible acoustics because it was crammed in beside a fancy looking air conditioning unit.
So I said “screw that” and sat in the front row of the audience. Continue reading July 2 GPC Summary & Observations