Sunday, February 13, 2011

'In Camera' and Legal Advice Worn as Cloaks

This Nanaimo City Council Has A Pattern Of
Wearing the Cloaks of "In Camera" and "Legal Opinion"
To Hide From Public Scrutiny
By: Jim Taylor (Not the famous one)
The most recent example of this City Council's 'stealth' revolves around the 'Bill Bestwick / Boston Pizza alleged conflict' of interest and their decision to once again hide in the dark and show their contempt for the intelligence of the average taxpayer of Nanaimo.

For those who haven't been paying attention to this whole little drama basically, what happened was person or persons unknown, who will do anything to oppose installing LED signs on the pristine Nanaimo landscape, halted the Boston Pizza sign variance with a last minute 'Hail Mary' move, accusing Bestwick of being unduly influenced in the vote which allowed the sign variance in the first place.

The Council led by Mayor Ruttan decided (again on legal advice) that if someone, somewhere, someday wanted to challenge the BP sign variance the city MIGHT be open for liable. At least that is the version they peddled to the public, and since all was done "in secret" we will never know just exactly how sound that advice was, nor who it was that suggested the possibility of liability attaching because of the variance. It seems like such a nebulous case, and the stars would have to align just so, for anything to actually come of it, that it makes one wonder what was the 'real' reason behind the decision. Again, we will never know because of the "in secret" decision making process embraced by this Mayor and Council.

The Premise

Yes, I am speculating, which of course would not be necessary if this Council were upfront with the voters on the matter but the facts as I know it are:

someone suggested that if someone were to take issue with the sign variance allowed by city council for the BP sign, someday, and it were proven that Bestwick was in a conflict and that conflict would have swayed his vote on the matter, then the city would be liable for some future lawsuit?

I ask the question " Liable for what"? This is where the citizens of this fair city need to see exactly what legal advice prompted this council to overturn the DVP at the last possible moment, force a Councilor to spends thousands defending himself, then agree to pay for that defence and if nothing else look like the gang that can't shoot straight.

If you agree that by a look at the surface 'facts' as presented, it would seem council and others had more of an agenda than protecting the city from the bogey man of some future lawsuit. Lawsuits I might add, they don't seem to shy away from when it suits them, the Millennium lawsuit comes to mind.Then the only conclusion is there must be other agendas and forces at work attempting to discredit Bestwick. Or perhaps derailing the LED sign contained in the BP Variance was the real issue and Bestwick just got caught in the crossfire.

Aah the intrigue and drama of small city politics.


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