Email from a friend:  I share his grave concern about this new economic development committee.  This is (in my mind) potentially the most disastrous decision to come from our council.  The potential for corruption is really a concern,  within these – behind closed door deals made on our behalf, without our consent or knowledge.

 

Over the years I have asked for information, under the right to Freedom of Information, (and yes I know the last part of that title is ‘And Protection of Privacy).  So some information filters through, while lots is blacked out, or redacted.  Take note of this sentence in Bill Flitton’s latest response to an FOI……...”Please note that some of what you are asking for is not information that the City has within its custody or control; rather it may be proprietary information to the Abbotsford Heat, and therefore unavailable.” (full city hall email is shown below)

 

This council, that has signed many disastrous business deals, using our tax-dollars, will they, under their new group, first consult with the paying public before they surge ahead with yet more contracts?  If we ask for detailed accounts of every tax dollar spent, will City hall invoke  ‘proprietary information’ to shield those who pay from seeing where their money is going.

 

Can this council be trusted to make wise business decisions, on our behalf?

 

When did city hall prove it was capable of making wise business deals?

 

Will they now be more free than ever to consign the tax-payer to long-term contracts?

 

Will there be necessarily any benefit to our community from these business deals?

 

Why is this government body, tasked with oversight of our communal needs getting involved in business ventures, on our behalf?  When did the paying public ask government to do that?

 

Here’s my friend’s email regarding the error in ‘The Abbotsford News’ of our tax increase being 0.056%, but really it is 5.6%.

 

 (FRIEND):  Are you insinuating a “convenient lie” ?

 

Everyone surely has the 0.056 etched in their brains.

 

Not surprisingly, the true increase is exactly 5.6% more than my 2014 “raise”…

 

Gerda, after “saving” so much money getting out of the heat contract, did you notice the fresh allocation of funds to setting up a mini crown corporation (modeled after ICBC, BC Ferries, BC Assessment, no doubt) to handle “Economic Development” for the City of Abbotsford? This mini-crown-corporation will operate with a budget double to triple what the “service” received as part of “planning” at the city. Instead of $323,850 it will be $550,000 – $750,000 per year. “Members” will be carefully selected, including a token councilor, and FOI requests will have a brand new and improved hoop to jump through. Can you imagine if this had already been in place during YMCA “negotiations”? Or perhaps it is being put in place specifically to help “smooth out” future navigation of YMCA-style initiatives?http://www.abbynews.com/news/256562811.html

 

Have you been asked to occupy one of the EDC’s plush, highly paid seats and offices yet? I am waiting for the call as well. I wonder what opulent structure owned by a crony will be leased to house this albatross at our expense. Have you ever noticed how many of the best and most expensive commercial buildings in town are occupied by banks and government agencies?

 

——— Forwarded message ———-
From: Bill Flitton <BFlitton@abbotsford.ca>
Date: Wed, May 7, 2014 at 12:59 PM
Subject: RE: AHL Contract terms average 3 years vs 10 years for AHL Heat
To: gerdapeachey@gmail.com
Cc: George Murray <gmurray@abbotsford.ca>, Tammy Ketola <tketola@abbotsford.ca>

Good afternoon Gerda,

 

As the City’s FOI Head I am tasked with responding to your inquiry. For the purposes of complying with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act we will consider your questions below as “requests for access to records” pursuant to the Act. Accordingly, we will forward these questions to the appropriate staff who may be able to answer these questions. Please note that some of what you are asking for is not information that the City has within its custody or control; rather it may be proprietary information to the Abbotsford Heat, and therefore unavailable.  We will also forward a fee estimate, if any, to you in due course as well, to be sent out by Tammy Ketola, the City’s Information and Privacy Coordinator, who will also coordinate this request.

 

Should you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly.

 

Regards,

 

Bill Flitton

Director, Legislative Services/City Clerk

Tel: 604-864-5603Fax: 604-853-1934

 

RELATED:  http://www.techjournal.org/2013/05/many-citycounty-economic-development-programs-lack-transparency/

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