…….But I was wrong.

For three years I watched Councillor Braun stand almost alone against Bruce Banman and all the other councillors.  He seemed miles beyond them in his grasp of the issues before council and in personal integrity.

I’m not a Mennonite, and I do not claim to have any sort of personal relationship with Henry Braun.  But I deeply believed that he would make the best mayor we’d ever had.  So about five months before the 2014 election I emailed Henry to ask if he planned to run for mayor.  Many people were asking him to run for mayor.

In the past I’ve run for council and twice for mayor because that provides an opportunity to point out issues swept under the carpet at city hall.  It also allows me to appoint scrutineers, a vital component of ensuring democratic elections remain honest.

If Henry did run I did not want to jeopardize his win by even the few votes that would come to me.  So when Henry announced his candidacy for mayor, I ran for council.  Only two men ran for mayor.  Henry won by 577 votes over Bruce Banman.  In the 2011 election there were five of us running for mayor.  To my delight 2,449 voters thought I was okay.

So you can forgive me a bit of speculation here that, had I thrown my name into the ring in 2014 Henry Braun could conceivably have lost to Bruce Banman.

And now I’m sorry.  I had no expectations of Bruce Banman, but I really believed Henry was cut from a better cloth.

Raising a flag over our City Hall to honour ‘gay pride’ was completely unnecessary and needlessly divisive in a city with some 100 church groups, many of whom believe what God has to say about sexual morality.  But then I thought Henry also took the Word of the Living God seriously too.

Municipal government should restrict itself to infrastructure needs, to streets and sewers and playgrounds and policing.  Things for the common good.  So then, when a number of groups said, …..‘okay raise our groups distinctive flags now’, ….the city hastily made a motion to circumvent a flood of similar requests.

But now, an entirely different matter.  This week our mayor and council have violated their own written mandate:

“COMMIT TO PROVIDE PUBLIC INFORMATION, EDUCATION, ADVOCACY AND OPPORTUNITIES TO PARTICIPATE IN COMMUNITY DECISIONS THAT AFFECT THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ALL CITIZENS.”

Mayor Braun emailed Lynn Perrin on Friday afternoon to tell her that on Monday, (Feb. 15/16) afternoon a rather significant delegation would be at City Hall, three days hence,…..“Since you have a keen interest regarding the Kinder Morgan Pipeline, I thought I should be transparent and alert you to the attached report which Council will deliberate on Monday.”

Please note!!  The City of Abbotsford was not informed in advance.  Nowhere was this little offer of $1.3 million clubhouse offer, in exchange for a little Memorandum of Understanding made known to the citizens of Abbotsford.  And if the city shows me that they did provide opportunity, to the city they govern, that the MOU for a clubhouse was coming to council on Feb. 15/16, well in advance of the actual event,……… I will retract these words.

If anyone cared, and wanted to read the documents and put their mind to this development, no such opportunity was given to them.  In order to appear before council you must apply 10 (TEN) days in advance.

If Mayor Braun had seriously wanted to inform Lynn, he would have done so weeks in advance.  And he would have had his communications staff inform the entire community, at least via the Abbotsford News,  but he did not.

He let Lynn in on the little secret at the last hour, and he did that to give the appearance of running an open, transparent local government. A sham.

I am so saddened by the shabby, sneaky behaviour of mayor and council.  It is business as usual at City Hall.

The ‘not-bribe‘ just signed by the mayor was pre-emptive and underhanded.  Whether or not the National Energy Board gives approval is not the issue for me at all.  I know that we need a robust economy, so lean towards allowing this pipeline expansion.

But I also know that in order for democracy to survive we need leaders with integrity.

 

 

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