Home » District of Sooke News Release: Freedom of Expression in Sooke    

Comments

District of Sooke News Release: Freedom of Expression in Sooke — 35 Comments

  1. Say what you want… most…if not all councilors and Mayor will be gone next election! The people of Sooke are disgusted and ready for change!

  2. OK so its just a really really really big misunderstanding? all combatants back to your corners and lets come out as friends and move on. No more lawyers or registered letters!

  3. Somehow, I do not believe the Mayor of Sooke or most of their Council. Things have gone array there since the last election.

  4. At risk of getting a letter from an offended individual who is one way or another employed by the people of Sooke, I can see how SPN would not “get” that an employee or councillor undertook to have a letter sent by a lawyer on his or her behalf outside of any procedure prescribed by the District of Sooke and without the knowledge of Council. A whole other level of weirdness. Like Mr. Wimp says, let’s just settle down. Thank you for trying to sort this out, Mayor Tait. I still have confidence in your good judgement and integrity, but I don’t get to vote in Sooke.

  5. Always 2 sides….I welcome the mayors explanation for clarity. Thank you, and thanks to Britt for publishing it.

  6. Well i for one will defend our mayor. I for one have mumbled for years that perception is ever thing. There has to be a change in the way things are being done. Education is key to everything.

    I beleive Maja response on harassment and bullying was mis interpreted with public. Including myself. I read the article ten times and still felt the meaning from mayor was keep your mouth shut about anything you disagree with pertaining to council decision or you will be sued.(The bullying article did not sit well) However, having my share of dealings with mayor and council I knew it was not directed this way or to any individual.
    Simple put i think Maja was trying to say is carefull how you address yourself on opinions of town decisions. As name slinging,mis communicate facts, or impellishing on facts could be detrimental to the city,workers, public,investors, of our fine community.
    I will say I have faith in Maja as mayor and she is doing exactly what she said. Standing up for her and council and the people of Sooke.
    Together We Can!

  7. Not that she made a point….it was true to form a typical politician response…she took no blame, everyone else is at fault…she knew nothing…..in fact she thinks she is the hero because she wrote a letter to the so called “bully” ….seems that is her only involvement in all this…so she says

  8. Sooooo what your saying is, we do not condone bullying, unless it’s our significant others
    What a joke

  9. The letters were from Employees Lawyers So yes from the district. This makes if even worse for her. I am sorry but my vote will not be for this counsel and I don’t like how our money is being spent this way. Two employees sent letters from their lawyers. I will still like to see what Untrue statements they are claiming. The municipality can’t sure but the employees can? This is just so wrong. “They were private letters sent to her on behalf of municipal officials, but not by the municipality.” Wrong Move counselors. Sorry you are out in my books

  10. She needs to get control of her staff..if Britt Santowski was wrong about something and they proved it she would write a retraction. They still have not shown where the bullying took place, nor have they shown the untrue statements. I am sorry but Counsel is running all over the mayor she has no control. Councilors should not be sending any letters from lawyers with the mayor knowing. I think the mayor knew for sure.

  11. It is actually a disgrace that this has gotten this far.

    I voted for for current Mayor and I did take my family to meet Mayor Tait at one of our local coffee shop’s “the reading room” I brought my family and also spoke to family about how lovely it would be to get to excellent and innovative to bring in fresh new outlooks about our growth to our community. This was a complete shock to me and all my friends and family to see a letter written… And reading it myself.

    It is going to a miracle to revive this situation…

    A written letter to all Sooke resident’s restating what your goals as a mayor might be helpful to regain stature.

    If all discussions end like this… I am fearful when a larger situation does happens… How are we going to haddle this as a community?

    -N

  12. It is actually a disgrace that this has gotten this far.

    I voted for for current Mayor and I did take my family to meet Mayor Tait at one of our local coffee shop’s “the reading room” I brought my family and also spoke to family about how lovely it would be to get to excellent and innovative to bring in fresh new outlooks about our growth to our community. This was a complete shock to me and all my friends and family to see a letter written… And reading it myself.

    It is going to a miracle to revive this situation…

    A written letter to all Sooke resident’s restating what your goals as a mayor might be helpful to regain stature.

    If all discussions end like this… I am fearful when a larger situation does happens… How are we going to haddle this as a community?

    -Nadine

  13. Perhaps the council could call an independent committee to review the actions of our council and staff. In this way the privacy of the individuals would be protected but the actions can be evaluated. If there is a problem then I am sure council will fix it. If there isn’t a problem then the people of Sooke can regain some trust in their town council again. I don’t think it is good to hide from this, it is undermining the very structure of our community – our relationships with each other.

  14. Thank you for printing the other side of the story. I think quite a few people were all too eager to condemn and complain without having a full picture of the situation, which is sad really.

  15. Way to many words from the Mayor to say nothing!! If she didn’t know anything was going on she should have known

  16. I notice that the Mayor does not apologize for the misunderstanding to the tax payers of Sooke.

  17. Very strange. My observation:

    Mayor Tait states she knew nothing about the letters from the lawyer that Councilor Reay and CAO Teresa Sullivan sent to SPN/ Britt Santowski. Yet one of the letters ( a partial picture of it is on Facebook), from Councilor Reay’s lawyer names Ms Reay in her capacity as a District Councilor and states that “it is Councilor Reay’s view that both you and your article and some of the posts you have published on your website are defamatory etc.etc.” This particular letter was not of a personal nature at all or why the use of the term Councilor. It certainly makes it sound a whole lot more official…or maybe that was the point? No wonder Ms Santowski thought the letters originated with the District. Perhaps the Mayor knew nothing after all. Perhaps the issue lies with Councilor Reay and her methodology.

  18. Good grief. I couldn’t even make it through to the end of her missive.
    Perhaps her original communication to the citizen was misconstrued because she writes so poorly.
    The Mayor, Council, and the district really should consider hiring a communication professional to write their key messaging and handle their media relations.
    It would save us all from having to try to decipher her ramblings.

  19. Does this mean that if someone takes a picture of a crappy driver then that crappy driver can sue for defamation? Where does it end

  20. I was prepared to be open-minded earlier today until I read Mayor Tait’s letter. Good God, what a pile of confused, missing-the-point-mumbo-jumbo defensiveness and obfuscation. Whatever credibility she had is now seriously eroded. Please Maja, clear your head and reboot. This issue is not going to go away. And it needn’t be your hill to die on.

  21. This whole happening is good for Sooke. Actually, its very good for the region, other municipalities, and governments. As the hot potato of free speech was being tossed around, Sooke made the news for something other than drug-related shootings or a new tourist attraction. “People think out there”? Good discourse is going on. But it also raises questions as to who should carry the burden of proof, understanding of technology, the power of the internet and the responsibility of citizens at elections in regards to such.

    The citizens are showing that they care. And they are empowered. They are having a healthy discourse over freedom of speech, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the importance of the internet. For some, this is perhaps the first time that they really ever truly cared about this freedom, as it has seemed threatened — whether this perception is real or not. What is freedom of speech? How is it defined? What is the media’s role? This discourse being had real-time with their government as well. Fabulous. NOW is the time for a Town Meeting. Call one to order and invite the politicians, but have it whether or not they show up. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly? Why, another right granted by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. My, my — on a roll here…

    Whether or not one believes there was a conflict of interest in the hiring of the CAO of Sooke, the good news is that people are paying attention, watching, and asking every question of their government. This is the way it should be in a democracy. Exercising one’s freedoms is right for the sake of being right. It is the right thing to do and therefore worth doing in and of itself. Failure to exercise one’s rights will eventually result in those rights being taken away or stolen. It was once said that rights are like a handful of sand on the beach. One starts with a big handful, but as the grains of sand slip between the fingers, they are gone forever, and can never be retrieved. Eventually, one has but a few grains left in the hand. At this point it is still not clear if the hiring of the CAO, or others, was subject to conflict of interest, just parochial, sloppily executed because of simple laziness or incompetence, or truly rigorous, objective and impartial. The citizens don’t know..perhaps the utmost in selection and hiring practices was performed. But they care — and that is good. Who carries the burden is also unclear — is it the District’s responsibility to prove impartiality and objectivity? Or is it the citizens who should do so, since they care enough to question?

    One way is for the citizenry to “test the validity” of the hiring process by hypothesizing impartiality and then testing that hypothesis. While the District may not want to release records because of confidentiality and privacy issues, a 3rd party such as SPN could collect data on its own. This might take the form of a callout to all applicants for the CAO’s position to voluntarily send on their resumes, cover letters and Linkedin profiles. This data could then be anonymized, analyzed and compared against the original job description; and then compared to the current CAO’s background and qualifications compared to the job description. The anonymous applicants could be ranked, and compared against the current. The outcome of this research exercise would lend insight into the impartiality of the hiring process.

    Data analysis is a powerful tool. It should be used not only to test decisions, but also to make decisions. And this goes for Council and Staff. Data-driven decision-making is not the way of the future; it is the way of today, with many organizations either there or getting there.

    It seems as if the current government needs a technology education itself. They seem not to understand just how powerful the internet is; how powerful tools of analysis are in the hands of the citizenry today either. Sooke’s government isn’t the only entity of government to have fallen behind. But isn’t the burden on the citizenry to vote for and elect tech-savvy representatives? Those that know the interface of technology and the law, and the issues of the day? Those that can argue for or against the merits of Wikileaks; or whether or not Edward Snowden is hero? Those who will provide insightfulness into the techno-world we live in today, and how technology might be used to leverage the assets of a little town and turn it into an innovator and catalyst of change for the rest of the world?

  22. Many ratepayers here in our electoral district are observing these developments very closely, it seems. As it should be! When de we next get the chance to elect representatives?

  23. This sticks out to me:

    “The SPN said the articles complained of were not defamatory, because they were true. Actually, the statements complained of were NOT true, and were in fact incorrect, and damaged the reputations of the employee and councillor respectively.”

    If in fact there are factual errors in the articles then the first step is to attempt to correct the record. That’s not what happened. What happened was demands to remove the articles, not correct them.

    If the articles are wrong in fact, then print the verifiable truth and demand a published retraction. I have no doubt SPN would print one…if they’re wrong.

    Now then…

    “This was NOT the municipality writing to the SPN. Council and the rest of the District were not aware of the two letters.”

    Seriously? Over a law firm’s letterhead and calling out the municipal titles of the supposedly aggrieved parties isn’t a deliberate intent to make it look like the complaints are coming from the city? Semantics matter, but please don’t insult our intelligence. I suppose it’s possible that Council and Mayor Tait were not aware the CAO and a Councillor were using the same law firm and sending demand letters identifying them by title. Don’t, however, try to sell anyone that the letters were not meant to intimidate by use of title and appeal to authority.

    …and then finally, for me and for now:

    Freedom of expression does not depend on the constructive nature of the expression.

  24. Doesn’t Condon bullying? Wonder if she told her husband that when she returned without her seat on the CRD board and he showed up waiting in the parking lot after a council meeting.

  25. Is this the reason the fire chief and deputy fire chief are retiring this year?