Sooke PocketNews, as mentioned in an earlier editorial, received two legal letters (below). One demanded that certain communications cease; the other demanded that an article critical of one Councillor be removed. Both indicated that further action was possible if SPN failed to comply.
Sooke Mayor Maja Tait and Sooke PocketNews owner Britt Santowski met on Tuesday, July 12 to discuss things in person.
According to Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, the legal letters received by Britt Santowski were independently motivated.
“It’s not a District thing,” said the mayor to Santowski. “From what I was told, it’s a personal matter between Ms. Sullivan and Ms. Reay and yourself, and from what I was told, they engaged a lawyer. They feel that what was posted on the site was defamatory … and they took issue with it.”
The mayor was on maternity leave from December 2015 through until the end of March, 2016.
“They made this decision on their own,” explained Tait. “It never came to Council, so how they came to that decision, how they feel about it, it’s with them.”
The first legal letter received was a result of inquiry to the then-acting mayor and select council members, on council-related (committee specific) business.
The second legal letter called for the removal of an SPN article that solicited public opinion on a council matter. That letter identified the Councillor by name and title.
Both letters come from Paul A. Hildebrand who, according to this website, heads up Lidstone & Company’s Litigation Department. Lidstone & Company is periodically utilized by the District of Sooke.
Following are the two legal letters in question. We have blacked out sections that give potentially unfavourable information about the issuer.
In her interview with CFAX1070, Mayor Maja Tait stated, “the District has no intent in putting forward any legal action.”
To that end, Sooke PocketNews is continuing its inquiry on Council-related matters. Santowski has requested a meeting with the Councillor in question, through an email sent on July 12, 2016. As of the publication of this article, we have not yet received a response.
Eyes on Sooke Council
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- Expenses for top officials in Sooke increased dramatically
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- Nov 14, 2016 Council Meeting takeaways: Overview
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- EDITORIAL: SPN differentiates between “bullying” and “asking questions”
- RCMP investigates harassment
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- Sooke Fire Chief Steven Sorensen hangs up his helmet
- Legal letters to SPN “not a District thing”
- The District of Sooke is hiring: “Director of Corporate Services and Corporate Officer”
- SPN Takeaways: Regular Sooke Council Meeting, July 11, 2016
- Mayor Tait invites dialogue, would like to see Sooke’s progress and successes highlighted
- CFAX1070 interviews Britt Santowski regarding harassment in Sooke
- Both sides of the story presented on CHEK News
- District of Sooke News Release: Freedom of Expression in Sooke
- Editorial: Freedom of speech in Sooke must be constructive
- Bullying, harassment of District officials, Councillors will not tolerated
- Sooke resident raises many questions wants dialogue, transparency, answers
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- LETTER: Quiet and possibly expensive policy shift happening at Sooke’s Municipal Hall