–Britt Santowski, Publisher, Sooke PocketNews
Responses to an article on SPN show the mayor of Sooke, Maja Tait, is currently under attack for a yet-to-be-approved CRD trip to Europe to visit various waste management facilities.
Based on a number of comments, it’s clear that many did not even read the article.
Those quoting a cost of $12,000 clearly did not read the article. The article (referencing a much longer report) identifies the costs as ranging between $7,500 to $8,500.
Those believing that Tait is going to Europe to study the sewer system for the benefit of Sooke also did not read the article. The article clearly states she is attending in the capacity of a Chair on a particular CRD committee; if someone else chaired that committee, that other person would be the one going.
Also, as per the article, these funds have already been budgeted, set aside, and designated for this, and the trip is intended to assist the Committee in selecting the right proponent for an upcoming RFP. This makes it an administrative issue, not an engineering one.
Whether or not the trip is a good idea, well, that was beyond the scope of the article. It’s also well beyond the scope of Sooke. It’s a CRD governance matter. As one reader pointed out (who apparently did read the article), the CRD represents 383,360 residents. A quick finger-pounding on the calculator shows that the $8,000 per-sewer-tour-attendee expense will cost about two cents per person in the CRD. Nothing really to butt-bunch your boxers over.
Lastly, the behind-the-scenes numbers show that fewer than 200 had actually clicked on the article. Of those who clicked, who knows how many read it in its entirety.
Calling on people not to re-elect Maja Tait as the mayor of Sooke in 2018 because she is assuming the responsibilities of the Chair for a CRD committee is out of whack.
There is a list of reasons why one might not vote for the current mayor in the 2018 election. Among those might be questionable leadership in allowing a staff walk-out at a Council meeting, or granting a Councillor an 11-minute platform for a pity party, or signing off on a south-island-wide media release that attempted to redefine the Canadian Freedom of Expression, or allowing certain staff to sidestep accountability by hiding behind the apron of bullying, and the list goes on.
There’s also a list of reasons why one might choose to re-elect her. She’s lobbying for improved health, highways and housing in Sooke at higher levels. These efforts take time and relationship-building, and she’s pragmatically advocating for Sooke behind the scenes. She’s incredibly level-headed when it comes to public criticism. Where another local Councillor is putting a chill on public political discourse (by equating political social media discourse in private groups with the public labeling of a person as a pedophile), Tait has always welcomed criticism and she has also acknowledged gaffs along the way. The word “grace” comes to mind. This list of reasons to support her, also goes on.
But calling on others not to re-elect Tait because she’s fulfilling her duties in the capacity of Chair for a CRD Committee is mystifying at best. What’s clear is that many did not (–yes, some did–) read the article and didn’t acquire some basic facts before asserting their outrage. If you are going to launch an emotional outburst in response to any online articles anywhere, be sure to read more than just the heading.