politicians infiltrate community associations


Recently I got a request (posted in the comments section by one of Lisa MacLeod’s employees) to remove a photo and change some information on my blog.

I’m sensitive to privacy issues – I ask ordinary people for permission before taking a photo, and I get their consent to post it on my blog. Politicians and famous people are different.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has been working on his hockey game for about a year, while Canada’s Stephen Harper feels more comfortable playing on asphalt than on ice. The two will soon meet in a in a 1972 Summit Series grudge rematch.

Jordan’s request raises some interesting issues, echoing Councillor Chiarelli’s “concerns” about what constitutes a “legitimate” community association or or an “authentic” residents’ group (in Rick’s view it must be vetted by the politicians and the City managers) so I thought I’d bump up our dialogue from the comments section to the blog section:

Craig, if you could change,
“Westcliffe Park – Westcliffe Estates Community Association’s first winter carnival is scheduled for Saturday, February 11 to coincide with Hockey Day in Canada. The rink will be used for hockey games in the morning, with a City-staff-vs.-residents hockey game. Anyone interested in playing for the residents must contact Jordan, an employee of Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod, to be ruled eligible.”
to
“Westcliffe Park – Westcliffe Estates Community Association’s first winter carnival is scheduled for Saturday, February 11 to coincide with Hockey Day in Canada. The rink will be used for hockey games in the morning with residents playing against each other. Residents interested in playing should contact Jordan from WECA at WestcliffeSpecialEvents@gmail.com”

Please remove the photo of myself that you took from my Facebook profile. In addition refrain from using other photos of me and linking my Facebook profile to your blog. Who I work for does not need to be public information and as such should only be my business.

– Just to clarify, Jordan, about the Hockey Day game on Sat. Feb. 11. Which version below is accurate?

City staff vs. residents? (Westcliffe Estates Community Association’s Facebook page)
Residents vs. residents? (what you want me to use on my blog)
City Staff (Chiarelli’s office) vs. the community? (on the WECA mailing list?)

Let me know which one is correct and I’ll post it. Maybe you can send me a pdf version of your flyer? I can help you, Jay and Rick distribute it in Lynwood Village – the only Bells Corners Hockey Day action is in Westcliffe Park this year (unlike 2010 and 2009).

It looks like there will be quite a crowd of politicians showing up for a photo op on Feb. 11: Rick, your boss Lisa, maybe Randall and Terry, and probably others. Perhaps even Jim or Stephen!

So why not have a residents vs. politicians hockey game in Westcliffe Park? Rick in nets, Lisa and Pierre on the blueline, Alex dipsy-doodling at centre, Jim flying down the left wing on his ankles, Rusty patrolling the right side, Jay as enforcer – you guys could field quite a team!

As for the photo, I didn’t steal it – you’re already on public display on the “contact-us” page of the Westcliffe Estates Community Association and also on the WECA Facebook page.

But I’ll remove the photo from the Jan. 23 post – it seems like the courteous thing to do, even if your cover has already been blown – the photo below recently appeared in a local “community” paper.

Sorry, Jordan, but changing a link on my blog seems like an unreasonable request, so forget that.

I also don’t agree with you that a community association executive member’s job is private information, not in this case anyway.

Community association board members are elected at public meetings, and normally voters like to know a little bit about the people who represent them.

It’s newsworthy that political aides sit on the boards of community associations. If Jay, Lida or Alex ran for president of the Lynwood Village Community Association I’d report on that too – people like to know, and my blog is all about providing residents with local news that might interest them and isn’t reported by the commercial media or the politicians.

I’m not saying that you or Jay shouldn’t be on community associations boards. I know you do good work – I hear you were paid $1000 for labouring on the community rink last year. I’m just saying that it shouldn’t be secret information – transparency and freedom of information are always good things.

I’d love to play in the Hockey Day game, Jordan, so please add me to one of the rosters.

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4 Responses to politicians infiltrate community associations

  1. Rich Littleton says:

    That’s some funny stuff, trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. The next progression is for some PC Party law-YER to start making grandiose threats and the issue will grow legs faster than you can say “Lloyd Francis Blvd.” You’d think a “fart catcher” would be more savvy. Less is more when it comes to keeping a low profile. I understand that Alex Lewis’ spouse was quite the little hockey player back in the day, I wonder if the game could be opened up to spouses?

  2. TonyL1 says:

    “Jay as enforcer – you guys could field quite a team!”

    Naw, Jay would be better on the sidelines filming the whole thing wearing a wire, while throwing loose change at the ice…..!!

  3. margaret says:

    think you’re being a bit rough on Jordan – he’s representing the Westcliffe community association (WECA) in this item no-one else – he’s not a politician, he’s a volunteer, and a young one at that … a high school student – what my generation would call ‘youth’ … and we should be encouraging him and this kind of participation in our communities

    this all boils down to what is ‘public’ for friend-networking and what needs, or in this case doesn’t need, to be shared with others

    and this is the problem with facebook and its ilk … it is so easy to link to ‘other’ sites, and this is what obviously happened … the link on the WECA site was for residents to respond to Jordan directly through his FB site (maybe an error on both WECA’s and his part) – thus the photo etc I suppose on your part (reasonable reaction) but …

    did his site link to anything about his work or Lisa’s? … most likely not for the general public access and not relevant on the topic of a hockey game in Westcliffe …
    did you need to go further than his WECA link on FB? …. no, I don’t think so.

    what I see him asking now is simply for you to correct that link to an established e-mail specifically for this event, which is a good idea for his privacy and for WECA – in fact something that I would highly recommend for anything like this, and have done it many times when I didn’t want my personal e-mail used etc … unfortunately he has not corrected it on the WECA FB site yet

    by the way … thanks for advertising the WECA event – hope they have a great success

    – Maybe I am being a bit hard on him. We do need to encourage our youth, especially the non-slovenly articulate ones.

    I don’t mean to be disrespectful – I’m sure Jordan is doing good things, organizing the kids, working as a “paid volunteer” at the rink while drawing a wage from Lisa MacLeod and acting as a voting member of the WECA board. Pretty impressive for a high school kid!

    I have no problem with that and I totally agree with you – I wish more youth (and adults) were working as community volunteers. And we definitely need more politically-engaged students.

    And, sure, he’s not a politician (yet), but working for a politician is the surest path to being a politician – you don’t have to look far to see examples of that!

    So can we at least call him a ‘wannabe politician’ where skills like organizing, spinning, networking, recruiting and campaigning are the lifeblood of the profession?

    I certainly respect the rights of community association board members to be politically active, working for politicians at election time like you-know-who, or even being on the politicians’ payroll like Jordan. I just don’t think that it should be hidden from the community, especially since it’s already in the public domain.

    Sure, Rick and Lisa are popular with many many residents and businesses, and if politicians and political aides want to participate in our community celebration – I say great! It’ll make the day even more fun and everyone is welcome (unless Bill or a City bureaucrat decides to ban me as a favour to Rick).

    So congratulations to everyone in the WECA who has helped organize and make this day happen – I know that many others besides Jordan have worked on this initiative. A special tip of the toque to the guys out flooding late at night.

    But don’t forget that MOST Bells Corners residents DIDN’T vote for Lisa and Rick, so I’m a bit uneasy to see holidays becoming sponsored by politicians using taxpayer funds to promote themselves.

    It’s bad enough that Christmas is so commercialized – do we have to turn every holiday into a marketing day for politicians and corporations? Sure they provide the community with “donations” like chunks of the politicians’ ample slush funds office budgets or donations of product, but is this really free money?

    After Rick Chiarelli’s New Year’s Eve, will we next have Stephen Harper’s Canada Day, Jim Watson’s St. Patrick’s Day, Pierre Poilievre’s Aboriginal Day, John Baird’s Earth Day, Larry O’Brien’s Eid and Lisa MacLeod’s Hockey Day?

    Was Jordan being a bit devious by telling me to change my blog reference to “residents vs. residents” when it appears obvious that it’s “politicians-their-employees-and-selected-City-bureaucrats vs. residents for a photo op?” Maybe not, but he has kissed the ring finger of the local Tory machine, no?

  4. Megan says:

    Hi Craig,
    I just wanted to offer a correction. The hockey games we’re trying to organize in Westcliffe aren’t going to involve politicians or City staff anymore. The WECA email went out without the correction being made beforehand. While having a game against City staff was something we were hoping for it didn’t pan out. If anyone is interested in just having a fun game of hockey they are more than welcome to come by the rink on February 11.

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