Fraser Rec District recall election brought truth to light
March 15, 2009
To the Editor:
All the recall election costs could have been saved if the Fraser Valley Metropolitan recreation District board had conducted itself more civically, less self-interestedly. For example, had the FVMRD board members filed the required conflict of interest disclosure statements on time, the public would have been on notice sooner and could have watched more closely the problems with Grand Park and Clark Lipscomb.
And, for example, if the FVMRD board had maintained a policy of open government and had discussed its contract with Grand Park at open meetings, the recall would not have been prosecuted. If the contract and tax problems are not cured soon, dealing the rec center building to Clark Lipscomb is the real expense our community may suffer ” a $15 million expense. Add another couple of million dollars if the IRS changes the tax status of the bonds due to the failure of the FVMRD and its lawyer to get a timely tax opinion.
These problems have not changed despite the recall election results. It is silly to say, for example, that $5,000 spent on the recall election could have been spent on recreation equipment. The budget for the rec center was prepared incorrectly from the beginning, from before the November 2007 referendum, and budget problems persist. Like the contract with Grand Park, the rec center budget has not been discussed properly in open meetings. The rec center is not “on budget,” and FVMRD board members Dan O’Connell and Beth Sands never should have said so because such a statement just continues to mislead our community, including the people who voted to retain them.
Take the stated costs of the recall election at $12,931, and divide by the number of eligible voters, approximately 7,700. The cost to the taxpayers is around $1.70 per taxpayer ” a very small price to pay for democracy. Democracy, with its costs, works in our community. We are pleased that we were able to take this issue to the complete conclusion of a recall election. It brought to light the ongoing problems in a way that nothing else could. We are proud of our efforts and the privileges that are allowed to us by living in a democracy.
“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” ” Winston Churchill
“Democracy is the only system that persists in asking the powers that be whether they are the powers that ought to be.” ” Sydney J. Harris