STOP THE PRESSES!

We had to laugh when we saw the Record and NewsLeader’s sensationalized “news flash” stories about Bob Osterman and Betty McIntosh “leaving” Voice. News travels fast in this town, eh? Will they be reporting on the disappearance of Amelia Earhart or the landing of the first man on the moon next?

Bob Osterman hasn’t really been part of Voice since the election campaign two years ago. We don’t have any particular problem with Bob or the representation he has provided for the community, but Bob was really only onboard with Voice during the election — and only nominally so — as he really never fully bought into the concept of a team working together for a common purpose.

But for the record (no pun intended), Bob Osterman has never been central to Voice and we presume vice versa. Despite the slow news day “news flash” stories, things are pretty much as they always have been and no one ever expected that Bob would run with Voice again.

We can certainly appreciate the kind of strain that Bob and Betty have been under on council during the past two years. In the Record, Betty very eloquently alluded to the kind of bullying they’ve been subjected to at the hands of their council mates from the-slate-that-claims-they-aren’t-a-slate. We feel for Bob and Betty on this point and have always indicated our readiness to back them up on issues. They took a bold step in joining forces with Voice and stepping away, albeit tentatively, from the past and into the future.

Unfortunately, Bob and Betty didn’t have the same strongly developed connection to the Voice team the way the three Voice school trustees did and consequently Bob and Betty didn’t have the strength to stand up to the bullying. And based on what we’ve seen and heard over the past year or so, Bob seems to have been particularly shaken by the experience of stepping out from his old comfort zone.

Fortunately for the community, Lisa Graham, Jim Goring and Casey Cook have had a much more successful, more team-spirited relationship on the school board with solid support from the community and Voice members. As a result of that mutually supportive spirit they’ve demonstrated the kind of positive results that can be achieved when the community’s interests are put before special interests.

The strong community voice the Voice trustees have brought to the school board table is what got things on track with the middle school and high school projects after decades of watching these projects languish in a cloud of stale thinking and the patronizing “we-know-best” attitude of trustees from the-slate-that-claims-they-aren’t-a-slate slate.

So, contrary to amusingly sensationalized non-news stories on the subject in the NewsLeader and Record, Voice is very much alive; And slowly but surely the nepotism, cronyism and special interest agendas that have taken precedence over community interests in New Westminster for decades are being replaced by accountability, transparency and fresh thinking, and Voice is at the forefront of bringing about these positive changes.

We wish Bob and Betty all the best in the final year of their electoral term and we will continue to be ready to back them up on issues of importance to the community. But we’re also keeping our eyes open for fresh new talent that can help move our community into the future while building on the best of the past. And we’ll also be watching for any breaking news on the Amelia Earhart and moon landing stories!

26 thoughts on “STOP THE PRESSES!

  1. All nice a well, but Bob’s response insults to the very core. He insults me and the rest of the voters that supported Voice candidates in the last election. Bob is a pure opportunist and this goes to his core values when you see him suck up to labour on council decisions, it’s time for Bob to retire and join a resident association. This way he will learn what its like to be marginalized. I supported Bob for a long time but enough is enough!

  2. Well-written post by “admin” (I love the anonymity of the web…).
    I just take issue with the “sensationalism” accusation about the news coverage. I’ll let the folks at the Record speak for themselves, but our story was hardly written in a breathless, sensational style. It stated the facts. The average person is not intimately connected with the workings within local political groups and the story informed them that, yes, B&B ran with Voice last time, but they’ve since left the coop.
    My two bits.
    -Chris Bryan, editor, NewsLeader

  3. To CB: I love your choice of the term, “left the coop.”
    To “admin”: some “fresh new talent” would be great. It would sure beat the present system we seem to have in this city of recycling politicians back and forth between federal, provincial and municipal office.

  4. So sad to see what Bob’s career has come down to. His comment is a slap in the face to everyone I know who voted for him because he was a Voice candidate. The only person I see being negative is Bob himself. He won’t get my vote in 2011. No way.

  5. Say isn’t this Bob the guy that chairs the city traffic advisory commitee? If so he hasn’t a clue what he is doing – he should resign and do it now before he causes any more damage!

  6. Disappointingly, Betty and Bob have made absolutely no difference in the shaping of our community during their current seats on council. They have continuously taken the high road and voted along with the majority. In hind sight it is best that they find their own way next election. Neither of them have the strength or the integrity to represent Voice and all the good that it stands for. Maybe Wayne will make room for them on his slate along with Cal.

  7. I wonder how Bob Osterman can claim that Voice is no longer active when he is not part of it, from what I have heard he never really was part of it. I didn’t see Voice on any of his signs or advertising in the last election and as a result his numbers went down. Bob labour is not going to be your life jacket as you sink in the river of negativity!
    Betty I am not sure why you made your decision so early considering an election is still 12 months away. At least you are sofisticated enough to realize that with the support of Voice and the other candidates you recieved more votes than before. I hope you reconsider when the time comes.

  8. To Jim:
    Betty and Bob do chair various committees and have done so for the many years that they have served the City on council. It is one of the many commitments and time-consuming activities that councilors undertake for their astronomical (plant tongue firmly in cheek) salaries.

  9. Thanks for the comment Chris Bryan. In defense of Chris, he has written many excellent articles on the state of the city. He has pointed out the deteriorating state of the City’s finances and has pointed out other issues. I am a Voice member, will continue to be, and I appreciate the approach the NewsLeader has taken. As to Mr. Osterman, best wishes. He really never was a committed member of Voice. Betty’s comments are interesting. She admits that other members of Council can bully her into quitting. Speaks volumes. It seems that the Record and Tenth to the Fraser Blog have become the chosen mouthpieces for the City and its Spin Doctor.

  10. As an observer to this process, it is discouraging to see this happen.
    What many people hoped would happen is that an effective opposition component would establish itself in the political process in New West.
    That is what some of us hoped would happen, and we were looking to Voice to fill that role.
    Without it, we will continue to see the budget increase 10% every year.
    We will see high-rises appear everywhere, with little spin-off benefit.
    Uptown, downtown, will see drug deals openly taking place as the whacko left social re-engineering agenda continues.
    We will continue to see election announcements similar to the Pier Park, an initiative that has become New West’s Fast Ferries equivalent.
    Please, folks, get it together!!

  11. All do respect, and I had a lot for Councillor Osterman, but why the sudden turncoat. Has the back room decision making caucus of the labour boys become threatening, or was it the Mayor and his “You two have drawn the line in the sand” comment that scared you into the me too club of their labour endorsed slate. First he states he will be running as an absolute independent and in the next breath offer up an opportunity for others to join him? Is this the indesisive way he will represent his constituents?
    As for his opportunist comments about Voice and negativity, I am amazed his memory has so quickly faded. The many issues brought to the public were negative, negative to the citizens of New West. The opposition portrayed Voice as negative only as a means to defend imcompetance. The Record joined in and consistently berated Voice. They did so knowing the lucrative contract with the city needed protecting.
    There were many Negative issues which have turned positive as a result of Voice poking Council and School District. Voice is not at all negative, the current issues, (Over Taxation, over staffing, waste at the consultant level, and others) are negative and yes Voice has worked hard to offer alternate methods of dealing with the issues.
    Bob should concentrate on enjoying the balance of his term.

    As for Betty, She has my support and her leaving Voice is not an issue because she speaks out in spite of the bullying from others on council. Now including Bob as confirmed by his negative treatment and lack of respect in debate
    We love you Betty! Don’t succumb to this group who represent only a small minority.
    Voter apathy in New West! You bet! Why? After decades of labour control why bother! Now those wishing to see change and accountability have a choice. Join us and help bring New West into the future.

  12. I think that it is a shame that Betty could let “bullying” tactics make her resign from Voice but I appreciate her candour and positive comments about the people involved with Voice. Thank you Betty, I wish you well!

    As for Bob, his comments were very disappointing. Bob was obviously bitter long before the election (or the formaton of Voice) but he seemed to have turned that corner once he joined Voice so it is strange that he said what he said.

    Maybe his comments are a result of the same source of bullying that Betty referred to and he just doesn’t recognize it. Maybe so, maybe not, but I don’t think anything could make Bob happy right now.

    One thing is for sure, I will not be putting his garish-looking signs on my lawn again or voting for him at electon time. It’s all about carma.

  13. The Tenth to the Fraser bloggers don’t focus entirely on politics and have some interesting posts on issues beyond politics. Believe it or not there is more to life.
    :-)
    I think they’ve done a great job of carving out a New Westminster cyber-community.
    Agreed, Chris has done some great editorials over the last few years.

  14. It is not important who isn’t in the room. What is important is who IS in the room.
    Voice needs to remain vigilant in its commitment to represent residents and taxpayers.
    The city is currently in the clutches of special interest groups, narrow minded opportunists and those seeking self-aggrandizement.
    Move on.

  15. Relax, play the game.
    Rasputi, his 5’3″ track star buddy, and this group of hangers-on eating at the trough will soon be gone.

  16. I think Voice made a good showing in their first time up to bat. I had hoped for more change at the polls but was impressed with how the Voice candidates successfully forced the issues. Keep up the good work Voice. Councillor MacIntosh’s actions strike me as being wishy-washy and the only way to describe Councillor Osterman’s recent comments is bizarre.

  17. Councillor Betty McIntosh says THANK YOU to all who are involved with sharing their opinions. I will continue to work for the whole community of New Westminster!

  18. Sounds good Betty.
    The Mayor would say the same thing.
    The four Councillors bought and paid for by the District Labor Council would say exactly the same thing.
    Your voting record differs very little from them.
    Name one initiative that you have brought forward to counter or mitigate the long term harm being visited on the city by these spendthrift scoundrels.
    In the reports in the paper it sure sounded like you got bullied out of your Voice membership.
    Sorry, that just doesn’t cut it.

  19. Betty you need to stop letting those labour bullies pick on you, please vote in the best interests of the community. Why hasn’t the public been consulted on all this increased traffic that translink and the city officials have planned for us? November will be too little too late!

  20. Hey Betty to you support the Mayor plan to aggressively density to lower home owner’s property taxes and do you think it is working?

  21. How Bob chose to exit Voice is unfortunate but not surprising. It is typical of his style. On a more positive note, with his departure, maybe now critics and the local news reporters won’t be labelling Voice as being ‘negative’.

    Good wishes to Betty but I honestly don’t think that resigning from Voice will do anything to change your status with the rest of your Council. I hope you have not isolated yourself.

  22. NEW WESTMINSTER NEEDS “A VOICE, NOT AN ECHO”

    Readers of a certain age, and those of us with a political science background, will remember this slogan from an earlier age of politics when it was accompanied by the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion triggered by a little girl counting down to blast off by pulling petals off a daisy. Fortunately, the New Westminster City Council doesn’t have the bomb, only the Toxic Blob that it has to deal with as a legacy of its unfathomable “Ready … Fire… Aim” approach to land dealings, project development and expropriation of property.

    Rather, this recycled slogan is meant as a comment on the recent public defection of a couple of City Counsellors to join the fawning sycophants on City Council in defiance of the oft quoted Brian Mulroney dictum that “Ya dance with the one that brung ya”. With those defections, we are left only with echoes and no Voice in civic politics- even if they didn’t descent at all under the Voice umbrella. By the way, that isn’t the only thing that Brian Mulroney appropriated from another politician. Recall here, he learned to hide hordes of U.S. cash “placed in his care” by foreigners seeking favours, just like Bill Vander Zalm did before he left office in disgrace.

    Although not a particularly political person, I can only hope that VOICE, or something like it, will rise from the ashes left by these negative self-serving defectors so the next time we go to the poles in a civic election we can get rid of the “tax and spend” bunch we now have. I suspect , by looking at the horrendous increase in our utility bills (recently arrived at behind closed doors without a public process “cost increase” hearing like normal public utilities), that the current city hall gang will indeed take New Westminster to a first place position as the most taxed municipality in the Lower Mainland. (“We’re Number one! Yippee”)

    Not all the blame can be laid at the feet of the elected politicians; it must be shared by our growing number of $100,000+-a-year salaried senior civil servants. Most of whom either do not or will not live in New Westminster.

    Who will lead the next slate of reformers that New Westminster desperately needs? Hopefully, whoever they are, they will be positive voices, not echoes of the negative past so voters can have real alternative to the status quo in the next election. Tea Party anyone?

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