Originally Published on the ECOreport (Now Cortes Currents)

Almost a month after they filed their petition in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the havoc left fourteen Cortes residents continues to spread. As of the Thursday, January 24, 2019, board meeting, the SRD largely sidelines Cortes Island until they understand the petition’s legal ramifications. 

SRD Largely Sidelines Cortes Island

There will be no appointments to Cortes Island’s 2019 Advisory Commission, or actions taken in response to the referenda about holding referenda on the proposed hall tax or establishing a first responder service.

“I think it does show that our regional director has lost the confidence of the board,” says Maureen Bader, a retired economist/commentator who has been attending SRD board meetings “almost since I moved here” in August 2017.

Gary Cork and John Preston were in a little group that hoped to help present a petition in which 196 Cortes residents expressed their support for Regional Director Noba Anderson. (I understand that number has since passed 250 and includes people who voted for Anderson’s opponent, George Sirk, in the recent election.)

“The very first issue that did arise, in the first minute there were three particular motions to disenfranchise Cortes for the foreseeable future because of the implications of this pending lawsuit. So before we really even got settled in our seats, they had already got that over with. The main thing we had come to be a presence for had happened …” - John Preston

In The Podcast:

  • Gary Cork, John Preston & Maureen Bader describe the SRD meeting & motions.
  • Maureen Bader describes her background and explains why she has been attending SRD Board Meetings for the past year and a half. She also shares some thoughts about the two tabled referenda.
  • De Clarke describes some of the history behind “Cortes Island’s Hall Tax war.”
  • Short clips from previous interviews with Lovena Harvey, Barry Glickman and Amanda Glickman.
  • The petitions allegations can be arranged in two groups: erroneous and unsubstantiated allegations (excerpt follows).

“As a lot of people have now realized, in order to know what is going on at those meetings, you need to go. The minutes do not really give you any detail at all. If you want to know at all the details of what is being discussed there and all the details, you just absolutely have to go. The reason I go is because, having worked at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and being interested in the tax issues that there are here on this island, I know that if I want to be able to keep an eye on what is going on at the local government level, I have to go to those meetings … I have been almost since I moved here, so I moved here in August, 2017, and I have been going almost whenever there is a tax issue …” - Maureen Bader.

IMG_0129 by Djun Kim via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

Erroneous Allegations

“On January 2, 2019, fourteen Cortes residents filed their legal petition in the Supreme court of British Columbia. The first order sought in their petition was to have Noba Anderson “disqualified from holding office until the next general local election.” They allege that twelve individuals, with varying degrees of connectivity to eight Cortes organizations, bribed Regional Director Anderson through a GoFundMe campaign set up after her father accidentally burned his cabin down. The campaign was launched on March 13, 2018 and Director Anderson allegedly rewarded ten of the defamed donors through funding provided to their respective organizations by the Strathcona Regional District’s 2018 Grant in Aid project. Director Anderson allegedly found other ways to reward the other two donors.”

“Half of these charges can be dismissed immediately with a quick search of the board minutes posted on the Strathcona Regional District website

  • “Cortes Radio is included in the allegations because three of its volunteer DJs and a volunteer board member donated $75, $100 and $50 respectively. The problem with this allegation is that Cortes Radio has not applied for or received a grant in aid since 2017. Our DJS and Director gave their money to the victims of a fire.”
  • “The $50 donation I just mentioned came from Barry and Amanda Glickman, who have been instrumental in setting up an emergency communications network in communities throughout the Strathcona Regional District. Problem: The Glickmans connection to the SRD is not through Director Anderson, and they have never applied for or received a grant in aid.”
  • “A $20 donation made by Morgan Tams is supposedly connected to his alleged garbage collection contract with the Strathcona Regional District: “An SRD contract which has never publicly been placed for bid.” Had the petitioners done little more research they would have discovered that Morgan Tams is not, and never has been, Cortes Island’s garbage collector. Margaret Verschuur was awarded the contract for 2012-16, and it has been renewed twice since then.”
  • “The petitioners suggest that a $40 donation made by former Advisory Planning Commission member Corry Dow was also a bribe. She was, I quote, “appointed to the APC by Anderson and has personally contributed to the GoFundMe account.” end of quote. The logic behind this particular accusation totally escapes me, but is also totally irrelevant as she sat on the APC in 2016 – 2017 – not 2018.” 

Unsubstantiated Allegations

The remaining allegations pertain to donations of between $50 and $100, made by seven people with varying degrees of connectivity to six of Cortes Island’s non profit organizations. It now looks like there was not a serving Director among them. Donations were made by :

  • a member (former volunteer Director)
  • a janitor
  • someone whose precise job I am not sure of, aside from the fact that it involves publications;
  • someone who the petitioners erroneously label as a director, though he is not and has never been a director, he is a subcontractor who maintains trails in the island’s parks;
  • his wife;
  • an annual event organizer (& former volunteer board member of a different organization)
  • and the hall manager who serves as RD Anderson’s alternate director. 

There appear to be more than 12 people in the two lists above because some are cited in two ways. ( Example: Barry Glickman who has has been setting up the SRD’s communications network and is one of Cortes Radio’s volunteer Directors.)

There is no evidence that these donations actually were bribes, just unsubstantiated allegations presented as facts.

Photo Credits: SVI Hollyhock-145 by Sara Dent via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License); in podcast - Roy L Hales; IMG_0129 by Djun Kim via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)