Cortes Island regional district director Noba Anderson has been warned she could be the author of her own “demise.”
That warning comes from Strathcona Regional District (SRD) Chair Craig Anderson, the mayor of Gold River, in reference to Anderson’s summer newsletter to her constituents in which she suggested that one island resident was undermining the majority.
Anderson – writing that she was just back from a “self-imposed mental sanity leave” – commented that Cortes resident Wendy Legare “has attended just about every regional district board meeting for close to three years and writes repeatedly to the board about issues that matter to her.”
The Cortes director suggested that without other Cortes Islanders in attendance at SRD meetings Legare’s “minority view can greatly influence decisions and therefore undermine the majority will.”
Anderson also took aim at all Cortes Islanders because “very few of you will ever take a day out of your lives and incur the ferry cost in order to witness local government decisions and processes.”
Finally, she wrote: “It would not therefore occur to you to either support (Legare’s) perspective on issues or present your own.”
SRD chair Anderson says he has reviewed the Cortes newsletter in question and can find “nothing underhanded in (the director’s) writings.”
“I have talked to the director on numerous occasions about conflicts on Cortes,” he added.
“How she deals with it could be her demise.”
“How is this news?” Anderson demanded when contacted by the Mirror.
“Quite frankly I’m floored.”
She said the newsletter content was meant to compliment Legare’s “engagement.”
She added that her goal is to get the public more engaged and “the same half dozen folks are blowing this way the hell out of proportion.”
Regardless, her newsletter has earned her less than flattering reviews.
The group “Reality Check – Islands North” has highlighted “Anderson’s act of subjecting a citizen to public embarrassment merely for exercising her civic rights” and for characterizing those rights “as a wrongful act of intimidation.”
Tim Murray, a Quadra Island member of the local government monitor, has demanded to know why the SRD board has not “chastised Anderson for her disparaging act.”
A letter in support of Legare’s diligence was sent to the SRD board by Klahoose First Nation Chief James Delorme.
“We appreciate those Area B citizens who are in attendance at regional meetings outside Cortes Island, at their own financial debt, who can relay unbiased information back to our community.”
Board chair Anderson says he has written the chief to assure him that “we believe in free speech.”
Daniel Fretts, a Cortes property owner who had Legare as a public school teacher, wrote:
“It seems incomprehensible that a government official would denounce a citizen for attending meetings and writing letters. She (Legare) has participated in the process of local government as it was intended to function. Members of the public who hold ‘minority views’ must be permitted to freely express themselves ... without fear of discrimination or intimidation.”
Legare could not be reached for comment.
By Brian Kieran - Campbell River Mirror
Published: September 06, 2012 3:00 PMLinks to related articles:
Director Anderson's July 16 Newsletter:http://www.cortesisland.com/cgi-bin/tideline/show_article_attachment.cgi?TY=ar&ID=5042&F=Newsletter_July_2012.pdf&X=1347279817000/Newsletter_July_2012.pdf
Daniel Fretts' letter to the Board:http://srdws.strathconard.ca/Agenda_minutes/SRDBoard/BRD/23-Aug-12/20120817-Fretts_Regional-Director-Report.pdf
Klahoose Chief's letter:http://srdws.strathconard.ca/Agenda_minutes/SRDBoard/BRD/23-Aug-12/20120823-Klahoose-First-Nation_Public-Meeting-Attendance_Communication.pdf
"Reality Check" on Tideline by Tim Murray:http://www.cortesisland.com/tideline/go5281a/Reality_Check-_Islands_North