With so many things to write about every day and so many cases of political corruption and police brutality going on around the nation, it's not a surprise that I haven't managed to get back to the Union Bay Improvement District (UBID) and its war of words until now.
It's not that I didn't want to. Work and life just get in the way sometimes, you know? But this fine sunny Saturday morning I decided to wade through my long list of articles waiting to be written, and the caption of one news story caught my eye: "Two quit at Union Bay".
For those not familiar with the tiny community of Union Bay, on British Columbia's Vancouver Island, it's the kind of place you wouldn't think would become the center of a Freedom of Speech battle, yet it is.
Mary Reynolds, a long-time resident of the area, was sued by the [alleged] morons supposedly running the UBID for having the audacity to actually ask questions and point out conflicts of interest where she (and many others) saw them. As a taxpaying citizen, it is her absolute right to question how those who hold public office perform their jobs. Indeed it is all our right to do so.
Those holding public office seldom agree, of course.
Like all good small-town tyrants, those holding office at UBID took great exception to their activities being scrutinized and questioned and did their best to silence Mary Reynolds. That's when this case first hit my radar. Any time some asinine bureaucrat thinks they can strip honest citizens of their God-given Rights, I tend to get my dander up.
The case of the [alleged] morons running the District of Union Bay vs. Mary Reynolds certainly did that.
Since I originally wrote about this case I've been contacted by some of the good folks who live in Union Bay, and they have been willing and able to provide me with a wealth of background information into the case. (No, in case you're wondering, Mary Reynolds is NOT one of those people providing me with background info on the seemingly-corrupt goings-on of the Union Bay Improvement District. That would probably be a violation of the terms of a Supreme Court Consent Order that's currently in force.)
What's both hilarious and disturbing is how these elected officials seem willing to say and do anything to protect their little fiefdom from being disrupted, as well as safeguarding the deals that appear to line their pockets.
With an average annual after-tax income of just over $21,000, Union Bay landowners were justifiably upset that their local government was running up a legal bill of over $100,000 just to shut up one outspoken senior citizen.
Things came to a head at the April 30th meeting of UBID, where all but one of the candidates embroiled in this scandal who were up for re-election lost.
The local group Taxpayers for Accountable Governance (TAG) were outspoken in their expressions of who they thought ought to be elected, and their will won the day in that election.
That says a lot for the good folks of Union Bay. They stood up for what they believe is right. When their local government is more concerned with themselves than with the good of the people they are supposedly elected to take care of, Union Bay residents kicked the bums out.
Personally, I love that.
Alan deJersey was not up for re-election this year. However, in the wake of his cohorts being so unceremoniously booted from office in the May election, deJersey decided cowardice was the better part of valour and he resigned. I guess he just wasn't very interested in having his ass handed to him on a platter when his term of office was up.
UBID's administrator, Brenda Fisher, a cohort of deJersey's and fellow Mary Reynolds-hater, also resigned at the same time.
In tendering his resignation, outgoing former board chair (and sore loser) Alan deJersey wrote to the new board chair, Carol Molstad, that:
"You have endorsed and still condone the activities of an irrational landowner who continues to personally attack trustees and staff in contempt of a Supreme Court Consent Order."
Naturally he offers no actual proof of this allegation, preferring to slander Mary Reynolds behind her back than to actually offer any evidence to support his allegations.
The thing that I found most offensive, though, was how Philip Round, the reporter for the Comox Valley Echo, couldn't be bothered to do any research before writing what amounts to defamation of two unnamed individuals.
He also claimed administrator Brenda Fisher had been "harassed.. to the point she has been forced to resign her position."
And he leveled an accusation that two TAG supporters had been financially "rewarded" since the new board first met in May, although he did not specify how.
Like all good cowards, deJersey is willing to lob steaming piles of poo at the wall in the hopes that any of it will stick.
What's reprehensible is that this so-called "reporter", Philip Round, would write it, and that a publisher would print it.
Alan deJersey is considered by many in the area to be an intensely aggressive individual who demands he get his way. Clearly he is upset that he's not been able to do so, and is even more upset that he has been stripped of his very own private and personal fiefdom.
Sore losers are a dime a dozen, sadly. deJersey appears to be the latest in a long line of individuals who, upon being stripped of their power feel a great need to lash out at anyone and everyone who they hold responsible for their downfall.
Why is it that [alleged] morons like this never simply look in the mirror? If they took just ten seconds to do so, they would see instantly where the problem really lies.
That's not going to happen in Union Bay, however. Despite the fact the UBID under its new chairwoman has pulled out of the legal battle to censor Mary Reynolds and strip her of her Right to Freedom of Speech the [alleged] moron squad, consisting of Alan de Jersey, David Godfrey, Denis Royer, David McDowell, James Smith, Debora McMahon, Brenda Fisher, and Gloria Royer have not.
That's a lot of people spending a lot of money to shut up a single 60-year-old woman for the "crime" of exercising her Right to Freedom of Speech.