Is Thomas Vann being ignored by Cambridge city council? Over the Voter to Vote task force?

By  | June 25, 2011 | 3 Comments | Filed under: Keeping track of Cambridge Council 2010-2014

Thomas Vann contacted Cambridge Ontario’s city Council months ago to volunteer his services on the Voter to Vote Task force

To date he has been totally ignored. Is there a valid reason for this kind of disrespect?

Has he not proven he is committed and dedicated enough to stand on this committee?

Or is he too dedicated and committed enough to stand on this committee?..

It’s clear from the last Voter to vote task force in which Ben Tucci insisted on chairing, that it’s in desperate need of someone who cares about the residents and not just themselves..

Time to get a petition going Tommy and bring it to city hall..

Remember this article from the KW Record June 2, 2100?

Democracy won in court challenge

Thomas Vann and Debbie Vitez have lost their fight for a new municipal election in Cambridge but they have won the respect of their fellow citizens.

At a time when the meaning of democracy is being fiercely debated around the world, these two individuals stood up for people-power in their own Canadian community. They stuck out their necks, challenged Cambridge city hall and, after failing to win their case, were ordered to pay $2,500 toward the city’s legal costs.

For their risk, their effort and their very real sacrifice in time and money, they deserve applause. Whether they were right or wrong in their assessment of last fall’s vote in Cambridge is actually of secondary importance.

We see no reason to question Monday’s ruling by Justice Jane Milanetti that the election in Cambridge was legitimate and that a second, city-wide vote is unnecessary. Given the high cost of an election and the incredible work candidates and their supporters devote to a campaign, the results of a civic vote should be overturned only when egregious errors have been made that leave the integrity of the entire process open to doubt.

Clearly, Justice Milanetti rejected the argument that such extraordinary circumstances occurred in Cambridge last Oct. 25. On balance, the judge appears to have ruled wisely and reasonably based on the admissible evidence brought before her.

But the health of democracy in Cambridge — indeed in Ontario itself — is stronger because of the civic activism of Vitez and Vann. They observed problems on voting day and heard from other citizens with similar concerns. Many seniors were upset because polling stations that had been in their buildings were moved. Other voters complained bitterly about waits of up to 1 ½ hours at polling stations. Vann and Vitez also claimed the vote counting machines didn’t all work properly.

Most citizens alerted to such problems would do nothing. Vann, who ran unsuccessfully for a council seat that day, and Vitez took action. Because of them, the civic election came under close scrutiny. Questions were asked. Complaints were considered. Explanations were heard and improvements could come. Today, Cambridge citizens can have full confidence in the official outcome of the city’s last election even if that election was not perfectly run.

The most regrettable aspect of this outcome is the personal cost to Vann and Vitez. Neither frivolous nor mischievous, their complaints were genuine expressions of serious concerns. They testified that they spent $3,000 of their own money to bring their case to court. Under such circumstances, the judge’s order for them to pay $2,500 of the city’s costs seems harsh. As taxpayers, Vann and Vitez have already paid for the city’s lawyer and its legal response to their challenge. It is arguable they should not have to pay twice.

Society’s interests are not served by discouraging citizens from questioning an election. No, our democracy is stronger when the democratic process is exposed to the light shone by an impartial judge.

Perhaps what is needed is another avenue for concerned citizens to follow other than one that leads to a courtroom. It makes sense that Vann and Vitez would be reluctant to have the City of Cambridge hear their complaints because it is the City of Cambridge they were complaining about. The Ontario government could consider having an impartial official like the provincial ombud who can address future complaints from citizens like Vann and Vitez.

As for Cambridge, it is appropriate that the city has revived its voters’ task force advisory committee to encourage greater participation in the 2014 municipal vote. We can think of no more appropriate candidates for this committee than Vann and Vitez.–democracy-won-in-court-challenge



3 Responses to Is Thomas Vann being ignored by Cambridge city council? Over the Voter to Vote task force?

    W. Clarke June 25, 2011 at 11:03 am

    This guy is a must for this committee Cambridge! l don’t think he will get asked for the simple reason he won’t take their shit and he will expose any unwillingness for constructive changes. The City can’t let him get involved or the fur will fly because they can’t control Mr. Vann.

    agm June 25, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Committees of Council are prone to the vagaries of Council. Oftentimes they are in existence simply to go through the Motions and allow Council to pretend that they are addressing the issue.

    Thomas Vann June 25, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    The terms of reference have not been revised as yet Donna told me. She got back to me quickly and will l’m sure keep me posted. This was a good of her. Next l hope to get the “come down to city hall Thomas we would like to talk to you” call. l don’t think there will be a pretend attitude by me agm. You know me better than this. Either we do or we don’t. l’m not there to be a social butterfly. Councillors will not be coming up saying we want this area in this ward or this group doesn’t matter for voting. l do agree with what you saying for some people.Could you imagine if l reverse my stance in any way towards a fair and honest effort? l’d lose both my friends. l laughed at W. Clarkes’ comment. He may be right though.

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