News

Developers court Ridge candidates

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Toss out a question into cyberspace and you never know what kind of response you’ll get – such as the few posed by The News on campaign donations to candidates from developers.

As could be expected, the response was varied.

The News asked Maple Ridge council candidates if they’d been approached by developers offering donations, and if so, by whom and how much.

Cheryl Ashlie has been approached by developers and says it’s a common practice.

If she gets a cheque in the mail for that purpose, she’ll send it back. She accepts help from friends and family however and will be reporting all that out, as required, in campaign disclosure forms after the election.

But running a campaign is expensive, said Dana Lang.

“It is great to have businesses and residents donate money, time, and items in kind because they believe in you and your campaign.

“Not all developers and real estate agents are bad. There are many upstanding members in our community.”

But it’s important to know the background of those contributors, she added.

For Elizabeth Taylor, in her second municipal campaign, candidates shouldn’t accept any donations of money. A friend has helped with some printing however, but she pays for own campaign. She hasn’t been approached by any developers.

Claus Andrup offers a blanket no when it comes to the question about being approached by developers.

He’s paying for most of his own campaign and says he’d accept donations from developers who want to develop in the downtown area or those wishing to expand their business into Maple Ridge. But he won’t accept contributions from “realtors, developers or property owners with land in the ALR.”

Ken Stewart, a former councillor and MLA, has had a number of people offer to give money to help with campaign costs, most of them individuals.

“I politely turned them all down and as with my last municipal election I will be paying all costs by myself.”

Al Hogarth says his largest contributions came from his own company, past clients, friends and associates.

“I view campaign donations no differently than endorsements of groups, unions or other organizations …

Alex Pope hasn’t had any offers of help from developers but doesn’t have a specific policy although he would not be willing to accept “excessively large contributions or contributions from someone whose vision for Maple Ridge wasn’t similar to my own.”

Corisa Bell hasn’t been approached by developers. “Donations will be arranged with my campaign manager and/or financial agent; I will never look at my list of campaign donors. I’ve made this decision to avoid those who intend to fund campaigns for the purpose of seeking future favour.”

Craig Speirs said he sent back a $500 cheque from a developer and also rejected a cheque from a union.

But accepting donations is all legal, he points out. He plans on releasing a list of his campaign donors next week and is challenging other candidates to do the same.

Jacques Blackstone hasn’t received any offers either. But if he did, he’d accept it, give a receipt and spend it. It doesn’t matter who contributed, “I’m fighting for my beliefs and no one can sway me.”

 

Here are the e-mail responses we received from Maple Ridge council candidates to the three questions posed by The News:

• Have you been approached by developers offering donations?

• If so, by whom, and how much?

• What is your policy on accepting contributions?

Alex Pope:

Have you been approached by developers offering donations? No.

If so, by whom, and how much? What is your policy on accepting contributions?

Haven't got a specific policy although I wouldn't be willing to accept excessively large contributions or contributions from someone whose vision for Maple Ridge wasn't similar to my own.

Robert Masse:

No, I have not been personally approached by any developers. I do casually know, through years in the community, some developers and none of them have offered me financial support. My initial position was to not accept or solicit any campaign donations from anyone. It was suggested, by a businessman friend (nothing to do with real estate or development), that I should accept donations and he has probably invited some people to financially support my campaign. I do not know whom, if anyone, has contributed to my campaign to date, nor do I care to know until such time as we are required to submit this information in compliance of the election rules.I have asked that he be clear with any and all potential financial supporters, from any walk of life,that they should only support me based on my stated position and platform and that they will in no way influence my decisions and direction.

Ken Stewart:

I have had a number of people offer to give me money for my election costs. Most were private individuals and a few business sorts. I politely turned them all down and as with my last Municipal election I will be paying all costs by myself.

Jacques Blackstone:

Have you been approached by developers offering donations? No

If so, by whom, and how much? $0.00

What is your policy on accepting contributions? Deposit in the bank, give a receipt, log it, and spend it! Doesn't matter who from, I'm fighting for my beliefs and no one can sway me.

Craig Speirs:

Good question, I have received a cheque from a developer for $500 and I have sent it back. My cover letter suggests they contribute to a local charity in celibration of democracy and the debt paid in blood by our parents and grandparents. Is it legal? You bet it is and we won't know who took the cash till well after the election. I have also refused a cheque from unions. I am endorsed by them but that's solely because of my community work and belief in social equity. The point is, we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard than demanded by senior government.  I think it's unethical to take money from someone doing business with the Corporation of the District of Maple Ridge when you are one of the decision makers.

I intend to release my list of donors a week before the election in an add which shouldn't be hard since I only accept money from friends and family. I challenge all other candidates to do the same. If they can't afford to, maybe The News could post their lists on-line. We have to be more transparent, before the election.

Claus Andrup:

No. (He hasn't been approached by developers.)

I do not accept donations from realtors, developers or property owners with land in the ALR.

I will accept donations from corporations wishing to set up shop in Maple Ridge as business expansion, other than real estate, is my platform.

I will also accept donations from developers who wish to pursue blue sky or brownfield developments in or around the town centre.

If a project contributes to densification I will gladly accept a modest donation.

If your project spells sprawl, keep your hands in your pocket.

I'm funded entirely by friends and my own purse.

Corisa Bell:

Special interest groups, including developers, play a large role not only via campaign donations but also by publicly backing specific candidates and/or promoting that candidate to their members.

I have not been approached by developers.

My policy on contributions is written on http://www.corisabell.com/how-you-can-help/

Donations will be arranged with my campaign manager and/or financial agent; I will never look at my list of campaign donors. I've made this decision to avoid those who intend to fund campaigns for the purpose of seeking future favour.

Carly O'Rourke:

I have not been approached by developers but I would not accept their funds anyway. I do accept contributions from family and friends and also donations from unions.

Grover Telford:

No, I have not been approached by developers and if I were to I would accept contributions up to $100. I have for the most part financed my own campaign save for a few small contributions totaling around $300.  As a result, I have no conflicts of interest and can make decisions on council because I will owe no one any allegiance.

Gladys Hewson:

I have not been approached by any developers offering donations.

I would not accept donations from developers.

Sandy Macdougall:

I will accept legal donations based on my own standards. The acceptance of any donation does not imply any future special consideration of any development proposal or any other matter the donor may be involved in whether the donor is a developer, other business person, union organization, church group, partisan political group or any other legal entity or individual.

I have not been approached by any developers offering donations. Of a total of approximately $3,000, I have accepted one donation of $500, with the balance comprised of many smaller donations. Following the election, I will also be filing a complete set of financial disclosure forms as required by law.

I am curious as to whether or not you intend to carry out similar surveys based on union contributions, partisan political donations or financial support from any special interest group or groups other than developers.

Graham Mowatt:

I have not been approached, and if I was, I would not accept any money from a developer as it would imply support. I wish to be open and unbiased for all issues that may arrive at council.

Graeme Ross:

No I have not.

I would have a difficult time accepting contributions from developers as this seems like a conflict of interest. As a family man, my only concern is to be a voice for the residents of Maple Ridge. I will not accept donations from developers as this is a conflict of interest in my mind and is unethical.

Elizabeth Taylor:

I have not been approached by any developers.

I fully fund my own campaign personally. I believe that municipal candidates should not accept any donations of money.

I have accepted some printing from a friend that is at little cost to me.

Cheryl Ashlie:

Yes, I have been approached by developers with the offer of campaign contributions. I recognize that this is common practice, but I personally prefer to fund my campaign differently. If I get a cheque sent to me, which some do automatically, I put it in a thank-you card and send it back.  I have set people who assist me – friends, family and one local family that I have always accepted funds from, due to the respect that I have for their commitment to our community. I will report them all out with my usual after-election disclosure forms.

Bob Goos:

I will not accept contributions from businesses or unions or developers.  I have accepted contributions from friends and family.

Peter Tam:

I would question why any profit-minded business will give thousands of dollars to someone and don't expect anything in return.  Or they should give money to everyone.

I have not been approached nor would I accept any donations of more then $100 from anyone who is not associated with development or business that can stands to profit from council decisions.

Dana Lang:

I haven't been approached by a developer or real estate agents. Running a campaign is expensive, sign, brochures, ads.  It is great to have businesses and residents donate money, time, and items in kind because they believe in you and your campaign.  Not all developers and real estate agents are bad, there are many upstanding members in our community. It's important to know the background of who is donating and that they have ethical business and social practices.

Candace Gordon:

No I have not been approached by any developers to contribute money to my campaign. I believe developers and those financed by developers should not be on council. It is too much a conflict of interest issue.  The majority of work a local council does is deliberate on development and zoning applications.

I am not accepting money from development companies.

Mark Kauhane:

As of this time, I have not been approached by developers offering donations and I am one of the candidates openly advocating growth for our community.

I personally will not be accepting contributions for my campaign. It's not a policy – more of a challenge to myself to run a financially responsible campaign.

Al Hogarth:

No one or at least not many step forward to offer campaign funds.  My largest contributions came from my own company, past clients, friends and associates.

I view campaign donations no differently than endorsements of groups, unions or other organizations that support not necessarily me but others ...

Christian Cowley:

I accept donations of up to $100 from individuals. I do not accept donations from corporations (other than my own). I have not been approached by development companies, which is not surprising because I am an advocate of conserving farmland for farm purposes and for treating the Agricultural Land Reserve as a reserve – not a land bank.

Michael Morden:

My campaign fund donations are coming from various places as I understand it from my financial agent. I don't have all the details as to who and how much. He will comply with the rules per Elections BC.

You ask about my policy on accepting donations. My policy is that I follow the Elections BC rules and I have the right of refusal of any donations that I deem as an inappropriate donation to accept.

Why is it that you always focus on the developers and the donations they give? What about CUPE and BCTF donating and endorsing candidates? How about adding some other questions to this like the value of in-kind donations such as the value of endorsements from unions?

How are some going to account for these kind of things that clearly have enormous value to someone but aren't necessarily actual monies. I see that the teachers union endorsed certain candidates the other day in your paper for trustee. What is the value of this? Is this a fair practice?

I believe this questions should have been "who are you receiving donations from, not only developers."

 

Judy Dueck:

I have been approached by two developers, one in kind donation and several individual supporters.  I will provide full disclosure when I file my expenses.

 

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