Monday, July 16, 2007


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


Like everyone else today, I have learned of Councillor Tim Stevenson's run in with the law. He was arrested a year ago for being impaired while operating a motor vehicle. I must say that I am really saddened that this Councillor chose to drink and drive.

While many of us don't want to kick someone when they are down and I shall refrain from this. This person was once a family friend, but his support to a few bullies turned me off and I lost all respect for him a few years back.

While it comes as no surprise that Mr. Stevenson was caught intoxicated, his drinking habits are well known in the gay community. Sadly, the gay community has always been saddled with an over abundance of alcohol misuse and the Reverend Stevenson was on a number of occasions seen over indulging.

This issue of Mr. Stevenson being charged and convicted with a serious offense raises a number of ethical questions. Already this Councillor has stated that he won't resign from Council. But that decision is not his alone to make. The public will have their say and I suspect they are fed up with politicians who are getting into trouble with the law.

But a looming problem for Councillor Stevenson is that he may become ineffective at doing his job at City Hall. The City has final jurisdiction over liquor licensing issues and whenever approval for a liquor license needs to be granted, if Councillor Stevenson votes on the matter, citizens may deem him to be in a perceived conflict. This arises because of his now criminality around liquor and the law.

Another problem this Councillor faces is regarding suspensions of business licenses or show cause hearings. Normally a panel of three councillors on a rotating panel hear business licence tribunals. Most of these licence violations involve restaurants or bars where liquor is served. I also foresee Councillor Stevenson needing to excuse himself from these hearings that he is assigned because once again a perception of bias lurks as a result of his guilty plea regarding alcohol mi-use, as his driving and drinking conviction attests.

While I have sympathy for Councillor Stevenson in his personal battles, which I would any citizen, a public concern which arises as a result of his conviction is that it took him a year before coming clean. It seems when our elected politicians come into trouble with the law, they should be duty bound, morally and ethically to provide full disclosure. Councillor Stevenson chose to ignore this and I'm certain, citizens will feel a sense of betrayal since it appears Councillor Stevenson intentionally deceived the public.

It also appears that Councillor Stevenson while hiding his criminal charges for a year, may well have voted on liquor and business licences during the past year and as a result, this really creates a dilemma for the City. Was any liquor issues receiving any favourable or biased treatment because of Councillor Stevenson's alleged public troubles with alcohol.

I think Councillor Stevenson has no choice but to resign. While legally he isn't required to do so and while there is no ability, municipally, for citizens to recall a politician, I think this Councillor has been hamstrung in carrying out his legal duties and therefore citizens should not be expected to continue paying his salary.

Mr. Stevenson should resign from office with grace and dignity. To drag the City through the mud, which by staying on will surely do, is really not in the public interest.

Jamie Lee Hamilton