Thursday, February 15, 2018

Standby

I have received pm's requesting a parle.

In the meantime, all of you who were drawn into supporting the grassroots organization of SUREAL should take time to read this and reflect on the honesty and integrity of those who led it.

https://www.prwatch.org/news/2009/08/8531/attack-living-front-groups-pr-watch-offers-help-unmask-corporate-tricksters

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Hnatiw's Commitment to Recreation Facilities for Sturgeon County Residents

Let's Build Recreation Facilities for the People - NOT


We are all very familiar with Hnatiw's campaign to build the Morinville Rec Center, at about $70 million. Her and her SUREAL kinfolk made this a key part of their platform, speaking about it at every SUREAL meeting and then some.

So you probably have the impression that she is places a very high priority of recreation facilities for the residents of Sturgeon County. Have another drink of the SUREAL Kool-Aid. As I've been saying for a year now, the entire Rec Center push from the Morinville Business-centric Rotary is to allow their members to sell more houses and draw business traffic to Morinville. The actual recreation benefits to the citizens is entirely inconsequential. 

Don't believe this; then let's take a look at the self-serving hypocrisy of Hnatiw and her gang on recreation issues. 

At their very first Council meeting they were asked for approval of a grant to a County community wishing to upgrade and improve a volunteer-run outdoor rink. This proposal would have gone through due diligence by County staff and apparently was recommended for approval. What better way to support healthy recreation and community building while being incredibly cost efficient than by supporting a neighborhood who for several years have been struggling to maintain a rink at their own time and expense.

So what did your new recreation-friendly council do (led by Hnatiw and Tighe)?

Thumbs down!


Seriously? And how much were they asking for? 
Not much - 1/1500th the cost of Hnatiw's white-elephant Morinville Rec Center that she's lobbied so hard for.

That's right, they could support one thousand five hundred (1500) of these rink applications for the cost of her rec center! That means every neighborhood in the county could have a well-funded outdoor rink for a fraction of the cost of her Morinville Rec Center.

Sorry - Not interested!

Just goes to prove - for all their election bluster about transparent and accountable representation of the residents and stewards of the taxpayer's dollars; this council is all about looking after Morinville Business Owners and Land Developers. 

For the rest of us average residents - pass the Vaseline.



SUREAL - A non-political taxpayer citizen initiative to protect Sturgeon Co residents

(said with a straight face)

The fact that several prominent business people from Morinville, Sturgeon County and St Albert, not to mention two elected officials from Sturgeon County Council itself have been able to walk around preaching this to anyone who will listen for the past 10 months, and do it with a straight face, is a pretty heartbreaking indictment of what local politics has become here lately. 

The fact that there are so many sheep in the county that have been unwittingly led down the parade route by this group of charlatans doesn't speak well for the critical thinking ability of people nowdays.

Now if you have been following, you will remember from many articles and speeches that SUREAL was a type of  'of the people for the people' grassroots citizen's group protecting the taxpayer. They emphasized they had no political agenda. Two councillors accused of pulling strings behind the backs of their fellow councillors to undermine and disrupt your council adamantly denied being involved.

Well a hot off the press release by Twitter Superhero @SurealFYI (who correctly called SUREAL out right from the get go) just sent out some excerpts from an early meeting of SUREAL back in January.


There are a number of hot potatoes included in this. 

Rotary, who's constitution bars them from any political affiliation, rented the meeting rooms for SUREAL. 

One of the participants is a writer for the Morinville News and has to fly under the radar because of her job. Forgive me if I connect this with what has been a whole series of prominent and favorable articles of SUREAL in this paper and not-so-flattering coverage of current council.

Pat Tighe along with Dwayne Gibb and (land developer) Neilsens are charged with getting group funding from people in the shadows
(Nice nod to openness, transparency and good grassroots government there gang).

One participant who sounds an awful lot like a current candidate is there because the County won't buy his land for the right price. 





Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Len Kozak Rant

No doubt you've noticed the big rant from Len Kozak. Kind of hard to miss since he has been taking out full page ads to rant and give his side of the story. So what's the background on this?

Well the first thing I found out is that he has begun legal action and issued threats of lawsuits and asked the Minister to launch an investigation. That means the mayor and four councillors he is pointing fingers at really can't legally respond. It didn't take many coffee dates from my other sources to get to the source of his bitch.

Basically he set up a business on his property with zero permits or re-zoning. The County came along and caught up with him. Now he claims that a former mayor and councillor gave him verbal permission to just go ahead. Knowing how some former councillors ran things with the Good Old Boy network, his claim is entirely plausible. The problem the County faces is that not only has he not been able to produce a single shred of documentation to back this up, there is a complete absence of anything in County records of this approval. Such an approval is a legal process that has to be approved in council, not some secret handshake between ol buddies.

So who's at fault? First off, what kind of half-ways intelligent businessman launches a business that he knows requires legal re-zoning and licencing based on a verbal OK and not a single signature or piece of paper to be had?

Secondly if he wants to launch a law suit, it should be against the former councillor and mayor he claims gave their unauthorized approval; but of course that would be awkward since they're his buds.

As for his grandstanding about his matter not being heard before council, he neglects to mention a few things. His matter was arranged by Councillor Tighe, SUREAL founder and buddy of the former mayor who allegedly gave Kozak the unauthorized approval. Tighe could have brought this before council on many occasions but chose to bring it up while the election process was in progress. Secondly Tighe is not even the councillor for his region so why is he taking so much interest in a matter that is not even in his jurisdiction?

This matter, as well as several other matters from other councillors were on the docket for the council meeting. After the docket had been prepared it was brought to someones attention that this meeting would fall after the official election start date. While there may not be a written law, it is pretty standard for elected officials to essentially 'stand down' during this period other than for essential internal business. When council met, this was raised and it was passed that the docket be cleared of all 3rd party matters. Kozak can still have his day before council, he just has to wait until after the election is over.

So why is he taking out all these expensive ads? First its political theater. Second he knows like the rest of SUREAL, a certain five people on council aren't buy-able and will enforce the rules on the businessmen and developers that everyone else has to follow. All the reason to try to replace them with 'good ol buddies' who will quietly slid them favours out the back door.


SUREAL Gets Called Out On Their Manipulation of the Facts

If anyone has bothered to do any research on pretty much any Claim that SUREAL has made they will find out in pretty short order how they cherry-pick a few 'facts' and then present them absent of all the other facts and circumstances of the issue in order to deliberately leave a very negative impression.

Of course there are a lot of people out there who have very little capacity for critical thinking and taking the time to actually learn all the pieces they are deliberately leaving out.

Remember then making a big show of the number of people the County hired in the past few years. Looked pretty outrageous. Oh course they were careful not to mention that the bulk of those 'new hires' were summer students who are then laid of again in the fall.

They point out that the population hasn't risen much yet the staffing and expense has, neglecting to mention that the multi-billion dollars of industrial construction that is eating up a lot of County manpower.

Good to read the article in the St Albert Gazette Oct 4 edition pages 14&15 showing a typical example of them doing this (and getting called out on it).

Does personal ethics and credibility mean nothing to you Mr Wasmuth?

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Good Old Boys Club

So you say it's time to get rid of the Good Old Boys Club

I was having coffee with a friend of mine the other day and the election topic came up. She mentioned she felt she would vote for Alanna because it was "time to get rid of the Good Old Boys Club" she said. I almost choked.

So she is not part of the good old boys club because she is a woman?

I then pointed out a few things including;
  • She is the president of the Morinville Rotary - pretty much the local definition of the Good Old Boys.
  • Been the front person pushing for the Morinville Rec Center. $70M plus $2-5M/yr operating costs. Morinville can barely afford the down payment. She has been lobbying non-stop for Sturgeon Council to take on a lion's share of the cost even before they knew what the cost was. (I have heard rumour from a Rotarian that she wanted Sturgeon to kick in at least 50%)
    • Take note the Rec Center isn't a citizen initiative, it was started by Morinville Business Council and area developers who wanted faster growth in Morinville and wanted a Rec Center to draw people to Morinville. (Good Old Boys)
  • She started SUREAL, a group of land developers and Morinville business owners who largely hid in the shadows while recruiting every disgruntled crank in the county for a pot pourri of causes. Its sole purpose appears to have been to undermine the credibility of five on council. (The other two councillors were part of the Rigney group and were secretly working with Alanna to set up SUREAL while the whole group denied this).
  • Her supporters include
    • Wayne Bokenfohr - Land developer, assc of former mayor Rigney
    • Pat Tighe - Business owner, assc of former mayor Rigney
    • Don Rigney - Former Mayor close friend of Larry Andrews (Landrex) 
    • John Wasmuth - Real Estate Appraiser
    • Duane Gibb  - Gibb Financial St Albert
    • Brian Reed - Past Rotary President
    • Derek Nielsen - Land developer coalcreekgroup.com
This is only a partial list. Tell me again which side represents the Good Ol Boys??!!

The five councillors being targeted by her, and her SUREAL friends have two things in common:

  1. They have been very vocal that there are no back doors and shortcuts for land developers. If they want a development it must go through all the proper processes and be done properly so taxpayers don't end up stuck with millions of dollars of infrastructure costs and fixing deficiencies.  (Flynn, Shaw and Evans played key roles in stopping the development next to Cardiff that the Rigney 3 were trying to ram through.) In other words there are some fat walleted people in the land development that would really like to see them replaced with 'friendlier' councillors.
  2. They have remained firm with Morinville and Rotary regarding their funding request for the Rec Center - show us the business case with proper costs and it will go to Sturgeon taxpayers for their input and a decision will be made based on taxpayers direction.
Connecting the dots? I asked her.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


The Amalgamation We Can't Know About

Is SUREAL's Grand Plan to Take Over Your Council and Fund Morinville Rec Center with Sturgeon County Tax Revenue?

Another email has been released online showing us a little more about the mysterious beginnings of SUREAL. Now remember, the Morinville Business community wanted the Rec Center to help development of Morinville and the Rotary is mostly Morinville and area business owners. (St Albert Gazette 2013 

You should keep in mind that ballpark estimate of the Rec Center was $70M and $2M-$5M per year to operate. 
Recreation centre concept tops $70 million ) Morinville had only $13M.
(Morinville Multi-Use Rec Facility )
That leaves a HUGE shortfall. It is also no secret that Sturgeon County is expecting their revenues from the refinery to begin adding $15-$25M per year to its revenue. Are you starting to connect any dots?

In late 2016 Rotary went to Sturgeon County to request a partnership commitment to help fund the Rec Center. It is interesting to note that Rotary never even had a business plan to present to Sturgeon County - meaning they would not have been able to provide any accurate costs of building or the cost/revenue of its operation; after all that's the whole purpose of a business plan. (County signs on to Town Rec Centre project ) As it was a closed door meeting we can't know exactly what was asked of Sturgeon County, but one can only assume they were asking Sturgeon County to essentially sign a blank cheque - agree to assume a share of the costs without even knowing what those costs were. What we do know is that Sturgeon County agreed to put some initial funding into the project, but stated they would remain non-committal until they could go to the voters with actual costs, which sounds like a reasonable position to take. We also know that Rotary was not happy with the outcome of the meeting.

The following email is dated after Rotary's meeting when they decided to form the SUREAL group to attack Sturgeon County councillors. 


The first thing to notice about the email is that all of the parties but one (a close friend of the others) are Morinville Rotary members, mostly in the Executive roll, mostly with business interests in Morinville. Two are not just Rotary members but also Sturgeon County councillors - who later lied about being associated with SUREAL. "When questioned about the group by retired councillor Ken McGillis and another resident, Councillors Wayne Bokenfohr and Patrick Tighe said they had met with and (in Bokenfohr’s case) advised SUREAL, but were not members or founders of it." - St Albert Gazette 8 Feb 2017

This seems to differs substantially from the manner in which Levers portrays SUREAL's beginnings; “We met each other at various events over the past year, open houses, etc., and found that we all had a similar concerns and issues.” Perhaps an attempt to portray it as being a broad-based spontaneous organization with widespread grass-roots issues at its core rather than a specific issue lobby group.

The elephant-in-the-room in this email is Hnatiw's statement that they "need to keep Amalgamation off the table until a later date as it could be divisive."

SAY WHAT??!!

While it doesn't specifically mention Morinville, most of these people have business interests in Morinville and are currently involved in lobbying for funding from both Morinville and Sturgeon County councils. I'm not sure what other reasonable explanation there is except a secret plan to work to amalgamate Morinville into Sturgeon County.

From this email it would appear that the grand plan right from the beginning of SUREAL was to facilitate these Rotary members to get control of Sturgeon County Council and vote an amalgamation of Morinville into Sturgeon County. At that point Morinville gets equal access to the refinery revenue and Rotary can build their Rec Center in Morinville with Sturgeon County money.

With so many SUREAL members running for seats on Sturgeon County Council, it's funny none of them have mentioned this in their election platforms.

One thing for sure, this group has certainly showed you how much trust and transparency exists within the SUREAL membership.

STURGEON COUNTY ELECTION PRIMER Part 2


Part 2

(This is a blog - to read it chronologically, scroll to the bottom post and work your way up.)

So in the last election the Rigney crew got pummeled. In late 2016 we are getting within a year of a new election. The question becomes 'How does this group get re-elected?'. The councillors have largely been doing a petty good job according to most everyone I've talked to. It certainly is nothing like the dysfunctional and controversial mess of the previous council. You get those who buy property on a gravel road and then complain it's dusty in summer, muddy in spring and icy in winter; but every place has its share of chronic cranky's. Not a whole lot of demand for big change among the electorate.

In 2006 we saw the spectacle to the south of us. A goof that very few like, spouts a vitriol of outlandish B.S. that is repeatedly proven as lies, almost nobody likes him, yet he wins an election. Nobody seemed to vote FOR him, but he stirred up so much fake news and allegations that people were going to the polls to for Against a candidate instead of For a candidate. (Of course it didn't help that his opposition was badly flawed).

Could a similar tactic work here? Get people cranked up so they are voting people out instead of voting people in? What if we just raise a whole bunch of allegations to rile people up? We all know that most people have very little interest in following municipal governments. People are more inclined to just believe what they hear rather than actually take the time to fact-check. We don't even have to lie, just present half-truths, word things to sound worse than they are, and exaggerate at every opportunity. 

The problem is you can't be seen to be doing this. You also can't let people know your hidden agenda is probably much worse than anything the current group is up to. In real politics there are a lot of transparency rules to ensure some wealthy person or business cannot buy political favor. Lately in the U.S. the work-around for this is the super-PACs. These are organizations that are stood up with legitimate sounding names and purport to have wide public grass-roots support on an issue but in fact mostly launder large contributions from a few powerful interests. They are not subject to the same transparency laws about who they REALLY represent. 

Now keep the above in mind and think carefully as we go forward and draw your own conclusions.
  • The new Sturgeon council has clamped down on property developers insisting only quality applications that aren't going to become expensive legacy issues will be allowed. There is a certain group that would like council members replaced with more 'lenient' councillors.
  • Morinville has high taxes and has had difficulty bringing in new businesses.
  • The lack of a Rec Center and other amenities is seen as a barrier to competing with others.
  • Morinville Rotary executive is heavy with Morinville business owners including several in the real estate/land development related businesses.
  • Morinville Rotary announces they are going to build a multi-million dollar Rec Center.
  • Morinville's finances are already tapped out. They hope to contribute $13.75 million that isn't even theirs - it is a federal grant intended for infrastructure - roads, sewer lines, that sort of thing. Morinville Multi-Use Rec Facility  Trouble is Rotary's grand vision cost a tad bit more. 
  • Sturgeon County meanwhile has been following a tightfisted budget process and investing a lot of their budget into the Industrial Heartland. But payback is about to happen. The refinery is about to start pumping $15-25 million/yr into their budget and more projects have been announced. 
  • Morinville and Rotary go to Sturgeon and propose they go in with them on the Rec Centre. Now this meeting was in-camera so only a few really know what went on in that meeting. (Maybe our mayoral candidate Hnatiw will agree to opening the books on that meeting-but I doubt it.).  
    • From all I can gather what seemed to happen was Sturgeon refused to sign on as requested. Sturgeon did agree to provide funding for a business case and offer land and servicing and apparently the bulk of costs for preparing a business plan.  County signs on to Town Rec Centre project Their statements since also do not rule out contributing, but insisted to have factual numbers that they could then take to the residents and get their direction on what a fair contribution would be, pointing out that this would only serve a small portion of their residents as many live closer to other communities and rec facilities. In other words Morinville should not expect them to pay a major portion of the costs.
    • This sounds legit to me because it clearly states there was no business plan (therefore no reliable costs) when Morinville/Rotary went to the County so I don't understand what they would be expect them to being signing on to, unless they were asking to sign a blank cheque.  Actually that would explain Sturgeon's reaction.

Now a very interesting development takes place. Tighe and Bokenfohr join Morinville Rotary in late 2016. This is when interesting things begin to happen. (Remember what you read about super PACs?)

  • 2017  begins  with the announcement of a Sturgeon Taxpayers Advocacy group. Now I've heard the explanation of the who, what, why this group was created from several times.
    • Their spokesperson, John Wasmuth certainly does his best to imply this is a grassroots citizen organization started by 'common-folk taxpayers sitting around the kitchen table' image. 
    • Bokenfohr and Tighe even denied they had anything to do with it when asked in Council (while under oath of office).
  • SUREAL quickly began to criticize Sturgeon Council for a range of issues and information was routinely exaggerated or described in misleading ways to put the worst possible spin to it. 
  • SUREAL meetings were routinely attended by almost all of the Rotary Executive including Hnatiw who would give presentations on how Sturgeon Co should be financially supporting the Morinville Rec Center while the rest of the presentation would be critical of spending on County matters.
  • There was never any reference to the person's who actually started or ran SUREAL. It was described as common grassroots taxpayers. He describes their coming together as a sort of random act of people who met at various events, neglecting to mention they are all working together as Rotary members making applications for money to the Sturgeon County council.
  • SUREAL stressed that they were not a political group even though they were going to encourage people to run for council on their mandate. (Isn't that what a political organization does?)
  • Bokenfohr and Tighe are both challenged by members of the public during a County meeting and accused of trying to undermine Council and working behind their backs with SUREAL. Both adamantly deny they are SUREAL members or are working with them.
  • An email is leaked clearly showing that Bokenfohr and Tighe lied about their involvement with SUREAL and that they were in fact organizers of it.
  • As election season arrives the SUREAL sounder, Hnatiw double-speaks an explanation about how she is leaving SUREAL but going to continue acting for the same principles.
  • Another email gets released showing that Hnatiw, Bokenfohr and Tighe as well as the other founders of SUREAL had a plan from the outset involvement amalgamation, but decided to keep it under wraps until a later date because it would be controversial.
It has since been revealed that the creators of SUREAL consisted of  Alanna Hnatiw, John Wasmuth, Brian Reed, Duane Gibb, Don Levers, Pat Tighe and Wayne Bokenfohr - ALL MORINVILLE ROTARY but one and he is a close associate of two of them.
The long and short of it is the Morinville Rotary (aka SUREAL) wants Sturgeon Council put money towards a $75M Morinville Rec Center but chastises them for wanting to spend $25-$65M minus rent savings on their own buildings. 


And there you have the introduction of Morinville Rotary/SUREAL into Sturgeon County politics.

STURGEON COUNTY ELECTION PRIMER

The History of Sturgeon County Council Politics

For those of you who may be new to Sturgeon County, I thought it would be good to give you a little history so you can make sense of the roster of election candidates for this election. For the rest of you, a little recap.

Prior to the 2013 election council consisted of the following; 
  • Mayor – Don Rigney
Councillors (by division);
1.     Donald McGeachy
2.     Tom Flynn
3.     Ken McGillis
4.     Dave Kluthe
5.     Joe Milligan
6.     Karen Shaw.

The general consensus was that this council was badly split and becoming very dysfunctional. Not only could the council not get along internally, they couldn’t get along with any other community government in the region. Even the Provincial Government was exasperated and considering bringing down the hammer. They finally had to bring in a consultant to try and teach them how to get along while holding a meeting. 
So where did all this come from?

Basically, you had a mayor who seemed to think it should be a wild west for land developers. Why have rules and regulations on land developers? Just let the free market run wild and let anyone build anything anywhere. He railed against both the Provincial and neighboring governments in an attempt to put some sort of order and control on sprawling development. Co-incidentally he seemed to be a very close friend of at least one major land developer in the region.

 Morinville News 28 Feb 2012 Rolling doughnut comment causes displeasure among council 
 St Albert Gazette Feb 13 2013 Page 23 “Rigney slammed as ‘Pre-Medieval’

If one reads the comments in the last article by Jim Lightbody he comments “You might get a cheaper home initially if you let someone build wherever they want but the community will pay more if you don’t plan out the servicing beforehand.” Compare his prediction with the fact that in the last several years millions of County dollars are being spent on ‘legacy issues’ in many of the newer subdivisions that got built under that council. I for one don't think 'legacy' should be in the same sentence as 'new development'. I tend to think that's code for 'someone got away with doing a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am-took-the-money-and-ran job'.

Now Rigney had two cohorts, Don McGeachy and Dave Kluthe who would vote as a block. The other four were largely independent but over time began to be viewed as a block, essentially the anti-Rigney-three vote. Towards the end of the term the Rigney-three had thoroughly burned every bridge within a 100 miles and county government ground to a halt.

Election Time

The battle-lines were drawn for the 2013 election. Rigney was often heard to comment that he needed a fourth vote. Interestingly a major land developer in the region was overheard at a community function telling someone that he “had three councilors in his pocket, (and) needed one more”. The Rigney team launched a very well-funded campaign to take control of council. Besides the Rigney-three, candidates in other ridings had emerged; all with similar well-funded campaigns, messages and all known associates of the Rigney-three.

The anti-Rigney sediment in the county was palatable. While not coordinated, he managed to marshal attacks against him and his cohorts from all directions.
  • Tom Flynn decided Rigney had to go so launched a challenge for Mayor.
  • Karen Shaw dug in her heels to fight off their challenger in Div 6.
  • Jerry Kaup, a longtime councillor who had retired and gladly help Kluthe take over his seat only to become gravely disappointed in him. “The people out there were kind of fed up with what was going on,” he said, and wanted the “Rigney Three” of McGeachy, Kluthe and Rigney gone. Feeling betrayed and upset at the misuse of the budget he came out of retirement. 
    St Albert Gazette 5 Sep 2013 - Kaup returns to Sturgeon politics
    St Albert Gazette 22 Oct 2013 - Flynn win sweeps Sturgeon County - para 26-28 
  • Division 2 was left with no incumbent and wide open for the Rigney team. Here again they screwed-up. In the last year of their tenure the Rigney-three were hard at their developer free-for-all and tried to approve a very questionable development on the south edge of Cardiff with virtually no consultation or awareness of the residents. When word got out to Cardiff residents that it was nearing final approval and they hadn't even heard about it, they blew up. Still the Rigney-three unwisely poured gas on a bonfire and continued trying to bums-rush approval through council before the election. A community group emerged to challenge this and one of the spokesperson’s for the group, Susan Evans, eviscerated the Rigney-three at the approval meeting and halted approval until after the election. So outraged at the actions and behavior of the Rigney-three she decided to take them on and began her entry into politics with the Cardiff voters solidly behind her.
    St Albert Gazette 29 Feb 2012 - County halts Cardiff development
The public obviously felt much the same. The Rigney-three got pummeled at the polls. Flynn, Shaw, Kaup and Evans easily won their seats along with Ferd Caron who was running against McGeachy. Most had about double the vote of the Rigney block of candidates.

Of course there is often irony in an election and this was no different. Two of the Rigney-three’s recruits for other divisions, Wayne Bokenfohr and Pat Tighe ended up winning. Rigney had not only his fourth, but also his fifth Rigney-lite, except the Rigney-one, two and three were gone. This left both Bokenfohr and Tighe wandering around like lost puppies. A number of County staff have commented on overhearing them saying to each other things like “Well this wasn’t supposed to happen. What do we do now?” and “We were just supposed to show up and vote”. Tighe even expressed as much to the media.

So at the end of the day, the Rigney era of wild west land developers, council in-fighting, scrapping and insulting your neighboring municipalities and bad press came to an end. The new council was comprised of two incumbents who had been fighting the Rigney-three, three individuals who were independently fed up with bad government they saw from the Rigney-three, and two Rigney-three wannabes who sat confused and leaderless.


And this my fellow voters, sets the stage for election 2017 ...

So which narrative is true?

Since the public announcement of the SUREAL group, Sturgeon County residents have been faced with two very different narratives about exactly who this group is and what their objectives are. 

SUREAL's narrative is: 

This is a grassroots organization started around a kitchen table by everyday resident taxpayers and that its mission is to protect the taxpayers of Sturgeon County from an out-of-control council.

The counter narrative is: 

SUREAL was formed by a group of current and former politicians in partnership with a group of businesspersons who are not happy that the current councilors replaced a land-developer-friendly group in the last election. The current council has clamped down on land developers who try to maximize profits by doing only the minimum (and sometimes not even that) and walk away leaving taxpayers to fix the problems they leave behind. Their wish is to get a majority of 'developer-friendly' councilors elected in this fall's election.

Of course, nobody would get elected running on this platform so it is necessary that they hide behind a proxy organization and direct it to undermine specific councilors to enable their replacement in the upcoming election. It is alleged that the real purpose of SUREAL is to rile up taxpayers by whatever means available on every issue possible and this includes their constant misrepresentation and exaggeration of facts to put the worst possible light on them. Sounds like something they might have learned from a recent election to the south of us. Most of the public that has been brought into SUREAL don't realize it but they are nothing more than pawns and their issues will immediately be superseded by the interests of the businesspersons involved as soon as the election is over.

So which narrative is true?

Well consider this:

During a February council meeting, two residents directly confronted councilors BOKENFOHR and TIGHE and demanded they reveal their involvement with the creation and running of the SUREAL organization to undermine the very council they were supposed to be serving. Both, IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS COUNCILORS adamantly denied they are involved in any way with SUREAL. At a later meeting in May they were again confronted by another councilor and again denied their involvement. The SUREAL spokespeople have continually repeated this narrative that this is a grass-roots organization that is completely open and transparent and has no hidden agenda.

This all comes down to a matter of who you trust and who is being honest. On one side, you have five members of Sturgeon Council (FLYNN, SHAW, KAUP, EVANS, CARON) who say they have been working hard to straighten out the mess they inherited from previous councils and the other side you have two councilors (TIGHE, BOKENFOHR) denying any involvement with the business people acting as SUREAL spokespersons, who in turn claim this was all started by some anonymous everyday residents.

You will have to decide - who is being truthful and who you can trust.


In making up your mind you might want to read this email which was recently found on the Internet, apparently forwarded to someone by mistake. Note that it is dated just prior to the February meeting where councilors BOKENFOHR and TIGHE denied any involvement with SUREAL and its leadership and read the email address of who sent it and who is CC's on it. Take note of the use of the word "we". 

"When questioned about the group by retired councillor Ken McGillis and another resident, Councillors Wayne Bokenfohr and Patrick Tighe said they had met with and (in Bokenfohr’s case) advised SUREAL, but were not members or founders of it." - St Albert Gazette 8 Feb 2017

Clearly both BOKENFOHR and TIGHE have been involved in the organizing of SUREAL to undermine the very council they are suppose to be a part of and yet when confronted with this during council meetings and while in their official capacity as councilors, denied it. 

Are you prepared to trust anything these guys say? 

Does this strike you as the actions of honest and open persons of integrity?

Do you want councilors who make secret arrangements with businesses?

And so what is the REAL purpose and goals of SUREAL? 

Simple. Go back and read the first part of this article again.