Earlier today I sent this letter to City of London Councillor Dale Henderson regarding the recent revelations that he spent over $7,000 on video equipment, a website, and graphics for DaleTV.ca. Additionally, he has explained he will “probably” keep the equipment, despite being reimbursed, once he has completed his career in London municipal politics.
From: Derek Silva
To: Dale Henderson
CC: Joe Fontana, Bud Polhill, Joe Swan, Nancy Branscombe, Judy Bryant, Matt Brown
Date: Wed, Mar 20, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Dear Councillor Henderson,
I am, frankly, rather disappointed with how you have conducted yourself lately. Not only are you embroiled in today’s Open Meetings investigation being conducted by staff of the Ombudsman’s office, but yesterday’s controversy surrounding DaleTV, and it’s related expenses, have begin to shine one very dark light on you.
Personally I have not been very impressed with your tenure thus far as a City Councillor, and I suspect many of your constituents feel the same. In fact, I’m certain they do, as I’m personally in contact with many of them on a frequent basis as friends and acquaintances. I’m going to ask you a few questions that I believe deserve answers, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s looking for them.
- Why was so much money spent on DaleTV? Why did it cost so much for something that could have been achieved for under $500 using a more suitable camera, less expensive video editing equpiment, building a green screen yourself (there are many tutorials online), and buying a stock photo to achieve a similar background?
- If this is a community engagement activity, why are comments disabled on your YouTube channel and website/blog? It doesn’t seem to encourage much engagement if people cannot communicate with you using the same method you want to communicate with them.
- Given that you want the City to reimburse you for the money spent on the equipment and production for DaleTV, will you also be sharing revenues derived from the YouTube channel? For example, I had to watch a 15 second advertisement prior to watching Episode 1. I’m also a member of YouTube’s revenue sharing program, and know for a fact that ad revenue will be shared with you from those ads.
- If the City reimburses you for the money spent on the equipment, how do you justify your statement on “probably” keeping the equipment after you complete your tenure with London municipal politics?
- You are, seemingly, a fiscal conservative. How do you justify these types of costs under the ideology of attempting to save taxpayers money, reduce City expenses, and lower spending overall? For example, you claim it will be less expensive for many of the communities north of the City if London were to annex them and put in the sewers for them. You have also supported the tax freeze that Mayor Fontana has put forth each year. Clearly you’re interested in reducing taxpayer costs.
- In episode 2, you talk about a ring road and annexation. How exactly do you propose to, “quietly decide where that [ring] road will go, so we don’t have all the property values go to the moon,” as you put it? I’m fairly confident that would violate several laws related to open meetings, and therefore is simply illegal.
You, Councillor Henderson, have much to answer for. I’m afraid you have many ideas, but want to do many things in secret. That is highly unethical, and I don’t feel any of your ideas don’t result in going to taxpayers and say, “Gimme more, gimme more.” I look forward to your responses.
Oh, and I have also CC’d each member of the Corporate Services Committee. Given that they played a part in approving the DaleTV-related expenses, I felt they should see the questions I’m asking, along with your answers. I hope you don’t mind.
Derek E. Silva
“My strategy can be reduced to two rules: 1) Find a way to make it fun and 2) If that fails, find a way to do something else.” – Paul Buchheit