‘Twas the night before Christmas / And throughout City Hall,
Not a mayor was stirring / Nor a council near-brawl.
Public commenters were nestled / All snug in their beds,
While concocting some brand new complaints / In their heads.
When on people’s phones / There arose a loud clatter.
They opened up iTunes / To see what was the matter.
With a square yellow icon / People gave a small nod past,
For they knew what it was: / A brand new podcast.
Yes, my friends, this is a special holiday edition of the City Council Chronicles podcast, covering highlights from our best interviews–including all the gifts, challenges, and vintage audio recordings I’ve offered my guests through the months. This “best of” is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Player FM and right here:
We covered a lot of ground in this interview with Port Moody’s Mike Clay. For instance, where does the mayoral title “Your Worship” come from and does he like to be called that? We also listen to some beautiful music and time travel back to 1913 to reenact a city council meeting.
Q: In Canada, people refer to mayors as “Your Worship.” Where does this term come from?
A: I don’t know. It must come from Old English somewhere. It was probably from the House of Lords or something. I don’t like the term. I don’t like people referring to me that way. The funniest thing that ever happened was I had a conversation with the archbishop one time and he asked how he was supposed to refer to me. I said, “well, you’re supposed to refer to me as Your Worship, but I don’t think we’re going to ask you to do that!”
Q: [Laughs] Is there a more secular term you’d want to be called?
A: In council, I prefer Mr. Mayor or Mayor Clay. Something much simpler and less snooty.
Q: Port Moody started video streaming council meetings while you were mayor. Do you since have any regrets about what you’ve said live on TV?
A: The good thing about capturing people in the moment is it’s raw. It might be emotional but you read council minutes [and] the legislative diaries and stuff, you don’t get any sense for what’s really going on. Without the video in the past, my interactions with different politicians–people say, “I was really fighting for that!” And I think, “I was there. I don’t think you really were.” So it might be interesting for people to say, “yeah, you know what? They really were fighting for it. I watched that on live stream.”
A: I have WARDROBE regrets, but other than that….
Q: [Laughs] What do you think about where council meeting technology is headed?
A: I think there’s opportunities to throw certain things up to a public vote, a mini-referendum. If it’s issues that aren’t life or death–if somebody said, “I think we should paint it blue,” and someone else said, “I think it should be green,” why don’t we throw that out for a public discussion and a vote right there online while we’re doing it? It might not be serious engagement, but if they joined in for that part of the conversation, maybe they’ll hang around for other parts as well.
Q: You do remember our election in 2016 where there was some MINOR propaganda by a FEW million Russian Twitter and Facebook bots. Are you worried the Russians could also hack your insta-polls?
A: Well, for now until we know that we have locked down security, [we’d be] taking it for opinion polling.
Q: Here is something weird I found: in 2013, the centennial of Port Moody, you reenacted the first-ever council meeting from 1913. Whose idea was that?!
A: Wow, I don’t know whose idea it was. I think it was a great idea. It got so funny during the meeting I could barely contain myself from breaking up laughing! It turned out we had some impromptu comedians on our council. How much of it was made-up? Most of it. But it was reflective of the way people think things were in those days.