Response from Councilor Rick Chiarelli

Hello John, and thanks for writing. Of course I remember who you are.

Right off the top I will tell you that I will locate the subject book and then I will raise your concern directly with the Chief Librarian.

You should be aware that I have raised similar issues in the past and continue to pay a bit of a price for doing so.

You may recall that in 2003, the Library Board passed a policy (with me voting AGAINST) insisting that all Library public internet computers be completely UNfiltered, meaning that all of the machines would have open unmonitored access to porn sites.

I responded by calling a Special Meeting of the Board to reconsider the policy two weeks later. Public pressure was brought to bear on the unelected citizen members of the Board and they felt “forced” to change the policy at that Special Meeting. The changes we were able to get them to adopt were by no means extreme – they simply placed anti-porn filters on computers when being used by kids 16 years of age or younger. However, Board Members were furious with my intervention and my “interference with freedom of speech”, as they felt everyone at the library – including all kids – should have unfetterred access to everything on the net.

The result? The Board responded by passing a resolution expressing “concern with his (my) leadership”.

And how do I continue to pay a bit of a price?

Well, that Board included the wife of one of my current election opponents.

That opponent and his wife/former Board member lives downtown in the Holland Ave/Wellington area. That Ward has no incumbent Councillor, but he has chosen to run out here in our suburban Ward against me, instead.

Today, that opponent sent an “attack” style campaign brochure about me to all houses in my Ward. It tells residents (among other misleading things) that, in 2003, the Board had “expressed concern” over my leadership. HE DID NOT EXPLAIN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE ISSUE OR THE CONTEXT or that his wife was involved or that she may be angry because later she was not reappointed to the Board.

The result: my reputation is damaged without people understanding that the Board had passed that motion out of its anger that I had removed free access to porn from kids surfing the net at the public library. I believe that if the context had been explained, at least SOME would understand and agree with me – instead, now ALL who read and believe it will likely have
a poor opinion of me.

Having said that, I will still follow up on your concern as outlined above. Once I have more details, I will be in a better position to tell you what concrete actions are likely to result and what changes I can seek.

In the meantime, if you do encounter the election brochure sent out by my opponent, please understand that the “concerns” raised by the Board were not about my abilities. They were simply retaliation for the fact that I had insisted that our public libraries be healthy places for our kids to visit.

Rick Chiarelli

One thought on “Response from Councilor Rick Chiarelli

  1. I believe guys like Rick Chiarelli and the current MP in Ottawa Orleans – Royal Galipeau – did take a lot of heat for passing measures to restrict access to porn on library computers. They deserve our gratitude.

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