New Councillors Desperately Needed

By June 30, 2014Letters

Dear Editor. An interesting election may witness the hero running against his worshiper, in that, upon being elected, Mayor Ted Adlem went public claiming he always thought of Randy Hawes as his “Hero.” My word you say.

Then newcomer Tony Luck who was supported by, for Liberal candidate MP, none other than, you guessed it, Randy Hawes and Tony felt honoured. Tony, at this late date, still has not go off the fence to decide whether to run for Mayor or Councillor, just what Mission needs, more indecision.

Now as elections may have it the trio of politicians may each be contemplating running against each other, for the crown jewel, Mission Mayor.

Jenny Stevens, ever the cautious politician, says she is feeling good and serving on council is the “only way I can contribute to my community” (and be paid … presumably) whereas if by her own admission health worries exist, a demanding job as Councillor may not be a continued wise choice, whereas she could take on volunteering in a less demanding role that does not demand such commitment, energy and new ideas? Jenny says she will support Adlem’s bid for Mayor but recently she, with three other Councillors voted ‘no confidence’ in the Mayor, so what credibility does she offer?

Sadly, Mission is the casualty of all this political posturing and desperately needs a sweeping change of leaders with mostly new faces at the helm. Established politicians have a group of supporters they can usually rely upon for votes and like Randy over the years keep him in office. Unfortunately, it is a numbers game solely and most good candidates are overshadowed by this fact and never or seldom ever, get elected to the chagrin of most residents or progress.

Mission is finally turning the corner on some very important issues, from downtown redevelopment, to Seniors’ Activity Centre and some other issues but dramatically failing dealing with Animal Welfare Bylaws and funding for Cat control facilities, so some compassionate leaders may be welcome, in Mission and notably Abbotsford. As Mohandas Gandhi said, “The greatness of a Nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its Animals are treated”, think Homelessness, for example.

But Mission and Abbotsford fail dramatically in treatment of Animals, whereas, a progressive Council like Surrey are leaps and bounds ahead, like recent announcement to fine $500 for Animals left in hot car or left unrestrained in a truck and no tethering beyond 4 hours but Mission and Abbotsford are remiss, which is symptomatic of the lack of compassion that exists.

But voter apathy and indifference are the major failings of local elections. In the last election Mission witnessed a 5% increase (1682 votes) in voter turnout to 30.0% turnout and enough to impact on voter support for incumbents. But more important the CRMG slate was the success story and frankly, likely the only way an intransigent and past ‘best before date’ Mayor & Council could be defeated – it worked and for a short time was effective until implosion and lack of confidence in the Mayor ideas surfaced. But the most telling story was the lack of leadership, maturity and tolerance.

Does Mission need or deserve either a recycled politician or a discredited Mayor leader? Indeed, Mission still suffers from being a very divided, often along party lines, clique dominated and silo functioning body at most every turn, a scenario slowly evolving into a more inclusive community, so do we want to go backwards. Do we want to be in a perceived ‘developer pocket’ scenario?

At both Mission and Abbotsford, a ‘new’ good slate of candidates joining some incumbents, can realize the same results but a more committed body and good leadership is needed and there lies the quandary. Indeed, can a group of candidates agree to retain maturity for four years and recognize the effectiveness of the whole must be greater than individual parts?

We are less than five months prior to an election. Most candidates have not declared and this is worrisome and problematic insofar as it implies a lack of understanding and commitment needed to dedicate oneself to serve a Community. Something as important as serving a term as mayor or councillor is a major impact upon one’s life and family, a decision ought to be made a year in advance, even six month, but creeping closer is often the case and only announcing a candidacy a month or two in advance is folly, at best. Suddenly, it is suspected the same 17 or so usual suspects, at Mission or Abbotsford, will suddenly appear and expect to get elected. My word … such is politics at Mission & Abbotsford.

By contrast, in Abbotsford, voters have an excellent opportunity to elect Henry Braun, from all accounts an honourable person and capable candidate, at last an alternative to lead Abbotsford out of the mess that is evident today.

Mission is not so fortunate. There is no obvious choice. Let me hasten to add, there are many very competent people who could accept the challenge but where are they and sadly, the political situation is sullied so badly, at each level of Government, good people understandably hesitate to get involved. But they do exist and each person reading this missive probably know of one or more in the Community.

So, we as concerned voters, need to carefully ensure all candidates are vetted and not perpetuate the existing scenarios that witness many incumbents getting re-elected just because they can garner an established number of supporters. Instead the Fraser Valley desperately needs new blood and thus many more new voters who will tip the balance on voting day. But first candidates need to come forward and do so sooner than later.

George Evens

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