By Mike Archer. The Abbotsford News appears to have found out about the campaign against the YMCA which Fred Thiessen started two-and-a-half months ago.

The headline on Alex Butler’s story in the Abbotsford News [Campaign started to oppose YMCA project] about Fred Thiessen and the campaign to stop the gifting of taxpayers’ money to the YMCA for a membership-driven building in Abbotsford was fascinating.

Campaign started to oppose YMCA projectThe News announced. For readers of Abbotsford Today and most of those in the community who pay attention to the City of Abbotsford the campaign started on January 17, 2013, when Fred Thiessen announced it and sent out the press releases to the media.

The fact that it has taken two-and-a-half months for the News to find out about it is indicative of either a really bad list of community contacts in the editorial department, a set of priorities that, until this week, excluded Thiessen and his group, or willful blindness to a movement that has been growing rapidly right under their nose.

Abbotsford News Fred Thiessen(Of course, there is always the possibility that it actually takes two-and-a-half months for news and important press releases to get from the people of Abbotsford or the mail room to the News’ editorial department but I’m almost positive I’ve seen alot of other stuff that gets reported only days or weeks after it has been announced)

Even though neither newspaper told anybody Thiessen would be making a presentation at City Council on January 21, the Council chamber was packed with some 250 people who had heard about it somehow.

There has been no issue since the phony water crisis in Abbotsford which has captivated people more than Mayor Banman and former Director of Parks and Recreation Mark Taylor’s single-minded drive to provide the YMCA with public funds – some say in excess of $70 million when the tax consessions are included – in order to compete with Abbotsford’s fitness clubs which have to make money the old fashioned way … without the support of taxpayers money.

And yet, according to The News, as of April 4th, 2013 there is now a campaign which has been launched.

It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

However, more importantly, welcome aboard guys. Nice to have you down here in the trenches with the people.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • You’re right Mike. It is sad.

    Democracy is precious and it it fragile. Only a free, independent, courageous media stands between a people and those who would abuse the privilege of power.

    The Abbotsford News was once a good paper, but for too many years now, it has become a fawning, slavish mouthpiece for all things City Hall.

    I know newspapers are hard-pressed to stay in the black with so much on-line competition, and I know the newspapers are delivered to our door – free twice a week, so I’m not entirely lacking in gratitude, but the News has been too silent about obvious matters of importance.

    Since the News accepted money for Fred Thiessens ‘NO to the YMCA’ ads, they obviously were well attuned to the local opposition. If it is true that Mike de Jong is trying to push the Y deal through, he deserves to lose this election. Gerda

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