Off To The Races – Peachland Election News
The 2018 Peachland Election campaigns are underway. I notice that already there are some signs up. Congrats to Eric Hall for the quick start.
Over the past month or so, I've been interviewing candidates to get their perspectives on Peachland issues moving forward. What you will NEVER find on this Peachland Advocate website is any “fence sitting” or politically correct bafflegab from this author. So WARNING to the faint of opinion – This material could be offensive to your personal political dogma.
I've conducted as much research as I can find on the candidates. Based on the information I've been able to glean from the candidates, and considering the potential for Peachland governance, I plan to continue updating this article throughout the campaign period.
One thing I've discussed with all candidates that I've interviewed is that politics moving forward in Peachland is NOT going to be like it was in the past. We now have referendum/Polling software that will gauge the opinions of all citizens who wish to participate. Councilors are no longer going to be able to dodge the will of the people.
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Check back often – as we interview candidates, some of our personal choices could change!
Eric Hall – Eric was one of the first I interviewed. He presented well and seemed to be a nice guy. His wife also seemed to be a nice person. Our concerns were not so much related to Eric's skills or abilities. His skill-set would be great for Peachland, however, other factors gave us concern. We would like to see a long-term Mayor. Being a Mayor means you are going to “grow” into the position. When you've been mayor for 3 terms, you might just have it mastered. You will have accumulated very valuable experience. Despite Eric's skill set, we don't see him being able to endure three or more terms in office. We are also not convinced that he is flexible enough to be trained. A mayor who is unable to shift positions in the light of new evidence is not going to help the community grow and diversify. For this reason, I kind of prefer another candidate.
Keith Thom – As a reporter for The Peachland Advocate, my first interaction with Keith was him berating me at a council meeting for something that I had no idea about. I let him ramble on and sink himself. I didn't need to defend myself because to me, he was just a misinformed councilor. He rambled almost incoherently before going back to his seat. Interestingly, he must have realized his errors, because at the next meeting he approached me again to engage in conversation. He informed me that I was not the guy who had done the stupid things he was accusing me of. He found out it was someone else. Too late Keith – Damage is done.
Harry Gough – I haven't been able to get hold of Harry yet, but early research doesn't give me any comfort. Harry joined Facebook in 2009 but has next to nothing on the site. According to his FB page, he lives in Kelowna. For me, that is a huge RED FLAG. While I hear very good things about him, there is no chance I will support a Mayoralty candidate who lives in another community. I'm not even sure an interview would do any good. He lives somewhere else. Could I trust him to have Peachland's best interest at heart when he doesn't even live here? Unless he can walk on water, I'll pass.
Cindy Fortin – When I first moved to Peachland, I was misled about Cindy's leadership. Not wanting to be wrong about such an important topic, I reached out to see if Cindy would interview with me. Rightfully, she should have told me to hit the road! And she certainly had the justification to do that. But Cindy took the high road and did what many people could not. We talked for well over an hour. At the end of that time, my opinion about Cindy and her role in the community had changed. My belief is that Cindy was bullied by some “old boys” in the system and was not give due respect by some staff in the system.
What I like about Cindy is that she is young and bright and has nothing but raw desire to do well for Peachland. I see a potential for Cindy to be around for several terms of office. This would bring class and stability to Mayor's chamber here in Peachland. I know that I won't always agree with Cindy, but so far she gets my vote for Mayor of Peachland.
Ernie Hurd – Remind me to hire Ernie as my campaign manager if I ever run for anything! Ok, I'm being facetious. Let's see. According to his own words Ernie is bull-headed and less than endearing. In fact, he claims to be genetically disposed to be this way. He quit council in 2010 because he didn't get his own way. Boo-hoo snowflake.
Ernie quotes Taylor Swift saying, “Fearless is getting back up and fighting for what you want, over and over again – even though every time you've tried before you failed!”
Bob Henderson – Bob is another newcomer. He appears to live in a neighboring town, so I'm not yet sure why he wants to run for council here. He has a facebook page (assuming I have the right guy) but has limited material on it. I will try to get an interview with Bob so that he can make a case for his candidacy.
Patrick Van Minsel – I wrote a supportive article about Patrick after my first interview with him. I found Patrick to be bright and energetic with many great ideas for Peachland. I asked Patrick why he would give up a paying job at the Chamber to run for a councilor position. His answer turned out to be less than fully disclosive. This was the first red flag. I then got some feedback from the article I wrote. People told me I was wrong about Patrick and that I needed to do more digging. The “Conflict of Interest” issue kept coming up, so I spent 5 hours in the law library studying the issue.
Of particular interest was a judicial ruling that I found involving Schlenker v. Torgrimson. In this case, the judge ruled on something called “pecuniary interest.” The ruling triggered many law firms to issue legal briefings to explain the ramifications of the case. The material was particularly disturbing for me to read since it appears as though it could profoundly affect some of our councilors.
Essentially, a pecuniary interest is where a person has some sort of connection to the outcome of the decision that can lead to a benefit of some sort. While it is possible for a councilor to hold a paid position in the Chamber of Commerce (this breaks no laws), it does make for a very difficult ground to navigate. It would mean that any discussion that was in any way connected to the Chamber of Commerce, Patrick would first have to fully disclose his interests, including his name, position, the fact that he is paid, and he would have to disclose if any relatives worked in any form for the Chamber of Commerce or connected organizations. He would then have to recuse himself from the discussion and voting on these topics and leave the room. He could not be seen to have any influence over the vote.
So how many times have Chamber issues been discussed at council meetings? My search of the Peachland district site indicates there were a lot! If Patrick has to leave the room for all of these discussions, then how will Peachland deal with tied votes? Moreover, the law library suggests that even an innocent breach of the pecuniary interest law would trigger a section 103 challenge from the Community Charter. According to the law that I read, the candidate is not even permitted a defense in these matters. If a candidate breaches the pecuniary interest laws, then section 103 and 109 will be triggered to make that councilor disqualified. There is no meeting or hearing about this. It is just done! Poof… You're gone.
While Patrick has strong skills and talents for promotion that could benefit the community, I have to reverse my previous support for his councilor candidacy, given that I now know he plans to do both the Chamber job and the Councilor job. If he wins, then, of course, I'll support him in any way I can. I would love to have had his talent if he had resigned from the Chamber.
Mike Kent – I've emailed Mike to request a meeting, but he totally ignores all requests. My observation of him at council meetings is that he does not represent my best interests in this community. For this reason, I rejected him outright.
Mario Vucinovic – I've watched Mario at several council meetings. For my personal paradigm, Mario is the perfect candidate. He is exactly what I want in a Peachland councilor. Mario gets my vote easily.
Pam Cunningham – While Pam tried to support Keith's little attack on me at a meeting, I think she was just misled. Pam brings valuable skill and insight to the table. I won't likely agree with her some of the time, but she is the real deal. She gets my vote as well.
Keith Fielding – I've watched Keith, as a speaker, at many council meetings. He has his heart in this game and brings valuable experience to the table as well. Keith Fielding gets my vote.
Terry Condon – Terry takes a beating from peers, who often try to overwhelm him. Terry brings a sound and reasoned mind to the game will often see things that others may not. I trust Terry to do the right thing. For this reason, Terry gets my vote.
Leanne Sarsons – I have had no contact yet with Leanne. I am hoping she will reach out for an interview with me.
Karen Mustard – I have had no contact yet with Karen. I am hoping she will reach out for an interview with me.
Rick Ingram – I have had no contact yet with Rick. I am hoping he will reach out for an interview with me.
Pete Coolio – I have had no contact yet with Pete. He does not appear to have a social media profile – which is concerning. How does one get along in today's world without the ability to use and deploy social media content?
Andrew Kwaczynski – I have not had any contact with Andrew either. He appears to be in Investment Banking so that is a bit of concern. Will he bring a corporate or personal agenda? I need to interview this guy.