The “Advocate” Rating
Interview with Patrick Van Minsel – Candidate for Council
As part of my desire to fully understand the political scene in Peachland, I met today with councilor candidate Patrick Van Minsel. Prior to the meeting, I spent several hours researching him and adding his data to my other candidate dossiers. Between now and the election, I hope to have interviewed all of the candidates and hope to publish my interviews with each.
The only candidate who couldn't be bothered to respond to my requests is Mike Kent. Perhaps Mike doesn't care what people think? Maybe Mike just has an agenda to flog and doesn't feel he needs to meet with constituents?
I questioned Mr. Van Minsel on a wide range of topics. I found him to be completely open and honest. I know this because I already did my research on him and was prepared. One of the areas we covered was the issue of “conflict of interest”. I read in “The Peachland View” that some people are saying that Van Minsel is in a conflict of interest for running for council. This really seems odd to me because, during my 30 years performing legal advocacy, it was rare to find people naive enough to publically slander a candidate like this by saying he is “in a conflict of interest.”
Perhaps these folks don't know that such slander could cost them their homes! To legally defend a slander suit, you should expect a $25,000 legal bill at a minimum.
A conflict of interest comes about when a person exercises his/her authority about something to which he stands in a potentially beneficial position. For example, if a councilor votes to support a large housing complex, and either he or his spouse are merchants in Peachland, then they stand to benefit financially from the increased population. That councilor must recuse himself from the vote.
What I liked about Mr. Van Minsel is that he was open and honest with me. He believes in reasoned growth. He believes that everyone deserves a voice. He understands that properly framing the issue so that citizens can fully digest the issue is vitally important. He understands the nature and needs for teamwork. He understands the relationship between councilors and staff. What I liked most is that Mr. Van Minsel is young enough to work for us here in Peachland for many years. Knowledge and skills tend to accrue, so ultimately, this is a huge benefit for Peachlanders.
Moving forward, I will be deploying public referenda software designed to engage the interests and desires of the population. Councilors will not be able to move in a direction that opposes public opinion without fully exposing their agendas. There are interesting times ahead.
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