October 10th All Candidates Meeting
I wasn't going to go to tonight's meeting but my curiosity got the better of me, and I'm glad it did. My mind was changed on a few points. After watching what appeared to be last month's lacluster campaign from Keith Thom, I wanted to see if he would be able to dig himself out of the huge hole. I also wanted to see what public reaction would be toward Patrick Van Minsel – who people claim is a walking conflict of interest.
The meeting was well run by the “Friends of Beach Avenue”, and the Senior's Centre was nearly full.
I got to ask the first question and I wanted to flush out the FAKES in the running. Serving on council is serious business. You are serving the people of Peachland and there is no higher calling in this community. The one MANTRA that must permeate all thoughts for a mayor or council is Peachland's own MISSION STATEMENT!
Any candidate who wants to be taken seriously will have first started by reading Peachland's Mission Statement. It is only 26 words and carries the weight of every business decision a council can make. I thought, “Surely the incumbents will know the Mission Statement!” I was blown away by the fact that not one single incumbent could cite the mission statement! Not ONE! The only person who knew the mission statement in that crowd tonight was councilor candidate Karen Mustard! That speaks volumes to me. And Karen rockets to the top of my list for council!
The biggest surprise for me tonight was Eric Hall. Honestly, I had favored other candidates leading up to tonight, but Eric was as sharp as can be. He clearly knows a great deal about running the show and has a wealth of knowledge generally that would take decades to duplicate.
Harry Gough seemed to me to be just out of his depth here. He is obviously a great guy, but I'm thinking that he probably should have run for council instead of Mayor.
Pete Coolio once again impressed me. He's an intelligent and articulate pragmatist who would serve Peachland well. I wouldn't rule Pete out for Mayor sometime down the road.
Keith Thom continued as expected. Just when I thought he had hit rock bottom at the last meeting I show up tonight to find him digging the hole deeper. I felt sorry for Keith actually because I don't think he realizes how he is perceived.
I like Karen Mustard a lot and think she will bring a fresh spirit and ideas to the table once in council.
Andrew Kwaczynski seems like a likable guy, but in this forum, the answer to all questions can't be a call for a group hug!
Terry Condon was bang on tonight and I thought he scored well with the audience.
Pam Cunningham held herself well and I thought did a good job of responding to questions. I would like to see how well Pam can do with a few fresh faces on council this next time around.
Mario Vucinovic once again did a great job. He is one of the more intelligent persons on the council and it shows. He's a valuable asset to Peachland that I want to keep around for a long time.
Keith Fielding was another one who did very well tonight. I thought he also knows a lot about what's going on around here and would be a valuable asset on council.
Patrick Van Minsel held his own, but there was some animosity toward him tonight. He was wrongly accused of being a Chamber Board member and I felt bad for him for that. I can't support Patrick for the sole reason that he has not done the full job properly at the Chamber yet. He does not have the time to further dilute his responsibilities there.
Rick Ingram also struck me as a bit out of his depth here tonight as well. He's clearly a good guy who wants to help Peachland develop, but there were just too many other sharp candidates out there tonight.
Leanne Sarsons and Mike Kent were both no-shows for tonight's event. I don't know why Leanne opted out but Mike did say that he had a prior work-related event to attend.
I really felt bad for Cindy Fortin tonight who claims to appears to have been bullied a fair bit. I applaud her courage to come out tonight and at least address the matter.