Incumbent Kelowna city councillor Charlie Hodge says he plans to seek re-election despite serious health problems that have dogged him for the last few years.
Hodge, who had two major jaw surgeries and part of his jaw replaced following problems resulting from an infection, said pending a meeting with his doctors, he plans to file his nomination papers in a bid to win a second straight term on council in the Oct. 20 civic election.
In addition to the current four-year term on council, Hodge also served for three years, from 2008 to 2011, before losing his seat in the 2011 election, when he, two other councillors and then mayor Sharon Shepherd were targeted for defeat at the polls by a group of local business people calling itself 4Change. After three years off council, he was re-elected in 2014.
Prior to moving to Kelowna, Hodge also served one term on Parksville city council, from 1997 to 2000.
Often the lone voice of dissent or approval on issues that come before Kelowna council, Hodge revels in his self-ascribed nickname “Lone Wolf.” But he said his priorities remain the same as they were when first elected—clean water, a healthy economy and healthy residents.
He believes the number one issue facing the next city council will be dealing with crime and drug use downtown.
But to do that, he said the province and federal governments have to come to the table to help city hall address the problem.
According to Hodge, the city has done well addressing homelessness, but mental health issues and addiction by some on the streets has led to them being, in Hodge’s eyes, preyed upon by “dirtballs” feeding them drugs. And that has led to many of the current problems downtown, he said.
“The public has a right to be angry about what is happening,” said Hodge. “But it’s directed at the wrong guys.”
“We (as a city) have almost reached the maximum point of what we can do. The federal and provincial governments have to get involved.”
Hodge said despite initial trepidation about how he would fit in with the other eight members of council elected in 2014, he feels as a group it has done well over the last four years, describing council as “very functional and effective.”
The nomination period for those planning to run for council, as well as board of education trustee and regional district director, ends Sept. 14.
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