A local group trying to unseat four Kelowna city councillors in the upcoming election is publicly questioning the leadership and vision of the incumbent quartet.
FourChange.org, which has targeted Couns. Michele Rule, Charlie Hodge, Angela Reid-Nagy and Kevin Craig, says the as-of-yet unidentified candidates it plans to support should be leaders, have a “big picture” view for the city, not push their own pet projects and have the experience and education to handle millions of tax dollars.
“The purpose of FourChange is to be united in electing four new people to represent the taxpayers on council —people who are leaders; people who know we need development to help fund social issues; people who have a big picture view of Kelowna’s future, not just pet projects; people who have a balanced outlook; people who have the education or experience that warrants entrusting them to our $93 million tax base,” says FourChange.org in its latest news release.
The criticism of the four incumbents was met Wednesday with a swift rebuke from two of them.
“I’d be insulted if it was not so ridiculous,” said Hodge.
“Based on that criteria, I’m surprised I’m not their first choice.”
Hodge said in terms of leadership, he is often a lone voice on council standing up for what he believes is right. And other than the controversial CD-21 zone, Hodge says council has not rejected any development proposals downtown.
As for pet projects, both he and Rule pointed out that five votes are required on council for anything to be approved, so there are no pet projects.
Rule, who called FourChange’s approach “unprofessional because it has not identified specific issues or candidates that it supports,” said she was disappointed none of the nine people leading the group have spoken with her about their concerns.
“How much credibility do they have?” she asked, adding she did not take the criticism personally.
Like Hodge, she said the criteria the group has laid down for the people it says it will support could describe her as well.
“There shouldn’t be anyone running for council who does not feel that way,” she said of FourChange.org’s purpose statement.
Earlier this week, FourChange.org identified the nine local businesspeople on its steering committee.
Claiming to represent hundreds of supporters, FourChange.org is being led by:
Francis Braam—owner and managing broker of Royal LePage Kelowna
Brad Cronquist—a partner at law firm Pushor Mitchell LLP
Rodney Friesen—president of Voyager RV Centre
Nick Frost—founder and owner of Castanet.net
Jacquie Jones—a retired human resource and training consultant
David Langton—a partner at Competition Glass
Cal McCarthy—founder and president of SW Audio+Visual & Showtime Events
Wendy Nelson—founder and owner of Nelson & Associates
Jorin Wolf—founder and president of Jorin Wolf Interior Design
FourChange.org originally said it only supported incumbent Couns. Robert Hobson, Andre Blanleil, Graeme James and Luke Stack.
But the group has since backed away from that public endorsement, with Langton saying last week it does not officially support any candidates at the moment.
FourChange.org plans to choose the new candidates it will support from the ones who file nomination papers over the next eight days.
The period for filing nomination papers for the Nov. 19 election ends at 4 p.m. on Oct. 14.