To the editor:
Having run for the first time in the Kelowna civic elections, I was somewhat startled but not surprised, by the reactions of local media.
The school budget is way larger than the cities and both have salaries as the largest component, yet The Courier and CHBC did nothing to cover trustee elections.
The Capital News made a half-hearted effort but failed to include my bio with the other trustee candidates.
Issues such as the need to change teacher bargaining, or review the number of challenged students per class weren’t reported on.
Then there was the FourChange group, which was really a local political party. Even though they stretched the bounds of credibility, their candidates pictures and write-ups, together with a lot of misinformation, were plastered on the front pages.
I also believe that some candidates in both elections used federal and or provincial party voters lists, or some version of it, to achieve election. This is obvious from some of the endorsements appearing on their websites.
I tried to suggest to others that there needed to be an alliance to counter FourChange but, even though a few passed around names, no one seemed very interested.
It will be interesting to see how much FourChange spent on this election. I believe this can only be countered by another organized group of candidates, perhaps in an organized party.
Perhaps, John Powell is correct in suggesting a ward system is needed. (Our City Needs a Better Electoral System, John O.Powell letter to the editor, Nov. 29 Capital News.) It would certainly cut down on the mess of signs which probably do not produce much. Some candidates with hundreds of signs did not come close to winning.
A ward system would make each councilor at least focus on their area. The Rutland area, in particular, desperately needs councilors and trustees to stand up for good development and a new Rutland Middle School. I have heard the words “fast track” and “immediate” many times now for RMS. Let’s see if new councilors/trustees attach some real meaning to these words.
I was also startled, as I circulated the city twice, at the number of multi-million dollar houses. Surely, a city as wealthy as Kelowna can establish decent schools for our children and infrastructure that is safe and up to date.
Perhaps it is time to look at the whole municipal/provincial taxation system? A recent study has shown that the substantially rich are now paying far less in taxes then 20 years ago.
Will anything change in good old Kelowna in the next three years? It is time to contact each newly elected councilors/trustees/media and express your concerns to make the next election much better organized and fairly reported. Make sure the Kelowna city council and school board know the issues that concern you.
Reg Volk, Kelowna