Letters: Compilation of one-candidate letters—Shepherd

The Kelowna Capital News has received many letters to the editor extolling or criticizing one candidate over others. We compile them here.

To the editor:

On Nov. 15 I will vote for Sharon Shepherd who has a proven track record as a three-term councillor and two-term mayor of Kelowna.

There are many environmental, social, and business endeavours initiated and completed during her terms as a leader in civic politics: e.g., the multipurpose pathways from City Park to Gyro and Rotary Beach, the revitalization of Bernard Avenue and the development of the Clement cycle path.

Sharon is committed to the Rails to Trails development and, for the benefit of us all, she will work diligently with other civic leaders to extend the line from Kelowna to Vernon.

Sharon’s civilized leadership style reflects her diligence and ability to listen and consider all aspects of controversy.

Kelowna’s future will be in good hands with mayor Sharon Shepherd.

Carol Taylor, Kelowna

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To the editor:

I am writing this letter in response to: Cliquey city is due for a change.

The writer does not state in the letter what they mean in terms of “successful.” How does one measure the success of another? Is it by the car they drive or the house they live in? The clothes they wear? Or the cash they flash? Or does one simply pass a judgment or place a label upon something they feel is in their best interest for whatever their reason? Don’t disillusion yourself, “successful” does not always equal rich either.

Did you ever think to yourself that some of us had to work very hard and sometimes go through many hardships in order to achieve that successful life that you talk of? You’ve been here only six years and you’re already crying that you can’t get into that life of success in Kelowna that everybody only dreams of? Well, it took me 40 years of living in my hometown being born and raised here in order to achieve what some people would maybe consider success. I have a small business here which took me almost  20 years to build. Success does not happen overnight and you have to get kicked down a few times and get up again in order to be successful, you have to work hard, nothing is for nothing in life!

I used to be the true Kelownian in kindness and generosity towards everyone, no matter who you were! That is how I was raised, we used to know everyone within a five block radius and further in Kelowna, we were united. We helped one another out, we had each other’s back, we would never think of harming one another and went above and beyond the call of duty in times of need. I remember the backyard bbq’s around the block as kids, everyone got along with everyone! We had such fun. We were Kelowna, we stood as one. We used to actually care about each other. That was the mentality of what Kelowna once was in the distant past. Kind of like a true paradise. We didn’t have to worry. It was safe here.

Now we are divided. I don’t open the door anymore either, too many of the new people in town are not who they say they are and used to get away with a lot due to my carefree Kelownian attitude. I liked to help people out, it’s free and it makes you feel really good inside. Some of you should try it sometime, it doesn’t hurt. But every time I try to help someone out in recent months here, I seem to somehow get shafted or it costs me money I don’t have, because I ‘m not rich either.

I guess I would now probably be considered one of the snobby/cliquey successful people this letter talks of. Yeah, I have become ignorant too. I only keep to myself in order to protect me and my family from harm now, as a good percentage of people have moved here from every corner of the world, as most have heard of Kelowna now. And quite honestly, there are some I would not like to know, which is everyone’s right. Kelowna is not the sheltered little gem everyone had heard of once before. The whole face of Kelowna is changing everyday, because of a lack of vision or insight on behalf of our city council members. They are only focusing on cramming as many people as they can in here, and as fast as they can do it, never thinking of the repercussions.

Where do all these people get to work? What about sustainability?

Oh, I forgot, as Kelowna is so expensive a good percentage of people have to work out of town, bring their money with them or live on the street pushing their buggies around, when they can’t afford the heat or the food or the rent. I’ve even faced the possibility of homelessness myself in my own hometown as it is hard to make ends meet here as a single mother. The rent is almost double or triple what it used to be 12 or so years ago. I do my best.

How sad. I’m not even proud to be a Kelownian anymore, we had a lot more class than this at one time. What a joke we are. People will drive around you or look the other way in your time of need, avoid, avoid, avoid. God forbid they have to get involved and take time out of their precious day to help someone else. I think that’s just the way society is nowadays around the world. It’s here too.

Kelowna is getting a little more jaded everyday by all this big progress and building it up attitude everybody seems to have upon arrival here. They all want to change Kelowna in some way or another.

I am grateful and blessed to have grown up in what is now said to be one of the most beautiful places on earth, I get to keep that. I have the memories and pictures that will last me a lifetime. I have always had a great life here and have met many wonderful people over the years here. Kelowna has been good to me.

Unfortunately, Kelowna has changed so drastically, we will never again have that blissful and idealic town that all the world had heard about. It couldn’t stay the same. A lot of people are sadly disappointed when they realize once they get here, Kelowna is nothing like the place they heard or dreamed of. This wasn’t my dream either. You cannot change something and expect it to stay the same people. Dream on.

In my opinion, I like the old way that Sharon Shephard was running this place. She had the right idea. She may even remember my parents, who used to run a successful little business for 22 years, back in the day when Kelowna was a peaceful little paradise and times were good. Backyard bbq’s and all.

I am happy to hear you are running again. Thank you.

I will vote Sharon Shephard for mayor.

E. Parker, Kelowna

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To the editor:

Mayoral candidate Sharon Shepherd seemingly frightens the FourChange/ForKelowna/ForThemselves group because she has shown she cannot be bought or controlled as others clearly have been over the years. Unlike Mayor Gray, or the young in-over-his-head candidate behind him, she is not supported by a narrowly-focused group expecting to be ‘paid back’ for their support. Shepherd does not make backroom deals, or give special privileges to elitist friends. Shepherd separates herself because she treats every citizen, and their concerns, equally, which to this type of special interest group is incomprehensible.

Sharon Shepherd has shown over many terms as a councillor and mayor, that she represents all the citizens of Kelowna, not just an elite few, which has both angered and brought resentment from these elitist groups. This has resulted in bullying tactics towards Shepherd over the past couple of campaigns, and the formation of the negative-based group FourChange/ForKelowna/ForThemselves who attempt to disguise their narrow agenda (control and personal interests) by saying they are concerned for the ‘greater good.’

As has been the case with Mayor Gray, if his inexperienced-and-easily-led potential successor ends up in office, our community will never receive the type of transparency it had with Shepherd. If it were simply about a group concerned about business interests you would assume they would be behind Shepherd since of the two, she is the actual businesswoman; but it is clearly not about this. They do not want to support the candidate most qualified (by an incomparable margin), not because she is not interested in supporting the development or business community, but because she cannot be controlled behind the scenes.

Kelowna has to show they want to move ahead with a leader representative of all citizens of our city and cannot, and will not, be bought by a few of the highest bidders.

Ryan Thomas, Kelowna

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To the editor:

I am writing this letter today to express my unreserved support of Sharon Shepherd for mayor of Kelowna.

As a former resident deeply involved in the community, I have had the opportunity to work with Sharon during her past terms as mayor. I have seen first hand her dedication to the City of Kelowna and its citizens. Sharon Shepherd believes that Kelowna must continue to become a more openhearted, more generous, and more prosperous city. She understands that while the mayor and council have an obligation to ensure economic growth, they have an equal obligation to ensure that this growth is sustainable. Sharon fundamentally believes in community outreach and as such she strives to bring the opinions of all citizens into council chambers.

My first experience with Sharon Shepherd occurred in 2008 when I participated in the Mayor’s Youth Forum. For those unfamiliar with these forums, they were designed to increase youth input around key municipal issues. I was heavily involved with the Mayor’s Youth Forum from Grades 10 to 12, leading my school’s team to address issues such as policing, water conservation, and environmental sustainability. Representatives from Kelowna’s high schools met twice yearly to present their findings, discuss barriers to reform, and suggest actions for Kelowna City Council to take. Mayor Shepherd was always interested in the youth presentations; she repeatedly encouraged discourse and looked for ways to implement policy reflective of these ideas. She understood that these forums provided opportunities to increase input on essential issues, but that ultimately they were about engaging and encouraging young people to get involved in their communities.

Today I am in the final year of my political science degree at the University of Victoria, and I continue to be involved in politics and civic engagement. I believe that we all have the ability to take a step forward, reach out to one another, share our ideas, and in the process push society forward. I see this same philosophy in Sharon Shepherd’s passion for Kelowna and its citizens. Sharon understands what it takes to make a city great, she knows that we need everyone’s voice at the table, and she has a vision to make Kelowna the best, most beautiful mid-sized city in North America.  I believe that with Sharon’s wealth of knowledge, and her breadth of experience she can inspire the energy to achieve this vision. I know that with Sharon Shepherd as Mayor once again, Kelowna will be in good hands because she understands that decisions made today affect the youth of tomorrow. It is this kind of responsible, impassioned, and engaged leadership that we need, and that’s why on Nov. 15, I encourage you to vote Sharon Shepherd for mayor.

Michael McDonald, Victoria

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To the editor:

I’m glad Sharon Shepherd is running for mayor.

During her nine years on city council and six years as mayor of Kelowna I’ve dealt with Sharon multiple times regarding the issues closest to my heart—preserving healthy neighbourhoods  and enhancing our community’s theatre  activities.  Sharon was always available to listen to our concerns and suggest smart, workable solutions for us to reach our goals.  Her voting record proves her support for strong vibrant neighbourhoods that enhance the livability and quality of life for the people of Kelowna.

She began her political involvement as an active member of a neighbourhood association.  During her 15 years in office Sharon threw her full support personally and politically behind efforts to build and enhance the arts community in Kelowna.

I have been an active member of Kelowna’s theatre groups for 33 years and have been involved with neighbourhood issues since 1991.  I’ve paid close attention to our city’s actions in these areas.  Sharon Shepherd will be a strong advocate for both.  I endorse her for mayor of Kelowna with all my heart.

Debby Helf, Kelowna