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5 Key Factors for Choosing the Right Candidates in the Kelowna Civic Election

Don't forget to Vote for your choice of Kelowna candidates for city council at the 2011 Kelowna Civic Election

Vote November 19, 2011 in the Kelowna Civic Election

There is so much being talked about around our fine city with the upcoming Kelowna Civic Election. People are wondering who is this FourChange Group, and what is their motivation?

We’ve been talking about how Kelowna candidates are using social media (using the hashtag #KelownaVotes on Twitter), how many signs various candidates have around the city, but let’s face it, none of this is important. They are all temporary. We need to focus on the real issues. We need to focus on what the City of Kelowna needs long-term.

Mayor Shepherd said there is nothing wrong with downtown Kelowna, I don’t believe that is true.  Let’s take what Dale Morton, co-owner of the Kelowna Hostel had to say, “At the hostel we have a lot of young people come here who’ve booked for four- or five night stays. Then they walk around, see boarded up buildings, and the empty stores on Lawrence and Leon. They see what’s going on in the streets, the criminal element, and they just don’t feel safe. They check out the next day. These are world travelers, and they can’t wait to get out of Kelowna. It’s a terrible situation.”

I think most people in Kelowna would agree that our downtown area could use some change.  So what we need in our Kelowna City Council is a group of leaders that understand what is needed and willing to make the necessary changes.

I’d venture to guess that there are several candidates running in our upcoming 2011 Kelowna Civic Election that are more interested in a part time job with a pay cheque than about really making a difference in our community. Don’t get me wrong I know people need to work and require a pay cheque to live, but we need people with a genuine interest in improving our community in Kelowna City Council?  In addition to having the desire to improve Kelowna, having a background that prepares them for this is essential.  We need people who understand what Kelowna needs to stimulate economic growth, create more jobs and opportunities, which will then afford all the things residents want, such as bike paths, dog parks and more social programs.

Most people I have talked to agree that we need to be voting for the people who have a combination of life experience and business backgrounds that have prepared them to take on the challenge to create change.  I believe we also need people that are willing to stand up for what Kelowna needs.  I don’t believe that we want people in Kelowna City Council that are running in this election with no relevant experience or ability to make a valuable contribution.

Who do you want representing the City of Kelowna in the 2011 Kelowna Civic ElectionWho will you vote for in our Kelowna Civic Election on November 19, 2011?

When considering whom you are going to vote for as Mayor of Kelowna and Kelowna City Council consider the following 5 key factors:

1.  Why are they running?  Is it only for pay cheque, status, or is to make a REAL change in our community?

2.  Do they have a relevant background that will help them be successful?

3.  Is their message and what they say they stand for just about what they think people want to hear? They need to stand for and believe in the things that will make Kelowna’s economy strong, making this a great city to live, work and play in.

4.  Are they vocal? Are they a leader? Or are they just going to attend those council meetings quietly, unwilling to ruffle any feathers and not share an opinion. We need people with opinions, we need people who are willing to stand up and speak up for what Kelowna needs to prosper.

5.  Do they think ahead? All decisions have consequences, good or bad. We need people that are progressive thinking and are willing and able to plan ahead on how best to stimulate ongoing growth in our local economy for the long-term.

As the mother of a young man, I have to admit I admired the accomplishment of Kelowna candidate Kevin Craig winning in the last election.  And as much as I would like to support him in this election, he is a young man who has never paid taxes, owned a home, ran business in Kelowna, and no relevant experience that is greatly needed to be an effective and contributing member in City Council .  So I have to ask, what value does he truly bring to Kelowna at this time?

Then I hear many Kelowna candidates talking about a Balanced Approach.  Do we really need that, or do we need an approach that makes Kelowna a better place to live, a safer community for our families, a place with opportunity and jobs for our youth, and a strong economy?

Personally I vote for CHANGE, I will be voting for candidates that I believe will make the greatest impact in Kelowna. They will be those who understand business, who are active in our community, and who have strong opinions and aren’t afraid to voice them.

That leaves us with the most important leadership position of all, the Mayor of Kelowna.  We need a leader that can make decisions quickly and implement them even quicker.  I’ve heard many stories about issues taking years to resolve in Kelowna City Hall.  As a business owner myself, I know that one of the greatest assets you can have as a leader, is to make decision quickly and move them into action.

“Successful people make decisions quickly and change them slowly if and when at all.”  ~Napoleon Hill, Author of Think and Grow Rich

There has been a lot of changing of minds in Kelowna City Council over recent years with things such as Kelowna’s Downtown Redevelopment Plan, proposals for the KSS site (rejecting them all), and changing of minds on HOV lanes, to name a few.

And there are endless ongoing talks about things that end up going no-where, just wasting a lot of taxpayer’s money.  Too much time and money is wasted with delays of various plans and decisions being postponed or canceled altogether.  The City of Kelowna not only needs strong leadership, it needs leaders who can make decisions quickly and move them into action without delay.

We are blessed to live in one of the most beautiful cities in British Columbia. Please take the time to vote on November 19 in our Kelowna Civic Election, as this is the most important election we have ever had.

What are the most important issues for you in choosing which Kelowna candidates you will vote for? Share in the comments below.

Comments

  1. Walter Gray says:

    Thank you for asking the questions and starting to seriously debate the issues. Here is my response to the comment “Nothing is wrong downtown” made by Sharon Shepherd.

    http://youtu.be/gC8sZSDvs4g

    Walter Gray

    1. Thanks for sharing your video Walter. I would agree with you that downtown Kelowna can use some improvements. And you are right to say the work is never done. To have a vibrant community we need to continuously be working on it and never claim that all is done.

  2. Frithjof says:

    I am disappointed that you join the negative bashing that the fourchange.org slate introduced into this election. Especially after your previous blog post.

    Attacking specific candidates does nothing for the future of our city. Kevin Craig brings a much needed youthful perspective to our City. His election also shows that a new generation of citizens is able and willing to take responsibility. I for one am very impressed by the young people running in this election.

    I’d like to answer your points though:
    1. Blaming anybody for running for a pay cheque is simply as silly as it is disrespectful. Even IF a Councillor would treat the office like a part time job, taking on a minimum wage job would pay more per hour.
    2. I don’t want my business to be run like a City and I don’t want my City run like a business. This article from the Ottawa Business Journal makes some good points about this: http://t4o.me/sHSq0B
    3. Is a great question! Do they want to turn City hall’s decision making process back to the way it was 10 years ago? And why?
    4. Also a great question! Are they taking City council seriously or do they miss 25% of council meetings?
    5. Do they think ahead or do they want to turn the clock back? I am actually wondering why so many candidates want to come back from their well deserved retirement. Do these people have the right perspective to shape our City going forward?

    I would like to suggest a few more questions:
    6. Are the candidates willing to continue the path of making decisions with the involvement of the stakeholders in the community?
    7. Are the candidates truly independent or how does their endorsement by the development and old-media industry impact their decision making?
    8. The support of non-profit organizations is essential to the well being of our community. Proclamations are an important part of this support. What impact would it have to these causes to elect a Mayor that has lost the ability to sign proclamations because of his previous actions?
    9. Bringing High tech firms to the valley has rightly been mentioned as a key to our economic future. What signal would it send to elect Mayor and Council that wants to turn the clock back 10 years?

    1. HI Frith,

      Thanks for your comments and whether you and I agree or not, in my opinion is not important. What is important is that people have opinions and voice them. There will never be a time where everyone will share the same views and in fact that could be very dangerous. Even in Council we need people with different views and opinions to challenge things to make sure that the best possible decisions are made.

      In regards to your comment about Kevin Craig, I have not, nor would I ever attach him or any other candidate. I think Kevin is a fine young man, who I admire and respect. I just think that at this time we need a little more experience in City Council. But again that is just my opinion. I wish him luck and if he wins he certainly would be deserving of it. In regards to Mayor Shepherd, I haven’t attacked her either, I simply disagree with her opinion that there is nothing wrong with downtown Kelowna. I do a lot of traveling and I would say Kelowna’s downtown is one of the least appealing downtown areas I’ve seen, which is a shame in a city as beautiful as Kelowna.

      It’s an important election and I think the more people that get out and vote the better. Thanks again for sharing your views, I respect all that you have said, whether or not I agree with it.

      Melonie

  3. Mark Thompson says:

    Thank-you for your challenge. We need people to truly think about traits needed to be an effective member of local government and we need people to get out in droves and vote.
    As a Father with 4 children, a grandparent, a senior and a person with many years of business and political experience I want people that I can trust. I know that notwithstanding that Kelowna has many great attributes we can and must do better. As a Leader in the technology industry I believe we can achieve great things by truly moving in a direction to focus on attracting technology companies.
    You challenge us to think deeper. As I go through this election I find it a tragedy that we are not able to have true debates. We need debates that would truly separate the candidates. We need more substance and less emotion. We need some barn burners. I am ready to challenge all the endorsed candidates to date I am ready to challenge them all 1 against many. For I believe that the hidden agendas are not in the public interest. I am most surprised to hear people talk including candidates that have no idea how big the business of the city is. At least the candidates should be informed and so should organizations such as the so called fourchange.org. Even they get it wrong! They talk of a city budget of $93 million which is less than 25% of the truth. The City budget is over $400 million and when you add the School Board budget the total local government budget is approximately $600 million. Why do we accept such blatant misrepresentation?
    As the Vice chairman of the City of Kelowna Advisory Planning Commission I see many issues come forward that are hidden from the average citizen. I believe that a Ward System of electing our council would make councillors more representative and accountable to all areas in the city.
    I invite people to do an in depth review of my qualifications and my positions and compare them to the positions of others.
    People can see what I stand for at my website electmarkthompson.com where I openly let you know who I really am. I answer questions to the best of my abilities and I shoot straight from the hip. I am not always right and I look for others to show me a better approach. I am trying to express views on twitter @votemarkkelowna and my blog is trying to address in depth comments on some priority issues. To get to my blog just go to my web site. I am a candidate for both City Council and the School Board because I believe there is a great deal of efficiency missing with a lack of coordination of both local governments serving on property taxpayer.
    I for one believe that we need people who can think on their feet, people with experience and education. We need people who will invest in being informed and we need people who will ask the tough questions. Questions like how is it possible that we place new street lights that cannot be lite up because project management didn’t require installation of the conduit for the wiring. Questions like, is it true that the City has awarded major road and utility work and has given unreasonable leniency to a firm now insolvent at what expense to the city? We need people who actually pay taxes and preferably people with experience managing people and budgets. We need people that can stand up to public policy positions based on fairness, justice and economic feasibilities. We need people that know how to get things done. A CD21 bylaw needing only 4th and final approval turning into a council reversal and a three year discussion to only get some text amendments to the OCP and no projects is cruel and unacceptable performance.
    We are not immune to the world debt crisis. I want people that know how to get things done and I want people that will reconsider matters when things aren’t working. I want people that know that we cannot continue to just keep raising taxes. I want people that understand the need for a proper mix of taxation rates for all classes of property.
    The role of local government is to provide services not reengineer society.
    I wonder about all the concentration on how many years someone has lived in the community. If I need heart surgery do I want the surgeon who is most qualified to do the job who might have arrived only this week or do I just want the one who can say all my knowledge and experience comes from Kelowna. I know the heart surgeon that I want if needed. Frankly I want worldly people with good education and a wealth of experience. Excellent and often the best experiences tend to come from away.
    Again, thank-you for the challenge.

    1. Hi Mark,

      Thanks for your comments and sharing your views, opinions and what you stand for. I agree that many of us are not aware of many of the issues in our city, myself included. I’ve been trying to do the best I can to learn more about the important issues so that I can make the right choices on voting day. It seems to me that your background, experience and stand on some of the important issues, positions you well to provide much value to City Council and as a School Trustee. I wish you much luck in the election and you will have my vote!

  4. Darnell Toth says:

    Great posts, Melonie! I don’t see any hostile attacks or opinions in here, just good debate that’s necessary for progressing Kelowna.

    Best of luck to all candidates.

    1. Thanks for your comment Darnell. I agree good debate is a good thing and would never promote any hostile attacks of anyone. In fact quite the opposite, I think that is unnecessary and completely uncalled for. I wish all candidates the best of luck in their campaigns also.