The group of candidates running for city council in November’s civic election was assembled by Mayor Walter Jakeway, but the mayor says he’s running independent of the group.
“I’m not formally a part of it, I’m just the guy who made the contact,” Jakeway said.
The mayor said earlier this year he started getting phone calls from people interested in running for city council.
Jakeway said it quickly became evident who had the same ideologies and could work well together and he directed them to each other.
What emerged was CHOICE, a group of five candidates – Bob Bray, David Christian, Marcia McKay, Jim Parnell and Jos Krynen who has withdrawn from the city council race.
Jakeway said while he admires CHOICE, it’s not his group.
“They run independent of me but I respect them,” he said. “It’s neat that a bunch of people who didn’t know each other can come together and are functioning well together.”
CHOICE candidate McKay said Jakeway has been a valuable asset to the group but was quick to add that the candidates have been doing their own research.
“Mayor Jakeway has been kind enough to meet with the members of CHOICE over the summer to help us consider our candidacy and to give us his perspective on the issues,” McKay said. “We have done our homework and researched voting histories, positions taken, attendance at meetings, and responsiveness to local issues and special interest groups.”
McKay said while CHOICE does not always think the same way as Jakeway, the group does believe what Jakeway has been saying for the past three years – that council needs to get a better hold on its finances.
“We don’t always agree with Mayor Jakeway, or with each other for that matter, but we do agree that council can lower taxes without lowering services,” McKay said.
Jakeway is promising a 15 per cent reduction of property taxes over three years but he needs the support of council to do so.
“If you’ve got people who agree with you on finances then you can live up to your promises,” said Jakeway who added that he believes CHOICE has a similar philosophy as him when it comes to city finances.
McKay said, like Jakeway, CHOICE is questioning some of the expenditures council has approved in recent years.
“You simply can’t argue with the numbers,” McKay said. “We have had large increases in taxes over the years, and yet many on council seemed surprised by the amount of surplus left in the budget for 2013.
“As for spending, CHOICE is very careful with money and would be very careful with tax dollars,” McKay added. “For example, we are collaborating on the cost of ads, signage and handouts.”
Whether or not that resonates with voters will be determined Nov. 15, election day.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Jakeway said.