A long-time critic of City Hall is running for a seat on city council in this year’s civic election.
Sean Smith, who has never shied away from offering his opinion of city politics on his websites, Ranting in CR and SmithonCouncil, and through the social media tool Twitter, announced his candidacy on Tuesday for the Nov. 19 city election. Smith said his decision to run came largely out of frustration with the current council.
“I’m pretty much at the end of my rope,” said Smith. “I’m seeing opportunities pass by and some bizarre things being pushed through by council. My intention is to change some of that.”
His biggest concern is economic development, which he says in Campbell River “is a disaster.”
Smith has been disappointed with Rivercorp, the organization tasked with improving the city’s economy.
“Economic development is so important to the community, it attracts new business and new industry and things need to change drastically in order to change the economic fortunes of our city,” said Smith. “I hope Rivercorp will go in a new direction with the new CEO (Vic Goodman) but I’ve been optimistic before and then let down.”
Smith’s campaign motto “Say NO to the Status Quo” refers to the change he feels is needed at City Hall.
“Every election we talk about change but after the election nothing changes,” said Smith. “If I’m elected, and a change needs to be made, I will act. I will ask the community for ideas of what they want to see.
“The days of city councillors being elected and then not speaking to anyone for the next three years has got to stop. If you’re going to be a successful candidate you have to actually speak to the community, which I do because I’m so involved with social media.”
Smith was also a columnist with the Campbell River Mirror.
It’s tools like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube that he hopes will help get him elected. When he ran for council in 2002, Smith had not lived here long and was a bit of an unknown. This time around, though, things are different.
“I’ve been here a decade now,” said Smith. “The first time I ran in the election I was told I hadn’t been here long enough and I had no name recognition. Now, I definitely have name recognition.”
He hopes that’s enough to get him a seat at the council table to influence change in a number of areas.
One of those being council’s spending habits.
“I see a lot of dollars being spent with no results, like Rivercorp, I haven’t seen anything significant coming out of it,” said Smith. “I see money every year being poured into INfilm. For $50,000 a year, I would like to see a film, please, or even a commercial. The return on investment people are putting in as a taxpayer is just not there. We need the voice of common sense to look at expenditures and say ‘I’m sorry, that’s wrong’ and that’s me.”
He would also like to see City Hall restructured, with less power in the hands of senior management and more with city council.
“The bureaucrats are running everything. They’re coming up with all of the ideas and then putting a decision in council’s hands,” said Smith. “There’s lots of things I would like to take out of the city’s hands.”
To read more of Smith’s positions on several city issues visit his website, smithoncouncil.com