What is it going to take to get City Council working as a team to respect and support the expectations of the majority of the Campbell River electorate?
The outcry of a large majority of Campbell River taxpayers against the proposed tax increase is resoundingly clear, unambiguous, and firm yet certain councillors refuse to listen and have the outfight arrogance to ignore the voice of the people and stand their ground on their personal aspirations and agendas.
More specifically, the “Group of Four” city councillors refuse to respect the clear message from the electorate that a tax increase is not acceptable. Furthermore, it seems that senior City staff are encouraged by the actions of the “Group of Four” and consistently refuse to respond to the demands of taxpayers to find ways to present a balanced budget without tax increases or further dipping into City (emergency) reserves. After the clear message against a tax increase that was presented at the April 17 council meeting (25 speaking against, 1 speaking for), I am shocked by the outright disdain of the “Group of Four” councillors for dismissing the demands of the electorate.
It is absolutely confounding that after the enormous backlash to the proposed tax increase that Councillor Ryan Mennie had the audacity to say that “While I appreciate them coming forward and giving their perspective, my perspective hasn’t changed,” …”I still think I represent a large part of the community with my perspective.” Well hello councillor Mennie, but “thinking” that you represent a “large part of the community” simply isn’t good enough. Being absolutely certain that your “thinking” represents the majority of the community is the only position that cuts it. I can absolutely assure Coun. Mennie that if a proposed change to the program format at the radio station where he works (a Pattison Group company) were opposed by its listeners by a ratio of 25 to 1, the proposed changes would die a quick death and any employees that were not happy with that would be out on their ear. Smart, successful businesses listen to their customers. Smart elected officials not only listen to the electorate if they want to be re-elected, but they have an obligation to listen and act accordingly regardless of their personal views.
Similarly, councillors Storry and Samson said that they would only change her minds if new information were to come forward. Well wake up and smell the coffee councillors! The “new information” has arrived big time in the form of community outrage. In case you haven’t noticed, for the past several weeks the local papers have been full of letters from irate citizens, the Council Gallery has been full of angry taxpayers, and petitions against tax increases are being signed around town in copious volumes. How big of an explosion next to your ears will it take to wake you up and have you realize that the “new information” you need has arrived in indisputable and irrefutable quantities?
And, to round out the “Group of Four,” Coun. Moglove says that the budget is “a balance of everything everyone on council has come to the table with.”
Well I’m sorry Ms. Molgove but to me that comment only serves to express how hopelessly out of touch you and the rest of the “Group of Four” councillors are with the electorate.
Remember councillors, your job is to represent the majority of the electorate, not your personal aspirations and agendas.
M.J. (Marv) Everett