under a microscope

In the NOW newspaper last week, when asked whether I would be seeking a councillor seat in the coming by-election, I replied that “I don’t want to work with most of the people on this council. It’s not a team I could work with.”

Yesterday on this website, I elaborated on that statement with a brief critique of each council member. That post has now been removed. Shortly after writing it, I was speaking with City Manager, Peggy Clark. Our conversation reminded me that know what it is like to be in public office and the subject of personal commentary. On reflection afterward, I realized it was unfair and ungracious of me to post judgement on their character in the manner I did. Now in reversed roles, I should practice what I had preached and offer them the dignity and trust I wish I had been given when I was in their chair.

Speculation on whether or not I would be able to work with current councillors is pointless. I accept and respect the electorate’s decision to not elect me in November. My defeat was decisive and unambiguous. The message was clear. I followed the direction provided by voters of White Rock and have moved on. I will not be seeking a return to council in the by-election regardless of the current members’ traits.

I have known Lynne Sinclair for many years. Perhaps if we were both on council our relationship would be more constructive than it has been in the past. Maybe we would complement each other and, while working through differences of opinion and personal style, build on each other’s strengths to accomplish great things for White Rock. I know we both are very concerned about this community being a healthy place for the development of children and the balance of housing types needed support a diverse population.

When Catherine Ferguson and I worked together as councillors, we rarely disagreed on the ultimate goal but had much different ideas on how and when to get there. We were frequently frustrated by each other. Perhaps it would be different now that she is in the mayor’s chair. Perhaps if I were on council she would help me temper my brutally blunt honesty and I could help her advance some languishing issues. I know we are both very concerned about the community’s ability to provide opportunities for people to work close to home and for public decision-making to be a welcoming process.

I have known of Helen Fathers since I was in high school. We ran in the same circles but our paths never seemed to cross. I do know we both share concern for the local ecosystem and the vitality of the community’s culture.

Mary-Wade Anderson and I worked together through some very difficult issues as councillors. Most often, we were able to find common ground and support each other’s efforts toward our shared goals.

The public criticism elected representatives experience reminds me of a scene in a TV show I saw a few years ago. In an episode of CSI, the parents of a murder victim were the suspects. As they dug deeper, investigators found embarrassing evidence of misdeeds, poor judgement, and relationship problems. But in the end, it was discovered that they did not commit the crime. These are the last two lines of that show…

GWEN ANDERSON: You must think that we are awful people — all this stuff that’s come out.

CATHERINE: You’re an average family burdened with a tragedy that put you under a microscope. That close, nobody can look good.

… the same can be said about an average person in public office.

One Response to “under a microscope”

  1. S. Showler Says:

    Visit S. Showler

    I’m very glad to hear that you would find it difficult to work with the current council. That is precisely why I voted for them and not for you.

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