Richard Barkwill

Richard Barkwill

A common question that’s been asked of us in the media for years — especially in Kelowna — “Why does our city keep electing the same people to municipal council?”

It has been suggested that we recommend candidates because with a list of 25-plus, it’s hard to choose one newcomer from the next. Name recognition always triumphs. Then we’re stuck with another four years of mediocrity.

I endorsed several candidates in the 2018 municipal election and for the federal Conservative leadership, something I prefer not to do.

But it shouldn’t be up to the media. Voters need to do their own homework. Some do, some don’t. Unfortunately, many rely on us to help form their opinions.

During COVID, use this down time to watch a city council, school board and regional district meeting. Just one. Then you can see everyone in action. Then you will have a more-informed and accurate opinion on who not to vote for.

This week, I watched the final hour of the Summerland council meeting where they debated a notice of motion from Coun. Richard Barkwill on greenhouse gases and the environmental concerns related to the solar project.

Mayor Toni Boot, who was chairing the virtual meeting, wanted to discuss “ethics and integrity” — this coming from someone who twice promised the people of Summerland she wouldn’t run for the NDP in the provincial election, but did anyway.

Coun. Doug Holmes later attempted a hockey analogy — presumably so Coun. Marty Van Alphen could understand — but was told by the mayor to make his point without hockey analogies.

Holmes was comparing clean forms of energy with the Sedin twins. Would the mayor prefer “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter” or McDonaldland characters?

Earlier, Coun. Erin Carlson broke down in tears then shut her screen off. It appeared she believed Barkwill was introducing information far too late in the game. Carlson, as you might recall, headed Stop the Swap, a campaign which continued well after the council of the day had made its decision.

Four days earlier, I watched a ridiculous Regional District Okanagan Similkameen meeting.

Penticton Coun. Frank Regehr was denied financial data because he wasn’t presently on the RDOS board. Never mind that 42% of the regional district funding comes from the City of Penticton.

Katie Robinson then said something preposterous along the lines that nobody from council would be interested in reading a final report.

That’s comforting to know.

They then spent about 15 minutes on an important issue — whether the final numbers of a vote for chair and vice-chair should be revealed.  Riveting.

Chair Karla Kozakevich said it could hurt someone’s feelings if they lobbied for support in advance only to discover that someone had lied to them.

So it’s better to let people lie to you then asking them to make a firm and honest commitment?

That’s our taxpayer dollars at work.

James Miller is managing editor of The Penticton Herald.