Get out and vote

People sure have opinions about the upcoming municipal election.

What a wonderful thing to see.

I sure hope everyone writing about who they think merits a vote or not gets out and votes. Only 36% of eligible voters cast a vote in the 2018 Kelowna municipal election. It would be lovely to see that number grow.

Of course I have my own opinions. I won't bore folks with all of them, but I will say a few things.

I have sat in council chambers for more than three years, and watched from home during COVID restrictions and I don't recall seeing any of the people running for mayor in the room, except for the current mayor. To be honest, I have hardly seen any council candidates there either. I have seen a few candidates speak at public hearings.

I was planning to run for council before life got in the way, as it does sometimes. I took it seriously. I attended every meeting possible. I learned exactly what happens at council meetings— who goes, who presents, how they are run.

I stopped yelling (I yelled three times for those keeping track at home) and started paying attention. I learned as much as I could. I got to know city councillors and city staff. I developed relationships. It took time, as relationships do.

I am struck by the number of candidates running who have never attended council (meetings). Yes, you may have a job but you are also applying for a job that requires you to be present every Monday at 9 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m, as well as public hearings on certain Tuesday evenings. (You also) sit on boards as a city representative, never mind (deputy) mayoral duties.

One would think you would want to show your face once in awhile, especially considering the current council voted against allowing participation from home for more than two sessions in a row. So much for disability inclusion, but I digress.

Voting in this municipal election isn't going to be easy for a lot of people from the conversations I have had. Everyone wants change. But is the change that is being offered better than what we have? In some cases yes, I think it is.

In other cases, no.

Sometimes voting for change just for the sake of it isn't the best course of action. Voting against someone isn't a good enough reason for me to vote for someone who hasn't done any work to prepare themselves to sit in one of the most powerful seats in our city.

Heather Friesen

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