Municipal Elections 2014  

Who's running for mayor?

The three candidates for mayor in Penticton include two experienced incumbents and a Penticton resident who is running for mayor for a second time.

Councillor John Vassilaki, is running on a platform of leadership with a positive change, while Councillor Andrew Jakubeit wants to "inspire, empower and reignite."

Jukka Laurio is a Penticton business owner, who wants to make the Okanagan city a better place to live. He made a bid for mayor in 2011, but stopped campaigning when his criminal background was brought up in the media. 

Here is a look at the platforms for the three men who are running for mayor in the Nov. 15 election:

Andrew Jakubeit: (incumbent) Jakubeit is the owner of Grooveyard in downtown Penticton. He has been on council for six years and is chair of the Canucks Young Stars Classic.

He is also a former president of the Downtown Penticton Association, Okanagan Film Commission board member, chamber of commerce liaise and RDOS protective services committee chair.

His vision for Penticton includes cultivating a sense of community, shopping local and restoring Penticton as the envy of other communities.

Under the heading of economic innovations and vibrancy he is focused on fostering entrepreneurship, creating a high-tech incubation creative cluster and a high performance athlete training centre and economic investment zones.

In terms of fostering relationships, he would like to see the city and Penticton Indian Band prospering harmoniously and create a mayor's select task force on affordable housing, economic innovations and tourism.

For tourism, he would like to brand Penticton as the festival and event capital of BC, create the region as a cycling precinct and implement a sport tourism and outdoor adventure strategy.

"I am running for mayor," he said. "Because I feel council has lost its focus and we need a clear vision, strong leadership and a community minded champion to move us forward. I have experience, I'm young and I have a passion for this community to realize its true potential."

Jukka Laurio: Laurio, the owner of the Rush In and Finish Cafe, wants to leave his past, which includes a conviction for sexual assault and a second for drug trafficking, behind him.

In 2011, he stopped campaigning for mayor when the convictions came to light. As of this week, he is still in the race and made a strong showing at a candidates' forum at the Lakeside Resort.

At the forum, he described the struggles he had when he first moved to Penticton, finding work and an affordable place to live. In the summer, he stated, it was a great place to hang out, but when winter came there was nothing to be found.

He ate at the Soupateria, lived in trailers and finally got a big break when he found a more permanent place to live.

His current goals include an actual plan of action to make Penticton a major tourism destination.

"Every city has to do something for a living," he said. "We don't have manufacturing. We are in the middle of nowhere and it's a difficult location. So we have to actually attract people here and create something that they want."

Other concerns are city staffing levels, street safety and the city council being more transparent.

"I want the city to be more open door, because I myself am very open," he said. "But the main focus is the tourist destination, more festivals in the city to really re-design Penticton."

John Vassilaki: (incumbent) Vassilaki has a family business and has been a city councillor for 12 years.

He believes that the current situation at City Hall is not working very well for anyone and has to change.

"We have seen lawsuits, for example, the Eckhardt Avenue properties, the loss to the PHA and incorrect tax notices," he said. "These are costing our taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and no one is being held accountable for these mistakes. This has to stop and it has to stop now."

His five point plan on how to turn things around include the following:

Keep Penticton Affordable: increase efficiencies at City Hall by restoring the independence of the fiscal review board to fully scrutinize all city spending and identify savings. Show leadership by ensuring a thorough line by line examination of the zero based budget by council to keep taxes low.

Focus on jobs and Penticton's economy: To encourage tourism we must create a single independent Tourism Board to work on coordinated strategies and recommendations to council and to the tourism industry. I will be recommending a new plan to restructure tourism in Penticton.

Increase accountability and transparency: increase council accountability by restoring the recording of the mover/seconder of a motion and record names for and against decisions at council meetings. Ensure that the RDOS appointments are non-political.

Informed and more active citizens: I will be hosting on the third Thursday of every month, a town hall meeting with the media and the public where any question put forward will be answered and information given whenever possible.

Cleaning up Penticton: Implement an anti-graffiti bylaw that holds offenders responsible and not victimize small business owners. Support local volunteerism by providing a landfill exemption to groups, organizations and individuals who volunteer to participate in organized public clean-up events.





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