Higher Ground: How should we choose?


John Devitt
John Devitt

So much has happened on the campaign trail!  How to express it all?

We had all candidate forums happening that proposed to answer our questions about candidates. And we had events that impacted respected City employees that make us question what’s happening at City Hall. As Marcellus said to Horatio, “Something is rotten in Revelstoke” (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 4).

All candidate forums should be an opportunity for candidates to express their ideas and vision for Revelstoke.  They should be an opportunity to explain the plans they will implement and actions they will take once elected.  Unfortunately, too often our candidates don’t have any ideas.  Instead what we get is the following response:

“Thank you for your question, it is truly excellent.  You see, what we need to do is, we need to figure out what to decide so we can figure out how to decide what we figure you want us to decide about, because we live in a great place and we all love the place we live.”

There has been a lot of talk about ‘vision’ and ‘leadership’ but the definition of those two words depends on your point of view.  Vision is not simply about having ideas.  As a community, we’ve always had plenty of ideas, but ideas without action are futile.  And leadership should not be confused with having the ability to tell people what they want to hear.  Leadership without action is futile also.  ‘Lead’ is a verb after all.

Recently, while sitting in with a hiring committee, an applicant when referring to his experience frequently used ‘we’ as opposed to ‘I’.  Respect for the value and contributions of a team are admirable.  However, it was brought to the attention of the applicant that they were not hiring a team; they were looking to hire an individual, and we want to know more about their individual skills and contributions.  The same can be said for our candidates.

The fact is political posturing does not solve problems.  If an incumbent candidate cannot speak of their accomplishments, it is because there are none.  If someone refuses to share their strategies to improve our town, it is because there is no strategy.  This lack of a plan has been evident these past years.  If there was a strategy there has been ample time to demonstrate it.  If incumbents aren’t proud of their fiscal records, it is because those records are dismal.

Some candidates would have us believe that they have “reduced spending and we’ve reduced the debt.” (Revelstoke Current, On Video: The 2014 Revelstoke Election Mayors’ Forum — UPDATED 49:16)

However, according to a review made by the independent Financial Focus Committee; departmental spending collectively has increased 102.2% between 2010 and 2014. Additionally the City’s own financial reports demonstrate debt has increased to over $20 million as of 2012 (http://www.cityofrevelstoke.com/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/249), compared to $18 million in 2011, $16.6 million in 2010 (http://www.cityofrevelstoke.com/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/225).

“My track record around… the debt is a trade off. At the end of the day, most people won’t look at me and say ‘Dave built that hall, because Dave reduced your debt, Dave reduced your taxes’…maybe?” (Revelstoke Current, On Video: The 2014 Revelstoke Election Mayors’ Forum — UPDATED 1:46:49

The numbers don’t lie. Only those with an agenda do. Accountability and integrity do not mean sacrificing multiple City employees when things don’t go your way. It is Council’s job to lead and direct City staff. If planning, communications, or economic directors aren’t performing properly, perhaps they’re not receiving the right direction?

“What I’m offering is honest, integrity and empowerment.” (Revelstoke Current, On Video: The 2014 Revelstoke Election Mayors’ Forum — UPDATED 1:31:03)