Elected officials and how the voter sees them

as the mayor sees it with District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys - Elected officials and how the voter sees them

First of all I want to say thanks to the 388 residents that came out to vote in the referendum. It was on a busy grad weekend and a lot of people had visitors to entertain plus students needing help to get ready for their ceremonies. Exercising your right to vote is an important part of the process.

The Barriere Secondary School graduation ceremony was an unqualified success once again. There was a really great turnout of family and friends to watch the graduates receive their awards. The school staff and volunteers did a great job of keeping things organized. The evening flowed along wonderfully with a few humorous moments to make things memorable.

Local politics seem to be a strange and not always consistent lot of issues of varying importance, individual opinions on such issues and a plethora of problems that seem to have no real hope of being fixed.

If a politician speaks out and says that they are annoyed by something they are labelled as being too snarky. If they try to get along with everyone they are accused of being too ‘wishy washy’ on the issues.

Let’s be honest, it is far easier to be a popular politician. Get seen out helping plant flowers, wander around with a weed whipper (you don’t have to use it, just be seen with it), be friendly to the volunteers, pack a young one around the park and you are the guy everyone wants to be around. People go home feeling that they can trust you to do what is the best thing for everyone.

Popularity is a great thing. Along with a large family it can get you elected should you choose to run for an elected position. The trouble starts when those elected because they are popular politicians, are faced with some unpopular decisions to be made. These decisions might involve borrowing money or raising taxes. These would be not popular topics with some residents. Add that these unhappy residents are the most vocal residents and what will the “I need to be popular politician” do? Will they stand up for what is  the right decision, one that was passed by Council unanimously or flip flop in their decision to try and retain their popularity with the people status?

It comes down to a matter of personal resolve and integrity. Sadly some politicians both present and past think that the supposed art of subterfuge and telling out and out lies to garner favour is a tool to be used when needed to ultimately get their way. They don’t care what is right or even logical. They want to make their supporters happy and retain their own popularity. This behaviour is distasteful when a currently elected official does it. It is particularly onerous when former politicians resort to these antics for no good reason other than to see their name in the paper. Well, that and have some folks claim to agree with them I suppose. That and the overwhelming need for popularity coming into play.

Lately there have been some missteps happen. The first has to do with the numbers used to calculate the taxation rates. This required the tax bylaw to be repealed and read again. This has been done at the last few council meetings.

The next was that the tax notices have the Home Owner Grant in the wrong place on the form, and for some residents it looks like they have to pay more than they should. If your tax notice does not look correct to you please take it to the District office and staff will do what is required to fix the problem.

Problems like these do happen. Some think that they should just be fixed, and hopefully nobody will notice. We need to not only fix such issues,  but we need to let people know that the problem has been dealt with. It is far worse to have someone come to a council meeting sometime in the future and accuse council of trying to hide something. Transparency and accountability are certainly far easier to accomplish than lies and deceit.

Once again, thanks to all that voted. Your opinion counts.