Penticton’s newly elected city councillor James Miller talks about what kind of politician he will be and how he deals with being the managing editor of the Penticton Herald at the same time as being a municipal politician.
Out of the 10 candidates who ran in the Penticton by-election, Miller received 1,666 votes, the most of all the candidates.
There were a total of 5,009 votes cast, with Miller picking up a third of them.
“As a new councillor and with a short time in office of 16 months, I have no intention of immediately introducing any notices of motion,” said Miller on Sunday.
“Much of what I/council will deal with will be based on the agendas that come in front of council.”
On top of electing Miller, voters also approved the city going ahead with a long-term contract of up to 25 years for Skaha Marina. That was decided by a narrow margin yes vote of 2,453 votes to 2,416 no.
With the marina question now approved, attracting a quality operator to run the Skaha Marina will be an issue he and council will address, he said.
Miller will also now resume his role as managing editor with the Penticton Herald but will not be covering city council issues, he said.
Some might say it’s a conflict of interest for a journalist to also be a city councillor. But Miller said the depth of knowledge he has of municipal issues can be an asset. He did seek a legal opinion to make sure that he could do both jobs.
“The precedent has already been set dating back to 1964-69 when Maurice Finnerty was the owner of CKOK Radio in Penticton, which covered local news extensively while serving as mayor of Penticton,” said Miller.
“Mr. Finnerty is regarded by many local historians to be among the best mayors in Penticton’s history. More recently, Jack Bennest was the owner/operator of the Oliver Daily News website while serving on Oliver council. Mr. Bennest outsourced council coverage to an independent contractor and seemed to be able to wear two hats (councillor and journalist), but never at the same time.”
One of the issues he will likely have to tackle during this shortened term is finding solutions for those who are experiencing homelessness.
The longtime newspaper editor would also like to examine the costs of operating the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen and how it directly relates to Penticton taxpayers.
His love for dogs has him hoping he can take on a special project during his term.
“If there’s a special project that I could coordinate, I would like to see cosmetic improvements and a little TLC to our existing off-leash dog parks. It wouldn’t cost a lot of money, perhaps even establish a volunteer group to keep an eye on things.”
The results on election night are preliminary and the final count will be completed in the coming days.
By-election preliminary results:
James BLAKE- 95
Amelia BOULTBEE – 610
Steven BROWN – 399
Karen BROWNLEE – 237
Jason COX – 317
Isaac GILBERT – 766
Kate HANSEN -718
Keith MACINTYRE -67
James MILLER -1,666
Katie O’KELL -134
Boultbee took to Facebook on Sunday to thank everyone who voted for her.
“Penticton, I am so humbled and honoured to have had so many of your votes. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough this time, but I am proud of the campaign we ran and proud of a great first shot at municipal politics. See y’all in October 2022!”
The next full municipal election is scheduled for Oct. 15, 2022.
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