Justin Smith says Pentictonites killed the golden goose. (Western News June 24)
Financially well-padded Pentictonites duped the people of Penticton in the prison debate by promoting fear of change and fear of crime. The sacred cow was the low-paying tourism industry which provides three per cent of the Penticton economy. Yes, you heard that right.
We need leaders coming forward in November that are willing to stand and speak for the vast majority of sensible working people in this community. Now that Dan Albas is gone what we need on this city council in November is a ‘working man’s’ (or woman’s) hero.
Penticton council thought they had a solution to the $3.7 million running costs of the SOEC Community Centre Complex and the $2 million shortfall in finances for next year.
But too few cared about $5 million in development fees. Too few cared about $1.6 million in annual grants in lieu of taxes. It will take 1,100 new homes to replace that grant.
The people did not vote for or against prisons; they voted for or against fear. Easy Street spoke; reality lost.
Instead of reality we are now expected to listen to election promises for a new arts centre. I suggest the Easy Street crowd spreading the fear in Penticton should put their money where their mouth is. They should be actively recruiting high-paying jobs to Penticton and in their spare time they should support the low-paid tourism industry by volunteering wherever they are needed. That $1.6 million is almost six percentage points in the tax base.
Failing in this task the Easy Street crowd should not expect the vast majority of working Pentictonites to support plans for a donation of city-owned land worth millions for their ‘special interest’ arts centre.
Now that Dan Albas is gone I have seen only one councillor that tries to look after the interests of all the community as a whole: I expect this will surprise many, John Vassilaki. Anyone doubting that should attend a few council meetings.
Would-be mayors trying to satisfy special interest groups such as unions or Easy Street is not in the best interests of the vast majority of Pentictonites. The special interest group that needs support and representation in this community is the worker.
Personally I blame myself. I sat silent while listening for the will of the people to speak. I forgot what history teaches us; fear will silence votes for change. I waited for an aspiring candidate for council to represent the Yes side so Easy Street won. I will not sit silent again.
Summerland voted 56 per cent to accept a prison because Summerlanders care about jobs.