Despite the fact that council went out of its way to provide five days of voting on the prison issue, I find it most disappointing that only 24 per cent of eligible voters made the effort to make their wishes known on Penticton’s future.
Two-thirds of the people that took the time to vote said No. It is clear that organized protest decided what is best for the town of Penticton.
Or perhaps it would be better to say apathy and laziness decided the prison issue.
Where are the community leaders in Penticton? During this debate I only saw two community leaders step forward on the prison debate. Garry Litke was steadfast on the No side and Mike Pearce was an eloquent spokesman for the Yes side. The rest of council, mindful of a coming election, sat on their hands and awaited the outcome of the vote.
Three wouldn’t even commit to abiding by the vote. I think they worried for nothing. It is obvious not enough voters care one way or another, so council pretty well has a free rein to do whatever they wish.
What happened to the future aspirants to a seat on city council? I suspect staying neutral; thus standing for nothing. Two city council aspirants wrote letters to the editor, the rest were silent. It seemed not one aspirant was prepared to lead their community on this issue on either the Yes or No side.
Leaders stand and provide an example in their community. Tom Bijvoet, Ron Barillaro, Mike Pearce and Garry Litke did just that. Leaders stand, the rest should get out of the way.
I hope Ron considers running again in the next civic election; whether you agree with the No side or not, leadership in this community is desperately needed.
I purposely did not get involved in the prison issue. I knew prisons would be hotly debated community-wide and I was hoping that future aspirants running in the next civic election would be prepared to take a stand and lead this community through this issue. Instead, it was left to the average citizen and two members of council. I waited in vain for an aspiring leader to step forward and declare for the good of the community, ‘I stand for the Yes side I will provide a counterbalance to the predominately No side.’
Too bad the people who will be running for council in the next election chose to play it safe.