Letter: Jury is out on Penticton engagement

Because they make themselves more public, does it mean that much? Will anything change?

In response to your editorial staff article (Penticton Western News, Oct. 19, Raising the bar) regarding the City of Penticton  and individual councillors who should not be targeted. Using an analogy, perhaps we can get a little more perspective on this.

Let’s assume that we wish to purchase a new car. We’ll call it the “X Mobile.” After all issues have  been dealt with: contract, payment, warranty etc., we have our new car. A little down the road the car has a warning light that comes on and which cannot be cancelled.

We take the car back to the dealer and the dealer corrects the problem. All is well. Not long after, the same light comes on. Back to the dealer we go. Once again the problem is corrected. We go on our way. As time goes by, once again, the same light goes on. Back to the dealer we go and after some explanation, the problem is once again corrected. Sometime later, the same light comes on and back we go to the dealer.

The dealer is puzzled and cannot supply answers to the problem. Lo and behold, a model recall of all X Mobiles is made public and a significant number of X Mobiles have been recalled for the same problem.

How is this different from our current council situation? We had the campaigning promising honesty, openness, transparency and fiscal responsibility. The election was held and people assumed positions on council. For a short while, things seemed to go smoothly until one day, some lights seemed to come on. There were several.

As taxpayers, and essentially in the position of employer (likened to the car dealer), we have an opportunity to troubleshoot a problem and make it right. However, like the car problem, it occurs and reoccurs again and again. Like the repeating problem with the car it seems that a total recall is needed to once and for all, fix the problem.

In that light, we have a newly hired engagement officer who has pointed out many of the so-called “warning light problems.” These problems range from BMX track, lighting contracts, paid parking, public park land use and infrastructure budget shortfalls (the list goes on). The real problem here is that the “service department” of our dealership, (if you will) fails to address publicly many of these problems. Hence, the need for recall.

In looking back at the car problem, the U.S. has a Lemon-aid Program for cars that we don’t have. Maybe having recall as an option, we, as taxpayers in general, might get a better bang for our taxpayer dollars. Of course we know the old adage; you can please some of the people some of the time; all of the people some of the time but you can never please all the people all of the time.

Ms. Kleb, the new engagement officer, made things very clear in her recent submission to council at the Oct. 18 afternoon session of council. She was to the point; spoke with purpose and goals in mind and was open about the issues at hand. After she finished her presentation, there were one or two questions and a realization by two council members and the mayor. It seemed that there was a need for “closer dialogue.”

The mayor vaguely acknowledged the fact that dialogue was needed. By so doing, he showed us that he has the makings for being a master of the obvious. Councillor Konanz and one other councillor pointed out that dialogue would be good and that, if called,  they would come!

Because they make themselves more public, does it mean that much? Will anything change or is it just so much rhetoric to detract from what is? The jury is out! Anyone want to be the judge?

Ron Barillaro




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