Personal Best: Wading through the rhetoric

seniors issues, civic election, kindness of strangers

Every once in a while you hear a story that renews your faith in humanity and makes you proud to live in our community. If you have ever worked or volunteered in non-profit organizations in this city you know how generous and compassionate our local business people are when help is asked for. We have the most supportive business community I have ever seen.

Recently a volunteer at the Seniors Information Bureau, a single mom struggling to survive financially by cleaning houses for others, had her car break down with no money to pay for the costly repairs required. Without a car she could not carry her supplies or get to her jobs, so effectively she would be without a livelihood. This woman was desperate and had no family or other supports to rely on.

The manager of the Seniors Bureau made a few calls and finally a local body shop responded with the offer of a vehicle in return for cleaning their office weekly. I was just blown away with the kindness of this person who wants to remain anonymous. They not only allowed the woman to continue her livelihood and not be a burden to the community but by suggesting an exchange of services offered her respect and dignity. We, as a community, all benefit from this act of giving. Well done!

We all know that election time is upon us when we view and hear the extent of flimflam being passed along the communication pipeline. Why candidates think that the public is so dumb continues to exasperate me. Claims that they can provide a better economic future for Vernon, while the rest of the world sinks further into a deeper economic trench are ludicrous. Do they think we will forget that the present council managed, against all odds, to keep our taxes to less than a one-half of one per cent increase when all around us taxes in other municipalities have increased dramatically?

A promised review of core services is another claim to fame when service core reviews happen yearly at budget time where every manager has to balance their allotted amount with rising costs of services and yet Council must keep our taxes from rising. You bet there is a service review with cost cutting everywhere. An independent forensic audit would cost in the range of a couple of hundred thousand dollars and I wonder how fiscally responsible that would be in this economic environment.

Another thing that baffles me is the effrontery and deluded arrogance that would lead candidates to assume that they could act as leader of this or any other municipal government with no experience whatsoever, not even the experience of being involved as a citizen in current issues and debates at City Hall. What is that about? Do they also think they could step into the shoes of the CEO of General Motors without any experience as well? It would make more sense if a seasoned councillor involved with the daily pursuit of running this city was a candidate for the office of mayor, but that isn’t the case.

Bean counters and braggarts all claim that they will save this city from financial ruin and damnation, the gobbledygook goes on and on. As voters we must listen carefully for the truth behind the promises, use our common sense and make the best decision that we can. In my opinion we are already first rate. This city has never been so clean, so attractive and so safe for its citizens and it hasn’t just happened. It has taken a proven commitment from many dedicated people to introduce and sustain the balance of economic, environmental and social interests that make this city the place that I am so proud to live in.

Pat Black writes for The Morning Star every other Sunday and is the falls prevention coordinator at the Seniors Information and Resource Bureau.