” In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.” ~ Napoleon

Christy Clark is not the only thing that comes to mind when talking about bad politics and slim margin vote results – Mayor Kevin Acton  and his council are right up there too. The decision to go ahead with a prison bid for the village of Lumby has created a rift in the community that has some people wondering how Lumby will ever recover.

Despite a very slim margin of approval inside the village boundaries( 6%), and a majority opposition vote in the surrounding Area D, city officials forged ahead with the bid,a decision that is questionable by many more familiar with big city politics. In larger cities, it is highly unlikely any politician would move ahead on a contentious proposal with only a 6% margin of approval.

In Lumby, the fallout has been harsh, with many pro-prison supporters using bully behavior against those in the community who do not want a correctional centre in town. Comments under the breath, open hostility and aggressive confrontations have become a regular occurence in this tiny village, which remains divided.

Although I have made the offer for any prison supporter to comment or give their side and opinions here on the blog, none have done so. I contacted city officials with questions and they have not responded. And interestingly enough, when I submitted a freedom of information request to the village requesting records and communications specifically relating to the meetings between Mayor Kevin Acton, Kash Heed, Gordon Campbell and other provincial officials, I was told none existed or could be located.

So where does this gorgeous village go from here? I spoke to Randy Rauck, spokesperson for the Lumby Concerned Citizens, and he had this to say:

“We were just informed, by a reliable source, that a decision will be reached by the end of June so we have started a letter writing campaign to make sure our concerns are given due consideration by the decision makers. 

 The majority of our whole community has said no to a prison and we believe that if the Mayor would have been bold enough to make this a binding vote, many more NO supporters would have shown up within the village and this bad idea would be all behind us now. 

 I also believe that the large majority of the prison supporters do not fully understand the long term consequences of their prison support actions on our now friendly and safe little community.”

I don’t know if mayor and council seriously considered what effect it would have on the village to continue with this bid on such a slim margin of approval  – I honestly don’t think they see anything but the promise of grants in lieu hosting such a facility would bring to the village coffers.

What I do know, is that these village officials have not only a fiscal responsibility to the voters within the village boundaries, but also a moral one to the community as a whole – and that includes the residents of Area D.  By ignoring  the “NO” vote of such a large number of residents who live,work and shop within the village boundaries, village officials may already have caused more damage to the social fabric of Lumby with the mere idea of a prison, than a real one might have down the road.

6 thoughts on “” In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.” ~ Napoleon

  1. Kate

    Hello my name is Kate.I am a granny. I see your very informed about many things and seem to have the same thoughts as we do.
    I am very against this prison. I and my husband live in Lumby in area D and we retired here 10 years ago .Its so beautiful here,now this happened ..its like a cancer.

    We shop here, we buy gas, we eat out here, and we think we should have a say in our village.We have been to most of the meetings and we have listened to both sides .

    We hear the correction officers tell us wonderful, how grateful we will be to have a 750 man prison stuck in our pristine village . How nice they look from the outside Pictures were shown .They told us about a 65 year old that didnt want a prison to come to come to her town ! But she loved it when it was built ??Ummm.. . Lovely fairy stories for those that are so inclined ..
    We heard people stand up and say there have been no escapes ? What planet are they on, don`t they read the paper or surf the net ?
    People say to me, well there are only offenders in there who smoked pot or stole a car ! ?? I shake my head at such stupidity .
    Even the correction officers said there will be rapists / murderers /child sex offenders / Yes, this is a prison and this is what you get in them .

    Kevin has rocks in his head for doing this to a little village . Others say ,oh, my son can work there ? ‘Not likely, these are union jobs’, said the officers and the food and supplies will come from Vancouver.

    My point is we dont want this fast growing cancer here .That will suck our resources dry .

    Kate from Lumby

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  2. Norm

    Far too often politician “play” the appearance of public consultation whether it is hearings our referendums etc. then as they know best the public input is ignored.
    Too many politicians think they are given the authority to do as they wish for their term of office (which shall continue as their right for as long as they wish) they are there to dictate their will to the people. They all seem to forget that they were elected to work for the people and do as instructed by the people. Democracy requires more control over the politicians than just the opportunity to enthrone a new collection of dictators every 3 or 4 years.

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    1. Laila

      Kate, thank you for sending this, and thank you for speaking your mind. I was very happy that you connected with me to share your opinion on the matter. You reiterate two important points that I mentioned in previous posts- once the prison is open, the jobs are mainly union,and seniority based, and a lot of suppliers are under contract from other areas. The short term gain of construction jobs etc quickly dry up once construction is completed. There are no guarantees, and in a village as small as Lumby, with a mayor still quite inexperienced in politics at all, let alone being a mayor at all, without any big business background to support the position at all…. my opinion is there is plenty to be concerned about. It is a big leap from massage therapy to running a community of any size, even a small village like Lumby.

      Norm, you hit it right on the head. Lip service, pure and simple. This referendum was never intended to be anything other than that or it would have been binding as Penticton’s is going to be. The mayor has been practically begging the province for this facility for years.

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  3. Donna

    Our Civil Rights and Liberties, have been taken away from us. When have they ever listened to the voice of the people? We citizens are forced into situations that we know, that are bad and wrong. Politicians seem to have their God given rights, to lie to the people at will. Democracy and Freedom is another lie. We are being dictated to, don’t like it, too damn bad you are doing it anyway. The HST was the perfect example. We knew the HST would damage the province and the people, and it did. The HST was forced onto the BC citizens, anyway.

    I love the Lumby valley, it is a beautiful, peaceful, pastoral land. The thought of a prison there, turns my stomach. However, Harper has a majority, we will be forced into anything he pleases. The Enbridge pipeline and the dirty Chinese tankers. Oil and gas wells drilled off our coast. Prosperity mine expansion. There has even been talk of bloodshed, over these atrocities. BC people are totally fed up with lies, deceit and situations being crammed down our throats. Most dreadful of all, Harper got a majority. He was arrogant and vindictive enough with his minority.

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  4. norm

    With luck our politicians will wake up before it is too late. It is unlikely that Canadians will turn to the type of violence being expressed in North Africa, we too are as dissatisfied with our leadership, it will probably be some relatively minor thing that will finally too much for us to accept. It nearly happened in BC over the HST and could possibly still happen over it. If things keep continuing the way they are now, one day soon the politicians will hear from the public in terms that even the sleepiest senator will hear enough to wake up hear and realize their days of controlling and manipulating the people are over.

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  5. The Mayor said his decision to go ahead was because he represents the people who elected him – which begs the question – who elected him? Was it the same group of voters who asked Eric Foster to look into a prison in Lumby in 2008? How big was that group? Must have been quite a few people to get so far in the shadowy back rooms of Premier Campbell’s Liberal Government.

    Mayor Acton was elected with 385 votes. How many of those 385 votes came to the polls with behind the scenes pro prison support? When the Concerned Citizens began looking into what seemed like a joke – putting a prison in a Village with only 1 flashing red traffic light – we had no idea that a group of voters had been asking for a prison for almost a year before Mayor Acton was even elected. Obviously that group has been actively working to put a prison here since November 2008. No wonder they have ignored the Community Forest and the Road to Silver Star.

    It’s interesting that Mayor and Council were overly confident of support in the first public meeting trying to sell a prison to the community – so sure of themselves they could ask their yes supporters not to come to our Rally – speak as though their support was in the majority – allow their supporters to bad mouth people in opposition.

    Mayor Acton has refused to acknowledge our opposition – dismissed us as though we were not part of the community. All his talk of Area D being part of the community was merely for the benefit of the larger media. Here in Lumby, we were told our vote did not count before the referendum and at the polling station. Mayor Acton knew where his support came from – he identified them at the last Village Council Meeting – the people who elected him.

    I have publicly asked MLA Foster to name the people who came to him in 2008 asking for a prison here. That pro-prison group had an unfair advantage at the referendum – knew the secret in-camera information before Mayor Acton was ever elected. They asked the Village for a prison in 2008, elected Mayor Acton and bullied the rest of us when we got in their way.

    It all makes sense now – Mayor Acton acts like it’s a done deal because it was a done deal with Eric Foster MLA , the pro-prison group and Premier Campbell. The people who elected Kevin Acton and Mayor Acton who shopped it ’round like Premier Campbell asked him to. As he said at the Council meeting – Mayor Acton represents the people who elected him.

    Well it’s not done yet – it’s up to the Province now so I am hoping our new Premier gets wind of the stinky stuff and buries it 6 feet under. Complaints about this process have been filed with the appropriate authority. They can drag out their investigations but there is no time limit for investigations of wrongdoing in Government.

    This prison deal has MLA Foster written all over it. He should be looking at the very large “No” votes and remember that every “no prison” voter has the support of good friends elsewhere in his riding – friends who are shocked and upset at the way Lumby has been divided by the imposition of a prison here.

    With two new Party leaders, surely we will be holding an election soon. The citizens of Lumby will not forget who planned this fiasco – stood by and did nothing to stop the bullying.

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