I know many of you are waiting impatiently for my new post on a major issue involving one of my favorite contractors, but after reading something in a news story here in Surrey, I couldn’t let this pass.
Former Liberal MLA and frequent political candidate Brenda Locke, has announced that she is going to run for city council in November. Although she claims right now to be an independent, she has been asked by current controlling slate Surrey First to run with them – she denied – and says she has been in talks with others.
But it was a quote in an interview with the Leader that really raised my eyebrows and generated conversation online:
“Locke is concerned about how the city appears to be separated into “geographic silos” where each community feels totally separate from the others.
“One thing in Surrey that we desperately need is one big central arena or…. large public gathering place,” Locke said. “I can’t think of a city that doesn’t have that one big stadium place.”
To be honest, I had to double check if Ms. Locke actually lived in Surrey, because the outrageousness of that statement on so many levels blows my mind.
She is quite right that we are a city separated into many town centres, in essence small cities within the city. But the assertion that the city desperately needs a stadium or an arena had me questioning whether or not Ms.Locke gets out much.Of course, she does indeed live in the city, but the last thing this cash-strapped city needs right now is a stadium and Holland park has served as our large public gathering place for years.
One has to wonder, with former mayor Doug McCallum suddenly appearing and making noises about the state of the city – he’s rumoured to be a potential candidate – and now Ms. Locke espousing that a stadium will connect the community, will the coming election amount to anything more than a re-run of years gone past?
Ms Locke of course,most recently made the news last year after resigning as the president of the Surrrey-Fleetwood constituency Association – athough rumours were flying it was in response to the embarrassing Ethno-gate leaked memo scandal, she has denied this on twitter, saying she resigned because of a very busy personal schedule.
Locke has run twice for the Federal Liberals in Surrey- losing both times – but before she was an MLA, she served more than 15 years as the executive director of the BC Liquor Licensee and Retailers Association. In that position, she advocated for liquor licensee’s on a number of issues that would impact their businesses, including gaming, smoking laws, and tougher drunk driving laws, which did not go un-noticed by the press when she was subsequently became the new Mental health and Addiction Minister during her only term as MLA.
A lovely person, and respected by her friends and colleagues, but can she bring a breathe of fresh air to Surrey? Unlikely. The federal Liberals have been very busy in Surrey,getting ready for not only the municipal election but next years federal election as well. If Locke were to lose the municipal election this fall, it would certainly still provide her with enough name recognition to try another run federally if she were inclined to do so.
McCallum of course, well what can I say about his sudden media return except that it speaks to opportunity. It has been said by many a Surrey resident that McCallum’s “willy-nilly” approach to development is very much part of the reason we have such a disconnect between town centres -among other issues very much still plaguing the city – and what he could possible offer should he seek a return to civic politics, is anyone’s guess.
Call me a cynic, but I have a hard time finding anything palatable with any potential candidate who suddenly becomes concerned with the state of the city mere months before an election.. but then again, when opportunity knocks,it’s usually a politician who is the first to answer the door.