With more opportunity, comes more opportunists… ~Amy Gardener

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.

 

 

 

 

10 thoughts on “With more opportunity, comes more opportunists… ~Amy Gardener

  1. mike

    with watts not running everybody is lining up Iam hoping Rasode runs for mayor she is the best person i have met who has values that are the same as most working class people in surrey

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  2. e.a.f.

    obviously some one wants an arena for a sports team. they can sell more booze. Oh, and well they are at it, or just a short time later, there will be a request to build a, are you ready for it, casino, just like Vancouver.

    An large arena in Surrey. Hell, they can’t make a go of PAVCO arenas. why build another white elephant. tonight’s news is going on about the shortages of schools in Langley. One built for 700 has already had the portables moved in and it isn’t even open yet. If they are going to build anything in Surrey, it ought to be the 10 schools they so desperately need. This woman is obviously out of touch. A child’s education is much more important than some arena. Sports arenas ought to be built by the teams which use them. Lets hear it for private enterprise on that one, Let private enterprise build a nice big arena. Surrey needs SCHOOLS. Surrey needs HOSPITALS. Surrey needs AFFORDABLE HOUSING for families and seniors. Surrey does not “need” an arena.

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    1. Laila

      Excellent comment and timely since the provincial government property that was listed for sale in Panorama/Sullivan, was sold to Fairbourne homes. Would be lovely to hear how much that property sold for.. it could have been set aside for future use in an area heavily built up.

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  3. Stan Mortensen

    Hi Laila;
    As you know quite often, actually almost 100% of the time I agree with your comments. Firstly, let me clarify, I am not now nor have I ever been or ever voted for the B.C. Liberal Party, however, having said that, I am both a friend and a neighbour to Brenda Locke (albeit 5 blocks away in Fleetwood).

    While I do not always agree with Brenda on some topics, I have often thought that she should take a run at civic politics.

    I do completely disagree with your comment concerning a potential run at federal politics if she is not successful at the civic level. I could be wrong and according to my siblings, often am, but I really doubt whether she even remotely wants to cast her net in those waters again.

    I do believe that if someone believes that their running for a specific office will make a difference, then indeed they should. I expect that Brenda can bring a different perspective to the local civic political scene and certainly to the sustainability of life in our city.

    I think you might want to speak directly with Brenda to get her take on what she thinks the city needs, I don’t know about a Stadium, which I do agree with you on but certainly there are things that the city can encourage the development of in other areas.

    Here is the link for the interview she did with Rattan Mall:
    http://www.voiceonline.com/former-surrey-mla-brenda-locke-to-run-for-councillor-in-novembers-election-says-surrey-needs-own-charter-like-vancouver/
    Finally, just a reminder to e.a.f. : the School Board builds schools in conjunction with funding from the ministry of education, Fraser Health builds (sometimes when they feel like it) and the ministry of health builds hospitals – all the civic politicos can do is lobby and press those bodies to do what needs to be done, we haven’t seen a lot of lobbying or pressing from them lately on those issues. After all, this is Surrey, we are supposed to be grateful for the small tidbits we get while north of the River sucks all the money and perks in.

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    1. Laila

      Yes I’ve seen that link, but as someone who has been very active in community issues, she has been remarkably absent from the conversation in recent years.In fact, while people recognize her as a former MLA, they don’t recognize her as someone who have been actively involved in community issues other than as a constituency association president for the liberals before she quit. Where was she on the Newton issues? Where was she on the issues with Surrey city hall? Where was she expressing concern over the cities OCP ? Policing? She has been absent for many of these conversations and suddenly appears when there are spots open for council.

      We need new voices in Surrey, not ones from the past Stan. I am sure she is a lovely woman, but we already have several absentee councillors who are rarely seen actively involved outside their own little circle of friends in their own community – we don’t need more. Its time for something new and different to take Surrey to the next level in a balanced manner. Someone who spent much of her professional career advocating for gaming,drinking and smoking on behalf of neighbourhood pubs etc isn’t exactly visionary in my opinion….

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  4. Gary Young

    Brenda Locke is, as a political animal, living in the past. We kniw of all the studies about municipal financing that drive communities into huge long term debt, all for some sort of showcase. A new large grandiose structure is NOT needed. Take a lesson from Abbottsford and their idea that an expensive arena would provide millions in income.. and it did… for the developers and Hockey franchises. It takes little to find out that no stadium, pool, convention Center EVER made money.
    Ms. Locke is peddling another pile of what you usually find in a dog park.
    She cannot be trusted and should not be voted for.

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  5. Laila

    Sigh – what’s new? Clark has run one of the most astounding reversals of campaign promises that I have ever seen. She promised the most transparent, accountable government, ease of access to data, and has done everything but : charging higher FOI fees in particular, making it hard for independent and freelance writers to access documents, and then even if you do pay the crazy charges for an FOI, you tend to be paying for a lot of blank paper…..

    Case in point, the link you’ve posted.

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