Congratulations Ron Paull You Gave It Your All
Submitted by arthrtph on Sat, 2011-11-26 10:52
Post Campaign Reflections
By Ron Paull
Three days have passed and I suddenly realized I've been ignoring my Face book page! My bad!
First and foremost... congratulations (and I mean that!) to Mayor Mary and her new council! Well done!
I would like to highlight congrats to Ed Coleman... who, for very understandable compassionate reasons, was unable to participate in much of the campaign. In spite of that he topped the polls... true testament to his well-known good character. He will indeed be a valuable contributor to the new team!
Although I lost by only 102 votes, I take heart in winning in West Quesnel and North Quesnel. I think my opposition to the South Quesnel-founded idea of a parcel tax for West Quesnel Land Stability was the second factor that did me in.
Obviously the third man split was the first factor, but once I had announced my candidacy, I was committed. I tried to talk him into running for council, as he would have been a shoe-in. He said he couldn't afford to be just a councillor.
To win over an incumbent in a three-way race on a cold, windy and icy day is a long shot at best! The reality of my last council meeting on the 28th of November is sinking in... although I will only be able to sit in for a short while, as I will be working at our annual Rotary Auction that evening, too.
No doubt I will miss my work on Council greatly... especially with groups like the Museum Commission and Volunteer Citizens of the Year. And I will miss the back 'n forth debate and reminding Mary and her company to sort the "Fluff from the Stuff".
Although my voice on Council has been muted for the time being, there are other ways of communicating... like this Face book page. In fact, communicating with the public from the Council table is ineffective, as there is no Cable coverage, the manipulated mainstream media shows up sporadically and the City controlled Council news issanitized before it is put out by staff.
I feel a little sad for Sushil... he is odd man out... but he'll be okay... he’s rough and tough and knows he has more friends on the outside than on the inside, and that's where it really counts! I am sure he will continue to keep Queen Mary’s feet to the fire.
Sushil was the first tipping point for me to belatedly decide to run because he was being treated so badly by the city when he tried to do his job as finance chair. What pushed me completely over the edge was when an acquaintance stopped me on the street a few days before filing deadline and called down "that ?%^&# East Indian %@#*& for stirring up the $*&+". I lost sleep until I filed. The rest is water under the bridge.
No doubt our mayor will have her hands full with loss of three veteran councillors, but the new ones are smart and will catch on fast.
I am worried about the future of our upper administration though, with the loss of long-time staffers like Maureen Murray, Jack Marsh and Lori Scott, and a new city manager that I believe is in over his head. I hope the exodus of staff will stop, but I have a feeling the bleeding will continue. I worry about rank and file staff and employees. I am told this is not my problem anymore, but in reality it is...because I will always continue to care and react to my concerns about the well being our great little city.
Maybe in the new year, I might crank up a newspaper column and/or a blog... because I will never lose interest, nor will I ever be silenced!
Across the masthead of my little PAULLitician newspaper was my favourite quote of all time, by Martin Luther King Jr... "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Who needs the manipulated mainstream media and QCity News when we have social media?
I will occupy some of my new found time in new volunteer work. I would like to help out at the Seniors' Centre. I would like to become involved in helping get Shaw Cable Ten to live up to their mandated obligation to provide meaningful community programming. I still think the firing of Shaw's Community Programming Coordinator Steve Bernard during the election campaign was somehow politically motivated.
The thought of Pat and I ever leaving town is definitely not the cards, as it was for former defeated mayoral candidates (except my good friend Nate Bello). We have our family and friends here. This is home. Pat and I will now have more time to care for my aging and frail Mum and Dad next door. Pat will continue to help folks with their tax and red tape problems. I will have more time for my Quesnel Visitors’ and Community Guides... and of course, I will be able to enjoy my snowmobile, four wheeler, RV's and boat much more! I'm glad I have my toys bought and paid for because I spent the equivalent of a new snowmobile ($15,000) on my campaign, which too, is equal to my Council earnings for the last year and a half. And we did it without any donations.
Nobody can own me. I wouldn't allow myself to get in the same conflicts as Mayor Mary by taking money from business people who go on to defend her and win city contracts. In some ways it was $15K well spent... because campaigning, while exhausting, is great fun. CBC called me mid-way thru and asked if I would be willing to participate in a three-way mayoral debate. I immediately agreed, but one or maybe both of my opponents must have chickened out, because all that happened was just a tame little three-way interview.
High point for me in the whole campaign was definitely door knocking. Not only did I lose 8 pounds, I met some of the most interesting people. I will never forget a rather run-down place on the west side... It was early afternoon. I knock. From within a raspy voice yells “Yeh, com’on in”. It was a dingy little room with a rather peculiar, yet vaguely familiar acrid odour. I noted the blacked out windows. Upon introducing myself and my mission, the three rather scruffy occupants seemed quite interested in talking with me and before I knew it, I was seated on a dirty old couch, between two of them. As my eyes became accustomed to the light, or lack of it, I noticed a fourth occupant laid out on the remnants of a foamy at the end of the room. As he stirred from sleep, he studied me reservedly from his dirty sleeping bag, as if to say “You’re not one of us and what the hell do you want?”
I reintroduced myself and it was all good. Crammed into the corner was an old set of drums, guitars and an amplifier. “Grunge? Punk?” I asked. Came the reply “Metal, man... wanna hear some?” One asked if I minded a little smoke, to which I replied “Not at all... it’s election time!”
The vague familiarity of that peculiar smell came to me as he lit up. We talked at length about problems on the west side, like the hard drugs, unsolved murders, crack shacks and wayward teens. I was told the youth centre is in the wrong place. It should be on the west side, near the skate board park. We had a good talk. They asked if I had anything against weed. I said although I didn't use it, it should be decriminalized to give our cops more time to go after the really bad stuff. They agreed and promised I had their vote, but I’m sure they were too busy jamming and doing their thing to have remembered.
The low point in the whole campaign was to muster the wherewithal to march into Mary’s victory party to concede. What made it even lower was that the victory party was held in our Legion Lounge... a refuge reserved firstly for veterans and secondly for Legion members and guests. The place was packed. It just didn’t seem appropriate that a political victory party should be held in a place where tradition and strict protocol call for no hats and no politics. As a long time legion member and veteran, I was saddened and felt betrayed by my Legion. I never thought I would see my Legion Lounge as a place where I felt as if my nose was being vindictively rubbed in the pain of defeat. I don't know if my Legion will ever be the same safe refuge for me.
But at the end of the day, the very best thing that came out of this whole affair was the reaffirmation that I am so loved and supported by real people and true friends and most importantly by my soul mate Pat and my immediate and extended family. True friends... as I looked around our kitchen table on Saturday night, there were the same friends that were there to help and support me through my unsuccessful campaigns against Steve Wallace fifteen years before. True friends endure over politics. And finally, as a family, we became even closer than ever before, and for me, that is even better than just winning an election.