Surrey City Councillor and Surrey First Mayoral candidate Linda Hepner should immediately announce her withdrawal from race to succeed current Mayor Dianne Watts and issue unconditional apology to Kevin Diakiw for dishonest attacks on his journalistic credibility. For the second time in recent weeks Cllr. Hepner or her team attacked well respected BC and Surrey journalist Kevin Diakiw credibility and integrity which is already once established regarding time and date of release of her mayoral race intentions interview in late June. Now Cllr. Hepner delivered another attack on Diakiw’s credibility trying to misinform public regarding her now famous statement regarding ferris wheel in Bridgeview area.
For those who are not familiar with story let me repeat few facts. Back in June Cllr. Hepner gave a interview to Kevin Diakiw of The Surrey Leader, veteran reporter with 25 years of experience, in which she presented her vision for Surrey if she becomes next Mayor. In that interview Cllr. Hepner presented three ideas who attracted a lot of media and public attention: ferris wheel in Bridgeview area of Surrey, beach at the Surrey Lake and removal of ice ring from the centre of Newton. More than any other ferris wheel idea attracted attention. Back then, and as it was meticulously reported by Diakiw, Cllr. Hepner said:
“Why can’t I have a ferris wheel there? Why can’t I have something that brings kids to the waterfront?”
As it was already presented here first attack from her team on Diakiw’s integrity and credibility came after some time with dishonest claim that Diakiw broke some sort of moratorium on publication. Gratefully today journalists are using digital technology and Diakiw was able to present us with partial audio recording on which Cllr. Hepner clearly confirms when this now “famous” interview will be published. Back then I stood beside Kevin Diakiw and his integrity as of veteran journalist and I’m doing it now and I will do it another 1000 times if needed in situations like this. When Cllr. Hepner and team figured out that they are caught in a lie she personally issued tweet in which she took responsibility for a mistake, but not before Diakiw released audio of their conversation.
Now Cllr. Hepner claims that ferris wheel part of her conversation with Diakiw was a “flippant comment”. Apparently in the interview with The Globe and Mail’s Ian Bailey Cllr. Hepner claims that her ferris wheel proposal was simple “flippant” proposal.
“It was a flippant comment relative to my desire to animate the waterfront, the entryway coming into Surrey. It is a lesson learned: Don’t be flippant.”
And once again thanks to great technology Cllr. Linda Hepner was caught in situation where facts don’t match her words. On my request followed by others, for what I’m very grateful to Kevin Diakiw, he released portion of the interview which includes ferris wheel discussion. Those who know Cllr. Linda Hepner, as I do, and who are familiar with her way of communication and believe me it can be confirmed by dozens of Surrey residents, you are fully aware when she is joking (being flippant) and when she is serious about something. Now when we have this exceptional piece of interview with DIakiw available online I can tell you that she was not joking nor she was flippant.
This was a very serious discussion about her idea about ferris wheel in the Bridgeview area. Diakiw’s recording even confirms my previous suspicion that this ideas comes from Linda Hepner as a grandmother, it is perfectly audible when speaks about her grandchildren, not from Linda Hepner politicians and mayoral candidate. How serous she was about this idea is clear from the fact that she invested great effort to remember where she saw ferris wheel and food carts and confirmation that is was in Santa Monica.
Now when we have all facts and when we established that nothing reported in the original interview was not false, none of non-existing moratoriums were not broken and when we have very serious discussion about ferris wheel it is a time for Linda Hepner to withdraw her name from mayoral race. This should be followed by public and honest apology to Diakiw, residents of Surrey and Surrey Leader. One try and unsuccessful attack on Diakiw’s credibility and integrity it is Ok, let’s call it passable mistake which can happen to anybody. Twice is already serious situation in which we have almost orchestrated attack on someone’s credibility and accountability in comparison with Surrey politicians who are often afraid to stand behind their words and actions. This City needs leaders who will even when they are wrong or when they present idea not very much welcomed by the public and media stand behind their words and invest effort to explain their intentions without attacking anyone or trying to prove that media are working against them. Credibility, accountability, honesty and truthfulness are much needed in this City.