Surrey municipal election campaign did not even started properly and public already has a pretty clear picture of players who will ask them for their votes next month. Number of mayoral candidates over the last few days grow to six, while final number of council candidates remains to be seen after nominations deadline is reach tomorrow. Clear picture is that three mayoral candidates will have enough chances to win this race and already there is clear cut between them. Doug McCallum and Barinder Rasode are for the moment free of big scandals and they are mainly focused on their campaign promises, while third mayoral candidate Linda Hepner and her team are going from scandal to scandal leaving people less time to talk their platform promises.
While McCallum and Rasode are talking crime, how to fix transportation, how to deal with SCDC or how to find money to fulfill their election promises and unveiling team members [Rasode] current leading coalition does not have time to do anything except to create more negative picture in media. It is worth to mention that McCallum’s team was involved in small size scandal regarding Beau Simpson leave of absence and way how he left his position with The Surrey Now Newspaper. That did not left much mark on McCallum’s campaign and team, at least not so far, remains to be seen if that will have any impact later in campaign especially during debates.
Following Hepner’s problems with media, especially with Kevin Diakiw of the Surrey Leader, and based on her statements regarding Ferris Wheel on waterfront, beach at the Surrey Lake on Thursday public has learned about new scandal. CKNW Radio discovered that Surrey First breach guidelines on election signs and great journalist work by Shelby Thom put Linda Hepner and her team in the center of new scandal.
Nomination package which Linda Hepner and her colleagues from Surrey First filled and received from the City of Surrey it is clear that signs may be erected after the close of nomination process on October 10, 2014. Since signs are erected on several locations in Surrey on October 9, 2014 Surrey First and their mayoral candidate are clearly in breach of guidelines. Second point which points out that Surrey First out of line is number of signs because social media already reported multiply signs at one location in Surrey on Thursday.
Third and most troubling element of this story is that Surrey First campaign manager claimed to CKNW that they obtained written permission from City’s Chief Election Officer and City Clerk Jane Sullivan to erect signs before deadline on October 10, 2014. There comes Shelby Thom and her great interview with Sullivan who clearly said that there is no written permission nor it was requested from her.
Hepner, Surrey First and Sullivan as professional representative of City administration would need to explain this mess and to explain to public and residents what is going on. First to be explained is “written permission”, if there is one then it must to be presented to public, and person who signed it must to be called to responsibility. If that “permission” is just a product of someone’s imagination than that person must bare consequences and law must to be put above political games and all candidates must to be treated equally.
Looks like Surrey First and Linda Hepner will spend more time talking scandals, unbelievable statements and tweets regarding Whitecaps soccer team on the morning of another horrific murder in Surrey. It will be interesting to see how they will perform during upcoming mayoral and all candidate debates which will be one of the key elements in decision process to many Surrey residents.