With sadness, I attended last town council meeting. Since joining the Similkameen Spotlight, I have had the honour of getting to know many really great people. I have watched our town celebrate a lot of successes.
I have heard complaints about what our town officials aren’t doing and should be doing. Usually, these complaints are from people who never help out at anything unless it is self-serving. They become familiar faces.
I thought it was necessary for our outgoing mayor and councillor to know some of us very much appreciate all they have given to our community. They have put up with phone calls at home at all hours of the day and night, unfair criticism, malicious personal remarks and even verbal attacks when walking the streets of a town they love enough to try and make it better. Their shoes are big to fill and not easy to stand in, but they do.
Why would anyone want to go through what they do? Criticism does hurt…as does name calling. My daughter Shelby asked me the other day…”Mom why do they say words can’t hurt?…that is so stupid…they do hurt.” My answer was, “I guess they mean physically they don’t hurt, but even that isn’t really true. Words can make you cry, so I don’t know. I think everybody has had an aching heart from hurtful words at some point in their life.”
As a politician, they always say one needs to develop a thick skin. The secret to success as a politician is to stay true. If a person does because it is right and not because it is right for them, they are good. If they do what is right for them first and occasionally that helps out those who voted them in that’s not good enough.
When I first got to know councillor Ray Jarvis, it was at an interview at the airport. His face was so animated as he talked about the new fuel system we were about to get. Ray was proud that Princeton would become a stopping point for pilots and that fire crews could refuel quickly here when fighting local fires.
I appreciate that Ray went to bat for Princeton and that he had good people like Dave Woodruff to help him get it done. Ray did it because he cared. Some might say the improvements were unnecessary, but I for one am glad that not all of us have the same vision for Princeton. Diversity is a necessary part of the big picture.
Last year, I had the thrill of driving over with Mayor Randy McLean, councillor Frank Armitage, chief administration officer Patrick Robins, recreation director Lyle Thomas and my friend Kelley Cook (who has spent countless hours volunteering) to collect the GamesTown cheque for $100,000. It was so much fun. All of us were delighted that our little town won. Randy couldn’t stop grinning for weeks nor could the rest of us. To me, this is what makes a good politician. You can’t fake a real smile. Randy and Ray you will be missed. Thank-you for giving me many good stories to write.