Becker’s plate already filling up

John Becker flattered that new mayor of Pitt Meadows will borrow some of his ideas

Coun. John Becker and his wife Terry wait for the results to come in on election night.

Coun. John Becker and his wife Terry wait for the results to come in on election night.

Back to work at his law office on Monday, John Becker wasn’t feeling sorry for himself.

He lost the race to be Pitt Meadows’ next mayor on Saturday, but was already fielding calls from people ready to tap into his expertise.

A bit of policy-wonk, with nine years of experience on city council, Becker is full of ideas on how to make government work better.

“I am policy driven, which is both an asset and a liability when you are dealing with a personality or person-type race,” he says.

“As Popeye said, ‘I am what I am.’”

The key ideas he pitched during the campaign included a zero-based tax increase program, another to speed up green waste collection, as well as a public consultation process and referendum on an indoor swimming pool.

“I tried to move those points forward and the voters decided the message or the messenger was not what they were looking for,” he said, adding he had no regrets about the campaign he ran against his opponents, Deb Walters and Gary Paller.

“While I may have lost the election, I, by no means, consider it a failure.”

Becker will still be involved in business planning sessions, which begin Monday, that help set the city’s budget for next year.

The mayor-elect has indicated she will ask council to consider some of Becker’s ideas, including a budget planning model that shows residents what a zero increase in their taxes would look like and which services would need to be cut.

“I think those ideas are in the best interests of the municipality,” said Becker.

“If the new council wishes to adopt any or all of them, I would be nothing but flattered and consider it to be a good thing.”

He believes it is unfair to assume that residents will cough up an extra $300 every year to maintain current services.

“I think the years of automatic increases in taxation, while understandable … do not adequately respect the fact that many of our residents are on fixed incomes or on decreased incomes. I think it would speak volumes to our residents if there were a change of philosophy and attitude.”

Becker remains involved with the local B.C. Liberal riding association and as a governance advisor to the chamber of commerce.

And now that he has more time, he wants to pursue sponsorship opportunities between small businesses and non-profits.

He points to the Haney’s Farmers Market and community garden as examples of non-profits that could benefit from joining forces with small business looking to increase their market presence.

“The farmers’ market – I think it’s a great event, but I am absolutely opposed to taxpayers paying for it,” he said.

Although there’s been talk of him heading to provincial political pastures, Becker isn’t interested in representing the city as a member of the legislature. His wife Terry will be seeking the B.C. Liberal nomination in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge.

“I considered the mayor’s job to be the pinnacle of political achievement because of the impact on the community,” Becker said.

“Being a smaller frog in a big pond, right now, doesn’t really do a whole lot for me.”