Coun. Becker running for Pitt mayor

Joins two others, could leave three seats open on council

  • Jul. 7, 2011 5:00 a.m.
Coun. John Becker is one of three city councillors who'll be seeking the mayor's chair in Pitt Meadows come November.

Coun. John Becker is one of three city councillors who'll be seeking the mayor's chair in Pitt Meadows come November.

A third city councillor will be competing for the mayor’s seat in Pitt Meadows come November, a spot that’s been held by Don MacLean for the past 12 years.

John Becker, a three-term councillor, made the announcement Thursday after “mulling” over the decision since April, when MacLean revealed he will not be seeking re-election.

The owner of Becker & Company, one of the region’s oldest and largest law firms, he’s figured out how he can cut back on work and dedicate more time to city hall.

“It’s been 10 years I’ve been doing this,” said Becker, who began his civic service in 2001, when he was selected to sit on the city’s agriculture advisory committee – a position he still holds.

“Frankly, I think I’ve squeezed as much juice out of the orange in the councillor’s position as I can get. In politics, timing is everything and I think now is the time.”

Couns. Doug Bing and Deb Walters will also be vying for the mayor’s seat in November and announced their intentions a few days after MacLean divulged he’d be leaving civic politics after 21 years.

Both two-term councillors, Bing drew the most votes in the 2008 civic election with 1,972, while Walters was a close second with 1,937. Becker pulled in 1,693 votes.

Three councillors fighting for the same seat means there will be space for two new faces on city council.

The prospects of a pair of green councillors, who may have different views from the current crop, doesn’t bother Becker.

If elected, he intends to dedicate the fifth Tuesday of every month to professional development.

“I will be making sure they understand the need for the city to move forward in a collegial fashion. Not the huskies all running in different directions. If one of the huskies wants to run off sideways, it’s going to drag down the others,” he explained.

“We can disagree with each other, which is a good thing, but agree that we have to take a certain course of action.”

Becker cites his 30 years of business experience and his ability to bring council together as skills that will make him a good mayor.

Both Bing and Walters welcomed Becker’s announcement and were not surprised by it.

“It is going to leave a huge hole on council,” said Walters.

“I hope that John has thought it through. He’s had little time to invest in council. So I hope he re-evaluates and realizes the commitment he’s going to have to make to be mayor.”

“I welcome Coun. Becker’s decision to throw his hat into the ring as I think he is an outstanding individual,” said Bing, a local dentist.

“Healthy competition is a good thing and shows that democracy is alive and well in Pitt Meadows. The City of Pitt Meadows will be the ultimate winner in November as the public now has three excellent candidates to choose from.”

MacLean is not prepared to endorse any of the candidates, right now.

But he knows what’s he’s looking for in the next mayor: somebody who is going to be an average citizen in the community, someone who has a long-term vision, the ability to see the big picture, leave the small stuff to staff, and has good sense of business.

“I think it’s great that we have three experienced members of council willing to take over the job,” MacLean added.

“As much as everybody might think the outgoing mayor’s endorsement is worth millions, I wouldn’t buy into that. The public are going to make the decision and hopefully they will look very closely at the candidates and make their decision based on what’s best for the community.”