MR candidate bows out of election

For John McKenzie, costs were too high

No sooner was he in than he was out, because it’s just too expensive, says John McKenzie.

The Port Haney resident who hounded council to continue its cleanup of Northumberland Court says he doesn’t have the money, about $10,000 needed to compete in the Nov. 19 municipal elections.

“I checked with Claus [Andrup] and he’s going to spend a huge amount of money.

“Mike Morden is going to spend a huge amount of money.

“I need at least five grand to compete with these people, at some level anyways.”

McKenzie said he’s already in debt and doesn’t want to add to that.

Instead, he’ll help NDPers Carly O’Rourke and Craig Speirs in their campaigns.

He wants to continue to work to preserve as much of the natural beauty of Maple Ridge as it continues to grow. “To do that, you build the density in the downtown core and you avoid the urban sprawl.”

Without the cash, he says he couldn’t compete. “I didn’t want to do it unless I really wanted to make a serious run at it.”

Andrup, who also lives in Port Haney, says if you want to get elected, “I think you need $10,000.”

At this point, he’s budgeting between $5,000 and $10,000. Candidates who don’t have the public profile that incumbents have, need to spend that amount, he added.

Andrup said he had only one rule when accepting campaign contributions. If you own land in the Agricultural Land Reserve, “don’t give me any money.

“If you give me money, I can’t help you.” Andrup explained if he got elected to council he’d exclude himself from any discussions about a land exclusion, if he accepted money from that applicant.

For Coun. Mike Morden, seeking a second term on council, the election budget should run about $10,000. “I think I’m going to need that.”

He pointed out in order to get pamphlets delivered to 26,000 homes in Maple Ridge will cost $5,600, while small newspaper ads for a month will cost $4,000. Campaign signs could cost another $3,000.

As for decisions on what to accept for campaign donations, and from who, “we’ll see what money comes and whether I’m going to accept it or not.”

Some current councillors have accepted campaign donations from contributors who later sought to have property removed from the land reserve, but councillors say those donations don’t influence how they vote.

After visiting every downtown business during his campaign, Andrup said people always tell him that all of council should be replaced, but he doubts that will happen. However, “It seems to me that the mood is a little more serious in terms of wanting to see new faces on council.”

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