Editor, The News:
Re: Zero tax increase ‘unpalatable’ (The News, Nov. 1); Pitt council bypasses pay raises (The News, Nov. 6).
After reading these recent articles, one can only shake one’s head at the continual ineptitude of Mayor Deb Walters and her three ardent supporters on council (Couns. Doug Bing, Tracy Miyashita and Gwen O’Connell).
Bing’s presence is an affront in itself; he repeatedly says he sees no wrong in holding two elected positions, which to anyone with even a minimal sense of integrity is a perceived conflict.
The mayor, in previous articles, has refused outright to seriously consider no tax increase; her repetitious comment that this is “unrealistic” shows that she completely fails to grasp the issue and is determined to have her own way, something made possible by the support of the three named councillors.
Coun. Miyashita’s comment that reducing spending is “unfair” boggles the mind; she apparently doesn’t consider it unfair to gouge the taxpayer endlessly to cover unnecessary spending, such as her annual increases in salary, useless indoor pool studies, which is simply a pet project of the mayor, or the mayor’s completely unnecessary posh hotel nights at our expense.
Coun. O’Connell may not wish to apologize for her salary, but she is not earning it.
An apology is in order for failing to do her job in cutting spending and preventing further tax increases, which is exactly what the majority of citizens she is allegedly working for clearly want, as shown by the results of the city’s own survey, two petitions and numerous letters.
Mayor Walters has shown real contempt for the citizens of this community. She refuses year after year to eliminate her annual increase – and her salary next year will rise by over $5,000, amounting to an increase in excess of $24,000 over the past five years.
The use of taxpayer’s money to cover her stay in a posh Vancouver hotel because she can’t be bothered to drive the 45-minute trip speaks volumes about her true interests and priorities.
If she really “worked for the city,” as she would have us believe, she would cover this entitlement out of her own pocket.
Donating all or a portion of this year’s salary increase to charity is meaningless when one recognizes that, regardless of what these people do with their increases, they are still getting them.
And that also means that next year’s increases will be larger as a percentage of the now-increased salaries.
More smoke and mirrors.
When it comes to cutting spending, we are told it would mean less police and fewer firefighters.
Perhaps finance director Mark Roberts needs to be replaced, since he is only playing into the hands of select council members.
These individuals clearly have their heads buried in the sand, or wherever.
There is absolutely no reason to even consider cutting services that matter to everyone.
All that needs doing is to have a mayor and councillors who are honest and competent, who respect the clear wishes of the taxpayers, who show some leadership, and put an end to this waste of money on their personal agendas.