It took one dead child to bring world awareness to 3.9 million refugees in Syria annually the 20 million refugees worldwide each year.
It took one dead lion to draw global attention to the 600 lions and 100 million other animals killed annually for sport.
Next month, Canadians will be given one vote.
It has the power to bring about certain change.
This isn’t an indictment against any ONE politician or political party.
That would be wholly unfair.
But there is something broken with this world, and it needs fixing quickly.
I’m tired of hearing people saying their vote doesn’t count.
That’s a cop out.
The fix to these problems doesn’t start with government policy changes.
It starts with a vote.
If ONE child and ONE lion can change the world so dramatically, so can you.
Educate yourself, and cast your ballot on Oct. 19.

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In general, numbers don’t lie.

From the figures we’re looking at in the second quarter Surrey RCMP statistics paint a pretty dangerous picture of this city.

Violent crime is up 34 per cent in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2014.

Even more frightening is attempted murder is up a whopping 600 per cent by the same comparison. Those numbers are driven by Newotn (up 900 per cent) and Whalley (up 300 per cent). The rest have remained static.

Remember, it’s in Whalley and Newton (primarily the latter) where an orgy of violence has unfolded since March, while two groups have been gunning for each other over lucrative dial-a-dope turf.  In all, there were more than 36 shootings since March 9 alone, half of which were the work of these gangsters.

Police don’t like to call them that, but let’s call it what it is. These young men (mostly in their 20s) are operating in a semi-organized fashion, firing live rounds at each other in a very public way.

I’m going with gangster.

Read more…

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I’m an undecided voter, and I’m not too crazy about that.


Normally, I have a pretty good indication by now who will be getting the X beside their name in November.


This year, I have no idea.


I have the sense there are a whole host of people in this city in the same situation.
No one has said or done anything that’s got me leaping in their direction in an electoral sense.

Platforms are generally the same, with some minor difference.

A star hasn’t risen out of the batch.


I am completely unsure of where my vote will go.

My only way out, as I see it, is this.


I need to investigate the hell out of their platforms, and make sure they’re all buttoned down tight.
Every promise has to be fully funded, and not take away from critical services in this city, or add onerous fees by way of taxes or admission to recreation centres.


The candidates have to be completely aware of all of the issues, not just the obvious problem of crime.
One-issue candidates never do well in this city.


There are a ton of other concerns they need to address.

Planning, bylaw enforcement, transportation, social problems like mental health and addictions, housing, just to name a few.

Candidates have to compose themselves well, and stand up firmly under pressure.


So, mayoral hopefuls, I’m coming with questions you might not want to hear. I may press a little hard if you seem dodgy.


I won’t apologize for that.
This city is at a critical juncture.
The right man or woman needs to be in that centre chair for the next four years.


I have six and a half weeks to figure out who that is.

Maybe, just maybe, our readers will benefit out of my zeal to sort this out.

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Linda Hepner is swinging back at her opponents today. Photo: Evan Seal/Surrey Leader

After launching what can only be described as a limp, sleep-inducing promotional video, Saturday morning, Linda Hepner came out hours later swinging hard at her opponents for politicizing personal tragedy in two recent killings.

I awoke to a tweet by Surrey First entreating me to check out this video, which is a three minutes and 15 seconds of her team members voicing unconditional support for her.

Team support is kind of assumed. A lot of people in social media wanted to know what the city thought of her.

After taking some heat on Twitter for dodging the crime issue, Surrey First, and Hepner came out swinging. Blogger Esmir Milavic also tore into her on Battleground Surrey.

“Frankly, our community and our citizens deserve a more serious conversation about crime and public safety than the one I’m seeing these days on social media,” Hepner writes on SurreyFirst.ca. “Right now, we’re seeing a lot of people jockeying for position, taking shots at one another, trying to score political points off family tragedies, or making wild and unsubstantiated claims that are only aimed at scaring people.” Read more…

Beau Simpson

Time, I think, to address the elephant in the room.
There’s a fair amount of rumbling in the community about Now newspaper editor Beau Simpson pairing up with former Mayor Doug McCallum to run for civic office this fall.
Candidates from other camps are crying foul, suggesting that at least the potential for slanted coverage may have been under way prior to Simpson’s announcement.
Here’s the nut of it.
In journalism, as in politics, credibility is everything.
The real estate of trustworthiness is gained in inches and lost in miles.
Also like politics, in newsrooms it’s not only paramount to be unbiased, but to be seen as being even-handed.
It must be noted that the staff at The Now are consummate professionals. I’ve worked beside them all and every one of them is skilled and in this business for the right reasons.
I also consider them friends.
I feel terrible for them and the position in which they now find themselves.
Simpson told staff at the paper just before he announced to the public he was taking a leave of absence as editor and running for public office.
He could have greatly mitigated some of the optics problems by taking his leave a couple of months earlier. Stories during that time would be in less doubt, and if they were questioned, it would be far earlier in the electoral process.
I’m told when he left, he urged his staff to treat him like any other candidate.
Easily said. Read more…

McCallum

Doug McCallum announced this morning he’s running with four council candidates in his bid to regain the mayor’s chair.

They include Surrey Now newspaper editor Beau Simpson – who is on leave from the paper to run for council – lawyer Justin Thind, business owner Rina Gill and community advocate Laurie Guerra. (Information about the candidates can be found at www.safesurrey.ca)

Even some of McCallum’s detractors say the news is big for him.

Read more…

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Mayoral candidate Linda Hepner during her interview with The Surrey Leader where she called for a ferris wheel at the south end of the Pattullo Bridge. Photo/Evan Seal

Coun. Linda Hepner wants a ferris wheel at the Surrey side of the Pattullo Bridge.

And despite her claims in the Globe and Mail and Province newspapers, there was nothing “flippant” about the claim she made to the Surrey Leader during her interview earlier this year.

The call for a ferris wheel wasn’t very popular among the public. A recent poll indicated 72 per cent of respondents thought it was a bad or very bad idea.

The most common response to problems like the one Hepner faced was to shoot the messenger. This case was no different, and probably came from the campaign brain trust for her mayoral bid.

These things usually work, save and except when the messenger has a tape of the interview, which Hepner knew all along was being recorded.

Hepner’s team previously suggested I broke an embargo when The Surrey Leader broke the story that she was running.

The audio of that interview puts that suggestion to a complete lie. Read more…

 

For grins, I cobbled together policing strengths in Surrey for the past 30 years.
The exercise was quite revealing on a number of  counts.
Firstly, as I expected, the worst police to population ratio in those three decades was one cop per 911 people. It was under former Mayor Doug McCallum’s reign, and the poor policing strengths came on the heels of a federal shut-down of the RCMP training facility in Regina.
During two years before McCallum’s low ratio, we only got four cops per year. I was covering council at the time, I know the city was asking for more.
But Surrey wasn’t requesting enough to bring us to the national average of one officer in 700 people at the time. Our poor police strength made headlines.
In 2003, Coun. Dianne Watts, then Coun. Dianne Watts told The Surrey Leader if she could, she would hire 100 cops right away if she could.
She told me at the time McCallum wasn’t happy with his rogue councillor. Read more…

crimectv

Former Mayor Doug McCallum is taking another run for mayor, and one of the mallots he is swinging at opponents is their stance on crime.

On Aug. 1, McCallum retweeted a twitter post to Hepner saying “ridiculous for the city to continue to claim success on crime with current stats!! #surreybc Define success.” @LindaHepner.”

A look at the Leader archives shows McCallum’s record wasn’t that great either.

During his administration, we had the worst cops per population ratio in the country, and a far higher ranking nationally in violent crime.

At the time we had one officer per 902 population, when the national average was one per 700. Right now, we have one in 757.

Our cops were way more over-worked than they are now. In 2001, Surrey RCMP had a criminal case load per officer of 127, the highest around.

Last figures I saw from a few years ago, Surrey RCMP’s criminal case load per officer was 55.

In 2001, Surrey had the highest violent crime rate out of the nation’s 15 biggest cities, according to a 67-page document titled Police Resources in Canada 2002, prepared by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, (which culled the figures from the year prior).
Surrey’s then-RCMP Superintendent Randy Bennett was unsurprised by the figures. Read more…