Someone woke up Linda Hepner

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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.”

The personal tragedies of which she refers are the shocking murders of hockey mom Julie Paskall late last year and Serena Vermeersch this month.

Hepner has long been a target of critics for some missteps, where she suggested to a TV station she didn’t have time to talk about the crime issue, and ducking questions on the issue a few times since then.

Then this morning, out comes the video, without a word about how she’s going to deal with the crime problem.

The latest missive on the Surrey First website took care of that, and then some.

“First off, Surrey is a safe community,” Hepner claims.“We have 768 police officers in Surrey today, with another 30 on the way this year. I’m also committed to adding another 100 officers on the ground over the next 24 months. Today, we’re spending $123 million on policing, that’s $54 million more than in 2005, and we’ll continue to invest what it takes to keep our city safe.”

I’ll be double-checking the above figures when I get back to the office Monday, but on recollection, it sounds about right.

If she’s hiring 100 more police officers, it will be the biggest recruitment since 2004/2005. No word yet on where she’s coming up with $14M annually to pay for those cops.

That would amount to $95 annually for the owner of the average Surrey home worth $643,600.

Surrey First posted Saturday at 2 p.m. that they will provide numbers after academic Dr. Cohen finishes an analysis of the RCMP. The party should be able to work out a budget without the help of a criminologist.

Hepner also took some shots squarely at her opponents.

Raosode’s plan to hire 200 community officers is the right “sentiment, Surrey needs real police,” Hepner says.

She also drops her crosshairs on Doug McCallum for planning to tank the Surrey City Development Corp.

“The Surrey City Development Corporation is owned by the people of Surrey and its profits are ours,” explained Hepner. “Last year they paid the city a $4.5 million dividend, and that payment will continue to increase. That’s money we can spend on policing.”

If you were waiting for this election campaign to heat up, wait no longer.

The gloves are off for the next seven weeks, and some people are going to get bloodied, in what looks like an extremely tough campaign.

 

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