Hodgepodge by Charlie Hodge – Sept 14th, 2018

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Elite Auto Centre Kelowna BC

I’m in which means I’m out, for a bit.

By the time this rag reaches your door step Friday I will (bar a lightning strike) have officially filed my papers to run in the upcoming civic election.

Psychologists might suggest I suffer from some psychosis which needs to be quenched by verbal abuse. A ‘keep on beating me – it feels so good when you stop’ sort of response.

Regardless, suffice to say I am hoping to serve Kelowna residents as a City Councillor once again. That privilege will ultimately be decided October 20 when the public selects the nine decision makers to serve them in council chambers.

Win or lose I am a firm believer in our democratic process. Most important to me is that you actually get out and vote.

I’m adamant suggesting election day is the truest way to properly honour our war veterans. Thousands of young soldiers fought so Canadians today have the right to openly vote without hesitation or fear.

Not voting is a slap in the face to those who gave up so much including their youth and innocence so that we can live the wonderful life we do. Even if it’s simply a protest vote, you owe it to the past to take part in the present and decide the future. Not voting is a lazy and disrespectful decision.

Much to my chagrin I face a minor spin-off kick for running.  Now that I’ve officially tossed my name in the hat the powers that run the Capital News have declared my column on sabbatical until after the election. While I do not believe there is logic in that decision – I really have no say.

Regardless, I will hopefully return to these pages after Oct.20

Since this is my last column until then a few political thoughts.

It has been an honour to serve as your councillor the past four years. Not a day goes by that I am not thankful for being alive, living in Kelowna, and serving on council.

I have thoroughly enjoyed sitting at the table involved in various discussions and debates with the other eight elected members and staff. I admit that when first elected this term I began with some trepidation and consternation on what to expect.  All other eight members at one point or another had been supported (wanted or not) by either Four Change of Four Kelowna in the two previous campaigns including the Mayor.

Despite a rocky first private meeting or two Mayor Colin and I agreed to set the past aside and work together. I believe we have done a good job of that and in the process gained a healthy respect for each other. I like Colin and believe he runs a good meeting.

My co-councillors have been amazing to work with and any of my earlier fears were totally unfounded. While we may not agree on some issues, and I’m still often the only one (or two, or three) opposed to a decision, we always remain respectful. We agree to disagree and not let it stop us from moving on to the next issue.

When I went through two major surgeries last year to save my life from the disease destroying my entire bottom jaw – Council was right there in full support. Tez and I will never forget their above and beyond kindness.

I am now fully recovered from that scary health scenario and despite some pain still from where surgeons completely removed nine inches of bone out of my leg and stuck it in my face – I am fully ready to go. I have not felt this healthy in a long time.

Residents do not have to wait until Oct.20 to make your vote count. You can make your mark at any of a number of advanced polls starting Oct.10. For dates and locations go to the City of Kelowna website.

A reminder to new voters – you do not have to vote for eight candidates because you have eight ballots. In fact it is strategically wise to only vote for those you believe will do a good job. Filling in the ballot form at an election is not like going to a smorgasbord where you feel the need to get as much bang for your buck as you can. Any vote you give to another candidate negates the support you are trying to give to the candidate you like. Be selective.

I am sorry for the City of Kelowna that one of my current cohorts will not be back in the mix. Tracy Gray will not seek re-election on Council as she is seeking the Federal Conservative nomination for Kelowna-Lake Country.

That may prove a positive for the Conservatives party however it is a huge loss for Kelowna. Tracy is an outstanding, bright, and trustworthy person with all the savvy and skill needed to not only make sound decisions but clearly articulate her position or view to others.  I have no doubt a long and impressive career in politics is in her future.

Best of luck Tracy.

Elite Auto Centre Kelowna BC
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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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