Hodge Podge by Charlie Hodge – Nov

Thank you Kelowna residents who took the time to battle cold weather to exercise your right to vote.Wow, that was six hectic weeks that went by in a flash, yet seemed painfully slow in the process.Indeed, in the words of Jackson Browne regarding the life of a musician, “The only time that seems to short is the time we get to play.” Browne was inferring  to the reality that musicians spends hours travelling to concerts and hours to set up and tear down the stage, and the actual time they get to play music is minuscule compared to the preparation.For those 31 folks involved in the recent municipal election, the last six weeks (or for some – much longer) was a hectic time of preparing a campaign including formulating a platform, writing material for brochures and advertisements, setting up websites, face book pages, twitter accounts, making or ordering signs, buttons, and for some (like moi) even balloons. The time we actually managed to debate any issues was disappointingly minor.However, like unusual jobs such as working for the media, being an artist, teaching sky-diving … tasting the world of politics is without question a unique and fascinating experience. Six weeks on the campaign trail introduces you to a myriad of people with a myriad of issues, thoughts, concerns, desires, demands, and opinions. By the end of the campaign you have either developed a thicker skin or comprehend that perhaps the blood sport is not for you.Certainly, an election campaign is a classic study in human behaviour. As I mentioned to a couple of rookies in the campaign, win or lose it is a brief time period in one`s life that few actually experience and one they will likely never forget.Of the four municipal elections I have taken part in this recent one was probably the most personally satisfying, yet likely the dullest as far as debates and candidate forums. Regarding ugly, it ranks number two, slightly behind the last one. While it may not have appeared as nasty to many as the 2008 battle royal, there was a lot of crap and cheap shots taken by some under the public radar.Regardless, I have a couple of positive memories to pass on – insignificant to some but huge in my mind.The public meet and greet held in Rutland was by far the best format for meeting voters and engaging in conversation – though other events such as that organized by Mark Thompson were good and welcomed.Every campaign there are one or two characters met who stand out or become friends after serving time in the trenches together. In the previous election I managed to meet Ken Chung and we maintained a friendship the past few years. However, during this campaign we spent even more time together and I got to know the big heart the man has. His love for Kelowna is huge and I was sorry to see he did not garner more support at the polls, however he was a huge help to me. Without a truck getting my six large signs up was a bit of a task- however Ken immediately volunteered his time and truck when he heard about my dilemma.It truly is the sign of a gentleman and a class act when one is willing to assist another `competitor during such times and I will never forget his willingness to assist. I also noted how willing he was to put back up other candidate signs that we found knocked over as we went about the town. Thanks Ken.My second memory will remain with a young man named Aaron who I believe I first met at the University meet and greet. Aaron asked me a number of excellent questions face to face and then later by email. I was particularly impressed with the depth and insight of his questions considering I figured it might be his first time voting.After spending a fair amount of time back and forth on issues he informed me that he was not old enough to vote but was still keen on knowing how certain candidates felt about issues.  Impressive and encouraging behaviour from a student, indeed. I was disappointed in general with the response turnout and interest by students at both the University and College events, however Aaron proved that there are young folks still interested in their community`s future.Once again, my sincere thanks to all of you who voted, regardless of your selections.


I have a plethora of notes and memos to pass along during the next few weeks but here is an early tease on an amazing musical event.Plan now to take in the Raft of the Medusa – a fabulous musical written by the incredibly talented duo of Pat Brown and Randall Robinson.Raft of the Medusa is based on the famous painting of the ill-fated ship the Medusa – and portrays on stage the agony and darkness of the hardship endured by those who survived for weeks on a raft in the ocean.Brown and Robinson are currently in a recording studio finishing the soundtrack of the play, under the guidance of brilliant engineer Jim LeGuilloux.I am blown away with the fabulous tunes written by Robinson and Brown, as well as their script, and am likewise in awe over the tremendous engineering and production work by LeGuilloux.As many folks may know, Brown and Robinson were the mainstay writers of the multiple award winning Kelowna rock band Ten2Nine.I guarantee that Raft of the Medusa, set for July 24, 25, 31 and Aug.1 at the Kelowna Community Theatre will be a masterpiece and well worth your viewing.

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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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