A retired broadcaster is making seniors a priority as he seeks a seat on Vernon council.
Gord Leighton worked for 53 years in the broadcast industry and is billing himself as the “The Common Sense Senior.”
Leighton says the 65 and older segment is the fastest growing demographic in Vernon, currently at 24%, with more of the baby boomer generation on the way.
“Who will speak for them?” asks Leighton.
Leighton says his five main priorities are seniors, safety, transparency, frugality, and customer service.
Leighton moved to the region in 2003 and was General Manager of four Bell Media owned radio stations, including Vernon’s Sun FM, until his retirement in January, 2017.
Leighton says Vernon is a wonderful city that has earned a bad reputation as the 9th most dangerous place in Canada, according to MacLean’s Magazine.
“Additional RCMP members and a new Superintendent will certainly help, but a more collaborative effort by mayor, council, city
administration and the RCMP to work with social service agencies is needed.”
Leighton questions why some city information is not being released to the public.
“There are good reasons why Council must hold in-camera closed meetings, but taxpayers deserve to have details of in-camera meetings released on a frequent and timely basis”.
He noted the in-camera decision by the City to sell the 19.6-acre McMechan Reservoir site to a sole proponent for $6.49 million, and wonders if the the City should have issued a wider call for proposals from other potential developers.
Leighton says he also knows the importance of frugality being a senior on a fixed income
“I fear there is an ingrained sense of entitlement in some areas of city administration, where discretionary expenditures are given the green light simply because there is money remaining in a budget line item – and not because the need is an immediate priority.
Leighton cites recent decisions to buy new ballistic body armour for bylaw officers as one example. Administration background notes indicate that some police
forces, such as the Quebec Provincial Police and Montreal and Halifax City Police forces replace body armour every ten years, while Vernon suggests a 7-year cycle.
He says the City’s recommendation to buy new vests, as well as a small fleet of electric bicycles are examples of expenditures that were passed by Council with nary a question or debate.
“I intend to ask questions, and show better stewardship for taxpayers.”
Leighton is one of 21 candidates for Vernon city councillor Oct. 20.