Doug Johnson was a last minute entrant into the Kimberley mayor’s race, filing his papers late last week. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been thinking about it for quite some time.
Johnson says he has been mulling the idea over for some seven years, and seriously thinking about it for the last year.
His ideas for what the City of Kimberley should be doing going forward are simple, he says — slow down and zip up your wallet.
“For the last year or so I’ve been getting angry and a little bit scared watching my taxes go up,” he said. “I’m on a perfectly adequate pension but now it isn’t enough. My taxes used to be about $30 a month, now that’s up to $114, and they are going up even more.”
Johnson says he has talked to many other Kimberley residents who are just as frustrated and worried.
Johnson has a long history of community service in Kimberley with the Bavarian Society, the Kimberley Community Development Society, minor sports and more. He also served one term on Council beginning in 1987.
“I’ve done the alderman’s job. I want to be Mayor,” he said.
He says he has watched appalled as the surplus fund so thoughtfully built up prior to the closure of the Sullivan Mine has been whittled away.
“The City has taken on too many pie in the sky projects. There has been no choice but to raise taxes, but the city got itself into this mess. The surplus is gone. I don’t know where it went.”
Johnson says that after the mine closed people were prepared for tough times, and knew that things wouldn’t be the same without the big industrial tax base. There were, and are, still things that make Kimberley a great place to live, tough times or not.
“We need to face facts and quit this hysterical endeavour to try to make this into a boom town again.
“We need to expect less. The city is there to provide basic services.
“The flume was a problem and it needed to be fixed. It was a simple enough job and it didn’t have to be done overnight. But all of a sudden, we have a six million dollar bill and it’s not even done yet.
“I want to be Mayor. I want to try to slow things down a bit.
“And we don’t need to be picking what industry Kimberley needs. Someone floats the idea of a prison — it’s an industry, it provides jobs, but the idea was totally nixed because it’s not the right fit. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
When the idea of a prison came up, it was put forward by another candidate for Mayor Don McCormick. Johnson was asked if he worried that his candidacy would lead to vote splitting.
“I thought about that,” he said. “I thought Don might be a good candidate and with me entering, he and I might roll around in the ditch and kill each other, letting Ronnie sneak in the back door.
“But I’m doing it anyway. I’m going to beat them both. I’m not Pa Kettle, I’m not Dogpatch. I’ve done things in this town. I’ve been a Councillor. I can do this job.”