Interviewers should keep on with info when grilling Kelowna Metropolis Council candidates

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I trust that radio talk show host Phil Johnson (AM 1150), in his upcoming interviews with municipal candidates, will rely on facts if he chooses to confront a candidate about anything.

On Aug. 22, Johnson interviewed Susan Ames, a candidate for Kelowna City Council.

Her comments included:

“How are people going to work in the restaurants, and work in the cafés, and work at the gas stations if they can’t afford to live here?”

“We need to sort of step back and look at this through more social and environmental sustainability lenses…”

“We don’t even have a tree bylaw here.”

“… 46 storeys is a monstrosity in the city of Kelowna. We don’t need that. And they want to put four levels of parking below the groundwater table!”

“… the city has bought farmland to put a sewage treatment plant on it. Farmland! That’s a food-producing country, and that’s one of the pillars of the OCP [Official Community Plan] is the preservation of our farmland.”

In my opinion, the animosity in Johnson’s voice while interviewing Ames was palpable, and by my count, he interrupted her nine times while she was providing answers to his questions.

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<p>Near the end of the interview, Johnson tells her: “… I do have to tell you that I did watch and did listen to you [via video] as you spoke, ah, at the public hearing regarding the UBCO tower [July 26].  …. The mayor then had to say sit down or I’ll have you removed from council chambers.  Is that your view of how you’re gonna operate when you, if, should you win a council seat?  Is that what we can expect to come from you?”</p>
<p>Ames: “You’ve got the wrong person! I never said a peep!”</p>
<p>Johnson: “Yeah?”</p>
<p>Ames: “You’re talking about somebody else. That’s not me.”</p>
<p>Johnson: “Ah, I believe it was you.”</p>
<p>Ames: “I would never do that. I am a professional. I’ve got 30 years as an environmental consultant. I’m a professional. I would never do that, and I didn’t do that. I don’t know why you, ah, you got the wrong person…”</p>
<p>Johnson: “Then if that wasn’t you, then I would humbly apologize. I was under the impression that that was you, and I guess…”</p>
<p>Ames: Oh no!”</p>
<p dir=Johnson: “… I found myself saying, you know, if that’s how you’re operating then that’s a, yeah, alright.”

Ames: “I accept your apology.”

Johnson: “Alright.”

Ames: “I’m more professional than that.”

I attended the July 26 hearing regarding the UBCO tower. I saw and heard a man and woman (not Ames) speak out more than once.

Why didn’t Johnson play the actual audio for his listeners? Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear!

On Johnson’s Aug. 23 show, he said, in part: “The individual, unseen in the city hall broadcast of the public hearing, was identified to me as Ms. Ames.”

Who was the person or person who told Johnson that the woman who spoke out was Ames? In professional journalism, the two-source rule states that when sourcing information, for something to be considered a fact it must be verified by at least two independent sources.

That would be “the *rest* of the story!”, as famous American radio broadcaster Paul Harvey used to say. Inquiring minds want to know!

Johnson continued: “The shouts, loud, forced Mayor Colin Basran to order her to cease. To sit down. The voice did not. He again ordered the individual, unseen by the video camera, to sit down, To desist. And as I said, the voice was identified to me as Ms. Ames.”

Basran did not order the woman to sit down.

This is what I heard at the July 26 hearing:

DeHart: “… and I was really happy to hear that the fire chief was here tonight because I know that was some very, very big concerns.”

Man: “And you ignored them!”

Basran: “Please be quiet, sir. You had your opportunity. Now it’s our turn. Thank you.”

DeHart: “I was with the fire chief and I think having our fire chief here was very, very important. I think that people *do* believe him. I don’t think that people think the fire chief is lying to us.. ..”

Man: “Can’t you guys listen?”

(cross talk)

Man: “… we’re against the height! We’re against the height! Nobody’s against that being downtown!”

Basran: “OK. You’ve had your op- sir, you had your, sir, you had your opportunity! Sir, you’ve had your opportunity! Sir, you have had your opportunity! It’s our turn to speak now. OK ? Thank you.”

Woman: “You’re all being too arrogant!”

Basran: “OK, ma’am, I’m going to ask you to please leave. I’ve asked you a number of times.”

Woman: “Why can’t *you* leave? You do *nothing* for our city!”

Basran: “That’s fine. Fair enough. Please leave.”

Woman: “You’re a *ruin* to our city!”

Basran: “Thank you. I appreciate your feedback.”

Man: “Find a new job.”

[The man and woman both leave]

Basran: “Well, that’s a first.”

Later Johnson told his listeners: “I immediately apologized to her [Ames]. She accepted my apology, and we continued with the conversation.”

Immediately after Ames told Johnson she accepted his apology, he ended the conversation by telling her: “Well, we will see you on the campaign trail. Susan Ames, looking for your seat on Kelowna City Council.”

The video of the July 26 public hearing can be viewed at this City of Kelowna link:

Susan Ames addresses council at the 1:55:00 mark. Around the 3:07:00 mark, one hears part of DeHart’s closing comments, followed by those of a man and woman (both off-screen), then Basran.

David Buckna


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