Controversial former White Rock councillor James Coleridge – whose re-election to council in 2008 was overturned by B.C.’s Supreme Court – says he is a hair away from filing nomination papers for the upcoming civic election in November.
While Coleridge told Peace Arch News Thursday that he was “thrilled” to be contemplating another run at a council seat, he said the matter was still “on the table for discussion with my family.”
While he has taken out the papers, he said, he has yet to drop them off at city hall, because a decision to run is contingent on his top priority, his wife Anna, their son Jet, 2½, and daughter Eden, who just turned one.
Also a factor is that he is very busy with their Vancouver business, Bella Gelateria, which, he said, has been “wildly successful.”
Coleridge acknowledged that, should he decide to run, there are some people not likely to forget – or forgive – that he was removed from office. But he said he has also heard from many residents over the last three years who have expressed support or sought his help on various issues.
The court found that Coleridge – first elected in 1983 – had lied to taxpayers when he said he did not know the source of a pre-election email terming opponents a “real estate slate.”
As a result of a challenge of the election by former councillor Matt Todd – one of Coleridge’s unsuccessful opponents – the court heard that the email had been sent out to multiple recipients by his wife.
In 2010, Coleridge repaid the city $48,329.53, including $20,000 to cover the cost of a by-election to fill the vacant seat on council, plus $28,329.53 in other costs, including Todd’s legal costs (estimated at $17,000).
“I made a mistake,” Coleridge said Thursday.
“I paid a price and learned a lesson – a life lesson.”
But Coleridge said he believes he still has much to contribute as a councillor based on his experience gleaned from some 20 years in office.
He said that, whatever his decision, he would not be making a bid for the mayor’s chair.
“I thought that being a councillor I could get more done rather than being a gatekeeper of process,” he said.