Never in recent memory have we dealt with a mayor who so consistently spurns media requests for comment.
Former mayor Don Ross returned his phone calls, as did Bob Bose, Dianne Watts and most recently Linda Hepner, and we could count on them to do so in a timely manner.
Even Doug McCallum returned his, when he was first mayor from 1996 to 2005.
What’s changed? Has he been consulting some kind of Machiavellian manual for mayors? Ignore reporters long enough, and they will eventually go away?
Well, here’s the scoop, Surrey mayor: We will not go away.
Some might dismiss this editorial as whiny media navel-gazing, but it is not.
Remember, it is our business to keep a sharp eye on city council for you, our readers, while you are busy at your day jobs.
It is also our job to provide balanced news coverage, taking pains to see all sides fairly represented. This is particularly important in matters of significant consequence to the public.
On Sept. 26, during an election campaign debate at the Civic Hotel, McCallum told the audience of a couple hundred people that his style of mayoring is “open door.”
“I answered all of my phone calls,” the former mayor said of his nine years in office.
But since McCallum was elected eight weeks ago, our reporters have lodged many dozens of phone calls with him that have gone unanswered.
The result is, instead of availing himself of opportunities to educate Surrey residents on the reasoning behind council’s initiatives, our readers instead receive – for no lack of trying on our part – an information vacuum in the form of “McCallum could not be reached for comment.”
This set of words, unfortunately, will continue to collect on our pages like grains of sand in the jar of time until this mayor starts responding to media requests.
Only he has the power to change this. We hope he does.
Until then, make no mistake about it – when our mayor ducks us, he is ducking you.