So as to correct any misconception or interpretation about me that David Broadland makes about me in his article I want to make a few things clear.
1. Though David Broadland offered the incumbent mayor an opportunity to respond to questions, he offered me no such courtesy. He has my cell phone number, email address and he knows where I live.
2. David introduced me into his story by mentioning my name. I therefore am entitled to clarify my involvement.
So here goes...
When I interviewed Lisa Helps I did so as a journalist.
I interview her at her home and recorded the interview to be assured her quotes were correct.
The interview took place months before I announced my candidacy for Mayor. To be clear I had NO idea I would run against her. I didn’t even know for sure she was running. She did, I didn’t. I can tell the exact time I made the decision.
And to take that even one step further it would be ethically wrong, as a journalist, to report or interview anyone when you have a conflict.
For Broadland to say “he gave no hint” to Focus Magazine that I was considering a run for Mayor is sloppy writing or libellous.
I remember clear as day when it entered my mind.
It was Saturday September 24, 2014. I was reporting for CHEK News on the Johnson Street Bridge issue. I interviewed Helps, Ida Chong and Dean Fortin.
None of them delivered answers that in my mind indicated they were either capable or being open about how they would deal with the ballooning budget from the Johnson Street Bridge Project.
But it was Fortin who kept saying it’s a “Fixed price”
As the words came out of his mouth I remember having an internal dialogue with myself. “This guy’s lying to me” I remember thinking. “How on earth can do this?! He’s lying to get re-elected”.
When I interviewed Ida Chong, another internal dialogue, “You’re going to save this project and manage it when you didn’t bring a penny to the project as a member of Cabinet?”
And then there was Helps. In her interview she was saying a lot, but it didn’t instil confidence.
I left the interviews bewildered. I put the story to air and days later I found myself talking with my partner about running. He wasn’t keen because he knew how it would affect our personal lives.
Because the notion entered my mind I avoided any further reporting - especially civic issues.
Days later I was sitting with friends and the issue of the election came up.
“I’m thinking of running”, I said.
Friends being friends, everyone said they’d support me.
But it was only when my partner turned to me and said, “I agree. I think you need to do this and I will support you” that I made my decision. There was no hiding it from anyone.
As I say, if David Broadland had called me he would have learned all that.
But, if David Broadland is truly concerned about adherence to journalistic standards, he would have not let one of his contributors, Gene Miller, write articles or opinion pieces on the 2014 election campaign without disclosing Miller worked as an architect of the Helps 2014 campaign, supports Helps and continues to do so.
Miller took wide-ranging, dismissive swipes at me and other candidates all the time pretending to be some neutral arbiter of political worth while rolling in muck of one specific campaign.
It’s ethically wrong, and David Broadland knows that and I told him so when I said I would never write for Focus Magazine again.
In this latest article he’s done a reasonable job of highlighting issues about Helps’ credibility issues.
He could have done so much better.