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Letter: Full Page Ads, During Election

To The Editor:
Mayor and Council Members
The Corporation of the City of Nelson 
Dear Council Members:
Re:  Full Page Ads, During Election

I am writing this letter prior to Election Day so I won’t be accused of reacting to the outcome.

I am extremely disappointed that the city has chosen to run “pat ourselves on the back” ads, at the tax payers expense during the election. The first being the two page ad ran during nomination week, September 13 edition of the Nelson Star. This appeared one week after several existing members of council, including the mayor had publicly announced their intention to seek re-election. It was a very expensive ad and to my recollection, this had never been done before. The second being the one-page newsletter ad, that touts the Hall Street accomplishments which ran two days before the election. This space would have been better used to inform people about the election, fall leaf cleanup, etc.  

It is not illegal to use the taxpayers money to parade accomplishments of council during campaigning, but it certainly borders on the unethical and is very disrespectful of the taxpayers. These ads are very costly.  Now perhaps Council had nothing to do with running these ads, which to me actually makes it worse because that means senior staff made the decision to run them and thus got involved in the election process. I know that Senior staff know better than to run these accomplishment ads during the election. So why were they run?  Common sense would tell you this is unfair and a very poor use of tax dollars.

I am not alone in my feelings on this issue.  Many people found this incredibly brazen and were disappointed in Council. Although it shouldn’t be necessary, would you please immediately enact a policy that prohibits running, “pat yourselves on the back” ads, during an election cycle at the expense of the taxpayer. Let’s say from September 1 to after the Election. Incumbents should pay for their own ads.

Thank you.

Sincerely, Marla Olson, Nelson BC
Editor's Note: The letter was received via email to The Nelson Daily Saturday, October 20, 2018, prior to closing of polls in the 2018 Civic Election.