JONESIE: Why Reid Hamer-Jackson can't fight city hall | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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JONESIE: Why Reid Hamer-Jackson can't fight city hall

Reid Hamer-Jackson at his swearing in ceremony, Nov. 1, 2022.

OPINION

I don’t live in Kamloops. Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson’s antics have no effect on me personally, so allow me to be a bit more philosophical about it.

I want to like the guy, more for what he could represent than who he actually is.

I like the idea of a guy who is so pissed off at what he sees on the streets of his city and how city business is done, that he works really hard to get involved, develops a vision of what he thinks needs to be done, then embarrasses three incumbent councillors all expecting to be crowned Mayor, cuts through a prissy, cushy and stagnant bureaucracy and somehow gets it done.

I like the idea of someone who isn’t cut from the same-old political mold. No glad-handing, no grandstanding, no fake sincerity, no evasion from accountability. Someone who can’t command all the right words to wield as weapons or shields. Someone with a backbone who says what they mean and damn the consequences.

Someone the system can’t handle.

A disruptor, an every man.

Marshall Jones, managing editor
Marshall Jones, managing editor

But Hamer-Jackson isn’t that guy and that isn’t what's happening.

Take a look through Levi Landry’s story this week, a full recitation of all the happenings at Kamloops City Hall since he was elected. Yes, it’s about Reid’s antics and sizing up the liability, but remove them for a minute, look closely at how councillors and staff dealt with a square peg from the beginning. He’s mostly at fault, but not the only one.

READ MORE: How Kamloops councillors and staff have leashed the mayor

Within months of taking office, he has a yelling match in his own office with known hot-head incumbent Councillor and NDP MLA-hopeful Bill Sarai. (Hands up if you haven’t been screamed at by Bill. Anyone?) Two fragile staffers simply overheard the yelling and filed bullying and harassment complaints because of it. But only against Hamer-Jackson.

Once the complaints got filed, CAO Dave Trawin and now-acting-CAO Byron McCorkell piled on because the mayor told them he was coming for their jobs. That shouldn’t have been a surprise, everyone knew he was. That’s what he said in his campaign.

The city hired an outside agency to investigate and make the findings bulletproof. The investigator never even spoke to Hamer-Jackson, which was mostly but not entirely the mayor’s fault. He was found guilty of bullying three staff members.

The findings meant Hamer-Jackson couldn’t communicate directly with the frail spirits and fragile feelings of well-paid bureaucrats who knew that would be the outcome.

The brightly-haloed councillors then got the football and ran with it. They appoint one of their own every month to act as mayor while pushing him further to the sidelines.

Someone — a councillor? Multiple councillors? Staff? — leaked all that to the media, along with every other thing Hamer-Jackson did that they didn’t like. You don't hear a word about the city trying to track down the leakers, even as they froth about the mayor later doing the same thing. At least he owns up to it.

And that set the stage for everything else that has happened. Hamer-Jackson blindly retaliating with ever more foolishness and games, and staff and council tightening the noose at each turn.

McCorkell played other games when he got councillors to inform the media that a burned out SUV on Hamer-Jackson’s used car lot got towed. It was also McCorkell who intervened in the mayor’s slideshow. Hamer-Jackson intended to show the chamber of commerce some uncomfortable truths — photos of what’s actually happening on the street. Some lewd and gross, perhaps. You’ve heard much of this “sexual act” he wanted to show, but don’t believe the hype. There’s nothing graphic about it. Everyone tried to say it is, but again, this is what happens when they circle the wagons.

But the reality is you can’t remove Hamer-Jackson’s actions from the equation because he deserved most, if not all of what he has gotten. He’s too much by half. Staff just trying to do their jobs shouldn’t have to be disrupted or disrespected and nor should councillors and Hamer-Jackson just cannot resist or control himself.

He is a liability and it’s well past time for him to resign.

It was naive to think he can bring his attitude into City Hall and be effective.

It was naive of voters to think he was qualified to be mayor. Sadly for them, council has done nothing more than give passing glances to the issues that got him elected in the first place, particularly crime. He’s not two years into the job and he has failed and cannot possibly deliver what he promised.

He’s not even thinking about how he can do that, he’s motivated only by revenge now.

Hamer-Jackson’s actions aren't defendable in any way. But how unelected and unaccountable staff wielded their collective powers to geld him, aided and abetted by councillors, should tell you plenty.

There’s little room for nonconformity. All shall be assimilated.

Staff lead, councillors are expected to follow. But we already knew this.

It’s why you can’t fight City Hall.

— Marshall Jones is the Managing Editor of iNFOnews.ca


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