OUR VIEW: Cities like Surrey don’t elect mayors to defer tough questions

Not talking about a problem won’t make it go away.

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner was the subject of an unusual headline this past week concerning her refusal to comment on recent shootings and deferring that task to the RCMP. 

Indeed, the mayor must be frustrated receiving calls from reporters seeking reaction to these crimes. After all, it’s not as though she is pulling the triggers. And yet, she is in a position of power and as the saying goes, the buck stops with her, as civic leader of this city.

And with that power comes not only the ability to set policy in place, but also to allay residents’ fears when the opportunity presents itself.

As her counterpart in Delta, Mayor Lois Jackson, rightfully notes, "People want to hear from the mayor…they also want to know we are determined to do whatever we can."

Of course there is a lot of good stuff going on in Surrey and it’s laudable that Mayor Hepner wants to champion that.

She’s not alone. Take this newspaper, for instance. We love to bring you stories replete with happiness and joy. Some of our favourite stories are those that leave our readers feeling inspired and uplifted.

But there’s more to the real world than that.

Our job is to mirror our community, its challenges as well as its triumphs. There is bad, along with the good, and it has to be addressed. It all comes down to credibility.

And so mayors, politicians of all walks, and yes, journalists as well, must address the state of the city, pimples as well as beauty spots, lest we be taken for ostriches burying our heads in the sand.

We, too, love Surrey and want to see it "evolve" into a safe place to live and invest, as Mayor Hepner does.

But sweeping our city’s challenges under the rug is just not the way to do it.

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