Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner at city hall. (File photo)

ZYTARUK: Hepner, to her credit, rose to the occasion

She could have used her last address to make political digs, pitches and slights. She did not.

So let it be written…

Okay. On the face of it, it’s clearly an unfair political advantage to have the outgoing mayor deliver her annual State of the City address exactly one month before a civic election in which her slate is actively campaigning to maintain control.

I mean, you can’t buy that kind of political advertising, not to mention all the related media coverage.

It’s a platform entirely unavailable to her slate’s political rivals.

But to her credit, Mayor Linda Hepner did not exploit this advantage on Wednesday afternoon, in her wistful look back at 33 years in public service as she delivered her political swansong, or eulogy, however you want to characterize it.

The outgoing mayor could have seized the occasion to launch into a hyper-partisan Yay Surrey First speech on behalf of colleagues who are still in the game, but she did not. Instead, she wisely recounted the big picture, as she sees it, of more than three decades of significant change in Surrey during her lengthy and varied career at city hall.

Hepner had to be alive to the fact she’d be called out on it if she ventured into vainglorious partisan stumping, as witnessed by a passage in her written speech that put it on the table: “And I’m going to ask you to pardon me for a minute or two as I get political…not in a particularly partisan way…but in a way that show that when it’s done right, politics can do a lot for a city.”

Well, what’s she going to say? I goofed? Of course when anyone is saying goodbye, they will focus on their achievements. It’s in our blood, that is, if we’re not into self-loathing.

READ ALSO: In her final State of City address, Hepner looks back at Surrey’s evolution over 30 years

Notably, while introducing councillor Tom Gill as Surrey First’s mayoral candidate Hepner also introduced council Bruce Hayne as a mayoral candidate but did not mention his slate, Surrey Integity Now. But this is a trifle.

Absent were digs, pitches, slights or obvious cynical omissions. Machiavelli would have been disappointed with her.

Hepner delivered her fourth and final State of the City address at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel.

She was scheduled to do so on May 24, but as fate had it the event was cancelled on account of a hotel workers strike which would last for four weeks, ending on May 28th.

I do wonder why Hepner’s address was rescheduled to Sept. 19, bypassing June, July and August, and so close to the civic election.

Still, she didn’t take what had to be tempting bait to exploit the political advantage handed to her in the form of this later-day address, and for that, Mayor Hepner, I tip my hat to you.

Well done.

So let it be done.

Tom Zytaruk is a staff writer with the Now-Leader. He can be reached at tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Just Posted

Surrey business groups dig in heels on LRT

Mayor-elect Doug McCallum and his coalition aim to cancel LRT in favour of extending SkyTrain

New faces on Surrey council: Who they are and how they got here

The council includes seven of eight candidates who ran with Doug McCallum-led Safe Surrey Coalition

UPDATE: Missing Surrey girl, 15, located

Surrey RCMP sought help to locate Hailey McClelland

Surrey’s mayor-elect McCallum has big promises to keep

From estimated 337, 289 eligible voters in Surrey, 109,791 votes were cast for 32.5 per cent turnout

Dancing zombies expected in droves at Surrey’s ‘Thrill the World’ event

Michael Jackson’s iconic video inspires group-dance gatherings around the globe

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

Ovechkin has 4 points as Caps rough up Canucks 5-2

WATCH: Defending champs pick up impressive win in Vancouver

Vancouver mayoral hopefuly admits defeat, congratulates winner Kennedy Stewart

Ken Sim of the Non-Partisan Association apologized for the time it took to acknowledge Stewart won

Mental fitness questioned of man charged in Chilliwack River Valley shooting

Peter Kampos told his lawyer ‘his dreams are being stolen and turned into drugs’ at Surrey Pre-trial

Fraser Valley mom stuck in Africa over adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran have been waiting four weeks to bring son home

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Election watchdog seeks digitally savvy specialists to zero in on threats

Move follows troublesome evidence of online Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election

Most Read