A former communications officer with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district now wants to serve as a school trustee, and be the mayor of Maple Ridge.
Gary Cleave says if he’s elected Nov. 15 to both positions, both organizations would benefit because he can represent the issues of each to each other.
“I think I can be more effective on school board by being mayor.”
And conversely, as a mayor who’s also on school board, he can represent education concerns to the city.
“It’s mutually reinforcing,” he said. “I’m for collaboration and mutual respect.”
Cleave served a variety of postings with the school district.
He was its communications officer from 1995 to 2009.
He also ran for school board in 2011, placing eighth out of nine candidates.
During that campaign, he drew 2,310 votes without advertising or signs.
He agrees, the odds are long at being elected to both positions this November.
“I think there’s a very slim chance that I can win, but stranger things can happen.”
Maple Ridge elections officer Ceri Marlo said Cleave can run for both spots. But if he’s elected to both, he has to serve both positions and not resign from either one. Vacating one of the positions could be an offence under the elections act, Marlo said.
Cleave has made six promises if he’s elected with the top of the list fostering “a culture of mutual respect and collaboration on council.”
He started thinking of running after reading about the editing of a video recording of a 2013 council committee meeting after comments by Coun. Corisa Bell.
Staff removed the comments, then reposted the video on the municipal website, because of fears of a lawsuit if the comments were allowed to remain.
For Cleave, the incident showed the dysfunction on council.
“They were corrupting our democracy. It became a much bigger issue.”
If he’s elected to both positions, Cleave also promises to donate $20,000 of his mayor’s salary and his $18,000 trustee’s salary to support student learning programs that have “suffered from years of budget cutbacks.”
He also promises to accept no help from special interest groups and says he won’t spend more than $100 on his campaign. Spending thousands on signs shows “the dirty little secret of election signs borrowed from mass marketers. The more signs, the more name recognition, the more votes. Translation: Money equals votes.”
And if he does get elected, he won’t use the position to springboard to higher office or seek another term.
With Cleave’s announcement and Tyler Shymkiw’s withdrawal from the mayoralty race, the number of candidates aiming for that spot is now five, with incumbent Ernie Daykin, Coun. Mike Morden, Nicole Read and Graham Mowatt.
Meanwhile, another candidate for Maple Ridge council has dropped out.
Karl Lundgren, a Pitt Meadows resident who works in Port Coquitlam as a travel agent, is no longer running because of an illness in his family.
“There are many strong and passionate candidates who have come forward running for council in this fall’s elections and I’m far more optimistic today for our community’s future than I was a month ago when I announced my candidacy.
“I share views with many of the candidates and I encourage everyone to support as many new candidates as possible. We need new blood on council and there’s never been a better opportunity than now,” Lundgren said.