Coquitlam mayor responds to challenger's criticism
Re. "Gloves off early in Coquitlam mayoral race" (The Tri-City News, Sept. 9).
Though reluctant to do so, I've been encouraged by several council colleagues and by family to correct a misleading and offensive statement by Coun. Barrie Lynch.
In his opening bid in his run for mayor, Coun. Lynch criticized what he calls my "reluctance or perhaps inability" to chair meetings. On this point, he is referring to the fact that I have a chronic back injury from a 2003 car accident, a disability that makes it difficult for me to sit for long periods.
As a result, for closed meetings of council, I occasionally defer to that month's acting mayor, asking him or her to chair part of the meeting; this is to ensure my back makes it through a 12- or 14-hour day of back-to-back meetings. I do chair most meetings of council, including all public council meetings.
The rest of council accepts my disability, and I appreciate their willingness to accommodate that one limitation.
I welcome the democratic process and look forward to reasoned debate over the issues. But I urge Coun. Lynch to focus on those issues and where he stands, rather than on how long I can sit.
Richard Stewart, Mayor, City of Coquitlam