Before I get into the heart of this post I want to say I am a fan of The Now Newspaper and everything they do here in Surrey. They have covered my charitable efforts and I am forever grateful. I have dealt directly with Amy Reid and Tom Zillich and they are wonderful people who care about this city.
The Now Newspaper is edited by Beau Simpson, you may remember him from his unsuccessful bid for Surrey City Council in 2014 as a part of Doug McCallum’s Safe Surrey slate. During the campaign I asked Beau if he would return to the Now as editor should he fail to be elected. His said no. Here’s our Twitter conversation from November 2, 2014.
I know what Beau is going to say. He’s going to claim he misread my question. I say BS. Having a local paper with an editor who was recently defeated in a civic election makes me uncomfortable, and you should be too. As editor Beau sets the tone at the Now. He’s in charge. Today I asked Beau if he was back as editor and he said yes, he was. I mentioned to him that this conflicted with what he said during the campaign and this was his response.
Will Beau Simpson subtly steer the Now towards stories that highlight Surrey’s crime problem? Will Beau run in the next civic election? Judging from a recent tweet it seems like he’s already campaigning.
Beau Simpson puts the Now in an awful position. I can’t say I’m surprised based on Safe Surrey’s election tactics, I just hope he knows he’s affecting the public’s perception of everyone writing about politics for his paper.
Apparently their’s someone impersonating Doug McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition on Twitter and YouTube. I’m not buying it. There are 2 Twitter accounts called “Safe Surrey”. The official one is @Safe_Surrey and the alleged imposter is @safesurrey. The alleged imposter is quite active on Twitter, has 1100 more followers than the “real” Safe Surrey account, they quite aggressively show crime and homelessness on their feed, and according to CTV they’ve had the Twitter name @safesurrey for far longer than the “official” one has existed. The other account is pretty bland as you’d expect a political social media account to be. Safe Surrey’s campaign is based around crime and fear, coincidence? Here’s a video the “fake” Safe Surrey released that made it all the way to this evenings 6 o’clock news on CTV Vancouver.
Someone put A LOT of time and effort into this video, it’s actually better than most other candidates videos as far as production goes. Why would an imposter go to this kind of trouble? Simple, they’re not an imposter. Doug McCallum and his merry band of fear mongers at Safe Surrey want you to be afraid of Surrey. They want you to vote for them based on their tough talk on crime and homelessness. This video puts real pictures of Surrey’s darkest places out into the public. If you live in Surrey you’ve seen these places. McCallum can only benefit from this publicity. It gets his message out while simultaneously making him look like the victim.
The media has jumped on this and it has McCallum’s name front an centre saying Safe Surrey didn’t release the video. Here’s a story from CBC Vancouver. Here’s another from The Huffington Post. There’s also this little gem of a website that popped up out of nowhere showing subliminal messages in the YouTube video. Someone wants you to feel sorry for McCallum while you cower in your home afraid to go where “no god fearing man would dare to step”. That’s a pretty awful way to scrounge up votes.
The only thing that makes me question my theory? I’m not sure McCallum or anyone in his camp are intelligent enough to pull this off. From what I’ve seen over the past few weeks I wonder how their shoes get tied every morning. Either way it’s another twist in an already bizarre civic election.