In 2013, a prominent law firm from Vancouver Island sent a scary letter to senior Elvena Slump (along with several other local residents), demanding she stop writing letters to the editor critical of staff and council.

Elvena didn’t take it lightly, she called a press conference on the steps of City Hall. A series of public protests followed and the city later dropped any further action.

Through freedom of information, the Penticton Herald attempted for more than a year to find out what the cost was to the taxpayer for this action. The City refused to disclose the information and the commission in charge of FOIP requests denied the request because there was a possibility “the casecould be ongoing.”

After all these years, I found out what the fee was to a Victoria law firm — $10,000. And that was for Elvena Slump alone. We’re uncertain what costs were for the two or three other citizens who received scary letters. Information was provided by a reliable source, who requested anonymity.

And some children in Penticton go to sleep hungry each night.

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If anyone in the Crown’s office happens to be reading this, why are you dragging your feet on the missing money from the Downtown Penticton Association? Justice delayed is justice denied.

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Out of the blue this week, I received a text from an old friend who I hadn’t spoken with in probably 25 years. (I kept in fairly regular contact with his parents.) He was visiting from the East and was passing through Kelowna on his way to Banff with his family (who I had never met.) They were blown away by the Okanagan’s beauty. We had a nice two-hour visit on the rooftop of the Craft Beer Market.

It was absolutely wonderful, catching up on names from the past and seeing the success he’s enjoyed. Amazingly, this was done without Facebook, just his father passing my phone number on to him.

If you want to give someone a wonderful gift, look up and surprise an old friend. It’s a wonderful feeling.

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My wife, Milo and I enjoyed participating in last weekend’s Kelowna Pride celebrations. It was also great that, as far as I could see, there were no idiots along the parade route with protest signs or heckling the participants. That’s positive to see. My only disappointment — there was no “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga.

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As someone who has organized all-candidates forums for the past decade, we always run into a hurdle with city councils because there’s often 20 or more candidates, thus meaning everyone gets a grand total of three or four minutes on the microphone. I hate to ask people to come out on multiple nights, but the Democrats have figured it out — hold the debate over two nights.

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A big part of the St. Louis Blues winning the Stanley Cup this year was their victory song — “Gloria” by Laura Branigan, played after every home victory. It almost makes me want to become a Blues’ fan. Laura, sadly, died in 2004 at the age of 52. The cause of death was an undiagnosed brain aneurysm.

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Happy Canada Day, everybody!

James Miller is valley editor and director of content for Okanagan Newspaper Group. To contact the writer: