Bernie Brown is running for Nelson mayor against incumbent Deb Kozak and former mayor John Dooley. Photo: Tyler Harper

Bernie Brown is running for Nelson mayor against incumbent Deb Kozak and former mayor John Dooley. Photo: Tyler Harper

Bernie Brown campaigning to be Nelson’s mayor

Brown says affordable housing, mental health and food security are her priorities

Bernie Brown is best known in Nelson as Bubbles the Clown, but she insists her mayoral campaign is no joke.

Brown is the third candidate for the top job, which is also being contested by incumbent Deb Kozak and former mayor John Dooley ahead of the Oct. 20 municipal election.

“They have both had their chance at being a mayor, and I personally don’t like the direction the city is being led into,” she says.

Brown was a surprise addition to the ballot when the final list of candidates was released following the Sept. 14 application deadline.

She said she felt compelled to run in part because of her disapproval of Kozak and Dooley’s leadership but also because of the overwhelming response she received to a letter she published about mental health in the Star’s Sept. 6 issue.

“I took the opportunity of this celebrity or focus on the letter and my clowning to help and maybe affect change for people who don’t have a voice often.”

Brown said mental health, affordable housing and food security are her campaign’s priorities.

She criticized the city’s deal with Kootenay Co-Op that stipulated three non-market housing units at Nelson Commons be sold at 75 per cent of market value as insufficient.

Brown said she’s still forming her own ideas to address the city’s lack of affordable housing.

“I don’t have a lot of answers at this time,” she said. “I believe in our council that is already in place, that’s why I’m running for mayor. There are things that need to be changed and I always believe that there’s solutions for every problem. I don’t have the answers but I do trust council and I wish to work with council and guide the direction that the city is going toward.”

Brown said she has experience working with non-profits such as the Nelson Food Cupboard and as a mental health peer counsellor.

She referred to herself as a community activist for cannabis decriminalization, but admitted she did not know about the city’s recreational cannabis bylaws that have been set ahead of the Oct. 17 federal legalization.

She said she sees potential for more economic opportunities in Nelson for local artists.

“I know several amazing artists in this town who people don’t even recognize as artists because they recycle garbage and turn it into art. If we had an open gallery we could display our local art, we could help bring those people income.”

Brown had primarily played the part of Bubbles the Clown for 21 years in Nelson, but wrist problems and the passing of her dog recently made her opt toward hanging up her blue wig and balloon animals. She plans on panhandling to finance her campaign.

“It’s just time for a change and I think if we stay in place for too long we stagnate.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kalesnikoff Lumber will be providing materials for a 21-storey apartment building in Vancouver. Rendering: Henriquez Partners Architects
Kalesnikoff supplying mass timber for several major projects

The West Kootenay lumber company will be making the products at South Slocan facility

Dr. Christine Perkins is the new superintendent of schools for the Vernon School District, effective Aug. 1. Perkins moves to the North Okanagan from the Kootenay Lake School District in Nelson. Photo: Vernon School District
School District 8 superintendent Christine Perkins resigns

Perkins is leaving to take over another district

The 300 block Victoria Street is the site of Nelson’s proposed transit exchange. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
LETTER: Nelson City Council, please reconsider transit hub plan

From seven property and business owners near the intersection of Victoria and Kootenay Streets

Selkirk College has received provincial funding to assist students. File photo
Selkirk College receives funding to assist students

Provincial funding is available to West Kootenay students

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Tenants disappear in the night leaving Okanagan home trashed with junk, feces

Spallumcheen rental rooms filled with junk, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to register people ages 40+ for COVID-19 vaccines in April

Appointments are currently being booked for people ages 66 and up

Interior Health improves access to mental health supports amid COVID-19 pandemic. (Stock)
Interior Health connects people to mental health resources amid COVID

310-MHSU line receives positive feedback in early months of rollout

Most Read