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Political jousting match may end The political arena can often be vicious and mean, but a squabble currently underway between Whistler Mayor Ted Nebbeling and Independent MLA David Mitchell is getting out of hand. In separate interviews this week, both Nebbeling and Mitchell admitted to fueling the flames of mudslinging, often spurred by an overzealous media. Nebbeling says he caught Mitchell off guard when he called him to task for misusing MLA mailing privileges to promote his role as guest host on a Lower Mainland radio station. Mitchell says Nebbeling is using his mayoralty as a soapbox to campaign as the Liberal candidate for the West Vancouver-Garibaldi riding - a job now held by Mitchell. "I'm not mudslinging, I'm simply pointing out a wrong and expecting the sitting member to deal with it in the proper way," Nebbeling says. "He got caught with his pants down and rather than just say 'Oops,' and pull them up, he's made the whole thing into an issue." Who's right? Who knows. Mitchell now says if Nebbeling wants to continue fighting on the provincial level, he should step down as mayor of Whistler because he is cutting ties between Whistler residents and their elected provincial representative. And it goes on and on. "During my first two years as MLA for West Vancouver-Garibaldi I had a favourable relationship with Mayor Nebbeling," Mitchell says. "Ever since he has decided to play a provincial role that relationship has deteriorated markedly." Mitchell says if Nebbeling is interested in provincial affairs, policy and constructive debate should be his goal. "I think it would be in the best interest of everyone involved if we deal with politics and policy. Unfortunately I think there is going to be more sniping and mudslinging," Mitchell says. Nebbeling, already a veteran in provincial politics after his years as a municipal councillor and mayor in Whistler, rarely has had to deal directly with the local MLA anyway. With a vast political acumen, he is able to dial directly to the offices of many NDP and Liberal cabinet members in Victoria. "There have been many municipal politicians seeking seats in Victoria while serving their municipalities," Nebbeling says of Mitchell's request for him to step down. "My relationship with the government is very good."

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