by Walt Humphries
There are only three sleeps left until election day.
Can you feel the excitement, the anticipation and the tension in the air?
For all those who put their names forward, whether they win or not, it will have been a learning experience and hopefully they will be better prepared, if they ever decide to run again. The public owes you a big thanks for trying because it wouldn’t be an election without choices.
If you win, the real work begins and if you didn’t win, take heart you tried and that is far more then most people are willing to do.
Now, it’s time for some random thoughts designed to help you drift off to sleep.
I think that everyone who runs for office at the municipal election should have to prove that they have sat through an entire council meeting and a committee meeting, so that they have some idea of just what the mayor and city council actually do. The meetings tend to be long and arduous and things often move at a snail’s pace. That is a big part of their job, sitting through meetings and waiting for bylaws and recommendations to work their way through the system.
The mayor or a city councillor is only one voice and one vote among nine. So unless a counselor or mayor can convince, the majority of the others, to go along with their ideas they aren’t going to get much accomplished. Turning their campaign promises into realities is a long and laborious proposition, particularly if others aren’t keen on the ideas initially. Also, some ideas may sound good until you realize how much they would cost.
I am a big fan of listing the pros and cons because in physics every action has an equal and opposite reaction and can often have some unexpected consequences no one thought about at the time. By thinking them out you can try to accentuate the positive and mitigate the negative.
Every election someone makes the same observation. Very soon after the election is over, city council has to go through the budget. This is arguably one of the most important things council does every year because it affects the services the public gets, taxes and user fees. I don’t think this is fair to those who are new to the job or to the budget. Personally, I think we should have the elections in August or early September, while the weather is still nice, and to give the newly elected, a chance to get up to speed before they tackle the budget.
I for one don’t like the layout of the city council chambers and having to go there to make a presentation is a rather daunting and time-consuming task. I think that the mayor and city council should have a public meeting at a more open and hospitable location from time to time. That way, people from can go to ask questions or to present their point of view directly to our elected officials. This is something all levels of government should consider because democracy also involves the participation of the public.
Something that bothers me during some elections is that if two, three or four councillors run for mayor one wins and the others are out of council entirely. We lose good and experienced people this way. Why isn’t there a way for candidates to run for both mayor and council at the same time and then if they lose the mayoral race, they can still serve as a councillor if they get enough votes for that position?
This election we are being asked to vote on whether those elected should serve a three-year or four-year term and yet this change hasn’t really been raised by the candidates. People are being asked to vote on something with little to no information. What are the pros and cons and what are the costs involved. The city doesn’t seem to do a very good job of explaining things to the public and all the costs involved before asking people to vote on them.
I hope that we have a good voter turnout this year. It is part of your civic duty to vote. The candidates have worked hard, so getting out to vote is one way you can show your appreciation. You can also thank those who ran for running, whether they win or not.
Sweet dreams all.