Monday, October 18, 2004

Cue the Boomtown Rats

It's a mighty depressing day here in Lethbridge, and not just because it's presently -4C, with a forecast of more of the same.

Here and all across Alberta, it's Municipal Election Day. Mayor, city council, school boards, and a smattering of VLT plebiscites. In Lethbridge, the only "interesting" race (and I use that term very loosely) is for City Council. Eight aldermanic positions, 26 candidates, and no wards - just one long ballot (our own version of an Incumbency Protection Act).

Naturally, it's tough for aldermanic candidates to stand out among 25 competitors. Or is it? I thumbed through the election preview pullout in the Lethbridge Herald (not online), where everyone got roughly 200 words to say their piece, and noted the following:
  • Number of candidates who mentioned the word "tax" in any form or respect: 15
  • Number who indicated, one way or another, that they aim to "keep taxes down": 3
  • Number who stated explicitly that taxes are too high, and should be reduced: 1
  • Of the 21 challengers, number who identified a single specific previous or proposed spending item as unnecessary or wasteful: ZERO
  • Of the 21 challengers, number who specifically outlined a way in which they would change or reverse any existing policy or program: 5*
*The phrase "pushing for more provincial and federal government funding", mentioned by six candidates, does not qualify a plan. This is lazy and ignorant. If you said this, I will not be voting for you.

Some more choice words from the candidates:

- One actually began her piece with this sentence: "I am an avid CBC listener and this has kept me informed of the political issues of the day." Damn, and I was actually going to vote for her. It's a doubly bizarre thing to say considering there is no local CBC affiliate here. Can we look forward to municipal resolutions opposing the Iraq war if you're elected?

- Another has a slogan, "A New Attitude". Fine, whatever, but if you're going to push that, you probably ought to identify at least one passably concrete thing you plan to do or support if elected. In the absence of that, your slogan, ma'am, is self-parodying.

- The pandering for seniors' votes is epic. Prime example: "My father instilled in me a great love for seniors..." - good grief.

I have no desire to run for city council, but if I did, I am absolutely positive I could get in the top 8 by a MILE, without misrepresenting myself in the slightest. I believe it's called "grazing where the grass is", and I'm stunned that none of the 26 candidates are doing it.

I'll be interested to see the results tonight, mostly because I have no earthly idea how my fellow residents distinguish between the candidates, and the results may provide some insight.


(Note: Updated, 750PM, to be nicer.)


At 11:41 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have one idea on how candidates are picked - and it relates to previous discussions.

In Edmonton's last municipal election, the candidate who spent the most money was elected in all but one case.

- jass


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