So, you want to rule the city
Silly season is almost upon us: the time when municipal politicians re-button their blazers and do their darnedest to convince us they all have their — I mean our — best interests at heart.
Luckily, some of them really seem to. But if you’re one of the dozens who know your voice is in fact most representative of your municipal region, fear not: there’s still time to rule the city yourself — part of it at least.
Anyone interested in running for the mayoral hot seat or city council is required to file nomination papers at city hall between Oct. 4 and 14. Then, come big Nov. 19, we’ll all find out which of the smiling faces we like best. For those who missed the newcomers information session last month, visit victoria.ca/election for all your inquiring needs.
And for those less comfortable with the limelight, you’ll play the starring role in this year’s election. Be prepared to be wowed with a few new offerings this year, like the entirely carbon-neutral campaign incumbent councillor Philippe Lucas is running.
Yes, signs and recycled paper use will still be involved, but Lucas will put funds towards buying carbon-offsets to, well, offset his carbon use during the campaign. He and campaign mates will also utilize bike and public transportation to fuel the ground work. “Campaigns are some of the most energy-intensive events we can be a part of, and finding a way to show Victorians that your actions illustrate your message should be an important part of any campaign,” he says.
Other points of interest include the first slate Victoria has seen running in years. Mayoral candidate Paul Brown will lead the band, with a set of three little-known business owners and environmental advocates aiming for council seats.
Infamous runners will also be popping up again, like homeless advocate Rose Henry and former mayoral hopeful Ben Issit — both setting their sights on council this time.
Stay tuned Oct. 14 to catch the final list. While you’re waiting, learn all about the candidates running so far at VictoriaVotes.ca.
And the first order of biz is
Future Victoria leaders may have their hands full in the coming months, as lead Right To Sleep advocate David Arthur Johnson is back in the hammock again, this time challenging the city’s time-constraint bylaw on just when people are allowed to sleep in parks.
The current bylaw, which attests that anyone may set up shelter in park spaces between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., has some obvious limitations. What, for example, do people do if they work nights and have to sleep in the day? What if they are terribly sick? What if it’s too cold to be outside? Johnson used even more ammunition in his court meeting with the city a few weeks ago, asking that the time restrictions be removed all together.
“Success on my part will be wholly grand, fantastic and extraordinarily interesting, with the bylaw being struck and the City saddled with their only ‘out’ being the inception of public tenting zones, along with a measured and rare compensation for the effort of bringing this matter to court,” says Johnson. “A ‘loss’ being an end to this mortal coil, and the subsequent soap-opera.”
“The city did attend the hearing and made its case, and now we just have to wait to see what the court decides,” says city rep Katie Josephson.
Justices traditionally reserve their ruling, meaning it could be weeks or months before any of us hear the results. Whether it’s in time for winter tenters or not, you can bet the up-and-coming municipal politicians will have their hands full with the results.
Now that’s poetic to the ear
Relatively exciting news from the city this week, confirming that the qualifications for poet laureate will be reviewed and updated next year.
All this thanks to, in part, the number of letters and petitions sent in from those who’d like to see future poetic heads be eligible on the basis of multimedia publication, including spoken word, instead of the traditional two-published-poems requirement.
Equally exciting were the words current poet laureate Linda Rogers had with other engaged poets on Monday’s website comments. Forsooth!
Forest brews, mighty tasty
More good news for our friends at the Ancient Forest Alliance, who just won Phillips Beer’s “Benefit Brew” competition.
The vote — which was decided entirely online by beer fans alike — overwhelmingly declared the AFA winner, with “Ancient Brown Ale” microbrew beer to be released next month into select private liquor stores. Full proceeds (about $10,000) go to the AFA.
“This is huge for us, as we run on a budget of about $40,000 a year,” says AFA’s Ken Wu, who adds he is a beer fan. As for his fav Phillips until now? “I buy the mix-packs, and drink them all,” he says. M