Politics is pretty high-level this month. Most of the major polls are busy taking bets on the provincial election or the HST referendum. Regular folks are reeling or celebrating, revelling in the strange glow of their federal election hangover. Nevertheless, some people are shifting their gaze a little closer to home. That’s right, there’s more to come. This is a municipal election year; Nov. 19 may be a ways off, but we’re getting an early start.
Community activist Lisa Helps recently announced that she will run for Victoria City Council. Her meeting focused on what she called building community wealth. “A strong, resilient, interdependent local economy; well-being, connectedness, and security in community; a healthy environment we respect, use with love, and protect; and a city where citizens lead.”
Helps was the chair of the board at Fernwood NRG, the organization responsible for a number of Fernwood’s affordable housing units as well as the Cornerstone Cafe. She sat on the Advisory Committee for the city’s recent Official Community Plan review, and is currently the executive director of Community Micro Lending, a local non-profit, which provides small loans and mentoring to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, Paul Brown — a consultant for provincial and state governments — stepped up to announce that he will take a run for mayor. Brown’s speech focused on the city’s financial position, which he describes as “much worse than I could have ever imagined.”
Among other things, the early candidate cited the city’s mounting infrastructure deficit, the declining economic health of our downtown and Victoria’s struggling tourism industry. Despite having run for city council in last year’s by-election, Brown is admittedly new to the city’s political world.
“It’s true,” he says. “I am new to politics. Some would say that is an asset.”
This truly is an election year. With only one down and two or three more to go, I promise to ease into it. In the meantime, sit tight, strap on your voting gloves, and let democracy sink in. M