The power in your hand

Trudging through the rain to a nearby school on I’ve-had-a-tough-week Saturday doesn’t sound appealing, but this Saturday is different

Trudging through the rain to a nearby school, community centre or church on I’ve-had-a-tough-week-at-work-and-need-a-day-in-front-of-the-TV Saturday doesn’t sound particularly appealing, but this Saturday is different.

With municipal elections historically commanding despairingly low voter turnouts, your tick-in-the-box actually pays huge dividends in deciding who gets elected. In the West, we are constantly complaining that when it comes to federal politics, the election is over before our polls even close. But in municipal politics it’s down to us and our neighbours — and chances are good your neighbour isn’t going to bother voting.

Now, I won’t name names (unless they get elected), but from my own research into the candidates for Victoria, it strikes me that while there are several positive choices to guide our city through the next economically-challenging cycle, there are also some candidates with personal agendas that may sound good on paper, but will prove a hindrance to the basic needs of the many. Running a city is no easy task; there are many picky little details that affect every one of us outside of the headline-grabbing big decisions. And while it may be easy for us to pick one or two things that really stick in our collective craw and that we think could be done better, we need to elect a mixed body that will look out for the best interests of all Victorians.

That’s why I’ve never liked political slates. In Victoria, we have the Open Victoria slate and the Dean Team. Thankfully, neither appears to be overtly party driven, but rather a collection of like-minded individuals. In other words, if you like what mayoral candidate Paul Brown has to say, then you may also appreciate the council candidates on the Open Victoria slate; if you prefer current mayor Dean Fortin’s style, then the Dean Team may be worth looking at.

However, I would never vote for a complete slate of candidates if that gave them a majority of the council vote. That’s why I prefer voting on individual merit. Victoria is a diverse city with diverse needs. As individual taxpayers, we won’t always agree on what is the best way to spend those dollars, but we hope that our elected representatives can come to an agreeable and fair consensus that the majority of us can live with. The first step in being heard is to vote. M

Mighty movember

As the lone male on Monday’s editorial team, I’ve donated a wee patch of my cheeky facial billboard to grow whiskers in the name of prostate cancer awareness. For someone who used to always sport a beard and the mightiest mullet north of Tennessee, it’s actually been awhile since I last saw my hairy upper lip so the amount of salt amidst the ginger will be as much a surprise to me as anyone. To help support the cause and convince me to run the ’stache pic at the top of this column next week, visit mobro.co/GrantMcKenzieMonday to donate.

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