Can I say something slightly mean to those preparing to run in the October civic elections?
I don’t care about you. I don’t care who you are, where you came from, how long you’ve lived here, about your family or your kids or your pets.
Okay, that was harsh. I’m sure your kids and pets are great, and that your life has been interesting and full of challenges and lessons learned.
When I say I don’t care about that, I mean it’s very far from the most important thing about you as a candidate.
Here’s what I care about:
1) What do you want to accomplish in office?
2) How are you going to get it done?
Are you going to fill more potholes? Build a community centre? Widen roads? More/less density? Industrial development? Plant trees? Cut taxes? Protect farmland?
Tell me your goals, then lay out how we get there. Are you going to have to raise taxes? Are you going to spend less on something else to fund your priorities? Cut staff? Redraw planning maps?
When you’re asked question one, you should know the answer, right down to your marrow. Or why bother running?
And for the second question, if you don’t have a clear-eyed idea of the trade-offs that are inherent in every form of government, you’re not serious enough for the job.
I don’t care about your deep love for your community. I think it would be nice if more people ran because they really, really hate this town!
I mean, think about it, who has clearer ideas – someone who loves their community as it is, or someone who has a list of problems they want to attack head on?
At the national and provincial level, parties do a lot of the heavy lifting on policy. Individual candidates just have to be the face of decisions made by large party machines.
But at the civic level, each candidate is their own policy committee. It’s tough, but it’s a tough job, and no one’s making you do it.
So. What do you want, and how do we get there?