Quick.....how many City Councillors in your city can you name off the top of your head......
Sadly I think very few of us know our City councillors or school trustees. And yet these are the politicians closest to us, who make decisions on a local scale that can be very impactful and yet we so often ignore them until they do something we dislike.
I ran for City council a few years ago (and will never do so again!). It was a very eye opening experience both about myself and about my community.
Sadly at the few All Candidates meetings that were held less than 50 citizens actually showed up (that were not related to the candidates). Sad and shocking and yet we are now into another municipal election season and I don't even know when the All Candidates meetings are and the chances of me going to one are slim (admittedly I do know most of the candidates quite well and understand their platforms but I should go out and ask some questions!).
What I learned about politics in the last election is that it is less about good people and good ideas and more about how much money you have to spend and how many people recognise your name (which is inextricably linked to the first point). You really are up against it if you don't have a big party machine and a big bank balance.
I shook hands with a candidate outside the grocery store today who has neither of these but who would be a voice for the poor and women, affordable housing and sustainable development at the table, who would have no problem asking the hard questions, who would demand fair process, equality and ethics. I told her I would vote for her but most people wouldn't even take her business card.
This is not a glamorous job folks, its a ton of work, alot of it on boring issues like sewers and setbacks and services. There are lots of demands on your time. You do get to be an important part of the development of your City, attend some important functions and events but noone is doing this for fame and fortune I assure you! These people, even if we disagree with their politics, are doing this because they want to make a positive difference in our City.
I am not going to tell you who to vote for (as people often ask me to) but rather I am going to share some links and ask you to do your own research, to think about your own issues and what you want your City and School District to be like.
And please, please go and vote on November 19, 2011.
Richmond Citizens Association (no web site)
List of all declared candidates