Saturday, October 15, 2005

Ghost Busters 2005

Kathy Morse (incumbent), Bill Hartley, Gordon Robson, William Perry
Candace Gordon, Craig Speirs, Jon Harris, Ernie Daykin, Judy Dueck, Faye Isaac.
Peter Barnes, Simon Challenger, Mike Davies, Tyler Ducharme, Linda King, Joe McCamley, Graham Mowatt, Dan Olson, Robert Prince, Lorne Riding, Mike Sands, Ken Stewart.

The only thing that is certain in the Maple Ridge 2005 local elections is that all of the incumbents and all of the challengers are very nice people; in Simon Challenger's case of course, he is not only nice and a challenger, but he is as it were, a challenger twice over. The other thing, and this is why we have politicians, is that all of the issues, while timeless, are not all very nice.

Some issues are downright ugly. With Haloween preceding the elections by just a few weeks it is tempting to compare the issues with the ghouls and ghosts that haunt the imagination of all our citizens. Why not expand this concept by adding the notion that the candidates for mayor's job and the hopefuls in the race for council bring to the chambers, those spooky chambers up at Haney Place, special ogre, ghoul and ghost busting skills. Skills that will help to rid the town of Maple Ridge from the unspeakable horrors that threaten the civility of life in a modern (to some degree) mid-sized Canadian extension of Transyl-Vancouvia.

Topping my personal list of course is the Vinyl Monster. Slayers of the Vinyl Monster monster are lining up to be elected: Craig Speirs, Candace Gordon, Linda King will line behind Bill Hartley to slow the progress (not everyone would use the word 'progress')of the Vinyl Monster as it slashes its way eastward. A door in the downtown district proclaims in dull-coloured graffiti the words of a homeless prophet 'Onwards and Downwards.' Wish I'd thought of that.

Street-gossip gleaned from those 'in the know' suggests that Morse, Harrison, Dueck, and Daykin see the Vinyl Monster as no monster at all, but rather a saviour or at the very least a sort of Dr. Evil, who will add funds to a treasury that seems to demand, like that plant in the Rocky Horror Show, ' feed me!' Feed me with tax dollars.
Faye Isaac rings up another parking spot, smiles, thanks everyone much to everyone's dismay, and we move to the next item on the agenda.

The Drug Demons. Who shall slay them? Self-styled meth-master Gordon Robson is on the case; and a good thing too. While he is at it I wonder if he will rid Maple Ridge of its famed crop of grow ops? 'Come to Maple Ridge and watch your children grow op' - just another piece of graffiti to be found in the hood.

Wonder what William Perry's stance is on drugs?

Job-junky Joe McCamley has taken up the often-heard call for 'more jobs near to home.' Where will we house these jobs if we are not prepared to give up a little of our Green Giant?

The BIG BOX BOGEY MAN stalks the neighbourhoods too. A forensic team from the ever-present GVRD has been studying footprints left by the BIG BOX BUGGER in the silt along the banks of Kanaka Creek. Seems the beast, in the shape of FirstPro Chairman Michael Gold(b)ar swam up the Fraser River from the FirstPro head office in Richmond and crept up on the Albion Flats bearing gifts for landowners, they say. Someone found a note in the reeds which read 'is Maple Ridge open for business?' If by business he meant the kind that the Vinyl Monster indulges in, then the answer would be 'yes.' All depends on who is asking the question; and, of course, on who is answering the question.

Then happily, we have Casper the Friendly Ghost, he just wants everyone to be happy, happy, happy, happy. Plenty of green trees, plenty of undisturbed agricutural land and natural habit, a smile on every fish's face, a grin on every Grizzly's growl, the chirping of birds rather than the chipping of trees, clear water rather than the Starbucks-coloured stuff that runs off Silver Valley's slopes these grim winter days. He does not want agriculture turned to agriclutter. Who, one wonders, will slay Casper? Perhaps the sly FirstPro ghostbusters will can Casper.
But FirstPro will need strong allies in powerful places in order for the BIG BOX BOGEYMAN to drive the friendly little ghost from the Albion Flats. Michael Goldbar [real name Goldhar] will have his henchmen parked on Thornhill, binoculars aimed at Maple Ridge hamlet, eagerly awaiting the outcome of what promises to be an inelegant race.

The forces of evil abound, migrating down every homeless alleyway, snoozing in the neglect of another absentee landlord's nestegg. A protege of Gotham City? Or a wunderkind spawned by West Vancouver? Dormitory or dive?
Vibrant, verdant and virile? Stagnant, stultified and sterile? Stupendous perhaps? Perhaps.

A town of 70,000 is not a small town. It is, simply put, a responsibility. The 'magnificent seven' as one commentator recently called them are really only temporary custodians of the Distirct. They know that, as do we all. Nonetheless, the decisions they make during their tenure can have lasting effects; and misguided decisions can be hard to reverse. Try undoing the Haney Bypass for instance. Or undoing the town core. There's a thought.

Once houses have filled the slopes of Thornhill all the way to Whonnock, Ruskin and Mission it will be hard to win back the land they once occupied. Hard to imagine isn't it. But not so hard for those who already have it on their drawing boards.

A healthy economy, a green boundary, secure streets, planned growth, social integrity, care for the aged, care for the young and (uniquely Canadian) care for the careless and the uncaring. Care even for the ghouls and ghosts, the demons and devils, the ogres and zombies, the fears and the threats that inhabit, from to time, the voters' minds. Just pretend you are in Iraq, or Zimbabawe, or North Korea, or Chetchnya, Kabul or Darfur when you go to the polls. In these place people vote for their lives, not simply a better life.