News views: Election protocol (NEWS Wednesday, October 19, 2005) Michael Hall's scolding of Maple Ridge's political warlords and their foot soldiers is commendable in that it demonstrates journalistic and editorial maturity and elevates him above some of his predecessors.
As November 19 looms the criteria by which candidates are chosen should include the maturity factor. This would reduce significantly the number of incumbents and challengers, making it simple for voters to make mature choices. Maturity as demonstrated by the young Michael Hall is not exclusively determined by age. So voting for older statesmen or women candidates will not guarantee mature decision-making from our next council.
It is years since I voted in an election based on the candidates stated views on a particular issue. This is because a candidate's ability to make good on what he or she promises is severely limited by what others may want council member or mayor to do once they are in office; and more often than not a candidate's well-meant intentions become pipedreams once nature and fate show up during the 3-year tenure. Words, effective tools that they are, can be misleading during an election campaign.
Words can also be impressive; after all that is one of the roles of language, to impress [usually upon others]. Yet, impressive as they are, they are no match for action. What a person does for a living may therefore be a more reliable indication of what one can expect from candidates once elected, rather than what they are prepared to say in order to impress voters of their competency through the use of the spoken or written word. There are more novel ways to select a hopeful citizen to high office.
Looks can be a fun way to vote, but really cruel for the candidates who don't make it. Furthermore there is every chance that the candidates who do make it will have even greater difficulty fitting their Sunday bonnets over their heads if they know they have been elected on physical appeal alone. Voting by weight could be fun.
We could hold the election much in the same way they used to hold public hangings. The electorate could gather in the town square for a weigh-in. Would we vote for the heaviest or the lightest candidates? I'll need to think that one through. Would there be a men's division and a women's division? Not much point really; men and women have always been divided.
The distressing issue for voters is that they are desperate to vote for something that either smacks of novelty or flat-out compliments their own backyard. The alternative is to vote for the usual tired old list of issues or at the very least vote against issues that may disrupt their backyard. It seems that the only reliable science a voter can apply is to study what the candidates do for a living and go from there.
Peter Barnes: Security guard; former senior correctional officer. He will protect us we presume.
Simon Challenger: Water distribution system operator. He will insure we do not go short of fresh, clean water, no dirty aquifers up at Thornhill, or muddy waters flowing into our creeks off worksites in Silver Valley.
Mike Davies: Emergency co-ordinator. He will be good when the BIG ONE does finally hit, or when the Albion Flats disappear under the Fraser River.
Ernie Daykin: Building administrator. Administrators always come in handy when it comes to advising other administrators.
Tyler Ducharme: Program co-ordinator. From time to time the Administrators need to be coordinated (or would that be co-ordinated?) with emergency services and water distribution operators (if in doubt take a look at the Hurricane Katrina debacle).
Judy Dueck: Occupational health/safety consultant. Being elected to council or mayor may result in the need for consultation with an occupational health and safety consultant.
Candace Gordon: Community kitchen coordinator (note the omission of the hyphen in co-ordinator whereas other candidates choose the hyphen. Grammatist voters will be on the look out for discrepancies such as this). We will always be assured of food if we re-elect (is that reelect?) the community kitchen councilor.
Jon Harris: Notary public (could he be a public notary perhaps? - the NEWS has him as 'notary public'.) This notably public public notary will see to it that no further illegal documents are signed up at the hall.
Al Hogarth: Realtor. No point in building them if can't sell them.
Faye Isaac: Safeway Cashier/Customer Service. More food for thought. More thought. Better customer service for the community.
Linda King: Teacher/counselor. Nice to see at least one counselor running. Someone who listens then counsels.
Joe McCamley: Electrical contractor and former assistant to MLA Bill Hartley. Please sir, can we have electricity in Maple Ridge. The kind that we use to light up the streets with proper lighting that prevents the elderly from getting killed at pedestrian crossings, and cars and motorbikes from crashing all over the half-lit streets (stolen or legitimately driven). Not too bright though, we don't want to wake up the homeless, snugly tucked up on our neglected inner city lots.
Graham Mowatt: Albion ferry captain; president, Conservative electoral district association. Finally we have a candidate who understands essential transport, in a conservative sort of way.
Dan Olson: Travel consultant. Finally, we have a candidate who understands fun transport.
Robert Prince: Publisher. Communicators are what some people would call an "essential service" when it comes to being a councilor.
Jaques Richard: Internet marketing; former policeman and underwriter. He will help put Maple Ridge on the map with his marketing skills while protecting us from the drug lords of Maple Ridge and just to be safe will underwrite all our homes and belongings - multi-tasking is an important skill for any candidate.
Chum Richardson: Retired; director Fraser Information Society. Information is the cornerstone of all civic management.
Lorne Riding: Property manager, semi-retired. The District of Maple Ridge has a lot of property to manage and needs all the help it can get in this department.
Mike Sands: Registered nurse, Riverview Hospital. This candidate has skills which have always been lacking on council. If elected he should consider running for mayor next time around as he is uniquely qualified to manage council.
Craig Speirs: B.C Liquor Distribution Branch employee. Another distributor of liquid; clearly Canadian, this candidate may form a coalition with the Water distribution system operator and dilute the opposition.
Ken Stewart: 'Occupation' in the NEWS is noted, rather oddly we thought as, 'former Maple Ridge MLA, councilor. Elder statesman? Getting-on-with-his-career statesman? Perhaps just statesman?
Incumbent mayors and challengers come with a different set of rules, driven as it were by the desire to lead.
Who shall lead Maple Ridge for the next 3 years? The 'who' becomes really, really important when one considers the '3 years' part of the equation. Yup, 3 years, so think carefully about these leaders before making that mark.
Kathy Morse: Auntypreneur. Bill Hartley: Entrepreneur artiste. Gordon Robson: Entrepreneur extraordinaire. William Perry: Entrepreneur extreme.