October 14, 2013
They're back. To the right. To the left. Behind. In front. Yes, election signs with names we know, names we have never heard of, scatter the landscape, signaling it's civic and school board election time.
As citizens, our job is just beginning. First, find out our ward so we know which councillor and trustee represents us. It would be so easy to put our mark by a name we vaguely remember. But given the tenor of the times, that just does not wash. Edmonton is facing the usual bittersweet mixed bag of blessings and blight that hit a boom town.
Now is the time to discover the truth. Why is that person running? What does their campaign literature say? Do they tackle the situations that impact you? Potholes. They are dangerous, tire destroying. Snow removal. That treacherous snow spurs car accidents, folks fall on icy sidewalks ending up in crowded emergency rooms.
Inner city infrastructure crumbles, food banks are over drawn, sprawling suburbs gobble up farmland.
Schools, facing the onslaught of students due to their parents' flooding into the city in search of jobs, increase classroom size, spill over into portables. While we tout our green valley, what will happen to the city centre airport land? The Exeter University Medical School found people have less mental stress and higher life satisfaction when living in greener areas. Which mayoralty candidate, councillors want this?
Now take a drive through the "have not" areas of the various wards. Some down-at-the eaves areas are larger than other. But they are there. Now look for election signs. Most of these lawns are bare even when residents call a candidate and ask for a sign. What does this say? Will the new mayor, councillor, school trustee forget about the interests of those who struggle? Do they care?
This is when one must wonder about just what these people running for office want. What is their agenda? Is municipal politics just a step to provincial, maybe even federal, politics?
Asking about their faith is a fair question. It is our business and it speaks to the candidates' moral fabric.
Once these questions are answered, we just might find that we have what we all want, a committed individual who wants to serve his or her community. If you can, help them get elected. Talk to the people dwelling in the shabbier homes. Find out their concerns. Share with your candidate.
Too often the old saw comes true – we get the leaders we deserve. Then there is the other easy out, saying one's individual vote does not count. Oh yes it does. You know if you have voted.
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