Nothing – and I mean Absolutely Nothing – makes me happier to be a member of The Retired Municipal Politicians’ Club than election time.
The knocked-over signs, other campaigns’ cranky supporters, vicious and unfounded rumour mongering, brutally nasty Facebook posts, hours of policy thought and work distilled into maybe one line in the local rag, never-ending roller coaster of emotions, and the utter lack of poll information.
It all still triggers my PESD (Post Election Stress Disorder).
Running for office isn’t fun. Neither is sifting through these candidate lists and voting – but at least that’s over in a few minutes. For those campaigning, it’s been months of agony.
So, some free advice from this old retired councillor – first to voters, and then to candidates.
Voters: please elect some balance on your councils. A mix of experience and new ideas. Some folks who are good at diplomatically advancing ideas and others who are more aggressive. People from different neighbourhoods and generations.
Make sure there are small business people on your council ballot – people who have navigated the red tape and extra costs city halls impose on them. Reward community involvement: it’s hard to go wrong electing someone who has volunteered countless hours to your city’s important causes.
Candidates: hang in there, you’re almost done. Work hard so you can go to sleep on election eve, knowing that you did everything you could. Be gracious in both victory and defeat – congratulate one another, and suggest connecting for coffee a few months down the road to ty and find common ground on issues.
And, finally, allow me to mimic the immortal Jane and Michael Banks, whose song managed to recruit a certain beloved English nanny to their home:
If you want this choice position
Have a steely disposition
Clean record, no warts!
No crimes, any sort
You must be bright, you must be witty
To have the chance to rep our city
Control our taxes, no small feat
Hire cops, safe streets
Never be bought or ever fooled
Never too much density – not cool!
Treat our sewage, take our garbage
Bring us water, build lovely gardens
If you won't gouge and dominate us
We will never give you a cause to hate us
We won't stack public hearings
So you can't breathe
Blame you for our needs
Or put lies in your feeds
Good luck, Candidate!
Jordan Bateman has a long history of public policy work, championing small business and fiscal responsibility. Currently the Director of Communications for the Independent Contractors and Business Association (ICBA), Jordan also served six years as the B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, and was a two-term Langley Township Councillor.