Thursday, August 24, 2006

Burlington Election #1

November 13th. Municipal election day.

Burlington’s is guaranteed to be the most interesting race since 1997 when two-term “alderman” Rob MacIsaac defeated colleagues Barry Quinn and Denis Lee and captured the Burlington Mayor’s chair.

Local voters don’t engage unless there is a contest for mayor. There will be a good one this year.

The Candidates

Fifteen-year Council veteran Joan Lougheed is in.

Rick Burgess, lawyer and past Chamber of Commerce President, is running.

Cam Jackson, Burlington MPP forever (twenty-two years), isn’t “official” yet. He’ll announce his candidacy in late September.

There are others. (See the city’s website

Ward races for six Council seats will interest voters owing to the competitive mayor’s race.

We’re number one but we need to try harder

Voters yawned when the top job was uncontested in 2003. More than eighty-five percent stayed home - top in the GTA. Call me naïve but I’ll contend that good public dialogue on issues will raise interest and boost turnout?

Issues that Count

1. Our Environment

Local government matters on this file. Hands up, though, if you remember an election campaign when our environment was an important consideration?

2. Intensification

Cities must intensify (i.e., build in previously developed areas) to make better use of urban space. Some citizens don’t agree. They won’t be silent.

3. Waste Management

Regional issues typically fly below the radar. Halton’s plan to consider building an energy-from-waste facility should get airtime. (More at Click on energy from waste.)

4. Gridlock

Suburban car cultured citizens are grouchier as that quick trip to the mall gets longer and longer.

Phoney Issues

1. High Taxes

Ever heard a candidate say taxes are too low? Fact is, we are now awaking to the serious harm perpetrated on us by those 90’s tax cut loonies. The issue now: what can be done to repair the damage?

2. Parking

Drivers become hot under the hood when unable to locate a parking spot. Worse, if you can imagine, they may actually have to pay. Councillors learned this hard lesson recently when they raised downtown rates to a whopping 50 cents per hour.

3.I’ve lived here for...

Not an issue really but local candidate’s bonafides inevitably include the length of their residency in the community.

Understanding the community, knowing the issues, and having a plan to act matter more.

Two or three postings per week will amplify the above.

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