Sunday, October 14, 2007

Go Vote!

Monday is municipal Election Day and, after fewer than 1 in 5 Calgarians voted in the last municipal election, I’d encourage all my Calgary readers to take a few minutes from their time to cast a ballot. Hell, if you’re surfing blogs right now, you can’t use the “I’m too busy” excuse. Since the City decided against sending out “where do I vote” cards, if you’re looking for your voting station, you’ll need to click here.

While I could give a somewhat unbiased run down of the candidates, if the Herald’s not going to be impartial, I don’t see why a freaking blog should. What I can do is point you towards the Enlightened Savage who has an AMAZING recap of all the candidates for all the positions. Incredibly detailled - it's well worth the read. As for me, here’s why I’m voting for my guy.

I think the most important thing to do is to send a message. Calgary is, above all else, an establishment city. In the past 27 years, the incumbent mayor has won every time. It’s never even been close. The strongest challenge against an incumbent in that time was Ray Clark, who garnered 17% of the vote in 1998. I think Calgarians need to send a message in this election that the City is off track in some key areas.

The “roads, roads, and more roads” doctrine that swept Bronconnier into power twice has not worked. Traffic has worsened and Calgary Transit, despite high ridership numbers, has fallen behind where it should be. Public Transit only works if it’s accessible and enjoyable to ride. To make it accessible, we need to get the West and South-East LRT legs built. To make it enjoyable, we need to get four car trains running on existing routes, to ease congestion. Bronconnier’s proposal to expand the C-Train further north-east and north-west before building the south-east line or going to four car trains will just mean more overcrowding, turning more people off of the transit option. That's why Alnoor wants to get 4 car trains on the system and create new lines before expanding the existing, overcrowded ones.

Another key plank is transparency and accountability. Despite the howls Calgary raised towards the federal government on accountability issues, there are no rules right now at the municipal level. There is no ethics commissioner. There is no municipal auditor general. There are no campaign finance rules. Barry Erskine walked away from his job 4 days before the election and his entire war chest is his to keep. Bronconnier hasn’t ruled out using his sizeable war chest to run for MP or MLA. There’s also no real estate registry so there’s no way to know if elected officials are in conflict of interest on votes that can dramatically change property values.

The third issue that I personally feel strongly about is the secondary suite one. Right now, there are thousands of illegal secondary suites across Calgary because it’s illegal to rent out your basement in most parts of the city. Legalizing secondary suites would ensure the current suites are safe and would add thousands of units of rental space to the market.

Those are just the issues that grabbed me the most. Feel free to browse the full platform if taxes, the environment, or crime are the things that get you going.

I wouldn’t say that Bronconnier has been a bad Mayor. Far from it. But there is just so much potential in this city and it’s important to send a message that there needs to be a shift in some key areas. And the best way to send a message is by voting for Alnoor Kassam.

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  • I don't even think Alnoor wants to be Mayor, he is just looking for some notoriety.

    The guy is accused of millions in bank fraud.

    He is a good business man, and in this regard I have a lot of respect for the man, but he is naive in public affairs. He recognizes the problems Calgary is facing, especially with regards to the planning department, but his solution is uninspiring.

    Another thing is Bronco is not unpopular at the moment, we need a few more years of mediocre performance before people will start looking elsewhere for other leaders.

    Calgary needs some significant change but we need someone with a clear understanding of the cities problems and what direction we need to go. I think we will need to wait a few more years.

    By Blogger James McKenzie, at 12:08 a.m.  

  • Wow, Mar wins by 167 votes, and Stevenson by just 33!

    Nice talking with you and the others at the campaign office tonight, BTW.

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 3:24 a.m.  

  • CG: Thanks for the props.

    If I ever decide to cover EVERY RACE in an election again, I want you to track me down and beat some sense into me, please.

    Keep up the blogging! We don't always agree, but you always make me think!

    - E.S.

    By Blogger Enlightened Savage, at 4:18 p.m.  

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