Take a good look at them, and what they’re saying to you.
“We need to have the infrastructure in place, the services, have neighbourhoods structured to be livable and people-friendly.”
“As a community, we need to pursue mindful development, prioritize infrastructure projects, promote responsible growth and create job opportunities that will encourage young Burlington residents to stay.”
“If we can reclaim waterfront in a fair manner, I will support that agenda.”
The above samplings are from campaign websites for Ward 4 challengers, Dan Davidson and Carol Gottlob, hoping to unseat 20-year Councillor, Jack Dennison.
It all sounds pretty good – but DETAILS?! Don’t look for them in their websites.
The other registered challenger, Steve Kempf, has no website. But that’s a moot point, since he’s withdrawing from the race. That makes 3 candidates pulling out in recent weeks. At this rate, the incumbent could be acclaimed!
What do you think of the remaining challengers?
Are you underwhelmed or disinterested? If that’s the case, it might be because you don’t know them, or their specific positions about issues.
Several factors may be involved. Lack of any substantive information in their websites is one – however, that can be remedied quickly.
If they have clear and realistic visions for a better Burlington, websites and blogs are excellent vehicles to show us how to get there.
But it’s not only how to pave the way, it’s also how to pay for it too! Revenue is not a little speed bump on that municipal road. It’s a mountain.
Oddly, neither challenger has started to knock on doors, nor distribute pamphlets.
What’s the incumbent doing? He’s out there doing his job as Councillor and, yes, knocking on a lot of doors.
According to his email sent yesterday to Ward 4 residents about the flood: “I have been visiting non-stop to individual homes and affected areas. I am sorry if I missed you or was not able to meet you at your home. I am continuing to visit residents….”.
Another factor is that while both challengers are longtime Ward 4 residents, neither has been particularly active in the community before this election, nor held leadership roles.
Community experience and profile are not things you gain overnight. Those factors are enormous advantages for any municipal incumbent.
As politicians will tell you, if you want to win a seat on City Council, start learning and ‘campaigning’ for the job at least a few years before the next election.
Davidson and Gottlob don’t fit that profile.
So why wait to introduce themselves to (gulp) over 26,000 voters in Ward 4 (of which only 35% or less are likely to vote), and hope to get some traction with those residents for what’s now a short campaign? No idea. Seems a highly unusual strategy.
Are these challengers counting heavily on a huge anti-incumbent groundswell?
That could also be an unwise strategy. At the municipal level, I believe that people ultimately want to vote for a person, not against someone else.
Will these factors matter in a sleepy Ward 4 race – which, at present, may be turning into a walk for the savvy and confident Dennison?
An all-candidates meeting is planned. That could wake things up closer to the October 27th election.
Of course, what will happen in this election is not solely on the challengers’ shoulders. It’s also up to YOU.
Please take the time and energy to find out about them. Ask questions. Demand answers. Spectator columnist Joan Little offers some helpful insights and ideas….
As the election clock gets louder, and ticks down quickly (September 12th is the last day to register or withdraw) – so much can still happen in Ward 4. Or not.