COMMENT: Candidates with whom I'd like to share a pitcher of fine yet inexpensive ale...

Andrew Bennett
By Andrew Bennett
November 16th, 2011

We’ll do just that tomorrow evening, Thursday, 7 p.m., with “beers and ballots” at the Red Room. All the candidates have been invited to spend the evening discussing the finer points of local politics—and some of the brightest lights have confirmed—while Tim and Gabriella put on their $10 pitcher special for their selection of brews on tap.

One hundred and fifty of us spent last night at the all-candidates forum at the Miners’ Hall, thanks to the Chamber of Commerce. All the candidates put on a good show and the questions were excellent. It was particularly heartening to see Rossland’s youngest residents out asking tough questions even though they won’t be able to vote.

Rossland is fortunate to have 10 good candidates to choose from, each with unique strengths.

Most of us are familiar with the incumbents—Kathy Moore, Jill Spearn, Laurie Charlton, and Kathy Wallace—and have some idea of the roses and thorns each candidate brings to council.

New candidates face a steep learning curve. To “play the game” effectively, as Charlton pointed out, there are a lot of rules to learn. A detailed understanding of law and political strategy is no doubt useful to achieve a councillor’s ends, one hopes for the greater good, but there is also an advantage to be gained from fresh blood in council.

Jody Blomme plans to use her considerable communication skills from her experience as an editor and manager to improve the connection between city hall and citizens.

Carey Fisher brings solid business skills to the table and a desire to cut unnecessary spending while striving toward the goals set out in the strategic sustainability plan and the official community plan.

David Klein is a young outdoorsman, food grower, skier, biker, environmental worker, and dedicated dad with a positive spin on life that, although he’s the newest of the candidates to Rossland, reflects the town’s age-old culture and youthful spirit.

Tim Thatcher seems a man of few words, but his few words convey a sense of an old cowboy’s wisdom and plainspoken honesty — an effect made measurably larger by his magnificent mayoresque moustache.

Bob Chamut might just be the real Santa Claus; there was a special twinkle in his eye before he laid his finger aside of his nose, gave a nod, and off to RLOP rehearsals he rode—mid-debate!

Sharon Weider couldn’t attend the forum, but her experience from the Rossland Council for Arts and Culture (RCAC), Black Jack Ski Club, Bear Aware and other community groups stands her in good stead.

Faced with 10 candidates and six seats, we inevitably consider “strategic voting.” All voting is “strategic” as it applies to achieving the voter’s overall aims. Whether your choice at the ballot box is good or bad strategy depends on what you want from council.

We each have six votes. If 1000 people vote, for example, then at most 6000 votes will be cast, of which a councillor can get a maximum of 1000 votes.

We don’t have to use all six votes. To make one candidate really stand out strongly, giving them your only vote will do it. But if everyone else uses all six of their votes, your voting power will be a sixth of theirs and effectively says, ‘I definitely want this person on council, but I don’t care who makes up the rest of the group.’

At the other end, if you really want to “vote against” one or more candidates, the best strategy is to use all six votes.

I hope we’ll see you at the Red Room tomorrow night, especially if you’ve got a political bone to pick over a refreshing brew. In either case, happy voting on Nov. 19!

Categories: Op/EdPolitics

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