The excitement of our civic election -- yes, really!

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
September 18th, 2018

The civic election is coming up!  On October 20, the official election day, we cast our votes for candidates, and six of them (plus acclaimed Mayor Kathy Moore) will form our new City Council.  Think about it – please!

It’s exciting!  Who will govern our community?  Will they be focused on the long-term best interests of the community as a whole, or will they be one-issue types with fixed ideas that focus on their own personal agendas?  Will each of them be able to hear and consider other points of view and perhaps change their minds on the basis of new information?  Will they all be able to work together in relative harmony, or could there be grand-standing egotists among them who disrupt or de-rail Council discussions?

Voters, it’s up to all of us.  We are all human, and many of us are wonderful people, and so are the candidates — for being willing to take on the challenging job of Council member for the next four years.  But not all wonderful people are best-suited to local governance.  We have to pick and choose.  That’s our job.

First, do everything you can to assess all the candidates.  There will be an all-candidates forum at the Miners Hall on October 2, at 7:00 pm, organized by Rossland Rotary. 

There’s also a “Beer and Ballots” event being organized; the idea is that candidates will sit at a table, and voters can circulate around the room and talk to any or all candidates.  Watch for more information about where and when.

To help readers make up their minds among the candidates, the Rossland Telegraph has posed a set of questions to all the candidates who have provided functioning contact information, and will publish their answers in due course. Here’s the letter that went out to them:

  “Nine Questions for Rossland City Council Candidates:

“Dear candidates: 

“Each of you has my gratitude for your willingness to take on a challenging role to serve our community.

“I hope this exercise will help the most suitable among you to be elected, and will help voters to  make the best choices.  I may not have thought of the best possible questions to ask, but at least this is a start.  Better questions may surface at an all-candidates forum, where you will answer orally rather than in writing.  Answering these questions may help you prepare for that event, too.   

“Please note:  I will not edit your answers for spelling, typos, grammar or coherence; this is so voters can assess your ability to communicate in writing.  In the highly unlikely event that anyone were to use offensive language or make ad hominem attacks on any other person, I would edit those things out — but would also note in parentheses the fact that they were there.

“Each answer will be limited to the number of words in brackets after each question.  If anyone exceeds the maximum in an answer, the answer will simply be cut off after the allowed number of words.  Don’t be afraid to be succinct – readers may appreciate brevity!  For sure they’ll appreciate clarity.

“Answers, or portions of answers, which aren’t responsive to the question will not be published – in other words, if you have another 50 words left over after answering a question, don’t bother “using” those words to address some other issue.  You can’t just use the word allowance to say something else unrelated to the question; but Question  #9  gives you fairly free rein.

“Here are the questions:

1.       What do you think is a municipal Council’s primary function?  (50 words)

2.       If elected, what influence would you like to exert on Council as a whole?  (100 words)

3.       What do you think are the four most important personal qualities for Council members?  (75 words)

4.       Have you attended Council meetings during this term, or read “Council Matters” reports on the meetings?  If not, what are your sources of information about what Council has done? (50 words)  

5.       What do you think will be most important thing(s) for Council to do in this coming four-year term?  (150 words)

6.       Are you willing and able to attend nearly all Council meetings, and to read the entire Council package in advance of each meeting, and to do any additional research needed for decisions, and to serve on other committees and attend their meetings as Council liaison?  (50 words

7.       Did you attend, or read  the report on  the “Candidate Readiness Workshop” held in Castlegar’s Community Forum on August 27th?   Do you agree with the presenters’ points?  Explain.  (225 words)

8.       What other reading or preparation have you done toward a role in municipal governance?  (This question is for all candidates, including those who have already served on Council.)   (250 words)

9.       Is there anything else that voters should know about your approach to civic governance, or your qualifications, that has not already been addressed in the questions above?   (250 words

“I may publish your answers in alphabetical order based on last names, OR may choose to publish them in the order in which I receive them.  But I plan to wait until I get answers from everyone who is willing and able to participate before publishing any.  If I am unable to get in touch with a candidate, that candidate will be unable to participate. At this point, I have already sent this message to, or otherwise communicated with, all candidates for whom I have functioning contact information,  which leaves only one, who no longer lives in Rossland and none of whose three different e-mail addresses have worked.

“Here’s to having a high percentage of our eligible voters casting their votes in this election – please do whatever you can to encourage voters to turn out! — and here’s to Rossland ending up with a collegial, dedicated, highly functional Council. Thank you for participating.”

On October 2, let’s see what the candidates have to say at the all-candidates forum.  Then let’s see what they have to say in writing, in answer to the questions above.


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