November 21, 2011

After the shoveling, the shoveling

It's been just over a week since the unofficial results of Kimberley's municipal election were released, but to me it already feels like a month. Life went on (imagine that!), and my days filled quickly with work and meetings and catching up and practicing and rehearsals and (mercifully) sleep. So this final election blog post seems rather long overdue.

The interval since the election has been bittersweet. Many people have taken the time to tell me that they voted for me and were sorry that I finished out of the top six. Many others have told me that they hope I will run again (one told me that his wife has already got my 2014 campaign planned for me!). It is a very humbling experience to receive these expressions of sympathy and support, and I am grateful for every one of them.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled programming. The Kimberley Arts Council is coming into its 35th anniversary year, and we're kicking into high gear to make it our best year yet. The Kimberley United Church Choir is about to take its 2011 Christmas programme, a cantata composed by our very own Terry Macham, to Invermere and Grasmere as well as Kimberley. The Kimberley Community Band is working on a pile of great new tunes to perform in spring and summer. The Jazz Council is recording another album, this time featuring live performances from our jazz vespers series. And I'm learning to play the baroque trumpet, launching a career as freelance editor and writer, and trying to finish a paper to submit to the Canadian Philosophical Association's next annual conference (maybe now that I've officially sent that intention out into the universe, I'll finally make good on it!).

Before I sign off, I want to thank all of you who have taken an interest in the municipal election, kept up with this blog, talked to me, talked to your friends and acquaintances, and been such a positive force in our beautiful little community. Thank you for your donations to my campaign, for helping me put up and take down signs, for distributing flyers, for keeping me company on canvassing missions, and for encouraging me through this experience. I want to give special mention to my dad, who from way over in Ottawa is my biggest fan and most ardent supporter, and to my mom, whom I miss terribly and whose love and courage remain a constant inspiration.

Thanks one last time, everyone, for seeing me through another exciting election. It's been a fun and worthwhile challenge, and I couldn't have done this without you.

With love and gratitude,


As the dust begins to settle

What a weekend. After all of the election excitement and electricity (not to mention three Jazz Council gigs and the CFL Western Final), it's nice to sit at home and reflect a bit on the last few weeks.

First of all, I offer my congratulations to Ron, Albert, Jack, Don, Darryl, Kent, and Bev, and I wish them all luck and success in their term on city council. Their work will not be easy, and given the level of engagement I witnessed throughout this election I imagine that expectations and pressure will be very high during the next three years.

Second, I offer my congratulations to all of the candidates for putting their names forward, along with heartfelt thanks for creating such an enjoyable, friendly, positive campaign period. Almost every day since the close of the nomination period I have run into other candidates around town, and it has been so fun to chat about local issues, laugh at our campaign foibles, and exchange words of encouragement. The sense of camaraderie was absolutely amazing, and in a campaign situation in which we must be so open and vulnerable to criticism, it was wonderful to witness and feel the support that we offered to one another. I will look back on this experience very fondly.

I must admit, though, that I'm disappointed in my 10th place showing and very sad that I won't be sitting on city council this term. I feel like I have so much more to offer now than I did in 2008, and in general feel like I ran a better campaign, and yet I ended up with half as many votes as last time. It's disheartening.

And I'm a little shocked that six our of our seven newly elected (and re-elected) officials are lifetime Kimberlites; with so many intelligent, skilled newcomers (young and young at heart) joining our community, I worry that that demographic is under-represented on council. I hope that the new council recognizes the value and contributions of newer residents and will make an effort to reach out to them. I, for one, plan to keep a close eye on local issues and council's responses to them. I hope that many other Kimberley residents will do the same.

November 20, 2011

Election results (unofficial)

As in 2008, I did not finish in the top six in the city council election. Here's how the candidates stacked up:

City Council

1. Albert Hoglund - 1513
2. Jack Ratcliffe - 1349
3. Don McCormick - 1293
4. Darryl Oakley - 1137
5. Kent Goodwin - 1122
6. Bev Middlebrook - 978

7. David Chorneyko - 893
8. Melissa Broadhurst - 861
9. Craig Hillman - 835
10. Laurel Ralston - 729
11. Lori Pearson - 675
12. Dave McFadden - 656
13. Paddy Weston - 639
14. Ron Kerr - 571
15. Tim Park - 537
16. Darren Close - 523
17. Jackson Kennedy - 161


Ron McRae - 1814
Jim Ogilvie - 959

Sun Mine Referendum

Yes - 2114
No - 646

November 19, 2011


It's here. The day we've all been waiting for.

General Voting Day.

Cast your ballots and have your say from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Centennial Hall upper level, just before the hairpin turn up to Townsite.

Go. You know you want to.

November 18, 2011

That's entertainment!

And now, for your viewing pleasure: the Kimberley city council candidates' forum! (I think I may need a big glass of wine to go with this, myself.)

November 16, 2011

I want you to plump me up!

Today's final advance poll opens in a mere 15 minutes, and so I'd like to take an opportunity to remind everyone how to vote strategically in the municipal election. It actually works!

Kimberley City Council is comprised of one mayor and six councilors, and you'll be asked to vote for mayor and council on separate ballots. Since there's only one mayor position up for grabs, voting on the mayor ballot is (relatively) easy: you'll pick one of the two candidates. Voting for council, though, is a little more complex. You can vote for up to six candidates.

'Up to six' is the critical phrase here. You are not obligated to mark six names, and in fact your votes are stronger the fewer you choose. Here's why:

All of the candidates are competing for the same six seats, and all votes are weighted equally. There is no ranking of candidates. So if you feel strongly about only three candidates but vote for six - your three top choices and three you're lukewarm on - all six are equally likely to be elected.

If you vote only for your three top choices, however, you're giving them an advantage over the other candidates - a vote for them alone over and above the other votes they receive - and increasing the chance that they will be elected.

This technique is called 'plumping' your ballot. It is valid and it is effective.

Please give careful consideration to how you use your votes. If you're excited about two or three or four candidates in particular (and I'm hoping that I'm one of those candidates!), vote only for them. You will be helping to bring exceptional people to city council.

November 15, 2011

Sharp curves ahead

General voting day looms large on the horizon, and the last advance voting opportunity is not twelve hours away, Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Centennial Hall. During my canvassing expeditions this week I've met several folks who have already voted (some even voted for me!) and many who profess to be following the election race closely. Many voters have remarked not only on the number of candidates, but on the large proportion of new and unfamiliar candidates. They're taking time to try to learn about everyone and make informed decisions about whom to vote for. It's great to witness such a high level of engagement.

I fervently hope that all voters will mark their ballots thoughtfully and courageously. Among the names on the ballots are some tremendously skilled, smart, energetic people, people who would bring a wealth of relevant experience and wisdom to city council. For my part, I'm voting only for people whom I believe will bring not just experience, but commitment to learning and evolving, open-mindedness, curiosity, and humility. Those qualities, I believe, are what allow a person to relate experiences laterally and to apply knowledge and understanding to new challenges. They are vitally important for councilors at all levels of experience. They're vital for the new folks jumping headfirst into their first term, having to learn the ropes and be full participants on council at the same time, and they're vital for the veterans asked to respond to both new and familiar challenges in innovative, forward-thinking ways.

I would love to be part of a council in which everyone is committed to learning together and learning from one another. Not only could such a council do great things for Kimberley, but it would have fun in the process.

November 12, 2011

Team me up, Scotty!

As I finished writing my little paragraph about stewardship, leadership and teamwork, I thought fondly of one of my very favourite teams, my quintet, The Jazz Council.

We played a concert in Creston a couple of weeks ago at The Snoring Sasquatch, our first time at that venue. We had a blast, as we always do, and one of the comments I received after the show was that while it was obvious that we all have a lot of passion for the music, we don't seem to be concerned at all with ourselves as individuals; we play together as a group, and then whenever one of us takes a solo, everyone else gets out of the way and lets the soloist shine. People tell me time and again how great it is not just to listen to us, but to watch how we interact with one another, how much we seem to enjoy making music together.

I absolutely love playing with Bernie, Tim, Joel, and Sven. After every gig we play together, we grin and talk about how much fun we had, we go over what went well and what could have gone better, and we figure out how to iron out kinks for the next show. We chat openly and honestly about our performances. But what really makes everything work for us, I think, is that although we all take the music seriously, we don't take ourselves seriously. We can laugh off our mistakes, and we can hear comments and constructive criticism without taking them personally. We know that we want to sound good and that we want each other to sound good.

Back in April, when we were about to start recording our album, Dawn, we headed out past Wasa for a photo shoot with the lovely and talented Frida Viklund. The pictures that ended up on our posters and our album were posed, but my favourite shot of the day is the one below, which I think captures perfectly the spirit of our little group.

P.S. The title of this post is terrible. I recognize that, and I'm sorry. I just can't resist a pun, no matter how bad. Please vote for me anyway.

Questions from the candidates' forum

During the candidates' forum last Tuesday I pledged to answer all of the questions on this site, since at the forum itself each candidate was only able to answer three questions. I've listed the questions below (paraphrased from my notes from the forum) and linked each one to a response on my Issues page. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please feel free to contact me.

1. Kimberley has many vacant and substandard properties. How can this situation be improved?

2. What are your thoughts and feelings about water meters?

3. How can City Council be more transparent?

4. What is your position regarding the Sun Mine project?

5. What are three things that we can do to attract, support and grow business in Kimberley and create jobs?

6. What are your plans for low-cost and seniors' housing?

7. Will you support and work for a new and accessible arts centre?

8. What three things can we do to attract more full-time residents?

9. What should be done about Kimberley's urban deer population?

10. Do you support a new city hall?

11. Do you favour a balanced budget, and how would you achieve this?

12. What do stewardship, leadership and teamwork mean to you? How do we create an harmonious community?

November 8, 2011

'Wow' seems so woefully inadequate

I'm slowly descending from the adrenaline high of tonight's council candidates forum at McKim Theatre. I don't even know where to begin to write about it.

Tonight's forum was an inspiring and humbling experience. Inspiring and humbling because we have an absolutely outstanding field of candidates from which to choose in this election. Inspiring and humbling because every candidate brought their A game and contributed thoughtful commentary throughout the whole event. Inspiring and humbling because of the positive, collegial attitude that prevailed all night. Inspiring and humbling because a terrific crowd attended the event and stayed right to the end.

Huge thanks and kudos to Ingrid, Craig, Sioban and the Chamber of Commerce for coordinating such a great, engaging forum. I don't know how it felt to other folks, but to me the evening passed in a flash.

Thanks and congratulations to all of the candidates for sharing your insights and experiences, and not least for sharing smiles, handshakes and kind words of support with one another.

Thanks to everyone who attended and helped out. It is so exciting to see the community engaged, interested and open-minded coming into this election.

Wow. What an amazing future awaits us.

Deer me.

I mentioned in my previous post that I like to learn, and let me tell you, running for council (to say nothing, I'm sure, of actually being on council) necessitates a good amount of learning. At times an intimidating amount, I dare say. I have a list a mile long of issues that I think I should probably know something about as a candidate, and the more people I talk to during my campaign, the longer it gets. Yikes.

Somewhat predictably, though, the issue I've been asked about most frequently so far is Kimberley's urban deer situation, and so in the inaugural entry on my Issues page, I've given some thoughts on where we are and where we're going deer-wise.

(In case you're wondering what else is on my list, here's a sampling: the Sun Mine project; economic development; volunteerism; municipal taxes, debt and spending; air quality; Kimberley's changing demographics; and on, and on....

If there's something you think should be on my list, or if you have any thoughts or questions to share, please contact me. And stay tuned for further updates to the Issues page.)

November 7, 2011

A confession

After a two-week campaign hiatus on account of a crummy and persistent cold, I finally hit the mean streets of Marysville on Sunday, excessively bundled up in no fewer than five layers of cotton, wool and down, accessorized with what I hope was an engaging smile. It was, thank goodness, a pretty encouraging canvassing session. My flyers and I were politely received, sometimes even enthusiastically so, and I took home a couple of good questions to ponder and reply to.

I also took home one phrase exclaimed to me, smilingly, by a resident along my route. "You're the candidate," he said, "you're supposed to have all the answers!"

Let me get this out in the open, right now:

I do not have all the answers.

I don't have an agenda, and I don't have ready solutions for all of Kimberley's troubles. I'm quite sure that even though I'm an engaged and (I like to think) intelligent citizen, I don't know nearly enough at this point to solve anything.

What I do have is an open and inquisitive mind, a passion for questions (see: Why does city council need a philosopher (of sorts)?), and a genuine interest in dialogue and collaborative decision-making. I love to listen and I love to learn. I bring plenty of valuable experience, but perhaps more importantly I bring a desire not only to know, but to understand. And I think that it's from a place of understanding that the best work can be done.