Think about your neighbours for a moment: the friends you cherish, the acquaintances you nod to, and that one scary dude who buys protein powder by the barrel.
Would you want any of them to name your dog? Or pick out your next pair of shoes? Would you let any of them choose the toppings on your pizza? Of course not. Especially that one guy who drives the blue car – that guy’s got sardines written all over him.
So why would you let a few of your neighbours choose how your city should be run over the next four years?
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Federal politics is fascinating, provincial politics is crucial, but your municipal government has the most consistent, direct impact on your life.
For better or worse, the next Tri-Cities councils will be in a position to make decisions with repercussions that could last a lifetime. What should get built? How much of it? How many trees should be left standing? Should we trade parking spots for bike lanes? Should we expand our parks – and if so, at what cost?
Council decisions touch everything from the location of a pickleball court to when you can use power tools to where you can drink a beer. And there’s taxes, too.
Now, here’s a hot pepper of a notion: most people running for office are pretty good. In general, the candidates seem smart, hardworking and principled. However, they have decidedly different visions.
Examine those visions. And as you examine, keep in mind that both money and space are finite. If someone tells you they’re going to add parking spots and expand public spaces, maybe have them draw that on a map. If someone says they’re going to cut taxes and boost services, double-check their math.
I encourage you to vote for candidates from the top of the ballot to the bottom (yes, school trustees, too). And to my friends in Port Coquitlam – remember that the mayor is only one voice of seven. You’ve still got six voices to elect on Saturday.
If there’s only one candidate you believe in, it’s OK to mark a single X and leave the rest of the ballot blank. And if there’s one candidate you wouldn’t trust to feed your hamster, it’s OK to go to the polls just to vote against them. Spite can be part of democracy, too.
So get out of the house. Get in the game. Or don’t be surprised if you end up with four years of sardine pizza and a schnauzer named Joan of Bark.