Editor, The Record:
As a keen council watcher for years, the attitude espoused that incumbent councillors get re-elected because the public feel they are doing a good job is folly, at best.
Each candidate, particularly incumbents, have a certain blind following of voters who vote for them, unless there is some major failing by the individual. The other compounding factor that can change outcomes is to dramatically increase voter turnouts.
A slight departure is the mayor, who is more vulnerable insofar as he/she is front and centre and most often quoted. The compounding factor is tenure and after the second term in office, many incumbents often becomes complacent or often pseudo dictatorial.
Mission was a prime example of a mayor needing to go and the public spoke., but even so, James Atebe garnered 2,465 votes.
Simply, unless there is a viable alternative, the incumbent have the greatest chance of re-election. A negative compounding factor is suddenly each election, either some perennial candidate or often a bunch of newcomers, who, with respect, have nearly no chance of being elected; but we must respect their willingness to serve. This last election found 25 candidates here, but the difference was a viable alternative presented itself and the sweep by the CRMG slate is evidence of a well-structured campaign by politically savvy strategists.
Thus, the signal is for a group of like-minded candidates to band resources, form a Mission First slate (like Surrey First, Mayor Dianne Watts has done) and start to campaign for the 2014 election; become a household name, attend council meetings, write letters to editors, pursue some causes and issues, and only then do you stand a chance of election and/or to replace incumbents.
Mission showed the way but it will take some introspection, political savvy and a genuine effort to get organized into a political force. A bar too low will find new council on a steep learning curve, recognizing considerable material to read and a need to hit the ground running. The challenge to bring a divided community together as an inclusive age-friendly community should be met by non-partisan politics, responding impartially to all residents needs, by priority. Thus, reported statements, by Mayor Adlem, holding forth a local MLA as a “hero” will not bode well for a slate of independent thinkers trying to establish an inclusive community. A “shadow council” of aspiring candidates will keep politicians feet to the fire and in the end, the next election is for CRMG to lose.
Augmenting the CRMG slate approach was a number of other focused efforts by segments of society, that all in all contributed to a five per cent (1,628 votes) increase in voter turnout and a significant switch in voting patterns, in part, notably seniors, who together amassed sufficient numbers to turf out incumbents.
George F. Evens