A8 THURSDAY, November 24, 2011
Publisher: Kelly Hall email@example.com Editor: Christopher Foulds firstname.lastname@example.org
Tweaking our voting system
PUBLISHER Kelly Hall
EDITOR Christopher Foulds EDITORIAL Dale Bass, Jeremy Deutsch, Dave Eagles, Tim Petruk, Marty Hastings
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Mayor Milobar has a tough three years ahead of him
SURE DON’T ENVY THE task facing Peter Milobar in the next three years. He’s going to have to preside as mayor over a council that has so much potential to go off the rails, he might long for the days when it was just Denis Walsh disagreeing. Add to that the fact he was elected only on the South Shore, with the majority on the other side of the river opting for newcomer Dieter Dudy, and it’s obvious Milobar’s got his work cut out for him. Here are the facts, as of Nov. 22 and pending a final count at city hall: Dudy got 3,793 votes on the North Shore, while Milobar got 3,144. Cross the Overlanders Bridge and the numbers flip-flop, with Dudy getting 4,477 and Milobar 5,070. The incumbent mayor also took the advance and special polls. The folks who voted at Parkcrest elementary really aren’t happy with Milobar, casting just 55 votes for him, while giving Dudy 799. The closest races over there were at the Heffley Creek polling station (48 for Dudy, 45 for Milobar) and the one at Twin Rivers (219 for Dudy, 211 for Milobar.) The mayor has given several reasons why he came within a moment of losing his job, ranging from anger about the parkade to concern about communication from city hall. I hope he takes some time to ponder the much deeper reasons why almost half voting Kamloopsians would have preferred a farmer they’d likely never heard of before over a businessman who has been in the news for many years.
DALE BASS Street
LEVEL Here are some of the reasons friends have given me for not voting for Milobar: • Out of touch with the average person; • He prefers to have approval from big developers rather than the people who shop at his liquor store; • He’s just like every other mayor we’ve had — too comfy with his cushy job and he has forgotten who put him there; • He’s only the mayor for the chamber of commerce. On top of having to overcome his new political reality, Milobar is going to have to deal with a completely new dynamic at the council table. Stalwart Tina Lange is back, bringing a strong business background and an apparent community-wide popularity, given every poll had her in the top eight for council. I love how people are calling Ken Christian a new councillor because, while it’s a new location for meetings and a new agenda, he topped every poll in the city for a good reason — people trust him. Pat Wallace brings the historical continuity the group needs.
I’m hoping Nancy Bepple’s learning curve isn’t as steep for her second term as it was for her first and that Marg Spina’s contribution steps up significantly from her first term. Which brings us to the newcomers, the ones who could test Milobar’s patience and maybe make us long for the days of the Arjun Singh-Terry Lake fights on Tuesday afternoons. I was disappointed with Singh’s campaign; he said little of substance. It was like he felt a big group hug and a round of Kumbaya would bring us all to some consensus. He says he’s learned from his first term on council. Time will tell. I was likewise disappointed with Donovan Caver’s campaign because it was so non-Donovan like. There was the expected bus ride to drum up support, the push for youth getting some attention over baby boomers, but not much else. I’m sure Milobar’s already having nightmares about council meetings where Singh, Cavers and Bepple join forces when the mayor just wants things to move along. Quickly. I don’t know much about Nelly Dever, but she ran an interesting campaign. She lost me when, in answer to a KTW question about the deficit, said she’d like to know how it got so large. It’s big already. How it got there is irrelevant. How are you going to deal with it? Guess we’ll all have to wait and see. firstname.lastname@example.org
With participation in elections declining at every level, B.C.’s new chief elections officer wants to extend voter registration to 16-year-olds while they are in high school. We think this is an excellent idea. Young voters can be the most passionate, idealistic force for change we have in our society — but only if they cast ballots. The Salmon Arm municipal election mirrored those across the province, where the voters were far more likely to be sporting grey hair and crow’s feet than the latest Nike sneakers or Lululemon gear. Currently, the lowest level of voter participation is in the 18-to25 age group. By pre-registering teens, and helping them to prepare for voting through high school classes, the demographics could turn around. Many of the city council candidates talk about wanting to help young people and growing families, and yet it is difficult to engage this age group, to find out what exactly they would like to see happen in their city and then have that translate into ballots in the box. Another important component is developing alternate forms of voting, especially online ballots. Young people are living in a wired world, interacting through Facebook and iPhones. One of the best ways to reach them would be a computerized voting system. Indeed this could boost voting across the board, as the convenience factor could encourage larger participation among all ages. While democracy is hardly outdated, it is time to bring voting policies more in line with today’s realities.
— Salmon Arm Observer
Published on Dec 1, 2011