READ UP ON CAN­DI­DATES

Vancouver Sun - - EDITORIAL -

For­give Van­cou­ver vot­ers over­whelmed by the num­ber of choices on the bal­lot for the Oct. 20 city coun­cil elec­tion. The 21 may­oral and 71 coun­cil can­di­dates range from a long list of in­de­pen­dents to rep­re­sen­ta­tives of 10 elec­toral or­ga­ni­za­tions. And scores more are run­ning for school and parks boards.

The list in­cludes, on the po­lit­i­cal left, prom­i­nent in­de­pen­dents for mayor such as Kennedy Ste­wart and Shauna Sylvester, and right-lean­ing may­oral hope­fuls such as Ken Sim of the Non-Par­ti­san As­so­ci­a­tion and Hec­tor Brem­ner of up­start YES Van­cou­ver.

The patchwork na­ture of the bal­lot — no or­ga­ni­za­tion is field­ing a full slate of can­di­dates — in­creases the pos­si­bil­ity that a mayor could be elected with­out a ma­jor­ity of like-minded coun­cil­lors.

This would be a dis­as­ter.

Con­sider what hap­pened in Sur­rey in the mid-1990s when left-lean­ing Sur­rey Mayor Bob Bose presided over a right-lean­ing coun­cil ma­jor­ity.

Ac­ri­mony was so se­vere in­side Sur­rey city hall that the mayor tried twice within a month to forcibly re­move a coun­cil mem­ber from cham­bers, call­ing in a se­cu­rity guard and then the RCMP. The city’s rep­u­ta­tion and abil­ity to func­tion was greatly im­paired.

It is crit­i­cal for Van­cou­ver vot­ers to take the time to ed­u­cate them­selves on where in­de­pen­dent can­di­dates and civic or­ga­ni­za­tions stand on key pol­icy is­sues, par­tic­u­larly land-use and prop­erty tax­a­tion. Lo­cal govern­ment ex­erts tremen­dous in­flu­ence in these two ar­eas.

Iden­tify a team of 11 — a mayor and 10 coun­cil­lors — that best rep­re­sents your views on how the city should op­er­ate and mark your bal­lots ac­cord­ingly.

There is no guar­an­tee that the ac­ri­mony that be­fell Sur­rey can be avoided, but there is a bet­ter chance of elect­ing a func­tional coun­cil if enough vot­ers adopt this ap­proach.

To as­sist in these de­lib­er­a­tions, The Van­cou­ver Sun pre­pared a con­cise sum­mary of the po­si­tions of sig­nif­i­cant may­oral can­di­dates and elec­toral or­ga­ni­za­tions on eight top­ics. You can find the sum­mary in to­day’s news­pa­per on page 12 and 13 and on­line at van­cou­ver­sun.com.

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