Policy? Policy. Policy!

Interesting exchange with Joe Connelly this afternoon. 

He posted:

#yycvote enough with the policy, lets start to let calgarians decide what their policy should be. priorities too Time to take back your city

My first thought is, “Direct the conversation away from your weak suit.“  Have no policy, then don’t talk about it.  But upon reflection the conversation is more nuanced.

My reply:

[email protected] More policy. NOW! Stop pretending to listen during the elections and then ignore us in office. #yycvote

My point to this is three fold.  First, that is my priority and I want Mr. Connelly to understand it.  Unquestionably, ever since I seriously became engaged in this year’s municipal elections, I have decided that the number one problem that has to be fixed is that City Council must become a cohesive, informed and effective body that spends much less time bickering amongst themselves and much more time making good decisions.  That is my single most important issue - without an effective city council, we’re subject to another three years of mediocrity and indecision.

The continued 8-7 split votes mean that fully one half of the city is not being heard ever.  Our representatives have not been representing us all, they’ve only been representing a small subset of their constituents.  Their job is to represent us all - even the people they disagree with.  Tyranny of the majority happens, sure, but it has to be tempered with an understanding that we have to protect the minority and that sometimes what is best for the city at large is not best for our immediate constituents.

The second point is when we have been telling council what our policy should be, we haven’t really be heard.  Case in point: snow clearing.

The third point I see is that without putting policy on the table, we don’t have metrics we need in order to evaluate our candidates.  We don’t know what they intend to accomplish, we can’t tell after the fact how successful they were accomplishing what they set out to do.  Not having voting records readily available makes it even more difficult.  Transparency in governance is important.  The last city council fails in my eyes.

Now here’s what’s strange to me.  When I went to Vibrant Calgary’s mayoral forum, one of the things that Mr. Connelly really impressed me with was when he spoke about integrating some immigrants into his communities.  It was the right thing to do, and now he’s seeing teachers and doctors and all sorts of successful citizens who have developed from that community.  I don’t know all the details here.  I wish I had, it’s a great success story. 

Mr. Connelly doesn’t need to hear from me that it’s a good idea.  (It is, I’ll say it to him now, and if some current residents oppose it, it’s great for Calgary as a whole.)

Policy, to me, doesn’t just mean that we’re going to widen 14th Street by eight feet and we’re going to put bike racks on the outside of sixteen C-Trains as a trial.  It also includes the ideas about where we need to collectively aim.

Mr. Connelly has policy, even if it breaks down as listening better to individual Calgarians.  I must admit, I’m puzzled.  He served on council with Ric McIver, if he thinks he can do a better job than McIver then I would like to know why.  I don’t understand whether their differences are philosophical, or differences in policy, or a long standing grudge or if Connelly feels he has some better ideas about – something.  It has been a conundrum I have never managed to resolve.

I really do like Joe, I think individually he’s done a good job for Ward 6.  But I don’t know the day to day happenings over there and never connected with him on a mayoral level.  I know tidbits of stories that really do impress me, but I got lost in vagueness when I wanted to learn more.

Let me repeat, I criticize because the people voting for him deserve a top performer.  People voting based on name recognition alone deserve more meat on the bones.  I’m pretty sure Connelly has some great ideas, but they just never reached me.

I’ve been asked several times for specifics on my opinion on the tunnel, transportation and transit, the bridge, the auditor and a bunch of other policy that helped make up my mind.  Perhaps I need to elaborate.

And if I feel I need to elaborate, shouldn’t the candidates?