So last night after the swearing in ceremony I’m standing around waiting for Brian Pincott to finish an interview so I can say hello and chat for a few minutes. Suddenly I realize people around me are stretching necks and looking far more excited than usual. Yesterday that meant one thing and one thing only and I had to smile knowing that Naheed was near.
Sure enough, he walks up to me hugging and shaking hands and sharing congratulations along the way and he gets to me and… turns and walks past me to thank a bunch of purple clad volunteers he recognized.
My fault for not having the foresight to wash my purple shirt earlier, eh? Congratulations, I’m somewhere in 1,080,000 people in Calgary he doesn’t recognize. Yay me, right?
Not in the slightest. I’m completely proud of what I did in this election. And now the election is over, I’m getting this strange sense of a different direction I’m striking.
I’m a huge fan of Naheed Nenshi, I’m a firm believer he is the right guy ™ for this city at this time. We needed his brand of sensibility and openness, his ability to explain his ideas and his capability of communicating with individual people and making them felt like they have finally, FINALLY been heard by someone. I think his better ideas are, in fact, better for Calgary. I believe he has the capacity to understand that the 14 people that were elected to city hall represents that crazy mix that is Calgary and it is going to take someone with a crazy mix to not just comprehend that, but to organize it all to keep it pulling in the same direction.
Transportation remains a headache in this city. Secondary suites are a ridiculous mismash here. The city audit really needs to be addressed and is only one of a thousand ways city hall could be more open and more responsive to us, the citizens. These are things that need to be addressed, resolved and we need to move on with actually living our lives.
I’m so pleased with the effort I put into the campaign for Naheed Nenshi and I have no doubt at all that I did, in fact, play some small part in creating this phenomenon in Calgary. I helped to start the conversation, I helped to make it acceptable to consider this outsider to city hall, I helped with the traditional campaign of signs and door knocking and scruiteneering at the polls (okay, I probably did a lousy job there). Will I do it again for Naheed? Almost certainly, he’s addressing what I feel needs to be addressed and he’s more than clever and in tune enough to understand what needs to be addressed next as priorities change. I’d also turn on a dime and campaign every bit as hard against him should he gut Calgary Transit or actively create a city council filled with acrimony. Again, I don’t see that happening in a million years.
I’ve been really blessed though my efforts campaigning with Nenshi for Mayor. Yes, Nancy and Rachel, you’ve become two of my favourite people. I’m so glad to have seen Lori, Marc, Wayne, Roy, James and Peter and I’m only just starting to know all the wonderful volunteers who I worked beside. And every time Stephen walks past me he shakes my hand or slaps my back and I feel my efforts were completely understood and appreciated. Everyone wants a slice of Naheed, I’m happy just knowing that I could do something that mattered.
After all that partisanship, I’m finding myself pulled more towards the fantastic work that Civic Camp did. I’m really proud I went up to meet the CalgaryPolitics.com crew after being at Nenshi’s downtown headquarters the night of the election. I find myself looking towards the community association rather than city hall. City council’s in good hands - I helped put it there. Now I think I want to go in a slightly different direction on my own.
For now, I’m working on making something better day after day. Little stuff I can change. No crying there.