The answer to the first question is easy. By-elections rarely inspire people to get out and vote. When you add to that, the general malaise of having an election cycle which spans the summer months, you get even less participation. The Delta Free Press Candidate Challenge was our attempt to inject some excitement into this less than exciting by-election and get the public more involved with the candidates.
As an inducement for candidate participation the winner will receive the following:
- Editorial endorsement by the Delta Free Press
- Free advertising on the Delta Free Press (for the duration of the election cycle and pursuant to election advertising rules.)
- Prime lawn sign location on private land (which, as it turns out is in very short supply with the way signs are being knocked down on public land)
- A campaign donation of $200
- And (most importantly) my vote.
The second question regarding bias is even easier to answer, "Yes, it is absolutely biased." That's really the point of an editorial endorsement and I make no bones about it. I have chosen one candidate above all the others for reasons that affect me and the people I care for. I looked for personality, integrity, and trustworthiness as key factors and then I carefully analyzed each candidate. Who in the community was supporting them? What was there platform? Where did they publicly stand on the issues? I took all my research and distilled it down to what really mattered. Then I chose the absolute best person to represent Delta until the next general municipal election.
Initially the challenge was issued in the form of a questionnaire. What came as a shock was the resistance by the candidates as a whole to actually fill in a very generic online form. I took into account that many of the candidates may not be tech savvy and gave them low tech options as well, but to no avail. I'm not going to try and augur the reasons why some candidates chose to ignore the questionnaire. I can only guess that they either:
a) felt that the readers of Delta Free Press, which measures in the thousands since the by-election, wasn't their target audience, or
b) they didn't want their answers out in public fora to be picked apart and debated.
An act of cowardice? Maybe. But lets be honest with ourselves. Perhaps we expect too much of the people that would contend for the public's trust?
Fortunately, the field managed to cull itself, as it usually does. With only Kathleen E. Higgins and Sylvia Bishop choosing to answer the questions facing our community, this should have made my decision easier, but I will say without hesitation that both Higgins and Bishop are model candidates. I believe their ethics and integrity are above reproach and we would be so lucky to have four more candidates of their caliber in next year's election.
I don't want to go into too much detail about how I chose the winner as I intend to write an analysis of each candidate in future columns (consider yourselves warned). After weighing my choices, I have decided to endorse the candidate that I feel can bring the strongest voice to the council chamber, someone who will stand up for all of Delta's citizens, a shining beacon of righteousness to correct the faltering moral compass of our current mayor and council, a political warrior who wont sell the future of our children off to greenfield developers offering magic beans. It is for this reason that I am pleased to endorse...