Monday, October 18, 2010

Calgary's Next Mayor

Tomorrow morning I will vote in the Calgary Municipal election. I have not missed a municipal vote in Edmonton or Calgary since I have been an eligible voter. Some times I wonder if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

I have been conflicted for a while about who to vote for mayor, but right now (12:30am) I am strongly leaning towards Naheed Nenshi. We have been led to believe that this is a three way race between Barb Higgins, Ric McIver and Nenshi. While I'm very wary of partisan story lines, the polling has been very clear that Nenshi has strong momentum and closed a very large gap between himself and the other two.

This is one election I would never bet on. The polling has been wacky to say the least. All I will say is that tomorrow I think a lot of pundits will be very surprised at the outcome. Some may have to change careers.

Higgins and McIver are non-starters for me, for a list of reasons that aren't all that interesting. I had hoped to see more women in the mayor's race. I was disappointed with some of the sexist commentary that went on discussing Ms. Higgins personality and platform. Higgins weakness was her arrogance, and refusal to engage or debate. But people framed it completely different than those same qualities in a male candidate. We have a ways to go.

The truth is I liked Naheed as a candidate early on, but I also liked Kent Hehr. When Hehr dropped out of the race I really didn't see another candidate that resonated with me.

At the same time I was asking questions in my head, being a skeptic of political claims and promises. I generally don't like euphoria based politics. Enthusiasm is great, but at some point it becomes cult-like, and the true believers become difficult to talk to. All of the candidates ideas fell down from heaven and can't be questioned. Bleh.

The Calgary Sun's endorsement of Nenshi has been troublesome, and I'm not 100% sure I want to vote for someone who earned this endorsement. I tend to think these things are negotiated by the campaign managers, but maybe it came out of the blue. Subsequent columns at this paper make it obvious that they believe Nenshi to be an acceptable substitute for McIver. In other words, they expect Nenshi to be a slash and cut fiscal conservative. The endorsement means the Sun saw Nenshi as far enough to the political right to be acceptable to them. That worries me a lot.

I realize this has been a little incoherent. Barring any last minute revelations from visiting Angels (or a sex tape) I guess I probably will vote for Nenshi. Whoever wins will have a huge challenge managing the expectations of the next 3 years. I would not want that job. There are huge capital projects, rising costs of what we already have, and an anti-taxation sub-culture. Good luck. Calgary will need the smartest Mayor available.

Aside: I was completely disgusted with the race/religion baiting of the Calgary Herald during this campaign. I completely repudiate this nonsense as being in any way relevant to the Calgary of the future.

Edit, October 20, 2010: Changed "next 4 years" to "next 3 years". Duh. Also, fixed 4 (four) typos. Please recommend this post

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