As numerous as the candidates were at last night’s election forum that I moderated for the Downtown and Oliver Community Leagues, most remarkable were the 140 people in the audience, attentively listening and taking notes. (For a recap, check out Mack D. Male’s post.) These citizens were taking the opportunity to see their future councillor in action. These citizens are taking the initiative to be informed voters.
Now that’s a good way to serve your city. Exercise your vote.
An even better way to serve your city is to vote consciously. Here are some questions I ask myself before casting my vote:
Who is running for election?
What do they stand for?
Do they have the ability to run a large organization?
Do they know what that large organization is for?
Do they know what they want to do, and can they realistically do it?
Do they have good relationships with people they disagree with?
Are they open to learning new things from any source?
These last two are important, because it is not possible for a councillor or council to please everyone. It is unreasonable to expect every citizen to be happy with city hall, because we will all be unhappy with something. The real question is whether the people we elect are smart enough, skilled enough and have the emotional intelligence to build relationships to get things done. I don’t have to agree with everything they do, but I do have to trust that from their vantage point, they see things I don’t see. To trust them, I need to see that they are open to learning from anyone wanting to have their ear.