Post Election Reflections

by Ted Durham

Now that we are past the election and are settling in with a new council, I want to congratulate them for being elected. It was a campaign that was interesting and opened some eyes up. It opened mine up as a candidate. You see, I learned that the election wasn’t about the issues, but about how a person is perceived. Many of the winning candidates didn’t talk about issues at all. They talked about vision and why we shouldn’t worry about the direction our city is headed.

Here is the reality I now see.

Read more on “Post Election Reflections“.

It’s Back!

Same concept.  New form.

Check out our new page:  “YOUR tax dollars

This page is dedicated to how present council spends YOUR tax dollars. Dates votes occurred are included. Comments are always welcome.

As always, guest authors are welcome to discuss any of the issues. Links will be added to the chart as discussions, editorials and/or articles permit.

Word document for the chart will be supplied on regular intervals.

Forgot Democracy

Democracy is a universal value based on the freely-expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life.

It is surprising with Premier Redford’s background that her government conveniently forgot about democracy as they tried to entrench Bill 28 into law.

When Mayor Crouse stated that this Bill “sends a strong message to municipalities to co-operate or else”(1), he should have included that this threat goes against everything that democracy in Canada stands for.

To subject voters to a bill that gives them no say in what happens to them, their city or their future is as undemocratic as it can get. The CRB is already undemocratic. It was never elected into being by voters. It has no obligations or accountability to the electorate and systematically shrinks individual property rights and liberties.

As for those mayors and reeves, who still respect the voice of the people who put them in office, they would be silenced with threats of heavy fines and/or incarceration. How democratic is that?

Albertans can be thankful that the provincial opposition parties spoke out as strongly as they did. Otherwise this province would be another step closer to a soviet style council system.

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(1) St. Albert Gazette, Province puts CRB law on hold, November 2, 2013

Money Talks

Dollar protests seems to speak louder than commonsense nowadays. Remember the following boycotts:

Twitter

Journal News Advertisers

Television Advertisers

Yellow Tail Wine

And then there are the numerous boycotts Starbucks faced over the years from political to their ethics in coffee bean purchases.

Observe any of the boycotts from the watermelon movement to see how effective they are and the results they achieve.

The well organized ones definitely make an impact.

So there is really no need to sit back and allow media or politicians to take over the course of the next four years while voters sit back and wait for the next election. Taxpayers can effect change. It can obviously done with class even though we are talking money. But that means tenacity, organization and real passion about the end goal.

If there is something bothersome about what the media presents (i.e. unbalance reporting), get the ball rolling by contacting others who think alike. And then contact advertisers en masse. Let them know that as long as they are supporting the views of a particular media by advertising with them, you will boycott them and seek out their competitor instead.

To stay profitable, corporations, small businesses and organizations rely on the consumer. When they realize that consumer actions will affect their bottom line, they will act accordingly. So will media when they realize that their bottom line is being affected.

Even though the non-taxpayer may have swayed the results of St. Albert’s outcome, it is the taxpayers who will carry the burden of those results for the next four years. Taxpayers still have a voice. A stronger voice than the non-taxpayer. Use it. Use it with wisdom. Use it with class. But use it.

If you don’t like your tax dollars beautifying businesses (When was the last time taxpayers contributed to beautify your home?), let businesses know that they will be boycotted. Sales or services bring in more than $2,500 dollars and most businesses will recognize that.

If an organization supports using your tax dollars and you don’t agree with it, voice it. With your wallet.

Businesses are more receptive to the consumer than government is. They can not afford to lose revenue. Governments, on the other hand, believe that the taxpayers’ trough will never empty.

As a taxpayer it is your voice. Your wallet. You choose.

Pointing Fingers

The candidate of your choice didn’t win. Let’s blame ‘Anonymous’. Interesting that the voter is not blamed. Interesting that the media is not blamed.

Society has become a “quick fix” society. Over the last decade the ability to process and retain information has diminished. Fifteen second advertisements on television give the brain a brief adrenalin rush. Transfer that to today’s technology – twitter – sound bites – how many followers – all equate with brief spurts of adrenalin rush. Ask someone to read something more in-depth and, although the capability to comprehend is still there, the adrenalin rush is not. So the average voter goes for the addictive rush.

And those who now place blame on “Anonymous” for not getting the candidate of their choice into office, what exactly did YOU do? Forget the adrenalin rush and think hard before you answer that question.

The Think Tank addressed serious issues. They backed up every issue with credible references. At no time did they mention the Mayor’s name, nor any specific person on council. They stuck to their initial intentions – presenting facts. Since when did that become a bad thing?

During the campaign weeks many of you supported the issues and welcomed the facts they presented. Many of you understood the reason for anonymity. Many acknowledged that our Constitution allows freedom of speech.

And local media used it for their candidate’s advantage. Check the front page of the local papers through the campaign weeks and notably absent were headlines that spoke of election issues or of candidates. Sensationalised tabloid tactics to sell hard copy was the MO. What happened to the responsible paper that covered important issues from all angles and gave those important issues front page status? One has to wonder who is in whose pocket?

Where’s that finger pointing?

Post Election

There are many who worked incredibly hard over the last several months. Worked hard because they believed that truth and facts would be strong enough to light a flame. Worked hard because they were tired of being confronted with the constant inundation of views and opinions of the absurd. Worked hard against the fringe groups that are making enormous inroads into how St. Albert citizens should live. Yes, many of you worked extremely hard.

Results may not be what one wished for through all that hard work. But results are definitely there. Shelley Biermanski opened up windows and doors for many. Her numbers showed that. The increased voter turnout showed that.

Thank you Ms. Biermanski. You have earned the respect of many.

The forums brought common sense from a number of other candidates. Bob Russell revealed the insane yearly salary increases city employees get; the hardships some residents find themselves in because of high property taxes and extremely high utility rates. Norm Harley’s fact finding reports disclosed the city’s fiscal irresponsibility. John Goldsmith’s contribution revealed how the city has consistently taken industrial zoned lands and turned them into residential ones, thereby heaping more of a tax burden on residents.  And Ted Durham’s frequent exposure of the city’s excessive spending earned him heavy opposition.

Roger Bradley, Mark Cassidy, Gareth Jones and Malcolm Parker need to also be mentioned as they offered common sense solutions to various issues.

The time, effort and expense all these candidates put in to giving St. Albert an open and honest picture of reality should not be shelved. They deserve more.

The next 3 ½ years is not  the time to sleep.

Now is the time to make the new council more accountable than ever before. The more eyes on them, the better. The more questions they have to answer from constituents, the better.

Now is not  the time to become complacent.

Scorecard 5 – Final Update

All candidates’ websites, youtube viewings, as well as both local papers up to and including October 19, 2013 have been researched for updated information. Final results can be viewed on the SCORECARD page above.

If you find the information useful as a tool in aiding your decision, pass it on to someone on your addy list.

Vote educated.  Vote smart.

Class is . . . .

Mayoral Candidate Shelley Biermanski.

Her agenda – the people of St. Albert. Her interest – the people of St. Albert. Her goal as Mayor – improve life for all  the people of St. Albert.

She offers something residents have been missing – genuine concern to raise the standard of living for everyone  in St. Albert. And that can be brought about through the platform Ms. Biermanski campaigns on.

Fiscal responsibility, reasonable utility rates, reinstating the municipal planning commission, repealing DARP, government transparency, retaining an internal auditor, protecting taxpayers rights and freedom and building positive relationships with surrounding municipalities are commonsense approaches to strengthening life in this city.

Shelley Bermanski’s high standard of ethics, her competence, her openess and her approachability will serve her well as Mayor.

Realistic Visions

Ted Durham’s most obvious strength is his vocal tenacity and research in holding council accountable in decisions made affecting St. Albert residents. As the first candidate to throw his hat into the ring earlier this year, he has made his intentions very clear to represent residents – all residents.

His business and managerial background give him a leading edge to working with businesses and increasing financial efficiencies. These assets would greatly benefit St. Albert.

Ted Durham’s platform includes fiscal responsibility, addressing utility rates and unnecessary spending, repealing DARP and the $500,000 LRT study, reinstating the municipal planning commission, and reducing/maintaining property tax rates.

There is no doubt that as councillor, St. Albertans will greatly benefit with Ted Durham representing the realistic needs of this community.

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John Goldsmith’s impressive 35 year business background are something voters should seriously take into consideration before hitting the voting booth.

At the forums, listening to his well researched presentations backing up the various issues he is campaigning for, left the voter with the impression that this is a man who will cater to the well-being of all St. Albertans – residents and businesses alike.

John Goldsmith’s platform includes halting the out-of-control spending,  government transparency, review of the solid waste policy, protection of the Big Lake River Corridor, reinstating the municipal planning commission, repealing DARP and the $500,000 LRT study, and “affordable living”.

John Goldsmith – a serious consideration.