04 June 2008

Back to reality

1. Two out of three residents voted for none-of-the-above. Before anyone gets too excited about the results of the St. John's municipal by-election, just take a look at the numbers.

Voter turn-out was about 33%.

The overwhelming majority of residents didn't vote. Period.

Even in a general election, voter turn-out is appallingly low. This by-election was nothing to crow about.

2. Municipal politics is no place for ideas.

While Doc and Ron both had help from professional advertisers, they ran campaigns devoid of any political oomph or presence. There were plenty of slogans but nothing that could even be mistaken for substance.

Voters weren't engaged in this campaign because no one engaged them.

Municipal politics is no place for ideas. This by-election proved it in spades.

No one should wonder why the city is in a financial mess. Check the size of the subsidy for Mile One today versus when these guys got elected in 2005.

Then look more closely at the Sink Hole's financial statements than accepting what are likely to be the councillors assurances that the thing is breaking even without an anchor tenant.

3. Then there are the surprises.

Debbie Hanlon.

Opposed by the Ron Ellsworth municipal machine and a bit of spite from another corner.

Wins with more votes in Ward Four than Ellsworth had the last time out in the general election. She put sweat equity into the job where Ellsworth just flicked cash at it.

The municipal system is made for a politician who works the phones tirelessly early on and has really huge name recognition.