That's partly a lie. I have no freaking clue who I'm going to vote for mayor or public school trustee nor do I particularly care. For one thing, mayors always tend to focus on the central part of the city (ie. Downtown) more than anything else and as for school trustees...I'm no longer being educated under the public school system nor do I have children so I can't say I have time to waste on something that doesn't really affect me.
Up till this week, I had no idea what was going on with the city election. I had read The Gateway interviews with the Ward 5 councillor candidates but I don't live in Ward 5 (I'm in Ward 6) so those interviews, while somewhat interesting reads, aren't going to affect my vote.
The main issue I've cared about since I started going to university (and still live in the suburbs) is transportation and even more recently with the economic boom, traffic congestion caused by both inefficient public transportation and too much construction. Not surprisingly, people are going to talk about crime in Millwoods. Personally, I think it's more of an overhyped myth than actual reality (yes, shit happens here but just as long as you don't get involved in it in the first place, it most likely won't touch you).
Going through the list of Ward 6 councillor candidates, I immediately recognized three names: Chinwe Okelu, Amarjeet Sohi, and Dave Thiele - and that's due in part to the number of campaign signage they've sprinkled throughout Millwoods.
Thiele's currently a councillor. I'm not exactly sure what he's done but according to his site, he supported the U-Pass and supports the idea of public transportation as the primary choice for urban mobility. He also wants to get rid of vehicle idling. The site overall isn't very informative. Issues are listed but not really talked about in depth.
I got pamphlets from three candidates today. One of them was Okelu's - who I saw occasionally when I used to go to church. I gotta wonder: Is this guy so popular that he doesn't need to elaborate to get people to vote for him? His pamphlet was the most pointless to read out of the three. His family life, community service, and awards are listed as well as his campaign issues...with no further explanation. At least Thiele has a paragraph for each issue. Okelu has nada. I went to check out his campaign website and the exact same stuff that was in the pamphlet I saw was there. Nothing new.
The second pamphlet I went through was Sohi's. This guy is hands down the one with the best campaign. He actually explains why there are problems and how he wants to see them resolved. His site is very well put together and it goes further to explain the issues he wants to deal with - he's practically got a mini-essay written out for each one but what he says is actually interesting. His support of rapid transit and LRT immediately makes me want to vote for him. He asks the question of why only 11.4% of Edmontonians are using public transit and attacks the lazy response of Edmonton simply being a car city by pointing out that it's because the city's public transport system, to be frank, is terrible. He also mentions the limited service on off-peak hours and weekends as well as the lengthy one hour trip from Millwoods to Downtown or the University. It's like he's read my mind! If that weren't enough, I read that he lobbied City Council to improve bus service (route 72) into Silver Berry and Mill Creek Meadows (the neighbourhood of yours truly). This really struck home to me because a few years back, I remember waiting for the bus to get me out of my neighbourhood so I could head to school to write a midterm. Basically, the bus went right past the ten people who had been waiting for it (me included). Let's just say I was not a happy camper since by then, it was past peak hours. I don't remember how I ended up getting to school in time to write the exam but I do remember calling ETS as soon as I got home and bitching about what had happened and demanding that the route 72 operate more during non-peak hours. And even though I said I'm not exactly concerned with city crime, what Sohi says about it is worth reading. Basically, he thinks that day-to-day crime needs to be dealt with if bigger crimes are to be prevented but of course, the police are more focused on the latter.
The last pamphlet I read was Chuck McKenna's. He seems to focus a lot on youth crime and gangs. One issue he mentions that others haven't is snow removal and street repair. While not nearly as bad as Okelu, McKenna has the same problem in that he doesn't say more beyond a sentence or two on the issues he lists.
I checked the campaign websites of the last two Ward 6 candidates, Lori Jeffery-Heany and Tomas Denis Vasquez. Heany, like Sohi, gives explanations behind issues but sadly, she makes no mention of public transportation whatsoever. Meanwhile, I take back what I said about Okelu having the worse campaign. I just saw Vasquez's and he doesn't even have a list of issues he plans on tackling! - just this vision: "Enhancing our communities through cooperation and mutual understanding of common goals" and a list of affiliations, jobs, and community service work he's done. I can say with confidence that this guy is not going to get a whole lot of votes.
So after all that agonizing research, I'm definitely going with Sohi for one of the Ward 6 councillors and most likely Thiele for the other one.