Sadly, I can't vote in next month's St. John's City Council elections. I did in the 2005 elections, although I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to. The elections happened about a month after we moved up here and yet thanks to the deeply flawed mail-in ballot system used by the City of St. John's, it was easy for me to be able to vote since they sent me a ballot.
Still, I haven't followed St. John's City Council as closely as I did in the years leading up to the 2005 election. Between 2001-2005 I spent my fair share of Monday nights at the bunker so I knew who was on council and many of the people running. So I had a good idea of who should be elected and who shouldn't. St. John's City Council was also the only journalism beat in Newfoundland with a body count. I know of at least four reporters who fell ill while covering council. It's a miracle I survived.
It's been four years since I left St. John's and I'm not as familiar with the current crowd, although I still know the majority of them (actually Hanlon, Ellsworth and Collins are the only three who weren't there when I was). And honestly, most of them should go now. If there's anyone impressive on council, I haven't heard of them. I mean, there's no Paul Sears or anyone that spectacularly incompetent. But I certainly don't hear anyone talking about the wonderful job the current bunch are doing.
That's why I'm advocating two things. First, is a scorched earth policy to the current group in the bunker. Everyone except for Shannie Duff. I think you need some institutional memory in there and Duff is least annoying of the batch that I know. So the rest of them...boom.
And yes, I know there are three people running for mayor - the incumbent mayor, the deputy mayor and the lead singer of the Idlers, a ska/reggae band. And yes, I have no problem with Mark Wilson being mayor over O'Keefe and Ellsworth. None whatsoever.
This is also a long winded way for me to get around to this point. While the official list of candidates won't come out until September 1st, let me say this - if I have any influence on your way of thinking, then you should vote for Simon Lono for Councillor-at-large. Yes, I'm biased. I consider Simon to be a friend. But he's smart, knows policy, has ideas, is a good debater and I think would be an excellent fit on St. John's City Council. If you spent as much time as I have with most of the current councillors, you'd realize what a staggering rarity those qualities are.
I can't vote this time, and honestly, I'm not under any illusions of my ability to sway voters. But at the very least take a look at Simon, listen to what he has to say and give the man a chance. I guarantee you will find few candidates with as much brains as Simon has.
1. The bachelor and the bride - The Decemberists
2. Written all over me - Joel Plaskett Emergency*
3. Things that scare me - Neko Case
4. Affirmative action (comedy) - Chris Rock
5. Quand j'etas fille a l'age quinze ans - Figgy Duff