Thursday, October 4, 2007

Calgary Alderman - Ward 5

Mohamed El-Rafih is a life-long resident of the area who just graduated from the University of Calgary's Political Science program. He feels the ward needs new representation, with a focus on what he calls the "Four Key Pillars":

  • Justice
  • Democracy
  • Health & Education
  • Infrastructure

It makes for a heck of a slogan, but the devil, as they say, is in the details. Detailed policies aren't available on Mohamed's website, despite a "Policy" tab. Either my computer is broken (in which case, Best Buy had better batten down the hatches - this is a new machine!), or his website is. You can find the site here.

Ray Jones is the incumbent for the ward, and has served for the past 14 years as area Alderman. He has managed to fly under the radar for the past decade and a half, while by most accounts doing a decent job as a spokesman for the ward. He voted in favour of moving the smoking ban ahead (as much good as that did). His big issue seems to be the lack of recreational facilities in his ward and the city as a whole. He has no web-site.

3 comments:

Young Calgarian who wishes she COULD vote said...

I have to sayt hat I think this little comment you posted was the most helpful when it came to my researching who to vote for in my Ward5 community. I see signs all over, and am always willing to give the new guy a chance, but when none of the tabs on his website work, I have to wonder just how serious Mohammed really is in his campaign for our section of the NE. As for Ray Jones, if he hasn't bothered to post at least aFree you tube video, or shell out the 20 fee to havea website somewhere explaining his purpose, perhaps he himself has become outdated.
Our entire home (including our friendly illegale suite renters) have opted not to vote. There isn't enought information on any of the candidates for Ward 5, or for Mayor. As a Calgarian in my late 20s and coming into my second civic election, I must say I am very disappointed in all the push to cast an uneducated vote, a vote that CAN'T be edducated due to lack of information.

Enlightened Savage said...

Y.C.W.W.S.C.V.:

Thank-you for your comments.

In my humble opinion, an uneducated vote is worse than no vote at all. If you feel that there isn't enough information available to help you make an informed choice, I'd suggest you show up and spoil your ballot.

A lot of people assume that it is the job of the candidate, or of the media, to hand them all the information they need, on a silver platter. Clearly, since E.S. isn't exactly advertising on bus-stops, you've made an effort to find some information on the candidates, so bravo! The fact that the candidates in your ward seem disinclined to reach out to younger Calgarians, despite the fact that one of them is a recent U of C grad himself, is shocking and disappointing. If you feel neither one of them has put in enough effort to earn your vote, then it would be democratically irresponsible of you to vote for EITHER of them.

An uninformed vote gives the illusion of a mandate to the winner. They say "60% of voters showed up, and 60% of those voted for me". These numbers lead them to believe that they have the support of the majority of their ward. If everyone shows up and either votes for a candidate of for "neither" (spoiling the ballot), then it should be pretty clear when looking at the final results - if 90% of voters showed up, and only 22% of them vote for me (even IF I win, as the other guy got 18%, and 60% of the ballots were spoiled), clearly I don't have the support of the whole community - far from it. The numbers prove it. I know I have to do better.

As for the mayoral race, check back at the Enlightened Savage on the 14th for a break-down of the candidates and their platforms. :)

Thanks for reading - y'all come back now, ya hear? ;)

- E.S.

Anonymous said...

Ray Jones has served as Alderman for 14 years and has an official website with all of his policies stated on the city website. I have had reason to contact him on a few occasions about issues in our ward and he has been prompt, returning my call within 48 hours and was very happy to hear from ward 5 citizens. You are only as informed as you choose to be. It is our responsiblity to find information and be informed... this is an active process not a static one!!