Three items that got my attention this past week in the 2014 Ottawa Election

one two three

Finally, a Political Slate! Jim Watson says he does not believe in a slate of candidates. It’s a good thing others do – it’s made for some interesting election reporting.

The #PropertyOwnersSlate is comprised of 15 candidates led by Mark Scharfe, a Candidate in Osgoode Ward. The slate is made of all challengers, no incumbents – advocating for the return of weekly garbage pickup. Other issues in the group’s 4 point platform include the cancellation of the Green Bin program, giving Ottawa Hydro dividends back to its customers and the cancellation of the city biosolids program. However the return of weekly garbage pickup is the issue that is getting the traction that the group of 15 are looking for. Candidates in other wards, though not part of the slate including Matt Muirhead in Kanata North and Lili Weemen in Somerset have also come out in support of the idea.

It is difficult to determine how this will play out in the end, but at least it’s given the voters and the reporters something to talk about.

Let’s show School Board Trustee Candidates some of the electoral spotlight

Each property owner pays taxes that support the activity of the City; they also pay taxes that go to one of four school boards that educate the children of Ottawa. So quick tell me…who is running to be the school board trustee in in your zone for your school board? Do you know what zone you are voting in? Do you know what board you pay taxes to? I hope you can at least answer the third question.

But what about numbers one and two, can you answer them?

The Board Trustee Candidates in most wards have not had the opportunity to debate in front of those they are trying to get support from. Community Associations are focused on Council Candidates, as they should – the councillors will have to work closely with these communities. So who can organize these public forums and debates? How about the people closest to the schools, the Parent Councils in each of the schools?

If you have children in any of the four school boards, even if you don’t and are concerned about our education systems contact the Parent Council of your school, encourage them to work with other councils in your zone and organize a public meeting. Have the questions you need answered asked. Let the candidates tell you why they are seeking your vote – they need to do that and deserve the chance to have that opportunity.

#OttVote Advance Polls

I can now say I voted!

I voted last week at the Advance Poll that was in my building in Somerset Ward. The City estimates that over four days (the first three days to vote were October 1-3 in a special poll and Advance Poll October 9th) more than 28,000 people voted. In 2010, in just two advanced poll days 42,178 people took advantage of the early voting.

The poll clerks working in my building said that turnout was slow when Liz and I voted around 6pm. It did not surprise me that the election staff were not busy, the only signage announcing that the building was a poll location was inside, there were no signs or ‘sandwich boards’ outside inviting the public to vote indeed. To be fair, voters would have known about the location on the voters’ cards and via the city website – but I know a visible reminder does more than an unopened piece of mail with a voters’ card.

The next scheduled Advance Poll is Saturday October 18 2014. If you know you can’t vote on the 27th – vote on the 18th from 10am to 5pm. I await the final number of ballots cast in the five days of advance polls. The five are up from last year, but far below the 11 days of polls that the City of Mississauga (a city of 713,000 residents compared to Ottawa’s 900,000) has before election day.

But please, make sure you vote!

I invite you to share your ideas by commenting to this post or any post on my blog. You can also email me directly at robdekkeroc@gmail.com. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.

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