Monday, October 1, 2012

Your Favourite Piece on Mayoral Candidates in the 2012 HRM Election


When I was young I used to read those stupid promotional magazines they give away in “EXTREMEEE” music stores for free. The pictures of Kurt Cobain and whoever else demographically appealed to angsty youth was plastered all over my walls as I pored over the CD reviews to “discover” new music.

“How can you reduce art to a f-ing star system?” my then much cooler than me record junkie friend asked. “Art is complicated!”

The star system gets a lot of flack, but I’m standing up for it. Because yes, art is complicated, but so is life, and sometimes life needs a cheat sheet. Right? Make all the arguments you want about the method, but the reason that this will be your favourite article about the mayoral candidates so far isn’t the quality of the writing, because there are a gazillion better ones, or the information as much as  the fact that at the end there’s a nice & tidy summation of my feelings about a candidates so you’re not left with questionable passive statements like “If you like the sound of a cat trying to eat a triangle while jumping from a tree, this Yoko Ono album is for you.” Although, I really wish there was a candidate that statement applied to.

So let’s get down to it, shall we? Before we introduce the candidates; some notes.

1) There’s little I hate more than people mentioning one scathing comment about an opposing candidate and hoping people will read the section ripping apart one candidate and then scroll down over theirs. As a result, I am scattering some TRULY awesome links through the piece to ensure that you keep reading. And I mean a variety of truly awesome links that could be funny or interesting or mind blowing like THIS ONE. My gift to you is links, your gift in return is democracy. Thanks.

2) If you’re a candidate’s person trying to respond to this, don’t tell me to check their freaking website. DONE. THAT. Seriously, I have spreadsheets after poring through every page of your precious nominee for the position of glorified ribbon cutter and you do not have something that is SO HIDDEN that I didn’t investigate it a month ago. And if you do, that's stupid because that’s not how websites are suppose to work. So that argument has been annulled. Don’t even try.

3) “You’re biaaaaaaseedddd.” So? You aren’t? You think papers aren’t? You think the Internet isn’t? You think journalists DON’T have opinions? I’m not holding myself to a journalistic standard in any sense, but isn’t it enough that I dislike all the candidates pretty much equally?

4) “There isn’t enough policy in this blog post! You should analyze their policy more!” What policy? Do you see any policy? No. Oh, you do? Because you work for the candidate? See 2). Done.

5) Come to this AWESOME debate; it’s going to be awesome. Awesome. Awesome? Awesome.


Mike Savage, roof raiser
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Remember that MP for Dartmouth Cole Harbour who didn’t get re-elected? Hi, Mike Savage here to run your city. Michael Savage, which is his name when he’s not trying to relate to you, is the political equivalent of Matchbox 20: produced in a studio with a lot of money and pretty outdated.  Like Matchbox 20, at his worst the campiness can make you want to scratch your ears off with a set of car keys, but at its best it makes you half smile as you remember how it was playing at that terrible party you went to where some bro puked on your lap but it was okay because you kind of had a crush on him at one point. No no no no that is not a personal experience no no noooooo that never happened to me noooo. Michael Savage.

When Kelly was “running”, Savage was a “game changer”, but now we all just feel like we’re part of a game. He was a kinda adequate backbench MP in every way.  He has a very pretty website with nice words like “our”, which is supposed to make you feel included.  His ideas are solid; HRM has untapped potential, we need more jobs, we need to “partner” and “grow.” There are so many words you can almost be fooled into thinking there’s information there. YOU’RE WRONG. Almost all the numbers that look so fancy are reflections of statistics about Halifax.

Savage references things that went right in other cities that are relevant to Halifax models (Winnipeg, Ottawa) and talks about adapting them. His abstract desires are in the right place. He has very powerful endorsements and he knows how this game works. Mike is a politician, and some people think that is good.

I don’t hate him. If elected, Michael Savage will be rock the crap out of being mediocre. He’ll do a few things right, he’ll do slightly less things wrong, he’ll use the word “vision” a lot. He will not rise above the status quo WITH FLARE, and what he spends his multiple pensions that we pay for on will be interesting to read about in Frank. Michael Savage is a Michelina’s dinner; you always remember you’re eating a bland box meal that will eventually make you unattractive and sick, but he’s one of your, and Nova Scotia’s, favourite flavours.

Rating: *** of 5

Tom Martin, pensive looker
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I am not a cool knowledgeable cyclist type, but I think we’ve all watched a child ride around on a bike on the first gear. It’s adorable how hard they peddle, but they barely go anywhere. Keep that helpless, adorable image in mind next time you watch Tom Martin speak and you’ll like him a lot more; he’s really trying, goddamnit!

Tom is widely regarded as the guy who stands a chance at taking out Mike Savage which should be enough to send you into existential ennui for 30 minutes, so here’s a time for one of those links I was talking about

Okay? It's okay. Watching him speak in debates is awkward because he’s a good enough speaker that you can’t write him off as a newbie, which only makes the bungle of what he actually says worse.  Unfortunately, many of debates are not streamed or available online, which is really, really good for Tom because he has perhaps unintentionally both endorsed the War on Drugs (no, those exactwords) and said that he experienced racism. The racism statement seemed weird and arguable enough (Racism requires power and privilege and does not equal discrimination) without actually looking at the story behind it, but then you do and it just gets worse. Tom says that he experienced racism when he was the only white guy (COP! As in, definitely not powerless) in a courtroom, but didn’t go into any elaboration with what happened or how he dealt with it, leaving us to believe that being the only white person in a courtroom is racist? Or maybe something “racist” happened? I don’t know what he’s saying, but I do know that poor articulation is not something I want from someone who is applying for a position that is mostly talk.

Tom has been involved in law enforcement as a homicide investigator and hostage negotiator, which is something I respect. His supporters know this, because they love to talk about it. Under “My Stance” ol’ Ask4War has 3 options: Business, City Hall, and Crime. I’m not going to pretend crime isn’t an area that HRM needs help with, but I’m also not going to pretend “I don’t know if crime is down or not because those numbers come from statistics and stats can be manipulated: a robbery can become a theft, a break and enter can become property damage. I am not saying this is what is happening because I don’t know, what I am saying is that the misrepresentation of crime statistics has happened in the past - I have witnessed it myself. I do know that violent crimes, particularly murders, in HRM have significantly increased and that point cannot be debated.” is a real platform instead of fear mongering. I don’t think I need further commentary than to repeat “Business, City Hall, and Crime” are the only 3 “stances” sections on his website.

Tom is great at answering questions that people send in and carefully highlights them on the front page of his website. He is definitely much stronger in writing than his speaking. He has a lot of experience in a lot of different areas of this city, and that is highly commendable. The problem with Tom is that the more you understand him, the more you understand how little HE understands about the variety of issues in this city. Keep pedaling Tom, keep pedaling. Oh wait. Active transportation isn’t one of your stances.


Fred Connors, calm chicken holder
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Fred Connors has been to Paris and Fred Connors says “I swear to God” in a sassy way and Fred Connors doesn’t want your loser bike lanes in front of his store, okay? Fred Connors has a cool name and is friends with cool people and goddamnit I want to claw my hair out and just be Fred Connors, okay? There. I said it. Fred will read this statement and smile and laugh to himself and think I am a loser but he’s also savvy enough to be nice to me if we ever interact and say “Oh no, I am not that cool” modestly BUT ONLY BECAUSE HE KNOWS HOW COOL HE REALLY IS. Fred Connors is cool, but just as the popular kid in high school made a crappy student president with the promise of a video dance that the administration eventually wouldn’t allow, I am not looking forward to Fred Connors’ video dances.

Fred has a better website than Savage, and although the blue font he uses as a highlight is my favourite colour, it also gives the impression of a hyperlink before you blindly click on the screen for 5 minutes and realize that there isn’t much on this website.  Comparing Connors to Savage is a very apt comparison, because amazingly enough they both have a similar amount of actual platform, which is to say not much. Savage evens this out with lots and lots of lots of typing, while Connors has suave ass photos and hyperlinks that aren’t. The thing is, all things considered, I would totally prefer Connors over Savage if neither has any clear policy. If we are to give up and admit that this position is ceremonial, well, Connors throws a better ceremony. Connors would be an exceptional ambassador for Halifax, but I’m hoping for more.

Isn’t this way too positive thus far? Funnily enough, I haven’t actually liked Connors during the debates.  Calling Occupy Nova Scotia a bunch of dopesmokers is a mean tactic which I don’t appreciate in a  politician, and his bogus flip flopping about cyclists’ roles in Halifax have no place in 2012. I find his views on bike lanes problematic and a lot of his interactions undiplomatic, but in spite of this I have to say he kind of kicks ass, and mostly because he won’t win. I doubt his ability to connect with the variety of people that being mayor requires, but at least he can looking serious while holding such a contentious election issue such as a chicken and be the only candidate to point out the irony of 6 white guys “discussing multiculturalism.”

Note: I would be remiss to write a page about Fred Connors without referencing my mom, who cycles from Clayton Park to the core every morning and afternoon. Her favourite story is that days before Connors snubbed bike lanes on Agricola, she didn’t purchase jewelry at the mall and instead went to a local retailer because it was more cycle friendly. So take that.


Robert Wesley McCormack, too good for photos-er
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I’m scathing, not cruel.

Steve Mackie, doesn't give a ffffff

No website, no debate attendance? -*************.

Aaron Eisses, that guy
Ah, Aaron. Aaron is the closest I’ve come to actually liking someone during these debates thus far, and even I acknowledge that a vote for him is a protest vote, rather than someone who is actually suitable for mayor yet. Blowing us away with calm, concise messages rather than trying to bamboozle us into thinking he’s said something is always something I appreciate, and although I enjoy that he admits when he doesn’t know something (a Twitter exchange discussed compost bins), I do know he doesn’t really know enough about the way HRM works to become mayor.  Still, his principles and priorities tell me that there are good people in this for the right reasons, so thanks for running, Aaron. I’m glad the publicity from this run will hopefully propel you into an awesome councilor position next time.


Tuxedo Stan, everything good about everything
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Oh em geeeee I am soooo politically enlightened because I can type stuff in Facebook!!! Ughhhhhh whatever why is a Cat running omg none of these people are as smart as me!!!!

These are the 2 main types of responses I have seen to the best mayoral candidate ever, and they are both wrong. Dismissing Tuxedo Stan as a cute gimmick is dumb; there are signs for this cat because he’s a cat, but there is money invested into this cat because these candidates are unsatisfying. It’s all fun and games until you reference the rhinocerous party or the waffle party or the exact definitely of protest vote. I think Tuexdo Stan is a perfect response to the disappointment we have seen this election period. Purrrfect.

DAMNIT. Sorry.

****************** out of 5

You made it down to the bottom? That’s awesome. I’m so proud of you. Now come to the debate TOMORROW; I can’t wait to hear why you think I’m wrong IN REAL LIFE VERY LOUDLY! Democracy is yelling & I wouldn’t have it any other way. LINK

-Nothing I said here represents the views of organizations I volunteer for, employers, friends, or family.
-I do not have an degree in HRM because such a degree does not exist, but I don’t pretend to.
-Here are some good resources/ opinions, some with with actual facts, that are relevant to HRM things in no order because "bias!!!"

Now go vote for an awesome councillor, because you’ll need them.


Hannah said...

This is the best piece of writing I've seen on the municipal elections yet. You've articulated so clearly (and with much less swearing) what my problems are with all of the candidates.

Sharing this!

Luke said...

Allie, you're really awesome. period. And so was JGL rocking out Ignition. Thanks for makin' my freakin' day! ;)