Comment 109556

By ItJustIs (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 10:36:12 in reply to Comment 109547

Sure. First, an informed opinion about Councillors, engagement, and the obligations of residents:

"I'm inclined to think elections are overrated. If you vote for a candidate once every four years but don't get involved in the meantime, it doesn’t really matter much who you vote for. Once politicians get inside the bubble, it's impossible to keep any kind of perspective without ongoing, substantive interaction with 'regular voters' for grounding. Which is why it's so important for citizens to: a) elect councillors who will allow themselves to be engaged, and b) keep up their end of that engagement between elections.

As well:

-Election turnout is a red herring. Because...

-...over 90% of the time, incumbents get returned. No matter the turnout percentage.

-Informed balloting (that is, citizens who have taken the time to come up with their choice, and not merely voting according to 'name recognition', something that, as of the 2006 municipal election was running at about 60%) will only get you so far. (Please see previous point.)

So, given all this, what's the answer?

Changing the landscape so that participation on the part of residents isn't limited to voting. Until this happens, until Hamiltonians are authentically involved, until we're players at the governance table along with the other three participants (Council, City Staff and Developers), nothing will change. I'll bet a kajillion dollars. And how would this happen? A good question, one I can certainly chime in on, but for starters, please keep in mind Einstein's Definition of 'Insanity': 'Repeating the same behaviour over and over and over again, expecting a different outcome.' So the first step is to acknowledge that what's been done so far (on our end), doesn't work. And that in itself is a huge challenge involving cutting away the high dudgeon, applying a little humility, and actually *listening', instead of constantly declaiming your truths, while denigrating those of others. ('Sometimes it's not enough to be right.')

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