Comment 77265

By CouldaShouldaWoulda (anonymous) | Posted May 24, 2012 at 20:48:00 in reply to Comment 77244

With apologies to the author of this thread...

First off, I never said 'You need to get involved.' Although addressing those Hamiltonians beyond you, that's pretty much what I believe in.

So, from my perspective, what *I* believe in is that what you can do is see that neighbourhoods are energized, organized and mobilized.

Instead of taking up space here, I'm going to provide links. Sorry if that seems déclassé...

And this one deals with what I'm talking about from a fictional, future sense:

Or, if you'd prefer the notions as framed by the editor of this site, Ryan McGreal:

"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.

As for what makes a good politician, I think it comes down more to
temperament and broad intellectual framework than to a specific set of
political beliefs.

A smart, patient, well-educated, open-minded, intellectually humble
councillor will generally follow a sensible process of getting informed
and land on a sensible policy that does a good job of leveraging the facts
of an issue and bridging the hopes, fears and contradictions of the
electorate and the various interest parties.

Here are some of the pitfalls that render councillors incompetent:

* Ambition - voting to maximize upward political mobility
* Megalomania - refusing to listen to others
* Anger - voting to punish enemies
* Fear - voting to avoid risks
* Partisanship - voting along party lines
* Dogmatism - voting along ideological lines
* Laziness - phoning in votes instead of engaging the issues
* Stubbornness - refusing to cooperate with others or compromise

Left isolated from the outside world, just about anyone will fall prey to
one or more of these pitfalls, 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."

The most organic, most sensible way to get people organized, energized and mobilized in their own governance, making it far more likely that theyr'e going to get their councillor's work at City Hall reflecting their own needs and intents, is by way of neighbourhood associations.

Does the neighbourhood in which you live have an NA?
Is it active?
Are you a member?
If there's an active NA in place, join. Contribute. Help make great changes happen amongst your neighbours, then help collaborate with your councillor to ensure these changes are put into action.
If there's no NA, consider starting one.

The world has changed a ton in the past sixteen years, since 1996 when the Hamilton and Burlington Society of Architects conducted their charrette concentrating on the downtown crisis. In fact, it's changed markedly since facebook and Twitter came on the scene in the past decade. Social media isn't the lone way forward to make possible what I'm talking about, but it's changed mindsets about engaging and networking, provided incredible tools to empower.

We need to begin acknowledging and embracing the fact that *we* are the way foeward, not some Wonder candidate or the notion of 'throwing the bastards out'.

And again, apologies to Ms Wayland for hijacking this thread.

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