That’s just about what the headlines would read if Pope Francis ran in the Saint John’s upcoming election and ….didn’t have signs plastered all over the city.
Truthfully, how many people in Saint John knew who Mel Norton was prior to 2012, before the last municipal election? A year or so earlier he was just a lawyer that had won a by-election in the south end and gained a seat on Common Council but he certainly was not a house-hold name.
Then came the 2012 municipal election and big “Tell Mel” signs were plastered all over the city.
You would have had to fail basic math not to conclude there was serious major money that went into that election campaign.
Bernie Sanders would probably have suggested there Superpac or “big business” money behind the push to have Mel elected as Saint John’s mayor. Would Mel have become mayor without the major election campaign he received in 2012? And now TELL MEL has decide that he’s had enough of municipal politics, he has had enough of trying to save the incredible sinking city. Mel with his new found notoriety is throwing his hat into the big ring, he’s shooting for the big leagues, he is seeking leadership of the N.B. Conservative party running against a seasoned Blaine Higgs.
Too bad he is leaving this Council has barely scratched the surface in solving Saint John’s issues. We still have the highest commercial vacancy rate in Canada, high property taxes, high unemployment, high poverty,….. need I continue? What will become of our Renaissance City?
And here we are with yet another municipal election and all to often our municipal elections become “the battle of the signs”, it’s advertising at it’s best or should I say advertising at it’s worst. Those smiling candidate faces plastered all over the city become burned into too many voter’s brains and they wander into the voting booth with “pick me ” “pick me” echoing in their heads. Who could resist? Will the choosing our leader be any different this time around?
Is there any big money behind the grab for the mayor’s chair this time?
Any big business money? Conservative money? Liberal money?……. Maybe?
Does business or partisan politics have any place in our municipal government that is meant to be “by the people and for the people”?
Check out the signs, what chance does Yeomans and Higgins have with their modest sparsely placed signs? I would suggest none so it will come down to Bill Farren, Shelly Reinhardt or Don Darling, would you agree?
Who has what it takes? Who has the experience, vision, integrity and the courage to whip Saint John into shape? Who can usher in a era of greater accountability and transparency at City Hall? Who knows what needs to be done and should they be elected as mayor do they have any chits that have to be cashed in at a latter date? It’s not exactly selling you soul to the devil but there usually is a price. Bernie Sanders suggests that Hilary Clinton can’t be trusted to become the leader of the Democratic party because she “owes” too much to Wall Street and they will come calling later for payback and favours. Is there any chance that we, in Saint John could have a similar situation?
One non committal acquaintance of mine during coffee the other day simply said “Follow the money and follow the signs”.