There was a time when municipal elections in Nelson could be summed in two words: challenge and choice. Frustrated with decisions coming out of City Hall, folks took action and put their name on the ballot. Back in the Gary Exner era there were 19 choices for six council spots and five candidates took a run at the then-mayor.
Three years ago, seven names showed up on the council ballot and a trio joined the mayor’s race. Very little challenge to those sitting in power and very little choice for voters looking for inspired new direction.
It’s difficult to say exactly when the municipal election begins. Some could argue it starts as soon as a fresh council is sworn in for a three-year term as the politicians work towards building trust with constituents.
On the front page of today’s paper, we have decided to kick up some dust on the looming election. We started with the low hanging fruit — the seven sitting members of council.
Three didn’t hesitate when asked if they were going to be on the November ballot. Margaret Stacey, Bob Adams and Robin Cherbo are all in. Veteran politicians John Dooley and Donna Macdonald are not surprisingly holding their cards close to their chest as they wait to see what unfolds in the next few weeks. Deb Kozak and Kim Charlesworth are similarly not divulging much, but the latter did pique our interest by leaving the door open for a run at the mayor’s chair.
One question all incumbents seemed to agree on is they too would like see more names on the ballot. Though every person that steps forward for the challenge means more competition, it seems this crew wants a spirited race. We completely agree.
Seventeen names on the council ballot may be a bit much, but a healthy 14 would make the campaign much more interesting. Win or lose, the greater number of personalities and ideas added to the discussion is sure to produce a more vibrant community.
Are you up to the challenge?