KAMLOOPS — The August heat has settled in and temperatures in the high 30’s are the norm for the next several weeks. Summer vacations are still happening but you can already see a slight slackening of traffic on the highways. Back to school ads are everywhere and kids are showing signs of boredom, a sure indication that the summer season is in decline.
These are the dog days of summer and for someone who writes about political adventures and misadventures, it is a time of limited stories and few tips. It is also an election year, a time when local City politicians are trying to be on their best behaviour.
We are still a month away from lawn sign season, ads, candidate forums and door knocking. Given that best guesses suggest we will see 40 plus candidates tossing their hat into the ring for mayor, city council and school board, I’d recommend a front door that can handle the candidate rush and a big lawn for all the signs they’ll want to put up.
Soon, we the voter will be treated as best friends of those seeking office. Two months of broad smiles, earnest handshakes and pledges to handle, look into or change whatever is ailing you and your city. But I began to wonder, what real opportunities do you have to speak directly to the candidates?
When candidates come by your door, you’ve got about 30 seconds of their time. That’s the average any candidate can spend on your doorstep before having to move on. Otherwise, they’ll never get to enough doors.
They’ll have brochures to give you and the ads will start popping up on TV and radio, in newspapers, and on social media sites. For the most part though, those channels of communication are one way,, partisan and meant to sell you on the positive highlights. Combined, they will give you a sense of their personality, character and political leanings but it is not a conversation.
Having run for office last year, I can also see it from the candidate’s perspective and if there was one thing that bothered me, it was the lack of time and resulting inability to effectively communicate with everyone I wanted to reach. With only two months, it is almost impossible to reach out to everyone and this year, as a non-candidate, I want to help change how you, the candidates and I communicate with each other.
Beginning in September, I want to take your questions, find out what topics are important to you and then work them into each week’s column but here’s the kicker: Once in the column I’d like to see candidates address your questions or concerns but in a manner that is more dialogue than ideologue driven.
In other words, ask a direct question on a non-candidate sponsored platform with the expectation of a direct answer and an opportunity to make it a conversation between you, other readers and the candidates.
You will have an opportunity in the comments section to see who is willing to answer the hard questions and of course who isn’t. Do other voters share your concerns or perhaps have new perspectives on those concerns?
Name callers, shills and haters will not be tolerated as this is an opportunity for the community at large to have real conversations about Kamloops while discovering who has what it takes to lead us for the next 4 years.
It’s not so much an opportunity to speak out as it is an opportunity to speak of, speak of the things that are important to you and see which candidates share your values and your concerns.
You can start anytime now sending your questions and topic ideas to me at [email protected] and beginning the day after Labour Day, I’ll select one or two each week, for inclusion in the column.