Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Montague 17 : A New(ish) Candidate

One candidate for council who's been pretty quiet (at least from my vantage point) is Bonnie Burson. In the last couple of days her flyer has arrived in my mailbox. Bonnie was pretty quiet at the all candidates meeting, but I have to say I like some of what's in the flyer. Since she hasn't had all the exposure of some of the other candidates, and certainly she's had a lot less than the incumbents, today's post shines a spotlight on Bonnie Burson.

Ms. Burson's big selling point is her business background. She thinks her experience managing a successful small business through difficult times is directly applicable to running the township, and there is some truth in that - being a councillor is first and foremost about managing the finances of the township.

Ms. Burson is also an 'independent' in the so-called divided township; not an incumbent, or a member of the MRA. This is played up in her flyer; no 'hidden agenda,' she claims. This could be a big plus, although it could also indicate indecision. Nowhere do we find out her views on the lawsuit itself. I'd like to know her views, even if she is non-aligned. Being the cynic that I am, I could read into her flyer that she actually supports the incumbent council - there are no references to the existing council, only veiled references to the MRA.

She says she'd listen to facts, not gossip; again a positive statement. I just hope that she would have enough realism to recognize that sometimes facts can be manipulated; the truth can be spun to the extent that it is as harmful as gossip.

Bonnie has a plan for Fairness and Equality in council, which seems to involve specific question periods with clear rules of engagement. The tone of this section of the flyer is clearly anti-MRA - 'ensure that special interest groups do not monopolize our limited resources'. This is all very well. However, it's not too difficult to imagine a situation in which rules about how and when people can present to council can be used to disadvantage certain people or groups. Controlling access to council allows someone to control the agenda and control which points of view get to be heard. If it's done fairly, this could be all right, but it's open to abuse.

In the end, then, it's Bonnie Burson's financial acumen that remains her big selling point. How far her other suggestions would go would depend on the makeup of the rest of council. My impression is of someone who has something to offer, but will need to speak more and speak louder at the next all candidates meeting. I'd like to hear more and I'd like to feel just a little more comfortable that Bonnie would still respect the presence of a Ratepayers Association in our community, as such organizations have a valuable place in any democratic system.