Editor's column: Let the election show in Richmond begin

It’s show time, folks.

For the past few months, candidates have been honing their platforms, sharpening their attacks and galvanizing their volunteers, but now that Labour Day’s behind us, the kids are back at school and the weather’s blasted those lazy, hazy days of summer into a distant memory, it’s time to get serious about this municipal election.

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Anyone who aims to take a seat at the head table in the council chambers, or on the board of education needs their paperwork into the city’s clerk’s office by Friday.

At this point, all the incumbents on city council, apart from Alexa Loo, have done that; we understand Loo is planning to do so Friday.

At the school board, the only incumbents who have actually put their names in are Debbie Tablotney and Alice S. Wong — but a lot can happen in 24 hours.

Incumbency is a big issue in civic elections, simply because incumbents tend to win. We, in the media, like to focus on the shiny new penny, but for most Richmond voters, it’s about name recognition. I’ve been here for four civic elections and only twice has an incumbent councillor not held their seat.

That doesn’t mean upsets never happen. Recall the 1990 election when the mayor and three of the four councillors who had voted in favour of rezoning the Terra Nova Lands from agricultural to residential lost their seats because of that decision. Granted, that was almost 30 years ago.

Still, Richmond continues to deal with some highly contentious issues: mega mansions, temporary modular housing and illegal hotels all had people packing the council chambers. At the school board meeting where trustees implemented a SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) policy, the shouting drowned out speakers and police had to be called.

But whether any of that will change council is hard to say. Regardless, elections are about more than determining who sits where. They’re also, hopefully, about civic engagement and allowing us all a chance to take some measure of responsibility for the reality we’re creating.

The Richmond News team aims to help you do your part  with stories on party platforms, key issues as well as candidate profiles. (See pages 11-18). Online, look for the election tab, where you’ll find all our past and present election stories. And, in our Oct. 4 issue, we’ll have a special section where we bring together a range of stories to help you find the candidates who best align with your vision for this city.

Speaking of team, a byline you won’t be seeing in our coverage is that of Graeme Wood. Our tenacious digger is now working as an investigative journalist for our parent company, Glacier Media. It’s an excellent fit for an award-winning reporter who has a lot of Jack Russell terrier in him.

He will be missed, but we already have a stellar new reporter on board, Megan Devlin, and another on the way. In other words, we’ve got you covered.

This election is bound to be colourful, with some fiery candidates, provocative platforms and contentious issues.

Let the show begin.

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