Friday, September 17, 2010

I Vote for Batman

I figured the comic seemed an appropriate way to lead into a story about politics. Even at the municipal level, politics takes a bit of humour to be palatable. I normally steer clear of hot-button topics such as religion and politics because there are so many people with such diverse opinions it's safer not to get into it. The whole system of having two parties where one takes a stand and the other automatically, good or bad, takes the opposite opinion seems absurd. Just once it would be refreshing to hear the opposition say. Well done, chaps...good job on that military spending or whatever the issue. I guess a guy can dream.

Anyhow, six sentences in and I'm sidetracked already...

Al is straying into the taboo territory of politics, so be warned!
It's nearly time in many municipalities of Canada for the local elections for Mayor and city councillors. I was glancing at the London Free Press online today (occasionally I stray from reading the obituaries) and found a story about some of the 'odd characters' running against the incumbent Anne Marie DeCicco-Best. She has been mayor for nearly 10 years and is seeking a fourth term that will make her the longest-running mayor in the city's history. There is a field as thick as nana's porridge this time out with 15 people running for the mayor's seat. The experts feel, though, that only one other person really has a chance of beating her. That is Joe Fontana, one-time federal Minister of Labour under the Liberal government of Paul Martin a few years ago.

Anyway, I've sidetracked myself again...see, it's the politics!

I wanted to present a list of the other escapees hopefuls for the mayor's office. This is ripped from the Sept. 15th story in the London Free Press and you can link to the full story here. I will give you the thumbnail sketches they present:
On a muggy August morning, London mayoral candidate Jonas Richard White arrived at The Free Press building looking to talk.

Wearing designer glasses, a blue blazer and Buddhist beads, the 34-year-old political unknown sat down and began a conversation that quickly veered into the bizarre -- his status as a possible international agent.

"(Someone) outed me as a Dutch spy," he said. "Yes, I am, my friend, and I don't want to die. Am I a spy? Am I a triple-double agent? I don't know anymore."

Though White altered his tone minutes later -- "Of course I'm not a Dutch spy" -- he also raised other unexpected topics, including his 2007 arrest for possession and production of marijuana.

Is White, who says he's bi-polar, collects disability and drives a Range Rover, a legitimate candidate for mayor?

Most would say no.

Tom Ha, the entertaining, self-styled former millionaire who leaves his Mercedes at home in favour of a beat-up bicycle. He decided to run for mayor, then dropped into Ward 4, re-joined the mayor's race, went back to Ward 4 and finally re-entered the mayor's race.

Tomasz Winnicki, a white supremacist who once boasted of being London's "biggest hater." He's bristled at Free Press suggestions he's "controversial" and told radio host Jeff McArthur he's "simply advocating for white people, the white Europeans who created this country."

Zak Young, who in an Aug. 29 Facebook video suggests his use of a drug -- ketamine, described on Wikipedia as an anesthetic -- could be a reason for voting for him: "It is illegal but personally my entire campaign is about (expletive) the government. . . . If you want somebody who's going to say '(expletive) the government, (expletive) taxes, (expletive) the government taking your money' then you probably do want to vote for me." In a video a day later, he claimed he'd stopped using the drug.

Aaron Broughm, who's said it's time for London to have a man as mayor -- a declaration that, according to Free Press calculations, could alienate about 50% of the electorate.

There are also a few well-prepared candidates for whom winning appears unlikely, such as Cynthia Etheridge and software-developer Eric Southern.

Southern in particular is interesting. He's running to highlight London's need to invest in cutting-edge technology, such as gigabyte-fibre infrastructure, to make the city more attractive to business. There's also the entertaining Ivan Kasiurak, the bow-tied perennial candidate who has a protege, Dan Lenart, in the race, too.
I guess the bottom line is that you don't have to actually be from London to appreciate the absurdity of long-shots with no political experience running for mayor of a city of nearly 400,000 people. As the political expert replied when asked about the people running..."That's a psychologist's question more than a political-science question." Pretty much anyone with $200 and can fill out the paperwork can run for office. Something everyone should consider if their present full or part-time writing gigs don't work out for them. I think I'll read a few more comics to get me more in the mood for politics...


K.Hinny said...

My goodness, what a list! Thanks for the laughs Alan! It's a nice reminder of what I have been missing! Hope you're doing well!!

Until next time!
Happy writing,


Cathy Olliffe said...

I think you should run for office on The Rock.
Mayor Al has a certain ring to it. Hey, if Jonas can do it...

Aaron Polson said...

I'd vote for you, Alan. Definitely over that sordid lot, anyway.

Jarmara Falconer said...

Wow, It nice to read about what is happening in London... Hmm, that's not my London, is it? :-)

Good luck with your choice!

Laura Eno said...

What a hilarious, oddball assortment! Although, maybe that's the norm...I don't follow politics as it seems pointless.

What is Ward 4?

Laurita said...

Now that's a political circus. That has got to be interesting for Londoners to watch, in a trainwreck sort of way.

Karen from Mentor said...

Oh my goodness that was funny.

These mayoral hopefuls would make great characters for a sitcom. Or maybe for another "mockumentary" for Casey Affleck.

kathryn said...

I couldn't decide whether this post was more hilarious or scary, so I'm opting for both.


Can we call you "Al" now? I mean, we've ventured into the realm of politics now, so we're pretty tight, right?

Drama in politics....imagine that.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Kara- Glad to hand out laughs...and nice to see you back!

Cathy- That's me...Honest Al. Too bad I'm scared S&%tless of public speaking. I think my political career would be short lived.

Aaron- It warms my heart to hear I've got something on the Dutch spy, the white supremacist and ketamine guy.

Jarmara- I'll wager the London in Canada is much more sordid.

Laura- It seems to be the norm in London. All the oddballs come out at election time. It kind of makes it easier for the mayor to get re-elected. Wards are the electoral areas of the city. Each word has two councilors.

Laurita- And who doesn't love a good trainwreck? Though I'm sure they are smaller than the ones Ottawa has to offer ;)

Karen- You may be on to something there. We should get Christopher Guest to check it out.

Kathryn- I've been called a lot worse than Al. I suppose drama, or in this case comedy, in politics is preferable to horror. said...

YOU SAID POLITICS!!!! *spaz spaz*



Zak said...

It is funny that you stole your coverage of my campaign entirely from the london free press. Impressive journalism... not!

Zak Young for Mayor