Meet A Mayoral Candidate XVIII

June 18, 2010

It’s Friday. That means Meet A Mayoral Candidate post here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke. Here are some perfunctory !!!s to denote enthusiasm.

I am writing in place of the usual MAMC©™® contributor Cityslikr who seems to be suffering from a toxic mix of World Cup fever (its megacoverage is literally making him sick) and bile from attending two mayoral debates on successive nights this week. He’s been reduced to a simpering state of mental incontinence, so the call has been made to the bullpen.

Today: Andrew Barton for Mayor.

Now no one should mistake the lack of enthusiasm on display here as any negative reflection of Mr. Barton. In fact, assume just the opposite. He is a self-described “scientifictionist (writer and reader of science fiction literature), photographic dabbler and transit nerd.” His blog, acts of minor treason, reveals an engaged, articulate, progressive leaning young man who has “goggles on”. Why he thought it necessary to point that fact out under his photo is somewhat unclear but it struck me as funny and endearing, and not at all in a patronizing way.

His thoughts on transit are very incisive and well-informed, both about our very own TTC and other systems around the world. It isn’t merely the knowledge of political motivation or idle curiosity. Mr. Barton is a daily transit user and proudly announces that he doesn’t own a car and doesn’t want to own one. He possesses a driver’s license purely in order to purchase alcohol which makes him our kind of people if a good chunk younger since he’s still actually worried about getting carded.

Barton also writes very smartly on such topics as the importance of culture, environmental initiatives and governance issues. In his initial declaration of seeking the mayor’s office, Barton advocates for the intriguing idea of crowdsourcing. This is an inclusive (some say possibly exploitive) proposition of handing over projects, development or research to the wider community usually via this thing here we call the interwebs. Certainly from a governmental standpoint, one of the benefits would be an increased sense of participation within the general public which could not be a bad thing.

If I have one beef with the Barton campaign so far it would be the lack of an easily identified, unified platform. While front running candidates like George Smitherman and Rob Ford can get away with that, it makes it tough for the voting public to discover new voices and ideas. I get paid whatever the proper adverbily opposite of handsome is to search out worthy candidates toiling outside the spotlight. Most folks don’t have the time. Give us old technogoofs a fully functioning website, Mr. Barton, and don’t hand those in charge of designating ‘credible’ mayoral candidates any further excuses to keep you wallowing in obscurity.

Because that’s what’s going on at the moment which is part of the reason for our growing discouragement. There seems to be some sort of orchestrated effort during this mayoral campaign to keep new ideas and new, viable candidates from participating in any meaningful manner. Or maybe that’s just giving in to easy conspiracy thinking. In all likelihood it can be chalked up to nothing more than laziness. Of those whose job it is to cover the election as well as the voting public, desirous to get behind a candidate as long as there’s not too much work involved in the process.

So interesting candidates like this one get lost in the shuffle of our indifference. That’s a shame. If we all were doing our homework, we might be listening to what the likes of Andrew Barton is saying. Once he gives us that campaign website.

dutifully submitted by Urban Sophisticat

PSA #1a

June 18, 2010

It seems that there were some computer problems over at the Experimental Mayoral Debate Challenge and all the voting data was lost. So they’re asking if people would take a moment to re-vote. Or, if you haven’t the opportunity yet to do so, now is the time.

We highly recommend your participation in order to help put pressure on the powers that be to open up the mayoral debate to more voices. Trust us on this, after sitting through two of the debates with the 6 regulars this week, we need an injection of ideas, opinions and visions.

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, read on…

This just came to our attention via TorontoVote on the Twittersphere:

Experimental Mayoral Debate Challenge.

Now, we have no knowledge of the folks behind this so can’t vouch for how it’ll all work out but we do encourage everyone to give it a whirl and see what happens.

The proposal is this: From a list of all the registered mayoral candidates (30 to date), you vote for the 5 who you’d most like to see up on stage, taking part in a forum the site describes as, “Debate = Candidates sit and Residents ask questions that Candidates answer to their best ability.”

The top 5 vote-getters would be invited to the debate. Those who decline would have their 8×10 headshots displayed on an empty chair as a gesture of protest against their anti-democratic inclinations. (Although we would suggest to the debate organizers to have the Top 5 candidates who accepted their invitation up on stage regardless of where they placed overall. Set up a wall of shame of all the candidates who were invited to participate and declined the offer.)

Our inclination was to vote for 5 of the “other” candidates who have not yet had a platform to air their views to a wider audience but who we think should be heard. To indulge in a little shameless self-promotion here, if you feel a little under-informed as to who those candidates might be, explore our Friday posts as we’ve been profiling the lesser known mayoral candidates for a few months now and have highlighted 15 of them to date.

Or maybe you want to see 5 of the front runners in a format that is less prepackaged and audience friendly than we’ve seen so far. Fair enough. But start voting and let’s see if we can’t help get this thing off the ground. For all the talk about the weekend polls putting Rob Ford neck-in-neck with George Smitherman, the more salient point was that nearly 40% of those asked are still undecided over where they’ll place their vote.

Clearly, we have been watching, listening and are still not liking what we see. So why not use the opportunity on offer here to try and shake this motherfucker up.

dutifully submitted by Cityslikr