I think this is a question that a lot of people ask themselves, but usually in a rhetorical fashion. A lot of people believe that local politicians can’t do anything. This results in large voter apathy for municipal elections. As many as half the people in the city don’t know a civic election is happening this month. You would think the lawn signs have tipped people off by now.
I personally think local politicians can make a huge difference in change. If we look at New York City and Toronto, we can see how local politicians have made changes for the better or worse. Without mayors like Michael Bloomberg and his city administration, New York City would not have achieved some of the most amazing changes it has ever seen. The decision to close most of Broadway to vehicular traffic is a huge local decision that has changed the face of New York. The current New York administration has also implemented other changes that have improved bicycle and pedestrian movement in the city.
Then there’s Toronto and Mayor Rob Ford. He has turned the city upside-down in his efforts to “stop the gravy train.” People are still wondering where exactly this gravy train is. He has lifted levies that helped bring revenue to the city and has reversed multi-million dollar decisions in transit that have incurred large penalties. Now, he dangles library, police, and fire services from the plank all in the name of “stopping the gravy train.”
So please don’t tell me that local politicians can’t really make changes. They can and in a very big way. So if you are in BC, then please go out and vote this November 19th. If you can’t make it on the 19th, then consult your local municipality’s website to see when advance voting is taking place.