I’m against wards for Saint John

After hearing that Common Council is going to let us vote for or against wards I thought I would point out my views. The problem with wards is that you force people to elect people based on where they live as opposed to whether or not the person is any good for the job. In addition there is no course in the system to correct this error. Although it does allow for people to run and get elected that do not have broad support, but it also hinders the election of people that might be good people. And in some cases if there is no good people running in a riding the people in that riding would have to “make do” with one of those.

We see it all the time in Provincial and Federal governments some ridings end up with weak people all the time that end up being backbenchers and you never hear from them till next time there is an election.

Using Miramichi as an example here are the results from May 2004.

MIRAMICHI (source gnb.ca)

CANDIDATE
CANDIDAT(E)

SEX
SEXE
VOTES RECEIVED
VOTES OBTENUS
ELECTED
ÉLU(E)S

INCUMBENT
SORTANT

Mayor / Maire
Gerry Cormier M 2558    
John McKay M 2850 E  
Arch C Pafford M 852    
Frank B. Trevors M 2646    
Councillor At Large/Conseiller(ère) Général
Rupert Bernard M 4202 E  
Ken Clark M 2310    
Paul W. Dawson M 4264 E inc./sort.
Bernard (Bunny) Dempsey M 2030    
Raymond J Desveaux M 1288    
Pat R. Diotte M 2206    
Peter L. Manderson M 3113 E  
John (Jake) McLaughlin M 3796 E  
Robert (Trapper) Newman M 906    
René Smith M 2498    
Terry F Whalen, Sr. M 2050    
Councillor Ward 1/Conseiller(ère) Quartier 1
Reg Falconer M 759 E inc./sort.
Jamie James M 206    
Councillor Ward 2/Conseiller(ère) Quartier 2
Mike Connors M 80    
Ned E.J. Manderson M 550 E inc./sort.
Esther (Es) Nye F 79    
Bill Treadwell M 502    
Councillor Ward 3/Conseiller(ère) Quartier 3
Harry Hoekman M accl. E  
Councillor Ward 4/Conseiller(ère) Quartier 4
Wendy M Chadwick F 377 E inc./sort.
Allison J Furlotte M 276    
Carmel Elizabeth Hambrook F 300    
Councillor Ward 5/Conseiller(ère) Quartier 5
Lisa Harris F 879 E  
Shawn Power M 540    
Councillor Ward 6/Conseiller(ère) Quartier 6
Scotty H. Bernard M accl. E inc./sort.
Councillor Ward 7/Conseiller(ère) Quartier 7
Peter J Malley M 474    
Martin J. McIntyre M 614 E inc./sort.
Councillor Ward 8/Conseiller(ère) Quartier 8
Brian J. King M accl. E inc./sort.

Disclaimer- This is not meant as defamation to any of the people listed here and as general assumptions based on numbers. I do not know anyone on this list. Nor, do I have plans of endorsing any of them,, this is meant as a example of a mixed “at large”/”ward” system as proposed by Saint John council.Okay, looking at the “at large” group this is very typical there are 4 strong people elected, 5 moderately liked, and 2 “also rans.” Wards 3, 6, and 8 didn’t even have a council candidate, which probably had lower voter turn out. Also with Ward 3 it was a new candidate which means only 25 people (who signed a piece of paper) really had a say in whether or not that person would be a good councillor.

Assuming that all wards are pretty equal in population Ward 4 there really wasn’t that many that voted and no one really got more votes than the other, this is an example as a “weak” ward. Where as Wards 2 and 5 had very strong candidates and the second place candidate was more popular than the people elected in number 4.

This system is not good enough. Here is the system I think would work if wards were to work. For Saint John to have 6 Wards and 4 “at large” and all candidates will run for their ward. On the ballot you will have the candidates residing in your ward on the top for you to choose 1. And and option “I choose to not have any of the above candidates”. And is that option is the majority then that seat is added to the at large pool. This would protect from unwanted people being acclaimed/elected. Then the rest of the candidates from other wards would be listed for you to choose up to 4 people. If the person is the top in their ward, then they would become elected. Then all the votes will be combined city wide for the top 4 (or more to total 10 councillors if a ward was not elected) people that were elected “at large” that did not win their own ward. And the person city wide that receives the most votes becomes Deputy Mayor.