If you’ve dished it out in print, like this guy did from the look of him, you’ve got to be prepared to take it. In real life, that was Bogey in Deadline USA. Below: The actual author of this blog with Danielle Smith, just before she announced she was seeking the leadership of the Wildrose Party. I’m reliably informed Ms. Smith is getting awfully sick of seeing this rather dated picture, and I certainly regret not having trimmed my beard that day!
Any journalist or blogger who runs for public office risks being pilloried for what he or she has written, which is why I said at the start of my campaign for St. Albert City Council that if I’d been so bold as to dish it out, I had better be prepared to take it without complaint.
My advice to anyone who has read a number of my blogs is to judge me as a candidate on the kind of decisions someone who sees the world as I do is likely to make, not on agreement or disagreement with a specific point.
That’s because elected officials have the awful responsibility to make the best decision possible based on a lot of different facts, a certain number of competing points of view that may all have some validity, and circumstances that are constantly changing.
So, in this sense, Progressive Conservative Premier Alison Redford was quite right to tell Albertans that the terrible floods in Calgary effectively instantly rendered her government’s priority of quickly balancing the provincial budget politically irrelevant.
In other words, fixing the damage became her and her government’s priority, notwithstanding their Conservative principles – and it’s said here that most Albertans regardless of their political stripe agreed with that snap assessment, whatever they eventually make of the way she delivers on her promise.
So it should be clear to anyone who has read this blog that I believe, when subject to an honest accounting, public services delivered by public employees from our own community are usually more cost effective and benefit more people that privatized government services delivered by for-profit corporations, which frequently have no stake in our communities.
This certainly isn’t to say there aren’t jobs the private sector does better, or occasions when private solutions don’t make more sense – and when a politician makes those kind of case-by-case decisions, someone you hope will vote for you is always going to disapprove.
But it is said here that essential services like health care, bylaw enforcement, education and the management of public assets are best done by the public sector, just as market-driven activities like residential development and the production and sale of consumer goods are done best by the private sector.
So I’d rather state my views clearly and lose the election than try to fly under that radar as I believe a lot of candidates of all political persuasions do in hopes of sneaking into office, especially in municipal elections.
I was raised in a religious home, where a Bible verse or two could be found to sum up almost every circumstance. The verse for this one is, “a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden,” and I staked out my hill a long time ago.
I’m running for city council because I want to help St. Albert continue to grow sustainably.
So on council, I’ll try to make decisions that are environmentally responsible and maximize value for our tax dollars. Remember, my wife and I are also citizens of St. Albert, and we are not wealthy people, so we feel the impact of taxes here too.
At the same time, we recognize the value of the services the city does well, and we want to see them continued.
For the same kind of reasons, I see our city as an important part of a larger region, and I think we can accomplish a lot, for less, by working with our regional partners rather than fighting with them or just ignoring them.
Finally, I believe that people with a commitment to transparency and honesty in public life understand the passion with which I have often stated my views in my column in the old Saint City News and on this blog.
Danielle Smith, the Leader of Alberta’s Wildrose Opposition, whom I have singled out for some heartfelt shots, had this to say about my blog: “For the record, I think Climenhaga gets it right more often than he gets it wrong. He is often the first to break news stories and political gossip (he outed my run for the Wildrose leadership before anyone else) and his analysis is usually very good, even if I don’t always agree with him.”
Perhaps Ms. Smith understood where I was coming from because she seems to be a person of conviction herself – even if we disagree about almost everything else. Or perhaps it’s because she worked as a journalist herself.
My goal if I am elected, which I am sure Ms. Smith would understand, is to be true to my principles and make good decisions on the questions of the day that serve taxpayers well and sustain our community into the future.
If you’re interested in helping my campaign in any way – or just keeping track of what it’s up to and what is being said about me – please leave your name and email address on my campaign website, DavidClimenhaga.ca/.
The St. Albert Leader ran an entertaining story today on Alberta View Magazine’s declaration that I am one of the province’s 15 most influential Tweeters.