Don’t discount value of Red Deer First

The presumption that the candidates who will run under the Red Deer First banner won’t represent the varied interests of voters is without substance.

Re: a by Mary-Ann Barr published on Sept. 24 in the Advocate (On your mark, get set, go):

The presumption that the candidates who will run under the Red Deer First banner won’t represent the varied interests of voters is without substance. Just because they appear to be of a more fiscally conservative bent doesn’t necessarily mean that they will disregard voters’ concerns on other non-fiscal topics or will not vote against resolutions that other group members want to implement.

The implementation of a ward system will allow voters to concentrate on their representative, who in turn will be more attuned to their needs.

Such groupings of candidates are not uncommon in other cities and simply represent people who align themselves with specific ideals and goals. These groups are no different in their objectives than those who belong to the mainstream parties such as the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP, which have agreed-upon specific platforms designed to appeal to the largest number of voters.

In fact, the relatively few number of politicians running independently and successfully at the provincial and federal levels speaks volumes for the high success rates of party-oriented candidates.

Western nations have endured years of stagnant growth following the 2008-09 recession despite central bank injections of trillions of dollars for bailouts and stimulus measures and despite short-term interest rates kept at near zero levels. Cities such as Stockton, Calif., and Detroit, Mich., were forced into bankruptcy due to shrinking economic growth, falling revenues and burdensome debts.

These are all signs pointing to an underlying economic malaise that cannot be resolved by further increases in debt and a failure of governments to live within their means.

In light of the above, Red Deer voters should be asking how their council could have passed a resolution to spend nearly $1 million to appease the vocal demands of a few hundred hard-core bicycle enthusiasts for bike lanes and then realize a year later it wasn’t such a smart idea? How many thousands of dollars will the next council spend to erase those lane markings?

It is this sort of poorly thought out and wasteful spending of our tax dollars that, for me at least, renders most of the current council unworthy of running the city for the next four years. Being fiscally conservative will become the watchword of the future if Red Deer is to avoid the calamities that are befalling cities such as Stockton, Detroit and many others to come.

Fortunately, with such a large selection of candidates, there are more than enough to choose from who will be less likely to make the same spending mistakes suffered by the present council.

In this context at least, the Red Deer First group offers a refreshing alternative to the often misguided thinking that pervaded the last council on how to spend taxpayer dollars in the most judicious fashion.

Patrick Carroll

Red Deer

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