Comment 48514

By Hamilton Pundit (anonymous) | Posted September 30, 2010 at 12:50:46

RM said:

Rather than term limits, I'd rather focus on the following:

* A more level playing field for candidates during election campaigns; and
* More active citizen engagement between elections, so that councillors have an easier time making informed decisions that reflect the values and goals of their constituents.

With all due respect, what does that even mean? Incumbency is the single greatest advantage a municipal candidate has (see Kushner, Siegal and Stanwick in Can. J. of Pol. Sci., 1997, 30, p. 539-553 for a study from Ontario). In that study, the incumbency coefficient accounted for almost ALL of the effect on electoral outcome in a large city.

Furthermore, the Municipal Elections Act has also attempted to "level the playing field" with contribution limits, restricting the ability for candidates to carry forward surplus funds, and excluding expenses related to disabilities from the overall expense count, among other changes.

Without adding "TERM LIMITS" to that list, what else do you think would appreciably "level the playing field" in a city the size of Hamilton? I would suggest that all other measures would just be ineffectual tinkering at the margins of the issue.

Incumbency is a massive advantage, and despite my love for McHattie, I don't think it would be a shame if he was given one term, and then have to look for other ways to affect change in his city. I'm not a big fan of "Up or Out", but I think there are far fewer McHatties in the world of municipal urban politics than there are those type of leaders who represent static group of interests, and who turn their wards into personal fiefdoms.

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