Bye bye roadside signs

Recently, I had the great pleasure of chatting about low voter participation with Mike Farwell (on the cleverly named Mike Farwell Show).

It was a great conversation that you can listen to starting at the 64:20 mark here https://www.570news.com/2018/09/24/monday-september-24th-2018/

However the segment before mine is the focus of this post: Election signs.

Do they serve a purpose? Are they a distraction? A waste of money?

I think the answer is yes to all. One thing is clear to anyone driving through the city, there are A LOT of lawn signs along the roads,  at major intersections, up on hills, over here and over there. And yes, there are some on people’s lawns.

Mike proposed a change that I am repeating here, and supporting.

Let’s limit lawn signs to:…….wait for it….. LAWNS!  Meaning private property.

Let’s get rid of the clutter on our roadways, reduce the cost to ALL candidates, and look at some 21st century ways to allow for public announcements.

I am all for expression, and the intent is certainly not to prevent anyone from getting their name out. But IMO if you cannot get anyone to put your lawn sign up on their lawn, then well..you know…

Many will state that public signs are a way for lesser known candidates to get their name out there. I personally believe that lawn signs favour the incumbents and those with more funding. Signs, bought once, can be reused giving the incumbent a leg up at each election against the first timer who most buy their initial arsenal of signs to compete with the incumbents “free” signs.

I am sure if we got some feedback from residents and sign vendors we could come up with some creative ideas to maintain the intent of public roadways signs that doesn’t result in the current sign war we see on our major roads.

If elected as Ward 1 councillor for Cambridge, I will propose that signs be limited to private property in the next municipal election, subject to a robust discussion on alternate ways to allow all candidates a public, low cost way to get their name out there.

Happy Tuesday, Kevin

 

 

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WWJJD- What would Jack & Jill do?

Should a community take care of it’s most vulnerable members? Or cast them out? Which Cambridge represents you?

 

This Friday, I was present at the Cambridge Centre from 7am to a bit after 9pm.

I had so many nice interactions with everyone I encountered. A huge thanks to the many people that waved, chatted, cheered and listened.

Let me tell you about the couple from Galt that I alluded to in my Insta post yesterday (@Hiebert4Council). Let’s call them Jill & Jack. They stopped by and I said hello to them.

The first question from Jill was “Are you going to get rid of all the crackheads in Cambridge?”.  

(Everytime I get this, or a similar question, I cringe. No matter how prepared I am, how much I have thought about my answers, I cringe. )

My response: “ Well, by get rid of them, what do you mean exactly, what do you think should be done?”

She leaned in a bit, lowered her voice and said “ I really don’t give a shit.” then smiled.

Jack, listening nearby, smiled and agreed.


The discussion went on for a few more minutes, mostly me listening.

I stated that we definitely need more supports, like addiction treatment options, faster access to mental health and of course more housing.

And I told them that the Bridges is meant to be an emergency shelter of last resort and it is not designed for medium or long term housing, it isn’t a treatment facility and so forth. 

I mentioned that the demand for the services (ie people needing emergency shelter) is greater than the supply (beds), and that greatly worsens the situation.  Overcrowding causes problems everywhere.
I don’t know how much, if any, of what I was saying was heard, and that is ok. Jill and Jack didn’t come talk to me to have their opinion changed or to learn about the situation.

They had an opinion and they wanted to share it. For a few minutes, I let them. And then Jack and Jill moved on. But before they left, they said more:

Jill told me one of her uncles was once on drugs and eventually got off them and is doing better now, so can “they” too. With the caveat: “If they really want to”.

She told me about “this girl” wearing expensive jeans, or how “they” wear expensive shoes, have smart phones, and more similar examples to illustrate their statement that “these people” don’t need our help, they should sell their expensive stuff first.

“If they can stand in the sun all day begging at the stop lights, they can get a job” was a very strongly held belief by Jack

I asked how successful he felt a person would be getting a job without having a home, or if they are actively using drugs. Didn’t seem to be an issue for him.  I think the uncle was mentioned again.

(Side note: Do we not all know people that are housed, not actively using drugs that are struggling to find a job? How much will their chances of landing a job go up if they no longer have a home or if they are actively using drugs, or both?  How is it even possible that I have to ask such a non-question? )


I couldn’t disagree more with their sentiments, but I listened and I told them that I agree that we need more supports, more access to affordable housing, more mental health support, more substance abuse treatment options. If I hadn’t met them, I wouldn’t have realized how many myths are being circulated that need to be dispelled. Jill & Jack’s heartless view of “others” and “them” fuels me to work even harder to ensure we deal with facts not fiction.

Their beliefs are largely built on myths, falsehoods and exaggerations. If we can shine a light on the BS, and deal in truth, we can solve problems. That is the way forward.



Myth: Everybody is in the same situation and should be treated the same.

Fact: Each person is an individual and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

I Am Guessing You do not want to be marginalized because of what someone else does or doesn’t do, do you? How offensive would it be if someone took Jack & Jill’s statement and attributed them to “all people from neighbourhood X”, or “all (insert ethnic group)” feel this way? Very offensive. And it would be wrong.

 

Myth: “They” are not from here, other cities are busing people to Cambridge

Fact:  There are clear rules and procedures around access to social services. Cities are NOT sending people to Cambridge unless the people ARE from Cambridge. And vice versa. 

Myth: “They” can stop doing drugs whenever they want, drug addiction is a choice  

Fact: Substance abuse is a recognized medical disorder.

Currently, in the Region of Waterloo, and specifically in Cambridge, there is not enough treatment options for drug and alcohol abuse sufferers.

The solution is NOT to “get rid” of anybody. The solution is to increase the accessibility and availability of treatment options. Nor is there a political will to change that. 

There are many more myths and false information and I encourage everybody to get the facts.

In closing, please keep in mind

  1. If we work together as a community, we can solve problems and make the city a safer, healthier and more secure place for everyone.
  2. If we pit people against each other and take sides, we will fail.
  3. It is NOT us and them, it is just US. There is no we and they, just WE. Together, we are better.

Kevin Hiebert

Terry Fox Run next Sunday- Sept 16th

Next Sunday is the annual Terry Fox Run.

The run starts at noon on September 16th at Riverside Park.  Please come run, walk, jog or cheer on the participants.

Terry was one person who wanted to make a difference, and he did. He inspired Canadians, he gave us hope, he made us proud. He fought until he could not fight anymore.

38 years after his Marathon of Hope, cancer is still killing and we are still fighting back. Thank you Terry for your courage and your example.

If you are wish to donate to a great cause, you can do so here:  http://www.terryfox.ca/buddies

 

Come say hello- Friday Sept. 7th

 

I am excited to announce that I will be at the Community Kiosk (near the Bay entrance) at the Cambridge Centre this Friday, September 7th. 

Drop-by times:

7am-745am

9am-1pm

3pm-9pm

Come discover and learn:

  • How to verify that you are on the voter’s list
  • How to determine your ward
  • Learn about the different ways to vote
  • Ask questions & be heard, because YOU matter
  • Get information on my virtues and priorities
  • Sign up to volunteer and help the campaign

This is a great opportunity to speak with a candidate for city council, learn about the elections and more in a friendly, relaxed setting.

I look forward to meeting you at the mall!

-Kevin Hiebert

Follow me on Social: @Hiebert4Council

Email me at hiebert4council@gmail.com

 

 

Ranked Ballots – My Opinion

 

In addition to electing city councillors, regional councillors, school board trustees and the mayor, this October you also have the opportunity to answer a question on the ballot: “Are you in favour of the City of Cambridge using a ranked ballot voting system for the 2022 municipal election?”

I will be voting Yes and I encourage you to do the same.

Put simply, I believe Ranked Ballots are an IMPROVEMENT over the current system we used to elect our public leaders,

Ranked Ballots allow the voter to indicate a 2nd, 3rd (or more) choice, after their 1st choice.

This ONE change has an immediate positive impact on the voting system:

  1. Candidates will campaign in a more cordial, civilized manner as being a 2nd or 3rd choice will benefit candidates.
  2. Candidates will benefit from earning support from larger parts of the community and therefore will better reflect the values and wishes of the community they aim to represent.
  3. Voters can continue to pick their preferred candidate, while also having a say on who is elected if their first choice is not elected. (IMPORTANT: The 2nd, 3rd choices a voters makes has NO impact on their candidates chances. The 2nd, 3rd choices a voter makes are ONLY considered IF their candidate is eliminated.
  4. Voter interest will INCREASE, which will result in HIGHER voter turnout, which will produce a result that is more reflective of the community.

Modifying the current voting system to include Ranked Ballots is not a panacea for how we elect public officials. However it addresses some of the current deficiencies, in particular the LOW VOTER TURNOUT that heavily favors those in power.

In my opinion, Ranked Ballots are a better way for the residents of Cambridge to elect their public officials than the current system.

If I am elected as councillor for Ward 1, Cambridge this fall, I will push for Ranked Ballots in the 2022 municipal election.

With one exception:

Per the motion passed by city council : “The result of a vote on a question binding on the municipality is if at least 50 per cent of eligible electors in the municipality vote on the question and more than 50 per cent of the votes on the question are in favour of the question. In the 2014 election, the City only received approximately 30 per cent voter turnout If the result of the vote on a question is in the affirmative, the municipality shall do everything in its power to implement the results of the question and do so in a timely manner. If the result of the vote on a question is in the negative, the municipality shall not do anything to implement the matter which was the subject of the question for a period of four years following voting day.”

In clear language, unless more than 50% of all eligible voters vote AGAINST Ranked Ballots, I will actively promote Ranked Ballot if elected.

-Kevin Hiebert, @Hiebert4Council