You might love the idea, or you might hate it. In the media, one thing that we can be sure about is that his candidacy will mean the campaign is going to be more colourful — and if you have to spend your days covering municipal politics, colourful’s not such a bad thing.
If you are looking at the candidacy from the point of view of a voter, colourful’s not really all that bad, either.
Anything that will get more people to listen for a moment to candidates’ platforms, to compare and contrast ideas and positions, is a good thing — especially if it gets voters involved and voting.
It’s a simple fact that municipal votes in this province are rarely stirring affairs. The best way to be elected appears to be an incumbent councillor with some sort of name recognition, and no real boat-rocking. Lots of signs, door-to-door work, and no troublesome discussion about how you voted on specific issues.
Having Andy Wells enter the fray at least means that the debate will be public and clearly heard. It may also quickly cross the line into insults and recrimination, but at this point, we can at least hope for better.
At this point, the only other declared candidate is current Coun. Danny Breen, who, from the beginning, was arguing for a different style than Wells is known for: “My style is looking to the future, building a consensus and having everybody working together and leading a team that will make St. John’s the best place to live and work,” Breen told the CBC.
Meanwhile, Wells’ first message out of the block was a promise to freeze council wages and lower taxes, and to focus on a smaller, more efficient city administration — a kind of platform that it’s hard for an existing member of council to run on.
We can also hope that, regardless of who wins, we won’t have to return to being the regular municipal comedy feature on national radio shows.
Is it a good thing when city council meetings are a three-ring circus of insults, belittlement and yelling?
No. Good work doesn’t get done, and issues end up being decided on who lasts the longest, or shouts the loudest, and who gives up or runs out of other cheeks to turn. That’s neither good business, nor good government.
Andy Wells will at least be good for the race.
Whether he has what it takes to be good for the city is up to the voters to decide. And the more people we have listening and making that decision, the better.