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Elections Matter

Elections Matter

Council Corner: Elections Matter

By Jean-Marie Caterina, Town Council

As I write this column, I find myself reflecting on my 8 years of service to the people of Scarborough. I marvel at the changes that have occurred in town over that time. I ponder the annual change in the dynamics of the group of councilors with whom I serve. Ultimately, it is all good. 

Councilors come and go. Some run on platforms with very specific desired outcomes. Some run having been heavily endorsed by one or another of the special interest groups that exist in Scarborough. Yet others run because they feel they have talents or experiences that they wish to contribute to the community. All have a deep desire to serve the people of Scarborough. 

Because the composition of the council changes with every election, the dynamics of the group change. New councilors bring fresh perspectives and experiences to the table. Veteran councilors bring a sense of continuity to the process and results. Like the population we serve, some are more amenable to the art of compromise and search for reasonable solutions. Others are firmer in their resolves and do not budge from positions. Neither is wrong. I find myself compromising on some matters and standing firm in others. What is important is that we manage to arrive at solutions that are in the best interest of our constituents.

There are those who think that councils should be unanimous in their decisions. I am absolutely opposed to that belief. The best outcomes in contentious matters arise from the push and pull of beliefs. In the end, majority rules. But, as we believe in this country, the minority has the right to disagree and attempt to bring others to their side. Democracy is messy, thank goodness. I worry if we ever devolve into a society where everyone marches in step. I cannot think of anything more frightening. 

Every election matters. Regretfully, this election cycle, we have no competition for local seats. I thank those who are running for being brave enough to put yourselves out there. Believe me, it is not fun to take the heat some days! I look forward to serving with you. There is no more satisfying job than to be part of developing the future of Scarborough for all of us. I urge my readers to consider running in future. The more people who run, the better the discourse and opportunity for multiple voices to be heard. As for the rest of you, VOTE! It is the only way in which you have a thumb on the scales. It is the essence of our democracy. 

I wish to take this opportunity to thank Councilor Ken Johnson for his service. I enjoyed our debates and the give and take of your opinions in council meetings. You will be missed. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Scarborough Town Council.