Looking at the Hamilton Municipal race at present there is a possibility of the largest number of new faces on council in memory. In addition to a new mayor, we will have new representation in Wards 1, 3 and 9 for sure. In addition there is a likelihood of a new face in Dundas if Russ Powers steps aside. There also is some potential for change in Wards 2, 10, 11 and 15. With 8 ridings in some measure of flux it is important that the candidates in these ridings consider working together. If you are running because you want change, the first thing to change is the old boy’s club around the council table. That clique is successful because they can cobble together a voting bloc. Some of them also co-opt new councillors because of their long-time relationships with staff and their ability to help newcomers “sort through the bureaucracy.” On the flip side the bloc can punish uncooperative council members by thwarting their initiatives. It was unfortunate to see the three new faces on council from the 2010 election so easily assimilated by that voting bloc. Even if only four new members (three councillors plus the mayor) are elected they have the potential to make a difference if they stick together. There are still a few members outside of the clique who can be brought onside as needed depending on the issue. As the campaign unfolds the potential newcomers should start turning their thoughts to how they will bring about needed change in what has become a deeply entrenched and corrupt political culture in Hamilton. For their part voters should question candidates closely about how they are going to implement change. New faces are only of use if they bring with them a new way of doing things.
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