The Politics Of Building A City

20080403 076My week as Mayor of Port Moody has come to an end. Although I wasn't able to pass a bylaw requiring every Port Moody resident to simultaneously try out a completely unrelated profession for one week each year, I still enjoyed the experience. I have such a love for the city, that I found it really interesting to be involved in discussions that will impact its future growth and direction. I felt as if I was "in the know."

I think a common misconception is the extent of the Mayor's authority on decision making. I previously thought that it was the Mayor who made final decisions based on recommendations from City Council. I was surprised to learn that the Mayor simply has one vote. Though, if things happen to go wrong, he is generally the one that gets the blame in the newspapers.

It's a difficult position to be in. On one hand, you want to keep everyone happy and make choices you feel will benefit the city. Though on the other, tough decisions have to be made and your opinion will undoubtedly differ from those of some in the community.

20080403 056As Mayor Trasolini told me, "you must have a sense of humour in this profession."

As we place ourselves in a position that is more accessible to a wider audience, you open yourself up to criticism. I experienced this over the past year and received some advice just over half-way through:

In anything that we do, there will always be critics - a third of people are going to love what you do, a third will hate it, and another third won't care.

(In an elected position, I guess you only hope that a third will be enough to give you the majority vote!)

I could definitely see myself (at some point down the road) running for Mayor or City Council. Then again, after this past year I have realized I could see myself doing many things!