Voting at the last minute: the 5-minute rundown

Yes, the election is tomorrow.. and of course you're going to vote! But with the sheer madness of the last week to sift through, who's really worth voting for?

Not everyone's got the time to follow civic politics, so I've gathered a bit of quick information, since I'm sure nobody wants to throw their vote away.

Here's the Georgia Straight's "Straight Slate": their recommendations for mayor and council. They choose who they believe to be the most competent, and like to pick a 'balanced' group. Note that this is _not_ my endorsement, but theirs. I just think this is a good source of information for those who haven't followed civic politics for the last three years.

Also, to jog the memory, here's a quick look back on 10 issues from 2005-2008, and how the present councillors stood, or didn't, on 10 major decisions that "shaped our city".

Lastly, here's the city's site - so you can find where to vote. The site also lists all the candidates for mayor, council, parks board, and school trustee. You don't have to vote for every position if you don't want to.

I've hacked up the articles below:

The Straight Slate

Mayor: Gregor Robertson The Straight says he's 'got a bigger heart' than Ladner, and seems to be a consent-builder. His MLA experience may also be valuable, as he can raise issues at the provincial level.

Strongly recommended councillors:

- David Cadman (COPE): "can usually be counted on to ask the most intelligent questions".

- Kerry Jang (Vision): a psychiatrist, he "skewered project Civil City, and understands the science of addiction".

- Chris Shaw (Work Less Party): "a good watchdog over the Olympics and the International Olympic Committee when Vancouver hosts the Games"

Recommended councillors:

- Suzanne Anton (NPA): can be "a bit too right-wing", but understands peak oil and climate change, and "would be a good opposition councillor".

- Heather Deal (Vision): "intelligent and articulate" and played a "constructive role in the EcoDensity debate", ensuring affordable housing was part of the plan.

- Michael Geller (NPA): A development consultant, "has lots of ideas for addressing the city’s housing crisis".

- Raymond Louie (Vision): "He understands regional issues, and he is perhaps the strongest Vision member on budgetary issues"

- Andrea Reimer (Vision): "She’s 36 years old, younger than most people who will serve on council", and "was a very good school trustee from 1999 to 2002".

- Geri Tramutola (Work Less Party): "thoughtful and progressive, and if she won enough votes to get elected, she would be a terrific addition to city council"

- Ellen Woodsworth (COPE): "worked hard on civic issues over the past three years, attending numerous forums", will work hard on including social housing in developments.

10 decisions that shaped the city:

1) Issue: Entertainment performances prior to council meetings. NPA - cancelled it; Vision+COPE - tried to keep it. (cost: $18k/year)

2) Issue: Southeast False Creek Financial Plan and Strategy. NPA - lowered affordable housing component. Vision+COPE - tried to stick with original plan. (cost: intangible)

3) Issue: The city's child and youth advocate. NPA - cut the office. Vision+COPE - tried to keep it. (cost: $150k/year)

4) Issue: 311 phone system for the city (cost: $20 million+). NPA - budgeted for it. Vision+COPE - tried to stop or ask for public input.

5) Issue: The Chinese seniors coordinator at the Downtown Eastside Residents' Association (DERA). NPA - cut it. Vision+COPE - tried to save it. (cost: $31k/year)

6) Issue: Expansion of downtown ambassadors program. NPA - expanded it. Vision+COPE - tried to stop it. (cost: $872k)

7) Issue: Canadian Tire big-box store on Marine Drive. NPA - allowed it. Vision+COPE - tried to stop it. (cost: intangible)

8) Issue: Project Civil City. NPA - created and budgeted it. Vision+COPE - tried to stop it. (cost: $300k/year)

9) Issue: EcoDensity. Both sides supported it (really a city planning department idea).. cost: intangible.

10) Issue: Mental health advocate. NPA - stopped creation of the post. Vision+COPE: tried to create the post. (cost: $100k/year)