The people have spoken – just as they did in 2008.
Redlands has a new mayor and she has a big job ahead of her.
Election campaigns are not always the best example of good public policy formulation. Yet election campaigns and election promises provide the signals that guide voting and provide the hope for so many people.
Of the three levels of government, local elections are the most personal. Unlike state and federal, where the inevitable angst of a campaign is directed to the political parties, local politics focuses the vitriol on the person not the party. This campaign had too much bitchiness and not enough attention to the abilities, knowledge, potential, experience, suitability and likely performance of the candidates.
Those who subscribe to local government independent of groups, alliances and parties will need to lift their game if their case for independents is to be sustained in the long term.
This newspaper encountered multiple attempts to slander candidates and those associated with them with spurious pieces of information that were designed to undermine credibility rather than raise any serious breach of laws. There were examples from all groups involved not just those supporting one side.
There is clear difference between disseminating rumour, innuendo, and misinformation and reporting on substantive and independently acquired, verifiable and potentially unlawful information.
Complaints about this media organisation’s print and online coverage of the election were received from individuals and groups supporting – but not always associated with – both mayoral candidates and from several divisional candidates. While this media organisation understands the balance and restraint required in a election campaign, the same cannot be said for those using social media.
The unmoderated nature of social media can be a serious impediment to fairness and reasoned debate in an election campaign. Social media users will need some semblance of restraint if the medium is to have a legitimate role in future election campaigns. However, we should all be proud that we live in a community that can stage an election for its local representatives and the will of the people is carried out in an orderly and dignified changeover of people and policies.
We must acknowledge our gratitude to all those men and women who nominated for positions and with their families, friends and supporters put themselves through the clearly exhausting ordeal.
Thank you from the people of the Redlands.