Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Michael's Musings

Putting WOW factor into city election
by Michael J Morris 
So far in the city election race, I have not heard a real WOW from any of the candidates for mayor or council.
I've been listening closely and it seems that depending which side of the fence they are on regarding taxes and infrastructure improvements, they are essentially, for the most part, using election platforms, I heard 25 years ago when I first moved here. All the candidates are sincere I'm sure, just too much same old, same old. No WOW factor!
I recently came across an article in PureWOW which ranked the ten best cities in the United States in which to live and decided to share the results with you in the hopes of injecting some WOW into your campaigns.
 PureWow is a digital publication dedicated to finding ways to make your life more interesting, beautiful and manageable. Our motto, "Elevate the Everyday," drives us to deliver irresistible discoveries to our readers every single day" according to its web site.
Here we go.
  • The smartest place to live, based on memory, attention and problem solving tests is Ithaca, New York. Now, Ithaca is known as a college town, which may contribute to its smartness, and Cranbrook has a college and is a town, but a college town it is not. 
  • The most affordable city is a place called Norman, Oklahoma because of low property taxes, gasoline prices, average home prices, even movie tickets. How about seeing how the folks in Norman do it!
  • The fittest city is Minneapolis-St Paul in Minnesota according to the American College of Sports Medicine. A study showed it is because of low smoking levels, high level of exercise participation and access to quality physicians and healthy lifestyle programs. Sounds like a good plan to use to attract family physicians to Cranbrook
  • The sunniest is Yuma, Arizona and never in my years here have I heard anyone use the information that Cranbrook has the most hours of sunshine in BC to promote the city.
  • The best smelling city is San Francisco for a wide range of reasons.
  • The friendliest is Charleston, South Carolina according to the Condo Nast Traveller's Reader's Survey, just overflowing with southern hospitality. That is a great reason to live anywhere.
  • Most smiles per capita is St Louis, Missouri. Yes they actually tracked the stats using photos from Instagram users. A company called Jetpac analyzed millions of pictures.
  • Most walkable, believe it or not, is New York City, as you can get to many amenities on foot. Having walked about parts of New York, I tend to agree, and I include it with two Canadian cities -- Toronto and Vancouver. Sorry folks, although I walk everywhere in Cranbrook, the "amenities" so to speak are far too spread out, and the Strip is hardly pleasurable.
  • For women, Purenow says that Las Vegas is best American city to find an eligible man. 
So, there you have it candidates for mayor and councilors, a free conceptual framework, you can adapt for a WOW campaign with thanks to the folks at

The article appeared at:

I do congratulate all candidates for standing for office. It requires a huge commitment on your part, and I know all  sincerely want to serve the community as best they can.  My email is

From the editor:

There is one 'wow' factor amongst new candidates in this election, about which I am surprised.

It is the assumption by many of these candidates that they will, if elected, be able to greatly change the City’s budget.  I wonder what magic wand and unknown skills they possess.  Council has unanimously approved its Five Year Financial Plan, which was carefully crafted by very well qualified staff working in collaboration with Mayor, Council and Department Heads.

I have attended most budget meetings and all but a few council meetings over the last five years. I have rarely, if ever seen any of these new candidates attend these meetings where rationales and discussions were heard.

None of these candidates has provided insight as to what they consider frivolous spending.   So scratching my head, I wonder if the following might be some of the items to which they refer. Subsidizing the Ministry of Highways to improve the West Entrance was a problem for a few councillors. It was the opinion of several Councillors that twin benches (a department decision) on 14th Avenue were not necessary.  The bioswale on 14th Avenue is sorely misunderstood. The plant growth may not be pretty (to some) but there has not been a single flood since it was installed and the resulting debris and costly cleanups are gone.  The total monetary sum of these items would not fill many potholes or lower taxes, let alone barely begin to pay for any infrastructure replacement.  We must also remember a large part of the City’s budget is controlled by other authorities, policing and fire protection.

So come on candidates, please be specific and enlighten us about where you will cut and what you consider to be frivolous spending. 


Jenny Humphrey


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