We are facing quite an unfortunate situation in New Westminster when citizens feel so hopeless and powerless because of the mighty "Machine" that they will not vote. Well, this is exactly the result the Machine (or any political party) prefers. Otherwise, the Machine is not the top political power in city, not even second.
By looking at last elections, it is reasonable to assume the last-place finisher on the Machine slate got most votes from the Machine. Also, the difference between the mayoral winner and runner-up, who otherwise run equally strong campaigns, is surely due to the Machine's help. Either way, my estimate is that the Machine controls a block of about 3,000 to 4,500 votes.
The second strongest political power is the business community. Last time I checked a business directory in the library, some 2,500 businesses are registered in New Westminster. Counting the owners, family, some employees, it easily comes to 7,000 to 8,000 votes.
And the strongest political power in New Westminster are the 35,000 voters, or 76 per cent of all voters, who did not vote. They - the voters who did not vote - are like a sleeping giant. As the story goes, even the sleeping giants get up once in a while when their help is needed. And this is happening in New Westminster right now.
This election is for a four-year term, and many things in the city will go in a different direction depending who gets elected.
My point is this: If you are a voter who does not believe your vote will make a difference, please vote anyways.
And watch how many of the Machine-nominated slate of candidates will win when 35 to 40 per cent - or more - citizens vote on Nov. 15.
For disclosure, I happened to be an independent candidate in the current election.
Vladimir Krasnogor, New Westminster, independent candidate for mayor