This past month I have spent considerable time helping some political friends get elected here in Greater Victoria. The group I am associated with is called United for Saanich, which is headed up by the incumbent mayor, one councillor, and three hopefuls. Earlier this year, these five savvy politicos got together to form a slate where they could pool resources and better serve the interests of the bigger community with respect to housing, the environment, transportation, and amalgamation. Their platform is a shared one only in the sense that they will support each other in seeking solutions to issues that have reached critical levels in a municipality that needs to reorder its social and economic resources. Since we arrived in 2011, Saanich has experienced incredible growth in terms of people, businesses, and services. Not keeping up is affordable housing, traffic safety, and fiscal management. For the past few decades, decisions at council level have been fragmented, haphazard, desultory, and anemic at best because most council members see themselves as independents answerable to special interest groups. Recently, a small group of political dissidents have formed a group actively opposed to having slates at the municipal level. While such a strategy is condoned by the Election Act, this group is mounting a challenge to defeat the slate on October 20th. In doing so, they offer nothing but the vacuous opinion that slates are undemocratic, the incumbent mayor is not to be trusted, and this slate needs to be unceremoniously smashed. A pretty tall public order especially when they offer little advice as to how to make it happen other than vote anything but. Meanwhile, their Facebook messaging continues to be loaded with political invective, smear, and unchannelled anger. At least, the mayor has set them on their heels by forcing them to withdraw photos they lifted from our campaign literature.