Local elections, regional roulette

When British Columbians go to the polls this Saturday to vote for mayors and councillors, they’ll also be voting indirectly for the next chair of their regional district.  This is a little strange, because we don’t know who the candidates will be for those regional leadership positions.

Metro Vancouver, the largest region, is budgeted to spend $620 million in 2012, or $524 for every household in the region.  The chair has influence over the Metro agenda; works closely with the well-paid ($323,767 in 2010) chief administrator, Johnny Carline, whose almost supernatural invisibility in the online world testifies to a high degree of skill; and perhaps most significant, the chair appoints the membership of the Metro committees that oversee Metro’s utilities, parks, housing and planning activities.  Continue reading