Opinion » Maxed Out

Voting and Cornucopia go hand in hand...don't they?



"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." So saith Honest Abe Lincoln, or maybe not. No one seems to be certain.

I think they're even less certain why he said it and just what the heck he meant by it. I don't know either but somehow or another I'll try to make it seem germane to something I say a few hundred words from now.

As long as I'm wasting time quoting dead people, wasn't it Donald Rumsfeld, President Shrub's secretary of offense, who said, "As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time." How's that? He's not dead? Just wishful thinking, I guess.

I'm sure that has something to do with what's to come as well. At least I'll keep my fingers crossed, which makes using a keyboard interesting.

It also reminds me of a book James Surowiecki wrote in 2004 called The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations.

Mr. Surowiecki is a journalist, a staff writer for the New York Times. Don't hold it against him. His book argues that in some cases large gatherings of common folk are better, in aggregate, at reaching smart choices, way better than, say, experts.

In that down-home, folksy way patented by Honest Abe, he relates a story of guessing games at a county fair. I can't remember whether it was guessing the weight of a bull or the number of jellybeans in a jar, and to be honest I don't feel like looking it up. For all I remember it may have been both.

The long and short of it was this: No one person guessed the right weight or number of jellybeans. This included experts in bull and bean. But the average of all the guesses was spot on, or at least closer to the correct answer than any one individual came. Cool, eh?

The crowd was right. The individuals making up the crowd and the so-called experts were less right, wrong being such a self-esteem destroying word.

OK, so what does all this piffle have to do with anything you or I might be interested in, other than the obvious interest I have in filling this page. Here we go.

There's a municipal election coming up. If you didn't know that, don't blame it on the aesthetically-pleasing lack of campaign signs. Just put down the paper and return to whatever you were playing on your Xbox.

The rules have changed this time around. We have to elect a mayor and council to sit for four years, not three. There has been peace in the valley now for most of the last three years. It's not only reminded me uncomfortably of one of those old-timey Coke ads, it's made my job harder since there has been fewer outrageous acts performed I could justifiably be outraged about. Building on the strong foundation of the last council, this one has made the job look easy, notwithstanding their hard work.

So where has that left us? With a dearth of candidates to choose from, that's where. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never have so few offered so little to so many. OK, before you fire off an email to Clare, I'll admit that statement's a little over the top. But it crowd-tested funny so I'm going with it while thanking those who have hung it out there to run for an office fewer people want this time around than during any election in the past couple of decades.

I don't think it's a stretch to say we should return Nancy to the mayor's chair. I don't think it's a stretch to say we should form a human shield around her to protect her from any harm between now and the 15th. I'll just leave that unsettling thought in your mind.

And as historically interesting as turfing out all sitting officeholders was the last time around, I think the three incumbents have earned a second term in office to prove we didn't make a mistake in the first place. I'm not certain that sentence didn't get away from me but I think you know what I meant to say. Jack, Andrée and John have been diligent, worked hard, never said anything in drunken stupor to make Whistler the laughing stock of North America and, to the best of my knowledge, don't smoke crack. If that doesn't qualify them for another term, I don't know what does.

And what about the other vacant seats? Thank you for asking. I've filled one spot on my Election 2014 dance card with my sister, Sue Maxwell. Just kidding; she's not related. Perhaps for her benefit, I should repeat that: SHE'S NOT RELATED!!!

But she seems as though she'd be a good addition.

In the drizzly days of early November, when all we really want is a sign from the gods that the mountain(s) will open early and give us a few good weeks of skiing before the tourists get wise, in a November when we have an election, when there are vacancies to fill and tough choices to make, I like to turn to the tried and true methods of problem solving that have served me so well for so many years.


And so, while I keep digging and thinking and talking to people just like you to try and fill the rest of my dance card, I'm turning to Cornucopia for either guidance or solace... I'll take either, thank you.

Cellar Door will be a good place to start. It's on this Friday (Nov 7), from 8-11p.m., at the conference centre. It's Cornucopia's newest event and shaping up to be a don't-miss hit. There will be over 100 outstanding wines on pour, some appies to keep the slosh factor down and, hard as this may be to believe, given B.C.'s interesting liquor regulations, you'll be able to buy the wines you taste on site at the Cornucopia Liquor Store.

Three other events make me optimistic about surviving this election cycle. The various Chef's Table events at private homes are always an outstanding opportunity to enjoy a memorable meal and get in-depth detail on a favourite winery. Poured, on Saturday Nov. 15. will be a great chance to either celebrate or forget the election results and find new favourite wines and spirits.

And I've already got tickets to see what magic R.D. Stewart conjures up at the Red Door Bistro/Tightrope winery dinner on Nov.14. I'm locked and loaded and ready to procrastinate.