Quick Platform and Campaign Theme Song

As I was telling you in the article dedicated to the Mayoral candidates, I’ve completed yet another profile, and this is a great opportunity to discuss campaign theme songs, after explaining my shortened and distilled profile answers.

I generally have difficulties keeping my answers short and/or developing the “elevator speech”. Having to provide some of the shortest answers (as compared to previous questionnaires) is thus salutary.

普通话 for (English follows the Mandarin version.)



3.競選主因:欲改善民主赤字導致基礎設施的延宕,如大眾運輸工具、交通阻塞及網路資訊安全(networking information security)等議題


5.為何「非你莫屬」:身為「鄰家協會」主席及輔導員,我具備傾聽、同理(compassion)及傳達(communications)的專業能力,例如我能將社區的回饋化為實際行動的社區政策。更多資訊請見:website: 佐迪安.安德烈.net

6.競選之歌:愛拼才會贏 - 葉啟田  (EN)

Please consider the following longer explanations in the English version.

1. Reason for running (50 words max): Having had to reluctantly represent my neighbourhood at OMB, I became intimately acquainted with the demagogy, corruption and complete disregard some elected representatives and bureaucrats have for the people they are supposed to serve. I will introduce partial direct democracy (polling) for my Councillor decisions and then at City level.

The words “demagogy, corruption” may seem heavy, but sadly, they are reality, a reality we are constantly faced with but choose to ignore. More often than not, we know when politicians lie, or when they make promises they are unlikely to keep, yet we have learned to forgive and forget. Direct democracy allows candidates to start being honest about their views and beliefs, and a politically mature voting public will be able to discern between frauds and civic-minded candidates. Also, “partial DD” is essential, as part of being a representative is being able to interact and negotiate with the other representatives, so that our city prospers and we can take decisions beyond narrow neighbourhoodism. And that means that not every single decision is liable to be decided by the public, at least not at first.

If you would like to know more about how the Swiss do DD, here’s a a video on how Direct Democracy works in Switzerland in a bit over 5 minutes.

2. Career previously (ten words max): Lifeguard, Internet Consultant (20+yrs), UTSEC peer counselor, neighbourhood association founder

It’s hard to distill a career to ten words, but then again, voters seldom have the time to hear anything more than that. I worked as a lifeguard as my very first job in this great city, having completed what the city called (and still does) “leadership courses”. I’ve discovered that a lifeguard’s job is far more difficult than it seems – 10 minutes of scanning a medium-sized indoor pool makes you as tired as reading as reading Kant – but it was a great learning experience and I ended up switching to the front office, where serving people was a bit more of “my thing”.

I initially focused with my first Internet business, started in the mid 90’s, on web design, but in time shifted to Internet Security.

The choice of including my volunteering year with the University of Toronto Sex Ed group is important, because after having been selected out of a large pool of applicants (5-6 for each available position), I went through a few weeks of training, learning the importance of listening and placing one client’s needs and views above your own. It is quite the antithesis of the incumbents’ approach to interacting with constituents.

Experience with a neighbourhood association is essential for any Counsellor candidate, as people turn to such associations only when they exhausted all other avenues of support and their elected representatives have effectively turned their back on them.

3. Most important election issue (ten words max): democratic deficit resulted in infrastructure investment lag (traffic, gridlock, networking)

The results of chronic underinvestment in our public transportation and roads infrastructure are painfully obvious to any resident who leaves their home once in a while. Part of it is undeniably corruption – why else so many roads are being closed and regularly “resurfaced” when there is no need for it, while others are full of potholes and nothing is done about it? Why could Montreal start blanket Wi-Fi coverage in its downtown and our denizens are still stuck paying exorbitant prices for spotty  Data or Internet to oligopolists?

There are many such questions, but corruption is now an accepted as normal within the amalgamated City, especially after the Computer Leasing Inquiry took so many years and produced zero indictments.

While partial direct democracy will not eliminate corruption, it will definitely make the Counsellors and City bureaucracy more accountable and ensure that residents get more bang for their tax buck.

4. Accomplishment you are most proud of in the last five years (ten words max): Shifted subsidized housing planning from ghettoization to new buildings percentage.

It’s no secret that for a long time, the City of Toronto has built new subsidized housing along the Jane St corridor (and adjacent neighbourhoods), resulting in “ghettoization”, marginalization and segregation of low-income communities, often also along racial lines. As we fought in my neighbourhood against such a racist project, we contributed to shifting thinking among decision-makers toward setting up units at below-market rents in new buildings, thus creating the opportunity for low-income families to thrive and prosper, and for vibrant, more diverse neighbourhoods. While I certainly did not single-handedly make this change, and the process is still on-going, I am proud to have contributed to this paradigm-shift.

5. Why voters should give you a chance (30 words max): As a peer counselor I was trained to listen, and as president of my neighbourhood association I translated my neighbours' concerns into policy changes. Learn more at https://andrei.zodian.net

The short answer here is that the incumbent’s policies were abysmal, his promises are terrible ideas (except the ones he stole), and probably any single candidate out of the large pool of 10+ is likely to do a better job than him. In my answer, I try to explain why me, and how I am different and more worthy of the honour of representing my neighbours than the rest.

6. Theme song for your election campaign, if any (song title and artist):
  • 2) Get up, stand up - Bob Marley
  • 3) Feeling Good - Nina Simone
  • The choice of a theme song requires some explanation. At first, I considered a punk song, such as one from this well-known list. Then I realised that none of the punk songs are likely to get any traction and are not popular among the general public. Another song I considered is Death Cab for Cutie - Gold Rush (lyrics and official), but it’s Seattle, even though it looks familiar (both the visuals and the theme). A more “localized” version of the same feeling is Barenaked Ladies’ the Old Apartment, as it speaks to the nostalgia most of us feel as we walk through our very rapidly changing neighbourhoods, but that could make it seem like I’m encouraging break & enter.

    Searching on Spotify, I’ve discovered a few songs I had not heard before and quickly added them to a playlist. I then thought that since Vox Populi, Vox Dei, I should look at a song of love for God. I am not very familiar with the Christian Rock scene, but I think that a song such as Im Nin’Alu – Ofra Haza might fit the bill, and then there’s also Obama’s declaration of love to his electorate, but I’d save the latter for my own fundraising in a theatre.

    So I decided to go with well-known songs. Bob Marley’s creation is well-known and a bit overused in political campaigns, but effective. “Feeling good” is a great song that evokes a sense of freedom that to my mind is connected to direct democracy, but the interpretation is so strongly personal by someone obviously different from me that the listener might have difficulties connecting it to my campaign.

    Finally, Jimi’s cover of Dylan’s creation is a puzzle that, to this day, gives me goosebumps when I listen to it. It seems that it’s an open-ended apocalyptic vision conjured up by the Book of Isaiah, 21:5-9.

    • You can’t go “along” a watch tower, but you can come down, and coming down the ivory tower is what representatives need to be doing, as in Switzerland.
    • Dylan stated in an interview that the song "All Along the Watchtower", which opens up in a slightly different way, in a stranger way, for we have the cycle of events working in a rather reverse order, and that is consistent with direct democracy allowing the people to tell their representative what to do, rather than having to endure a representative’s prescriptions.
    • A number of characters stroll through this song and they are to me evocative of the diversity our Ward is known for.
    • While the atmosphere is ominous, and possibly evocative of the alienation we each feel living our disconnected lives, we are nonetheless connected through our wants and needs and we can avoid more failure by coming together and electing a new face to represent us.

    To conclude, we are faced with serious problems we need to address, but together we can certainly solve them, way better than an elitist apparatchik (aka champagne socialist) whose solutions are dictated by his provincially attuned but locally disconnected party elders.

    LE: Signal recently posted an incorrectly assembled version and then corrected it following my tweet.

    Sources / More info: sonfac-bnl, tgu-dylanobel, wiki-aatw, yt-dd, yt-gf, scidd, yt-ib, gdoc, signal,


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