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Metro column: Advice for the mayoral runners-up: don’t fade away

By DJ Kelly October 29, 2010

Naheed Nenshi is our new mayor. I doubt anyone would have guessed that might be the outcome in 2007 following Dave Bronconnier’s thorough thumping of high spending rival Alnoor Kassam.

I remember thinking at the time that Alnoor Kassam could have been be our next mayor, if he really wanted to be. The path to victory in 2010 for him was a simple one.

All he had to do was spend three years being seen as an active and caring citizen who worked hard in the community and was always there to offer sound advice on the affairs of city hall.

This was the one big thing Kassam was missing in 2007. He felt to voters like an opportunist;

someone who came out of nowhere to run for the big chair, someone who didn’t really care about Calgarians, someone who was just in it for himself and was willing to spend $1 million of his own money for the prestige Nenshi is bathed in today.

It was a simple enough problem for Kassam to overcome — be the thing Calgarians wanted, but didn’t see you as: An engaged, community focussed alternative.

Sadly, Kassam did not do this. Instead, he drifted from the public eye, returning to his personal business world. When he announced this spring he was ready to take another shot at the mayor’s chair, hardly anyone batted an eye.

With a sideways glance we seemingly said, “That guy again? He hasn’t done anything for Calgary for the past three years. Why would I vote for him?”

With no traction at all, Kassam pulled out of the race before nomination day even arrived.

I recount this tale as a warning to all the unsuccessful candidates from last week. If you really care about Calgary, your work is not done. Just because you were not elected does not mean that the city does not need you.

You proved yourself to be engaged, thoughtful and caring enough to want to stand up and represent the rest of us. Please do not shrink into the background and spend the next three years doing little.

Just because you are not on council does not mean you cannot help make Calgary a better place.

Show us you didn’t run because of an oversized ego. Show us you ran because you are passionate about a better Calgary.

Yes, it’s true. This will give you an even better shot at winning a seat in 2013 — should you choose to run again.

But more importantly, the fruits of your labours really will make a difference over the next three years.

And isn’t that why you ran in the first place?

Original: http://www.metronews.ca/calgary/local/article/676658–a-call-to-the-runners-up