Bill Karsten plays it straight down the middle on most issues, or splits the difference. At budget deliberations, for example, he was for the 2.6 percent tax increase but opposed to suggestions for further increases. Except to fund cops but only if other cuts could be made....
Karsten has gained my attention two ways. First, he took the initiative and found fault with the way lake pollution levels are reported. He rightly sees it as a public health issue affecting residents of Dartmouth, and because of his work and advocacy, the municipality will be changing the way e-coli levels are reported to the public. This is good solid representation, and Karsten should be praised for it. More of this, please.
The second way Karsten stands out is that he acts a process cop at council meetings, objecting that people aren't staying on the motion and such. It's annoying, and not his job besides (it's the mayor's job to control debate). Karsten should recognize that politics is messy business and let his colleagues work as they see fit.
Karsten also was a vocal critic of those who criticized the secrecy of the Commonwealth Games bid, which gets him taken down a grade.
Grade: C (Bill's Cell: 476-1855)
WHAT WE SAID IN 2007 (Grade: C-)
"Karsten is another relative newcomer to council, currently serving in his first term. Generally, hes a fairly quiet member of council---perhaps the reason he wasnt able to respond to our survey? He did, however, generate our absolute favourite press release headline of the year, which came in February of this year in response to a critical article that appeared in the Daily News suggesting council hadnt properly handled the Twisted Sisters decision: HRM Regional Councillors Well Prepared to Deal With Complex Issues. Stop the presses!"
Remarks: "Not making enough noise. A middle-of-the-road grade to a relatively middle-of-the-road councillor."