Nick Matfield is a man on a mission. A twenty-two year old Corporal with the HPD, he’s got his sights set on cleaning up the city, from the top down. When I sat down with him on Friday, I was struck by a sense that Matfield is eager to tell things as he sees them. No topic, I was told, was off limits.
He showed up wearing a tailored suit, his hair well groomed, a man who cares how he looks. When I asked if he was out, he made it clear that he was very much in it for the long haul. He wants to win this thing. And he’s out in another way, too. “I don’t really define my sexuality,” he said. “I don’t think my sexuality will be an issue at all.” But on the streets of Hathian, that might not be the case at all. “[He’s] more concerned with [oral sex] then doing …stuff,” said a woman who was willing to speak with me only under the condition that her real name not be used. It’s a sentiment which might prevail in the predominantly working class city, where many residents say they have more trust in Matfield’s rival – Jeremiah Finch.
It didn’t take long for us to dive into the meat of this campaign. When asked about crime, Matfield blamed the mentally ill, and admitted that he wasn’t sure much could be done to solve the criminal and police violence which Hathian is known for. “So many criminals are just mentally ill people who don’t get help,” he said. When asked if he saw mentally ill people as violent, ‘ticking time bombs’, Matfield seemed to think I was twisting his words. “The HPD are trimming corrupt officers,” he added.
I asked whether he thought that the mentally ill truly were to blame, or whether chronic poverty, under and unemployment and poor education were to blame. He lauded council’s decision to legalize marijuana, saying he’ll try to “find new ways to bring revenue to the city.” I added that many could argue that legalizing marijuana has only served to raise revenue for the city, not for the people living in it – that people are paying more now for what they were already buying, that no new jobs had been created. To Matfield, the answer was city council – and a lazy populace. “There’s no lack of jobs…The jobs are there if people want them.”