Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Municipal Election Redux: Calgary

I don't really like Dave Bronconnier. Sure he's a headstrong leader for the city, but I just can't help but think of him as a petulant child who runs council meetings like a dictator. I was excited when I heard he might have a credible challenger. Unfortunately, it was not to be a challenger that could beat him.

Alnoor Kassam's campaign said all the right things... extend the west LRT... hold the line on taxes... greater accountability at City Hall. The problem was the candidate. Questions about Mr. Kassam's past dogged him throughout the campaign, preventing his message from getting through to a lot of Calgarians.

Right message, wrong man. Hopefully someone is taking notes for 2010.

Dale Hodges is the reigning dinosaur on Calgary City Council. Before nomination day, it seemed an energetic challenger with a cheeky-but-accurate campaign message was emerging. Sadly, she fell victim to confusing rules surrounding signature requirements and didn't make the ballot. 24 years on council is too long... this term should be Ald. Hodges last.

Zzzzzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzzzz. Gord Lowe wins.

The only question in this race was who was going to beat lacklustre incumbent Ald. Helene Larocque. The choices were Jim Stevenson, a small business owner and federal tory riding President, or George Chahal, real estate man and prominent liberal.

It was a tight race that went to a recount, but Stevenson prevailed by 33 votes. Jim and George should both be congratulated for focusing on issues (whereas Larocque made excuses for her poor performance in office). George Chahal also deserves credit for accepting the recount and not dragging it out through the courts. Ward 3 obviously breeds some very worthy community activists.

I, of course, would have voted for my friend Jim and think he'll do an excellent job for the people of Ward 3.

Former NDP MLA Bob Hawkesworth easily won re-election here. He is popular in his ward and is an important voice to have around the table. Unfortunately, his mother lost her battle with cancer near the end of the campaign. Many condolences to the Alderman and his family.

Not much to say here. I've met Ray Jones and like him. He's a straight talking, no bull kinda guy. He's good for his constituents and good for Calgary City Hall. An easy win for Ray.

Incumbent Craig Burrows got himself into a whole heap of trouble when council started questioning his expensing of a $12000 course at the U of C. Rather than neutralize this thing (pay for it himself), he chose to dig his heels in... never smart when you're dealing with taxpayers money.

Craig was friendly to the conservative cause, so his potential loss worried me. Thankfully, Ward 6 chose to replace him with former Calgary Elbow PC President Joe Connelly.

I don't know much about Joe, but he strikes me as a level-headed man who will serve his constituents well.

No surprise here. Druh Farrell may be a lefty, but a few of those on council are ok (a FEW, Edmonton... a FEW). Besides, Hawkesworth needs some company on his side of the spectrum.


I used to live in Ward 8 and, as MLA constituency staff, had to deal with Ald. Madeline King on occaision. To say i'm happy to see the end of this Mount Royal Liberal's career is an understatement.

Three cheers for former cop and new Alderman John Mar. Moreover, congrats to his able campaign team headed by Tyler Shandro.

Of all my hopes for Calgary, seeing Joe Ceci defeated was probably the least likely. Calgary Police Association head Al Koenig would have been a formidable Alderman, but Liberal Ceci seems to have a stranglehold on the ward.

Ceci is touted as a possible replacement for Bronconnier as Mayor... perhaps the only good reason to keep Dave at City Hall.

See Ward 2, replace "Lowe" with "Chabot".

Barry Erskine's last minute decision not to run created quite a scramble for candidates to enter the race here. From all accounts, the field was quite impressive and Ward 11 had some excellent choices.

Brian Pincott's message of waking up City Hall resonated with voters and carried him to victory. I suspect he'll get along pretty well with the other new Aldermen in their quest to shake things up downtown.

I've got a lot of time for Ric McIver. He's driven, he works hard for his constituents, and he understands that city budgets come from other people's money.

The young man who challenged him in the election should be commended for his interest in democracy. The residents of Ward 12, though, should be commended for their interest in effective representation.

WARDS 13 and 14
The nice ladies with the hyphenated names were both returned by acclaimation.

As an advocate of the democratic process, i'm always iffy about acclaimations. However, if no one wants to step up and run, that sends a message of approval of the status quo.

Aldermen Colley-Urquhart and Fox-Mellway should be congratulated on what their constituents obviously believe is a job well done.

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