Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Municipal Election Redux: Edmonton

Whereas no one expected Stephen Mandel to win in 2004, no one expected him to lose in 2007. This race was to be a snoozer until Don Koziak's late entry. Still, no one was putting money on a Koziak upset... but at least there was now a credible alternative. Koziak had almost no campaign machine and still managed to garner a respectable percentage of the votes. I'd be interested to see what would have happened if a full-on campaign had been mounted.

Regardless, I don't think Mandel is a bad Mayor. He is well-liked by the Stelmach cabinet and now has an important ally on the regional cooperation file in new St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crause (no more Richard Plain, thank you!).

Mandel's second term will see him deal with a lot of important issues. Hopefully he has the ability and willingness to keep his big-spending council in check.

No surprises here, i'm afraid. While Andrew Knack seemed to have lots of energy, unseating Linda Sloan and Karen Leibovici would have been a nearly insurmountable task. Too bad, since I don't think either of them bring any real vision to council.

No real surprises here, either. I guess NW Edmonton was the sea of tranquility whereas the rest of the city opted for political maelstrom. Kim Krushell is a good voice on council both for her ward and her demographic (young women) and i'm glad to see her back. Ron Hayter has probably been around the table a little too long, but he must be doing something right if people keep sending him back.

Ward 3 residents had a distinct choice to make when filling the seat left vacant by retiring Coun. Janice Melnychuk. In choosing Harvey Voogd they could keep the seat in socialist hands with a former NDP candidate. Alternately, they could choose a conservative in Tony Caterina. The race was close, but they made the right (pun intended) choice in sending Mr. Caterina to straighten out City Hall.

He will join returning Coun. Ed Gibbons. Although Gibbons is a former Liberal MLA, I suspect he comes from the Laurence Decore line of thinking since he seems to have a lot of common sense. Both men will serve Ward 3 well.

As a former resident of Ward 4, I am well aware that this is an electoral wasteland for a conservative. Accountant Debbie Yeung again carried the banner of fiscal responsibility, but to no avail. The race for the seat vacated by retiring Coun. Michael Phair was to be a battle waged entirely on the left. 2004 candidate Ben Henderson (husband of blowhard MLA Laurie Blakeman) returned to the ballot and fought a close race with Lewis Cardinal.

If I had to pick between these two, I would have chosen Cardinal. I like the idea of having someone from the Aboriginal community on council, and I thought his sign wave message was excellent ("Will work for vote"). I also stand can't stand Laurie Blakeman and worry that electing her husband would give her more credibility (at least in her eyes, anyway).

Unfortunately, Henderson prevailed and will now represent Ward 4 along with incumbent Coun. Anne McLella... er... Jane Batty.

I shake my head at this entire gong show. During the last term, Edmonton City Hall had only one solidly conservative voice. This drove the left nuts, but isn't it fair that different views are held on council... particularily when its only one voice out of 13? Apparently not.

The prominent centre-left in Edmonton started lining up behind university lobbyist Don Iveson to knock off Mike Nickel. To his credit, Iveson, a driving force behind the socialist U-Pass, had a team of dedicated and energetic supporters who took their task of unseating Nickel very seriously. Concurrently, supporters of Mike Nickel didn't see this freight train coming. The conservative volunteer base in Edmonton seemed to take October off. Sadly, Nickel's defeat was the result.

The odd thing about it all is that the Iveson camp seem to deny that this was a concerted Liberal/left-wing effort. Given that Iveson was endorsed by the likes of Raj Pannu and Don Massey, and that Kevin Taft himself was at the victory party, I don't really buy it. Still, hats off to the Iveson crew. This was a left vs. right battle and the left won fair and square. Ward 5 chose to get change from a Nickel... they'll probably find themselves short a few pennies come tax time, though.

Oh yeah, some other guy won too.

This was a race to replace octogenarian Terry Cavanaugh and to see who would sit alongside socialist Dave Thiele. I was hoping for friend and fellow conservative Chuck McKenna. It seemed, though, that the name recognition game was going far better for Liberal Chinwe Okelu and New Democrat Amarjeet Sohi. This was another see-saw that lasted right until the final results came in and Sohi was declared elected. This race, out of all of them, seemed to be the cleanest, most issue-driven. Its a testament to the calibre of candidates that were on the ballot in Ward 6.

No comments:

Post a Comment