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DebraW
23-09-2007, 09:00 AM
Campaigns gear up
Make or break civic candidates Oct. 15

Sun, September 23, 2007
By KERRY DIOTTE

OK, I've heard people beefing about city council and the mayor for three years.

Ordinary Edmontonians have been angered by poor snow removal, giant potholes, high crime rates, foolish council pet projects and a whopping 13% raise that councillors (except Mike Nickel) voted themselves.

So it's time to quit bitching and start paying attention to the campaigns for council and for mayor. The civic election goes Oct. 15. After three long years, you finally get a chance to make or break those politicians who have governed Edmonton.

Here are a few of my random thoughts about the election:

- So far the biggest surprise is the fact Mayor Stephen Mandel has a legitimate, mainstream contender in businessman Don Koziak.

Conventional wisdom says that almost every first-term mayor gets a free pass for a second term. That's why most everyone - including the above-mentioned Nickel - didn't enter the race. Koziak's a longshot, but he'll make things interesting at least. And, hey, Mandel himself was something of a dark horse in 2004 when he beat Bill Smith and Robert Noce. It'll be interesting to see how many people will vote for Koziak as a protest vote alone.

- Speaking of the mayoral race ... It's interesting to see Calgary's Liberal mayor and Edmonton's Liberal mayor are on the same page when it comes to campaign slogans.

Dave Bronconnier's slogan is Leading with Passion and Purpose. Mandel's main slogan is Your City. My Passion. Geez, it's nice those two guys are so passionate.

- A well-known city hall insider says the joke going around there is that some figure Mandel's slogan should read My Passion - Your Taxes. As most folks know, Mandel's been seriously disappointing when it comes to holding the line on taxes given recent hikes that have been double the city's inflation rate.

- The biggest worry for citizens should be that we'll wind up with the most left-wing city council since socialist mayor Jan Reimer ruled the roost, scaring off businesses from Edmonton (but, to her credit, her council didn't raise taxes like this current bunch).

- There are three strong candidates from the left who have a very good shot at taking all three vacant council seats: former councillor Michael Phair's EA Harvey Voogd in Ward 3, Ward 4 candidate Ben Henderson and Chinwe Okelu in Ward 6.

Left-leaning Edmonton Transit bus driver Amarjeet Sohi also has a chance in Ward 6. Hoping to stave off the socialist hoards are three strong candidates who look to be far more fiscally conservative. Those include Chuck McKenna in Ward 6, Debbie Yeung in Ward 4 and Ward 3 challenger Tony Caterina.

- It's no secret NDPers and left-leaning Liberals work their butts off in these civic elections to elect those with similar philosophies. Sometimes it's downright blatant. Check out Ben Henderson's groovy orange signs. They look eerily similar in style and colour to provincial NDP signs.

- I've often thought all-candidate forums are almost a waste of time. Some forums will only get a handful of people out to them. That's why it's great to see an Edmonton online community take a giant step in trying to expand the traditional election forum.

Connect 2 Edmonton (www.connect2edmonton.ca) has launched an electronic public forum. It's an unprecedented way for candidates to get their platforms out and for voters to see exactly where these people stand.

The online forum on the site is structured so that every electoral candidate has been assigned a discussion thread - with some questions waiting for them. Members of the public can then comment and ask candidates more questions. Great idea.

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kcantor
23-09-2007, 03:30 PM
"A well-known city hall insider says the joke going around there is that some figure Mandel's slogan should read My Passion - Your Taxes. As most folks know, Mandel's been seriously disappointing when it comes to holding the line on taxes given recent hikes that have been double the city's inflation rate. "???
perhaps if the city had taken less heed of columnists insisting that we could not afford things like the 23rd avenue interchange while there were potholes to fill with that 76 million dollars, we wouldn't now be paying 236 million dollars for it... if we do things when they need doing instead of putting them off, the prices don't go up. and if our taxes had been increased at the time to cover that 76 million, maybe the inflation index on our taxes wouldn't be what it is being made out to be here. if taxes go up from 1,300 to 1,400 in 2007, that's an increase of 7.7%. if your taxes had been raised to 1,400 by 2002 - which they probably should have been - and stayed the same since, would our favourite columnist be extolling the fact in 2007 that they haven't been raised in five years despite the rate of inflation? you should get value for your tax dollars and the tax dollars raised should be high enough to provide value. kerry is confusing the two.