Friday, October 29, 2010

Post Election Blues

Election Results - SO WHAT NOW?

In Ward 18 -

As with every election, no matter who wins, I always notice a bizarre feeling of "Is this real?" after the results are in. For those who lost - and expected to win - like Kevin Beaulieu, the shock and grief is understandable. For those who won, there is always the same degree of shock, just in a different direction.

Ana Bailao won big. She campaigned hard and long and had everything going for her. Despite that, the sneaky tricks, primarily by her campaign, stood out in the last week of the election. I have no doubt she exceeded maximum campaign limits (just by looking at the glossy literature that hit my mailbox all year). I have no doubt she had her election signs up (slightly) early. I have no doubt she engineered and authored supposedly neutral stories in the Portugese only media, and probably exceeded expense limits here too (you are supposed to claim for value of offered goods and services). But then, all those questionable tactics have always been the trademark of big Liberal party politics in Davenport, so were they Ana's doing or did it just come with the territory of her backers? It will be interesting to se if anything comes of these anti-democratic tactics through the normal channels of Toronto Election services.

Despite the tactics, Ana won big. Her shock is likely of the "Oh my God, I won! This is serious!" variety and I hope it sits with her throughout her time on council so that she is constantly thinking - "Now I have to live up to my promises and represent ALL my constituents". The absolute worst thing Ana could do would be to cater to her big development dollar donors and/or her ethnic Portugese community.

* 75% of the ward is NOT Portugese. Our City Councillor must represent ALL of ward 18
* Everyone in the ward is concerned about getting the right kind of development, 100% of the ward wants in on community consultation and real input BEFORE things happen in the ward.
* There are several disparate lobby groups of special interests in the ward: cyclists, artists, BIA's, self-defined resident groups - and the as-always forgotten margianlized poor, homeless and hungry. Ward 18 is complex and will need a careful hand to achieve all the compromises necessary.

For those that came in as 'also-rans', the loss was likely expected, or should have been. Media defined the race as a two person, two party one the moment Kevin Beaulieu announced his intention to run on April 13, after his former boss Adam Giambrone had self-destructed in the mayoral race and finally decided not to run again in ward 18. So for the last 7 months the writing was on the wall for all to see.

Still, we should all ask what will become of the 'also-rans', 90% of whom made a serious try at campaigning. At the 8 meetups and debates, they all offered differing ideas to improve the ward as well as cemented the unifying theme of more and better community consultation. They exhibited their various skills and abilities, which would be a shame and loss to the ward if they all did not continue to contribute to improving the quality 0f life in the community.

Frank de Jong, the Green Party candidate will likely take a run again at the provincial MPP race expected in just under a year, so we can probably count on his staying involved.
Hema Vyas although living within walking distance of ward 18 constantly told us she cared for and was involved in the ward 18 community. She came with impressive cultural and non-profit credentials. Will we see her just as active post-election?
Joe MacDonald promised us he would not be a career politician and came with impressive academic and insider political experience. Hw will he stay involved in ward 18 life?
Kirk Russell stayed very much in the centre of discovering and bringing to light alleged and real infractions of electioneering by the two front-runners. He had some extremely detailed and well-researched ideas about traffic that bears further consideration by those now in power. How will he stay involved?
Nha Le, the perennial election campaigner and supporter of the big Liberal party machine is nothing if not persistent in trying to be involved in ward18 politics. Will he be of use to Ana as he has been to Tony Ruprecht? Is he just a Liberal hanger-on or will he contribte to ward 18?
Doug Carroll was an eloquent and ideas driven person, even if those ideas did not resonate within the ward. Will his interest in city governance continue and be listened to by Ana?
Ken Wood, Mohammed Muhit, Joanna Teliatnik and Abdirazak Elmi - how will they be involved in future ward 18 life, if at all? Time will tell.

I hope Ana Bailao continues to read my blog and considers seriously her promise of better and real community consultation. She has been quoted as saying "Now the work begins". If she doesn't govern well, the next election results could be very different, yet again.

Remember: Davenport Deserves Better.... Will We Get It?