2010 Edmonton Civic Election

Has it really been three years since the last civic election? I see it has. It's also, therefore, been three years since Third Edge of the Sword did a rundown on which candidates to avoid. You can read that at your leisure, and realize precisely how accurate I was in some of my warnings. Those of you who didn't listen before, just sit back and appreciate how you probably should listen now.

Edmonton has gone from the generally incomprehensible 12-alderman/6-ward system into a specifically incomprehensible 12-alderman/12-ward system. We'll break them down one by one, and then move onto the big cheese: the candidates running for mayor.

School Trustees:
Major issues: Schools are closing. This is because there are no kids to fill them, but that doesn't stop residents from raising a stink.
Candidates: Who cares? Take your vote in this department, set it on fire, and shove it down your least favourite mayoral candidate's gullet. Nothing more productive can be done with this ballot.

Ward 1:
Major issues: That stupid idea of running the west-LRT leg through Stony Plain Road. Has anybody on the planning commission ever tried driving from Terra Losa to Whyte Avenue?
The candidates: In 2007 I told you to get rid of Linda Sloan in favour of Andrew Knack. Maybe this time you actually will? Newcomer Jamie Post, despite his allusion to this blog's revelation that LRTs cause murders, spends far too much time blathering about dangerous notions such as "world class" or "walkable transit-oriented business districts". Unfortunately, Ward 1 will have to wait at least one more election cycle before they can hope to find a candidate willing to say "fuck the LRT and the traffic disruptions they rode in on".

Ward 2:
Major issues: City council voted to close the Edmonton City Centre Airport (ECCA). We've covered how that was a stupid idea before. This election is the last chance to stop it. (Well, technically, there are about 7-8 more elections where this can be stopped). Also, apparently being this close to St. Albert has made the people of this riding into pansies, as snow removal is a huge concern (see below).
The candidates: For all Mandel/Iveson/Krushell talk about "the airport a dead issue", it seems to have spawned a lot of opposition...and a lot of candidates. Tom Hindericks, Roxy Malone-Richard, and Don Koziak are all tackling Kim Krushell. Koziak is probably your best bet in this riding for removing her from office. So, uh, yeah, that's who you throw your support behind. Tupper is a pro-ecca closure fetishist, and also worried that people have to help their neighbours push each other out in the winter. I guess in urban-land this is considered a bug and not a feature. She's a mini-Krushell. And the last thing this city needs is a second Krushell. We definitely need to get rid of the one we got.

Ward 3:
Major issues: Crime is a big issue, possibly since this is the Ward where a house blew up earlier this year taking out half a city block. When not fighting crimes that would make a good Micheal Bay movie, the other major issue apparently in Ward 3 is urban sprawl. Take a goddamned look at Ward 3! Its southern border is 153rd Avenue. Ward 3 only exists because, in the past, the City of Edmonton was okay on urban sprawl. That's why all of you have homes! Can you imagine the chutzpah for somebody to move into Lago Lindo and then start complaining about urban sprawl?
Candidates: First bit of trivia: Naboulsi, Loken, Sobolewski, and Demers all live outside the Ward boundaries. I know its a new Ward system and everything, but lets be serious here. Kim Cassady is a man with two women's names, not surprising for a louse who would run for the Provincial Liberals...under Nancy MacBeth. Terry Demers was Ron Hayter's assistant, and some of him rubbed off, but clearly not quite enough. Shawn Fairbridge is in favour of corrupt EPS officers performing public surveillance as a crime-deterrent (like the actual police, Fairbridge figures actually solving crimes is a little pedantic) and is also a little dumb (he thinks that airport closure will bring more revenue into the city). John Olpanch can't even run a website and wants you to trust him running the City, while Hatem Naboulsi's website features an FAQ section with not FAQs. Louis Sobolewski worries about our carbon footprint, so stomp him out of consideration! Greg Siver is the sprawl guy, and we've already laughed him out for this subject -- he said "sprawl means transit will never take off" which means he's never been to Chicago. Dave Lokien is both a former union rep and a big pusher for the irrational north-LRT route. Michael Suess, who's kick-ass CTV video featured him saying "where's the damn money", is your far-and-away winner in Ward 3.

Ward 4:
Major issues: Whatever happened to our Gorman Industrial LRT station? No, seriously, that's an issue. Along with the LRT stations not being pretty enough, and again "urban sprawl". Apparently not an issue is the insanely common violence that takes place in this ward, typically involving ethnic or native perpetrators.
Candidates: Dan Backs was once kicked out of the Alberta Liberal caucus. That's gotta take some work, and now he wants to be your city councilor. Ed Gibbons already is your councilor, and between his mischaracterization of City Centre Airport and his hatred of property rights I don't see how you can continue to let this stand (despite him being the best candidate, ironically, in 2007). Creepy satanist and Liberal (odd, isn't it, how natural it is throwing these two things together) Scott Robb is pro-airport, but that just isn't enough. Looking at your other choices, I can see why Gibbons keeps getting in: Hafsa Goma is a community activist who's worked with the federal government, so obviously she's a no. I guess that leaves anti-tax but anti-airport Ken Atkinson for the best choice in this ward. Yuck. I can see why the only people who want to live here are drug-addled natives or Vietnamese gangsters.

Ward 5:
Major Issues: That stupid idea of running the west-LRT leg through Stony Plain Road. Has anybody on the planning commission ever tried driving from Gariepy to Jasper Avenue?
Candidates: Karen Leibovici is a big supporter of the downtown arena and Expo 2017 bids: this is probably why she gave shorter answers to the Canadian Taxpayer's Federation than her average Twitter post. Mark Grandish hasn't even dropped a piece of campaign literature into the mailbox, while Brian Kendrick goes off on inexplicable tangents about how kids are breaking into people's cars because of not enough midnight basketball. Straight-talking Steve Bergeron is your best choice in this ward by a considerable margin.

Ward 6:
Major Issues: Remember that crime thing that nobody in Ward 4 seems willing to mention? Well, multiply that by about 50 billion and you get an idea about life in Ward 6. This is also the area most impacted by the silly Stony Plain Road LRT route: hey, let's all admire 107th avenue. Nah, I'm sure the people who live there don't know what's good for them.
Candidates: Carla Frost and Thomas Roberts apparently aren't actually running. This is what Edmonton's media have concluded, and not so much as a Letter to the Editor can change their minds. Jane Loopy -- er, I mean Jane Batty, which isn't much better -- is again running in this ward. Again, she should lose, and lose miserably. Cris Basualdo is a bit of an enviro-nut and apparently public art is a major civic issue, though at least she's anti-Expo. Lee Permann looks at Ward 6 (and Edmonton in general) and says "uh, we need more low income housing projects" which maybe just maybe isn't a smart idea? Adil Pirbhai is a pretty good option for Ward 6 residents, he's an excellent second choice candidate. Bryan Kapitza supports city-owned washing centres for poor people (no, seriously), taxing people based on what other people build around them, and silly LRT lines everywhere. With that, James Johnson is left with a fairly commonsense approach and smart thinking. It's him or Pirbhai, though I'd go with Johnson.

Ward 7:
Major issues: Olde Town Beverly remains the best place to find crack in this city at 3am. Did you know there's a mall at Abbottsfield? Remember the last time anybody ever suggested going there? Also, Darryl Katz plans on ripping a giant hole out of the middle of this ward, and he would like the residents there to pay for it.
Candidates: Left-wing kook Scott McKeen, who I've been more than willing to blast as a questionable media commie for years, has decided to become a questionable candidate commie. He's no better in charge than he is in print. Andy Dick Brendan Van Alstine is another pro-transit nut, though probably one of the least nutty pro-transit nuts running. Tony Caterina could be a good choice here, "Toncat" was one of the biggest voices against closing the airport. He's probably the best choice here, though Grant Pullishy is a good backup. Despite his poor website design Terry Rolls seems to have some thinking going on, so perhaps he should sign on as his victorious opponents' assistant?

Ward 8:
Major Issues: Are 73 stabbings a night on Whyte Avenue really necessary?
Candidates: Hana Razga, if you can believe it, is concerned that not enough poor people are using transit. Ben Henderson remains Mrs. Laurie Blakeman, which remains a good reason to avoid his little ticker with your pencil. Duane Striker is excited about blowing a couple billion bucks on Expo and actually brags about his involvement in stopping Rossdale development because a couple of Indians (probably) died there (possibly) once, and Lori Jeffery-Heaney refers to herself as an "enthusiastic community leader". Sheila McKay is probably the best choice in this ward of stinkers.

Ward 9:
Major Issues: Once the nightmare which is Whitemud construction at the Quesnel is over, lets look into ripping up Whitemud at Terwilliger. You probably think I'm making these issues up. I ain't.
Candidates: Bryan Anderson is the weakest link in this ward: a pro-ecca closure fetishist, and basically Stephen Mandel's unofficial bum-buddy. A vote for Anderson is a vote for Mandel-world. This, for those who may be confused, is a bad thing. Calvin Lim isn't a great choice either: again, anti-sprawl seems odd for a Ward who's very existence is because of urban sprawl. Rami Bader is fairly nondescript. My choice for this Ward is Jennifer Watts, a tough fiscal hawk who's also pretty easy on the eyes.

Ward 10:
Major Issues: That stupid Expo is supposed to be held here. Also, Edmonton's City Centre Airport is going to be bulldozed to make way for slum housing at the behest of Don Iveson. This is the best non-violent way to prevent him from having any more power in City Hall. It's your choice, Edmonton.
Candidates: Asshole. Communist. Coward. Iveson. These four words should probably be combined into some clever acronym, but clever acronyms are ironically unsuitable for this jackass. Let me be clear about this: Don Iveson is a worthless piece of shit. Removing him from office is only a tiny way to pay him back for the disgusting havoc he's wreaked on this burg. I've already told you the proper way to pay him back in full. It's an easy enough choice, he only has one challenger: Al Slemko. So yes, that's who you vote for: Al Slemko. His name is Al Slemko. Write him in on ballots in other wards, if necessary.

Ward 11:
Major Issues: Another stupid LRT line, though one that could be done halfways properly if it was underground at Whyte Avenue. It wont' be, though.
Candidates: Another packed house here! It's got generic centre-lefties Chinwe Okelu and Shane Bergdahl with basically identical platforms full of nonsensical claptrap and unwavering support for that silly LRT. In a conversation with the Edmonton Journal Roberto Magalang doesn't know what year it is (seriously. I know these sound too unbelievable to be true, yet they are) and probably would make an awfully lousy councilor for at least the next 63 years. Kerry Diote and Brent Schaffrick are both good though not exceptional choices: both of which have a bit too much liberal tendency, but are both good on changing the airport decision and also removing some of the sleeze from Edmonton Police Service (the least efficient police force in Canada, non-presiding over Canada's fifth most dangerous city). Either/or for this one, though my tendency goes to Diotte the high-profile candidate.

Ward 12:
Major Issues: More ethnics causing more crime. Short of digging up Walter Cronkite's corpse and setting it on fire, Edmonton City Council is the best chance of making some influence on preventing this. Maybe. Probably not, but wouldn't you vote that way once molotov cocktails started showing up in your living room because people thought you were the Somali gangster living next door?
Candidates: Hey, do you like the City telling you that you have to drive a disgusting 40km/h on roads that were designed for 60-70? Well, that's the fault of Amarjeet Sohi, who needs to be removed from office. Or have a semi-trailer slam into his front door doing 90. I'm agnostic on which option to select. If you pick Monday to do the former, Vikram Bagga is a bad choice having absolutely fallen off the world's radar. Chuck McKenna seems to be a pretty decent choice, planning on holding down tax increases. However, Gerry Horn certainly gets my nod in here: he's the right mix of determined and anti-establishment to hopefully make some serious changes in how this Ward is run. And get those goddamned 40/hr signs out of my sight.

Mayor of the City of Edmonton:
Major Issues: Half-EXPO 2017 threatens to deprive our city and the province surrounding it of money for no good reason whatsoever. Katz plans on building a new arena, though he isn't keen on actually paying for it. There's a stupid airport decision that needs to be reversed, and fast. Somebody needs to put some serious brakes on overground LRT expansion, get the city out of unnecessary expenses, and treat the citizens of Edmonton as bosses and not chattle.
Every dumb idea mentioned above is the brainchild of our current Mayor McCheese; Stephen Mandel. Also can be added to the roster are a few other dumb ideas: the money-waste that was the 118th baseball bat, the money-waste that was the now-defunct "Welcome to Edmonton" signs, the money-waste that is Edmonton's "Poet Laureate" (though having him in front of cameras all day probably does work as a crime-prevention initiative), the money-waste that was the Oilers playoff overtime scandal, the money-waste that is the attempted re-branding of "City of Champions", the money-waste that was the Churchill Square 'revitalization', and the money-waste that was the City's share of the Alberta Art Gallery. Add in the cash grab that is the expansion of photo radar and speed-on-green red light cameras, and we have a whole slew of bad decisions. What do they all have in common? Stephen Mandel was in favour of all of them. Under his stewardship your minor delays at 114th and University Ave turned into major headaches, your tax bill climbed upwards 5-10% annually, your city looked directly at the most violent year(s) of our history, and Edmonton's face was changed again and again without any input from the citizens who live there. Mandel has mentioned in numerous interviews how he only is putting his election signs on private property, not on public land. Yes, Stephen, we know that you're in the hip pocket of developers: between the arena and the airport its pretty clear that you're their candidate, that you provide a way for them to make a killing. Short of giving Terry Paranych a blowjob in front of a live audience, I'm not sure how much more signal he could put out yet he manages to do so. Mandel has the worship of left-wing nutters like Mack Male and Dave Cournoyer -- their support is surely a greater black mark against Mandel than anything else I could tell you. Support him, and they win. They win, and we lose. It's really as simple as that.

Wins and losses are the speciality of Daryl Boner, an MMA combatant who apparently is running as mayor of Edmonton entirely to ensure that UFC fights are sanctioned by the city. He also inexplicably went homeless for a couple of days, though this may just be the lingering effect of a concussion. There is a good anti-photo radar push in his platform, but he seems insistent on putting actual officers onto the streets. I guess Chang will need to put the license plate back onto his car. Boner does a good job of expressing the notion that you can fight back against City Hall, and he could be a good choice for mayor. However, Edmonton can perhaps not afford to risk a vote for Boner. Another term of Mandel would spell death for this burg.

In 2007 I wrote of Dave Dowling "This guy's not bad, but any moment now you expect him to go off about the Jews" and I find little reason to update that evaluation now. Andrew Lineker is a platform big on visions and platitudes and little on actual answers and results. Dan Dromarsky's campaign is entirely based, it seems, on his "Dan for Mayor" gag that would be more impressive if you could find 16 people in Edmonton who actually watch Dan for Mayor. Robert Ligertwood who believes that EPS itself isn't to blame for public safety issues, which would likely be news to Kristen Wilson or that guy who's getting 4 months knocked off his sentence due to police mistreatment.

Which brings me to my disappointing choice for mayor: David Dorward. For all the public anger at Mandel, he's been particularly inadept at tapping into it. Why is this? Some of it, I think, is that Dorward isn't particularly energizing as a person. He is the best choice of this lot to be the mayor of Edmonton (he always feels like mentioning the GO Centre, which is excessive but it is the sort of major project experience a mayoral candidate needs), and many of his policies are on the right track. I don't like his giving seniors a property tax break (the infamous "fixed income" myth) and some of the sleazier aspects from his campaign staff leave a bad taste in my mouth. Of course, you know what leaves a worse taste in my mouth? The sleazier aspects of Mandel's stewardship of City Council. Dorward is the man who can beat Mandel. So that's who needs to get his vote.

And I hope I'm not having to make this same plea again in 2013.