The unofficial results are in and we have seen a mix of change and returning of the old guard happening. It’s a whole new ball game now; an entirly new dynamic. Here’s the list of who the fifteeen around the table will be:
Mayor – Naheed Nenshi
Ward 1 – Dale Hodges
Ward 2 – Gord Lowe
Ward 3 – Jim Stevenson
Ward 4 – Gael Macleod
Ward 5 – Ray Jones
Ward 6 – Richard Pootmans
Ward 7 – Druh Farrell
Ward 8 – John Mar
Ward 9 – Gian-Carlo Carra
Ward 10 – Andre Chabot
Ward 11 – Brian Pincott
Ward 12 – Shane Keating
Ward 13 – Diane Colley-Urquhart
Ward 14 – Peter Demong
The biggest question facing how this new council will work together is what kind of a chair will Naheed Nenshi be. Will he be a bullying mayor (not likely) or more laissez faire in his control of meetings? Or might he be more like Bronconnier and give alderman some leeway, but keep them on a short leash if they stray too far outside what is prescribed in the procedural bylaw. An alderman like Druh Farrell will live and die by the answer to this question. Nenshi could help focus her and turn her into one of the most productive aldermen on council. Diane Colley-Urquhart could be one to struggle if she doesn’t bring herself prepared to meetings with a plan on how to present her requests.
Of course the new faces on council will provide an interesting dynamic as well. How will Gian-Carlo Carra implement his vision? He’ll have to do the same as Colley-Urquhart and be prepared to have a plan too, otherwise he could find himself as the next Druh Farrell of council: someone with great ideas but struggling to get people to understand or enact them. It will all come down to clear communication with their colleagues for all three of these alderman. The same could be said of Shane Keating and Richard Pootmans as well. Both are strong aldermen, but could find themselves floundering if they don’t get into Nenshi’s good books or find a way to focus their asks into a clear, straightforward way. They could end up being at odds with the mayor and the majority of council and thereby getting themselves – and their voters – thoroughly frustrated if they don’t.
Gael Macleod is a bit of an unknown. I think she will probably fit well into this group and will be an effective alderman as Hawkesworth was before her. Look for her to do a lot of listening and learning in the early days before she proves to be one of this group’s steadiest members – provided she finds her niche.
Peter Demong is another big question mark. With McIver and Connelly gone he provides councils most conservative voice. Whether he ends up as the strong fiscal hawk on council or a “right wing nut job”- as he has been painted by some – will entirely be up to him. I expect he will buddy up to Jim Stevenson and Dale Hodges to look for some wingman support. If he gets this, and stays consistent in his messaging, he could prove to be a very effective voice on council just as McIver was for 9 years. I hope it goes this way as the alternative is becoming a laughing stock, dragging Calgary down with him. And no one wins in that scenario.
Provided Nenshi (as mayor) and Brian Pincott (as the “elder statesman”) find a mutual respect for one another and each others talents, Pincott could prove to be council’s best member. If Nenshi figures out how to keep his campaign followers engaged, Pincott could be one of the biggest beneficiaries by following the new mayor’s example and engaging his constituents in a way he hasn’t up until now. If Pincott was more transparent and had a bit more of a following like Nenshi, he could do some amazing things that would surprise even the most steadfast ideologue. This will take a lot of work on Pincott’s part and a willingness from Nenshi to help him. Pride will need to be swallowed.
The same as Pincott holds true for John Mar. If Nenshi and Mar find common ground Mar could be a leader on council. If they don’t, he could very well become Nenshi’s biggest pain. Unfortunately this would rob Calgarians of much Mar has to offer. The exact same could be said of Chabot. Mar and Chabot have often been “swing votes”. It will be fascinating to watch what way they swing now.
The one thing that I think is probably a given is that – provided they agree on the budget – Gord Lowe could become a de facto “second in command”. I’m confident Nenshi will look to him for guidance and, for lack of a better term, fatherly advice. (Nenshi won’t need political advice. Not that he’d listen to it anyway.)
We won’t have to wait long to see whatever new dynamic emerges because being locked in a room together for organizational meetings in their first week together followed by the lengthy budget negotiating process will force them to get to know one another before we every really get a chance to know them ourselves.
PS – Did you see the 2007 Helene Larocque redux? Incumbent Linda Fox-Mellway took a beating and ended up placing forth in ward 14. Just like ward 3 in 2007, it looks like ward 14 REALLY wanted a change this time around.
Cross posted to CalgaryPolitics.com
“Throw all the bums out!” Remember one year ago when that was all we heard from our friends, neighbours and media?
Well, Ric McIver is still polling in first place for mayor. True, Naheed Nenshi and Barb Higgins are not that far behind, but the results of a recent poll of who we might vote for alderman shows a much wider gap between the incumbents and their challengers.
According to the O’Connell Enterprises poll, in every single ward where the incumbent is running again, they are leading. And not just a small lead — in most cases it’s gigantic.
For a city that just nine months ago was swept up in palpable anti-council sentiment, this is a striking 180.
Take Ward 1 as an example. In 2007, Jennifer Banks came surprisingly close to defeating Dale Hodges, an incumbent who, even three years ago, was believed to be well past his prime.
If Calgarians really believed it was time for a sweeping change, you might think council’s longest serving member would be first on the hit list. Of residents who say they have chosen their candidate, Hodges currently has 80 per cent support. That’s crazy high considering this was supposed to be the year of the angry voter.
It doesn’t end there. Ald. Lowe has 72 per cent of decided voters, Ald. Stevenson has 67 per cent, Ald. Jones 88 per cent, Ald. Farrell 52 per cent, Ald. Mar, 74 per cent; Ald. Chabot, 88 per cent; Ald. Pincott, 55 per cent; and Ald. Colley-Urquhart, 81 per cent.
Only Linda Fox-Mellway in Ward 14 has less support than all of her competitors put together, at 37 per cent. Even so, she’s currently leading the race, according to the poll.
Have we really changed our minds this much in just one short year? In wards where there is no incumbent, every race is much closer, with not a single candidate even coming close to having majority support.
The biggest story, though, could be the number of undecided voters. In every ward the number of voters who haven’t made up their mind vastly outnumber those that have. “Undecided” describes 34-64 per cent of voters in each area.
So the big question is, who will the “undecided” vote for? Will they go with the incumbent they know, or will they tap into the rapidly disappearing ‘fresh start sentiment’ and pick a newcomer?
All it will take is one snowfall to remind us of how we felt last winter. One dumping of snow and we could have a whole new council.
If next week is sunny, I suspect we’ll have the same council we’ve had for the past three years.
The world has changed a LOT in the last few years. Things are speeding up so fast many of us have difficulty keeping up. Stereotypically the ones complaining about this “speeding up of life” are members of older generations. This isn’t ageist – its just that those under the age of 35 have grown up with a high level of change and haven’t been around long enough to remember any form of ”good old days” when the pace of life was different.
As my grandma once told me: each generation that has passed has experienced more change in their lifetime than the one immediately preceding them. Or you could just ask anyone who has had to ask a toddler to program their latest gadget; they’ll tell you. (My best friend’s daughter who is just two is already better than I am with Skype for example.)
While it has been my experience frame of mind, rather than age, is usually a much better indicator of willingness to work with – rather than against – the new challenges the world may give you, there is sadly no denying it can be a factor. So with that in mind, here is the list of the ages of Calgary City Council incumbents as of voting day 2010. Decide for yourself if their is an age pattern to the ones you agree with, and compare your philosophies with the ones about the same age as you.
Although, there are none under 40 so I can’t really compare myself on that basis. And I’m not sure how many of my blog readers will be able to either. (Perhaps that’s a naive assumption on my part however.) Either way, I still find it interesting to know the demographics of those who represent me and I thought you might too. So here they are:
Dave Bronconnier – 48
Dale Hodges – 69
Gord Lowe – 71
Jim Stevenson – 65
Bob Hawkesworth – 59
Ray Jones – 57
Joe Connelly – (Couldn’t find his age.)
Druh Farrell – 51
John Mar – 41
Joe Ceci – 53
Andre Chabot – 51
Brian Pincott – 49
Ric McIver – 51
Diane Colley-Urquhart – 61
Linda Fox-Mellway – (Couldn’t find her age.)
These ages are based off of numbers I pulled from the introductory articles of candidates in one of our two big newspapers during the 2007 election, so I can’t vouch that they are 100% accurate. Please forgive me if there is a mistake.
And yes, there is something to be said for having life experience too.
2010 is going to be a year of sweeping change at Calgary’s City Hall.
If you’ve been paying attention to the papers these past couple years you’ll know there is a deep seeded frustration among Calgarians with their current council. And with that frustration has come the hope for something better. (Affectionately referred to as “hope-y change-y stuff” by Fox News commentator Sarah Palin.)
But will the public get the change they have cried for? To do this, half of council would need to change. Given Calgary City Council’s average turnover, 2007 saw a “lot” of change when three incumbents were defeated and one retired. However four is a long way from a majority of new faces, and that is something that has not happened in a very long time. As a matter of fact, only five of the current 15 council members were not sitting in their same seat in 2001. That’s not much change over the last decade.
However 2010 may just be shaping up to the year it actually happened.
First Dave Bronconnier announced that he will not be seeking another term. Then two days ago Bob Hawkesworth, who first became an alderman in 1980, announced he would be doing the same and stepping away from his aldermanic seat.
I realize this is only two incumbents stepping aside and does not look good for the prospect of “change”, but despite the Calgary Herald yesterday announcing “all other aldermen have indicated they will be on a ward ballot this fall” I think we may see a couple others stepping aside before nomination day arrives.
To begin with, not all aldermen have formally announced their intentions. I would not be surprised to see one or two more announce they will be retiring from politics. According the City’s website Dale Hodges has held his aldermanic seat since 1983. Meanwhile Joe Ceci and Linda Fox-Mellway have been aldermen for fifteen years and Ray Jones has been warming a chair for seventeen years. Gord Lowe is now 71 – the oldest on council – and may be looking to slow down. All of these council members I would estimate are potentials to step down still.
At the same time we know Ald. Ric McIver is almost certain to throw his hat in the ring for mayor. Assuming this happens, this is one guaranteed new face on council. Joe Connelly has positioned himself well for a run at the mayoral seat as well. At the same time Diane Colley-Urquhart has been rumoured to be thinking about it too (although no one has come forward with evidence she is seriously considering it yet).
If I had to hazard a guess, it would be that there may be five members of the current 15 members of council that will choose not to run in their current position come September. That alone would represent more change than we’ve seen in a very long time. Heck even 2001, the last year the incumbent mayor did not run, there were only five new faces on council following the election!
If we factor in the same amount of turnover as the 2007 election in the form of frustration aimed at the current council, it is very possible, albeit not probable, we could be seeing a majority of newbies come October 19. Even if this doesn’t happen, we will still be seeing more turnover in one go round than many of us can remember.
Now for the big question: will it be good turnover? The kind that alleviates Calgarians’ frustrations? Stay tuned to find out.
This post has been cross posted to The Best Political Team in the Blogosphere. Check it out for all your coverage of the 2010 Calgary Municipal Election.