With the very distinct possibility we’ll undertake a couple of trips to the polls in 2014, the wind and water are coming together for what should prove to be an entertaining year in the council chamber at city hall.
Thursday was the first day nomination papers could be filed for the Oct. 27 municipal vote and, to the best of our knowledge, no sitting member of council has taken the first step on the road to re-election.
So, let’s do a little armchair quarterbacking and go around the horseshoe and speculate on who is going to do what this year.
Starting at the top, Mayor Heather Jackson will certainly seek a second term at the helm. Will she retain her voter base and has she managed to gain the confidence of a significant number of ratepayers who shied away from her in 2010?
There is a good possibility she will be in at least a three-horse race; has she the stamina and resources to fend off challengers?
Could one of those competitors be Ald. Cliff Barwick? The two locked horns four years ago and Barwick had the lead in the advance polls only to have the ghost of the Sutherland Press building jump out and trip him up.
Jackson was one of the Barwick Four who escorted him back into the council chamber and over to the seat vacated by Sam Yusuf last spring. Could that questionable piece of manoeuvring come back to haunt both of them?
Stay here or head to the greener pastures in Toronto? Is Ald. Lori Baldwin-Sands praying for a provincial election this spring? Will she be the Liberals’ shining light over St. Thomas, as was the case in 2011?
Doesn’t matter. Should she win the riding nomination – and the Libs don’t appear to have anyone warming up in the bullpen – Baldwin-Sands will again be humbled at the polls by MPP Jeff Yurek, allowing her to concentrate on re-election to council.
Say goodbye to Ald. Gord Campbell. The workhorse of council has surely endured sufficient body blows over his three decades in the ring and, unless he is punch happy, he will throw in the towel.
A big question mark beside the name Mark Cosens. Is he content to sit as an alderman or is it time to make the move into the mayor’s office? With all the smiles and straightening of ties during every session of council, we’re betting on the latter.
Some baggage to deal with though: his community improvement grant, possible involvement with Sutherland Press building owner David McGee and didn’t we see him tagging around with political strategist Suzanne Van Bommel of anybody-but-Barwick fame back in 2010?
And how would you like to be Ald. Tom Johnston’s campaign manager? He’ll need one because it’s a good bet he’ll throw his hat in the ring. Have to. He’s still got to pay for those Red Wing hockey tickets and if council is going to adopt rules of conduct, who better to test drive them than Johnston.
He’s spent time in the mayor’s office but does Ald. Jeff Kohler want the aggravation that comes with the title? At one point he had aspirations for higher office. With the rumor mill churning on the possible retirement of MP Joe Preston, would the allure of Ottawa prove tantalizing?
Of course that is something Kohler could deal with after his return to council in some capacity.
And that leaves us with Ald. David Warden. How much frustration can one individual be expected to endure? He’s the reliever you bring in from the ‘pen whether you’re nursing a lead or suffering through a pounding.
Just think of his two stints as council’s representative on the hospital board, including his latest appearance in relief of the departing Yusuf.
Having said that, watch for him to don the glove and come out for another campaign.
A goal for City Scope this year is to capture a memorable line or two from Baldwin-Sands so as to honour her with the quote of the week.
I know, I know. It’s a lofty undertaking seeing as she barely utters a word during most council meetings.
POINT TO PONDER
Haven’t heard much in the way of grumbling from taxpayers over the roughly
$250 million tab for restoration/addition to the existing Elgin County Courthouse that will result in a state-of-the art facility for area lawyers and the criminal element.
Yet there certainly is plenty of backlash on the possibility of spending $11 million or so on a renovated home for the city’s police service – the people responsible for putting both groups in the courts.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I would remind you that while you take yet more undeserved time off to celebrate this joyous time of year, you take the time to contemplate that many of your constituents are having great difficulty making ends meet, and see very little in their future to be joyous about.”
Posted on the Times-Journal web page, a message from reader ‘opinion8ted’ to Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Joe Preston.
City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow @ianscityscope