Those readers familiar with the Harry Ainley Forum will feel a light touch of deja vu as they peruse the pages of the Eastglen High Forum, but with one noticeable difference. This forum's cranked up to ELEVEN. More screaming! More dirt-slinging! More temper tantrums! It's the WWE of the Mayoral race world! So grab a chair, and come out swinging!
After the usual droll announcements about how dangling from the chandeliers is prohibited, and vomiting in the aisle is frowned upon, the forum opens with each candidate reminding us why they're relevant.
Mayor Mandel outlines his past accomplishments, as he sees them, acknowledging the hollers, cheers, and catcalls as they come, with the same shrugging indifference to each. He reminds us all of the frustration and irritation that he alleviated when he defeated Bill Smith to take the seat six years ago, and urges us to keep in mind the goals not reached yet; we're not there, keep going, more weight, he bravely whispers, more weight. We need to focus on our arts, on our natives and Inuit peoples, better police, more support for entrepreneurs, and inner city cleanup. He notably also promises that the expo bid will be an investment for Edmonton, which may satisfy some voters. It's a bleeding inspiring speech, and he shrugs off the attention with the shouldered indifference of a man "just doin' his job, Ma'am". He's almost curmudgeonly, but there isn't a single issue that was untouched in his "whip speech" of an introduction, which sort of made the other candidates look like they were only important in relation to his platform...
Andrew Lineker has really shiny hair. I was momentarily dazzled by the gleam before I was able to sufficiently recover and continue my dissertation. It is odd, I must admit, for a candidate who criticized the media so heavily in the first few days of campaigning, that he would stand up and thank a laundry list of media sources, even some local ones, presumably the ones who insidiously did not post his letters. He next thanks his mother and campaign manager, Joanne, so I have confirmed, since I was still skeptical, that the women who apparently has Parkinson's, cussed me out over email in response to a platform question (Andrew Lineker Update 27/09/10), and claimed to be his campaign manager, is in fact, his mother and all of the people in question. Pressing on, Mr. Lineker supports democracy (I will donate a hefty sum of money to the first candidate to take the stage and say "I support Communism") and pleblecites. You read correctly, Dear Reader, he is still pronouncing it "Pleblecite" and apparently no-one has corrected him. He is supportive of better water, and to stop turning Fort Edmonton into "Disneyland", and up til this point he was rational and pulled together. After this, however, he implies that Daryl's tuition plan is ridiculous, and flat out says that David Dorward stole his campaign platform. Stole. His campaign platform. (Which is ridiculous because Mr. Dorward doesn't mention Fort Edmonton at all.) He ends by storming off the stage.
Storming off the stage.
As if this was not uncomfortable enough, Bob Ligertwood starts off placidly enough speaking on how he has never seen so many signs for a political candidate as he has for Mayor Mandel. I am reminded, however, of the uncomfortable scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory where Gene Wilder takes the kids on a horrific boat ride of impending dread that ends abruptly with no explanation. He begins, while he speaks of Internet supervision in Edmonton Libraries, to talk of his daughter, a special needs woman who was "lost" at age 30. As the tale winds deeper, and he makes allusions to drugs and death, we become more and more concerned for the plight of this young women, who he espouses he could not help since "kids are self-sufficient at 30", well, yes, but really? Deeper and deeper the tale and the dread spiral until he ends by informing us that she was killed by drug dealers and pimps that were using the Edmonton Public library computer system. How does he know? Because he has kicked these types of people off his computers at his own computer coffee shop. Proof positive. It would take a team of psychologists working around the clock for months to uncover all the neurosis and problems there are present just in this speech. Oh, and he doesn't support a bus line to the airport.
I am sorely grateful when Dan Dromarsky takes things back to the usual tempo, by opening with how he is pro-democracy. We're back on familiar ground now. Apparently, we the people, if we want to make our voices heard, we need to make our voices heard. It's the new Zen Democracy. He covers the bases: city center airport plebiscite, infrastructure, cheap LRT expansion, etc. Apparently people have been telling him he should have run for city council since he has no experience, to which he responds that he has no experience selling off city assets. That's true, but he also has no experience at all, and if we're going to be shafted by someone (and no matter what, some group of Edmontonians are going to feel shafted) we'd rather it was done by someone with a plan in mind.
Dave Dowling surely does not disappoint, rising to the standards of crazy he has set in previous communication. I was not able to count how many times the word "Democracy" or the phrase "I, Dave Dowling" were used, but rest assured they were each in excess of thirty times. This is not hyperbole. Perhaps he is hoping to get us all accostomed to "democracy" being thrown in our faces because he has plans to put every major issue to a vote. All major issues. This is going to be accomplished by the cellphones. He plans to buy every eligable voter in Edmonton a cellphone, so voting will be done a' la Canadian Idol style. Don't be concerned though; he won't be raising taxes to pay for this endeavour, Mr.Dowling will not be spending any money on singing garbage cans. You see, the money we save by not buying singing garbage cans will pay for a $300 cell phone for every voter in Edmonton. I googled this idea, but could only find reference to a clean-up initiative in Massachusetts, so I have litterally (har. har.) no idea what he is talking about.
David Dorward, opens by countering Mandel's idealistic speech, by stating he is a do-er, not a dreamer. (It is so much fun to go back through all his campaign information and read it all like it was a blind date ad) He promises no new taxes for three years, more peace officers, more jobs, LRT expansion, $600 property tax rebates, and openness in council. I can't help but feel, however, that he has one purpose: to counter Mandel. That alone is not really a good reason to elect someone.
The final candidate, Daryl Bonar, rounds out the bunch by promising no public money for private projects, better childcare, more police officers, accountability, student advocacy and the idea "no child left behind". I really feel he should have run for council in the Old Strathcona ward. He really appeals to students, he has that dark, young look that would make the girls swoon, and when he's thrust into the Mayoral Race, all he does is take out David Dorward with a well placed "You're Envision Edmonton's lapdog and you don't really care about Edmonton because if you did you would have started earlier like me!". Don't get me wrong, it was a pretty magnificent tackle (somewhere Terrible Terry Tate is nodding approvingly) but it was a tad unnecessary, and makes him look like the rook to Mandel's king on a giant chessboard.