After a ten minute refreshing break where I stopped laughing and wiped my teary eyes, we were back on for the furious lightening round of questions. During this, you may wonder where Mr. Lineker is; fear not, Dear Reader, remember when he stormed off the stage? He did not come back. I assume he listened to The Raconteurs because we don't understand him. Well, his loss, DR, there's plenty more Mayors in the sea.
The first question was directed at Mandel, then amended to include all the candidates later, but this just shows the entire race is really just a ball in his court. It's all about the Stephen, people. He was questioned why he voted against having an internal audit of the council's departments, and he responded that council had an internal auditing department and he felt there was no need to belabour the issue. Mr. Ligertwood agreed that it would be a waste of money, Mr. Dromarsky said he felt council should be accountable always (not really an answer to the question, but that's okay, because he doesn't really matter anyway), Dowling supported the audit, Dorward supported strengthening the internal auditing department, and Bonar promised more transparency, which I guess means yes.
The next question peaked my interest, since it related to the soft cap housing model that has been thrown around as of late, and asked the candidates whether they would support a hard cap housing initiative: Daryl supported the hard cap, saying that stopping the ghettos is not enough, and social housing does not work. A tad confusing, but we'll let that slide. In a strange twist, that for a brief moment allowed us to glimpse behind the stand-up cardboard cutout that is David Dorward, he admitted that he didn't know whether he did or not. Mr Dowling wanted a plebiscite on the issue. Mr. Dromarsky thought that was a lot of plebiscites. Finally someone said it! But both he and Mr. Ligertwood support balance in neighbourhoods Stephen Mandel declined to join the hard-cap plebiscite love-fest, instead focusing on the reality that sometimes grouping similar incomes together is beneficial for the individuals involved (Imagine being a student in Fort MacMurray) and he tentatively supports a soft cap proposal, which is good because then he's backing his council. (but may prove detrimental if the council cull is as bad as it looks like it will be.)
A voter present asked at the mic whether Mandel would have done anything differently with the LRT, were he able to do it over, and whether candidates would do anything differently. Mandel admits they made mistakes, and since he is able to go first, the other candidates are left to pick at the scraps he has left behind, or hit him where he has already admitted he made mistakes (Platform size, overpasses needed, better traffic flow). Ligertwood says he would do nothing differently; in his own words, "He's confused". Dan Dromarsky says he would have started ten years ago, which technically was not really Mandel's reign, so it's a cheap dig at the previous mayor (still good for a laugh though). Dowling thinks South campus is a stupid place for a stop since it's adrift in the middle of nowhere, Dorwards agrees with Mandel about his mistakes (feels weird to type that), and Bonar says he would not look into the stony plain road expansion, instead sending the LRT down 107th ave, which actually got a couple cheers.
The next question was about how each candidate was going to restore confidence in public safety, but it become more of a question about the police force. Bonar pledged to bring back the neighbourhood cop, which we never should have lost in the first place, but he invokes my name, and called me an officer (strange coincidence; the closest I've ever been to being an officer is playing GTA and not killing anyone), so I'm pretty pleased. Dorward supported strengthening the community leagues, which I suspect would result in more curtain-twitching, but maybe it would promote community fellowship. Dowling reiterates his position: no more cops. Let it never be said that Dave Dowling pandered to the people. Dan Dromarsky thought that if we taught children to respect officers, our general population would have less crime. Also we should change our justice system, which is a bit of a lofty goal for a municipal mayor, but what the hell, aim big. Ligertwood raised the point that if downtown was safer, officers wouldn't need to monopolize their time at one location. I think Mr. Mandel checked out at this point because his only response was that the police were doing a good job.
Last question was with regards to the selling of Epcor, which one councillor publicly denounced as being "undemocratic". The question, to be precise, was "How was he wrong?"
Again Mandel seems to be checked out since he just replies that it made fiscal sense for two businesses, which the audience found unsatisfying. Everyone else said, in varying forms, "I would support an inquiry. Fire Mandel".
The closing statements were quite dry, but worth summarizing:
Daryl Bonar: Could the other competitiors be me? That's a big, fat, maybe.
David Dorward: I pledge to listen to the voters, so please don't listen to that slogan "Forward, not Dorward."
Dave Dowling: Mandel and Dorward suck.
Dan Dromarsky: I can count to seven.
Bob Ligertwood: Statistics are wonderful.
Stephen Mandel: Vote for the future, not my past mistakes!
More important than closing statements is this:
Things I wish each candidate knew.
Daryl Bonar: Pointing fingers at other candidates just makes you look childish. Stop it.
Dan Dromarsky: No-one really thinks you should be a counciller. They're just being polite.
Bob Ligertwood: We know you are old. That does not mean anything was better back then.
Dave Dowling: Proximity does not determine ownership. It is our airport, not Leduc's.
Andrew Lineker: Plebiscite. No-one thinks a white suit and hair grease is cool anymore.
David Dorward: Yes, we can see right through you.
and finally, Mr. Mandel: Just because you are the best man for the job does not mean much. Please try to respect us a little more? We may not be the best city to govern, but we're the city you've got, and you're the mayor we've got so let's try to live together.
Needless to say, there is really no GOOD option here; just the least of all evils, and to be perfectly honest, it's better the devil you know...
Whatever you do, get on out and vote. Buy yourself something to motivate yourself if you must.
Or buy me something.
I'm partial to cupcakes.
Or, you know, whatever.