I'm pleased to finally present this; finding the time to disseminate two hours of footage was a tad daunting, and the sketchy quality of the download did not assist at all, not to mention that there was a loose correlation between candidate's sanity and audio quality. It does seem the majority of supporters were there for Mandel, since he was the only candidate to receive applause upon his introduction, but there was considerable noise for Mr. Andrew Lineker during his speech, which was a surprise since a recent Vue newspaper online survey revealed no-one planned on voting for him (Literally 0% responded they would vote for him) The other proportions were 73% Mandel, 7.5% undecided, 7.5% David Dorward, 4% Dan Dromarsky, 4% Dave Dowling, 2% Daryl Bonar, 2% Bob Ligertwood. Keeping in mind this is a self-selected survey in that it includes only Vue readers and online people (and literate people), but let's be honest, if only a tenth of Mandel's supporters show up, he's going to take it, and even we have never had that low a turnout. It seems we may be pissed he's ignoring the airport/arena/what-have-you issue, but it also seems there's no-one else we'd rather be pissed at. Or at least no one else running.
The highlight of the candidate's platform speeches, which I'll heavily condense by including only novel information, was right at the beginning when Daryl Bonar delivered the biggest snub of the evening. While everyone else was "The candidates deserve applause for attending" yadda yadda, Daryl Bonar said that he considers the race to be between two parties; the one containing two well-funded candidates and the other containing himself. Apparently the other four candidates are beneath notice. (I can't really fault him. I've been trying to figure out if they are joke candidates) Other than his vicious streak, he didn't tell us anything new during this time. I was hoping he would address the "unfair bylaws" issue, but he was mum on that.
The next candidate, David Dorward, decided he'd try to dumb things down for us, at one point even pointing out, "38%. That's a big number". Thank you, Mr. Dorward, but what does it represent? As discussed briefly, he talks about a 38% rise in property taxes but fails to provide what the nature of the increase is. Inflation? Home value increase? Genuine tax hikes? Anyway, I'm perhaps a tad cranky because he pointed out that he felt there were four issues facing us, and try as I might, I could only figure out three that he listed.
My favorite candidate, Dave Dowling, was not going to be having any of that "appeal to the voters" crap. He started the evening off right by making sure we knew who was responsible for things that were wrong in the city: Us, the voters. It is all our fault. This can be an effective tactic, but after a while, especially when he repeats it at the end, it feels a bit like being chastised by that crazy guy that you sometimes run into in the coffee shop, who feels the need to tell you how to raise your kids, and what a bad mom you are. Although he's already on record for environmental issues, I wanted to reiterate that he is disgusted with the brown air over Edmonton, and the fact that our river is brown. There is scum on the rocks in the river, people, SCUM.
Perhaps by a twist of strange coincidence or by some fancy last minute speech writing, when Mr. Dowling finishes by pointing out he used to be able to make snowballs by this time when he was a kid, Mr. Dromarsky opens with a speech about how it is fall now, and isn't that wonderful? Nothing much new here, just a strange tax initiative where one can "lock into taxes" for three years, thus enabling us to know exactly how much we'll be paying so we can budget better.
Bob Ligertwood's first major point was to address how strange he looked in his picture in the newspaper. There was no small amount of bitterness as he sarcastically thanked the photographer who used the picture in question. If he is not aware that the media generally takes every convenient advantage to make people, especially people putting themselves forward to run for mayor, look stupid, I'm not sure he's the right man for the job. He again expounds on how ridiculous it is that any child can wander into an Edmonton public library and use the Internet free of supervision, waves his ponytail around (bald on top with a ponytail), and says, "I don't know what's going on." Even when it's kept in proper context, that's usually a quote to avoid.
Now, although I've been through a fair amount of websites lately, when Mr. Linker invited us all to check out the research on his website, I could genuinely not remember any,which is a shame because I am dying to see the charts behind the reasoning that tax breaks for small businesses results in more jobs. It's true to an extent, but without the relevant consumer demand for the good or service being provided, those jobs will just disappear. Also, what is wrong with Fort Edmonton becoming an Amusement park? It's not a museum, for crying out loud, it's got a bar in it. I really enjoyed it. The two main things you should come away from his speech with is that 1. He's promising free transit for seniors 2.He pronounces plebiscite "Pleblecite". Unacceptable.
The first question in the second half is regarding the city center airport, of course, and points out that if everyone who signed the petition voted against Mandel, he would have lost the last election, but the problem with this reasoning is three-fold; 1) not everyone on the petition would vote for exactly the same candidate 2) the last election had an artificially low turnout, and most people agree that this is likely due to the fact that no one felt Mandel actually had any competition, and 3) it was agreed in advance that the petition would need to be filed in sixty days, and almost a year later is, to borrow a military term, a "shittonne" more than sixty days. Mayor Mandel pretty much says precisely this, but I'm prettier.
As the other candidates point out their views on the airport, Daryl Bonar asks of Mr. Mandel that 'if city council is going to ignore 90,000 people of Edmonton, what else are they going to ignore'. He also brought up that Mandel was the only one who did not stand behind the airport, but technically only half the candidates do, and the other half have promised a vote to determine the airport issue, which is a weasely way of saying they don't support it but don't want to get hung out to dry. He feels a champion should not hide behind technicality, which sounds noble, but welcome to bureaucracy, Mr. Bonar. It is built on technicalities and legislation, and if you don't know how or why to use it, life in office is going to be damn tough.
David Dorward would like us all to know that he would never treat us like Mandel does. He'd be good to us. I hate to use the dating analogy again, but I've heard that pick-up line in a bar before while I drink my relationship sorrows away.
Dave Dowling feels we need more plebiscites. I'm not sure he is aware that they cost money.
Dan Dromarsky agrees.
Bob Ligertwood is old and is getting tired of us damn whippersnappers arguing about stuff they argued about years ago, and have you seen his website, it's full of military documents.
Andrew Lineker takes a bold stance and says he does not support a lobbyist group (Envision Edmonton) trying to take over the government. Crud, I like that.
When an expo question comes up, which I feel each candidates has already addressed, they each go through the motions,support or not, until Dave Dowling shouts that we all better get out to the polls October 18th. He means it! I swear he looks for a gavel to go with his speech. Also, Daryl Bonar brought up an excellent point; If we can call the expo bid an "infrastructure project", we can go ahead with it, but if it is to "put us on the map" he feels we will fail ("epic fail"), and should pass. It is interesting to watch someone make their whole campaign. He's been stepped on, and pushed aside, but he is actually carving out a niche for himself. He's a long-shot, but not out of the race.
The candidates really need to stop plugging their websites. It's not novel to be running your cammpaign online anymore. (I know I plug my own a lot, but that's because I love you all.) If any of themm were running it by convincing their supporters to get tattoos, now that'd be something.
The moment when Mandel points out that if Dan Dromarsky has a problem with the Anthony Henday he should talk to the provincial government because it is their jurisdiction or learn more about the municipal government, is so awesome not only did I get chills but I also got a sword because, gosh darn it, I think I might follow that man into battle. Magnificent.
After that, I must confess, I think Mandel is bored. I think he does not actually feel that anyone is a challenge. This is not really a healthy attitude to cultivate in elected officials. We might have to put the fear of voters in him, because without accountability, we have no further power. Maybe we should fake some results, just for a little bit, then when he starts packing his desk, give him the real ones.
Hang on, Bob Ligertwood supports libraries being open 24 hours, 7 days a week. I could advocate him...until he suggests that free Internet access is causing "pimps" to operate out of millwoods library. He did not get a good response to that.
Needless to say, the forum changed very little, other than to air out the candidates and occasionally let them look stupid. I will leave this off with one notion, from the words of Dan Dromarsky, "Everything has to get paid for."
P.s. I was done. I had posted it, and was gearing up to do other things when Mr. Lineker gave his closing speech where he felt the need to inform us that he was running for mayor (is that why he is sitting at the head table?!) and that he is a citizen of Edmonton just like everyone present and on the Internet. You hear that, Internet? You're all citizens of Edmonton now, go ahead and vote! Just goes to show, it's not over until it's over.