Will Sam Katz run again?
No, he most certainly will not. That became clear to me this afternoon when I read that he is proposing to change the nature of how the Executive Policy Committee is formed. Sammy is proposing that the mayor will get to appoint three of the six members, with council at large getting to appoint the other three. If Sammy was planning to go for another term, why would he want to drastically reduce a significant tool of power that he wields? Some councilors will tow the mayor’s line so as to be on EPC, as they receive a notable salary bump for being in it. As such, play nice with the mayor and you may get a nice salary bonus and a bit more prestige. Less EPC positions for the mayor to dole out equals less minions.
But why would Sammy care to change the nature of EPC if he’s going to retire, move to Arizona (full time), and never be seen nor heard from again? For spite! Paula Havixbeck has been a thorn in his side since she left EPC (or was ousted, depending on who you ask) and he’s just putting this EPC reform forward to diminish one of her main policy platforms. When Paula announced that she is running for mayor, she actually announced policy (rather than just meaningless soundbites about ‘vision’ and ‘change’), and that policy was to eliminate the EPC. By putting forward this reform and removing most of the mayor’s power over EPC, Sammy would nearly neutralize the EPC issue as an election item, one that is mostly associated with Paula.
Lastly, Sammy, like most egotist politicians, wouldn’t want to leave office in any way that was not by his own volition. No incumbent mayor of Winnipeg ran for re-election and was defeated since 1956 when George Sharpe lost to Stephen Juba. And if Shady Sammy runs in 2014, he would surely lose and end that long streak of incumbent mayors being re-elected (how embarrassing!). This blog post would take far too long to list all the dirt that surrounds the mayor’s office, but a good summary can be found here. People that I know who normally don’t give two hoots about civic politics are talking about the apparent conflicts of interest for the past year or two. For the longest time, however, these things were only known by those who follow City Hall politics closely. But when the wider electorate knows it, he’s toast… and that has finally happened! Also, he bought a house valued at nearly one million bucks for $10 (which was also seemingly done under a conflict of interest). Seems like someone’s planning on retirement!
The Next Four Registered Mayoral Candidates
Last month, I wrote a post on the first four registered mayoral candidates (Gord Steeves, Brian Bowman, Mike Vogiatzakis, and Gordon Warren who since dropped out). Continuing in that vein, the following are some thoughts on the four who registered since that post. I’ll begin with the lesser knowns:
Robert Falcon-Ouellette is the Program Director for the “Aboriginal Focus Programs” at the University of Manitoba. He announced his campaign is about building Winnipeg in “the dream of Louis Riel.” He wants to address social issues in response to crime (again, not the purview of the city). He wants to ‘be a bridge’ between the city’s aboriginal population and City Hall. His current blog and podcast focus exclusively on aboriginal issues, and seemingly most of his official website does as well. Oh yeah… and he doesn’t want to be known as ‘the aboriginal candidate.’ Uh huh, good luck with that! Such race-based views and utter defiance of MLK Jr’s “I have a dream” speech is quite appalling to most voters.
Michel Fillion manages Superb Entertainment, a company that specializes in strippers, ventriloquists, hypnotists, animal shows, and other types of entertainers. He apparently has some big ideas for this city. More importantly, he currently is the front-runner for The Donald Street Collective’s Official Endorsement!
Judy Wasylycia-Leis, or ‘Judy Alphabet,’ is a career politician. She has been a provincial MLA, and most recently, a federal MP, always with the NDP. No one was surprised that the registered to run again after her failed 2010 bid for mayor, as she has been showing up at every ‘community event’ under Winnipeg’s sun. She, like all the other mayoral candidates, will pander about potholes. I do give her kudos, however, as I did in 2010, for actually being honest about raising taxes. Not many politicians admit to raising taxes in a campaign. Sammy screamed and fear mongered with robocalls in 2010 about how seniors would be forced to eat dog food and would lose their homes if Judy was elected due to a tax increase, then he promptly raised taxes himself (more than JWL proposed if I recall correctly). That said, will the increase to the civic coffers actually go to infrastructure? Or to social programs that really are not in the purview of the city? I recall in 2010, when speaking of crime she wanted to address the ‘root causes’ with social programs. Yes, that’s a vital part of crime reduction, but regarding crime the city is policing… social programs to address root causes are the province’s domain (and the feds, to a lesser extent).
Paula Havixbeck is just finishing up her first term as councilor for Charleswood-Tuxedo-Whyte Ridge. To run for mayor, she cannot run for re-election for her council seat. I’m not convinced that she won’t change her mind if polling is not favourable, drop out of the mayoral race and register to run for re-election for her council seat. Declaring as a mayoral candidate is a way to gauge her odds of winning, pollsters will do the work for her. As noted earlier, it was commendable that when she announced her candidacy, she actually had some policy proposals to put forward (eliminating the Executive Policy Committee). That said, your everyday Winnipegger doesn’t follow city hall’s ‘inside baseball’ that closely enough to make it that much of an election issue. When she began in council, she herself was immediately in the EPC, a ‘right of centre’ rookie councilor that Shady Sammy thought would be able to wrap around his finger. After some time, however, The Stink of Sammy started to be associated with EPC members, and she began speaking out against him. Soon thereafter,she was dumped from the EPC, and has been a vocal critic of the mayor since then. Not so sure about her judgment though, I’m not in council, and I have always been able to smell the dirtiness emanating from His Worship’s office. She should have been able to as well, but apparently didn’t.
Mostly a dull campaign thus far, but it’s still early. Of the candidates I wrote about earlier but not mentioned in this post, Brian Bowman finally announced some policy, though it isn’t likely to capture hearts and minds… access to information overhauls and greater transparency, good stuff but nothing to arouse your everyday voter. Bowman could stand a better chance if he just hires a voice coach. Gord Steeves must be on vacation, haven’t seen nor heard from him since his event with the pathetic turnout. Gordon Warren dropped out, but was able to get some free media for his various blogs just for registering, which was maybe the point of his candidacy. Haven’t heard anything more about the funeral home guy either.
Continue to check in with the Donald Street Collective for biased and opinionated coverage of the Winnipeg Civic Election!
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