Mayor May Not

Municipal elections for LEAFS SUCK are Monday and we're going to have a new Mayor.  That means the current one is retiring since the pattern appears to be that you don't get voted out of office.

Some history - back in '97, LEAFS SUCK was comprised of five cities and one borough were amalgamated into what is now LEAFS SUCK.  There was some pretty serious opposition to the move - in fact a referendum held on the subject came back at over 75% No.  Anyways, at the time the term "Megacity" was being used because amalgamation would take Toronto's population from 2/3 of a million to over 2 million.

The new Megacity got its first Mega Mayor in Mel Lastman, one of those salesmen who makes a name for his local business by acting like a spectacle.  He continued that trend as Mega Mayor and is remembered mostly for the many episodes of embarassment he brought upon LEAFS SUCK.  Anyways, despite being a huge embarassment he was re-elected for a second term and then retired despite the fact that he probably would have won had he run again.

The next guy, our current mayor, is David Miller.  He's a leftsist enviro Harvard graduate elite hippie intellectual &c. who bikes to work.  He's finishing out his second term and, despite the fact that he would have easily been re-elected, is retiring.

To be fair, apparently the job of Mayor of LEAFS SUCK sucks almost as much as the Leafs do - so running for re-election even once has got to be a major sacrifice.  Our local government is council-strong, executive-weak as just about everything needs council approval.  Gotta be frustrating as the Mayor of LEAFS SUCK has the largest direct mandate in Canada (we have parliamentary governments at the higher levels).

Right now the front-runner is Rob Ford, who was viewed as a joke when he entered the campaign.  At the time he was most famous for holding his council office expenses to zero.  As you've probably already guessed, he's a small government guy running on the magical power of tax cuts.

The opposition consists of Miller's deputy mayor - Joe Pantalone, and George Smitherman who's transitioning down from the Provinical government.  While our municipal elections are party-free, the current crop is basically a Conservative, a Liberal and a New Democrat.

I think the most important lesson learned from this campaign is that "running as an incumbent" is the stupidest fucking advice anyone can give a politician.  Sure incumbents get re-elected a lot, but if you aren't actually the incumbent, it's not going to help you out at all.  Smitherman started this thing with nearly majority support in a field of eight-ish.  He "ran as an incumbent" since he had incumbent-level support in the polls as well as backing from Ontario's Liberal Party Machine. And now he is now trailing.  In fact, a couple weeks ago Rob Ford was out-polling him two to one.  Joe Pantalone, who is the closest thing to maintaining continuity through the mayor's office, has never polled higher than undecided.

I know it goes against all the conventional wisdom of politics, but you have to take positions on things - and do so early on.  This goes even if you take the wrong position because flip-flopping is less damaging than being a total unknown quantity.  Sack up and stand for something, you can always act like a coward and do a one eighty later on.

The other lesson learned is that "Strategic Voting" is basically the entire bag of tricks for the Liberal party.  The only time Smitherman's numbers improved was when Ford opened up a huge lead and the fear of a conservative right-wing hack getting in siphoned support from anyone left of centre.  Ah, Canadian politics.

1 comment:

Willy said...

What is this Toronto you speak of in para #2? In 1968 we got lost in Toronto and the kind policeman showed us the way out. Then we left for Sudbury to see the denuded hills.