No Ides of March for this city. Mayor is safe – so far, but it is far from over.

By Pepper Parr

March 15th, 2014


Still quiet on the municipal election front.  No Ides of March for the Mayor of this city.

To date just one of the incumbent members of city council has filed nomination papers – Mayor Goldring scooted downstairs from his eighth floor office and gave the city clerk his fee early in January  – and his hat was in the ring.

The Goldring family whoops it up the night of the 2010 election. Same scene for 2014?

The Mayor didn’t stop there.  He recently held an impressive fund-raiser – a reported 125 people at $100 a pop attended where we understand His Worship announced that Cheryl Taylor will lead the campaign with Jim Matts doing much of the grunt work the way he did last time out.

So far there isn’t a second candidate for the job ready to declare  for the top spot.  None of the other council members who are warming a seat at the horseshoe in the council chamber have declared yet, however all, except for Dennison have said they want to return and the Mayor has said he would like to see all his colleagues returned.  They might be waiting until the Premier decides if there is going to be a provincial election and if she does ask the Lieutenant Governor to issue an election writ – they may all stay inside until that wind blows over.

Ward 1 Councillor did say at a meeting at the Conservation Halton offices that he had thought about running for the office of Mayor.  “It’s not out of the question” was his comment at the time.

We can report that there are very credible candidates in wards 5 and 6 getting their ducks lined up – expect at least one very interesting candidate to step forward out of rural Burlington.  It’s about time those people had someone representing their interests at the table.

There are now candidates in ward 1 – two of them so far, no one in ward 2 yet; Meed Ward might well be acclaimed in ward 2, unless of course she decides now is the time to run for the office of Mayor.  It’s the only chance she has of winning that office which she has wanted from the day she first ran against Rick Craven in Ward 1 back in 2006.

Meed Ward has a hard political calculation to make.  Run again in ward 2 and win hands down but find herself facing a formidable candidate in 2018 if Frank McKeown runs in ward 4 – which is not out of the question yet.  McKeown apparently has a promise from Jack Dennison, the ward 4 incumbent to campaign with McKeown if he runs.  Not exactly a promise you can take to the bank.

Frank McKeown, then the Mayors Chief of Staff explains a concept to Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman. McKeown was described as the 7th council member during the Strategic Plan sessions.

McKeown might decide that he doesn’t want to serve as a council member for four years and then run for Mayor – he might decide to just go for the brass ring now.  Many felt that McKeown was the thinker behind the Mayor when he ran against Cam Jackson in 2010.  Most of the position papers Goldring released were reportedly written by McKeown.

During the more than six half day meetings on the development of the Strategic Plan McKeown was frequently referred to as the “seventh council member” – not always politely by the way.  He brought a level of sophistication to the discussions that was badly needed at the time.

There was not a lot of love lost when McKeown advised the Mayor in July of 2012 that he was going to resign effective the end of the year.  That gave the Mayor plenty of time to find a new Chief of Staff.  The replacement was certainly no Frank McKeown.  It will be interesting to see what the Mayor comes up with in terms of an election platform and if he issues any quality position papers this time out.  Will there be a reference to his One Vision debacle?

We hear that the “Duffster” – that being John Duff, might be asked to handle media buys and campaign literature design for the Mayor.  (We incorrectly called Duff – Duffy in an article recently – that was fixed.)

Martin von Zon of Intercom Marketing was going to do that job but he then won an RFP to do some work for the Performing Arts Centre and felt he might have a conflict of interest if he did any work for the Mayor while performing a service for the PAC.   People in this town certainly have a very narrow definition of just what a conflict of interest is – Jack Dennison certainly doesn’t define conflict quite as narrowly.

One has to wonder if van Von has his ear closer to the ground than most and is picking up vibes others are not aware of? – and if that is really the reason for declining.  Van Von certainly didn’t get the PAC contract because of the Mayor.

Ward 1has two nomination;  Jason Boelhouwer and Catherine Henshell.

Catherine Henshell has her eye on the council seat for Ward 1

Ward 2 is closed territory unless there is someone who wants to create some name recognition and get a chance to rake Councillor Marianne Meed Ward over the coals.  She will win that race unless she is found at the end of the pier under a full moon howling into the night sky – and even then she might still win.

There is one declared candidate in Ward 3; Lisa Cooper filed her papers and hasn’t been heard from since.

Alexa Kubrak once put together some ideas on re-branding for the Burlington Art Centre.  Got stiffed and decided the only way to make a difference was to be at the council table.  running in ward 4 where the incumbent has yet to declare.

Ward 4 has been busy; while incumbent Dennison hasn’t declared – and may not – three others Have.  John Sweeny, a former Deloitte business development executive, Steve Kempf who lives on Indian Road, outside the ward and Alexandra Kubrak, a young entrepreneur who may lack experience but is a bright young lady – all have their hats in the ring.

John Sweeney running in ward 4 takes part in public budget discussions.

Ward 5 has yet to hear from incumbent Paul Sharman but expect him to be in the race – he has nowhere else to go.  There is another candidate doing the final touches to his campaign website – look for an announcement very early in April – hopefully not April 1st.  Ian Simpson has also declared in ward 5.

Ward 6, which had the tightest race in 2010 when Blair Lancaster beat Mark Carr by a slim 125 votes, will face a very strong contender expected to announce early in April.  There is a declared candidate in the ring now – real estate broker Jim Curran announced earlier this month.

Still a lot of fence-sitting going on.  For those who want to run for office and be seen as serious get along to the Clerk’s office.  For those that have declared – begin getting your message out.

Background links:

Mayor satisfied with his first term

Catherine Henshell files nomination papers for Ward 1

Jason Boelhouwer announces his candidacy in Ward 1

John Sweeney will run in Ward 4

Alexandra Kubrak will be running in Ward 4

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