2014 Waterloo Municipal Elections

With minimal ado, this blog endorses the following candidates in the municipal races I get a say in:

I’d love to endorse some school board candidates, but I have to admit I’m not well-enough informed to publicly commit to endorsements. School board is really important and I wish I had time to dig into it. Good, critical evaluation of candidates would also be really valuable because it’s so hard to come by. But I don’t have it. I suck, basically.

As if to contradict myself, I have some less well-informed opinions of other races around the region. If you’re interested in them, check out my Sticking My Oar In section.

Regional Chair: Ken Seiling

Ken’s had this job for a long time. That’s largely because he’s good at it. If he has any faults, it’s that he’s kind of bland and innocuous. You could be easily forgiven for never having heard of the guy despite holding what’s more or less the region’s top job for almost 30 years. He doesn’t grandstand and he doesn’t show boat. And I like that. Chairs shouldn’t do that sort of thing generally. He lets the region’s mayors and councillors do the show boating.

I dread the thought of a Chair who’d use the position to make it all about them.

If I was going to ever vote for someone to unseat him, it would have to be someone who’s had some experience in local government. Preferably a mayor or long-time regional councillor. It’s not going to be some yahoo who wanders in off the street raving about taxes and claiming their “business experience” somehow qualifies them to wrangle a consensus out of this wildly diverse and sometimes fractious region. If you want a job like this, you need to put in the time.

It should come as a shock to absolutely no-one reading this blog that I strongly support the region’s plan to build a light rail transit system. Despite over a decade of public consultation, despite it being approved twice by two successive regional councils, despite shovels being in the ground, some candidates in this election think now is the time to stop the project, no matter how many hundreds of millions of dollars it would cost to cancel it or how disruptive such a drastic change in long-term planning would be for the whole region. It’s ludicrous. Not only is it horrible policy, these people stoop to outright lies and fabrication to try to justify it. It’s appalling. So you should vote for Ken.

That and Jay Aissa is a horrible person.

Regional Councillors: Jane Mitchell, Karen Scian

One is easy: Jane is awesome. Seriously. Read her blog. She’s pretty much everything I want in a regional councillor. She’s engaged, open, thoughtful and accessible. If you have a problem with the region tweet her and if she doesn’t have an answer off the top of her head, she’ll dig it up and get it for you. She’s great.

Next is trickier. We get to pick two regional councillor candidates. The other incumbent is Sean Strickland. I have no problem with Sean. I’ve voted for him before. But this time Karen Scian stepped down from city councillor to represent Waterloo to the region. And I like Karen. Both Karen and Sean are really good and my reason for going with Karen probably have more to do with style than substance. I’ve followed Karen on Twitter for ages and I think I have a very good idea of where she stands on things. My feel for Sean is a bit more vague.

Also, there may be a bit of strategic voting in my choice, as I really, really don’t want to lose Jane Mitchell, and Strickland has always come out ahead of her.

I very much look forward to electing regional council by ranked ballot next election. Block voting is terrible.

Special non-shoutout goes to former MP Andrew Telegdi, who has been mostly invisible in this campaign. He appears to have been recruited by Jay Aissa to run on the anti-LRT ticket, with the cynical assumption he’ll coast in on name recognition without people knowing what he actually stands for. Which is despicable and makes me really sad having held him in such high regard in the past.

Mayor of Waterloo: David Jaworsky

I’ve seen Dave everywhere this year. He’s a great guy, affable, well-connected and engaged.

Unlike the Chair, none of the candidates running have served in public office. Dave, at least, has served on a bunch of non-profit boards, committees and was executive in residence at Capacity Waterloo, an organization I came to know and value through my work with Kwartzlab. I honestly think he’s the best choice for mayor.

As an aside, I was surprised at how much I like Rami Said, who is running on his business experience and an “I will speak for everyone!” platform. These are generally huge red flags for me. Pretending you can always represent everyone is naïve. And government is not, under any circumstances, a business. But he’s good. The deal-breaker, though, is he has no public service experience whatsoever. Not so much as a committee. If he was running for city councillor, I like him well enough I might let that slide, but not mayor. You gotta put in the time.

Councillor, Ward 3: Angela Veith

My vote for Angela was up for grabs when she ran for the nomination for the PC party in the 2012 by-election. She lost, but I’d have to imagine that city councillors, of all people, know how much damage the Tories have done to cities in the province. So wanting to stand to represent them strikes me as a profound lapse of judgement. Maybe she wanted to infiltrate and thwart them from the inside? Who knows?

The trouble is, I don’t see a good candidate in this election who I’d rather vote for. I had high hopes for Shelby Doherty when she launched her campaign with social media links and rather lovely graphic design. But… I’m just not getting a lot of substance. She seems smart. She might be good. I really want her to just serve on a committee or something. I want to see her get involved. If she did that and ran again in four years, I’d have a much easier time voting for her.

Shelby’s main campaign pillar is she wants to provide more open communication as councillor. And honestly, having a Twitter profile is a huge plus for me (Angela doesn’t use hers much), but besides Twitter, I’ve talked to and emailed Angela and have never had a problem. I actually quite like her, PC nomination thing aside.

Sticking My Oar In

Here are some races I don’t get a vote in, but people have asked me what I think, so this is a favour to them. This comes with the huge caveat that these are rarely well-researched, and I generally pay a lot less attention to Kitchener’s city hall than I do Waterloo’s. But I’m happy to share opinions, for what it’s worth. These are in diminishing order of certainty.

Waterloo Ward 4: Diane Freeman

Diane’s one of my favourite city councillors, and I don’t think she’s under threat at all.

Waterloo Ward 6: Jeff Henry

Jeff’s very good. Also one of my favourite councillors

Mayor of Kitchener: Berry Vrbanovic

As well as being a well-loved city councillor, Berry’s a huge nerd and Disney fan. Plus he received the endorsement of Bear4Mayor. What more need I say?

Kitchener Regional Councillors: Tom Galloway, Geoff Lorentz, Elizabeth Clarke, Cameron Dearlove

You lucky dogs get to pick 4! Which only compounds the problem with block voting, but like I said earlier, maybe that’ll get fixed next time.

Galloway and Lorentz because they’re incumbents and I think we’ll have enough turn-over in this council. Also, I really like Galloway. Clarke said some very smart things about Out of the Cold this summer and continues to say smart things on Twitter. The fourth spot is kind of a toss-up between Redman and Dearlove. I just have a better sense of where Cameron stands on local issues.

Kitchener Ward 10: James Howe

I’ve known James and read his blog for ages. He cares way more about stuff like parking around the Aud than I think is humanly possible. And he’s smart. I think he’ll make a fine councillor.

Kitchener Ward 9: Tessa Jennison

She seems really good, and has been endorsed by people I respect in the ward. Frank Etherington tends to rub me the wrong way.

Kitchener Ward 8: Margaret Johnston

Lots of public service cred and she impressed me when she ran for MPP in Kitchener Centre earlier this year.

Kitchener Ward 4: Yvonne Fernandes

Seems like a good incumbent.

5 thoughts on “2014 Waterloo Municipal Elections

  1. Jeremy Wolf

    Just a minor correction, but Jeff Henry appears to be running for Ward 6, not 5. Only reason I noticed was because that seems to be my ward.

Comments are closed.