Well, after a hard fought battle in the recent municipal election, coming up seventy-five votes short, I thought I would take a few minutes as a taxpayer and political junkie to talk about the recent campaign.
Personally, I put way to emphasis on social media, specifically Facebook, which I beleive cost me the election. I plan on penning more on social media and how it hindered my efforts to win a seat in May and that in itself is a story.
Let’s start at the top, Mayor elect Mel Norton. Throughout the campaign, Mel took it on the chin by a number of people for the “larger than life” campaign he ran. Signs were seen on every street corner, many surmised that he and future Deputy of Mayor Shelley Rinehart were “buying” the election. Well it turns out that Mel was both the most qualified and best suited for our city right now. Same as Ms. Rinehart, who ran a well oiled machine to victory and by far the best selection at large.
In my ward, it was a battle for second place as David Merrithew, as expected was a runaway winner. He too ran what many would deem an “elaborate” campaign, but proved he was the top gun in this division. I was a little put out with election day and a supporter of David’s seemingly being on-hand at a polling station to garner him support. Bottom line though, he didn’t need it to win it.
Ray Stowbridge took the second seat in Ward 4, and deservingly so. Again, the two candidates that ran their campaign the smartest, and avoided social media for the most part, were elected. Again, I will save that for another day, still drives me batty! Congrats Ray, you truly deserved your seat and know you will be a strong voice for east Saint John!
In the at large position, John Campbell, a smart, intelligent, well informed man was no match for the popularity of the former mayor. Shirley McAlary easily took the second seat at large and she ran a quiet, yet effective campaign. Campbell on the other hand people said to me, can sometimes be his worst enemy with the delivery of the messages he is trying for people to digest.
Ward 1 was a wide open affair with name recognition in my opinion electing Greg Norton to council. Not taking anything away from Greg, he’s a personable man who holds himself well in the public eye. We will see how he makes out on the issues but with his brother as mayor, don’t expect a repeat of Monday “Night Courts” with Bruce and Ivan now on the sidelines. I think it’s a safe bet to say Greg & Mel will hold themselves with much more decorum and respect, even when they do disagree. Congrats to Bill Farren, re-elected in Ward 1. He is well liked, not scared to speak his mind, and will bring a nice balance of the old and new around the table.
Susan Fullerton, sung, danced, and played the piano on her way to a sweeping win in Ward two. Getting to know Susan, I found her to be smart, innovative, witty, and someone who will go the distance for her electorate. John MacKenzie took a bit of a surprise second place effort and to tell the truth, I did not meet him on the campaign trail so will reserve comment until I see how he performs on council.
In Ward 3, so great to see Donnie Snook elected once again. His soft spoken, yet determination will continue to be a soothing voice around the table. For lack of a better word, a voice of “reason”. Well earned win for Mr. Snook. Donna Reardon is a another welcome female addition to the table and her no nonsense approach should serve her and her supporters well. Really like the fact that she has transit experience behind her, a big priority for the city to take a look at the whole system and tailor it to the customers needs.
All in all, a great team around the council table. I will be writing on issues that I feel need to be addressed and maybe provide a freindly push or reminder on some of the priorities that need immediate attention. Keep in mind, this will not happen over night, be patient and let this team get their wits about them after a long few months of campaigning and than we can take.
……..and How To Loose With Class (Editor’s footnote)