How I Voted in the 2014 Hamilton Municipal Election

on

I wrote earlier this week about why I didn’t endorse any candidates, and why I would disclose how I voted.

Here is the disclosure.

Mayor

Of the candidates on the ballot, I was first leaning towards Brad Clark. I was impressed by his stance on social service benefit cuts, valued that he benefited from social services as a child – he could not speak until he was age 5, admired him for not allowing his arthritis to keep him from public service, and felt Council needed a firm hand to correct their inability to create and follow proper processes.

I wasn’t concerned initially when Clark’s campaign started to focus its efforts outside of the Lower City core – that made sense, the voters in those areas have voted in the past for Eisenberger and it was McHattie’s home ward.

Clark started to lose my vote when he began focusing his campaign upon driving a wedge to gain voters in the suburbs. Hamilton needs a Mayor who can unite the City, not one that tries to use division to their own gain.

In 2000, 2006, and 2010, I voted for Fred Eisenberger. Eisenberger’s 2000 campaign was ambitious and idea-driven, and this is why I didn’t hesitate to declare my support shortly after he declared in 2006.

In 2014, I wondered what happened to the Eisenberger I knew who had good ideas and wasn’t afraid to take a stand. When I asked him on the day he registered this spring – what lesson he took from his 2010 defeat, he stated he learned he “needed to be more patient for change.”

Among the other candidates, none put forth a comprehensive plan or spoke full truth to power.

McHattie’s effort in his campaign impressed me. Initially, I was skeptical about his neighbourhood tour and his campaign. He stood by his ideas on principal and ran a good honest campaign.

On open data and open government, McHattie has been a leader on Council. He sought to engage voters, and offered a plan.

McHattie earned my vote.

Public School Trustee

I find this to be the toughest choice to make, because I don’t have kids in the school system, and don’t understand why we still have Trustees when all major decisions are made by the Ministry of Education in Toronto and the funding formula basically leaves the Trustees to serve as an outlet for public discontentment instead of people directing their concerns to the real decision makers at the Ministry.

At the start of the campaign, I knew two of the candidates: Chris Erl and Simon Granat. I covered both of them when they were involved in student politics at McMaster University. Both are intelligent, diligent young men committed to public service.

However, I was looking for a Trustee who would return the Board of Trustees to a group of citizens who do not aspire to full-time political office. If Granat and Erl had run for Council, they likely secure my vote based upon my very positive opinion of their work in student politics at McMaster.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to meet each of the candidates at my door. I know they canvassed, but I’m never home. The only opportunity I had to meet the candidates was at the Ward 2 debate where they had an opportunity to make statements.

I wasn’t able to attend the Home and School Association debate for the Ward 1 & 2 seat. A bit ironic that one of the two Trustee races I didn’t cover was in my own Ward.

I voted for Ed Sculthorpe. He delivered a good statement at the Ward 2 debate, I like his platform. I also liked the platforms of Christine Bingham and Brian Gage.

All the candidates in my race ran good serious campaigns.

I decided for Sculthorpe based on his biography, his military career trained him to make tough decisions based upon evidence. I’m confident he could make good tough decisions, even if they were unpopular.

City Council

I voted for Terry Wallis for City Council. Wallis’ work on City committees greatly impressed me, she has advocated for better more efficient City services, and stood for good ideas against pressure from City Hall.

Her campaign was spirited, put forth good ideas, and I know she will be a great asset to our City as a Councillor.

I look at the 16 people around the Council horseshoe, and can see a need for something with a physical disability, who has lived on a fixed-income, and knows the challenges of facing adversity.

Wallis’ hard work during the campaign secured my vote. As an added bonus, if Wallis were elected, City Hall would become accessible this year. Presently, plans to make City Hall accessible will be considered in January with work to potentially begin after the Pan Am Games.

My vote wasn’t an anti-Jason Farr vote.

I do not believe an incumbent is guaranteed my vote solely based upon their performance during the past term.

I weight all candidates based upon what I believe they’ll bring to the next four years.

Not an Endorsement

I did not wish to influence how you voted based upon my own personal choices. This is why I didn’t disclose how I voted on October 7th until now.