Out on an election limb

The following editorial appeared in the October 21 edition of the Guelph Tribune:

After next Monday’s municipal election, Guelph will have at least two new councillors and, by my way of thinking, possibly four.
Of course, if I were an ace race handicapper I would be in Vegas right now, not tapping out my thoughts on a computer keyboard. Before looking into my crystal ball and predicting the winners, though, I’ll make it clear that the following forecasts aren’t endorsements or personal faves. I just enjoy election action and laying it all out on the table.

Ward 1 – With eleven candidates, there is lots of choice, that’s for sure. There are some strong candidates, too. However, name recognition wins the day in municipal elections. I figure Bob Bell will be re-elected. His ward colleague will either be Sean Farrelly or Jim Furfaro. I foresee Farrelly eking through.

Ward 2 –Again, incumbent Ian Findlay will be re-elected, but I am not so sure about Vicki Beard. Ray Ferraro and Andy Van Hellemond could be the ones to outflank her. Ferraro’s ties to the Kate Quarrie regime might be his undoing. Van Hellemond’s name alone could very well carry the day for him.

Ward 3 –I cannot see Maggie Laidlaw or June Hofland getting ousted. Craig Chamberlain, Mark Enchin and Dimitrios “Jim” Galatianos ran similar cut-taxes campaigns. Their platform has its backers, but not enough to usurp the incumbents in this downtown ward.

Ward 4 – If there was ever a lock, it’s that Gloria Kovach will win in a romp. Who her fellow ward mate will be is too close to call. Incumbent Mike Salisbury bested Cam Guthrie by a mere 194 votes last election. I expect it will be equally close Monday. Since Guthrie appears to have been campaigning for the Ward 4 seat for four years, it wouldn’t surprise me if he topples Salisbury.

Ward 5 – There’s no touching incumbents Lise Burcher and Leanne Piper, try as Douglas O’Doherty might.

Ward 6 – Karl Wettstein should be able to hang onto his seat. Joining him will be Todd Dennis, who enjoys a fairly high profile in the south end. He’s also cut from the same cloth as the departing Christine Billings as a tax-busting crusader.

Mayor – As fine a fellow as he may be, David Birtwistle will be thumped by Karen Farbridge. I had hoped for more during his campaign, but for whatever reason he never carved himself out as a clear and articulate alternative. This judgment comes from his written submissions to Trib questions. He said nothing particularly substantive, even when given free space to do so. In fact, Ray Mitchell offered a lot more election food for thought than did Birtwistle. This surprised me.

There you have it. Now, don’t go betting the farm on these picks, or using them as reasons for complacency. Get out and vote.