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Joan Little: Spectator Comments on Burlington Election & Candidates

July 27 was the last day to register in municipal elections, and there are some outstanding candidates in Burlington’s races. Thank heaven we don’t face Toronto’s chaos!
Five of our seven incumbents are seeking re-election. Mayor Rick Goldring is challenged by Ward 2 councillor Marianne Meed Ward. Ward 4’s Jack Dennison, Ward 5’s Paul Sharman, and Ward 6’s Blair Lancaster are running. One mayoral contender will lose, ensuring three new faces.
There are four mayoral candidates. Realtor Mike Wallace, on council from 1994 to 2006, twice, part way through terms, sought federal office, succeeding in 2006. That meant council had to fill the vacancy during his term. There’s nothing illegal, but some would say this shows a lack of commitment for the responsibility he took on. He’s a formidable candidate though, because of his strong Conservative roots, and Burlington is blue.
E-commerce business owner Greg Woodruff ran for Regional Chair in 2014. He seeks the top jobs with no experience, and last election did not provide literature. How do you hold a politician accountable when there’s nothing to show what he stands for? Will he distribute a written mayoral platform? Websites can disappear.
We also elect the Regional Chair. Incumbent Gary Carr is being challenged by Anne Marsden. Six 2018 contenders ran in 2014, including Woodruff, who ran for Regional Chair. Jason Boelhouer ran in Ward 1 and Lisa Cooper in Ward 3. Marsden and Peter Rusin ran for mayor. (Cooper and Marsden run perennially).

Angelo Bentivegna challenged Ward 6 incumbent Lancaster, placing second of nine candidates. He alone attends most meetings.

Wards 1, 2, and 3 have no incumbent.
Ward 1 has 11 candidates: seniors services provider Boelhouer, retired electronics/IT guru and recent Green party candidate Vince Fiorito, business owner and Aldershot BIA chair Kelvin Galbraith, realtor and Catholic school board trustee Arlene Iantomasi, Andrew Paul Jordan, Kevin Lee, Garry Milne, Tayler Morin, insurance man Rene Papin, realtor and Chamber of Commerce stalwart Marty Staz, and BIA executive director and friend of incumbent Rick Craven, Judy Worsley.
Ward 2 has six contenders: communications specialist Kimberly Calderbank, multinational employee Michael Jones, administrator of a health service provider Lisa Kearns, retired teacher Gerard Shkuda, IT specialist Roland Tanner, and Walter Weibe. Jones, Kearns and Tanner have all delegated impressively at committees and council.
Ward 3’s five candidates are Lisa Cooper and two exceptional individuals with strong volunteer records: foreign services officer Rory Nisan and IT man Gareth Williams. Two new entrants are Darcy Hutzel, and realtor and Consensus Party provincial candidate Rusin.
In Ward 4, 24-year incumbent Dennison faces seniors’ housing advocate Shawna Stolte, who argued persuasively at committee recently.
Ward 5 two-term incumbent Sharman has strong competition, too. Former elementary principal Mary Ellen St. James has been involved in city issues and a successful OMB hearing. IT specialist Xin Yi Zhang spoke on an Alton traffic issue. Two new registrants are Wendy Moraghan and PR man Daniel Roukema.

In Ward 6 two-term incumbent Lancaster faces 2014 runner-up business owner Bentivegna, portfolio manager Ken White, and new entrant Kinsey Schurm.

Citizens are active this election because of some unpopular decisions by council, so turnout will likely exceed 2014’s paltry 34 per cent. (2010’s was 37.6). Debates will be held in every ward so voters can compare choices.
Check websites and social media to see how contenders address your issues. Look for prior involvement, and/or community volunteering. Some offer personal background, some don’t.
Some even lack websites, addresses or phone numbers. Some don’t live in wards they’re running in, but a few of these are impressive.

This information was compiled from observations at city hall and community meetings, websites, and knowledge of some of them. Real candidates deserve our appreciation for all the time and money invested, but do your own checking. Have they really been involved all along, or are some opportunists, seeking a $106,000 paycheque?

The most frequently heard council criticism is, “nobody listens”. Be heard this time!


Committee to Elect Angelo Bentivegna
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