Posts filed under ‘Election 2008’

2011 Victoria civic election wrap-up

I’ve been neglecting this blog but wanted to post some post-election thoughts regarding the surprising outcome and what we can look forward to.

Dean Fortin M 10080 YES
Paul Brown M 4229
Steve Filipovic M 2206
David Shebib M 161

Councillor Candidate(s)
First Name Last Name Initial Gender Acclaimed Votes Elected
Geoff Young M 8940 YES
Charlayne Thornton-Joe F 8803 YES
Lisa Helps F 8523 YES
Ben Isitt M 8419 YES
Marianne Alto F 7493 YES
Pam Madoff F 7321 YES
Shellie Gudgeon F 6904 YES
Christopher Coleman M M 6793 YES

John Luton M 6343
Lynn Hunter F 6101
Philippe Lucas M 5719
Rose Henry F 4866
Sukhi Lalli M 3993
Linda McGrew F 3923
Aaron Hall M 2777
John Turner C M 2014
Robin Kimpton M 1519
Saul Andersen M 1055
Sean Murray M 757
Jon Valentine M 682

First, the bottom

20 council candidates this time compared to 35 in 2008. There were also fewer fringe candidates and really no outright loonies or joke candidates. The two bottom men, Valentine and Turner doubled their vote tally over 2008. Cabbie Saul Anderson ran for Council instead of mayor this time going from 172 to 1055.


Three incumbents tossed (Hunter, Luton, Lucas) is rare, I don’t think it’s happened in recent history, if at all.

Three new rookies with no real hands-on political experience rarer still. I think the closest experience Isitt has is his stint on the City’s old Environment and Shoreline Committee. The rest is academic.

Pam Madoff loses nearly 1700 votes since the last full election in 2008. Formerly always the top vote getter, this time she is third from last.

I predicted a close race for the final positions and this proved true. In 2008 there were nearly 3,000 votes separating ninth place loser me from last place winner John Luton.

My first-among-losers placing of 3737 in ’08 would have gotten me seventh place among the losers in ’11.

Geoff Young consistently placed in the centre of the pack in past elections. His leap to the top, ousting Thornton-Joe from the no. 1 postion may be unprecedented.

I’m surprised Paul Brown did so poorly. Clearly his message did not resonate as much as I thoght it would. I don’t know if he has the appetite to run again. Like Geoff Young, his wife might forbid it. I went from being a Brown supporter, to being ambivalent, to disappointed the more I read his platform. His views on homelessness, as reported on his web page are naive and incoherent. Talking with the other levels of government? Is this really a new, dynamic action plan?

The losers

I’m inclined to say people didn’t vote against Luton as much as they voted for the newcomers and Luton was pushed out. They voted against Lucas, however. Occupy Victoria likely had a negative impact. Perhaps unfair, as he was trying to defuse confrontation. Lynn Hunter appears to have fallen victim to the identical scenario that made her a one-term MP in Ottawa years ago. A sincere, behind-the-scenes policy wonk, in the ’93 Federal election she was wiped out by voter impatience and demand for change.


Even though so many complain about signs, they work. Shellie Gudgeon came out with a second batch of signs that were more legible than the first hard-to-read ones. Helps also had a lot of well-designed signs and that worked for her.

Filopovic had a motley assortment of leftover signs mostly attached to City lamposts and signs. This worked against him as it looked unprofessional for someone running for the top job. Steve loses because he runs for mayor using a councillor’s campaign.

Signs don’t bother me. I think of them as another temporary colourful artifact of a season, like piles of leaves in November, little flags on Canada day and crocuses in the Spring.

Ben’s triumph

Ben Isitt is wise to know he lost the mayor’s race twice already and couldn’t rally the numbers to topple Dean as that would involve splitting the NDP vote. If Brown had won yesterday, Isitt would likely run for mayor in 2014. Getting 2000+ more votes than either incumbents Hunter, Lucas and Luton was a stunner.

Outlook for the short and long term

The three newbies will soon be off to government boot camp, where they will learn the basics of how the City is run. The intent is to have them hit the ground running at their first Council meeting knowing the various departments, protocol and running formal meetings. I can see Gudgeon and Helps in the front row eagerly taking notes and Isitt in the back chewing gum thinking he could teach this course.

It is going to be a very interesting term.

The incumbents will be sniffing around the newcomers, looking for possible alliances. Madoff and Alto will likely take Helps under their wing. Gudgeon is a natural ally of the centre moderates. Still, Madoff will likely attempt to school Gudgeon in the field of culture and heritage as she is the self-appointed empress of that domain.

Isitt, I don’t know–he may go “mainstream” and build alliances or remain a lone wolf lefty.

I think they will all be disappointed that their individual pet project will get little air time at the Council table, instead their day is going to be filled out with slogging through mundane Staff reports on why an application to put a bedroom over a detached garage should be rejected.

Madoff must regain her profile so as not to be toppled by the newcomers of 2014.

2014 will be triumph or tragedy for incumbents depending on City finances and the bridge.

November 21, 2011 at 1:25 am 1 comment

The Cuff Report [updated, March 18, 2009]

In July, 2008 I was one of dozens of people interviewed by George Cuff for a City of Victoria-sponsored investigation into improving communications within City Hall. Some background on the report can be found by following the links here.

City Manager Penny Ballantyne initiated the report in order to give various stakeholders in the community–City staff, Community Association volunteers and others–a chance to articulate the challenges involved in improving dialogue at City Hall. Called by some a dysfunctional system, the report was expected to paint a graphic picture of a system bogged down in conflict and inertia, with ground zero being the interface between City Council, the City Planning Department and Victoria’s nine volunteer Community Associations.

The release of the report was delayed by the six-month leave of absence of Ballantyne, whose husband passed away unexpectedly in 2008. The acting City Manager promised the report would be given to City Council November 25, after the Civic Election with a presentation before the public and the new Council December 9, 2008 and after Ballantyne returned to the job. Meanwhile, the deadline came and went, and in a surprise move yesterday afternoon, Ballantyne offered her resignation, citing the need to look after her family and herself at this difficult time.

There is no word yet on the reason for the delay. It may be that the report is still being tweaked by Cuff, or City Hall could be sitting on the report until the new Council is prepared for it. Last Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting had a very light agenda so a backlog of agenda items isn’t the reason.

The chorus of voices wondering what happened to the report is growing. Reporters from the local media are circling around the issue and if the report’s release is delayed much longer the City risks the chance a draft version gets leaked to the media, with City Hall in damage control mode.

UPDATE: The report and associated documents are here on the City’s website. The previously unknown “Turner Report” deals specifically with Victoria’s Community Associations and will be released sometime in April.

January 9, 2009 at 11:11 pm 9 comments

Council assignments: update

I’m told all City Hall appointments are on hold until the end of January. This remarkable turn of events means all committees, boards, and Council portfolios are in limbo for at least another month.

But life at City Hall and elsewhere continues to play out, meaning some committees will meet without Council representation. For instance, December 18th’s Advisory Design Panel will take place as usual (Hudson’s Fisgard tower is on the agenda) but there will be no official Council representative at the table. Council members are free to attend this meeting and many others, just like members of the public are.

Downtown Residents’ Association Council Liaison Charlayne Thornton-Joe has promised to attend our Annual General Meeting January 11, 2009, but we won’t know if she’ll remain with Downtown.

Meanwhile, we will wait to see how this reorganization affects the landscape at City Hall.

December 14, 2008 at 8:00 pm Leave a comment

T/C: Council must act now on homelessness

Yesterday’s Times Colonist editorial on the challenge our new City Council faces in finding solutions to homelessness is today’s must read.

The writer hones in on Council’s reputation for dithering in time of action:

[Mayor Dean] Fortin’s speech, for example, talked about the need “to look high and low for land, buildings and services that can support those currently living on the street.”

But the city should have already identified some of those publicly owned spaces and be pressing Coleman now for the same kind of operating funding commitment that Vancouver has received.

This is not the time to pause, or do more studies. It’s the time to rush ahead in every way — large and small — possible. The problems of homelessness, disorder, crime, addiction and illness that plague the downtown have steadily worsened over the last decade, with no effective response from the city.

Fortin’s commitment to make homelessness a priority is welcome. But action, now, is needed to signal a real change.

Council must not be focused solely on shelters and supportive housing for the disadvantaged. There are many in this city who need decent market rental housing.

Much of our existing rental housing stock is approaching the end of its useful life without expensive upgrades. New secondary suite regulations will help but we can’t expect all of Victoria’s renters to live in basement suites or high-end condos. What is needed now are a few new apartment buildings. But will this new team find the will to make it happen?

December 9, 2008 at 1:16 am Leave a comment

Predictions for Mayor-elect Fortin’s Council assignments

Now that the dust has settled after the election, attention will be focused on a lesser-known aspect of City Hall–the portfolios assigned to the Councillors by the Mayor. There are several, and each Councillor has at least two, and some portfolios are shared by two Councillors. Let’s take a look at them: who has them now and who might end up with them…


Currently, the Harbour Portfolio belongs to Councillor and GVHA Board member Bea Holland. Her open-minded pragmatism will be missed by many. This will be a key portfolio if the Belleville Terminal concept is resurrected this term. The person with this portfolio should be on good relations (or be willing to be on good relations) with the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and Transport Canada (among others). Chris Coleman might be a good candidate for this one, both for his familiarity with James Bay issues and his expertise in inter-governmental relations. Lynn Hunter could end up with this.


This was Pam Madoff’s portfolio until it was handed to Bea Holland in 2005 in a controversial move by Mayor Lowe. Saying Holland was more “staff-friendly”, Madoff’s cherished portfolio was taken away along with the prized Heritage portfolio. Madoff was quoted by the Times Colonist saying, “I’m mystified by it and at the same time I’m appalled.” You can expect both portfolios to be handed back to Pam once Mayor Fortin takes office.

Seniors Liaison

A Holland portfolio. Could also end up with Madoff or Hunter.

Deputy for Heritage

Another Holland portfolio. This person will be Pam’s deputy. Perhaps Sonya Chandler, or more likely, Fortin might use this portfolio as on opportunity to get rookie John Luton up to speed. His platform was light on urban planning specifics and he would benefit from Pam’s mentorship.


Right now this is Sonya’s portfolio and it could remain hers but newcomer Philippe Lucas will likely be chosen, especially if Sonya’s platter gets full with other portfolios.

Youth Liaison

Chandler feels strongly about this minor portfolio and I’m sure she’d be pleased to retain it as long as Fortin (also a youth advocate) feels the current youth angle is on the right track.

Deputy for Parks and Recreation

Presently held by Chandler, another natural deputy position for John Luton. It might be tossed on Chris Coleman’s plate. Madoff might get this if she’s taken off the main Parks portfolio yet still wants to keep a hand in it.

Social Planning

A broad portfolio that covers everything from Downtown beautification to harm reduction. Currently Sonya’s department it would be a good fit for Charlayne Thornton-Joe. I serve along with Charlayne on the Downtown Service Providers Committee and the DVBA Clean & Safe Committee and know she’s already fully up to speed on all the topics covered by Social Planning. I bet Charlayne would be happy with this and the fact that she topped the polls Saturday will gain her respect when it comes time to divvy out the portfolios.

Economic Development

Chris Coleman’s portfolio; he could retain it. Harvard-trained economist Geoff Young would qualify but it could end up in Lynn Hunter’s lap.


Save as above.

Deputy for Housing

Another Coleman portfolio. Lucas or Chandler. Maybe Hunter if Coleman doesn’t retain it like I’m certain he’d like to.


Currently co-shared with Fortin, this could go to Young or Coleman.

Social Planning

Co-shared with Fortin right now, sharing this portfolio with Charlayne would be a step up for Chandler or Lucas.

Deputy for Environment

Chandler or Lucas. Possibly another mentorship opportunity for Luton.


Retiring Councillor Helen Hughes’ portfolio. It might go to veteran Chris Coleman, who distinguished himself on the subject at the recent UBCM convention.

Deputy for Downtown

A possibility for Thornton-Joe if she doesn’t get the main Downtown portfolio. Could be a good training portfolio for Lynn Hunter who is weak on planning issues but interested in social problems.

Arts & Culture

Currently held by Pam, she’d prefer to keep it.

Parks & Recreation

Madoff’s shocking replacement for the Heritage/Planning portfolio. She’d gladly give it to Lucas, Luton or Coleman (who has experience with the Rec Renewal project).

Deputy for Transportation

A no-brainer for John Luton. This is another Madoff portfolio from the Lowe era. Geoff Young needs to have a hand in a transportation portfolio to further his transit agenda.


This should stay with Charlayne unless Fortin gives it to Madoff.


Madoff will steal this back from Charlayne.

Deputy for Planning

This is a tough one. Fortin would prefer to let one of the incoming Dean Team rookies cut their teeth on this important entry-level portfolio but he’d be wiser to let one of the indepents tackle this. Geoff Young, perhaps, or it could stay with Charlayne.

Advisory Cycling Committee
Advisory Transportation Committee

Both these portfolios are held by Geoff Young and he’d love to keep them but John Luton is certainly eyeing them. Seeing as these would be the only portfolios dear to John’s heart he’d be frustrated and ineffectual without them under his belt.

November 17, 2008 at 11:35 pm 5 comments

Thanks everyone!

I didn’t win but I came first out of the runners up. Congrats to Mayor-elect Fortin and the winning Councillors. Thank you to everyone for your support. I deeply and sincerely appreciate it!

Early Unofficial results (14 of 15 precincts reporting):

City Council (eight seats)

Charlayne Thornton-Joe 9215
Pam Madoff 8371
Sonya Chandler 7491
Lynn Hunter 7433
Geoff Young 6807
Phillipe Lucas 6623
Chris Coleman 5647
John Luton 5635


Robert Randall 3449
Wayne Hollohan 3385
Rose Henry 3179
John Farquharson 2849
Pieta Van Dyke 2838
Barry Hobbis 2776
Tim Van Alstine 2763
Susan Woods 2588
Jane Lunt 2515
Richard Park 1900
Diana Smardon 1191
Joseph Boutilier 1128
Simon Nattrass 895
John C. Turner 889
Suzanne Carroll 877
Gregory Hartnell 790
Tavis Dodds 695
Nick Baker 625
Christopher Gillespie 501
Chris Munkascsi 453
Robert Allington 400
Patrick Jamieson 391
Allen Jones 369
Denis Oliver 290
David Shebib 217
Jonathan Le Drew 146

November 16, 2008 at 1:11 am 5 comments

Election Day!

Thanks, everyone for your support! Get out to the polls today–bring a friend, neighbour or perfect stranger.

On November 15, 2008, eligible electors in the City of Victoria may vote at any one of the following locations:

Burnside-Gorge Community Centre 471 Cecilia Road
Central Baptist Church 833 Pandora Avenue
Fairfield New Horizons Centre 380 Cook Street
George Jay School 1118 Princess Street
Glenlyon Norfolk School 801 Bank Street
James Bay Community School 140 Oswego Street
James Bay New Horizons Centre 234 Menzies Street
Oaklands School 2827 Belmont Street
Quadra School 3031 Quadra Street
Sir James Douglas School 401 Moss Street
Sundance School 1625 Bank Street
Vic West Community “Y” 521 Craigflower Road

November 15, 2008 at 12:45 am 2 comments

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