Comment 2422

By (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2006 at 22:18:44

What happened? Here's my take.
Voters in municipal elections are hard core. These are people who will turn out for all elections because they see it as a duty. Last time out, we had a very divisive election, and some 40% came out to vote for Christopherson. DiIanni won, but in his three years as mayor, he did nothing to reach out to the Christopherson voters or their vision. In fact, he repeatedly made decisions to remind those voters that he had no time for their vision, and those actions in turn maintained an activist base opposed to him (seen for instance in many of the opinions on this site).

Well, that 40% of voters certainly had little reason to embrace Fred Eisenberger, who seemed to be in a similar policy space as DiIanni. But they did see some attempts to reach out to them, for instance on transit and on a slightly less gung-ho approach to Aerotropolis and sprawl. So, when they went out to vote, as per their duty, they held their nose and voted for Fred.

So all Fred really had to do was to steal some votes from Larry in the outlying wards to add to that 40%. As a bland, right of centre, former Conservative candidate, he had much more suburban appeal than an urban NDP firebrand like Christopherson. And let's face it, DiIanni has not been great for suburbanites either, as his Red Hill Cargo Cult and sprawl failed to attract large business investment, and thus increased property taxes. Plus, for many suburbanites, sprawl is not great either, since it increases traffic and consumes neighbouring green spaces which are seen as benefits of suburban living.

In short, while I too did not see the Fred victory coming at all, it was in a sense predictable if one thought about who goes to vote in these things, and about how DiIanni failed to deliver for suburban voters while also failing to reach out to those who voted against him last time. It is of course most amusing that the Spec backed DiIanni as a team builder, because the main reason he lost was that he refused to build an inclusive team that brought in some of David Christopherson's supporters and ideas, and instead stuck to the narrower coalition that elected him last time.

The lesson for Fred Eisenberger is this: If you don't keep your promises to that 40%, someone else may do the same thing to you next time around.

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