Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Dundas Mayoral Debate

The weather was terrible last night as I made my way over to the Dundas Baptist Church to take in the mayoral debate organized by the Dundas Association of Churches. The rain was pounding and I even heard there was a tornado in Sheffield. Yikes!

Undeterred, the people of Dundas jammed the space. The church was set up expecting about 100 visitors and they got closer to 300. It was an amazing night.

I had a second row seat!
I did a little experiment last night and attempted to do a "live tweet" of the debate for my followers on Twitter. I thought it was an especially useful service since one of the journalists that normally covers the mayoral debates, Joey Coleman, was up on the Mountain covering a trustee debate. I think it was pretty successful and judging by the amount of people that were replying and generally interacting, there definitely was an appetite for it out there.

Once the debate was over, I socialized a bit as I waited for the parking lot to clear out. I ran into CBC Hamilton reporter Samantha Craggs and she asked me for my reaction to the debate. You can read her summary report here, including some of my comments:

Huge turnout! That's me in the circle. (credit: Samantha Craggs)
The gentleman that moderates the Dundas Facebook page also asked for our reaction to the debate. This time, we were allowed a very generous 250 words and here they are:

"I attended last night’s mayoral debate with great anticipation. I probably will not make my final decision for Mayor until I cast my ballot on October 27th but until then, I want to hear as much from each of the candidates as possible. As a potential councillor, I have been trying to follow as many of the campaigns across the city as I can since it is important to understand the priorities and perspectives each of my new colleagues.

It was very lively and while I do not believe there were any clear winners, it was very obvious why each of the three front runners are the only serious contenders. I was impressed with different aspects of each of their performances:

  • Brian McHattie’s work on poverty and social housing
  • Fred Eisenberger’s depth of knowledge and composure
  • Brad Clark’s experience and passion

The hottest topic of the night by far was LRT. It appears to me that Dundas is still very divided on this file. It is worth noting that while some of the “fringe” candidates are completely against the concept, each of the three main candidates still support Rapid Transit in general and only disagree on the mode itself (train versus bus).

The event was standing room only and all the candidates spoke to the tremendous democratic engagement in Dundas. It made me very proud to be sitting there among so many friends and neighbours and I really think we demonstrated that we are a community that merits special attention."

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