What was already certain to be an interesting election - given the unpredictability of the voter turn-out and the significant re-drawing of ward boundaries - will be ramped up a notch with an actual, honest-to-goodness race for Mayor this time around, as one of the current Aldermen (does anyone know the square root of 144?) is rumoured to be targeting the current spend-and-cry officeholder.
Of course, that presupposes that the current officeholder is even interested in running for the job again. He's certainly raising money, but in a textbook illustration of one of the delightful little quirks of our current system, he could very well decide to take that campaign war chest, drop out of the race and go on the mother of all Vegas benders. Once it's donated, it's his money, to do with as he pleases. Oversight, overschmite.
The boundaries for the wards, by the way, are far from set in stone. Despite what you've read on this blog, among many other less reliable (obviously!) sources, the recommendations of earlier this Winter have been shelved, and (as reported by Don Braid) the new ward boundaries will be determined by gerrymandering, behind closed doors, in the near future.
There are already rumours of several notable locals considering a run at Aldermanic office. Linda Fox-Mellway may be facing a legitimate challenge in Ward 14 (in 2007 she was acclaimed). North-East Calgary (ward to be determined, pending boundary re-drawing) is rumoured to be facing a ballot featuring the name of Friend Of Enlightened Savage Naheed Nenshi, of the Better Calgary Campaign (Naheed, by the way, would be an absolutely spectacular Alderman - his politics and mine vary somewhat, but he is of the highest character with great vision and would be a tremendous asset to the citizens of Calgary within their municipal government). And a ward that may find itself in need of an Alderman after the mayoral candidates are announced (how many faces are on a dodecahedron? Anyone?) is rumoured to be coveted by a former independent provincial candidate of some renown in the neighbourhood.
Aldermanic campaigns are tough to call, but the one universal truth to them is that the best organized campaign almost always wins. With such low voter participation, the campaign that establishes an edge in name recognition and runs the best Get Out The Vote organization will win. Potential candidates should be getting their ducks in a row NOW, if they hope to have any chance of defeating incumbents, or candidates with built-in organizations.
Also in the news: If you live in North-East Calgary, and your office isn't in your basement, you'll want to be taking a serious look at attending tonight's Open House on the new airport runway and the proposed tunnel underneath it - if a tunnel or alternative free-flow route doesn't get built, traffic will be an absolute NIGHTMARE in the North-East trying to drive East-to-West or vice versa, Ring Road be damned. The Open House is tonight at the Inglewood Community Hall, 174 24th Ave. S.E., running from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.