Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Another Slow News Day in Calgary...

... although, I'm happy to say that I've found a new place in town to get an absolutely fantastic straight razor shave - for those who have never had one, it's absolutely GOT to go on your Bucket List.

Well, that's all to report today. Talk to you lat -

Sorry, wait a second - text message coming in.





Wow. Didn't see that one coming.

Days into his preamble for the next "Dave versus the Province" battle - which he seemingly always WINS - David Thomas Bronconnier, 35th Mayor of the City of Calgary, has announced he will not be seeking re-election this October.

Which means we are in for an absolute GONG SHOW of speculation in the next few weeks and months as to whom, exactly, will be running for the empty chair, with the popular incumbent and his million-dollar war chest out of the way.

The first and most common question is going to be "WHY isn't Dave running again?" - to which the only answer I can provide is: Heaven only knows. As I mentioned, Dave is going into a very public shouting match with the province over broken promises, and despite the overall centre-right lean that encompasses Calgarian politics on a provincial and federal level, for some reason Calgarians have always supported our very clearly capital-L Liberal Mayor in his battles with the provincial Progressive Conservatives, even when "our guy" Ralph was running things in Edmonton. There was no reason to expect that wouldn't continue - at the end of the day, Calgarians would likely have gotten over the Calatrava Bridge debacle, the snow clearing fiasco, and the never-ending climb to the municipal mill rate, and re-elected Dave again (barring any personal scandal, which seems unlikely).

Dave's reasons are his own. However you thought or his tenure as Mayor of this Crown Jewel of the Rocky Mountains, Dave deserves our thanks and gratitude for his service to the people of this city, putting in countless hours over the past 18 years - first as an Alderman, and later as Mayor. I defy anyone to tell me that working an 80 hour/week job for 18 years while you've got a wife and 4 kids missing you at home isn't a sacrifice, REGARDLESS of the level of compensation.

Dave, we have as much in common politically as Aldermen Pincott and McIver - but thank-you for your service. Sincerely.

Talk now turns to the obvious question: Who's running? Who's not?

Here's what I know: I am NOT running for Mayor.

And... that's about it.

Suddenly, former mayoral candidates, current and former aldermen, and local personalities all find themselves fielding phone calls from unlikely sources. They're wondering if their city-wide name recognition is up to the level it would need to be. They're wondering what their "issue" would be, and if it would resonate. They're examining whether their private contacts and recent fundraisers would be enough to take a serious run.

Some of the names bandied about are hardly surprising... Alnoor Kassam is said to be considering another run, although he really missed a golden chance following the 2007 election to define himself going forward as a mayor-in-waiting, rather than as "the guy who spent a lot of money, had a shady past, and lost". Everyone has been speculating for YEARS that Ric McIver was going to be taking a run, and quietly building up a war chest FAR too large to run for his Ward 12 seat. Joe Connelly is rumoured to be considering a run, as well, but his public profile is bad enough that he's been seen wearing a name tag to local events in South Calgary, so people know who he is. A run by Diane Colley-Urquhart would be interesting, however if ANY combination of Diane, Joe and Ric decides to run for the same job, it waters down the conservative voices in council, as well as splitting the conservative vote - which, with voting numbers as ridiculously low as they are in municipal elections, is a dangerous idea.

Other names have been bandied about, including Naheed Nenshi of the Better Calgary Campaign and a former independent candidate in the provincial constituency of Calgary-Egmont. Should both run, the collision of 2 such fundamentally opposing forces might just create a black hole that sucks all of Earth into its gaping maw - which would certainly wreck havoc with the campaign.

While there are many question marks after today's announcement, one thing is crystal clear: Things just got very, VERY interesting.

And Calgary is going to need the Best Political Team in the Blogosphere (tm) to help make sense of it all.

Savage Out.

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