Joey’s TPR Election Blog: Some Ward Race Possibilities

Joey Coleman

Downtown Hamilton from the Jolley Cut in August 2021

Last Wednesday, October 12, I spoke about the dynamics of City Council races in Wards 3, 4, 5, 7, 13, and 14 yesterday on the Cable 14 show QCC hosted by Tara Crugnale.

Evelyn Myrie was the other guest in the discussion. It was quite nice to see Evelyn again, it has been a long time.

We chatted about a few of the ward-level races.

The following is a summarization of my on-air comments

The Range of Possibilities and Impossibility of Prediction

I noted that I’ve begun drafting possible election night stories.

My goal for election night is to provide readers with an insightful summary and analysis of outcomes.

I am motivated by reading the excellent work that Fred Vallance-Jones did for TheSpec in the 90s and the 2000 municipal election in quickly publishing insightful analysis.

One of those possible outcomes I’m writing a draft for is Walter Furlan winning in Ward 3.

I explained my reasoning on-air.

Myrie stated my “prediction” was surprising, considering Nann’s record of achieving what she said she would do on Council.

I emphasized that this is not a prediction; it is a possibility. This is an important distinction.

Trying to predict any outcomes in this municipal election is like trying to read tea leaves that are mixed in coffee grinds.

My usual methods of finding indicators do not presently exist.

A vast majority of people who used to express themselves on Twitter now remain silent. [They read, they DM, and they do not publicly engage]

Neighbourhood associations and community organizations are still rebuilding from COVID shutdowns.

I encounter fewer people in my travels than I used to, both because people are busier than ever [catching up with people and events post-COVID] and because I maintain my own COVID precautions.

Turning to possible outcomes.

Ward 3

Municipal elections are decided by homeowners and homeowner issues.

Homeowners directly receive their property tax bills, whereas renters [who pay a higher mill rate] do not directly see their property taxes.

This dynamic must be weighted while considering the range of reasonably possible outcomes.

I am drafting for the possibility that Walter Furlan wins in Ward 3.

Why am I drafting this possibility?

Firstly, there is plenty of chatter within politicial circles that predictive models are showing a possible upset. There are various campaigns and people who do private modelling.

Secondly, the number of Furlan signs on lawns across the northern and western portions of the ward indicate voter support for him as a candidate.

There are other signals of a challenge for incumbent councillor Nrinder Nann.

Social services are moving from Ward 2 to Ward 3. The Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre and Mission Services are the two highest-profile moves.

Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr is including the planned move of Mission Services among his listed achievements in his campaign literature.

Jason Farr is a resident of Ward 3 and is endorsing Walter Furlan.

Concerns regarding the number of social services in the Stinson neighbourhood are being expressed by some unexpected groups.

St. Patrick’s Church, which provides street outreach in the community, went public with its concerns.

There are concerns about supervised consumption sites (injection sites) planned for opening in Ward 3.

Petty property crime is a concern.

Historically, in local elections across North America, petty property crime concerns lead to the election of traditionally expressive “law and order” candidates.

Walter Furlan and Nrinder Nann are both standard bearers for their political worldview.

Nann has delivered on her promises from 2018. She has one of the best attendance records on Council.

Her voters should be showing up to support her. She has good campaign team and a Get Out The Vote operation.

Ward 4

Asked my thoughts on Ward 4, I was very careful not to mention candidate names as I could not possibly give each their due.

I have absolutely no idea what will occur on election night in this ward with 11 candidates.

I took the time to note we are blessed by the choices, these are good people with good ideas, and I really hope each of them becomes further engaged in civic governance regardless of the outcome.

Myrie noted a few candidates by name, and I shared how those individuals have impressed me.

Ward 5

See Ward 4 commentary above.

I noted my personal disappointment in the number of Ward 5 candidates stating they will oppose all development, intensification, and in-fill.

They do not have this power.

Yes, they can oppose all applications, and send them off to the Ontario Land Tribunal for approval.

This approach only leads to the worse possible outcomes.

Developers do not engage in the give-and-take of community consultation because they know their application is going to the Tribunal.

Development costs are increased, developers cut corners, and the final product is more costly for the purchaser or renter.

So much for housing affordability!

No intensification means no new tax revenues.

So much for controlling tax increases!

I will lower your taxes and stop development is a lie.

Seniors in Downtown Stoney Creek want a coffee shop again.

I want Downtown Stoney Creek to have a coffee shop once again!

Parkermanns is gone, and the Tim Hortons is closed.

While the Legion does a fine enough coffee, it is not a coffee shop where people can easily and casually gather at all hours of the day and evening.

The demographics of the present Downtown Stoney Creek make it difficult to operate a viable coffee shop. The many seniors who live in Downtown Stoney Creek do so on fixed incomes.

It is cliché to say, the seniors are not buying lattes which are most profitable for cafes.

Downtown needs people, it needs a mix of demographics. This means mid-rise buildings along King Street outside of the heritage district.

Candidates claiming they will ensure Downtown Stoney Creek gets a coffee shop [spoiler alert: municipalities cannot dictate specific use] while stopping any development along the King Street arterial corridor are lying in every single regard.

I noted there are some good candidates in this race, and I quite enjoyed interviewing them.

Ward 7

Esther Pauls versus Scott Duvall.

I expect Pauls to win this race because of her high level of energy – she is canvassing the ward multiple times and her likeability.

People really like Esther Pauls. She does not have a malicious bone in her body. Yes, she’s had embarrassing moments on Council, and she’s taken controversial stances.

There are no defining issues in the ward.

This may explain why Pauls and Duvall spent most of their debate arguing over a pothole on Duvall’s street.

Ward 13

This is another one-on-one race.

Crugnale noted that incumbent Arlene Vanderbeek was re-elected in 2018.

The lowest vote percentage of any incumbent.

She asked me, does this mean in a two person race that she is going to be defeated?

Firstly, I noted that I’ve been impressed by Alex Wilson for many years. I am very happy to see Wilson running and contributing to our civic life.

I first met Wilson in 2017/18 when another McMaster undergraduate student introduced us. The first impression was great, Wilson is very smart and very insightful.

In the Ward 13 race, Wilson is at the disadvantage of not having a lot of runaway due to beginning the campaign later than a typical challenger campaign.

Wilson has stepped into the void left behind when Ted McMeekin changed his plays to run in Ward 13 and moved over to Ward 15 after incumbent Judi Partridge announced her retirement.

It was widely known that McMeekin planned to challenge Vanderbeek. This is why other potential candidates decided not to run.

With 65 percent of voters in 2018 voting against her, does this mean Vanderbeek is likely to be defeated this time?

I responded by noting the 2018 third-place finisher John Mykytyshyn is a big C Conservative.

Will the 18 percent of voters who chose him now vote for an NDPer?

Wilson is a member of the NDP and is employed by NDP MPP Sandy Shaw.

Ward 14

I noted Ward 14’s voting patterns are traditionally centre-right. A few months ago I predicted a centre-right candidate to win the ward.

Today, there is a good possibilty Kojo Damptey will win the ward for the following reasons I stated on air.

Damptey registered on May 2, and immediately went to work campaigning. He has canvassed the entire ward multiple times.

He quickly pivoted his talking points to include, and often focuses upon, homeowner issues.

His campaign is fully funded. He is able to spend the maximum.

Myrie gave a good analysis of this ward as well. (Her words escape me now and I do not wish to risk an inaccurate recollection of them.)

Myrie quickly noted that Don Ross, a former City of Hamilton alderman, is among the candidates.

I noted that Ross is a good person, and I really hope he gets involved in citizen committees this term of office.

[I think he be a good member of the Committee of Adjustment if Bob Charters is replaced. It is good to have one former city council member on the CoA.]

Michael Spadafora is the other possibility to win this Ward, and his politics is more of a fit for the centre-right nature of this area.

I noted that provincially and federally, most of the polls located within Ward 14 vote more Conservative than the rest of Hamilton Centre and Hamilton-West Ancaster Dundas.

In the 2000 Hamilton municipal election mayoral race between Hamilton Mayor Bob Morrow and Ancaster Mayor Bob Wade, the polls of what is now Ward 14 had more in common with the suburbs than the rest of the old City.

It is clique and true to say getting out the vote matters here.

I framed the question to be answered on election day as:

Who has the better voters list, Damptey who is creating his list or Spadafora who benefits from the existing Conservative voters list which he is adding to while going door-to-door?

After the airing of the show, I realized I missed the opportunity to note how close the 2016 Ward 7 by-election was between John-Paul Danko and Conservative Donna Skelly.

Similar to Danko, Damptey is an upstart facing off against a well-tuned political machine.

Danko nearly won the 2016 by-election. Hamilton’s media ignored and dismissed Danko. Damptey is receiving fair coverage.

Summary

We did not discuss the other wards.

Obviously, I am preparing drafts and outlines for various scenarios across Hamilton.

I will return to Cable 14 for this week’s QCC panel tomorrow.

It airs at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, livestreaming on Cable14Now.com

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Last edited: October 18, 2022
Author: Joey Coleman
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