Wednesday 15 October 2014

Good vibrations: an assessment of Monaghan Ward candidates for Peterborough City Council

This is a simple, tongue-and-cheek assessment of the five Monaghan Ward candidates for the October 27 election to city council in Peterborough, Ontario. La politica has also done assessments, posted separately, for Otonabee Ward, Town Ward, Ashburnham Ward, and Northcrest Ward. Each post has the same introductory paragraphs provided below. can skip those if you are clicking around.

Intro to the assessments

The ward assessments rely on two scores out of five for a combined score out of ten. The first score is based on a candidate’s vibe, with the second score assessing the stuff and things (stuff n’ things) that the candidate proposes for Peterborough. The vibe scoring is purely subjective, and the score for stuff n’ things doesn’t necessarily take a stand on issues (i.e. parkway, taxation), but simply attempts to assess whether the candidate has material proposals, or is campaigning on vague promises and areas of interest.

The total score out of ten does not provide a breakdown of the category scores out of five, because stuff n’ things can have vibe, too, and some vibe is so off the charts it might even be called a vibe economy, with material effects on stuff n’ things.

You are confused, but not for long. At the end of the Ward summary we provide an assessment of who we think might win, and why. Remember: you get two votes, as there are two council seats for each ward.

Monaghan Ward

Monaghan Ward (also known as “Ward 2”) is the central west district of Peterborough. In the 2010 election Henry Clarke walked with 4,077 of the 12,712 votes cast, with over 32% of the electorate favoring him. Local legend and former mayor Jack Doris took second place with 3,520 votes, almost 28%. However, Doris has announced he is retiring from politics, which leaves only one incumbent in the race for Monaghan Ward’s two seats. The other candidates this time are Don Vassiliadis, Jocasta Boone, Jeff Westlake, and David Edgerton.

Monaghan Ward (Ward 2)
Don Vassiladis

Mr. Vassiliadis’s website includes handy information on the weather in Peterborough, and pictures of himself with his family. He owns the Shish-Kabob Hut Greek Restaurant, and is an active, long-time member of the Peterborough business community, having been involved in numerous organizations and fundraisers. This is a high vibe, low content candidate: Vassiliadis seems to be asking us to vote for him based his history in the community, with no specific ideas or platform. Combined score: 5.5.

Henry Clarke

Mr. Clarke was first elected to council in 1997, and is the only incumbent in Monaghan Ward now that Jack Doris is not running for re-election. Soft spoken and competent, he has served a total of 13 years, and prides himself on his accountability to his local constituents. Given his tenure, it is perhaps no surprise he scores well in stuff n’ things such as physician recruitment, tax breaks for low-income seniors, the urban forestry initiative, and the elimination of cosmetic pesticides use. He also claims bragging rights for “large print street signs”. Yes.

Mr. Clarke is low vibe, but they are good vibes.  And he gets stuff n’ things done, so he scores a surprisingly high 7.5 on the combined multiple.

Jocasta Boone

Ms. Boone is one of the highest vibe candidates going.  Her website has a distinct category titled “A vibrant Peterborough”, which has twelve steps “for a vibrant community.” These steps are: jobs; fiscal responsibility; taxation; strong neighbourhoods; infrastructure; a strong downtown; commitment to the environment; diversity; arts, culture and heritage; community engagement; innovative forward thinking leadership; and strategic long-term planning.

Ms. Boone is against the parkway. She has her Smart Solutions platform that focusses on: sports and recreation; growth and development; and economic development.  For sports and recreation, Ms. Boone wants to look into outdoor rinks with refrigeration capabilities (Bill Templeman in Northcrest is thinking of this, too). But she goes one step further, suggesting a large multi-use arena complex. On the growth and development side, she notes that that the management plan and the development plan for the Loggerhead Marsh south of Parkhill and east of Brealey Drive are misaligned. As well, she believes that the Lily Lake development is poorly thought out – it represents over half of the 60% of new space (i.e. “greenfield”) that is supposed to be allotted for development (as opposed to the 40% for “densification” of existing development). For economic development, she envisions turning Peterborough into a “full service design hub”.

Ms. Boone scores off the charts on vibe, given that she is heavily reliant on aspirational language well-suited to her marketing background. Some stuff n’ things, but in our view she could still up her game here. Combined score: 6.5.

Jeff Westlake

Jeff Westlake has five main priorities: investing in infrastructure; controlled spending; tax relief; safe streets; and jobs and growth. He is openly pro-parkway, and thinks that it should be a top priority, with spending controlled elsewhere in order to pool resources for this $79 million mega-project. He claims to be able to do this while also reducing taxes on “hard working families”. His other suggestions are almost entirely vibe-based.

Mr. Westlake is a Conservative, and the former constituency assistant and campaign manager for Dean Del Mastro, Peterborough’s federal Member of Parliament. With a fairly heavy vibe, and a minimal but clear commitment to stuff n’ things, Mr. Westlake has a combined score of 6.

David Edgerton

Mr. Edgerton was a councillor briefly 25 years ago, and has run in every municipal election since 1985. In the last election he placed third, with 2,843 votes, or about 22% of the total – not a bad showing. He is a military buff and a financial consultant with London Life. However, he is low vibe and light on stuff n’ things. Edgerton will face an uphill battle against new comers Jocasta Boone, Jeff Westlake, and Don Vassiliadis. Combined score: 5.

Monaghan Ward Rankings

The Monaghan Ward rankings for the combined vibe and stuff n’ things score are, in descending order:

Henry Clarke: 7.5
Jocasta Boone: 6.5
Jeff Westlake: 6
Don Vassiladis: 5.5
David Edgerton: 5

Monaghan Ward Election Assessment

We expect Henry Clarke to be returned, though there may be some attrition to Westlake, Vassiladis, and Edgerton. The new councillor will most likely be Jocasta Boone – there is simply no other candidate in the ward who competes with her more progressive, high-vibe message, so she will likely capture the majority of those votes, which will put her over the top.

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