The race for a seat on city council is getting interesting.
The race for the mayor’s chair, however, not so much. The last minute entry of Willy Enns into the race will make it interesting in a driving-by-a-car-crash kind of way – we’ll all look, but eventually move on.
However, there is a benefit to his entering the race. It will force incumbent Lyn Hall to campaign, at least a little bit, over the next five weeks, and that’s a good thing. Acclamation is anathema to good democracy.
The council race, on the other hand, got interesting last week with the entrance of former councillor Cameron Stolz.
The six incumbents are running on a mutual admiration society ticket. They are all supporting each other and the basic message is “look at us, things have been great over the past four years, we all get along, send us back for four more years and get more of the same.”
It’s not the worst strategy in the world. Things do all get along and things have been going pretty darn good at City Hall.
The incumbents are also looking for someone who will fit in with them, get along, play nicely, don’t upset the apple cart with the general feeling that everyone else is fighting over the two open spots.
Then along comes Stolz, who is not afraid to mix things up and marches to his own drummer.
In announcing his candidacy last week, he indirectly referenced his woes when he was finance chair and late on paying his taxes, saying he was putting his employees first. Fair enough. Then came this:
“Perhaps that’s something City Hall might have thought about last year during the terrible challenges we all saw when friends were forced to evacuate and come to our community,” referencing the fact senior city staff was paid overtime to deal with evacuees.
That was definitely a shot.
When I asked him what’s different now from 2014 when voters cast him to the curb, he rationalized the disastrous result as the electorate choosing to bring a gender balance to council by electing three women in 2014.
I’d like to channel my good friend Kathi Travers here and say, with a solid Bostonian accent, “that’s a bunch of malarkey.”
Stolz wasn’t re-elected in 2014 because he was Mayor Shari Green’s right-hand man. The electorate wasn’t looking for gender balance, they were looking to erase Shari Green and anything connected to her from City Hall. Green was smart enough to read the writing on the wall and chose not to seek re-election going, instead, after the federal Conservative nomination. I know people who weren’t Conservative but joined the party just so they could vote against her … that’s how fed up the community was with Green.
Stolz, and fellow Green supporter on council, Dave Wilbur, paid the price at the polls.
The question now is whether whether the community thinks four years in political purgatory is enough for Stolz.
One thing is certain, he won’t be part of the love-in. You get to decide whether that’s a good thing or not.