I am surprised at the election of Craig Mearns and Dunstan Browne and that Wally duTemple came last. I had assumed that Heather Goulet would be an easy win because she had recently been on council and seemed to be in-sync with the current council.
What the election of Mearns and Dunstan says to me is that the current council has alienated many people in North Saanich and a mood has arisen to change the council. Could this mean a whole new council in 2011?
Victoria Council Election
Marianne Alto won and she won convincingly, this is not what I was expecting and I was caught off guard by the result. So what did I miss?
I had not fully paid attention to the fact that Marianne Alto was the only candidate that managed to get any people with strong name recognition to endorse her. There is a lot of trust in Victoria for the opinions of Rob Flemming, Denise Savoie and Lana Popham.
I had also assumed that Marianne Alto would have a campaign like Dean Fortin for mayor of the VCE in 2005. What changed is that she had a surge in serious left wing opinion leaders getting actively involved with her campaign at the end. From what I can gather she had the strongest election day campaign to get people out to vote.
While I sensed an ABA (anyone but Alto) movement out there, it is was ultimately weaker than the ABH (anyone but Hobbis) sentiment in the City. I spoke with a number of VERY surprising people that voted for Marianne Alto because they did not want to see Barry Hobbis win. I am talking federal Conservatives that voted for her. Because they were the front runners in most people's minds, they both were the recipients of the sentiment against the other.
One factor I can not be sure of how it played out is voter fatigue. I had heard a growing number of people simply state they were sick and tired of the bridge debate and no longer cared about the election at all. Thinking back to who these people were, they were more likely to be against borrowing than in favour and not on the left. This is a constituency that I would have expected to have voted for Barry Hobbis. Maybe some of them did not vote because they though Barry and No would win and did not need to go out and vote?
I have faith that Marianne Alto will make a good councilor and be an improvement over Sonya Chandler. She was in my set of five candidates that I thought would be capable of effectively serving on council if elected.
Victoria - Referendum
The Yes side won with a landslide, so why is that when you have about 10,000 people sign the counter petition? I had not honestly thought the City could win unless there was a high turn out.
So why did Yes win?
- The No side did not mount any serious campaign
- The Yes side flooded the airwaves with a lot of information
- The left was better at motivating people to vote than the right though many of the right wanted a new bridge.
- A very large number of people that signed the petition chose not to vote.
In closing, I have never missed any election by as much as I did this time around. All I can say in my defense is that local by-elections with their very low turnouts, no incumbents and lack of party affiliation, can be very hard to correctly forecast.