My home ward has proven to be one of the most challenging decisions for me to make in this election. There are three strong and credible candidates in Terry Marr, Daniel Glenn-Graham and Denis Pellerin. Each has the potential to be a good city councillor but none of them share my perspectives as closely as I would prefer.
At the same time, I think that Glenn-Graham and Pellerin have the necessary experience to help me work with my neighbours to build a stronger sense of community in the east end of downtown Kitchener. While I could work with Marr too, I don’t believe that she is a contender in this ward. The contenders are Glenn-Graham and Pellerin and when looking at platforms and experience, I find myself torn between the two
Glenn-Graham is like an enigma, wrapped in a riddle to me. Just when I think I understand him, he surprises me for better or worse. What I like most about Glenn-Graham is his strong love of downtown Kitchener. I also greatly appreciate his extensive experience with neighbourhood associations. He clearly would be a passionate, enthusiastic and dedicated city councillor who will be there when needed by his constituents.
But I have some serious concerns.
The first is his position on the LRT. He’s not what I would describe as either an opponent or proponent of it. He prefers trying to educate the public starting with a debate and then holding a referendum. I am skeptical that an informed referendum on the subject is possible but for me that’s beside the point. I believe that we elect politicians so that they can have an in-depth understanding of issues and make an informed decisions that are in our best interests. Even active, engaged voters such as myself can never be expected to have all the information and context for making the best possible decisions. Elected politicians if they are doing their homework can have enough information to make the best decisions and that is why we elect them to represent us. As a result, I see referendums too often to be taking the easy way out of tough decisions.
I also find Stephen Woodworth’s endorsement of Glenn-Graham’s candidacy problematic. I reject the right wing approach to governing that he represents and would never vote for him, so by extension it’s difficult to see myself ever voting for someone that he supports. While Glenn-Graham must see some strategic advantage in this endorsement, it also works against him especially in this end of the ward where Karen Redman lives and has many friends and supporters.
These concerns have helped me to decide how I will vote.
In Ward 10, I will vote for Denis Pellerin.
While Pellerin is not a strong advocate for the LRT, he understands the importance of rapid transit and can see how light rail can have a positive effect on transforming our city. He seems to be keeping his options open but I suspect that if we identify an affordable, responsible way to cover the local portion of the costs that he will be supportive. That helps to give him an edge in my books.
His civic involvement helps give me confidence that he has a grasp of the issues facing the ward and the city and will be capable in handling them. His experience on the downtown advisory committee and arts and culture advisory committee should be particularly useful. I also like that he is one of the foundering members of the NMA (Neighbourhood Mobilization Alliance) designed to improve the quality of life in the Mount Hope-Breithaupt Park community and to keep it safe and continues to be active with this group.
What follows I added on the morning of October 22 based upon information contributed in the first comment below, it replaces my original concluding sentence:
I view Denis Pellerin as the clear choice for Ward 10. I strongly recommend that my neighbours across this ward vote for him.