I was very pleased to see a contest in Ward 1 after I indicated that I hoped to see one. I also like that Scott Davey who entered to challenge Moni Lagonia is a credible candidate who gives voters a real choice and who is mounting a serious campaign.

After reviewing the candidates websites, I have reached the conclusion that if I lived in Ward 1 that I would vote for Moni Lagonia. She’s definitely the most experienced candidate and so therefore the one that brings the most depth to council discussions.  I also like that she has already demonstrated her dedication to making Kitchener a better place to live. Ideally, I’d love to see women in half the seats at City Council. I’d never support someone just because of their gender but when you have a woman of substance running, she deserves a close look and in this case your support. It’s true that Lagonia does not live in the ward but I have never believed that is a mandatory requirement for a politician and I am confident that she can be a strong representative for Ward 1.

On the issues, I wish Lagonia presented more of her platform online so I’m taking a bit of a leap of faith on this one. What I liked best that is there is her openess to entering discussions on a merger with the City of Waterloo. Her comments on the LRT are disappointing but she is more open to the idea and its objectives than is Davey. His positions on the issues are disappointing from my perspective such as pitting the suburbs against the downtown, coming out in favour of Bus Rapid Transit and an unrealistic solution to traffic congestion. Davey’s platform does not reflect my Kitchener, so I choose to support the most experienced candidate.

24 thoughts on “My recommendation for Ward 1

  1. Thank you for your thoughtful reflection James. As a resident in Ward 1 i too am investigating both of my new options, since Berry Vrbanovic is no longer a candidate within our Ward boundaries and I too am interested in what others are thinking.

    I do, however, challenge your claim that one candidate has more “experience” over another, when neither have proven political experience.

    Both are local business people.
    Both are active parents.
    Both are community volunteers.
    Both grew up in Kitchener
    One lives in Ward 1 (which I like). One does not (does it matter?).
    Neither candidate fully supports the proposed LRT (I do).

    I am surprised that you can make such a clear decision when both appear to be on even keel at this point if we are basing our decision on their “experience”.

    What is apparent to me is that one candidate has clearly invested a significant amount ($$) in their campaign over the other, with photo shoot, glossy brochures, signs with graphics & images..and that this broader awareness of name alone may get the vote, rather than a vote for their position on the issues or their priorities. We all know how advertising works.

    I find Moni Lagonia’s website and brochure rather nebulous and lacking a clear statement on priorities. We ALL want a great community to live in..and I expect that from whoever is elected, that should not be a campaign platform.

    I was further disheartened that her brochure was not delivered to our little bungalow but my parents much larger home a mere 10 houses away from ours received one in their mailbox. Coincidence or targeted marketing to a more affluent audience? Perhaps ours just hasn’t arrived yet. And to be fair I have not received any material for Scott Davey either – i found his website difficult to find as well.

    I wish both candidates were more open to dialogue with their constituents (online) and otherwise to talk about what is important to us in our ward and in our municipallity ..after all it is their role to represent us, the residents.

    I haven’t yet decided which candidate will receive my vote…and I will be exercising my right to vote. Hopefully Rogers will rebroadcast their debate for Kitchener Ward 1. I wish both candidates all the best. See you at the polls!

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Tracy! I appreciate the background on your own decision-making process and I am sure that it reflects the thoughts of others in your ward. Your concerns about the well-funded, well-connected Lagonia campaign was something that I sensed in the summer that was part of the reason why I called for another credible candidate so that if she was to be on Council she would need to earn it.

      It’s true that neither candidate has political experience but that isn’t what I meant by experience. I was talking about life experience. Between her career and her extensive involvement in the community, I believe Moni Lagonia can bring more to the Council table than can Davey.

      While it might have been nice to have additional options, it’s too late now for any new candidates. Of the two on the ballot, the better choice is clear to me.

  2. Like Tracy I looked forward to your recommendation in Ward 1 however I was surprised with your recommendation.
    If life experience is important I guess John McCain would have been the President instead of Barack Obama.
    I voting for youth not the status quo which Moni represents.

    1. More important than experience for me was the platform. I do not support Scott’s platform so I chose to recommend a candidate that I am confident will be able to fulfill the duties of a city councillor in a thoughtful and informed manner.

      1. I am concerned about having only two choices; however, I made my decision based on Moni Lagonia’s Facebook page in which Berry Vrbanovic appears as a friend. I contacted her to confirm this fact. I had hoped to add a fresh outlook to the Kitchener Council and fear that Moni will be unduly influenced by her friend on council, should he win again. Her lack of a specific platform underlines this possibility. We desperately need change and new perspectives and I can’t see that occurring with Moni Lagonia, just more of the same. Young and fresh ideas make my choice Scott Davey.

        1. Thanks Lucy! The upside is that at least 6 of the 10 people elected on Monday will be new to City Council. We’ll definitely have the fresh voices that we’re seeking.

          It’s great that you see Davey as the fresh voice that you are interested in supporting. I think it’s unfair to suggest though that Lagonia isn’t a fresh voice.

          I too am friends with Berry on Facebook and in the real world since our days in high school. I’m sure he’d be the first to say that our friendship has not had any great influence over what I have posted on this blog. for example, I called for strong, credible candidates to run against both Berry and Lagonia. I’m glad to see that both of them are involved in races with credible candidates but I believe both are the best choices for their wards and for Kitchener. I expect that Lagonia too will prove to be an independent thinker and a fresh voice.

      2. In response to your reply to Lucy:

        I appreciate your thoughts on who you’d vote for in this Ward but I feel that you should only be providing information about both candidates. I feel that you are trying to influence and persuade voters into voting who you support. Every voter needs to make their own choices for their own reasons. Many support Moni Lagonia for their reasons and many support Scott Davey. I think it unfair for anyone to try to persuade voters down their own path. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate and enjoy your blogs….I just think it unfair for you to sway voters (again just my opinion, not trying to offend you)

        I hope that everyone who is able to vote exercises this right!!
        Will you be doing any follow ups after the results are in?

        1. Beth, I make no apologies for trying to persuade people on how to vote. But I don’t expect anyone to decide how to vote just because of what I say and that’s why I provide links to candidate’s websites and several other resources–and why I encourage comments to what I have posted. I hope people will take my thoughts into consideration but also conduct their own research and make their own decisions.

          Agree with me or disagree with me. The most important thing is that people get out to vote and make their voices heard.

          Yes, I plan at least one post as a follow up to the election. I hope you’ll continue to read my perspectives and join in the conversation after the election is over.

      3. Just a thought about your reply to the idea that Moni Lagonia would be unduly influenced by her friendship with an incumbent councillor. You say that you have not been influenced by knowing Berry as a friend but you won’t be sitting as a “newbie” on Council when tough decisions arise. Human nature suggests that a discussion with an experienced friend would be a powerful influence on an opinion or vote. I feel that this council needs major shaking up and having friends as fellow councillors is not a scenario for a shakeup.

        1. If you’re more comfortable with a candidate that you see as being more independent, that’s great!

          All I will say is that no matter who wins, building relationships with all of the other councillors and the mayor will be necessary to be effective.

  3. Hello,

    I am the Scott Davey running in Ward 1. I respect Mr. Howe’s decision but would like to point out that the more expensive brochure, full colour campaign signs etc. does not make for the better candidate. I am proud to have turned away money from special interest groups, sometimes cheque-in-hand, so that my representation of Ward 1 is not clouded. The cost of every flyer and sign you see was directly incurred by me, and I am not wealthy. It is also notable that the Kitchener Firefighters Asso. found me the better-suited candidate after interviews, and they only chose to endorse 6 of the 41 candidates running; including incumbents Vrbanovic and Galloway putting me in good company.
    I would also question your preference for experience. Neither of us have any political experience. If you’re referring to work experience, yes she has worked much longer than I but a commercial banker does not necessarily trump my relevant consumer-side experience in budgeting and negotiating. Obvious though it may be, it’s fair to consider your preference of candidate to be the one that aid’s your area the most. Your website is “King and Ottawa” and yes, I definitely believe that the focus of past councils has been on the King St. for too long, and at too great an expense, and that runs contrary to the very intent of this site.

    Scott Davey
    — Candidate for Ward 1 Councillor —

    1. Thanks for contributing to the discussion here Scott. Having your perspective firsthand helps voters in Ward 1 to make their own choice.

      I agree that a highly polished, well-funded campaign does not necessarily indicate the better candidate. In fact, I think your opponent’s signs are ineffective. As a communicator who specializes in getting the biggest bang for your buck, I believe you can run a strong campaign without big money. While I applaud that you haven’t accepted money from organizations or businesses, I suggest that you could mount a stronger campaign if you accepted money from individuals and that in fact your ability to do so is one indicator of your level of support.

      While my blog is written from where I currently live, it just as easily could be called Perspectives from Frederick & Bruce as I lived in that area for six years (in what is now Ward 1). My views are pretty much the same as they were at that time. My interest in the downtown comes from my belief that our core is the heart of our city and that Kitchener’s health depends upon whether its heart is in good shape. My concern with your position is that it pits one part of the city against another and I dislike politicians who try to win votes that way.

      In an earlier post, I indicated that I hoped Ward 1 would find a strong voice for it at City Hall but I was looking for a voice that would also consider what was in the best interests of Kitchener as a whole. I have my biases but I try as much as possible to look at issues in terms of how they affect the big picture.

      In the end though, I’m only one voice and not one that can vote in Ward 1. It’s up to the people who live there to decide which candidate most reflects their own vision of Kitchener’s future.

      Thank you again for putting yourself forward as a candidate. Voters in Ward 1 can now make their voices heard at City Hall.

      1. Mr. Howe,
        Although I disagree with your candidate choice for reasons both obvious and stated; I would like to thank you for hosting the discussion in the first place. There are too-few outlets for election-dialogue, and the dissemination of information.

      2. You’re welcome Scott! More than influencing voters, I am hoping that this blog can help to get voters interested and engaged in the issues. With any luck that’ll contribute to increasing voter turnout and making voters more knowledgeable.

        Thanks again for putting yourself forward as a candidate. By doing so, win or lose, you have helped the democratic process in Ward 1.

  4. I do believe that every major city likes to have a nice downtown…that being said, I agree with Mr. Davey that NOT all of our tax dollars need to put into downtown when some of our other services are suffering or possibly being phased out entirely. I don’t feel he is “pitting” the downtown against the suburbs but merely saying that NOT all of our taxes should be put into downtown. He is represnting our Ward if elected and we aren’t in downtown, some of our services are suffering and areas are becoming neglected because of insufficient funds left over.

    I just read an article that was written and posted on the wonderful waterloo site: http://519onlinenews.com/yourvote2010/?cat=11 that stated that Mr. Davey wasn’t opposed to the LRT entirely, just how much it was going to cost taxpayers.

    My house taxes have skyrocketed in recent years and I would rather stand behind a candidate that says “Should I be elected as councillor I will fight tirelessly against higher taxation by ensuring we do not spend needlessly, and focus on increasing efficiency in existing services.” rather than a candidate who said in their debate that she will try not to raise taxes unless it is absolutely necessary.

    I DO NOT believe that age gives a person “more experience” and I am also somewhat critical that if a candidate can spend so much money on flashy signs and pamphlets without being conservative with money that way, how the heck are they going to be with MY tax dollars. Like Tracy, I didn’t receive a flyer from Moni Lagonia either, as I live in an old small house as well. I saw hers at my friends house who lives in a wealthier area.

    Note to Tracy: I realize that not all candidates can meet everyone during their campaign but I did receive a flyer about Mr. Scott Davey in the Smart Shopper newspaper/flyer last week…..not flashy at all.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts Beth! Effective use of tax dollars is definitely important. Getting the most tax dollars out of the downtown core so that it benefits the full city is also important and the reason behind the need for investment in the core. But yes, it’s important that all sections of the city are healthy if we are to be healthy as a city.

      For the record, I do not equate age with experience. As I tried to indicate before, I was referring to a combination of track record of making a difference in our community and what a person’s career brings to the table. Both candidate’s have something to offer in both regards but I found one to have a greater amount of the type of experience I value in a city councillor.

      As for the LRT, if Davey is for it he can help find a way to make it happen in an affordable fashion (or assume that the Region will do so) as I outlined in my post that was printed as a guest column in The Record. But that is not what he’s saying and so it tells me something about how he approaches issues that are important to me (as I indicated when I posted my thoughts on why this issue was part of evaluating city candidates).

  5. I am part of a large group of friends and family who are working hard to visit and speak to all constituents in Ward 1 on behalf of Moni, walking beside her evenings and weekends so she can hear your issues and have a chance to speak to as many people as possible. If we inadvertently missed your home, I will apologize on behalf of our team. Believe me, Moni having worked in the financial services industry for over 30 years has given her insight to people from all walks of lives-from helping people buy a home, settle their spouses estate, deal with the loss of a job or finance a business–she is compassionate, clear thinking and truly cares about her community and the people in it. I believe she will represent all her constituents fairly (no matter what size home they live in)…. so thanks James for your support-good choice! If anyone would like to speak to her personally, please don’t hesitate to email her at moni.lagonia@gmail.com and I know she would be happy to call or come and meet you personally!

    1. Thanks Kirk for responding on behalf of the Lagonia Team. You’ve addressed some issues that I thought best be addressed by the candidate’s team.

      I urge the people who commented earlier that they had concerns over my recommendation but who were still undecided to use the e-mail provided to contact Moni directly. You might share your thoughts on what you’ve learned in this space.

  6. Mr. Howe,

    I’m just wondering if your recommendation has changed at all after reading yesterday’s Kitchener Citizen newspaper. Your Ward 1 recommendation has now come out and said that she is against LRT…”I do not support the proposed LRT. I believe it is too expensive, inflexible and will be a burden on the taxpayers as we subsidize ridership…” http://www.kitchenercitizen.com/uploads/KitchenerCitizen_October2010lr.pdf

    I’m just curious as to your thoughts on this change.
    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.


    1. Thanks for the information Beth. But as I indicated initially, I knew Lagonia was not what I’d describe as pro-LRT. So unless Davey comes out strongly in favour of it, I don’t see any reason to change my recommendation.

  7. James, I like the fact that Scott Davey is articulate and can fend for himself.
    This show strength and leadership while Moni sits back and has others do her work.
    Ward 1 residents cannot take your suggested leap of faith with an outsider to represent us.

    1. Thanks for your thought Rudy! Thanks for sharing why you think Scott would make a good city councillor.

      I doubt that Lagonia is sitting back and letting others do the work. Any good, strong campaign has a team of volunteers assisting the candidate. I expect Scott does too.

    1. Agreed! Congratulations Scott! I was concerned in the summer when it appeared Lagonia would go unchallenged and no one from the ward had come forward so I was very happy that you did.

      I knew from the strong interest in this post that you had a depth of support out there so these results are not a complete surprise to me.You have obviously connected with the people of Ward 1.

      I always saw you as a credible candidate–just not my choice. I’m sure you’ll do a very good job.

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