(Enough) stadium seating (for everybody), in-house sound and lighting, the city’s medical officer of health presiding and the fluoride question for good measure.
Now this is a debate.
The Middlesex-London Health Unit at 50 King St. is in Ward 13, which covers the city core and SoHo, and its CEO and medical officer of health Dr. Chris Mackie moderated the final installment of the Urban League/Women and Politics election series.
Mackie and the 150 or so who attended found out early the seven people hoping to fill incumbent Judy Bryant’s vacant seat on London city council have strong views on what ward a candidate should run in.
Longtime downtown businessman Kim Bardai said the election was between himself and SoHo Community Association president Tanya Park if only because none of the others live in Ward 13.
He seemed to take it personally.
“I always have to question someone parachuting into our ward to represent us,” he said. “You’re not good enough for your ward so you have to come to our ward?”
Park said it comes up at the door.
“I’m very proud to live in the ward,” she said. “(It means) your councillor has skin in the game (and) the decisions they make affect their life too.”
David Winninger, a former councillor and New Democrat MPP, said he lives in Ward 11 at Wonderland and Commissioners, a stone’s throw from Ward 9 and Ward 10 but has more in common with the downtown.
“I spend most of my waking time downtown, on the edge of Woodfield (and Blackfriars) and I’m passionate about the development of the downtown. It makes sense and I have a lot to offer.”
Chris Edgar lives in Ward 4 but worked for years in the core and doesn’t think it’s a big deal “as long as you have an idea of what’s going on in the ward” you represent.
“I spend more time talking to people in Ward 13 than in Ward 4.”
It came back to bite her a bit later as the candidates described how they’d like to be remembered.
Bardai said he’s just a good old boy who can be counted on and does favours like yardwork for neighbours. As she answered Edgar quipped that she could help Bardai out by having him cut her grass.
“You’re in the wrong ward!” a man in the audience shouted, rather apropos.
Gordon Sayler, John Fyfe-Millar and Elizabeth Efthymiadis are also running in Ward 13.
What else they said:
Efthymiadis: The arts are very important both to Londoners and to attract tourism. The city has to have a thriving arts community reflecting its soul. I don’t have the numbers but … I would support arts to the maximum."
Fyfe-Millar, on whether he would take measures to address high unemployment among visible minorities: "I support equal opportunity and equal access but I would help any Londoner. I would never make it specific. There’s a theory I have (that) when you move, you reach behind and grab the hand behind you. I don’t care who it is."
Sayler, on whether he’d help a resident with a longstanding landlord dispute: "I can do nothing more than commit to representing you. I don’t do anything half-hearted. I don’t think I could fix your roof but I’d see what the city could do to (have) your landlord do it."
Quote of the night – David Winninger:
“I’m not expecting a farewell party anytime soon but I’d like to be remembered as an honest politician. The honest message to taxpayers is you can’t sustain zero-percent tax increases for four years. And you can’t wave a magic wand and create 10,000 jobs in one term. You shouldn’t make promises you can’t keep. And I suppose I’d like to be remembered as a good old boy, too.”