Tag Archives: Somerset Ward

Ottawa Election Primer Part IV

This is my fourth of five in a series about the Ottawa Municipal elections taking place October 22, 2018.

Bay

Bay ward became open when Councillor Mark Taylor honoured his pledge to only sit on council for two terms. The list of candidates includes a School Board Trustee (Theresa Kavanagh), someone who has worked in the financial industry (Erica Dath), a business management consultant (Don Dransfield), a community activist (Marc Lugert) and a 2104 candidate giving it another run (Trevor Robinson). The one person who is not running, but who looms large is former councillor Alex Cullen. He is often sought out by Ottawa media to comment on issues from the ward and Ottawa.

Bay is a ward on the verge of change with LRT moving west to Bayshore and beyond and what could be important redevelopment of Lincoln Fields. But there is the challenge of increased crime in the area – of all the candidates; only Lugert mentions public safety and police services in his campaign priorities. I am sure the others are aware of the problem; the plan not to address it is a curious one especially from Kavanagh whose husband (Cullen) would have had to deal with similar issues.   But that being said, Kavanagh’s eight years on Ottawa Carleton District School Board give her the ‘governing’ experience edge that would get her up and running quickly. However here is but here, Cullen ran in the past two elections and lost to Taylor, in 2018 will voters decide for REAL change and opt for one of the four others running?

Somerset

Somerset is my ‘home’ ward and after running twice as the PC Candidate in the riding that contains Somerset Ward, I know just how tough and “left” this ward is. Catherine McKenney is seeking re-election for the first time since claiming the seat after her former boss Diane Holmes retired. In 2014 she ran away with the win after facing ten opponents. This election cycle there are three challengers, creating an atmosphere that with the right campaign for one of the three to could strongly challenge McKenney. However, the task will be tough as McKenney has the legacy of Diane Holmes in her corner. Can Merdod Zopyrus, Jerry Kovacs or Arthur David mount the campaign needed to win? Zopyrus and David have outlines of their platforms on their websites that provide a glimpse into how their term as Councillor could go.

The problem with Somerset ward, as in other urban wards, is that there are issues a candidate CANNOT be against and in Somerset, of the Candidates I could read up on they all are similar on Green space, development and planning. Zopyrus though does have plans to assist youth and identifies heritage as a key issue for him.

The voters of the ward have a selection of candidates with similar views to choose from. I will wait and see how these campaigns unfold before deciding where to place my “X”.

Osgoode

In an eleven-person race, George Darouze won in 2014 with 21% of the vote. In 2018 the field is narrowed to five candidates, Kim Sheldrick and Mark Scharfe are back and are joined by Auguste Banvalvi and Jay Tysick. Of all the candidates Darouze faces Tysick has the largest profile following a try as a Ontario PC Nomination Candidate, the founding of the Ontario Alliance Party and running in the Ontario election in the riding of Carleton (in which Osgoode Ward is located).

Darouze and Tysick will duke it out. I expect Darouze should win with much more than 21% of the vote.

Alta Vista

There was a time when the Councillor for Alta Vista spoke, the city listened; that was before 2014 when Peter Hume represented the voters of that ward. Since 2014, can anyone tell me when Jean Cloutier has said anything that made the same impact Hume would’ve? Does it matter? Friends I speak to say Cloutier’s soft-spoken approach to the job has made him well liked.

Cloutier’s re-election is being challenged by 5 candidates including two returning candidates; Clinton Cowen who ran in 2010 and 2014 and John Redins who is making a second run for the seat. Jumping in in the 2018 election is Kevin Kit, Mike McHarg and Raylene Lang-Dion. The impressive backgrounds of some of these candidates is let down by the lack of priorities and platform, including from the sitting councillor. I give credit to McHarg for having more ideas than all of the others but in a ward that is heavily residential he does not address taxes, water/sewage fees and roads – these will be priorities of the families that call Alta Vista home.

I guess voters will have to question the candidates at the doors and make their decisions based on that.

Cumberland

Stephen Blais’ recovery from his heart attack in 2013 has rejuvenated his life, he has learned his work life balance – but he still knows how to work for the constituents of Cumberland ward. With two challengers (Cameron Rose Jette and Jensen Boire) in this election Blais should get re-elected as he will continue to work towards an LRT extending to Trim Road in 2023. I expect that if Jette and Boire have good campaigns they will run again in 2022 when Blais may seek a higher seat.

I would like to thank the readers of this blog for their comments stating how much they are enjoying this series of posts. In the next post, I’ll wrap up with the final 5 wards.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Confessions of a Casual Commuter Cyclist

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I am the most casual of casual commuter cyclists. Riding into work, I now find the 20 minute walk too long. I have no idea how long into the fall I will ride and don’t know what my cold temperature threshold will be for my fingers and face. The moment I have to start bundling up to stay warm on the cycle into the office might be the sign I will need that walking is the preferred way to go.

I have been cycling into work for most of the summer now; I credit that to my pocket book. I paid for over $170 for a $49.95 tune up – mainly because my bike is old and in the 15 or so years I have had it, it never received the care or attention it deserved/needed. This year I did and thanks to the good folks at Kunstadt Sports on Bank in the Glebe I was ready for a summer of biking. Because of the tune up I feel a lot safer on my bike.

Liz and I have made good use of the bikes this year, Monday to Friday and on weekends. The only (small) sacrifice I have made is not to make the daily stop into Starbucks as I would if I was walking to the office. I have avoided so far (knock on wood) getting stuck in a rain storm, colliding with another bike and I have stayed clear of scratching any cars whether it was my fault or theirs.

Generally I am happy with being able to get around the City of Ottawa on my bike. I haven’t had to worry about cars too much as drivers are as polite to me as I cycle as I am to other cyclists when I am driving. The path system is good, there a missing links and from what I can see Ottawa is trying to make the connections. Some intersections are worrisome; the Wellington St. /Sussex Ave. /Mackenzie Ave. at the Chateau Laurier is nerve rattling. We have made it through there a few times, but seeing how try not to get trapped in that area does make you think twice. There is some confusion in the approach the new lanes along Mackenzie Avenue on the west side of the US Embassy, especially as you come from the National Art Gallery of Canada. I still don’t feel at ease on the O’Connor dual lane, I would have preferred lanes that went with the flow of traffic – south on O’Connor and North on Metcalfe St. or Kent St. These examples aside, Ottawa has been doing a good job.

I am not perfect as a cyclist, however as a driver (of a car) I have a good sense of rules and the reason they need to be followed. Being a good and courteous driver makes for a good and courteous cyclist. I have noticed a few things while in the saddle – these are just observations of how cyclists can do their part to stay alive.

Use hand signals correctly. I recently learned that cyclists can indicate turning right by sticking out their right arm. I still use the left arm method to show I am turning right. On the left and right arm pointing signals I have seen too many cyclists pointing to the ground – is that their way of telling me you are turning right or look out for a pothole? Come on, if you are going to indicate turns that way, do it with conviction! Point with pride!

Follow the traffic lights. Not watching the lights is becoming a problem on the O’Connor Street lanes. Cyclists are running reds, not stale green lights but RED lights! This morning at Laurier and O’Connor an incident was avoided when alert cyclists saw the red light running biker before they headed west on Laurier. If that had been a car, there would have been bike bells ringing and obscene hand gestures and yelling at the car, but we don’t care if a cyclist runs a red?

How about that distracted driving law? We don’t allow drivers to wear ear pods and headphones when driving? Somehow this is okay for cyclists? And one armed cyclists travel around the city because the other hand is holding the phone? The same “put the phone away out of sight” should apply as a safety measure for cyclists as well as motorists. Pulling over to the side to check for a missed call or waiting for a text/email should be the rule for cyclists as it is for motorists.

Finally, why the race on Laurier? I am passed everyday by other cyclists on the Laurier bike lane. What’s the rush? The lanes are wide enough to pass, but sometimes the speed they pass me at is incredible. Is there a speed limit for travelling on city bike lanes? I suspect, serious bike commuters can’t wait for cooler weather when casual commuters me abandon the bikes for pounding the pavement.

Since my days on the old and long forgotten Roads and Cycling Advisory Committee for the City of Ottawa, the bike path network has improved a great deal. The city and NCC are doing their part to make cycling safe and accessible for more casual cyclists and turning them to being more serious about using their bikes to get around. Is it time for cyclists themselves to call out others who they see as being unknowingly reckless or ignorant when cycling in the city?

p.s. don’t  get me going about parents that make their kids wear a helmet cycling when they don’t.

 

 

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I post about the little things in life I see and do.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

Ten little nudges to consider as encouragement to Vote

Top Ten

Everyone has heard that we should vote because our fathers and forefathers fought so we can have the right to vote. There are many who believe voting should be a law punishable by a fine.

In 2010 only less than 10,000 residents cast a ballot in Somerset Ward where 23,000 are registered. Will an open race encourage voters to come out? Will an open race put pressure on candidates to get their supporters to the polls?

Rather than the beat you down approach to vote, here are ten thoughts that I hope will encourage you to vote, in whatever ward you live in, on Monday in the 2014 Municipal Elections in Ottawa.

  1. Your ward is open because the incumbent is not running. This is your chance to avoid the “she (or he) will just get in again” excuse. Vote for the change you always wanted in your ward because this year there will be change.
  1. In the case that your Mayor/Councillor is the incumbent and is expected to win re-election, vote to display your dissatisfaction with their work (if that is the case). A smaller margin of victory does send a message to the re-elected candidate.
  1. In the case that your Mayor/Councillor is the incumbent and is expected to win re-election, vote to display your satisfaction with their work they have been doing (if that is the case). Every vote counts and a large margin of victory for the candidate will make them and YOU feel good about your decision.
  1. Not many candidates came to your door and you can’t make a 100% informed decision. Base your vote on WHO did come to your door – it’s the other candidate’s loss if they didn’t visit you.
  1. Platform, platform, platform – vote for the ideas that struck a chord with you.
  1. Friends of yours are working for a candidate. If you trust your friends, vote for the candidate they are working for.
  1. I have never been a supporter of a spoiled ballot, but they do count spoiled ballots on the final tally. It could be your way to send a message.
  1. It’s not the most scientific, try voting by signs, which candidate do you think ran a good campaign with the use of signs?
  1. A candidate asked you for your vote and you said yes but now you think time is an issue. The candidate is counting on your vote. Call their office and ask for a ride, Polls are open from 10am to 8pm – your candidate will do everything they can to get you to the poll to vote before polls close.
  2. You are not just voting for Mayor and Councillor and the future of your city, you are also voting for School Board Trustee and the future of education being delivered to the children where you live – it is just as important.

Whatever reason spoke to you and you go out to vote, congratulations! By voting you now have a moral reason to talk about the outcome and whatever happens in the next four years.

I invite you to share your ideas by commenting to this post or any post on my blog. You can also email me directly at robdekkeroc@gmail.com.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.

Somerset Ward 2014, my vote goes to…

Ottawa Election 2014Since the end of the provincial election I have been asked to consider the possibility of submitting my name to run in Somerset for the fall Municipal Election. Like others that ran and did not win – and are Progressive Conservatives, there has been a call to arms to have us run for Ottawa City Council. In Ottawa, only one unsuccessful provincial candidate has decided to run, that being Alex Cullen in his old Bay Ward. Others I have spoken to have many reasons for not running. The two main reasons I hear are 1. “Two elections in one year? My boss would…me” and 2. “I am focused on finding a new Leader of the Ontario PC Party that will bring the change needed in Ontario for a better future for the province. As I stated in a previous post, I am committed to the Ontario PC Party, helping to select a Leader that can be elected as Premier in 2018.  Also, I have a third observation – there are currently 9 very good candidates and before September 12th there may well be a tenth, some have been canvassing for many months, many of the candidates I do not disagree with some of their positions.

As I consider who my vote goes to, I am looking for the candidate that will bring needed support to businesses in Somerset Ward.  For far too many years Somerset has not had a business friendly Councillor, this has to change. To keep the ward a vibrant and lively place to live work and shop, local small businesses must have a friend in the Council Chambers.

I find that though it is a mixed field of candidates in the ward, all are talking Transit, Sustainability, Transportation, Eco-district and keeping the community vibrant as the right development continues come into the area. So for me there was no way to find a difference among them using those campaign promises and platforms.  I needed more.

I asked one candidate about taxes, their response was they did not have a position on the tax rate. I have also spoken to others who say that at least 4 candidates will be exactly the same as we have now – and I agree.  Somerset needs change, not just changing the name of the councilor.  A change in how the Councillor works for ALL of Somerset Ward constituents is needed.

I am looking for a fresh approach to working with the community, a new approach to supporting business and calm sensible approach to development in Centretown and Somerset Ward.

On October 27th, my vote in Somerset Ward is going to Thomas McVeigh.

I have worked with Thom in the Centretown Citizens Community Association on the Board and on the CCCA Planning Committee. As a member of the Wellington West BIA Thom is managing a business in that community and he has worked on several community boards in Ontario and BC. Thom has demonstrated to me a calm and sensible way of doing business. He has demonstrated an excellent knowledge of the issues in Somerset Ward and Ottawa as a whole. He has a very good grasp of how to work with others and how to sensibly – without dreaming too large – accomplish goals. Working alongside Thom in the CCCA we have the same thoughts on smart and sensible development in the ward. We should not be afraid of developers, but it doesn’t mean we give away anything either. When I talk to Thom I hear and feel that he talks from his heart, he cares about our community and wants so much to make it better and brighter.

As a Red Tory, I support Thom in his drive to help the vulnerable, to ensure all are looked after BUT he sees, as I do, a real need for fiscal responsibility in Ottawa at the Council Chambers. I am going to vote for Thom, I see Thom as being the choice that can carry on some of Diane Holmes’ community and social work. With Thom I see that he brings to businesses a friend and a voice for the concerns of shops, restaurants and other businesses on Elgin, Bank, Sparks, Somerset, Preston and every other street in Somerset Ward at City Council.

I encourage those that supported me in June and feel as I do about doing all we can do help others and at the same time making sure we watch how are dollars are raised and spent, to support and vote for Thomas McVeigh on October 27th, he will be a fantastic Councillor for all residents, businesses and services that call Somerset Ward home.

October 27th, VOTE for Thomas McVeigh in Somerset. Please take the time to visit his website www.thomasmcveigh.com to learn more about Thom, his family and his ideas. 

Thom McVeigh

I invite you to share your ideas by commenting to this post or any post on my blog. You can also email me directly at robdekkeroc@gmail.com.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.