The Urbanite – Jon Liedtke – April 9, 2014
With the entry of a third candidate into the mayoral foray, residents are left questioning just where the establishment candidates are for this fall’s municipal election.
The unexpected exodus of Eddie Francis from 350 City Hall Square has left urbanites across the city wondering aloud who could fill the shoes of the controversial yet accomplishing mayor.
Under Francis’ multiple mandates, Windsor has seen the construction and deal making required to implement the WFCU Centre (albeit in a location many are upset with), the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre, a new city hall, the Herb Gray Parkway, the Detroit River International Crossing, a new airport han- gar, a new VIA train station and Transit Windsor terminal, the University of Windsor and St. Clair College investing in downtown campuses, the Windsor Star taking over a cornerstone of the downtown, and many other projects throughout the city.
There were follies along the way no doubt, a bitterly divisive municipal strike, the outsourcing of city departments, a police chief retiring due to scandal, the potential closure of municipal pool and recreation facilities, and many more.
While it’s certainly early in terms of the 2014 election, it’s getting close to when one might expect the establishment candidates to enter the race.
From council chambers to the public and private spheres, where are the major players that have been coming up in coffee shops are watering holes around town? Surely either Bill Marra, Drew Dilkens or Jo-Anne Gignac will run. Sandra Pupatello or Ken Lewenza Sr.? Those are big names which would garner votes.
Very likely these and other undeclared candi- dates are biding their time playing the waiting game to determine when best to enter the blood sport.
And the race will be dirty. In 2010, social media was nowhere near as advanced as it is today, and the echo-chamber that is the social realm will allow for candidates, constituents, the media and pundits alike to opine their thoughts in what will inevitably shift from the social sphere to the more legitimate media sphere.
Attacks, vitriol, condemnation and praise are sure to be heaped upon all candidates daring to enter the political vacuum that was created by Francis’ exit, stage left.
For now we have Timothy Dugdale, a self-described fringe candidate whose campaign slogan is “Way out there. In our Future,” and who’s campaigning on the notion of ‘active citizenship’ and the hope of inspiring city residents to plant their proverbial flag in Windsor. Ernie the Bacon- man, a man who legally changed his last name to promote his meat selling business is presumably running on his aged and cured platform of converting 747 airplanes into 30,000 foot-high restaurants to again, sell his meat products. Finally, there is Raymond Poisson, a candidate who has an entire lack of an internet presence and whose sole campaign plank is to lower taxes to retain and lure business; truly an ‘if you build it, they will come,’ mentality.
Certainly, Francis’ legacy will be a difficult one to top. The man changed the scope of the mayoral office from that of public servant and community leader to both CEO of the corporation and mayor; a change that will be quite difficult for both candidates and future municipal leaders to overcome anytime soon.
Perhaps the other candidates are just biding their time for the right opportunity, or perhaps they’re concerned of publicly failing in their hypotheti- cal attempt to replace Francis following his voracious mayoralty.
One thing is for certain, the race will be long, drawn out and filled with many ideas for constituents to base their priceless votes upon.
Jonathon Liedtke is the managing editor of The Urbanite, Windsor’s alternative newspaper. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.