Saturday, October 06, 2007

Calgary Municipal Election: Limping to the finish line edition

There's been a lot of hot air, a lot of money collected and spent - and earmarked for purposes other than the election? Apparently.

We have a popular mayoral incumbent in Dave Bronconnier who engaged in a noisy war of words with the increasingly unpopular provincial government which it is widely agreed he won. He also won the last election by a huge margin but some polls have suggested the margin may be thinner this time.

Alnoor Kassam, the leading contender for his job, appearing out of nowhere with a million dollar war chest, has faced an increasing public awareness of some noisy skeletons rattling in his closet. Ambiguous and conflicting stories of fraud and bribery in Kenya are one thing - less ambiguous is his status as one of the predatory landlords making life in Calgary so hellish for renters. Kassam increased the rent at one of his properties by almost 300% - almost $2000 for one tenant.

Yes, he gave the tenants three months rent free when the story of the initial increases made the news, but he didn't retract the increases and really, do you think he would have been so generous if he hadn't been running for mayor when the story broke?

The other contenders are a mix of oddness and earnestness, from a university student who suggested it was run for office or spoil his ballot or not vote at all, to a 'serious' candidate who with the huge strains on Calgary's infrastructure has as his main transportation suggestion the hugely expensive proposal to turn the downtown portion of the c-train into a subway.

The Better Calgary Campaign liked Alnoor Kassam's platform but had serious reservations about his past and his judgment and are reluctantly endorsing Bronconnier.

Hit the Calgary label to see all my civic election posts.

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