FOULDS: Civic election almost a Dewey defeats Truman
He was dismissed as an afterthought, an entertaining sideshow to this civic-election campaign, someone who would have no effect on the mayoral race.
Indeed, moments before results began appearing on the screens at city hall on Saturday night, election, night, John O'Fee was saying as much to Jim Harrison on Radio NL's election-night broadcast from council chambers.
O'Fee, an extremely astute political observer who easily topped the councillor polls in 2008, said what all of us were thinking: Brian Alexander (and fellow forgettable mayoral candidate Gordon Chow) would have no impact in a race that Peter Milobar would win with ease.
Well, someone forgot to tell the electorate — and, to the detriment of Dieter Dudy, someone forgot to tell 251 people who voted for Alexander.
Four days before election day, Alexander told KTW he was asking his supporters to vote for Dudy in a bid to defeat Milobar.
Had those 251 Alexander voters done so, Kamloops would have awoken on Sunday morning to the most-stunning political upset in B.C. on civic-election day, with Dudy leading the city by virtue of a 15-vote win.
Alas, befitting Alexander's quixotic pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of freedom on terms other than those dictated by society, 251 of his supporters did just that and, in effect, handed Milobar a second term.
Brian Alexander as a modern-day Ralph Nader in Kamloops? Believe it or not — yes.
In fact, it can be argued that Gordon Chow's decision to run helped Milobar hold off a determined Dudy, if one was to accept the 441 votes for Chow were, in fact, 441 votes against the status quo, against Milobar.
After all, the fifth mayoral candidate, Frank Stewart, withdrew to throw his support behind Dudy. Had Alexander and Chow done likewise by the Oct. 21 deadline, the news stories today may have been heralding a new political era in Kamloops.
As it was, Milobar won a second term by garnering 9,391 votes to Dudy's 9,156 votes. Milobar has 48.8 per cent of voter support, which is a heck of a lot more than that enjoyed by our provincial and federal governments.
The voters' itch for change was evident in the councillor race as well, as fully half of city council under Milobar is new.
John De Cicco was the lone incumbent to lose — and he fell hard, finishing 11th and 800 votes behind Nelly Dever, who captured the eighth and final council seat in her second campaign.
Newcomers also include Ken Christian (who ran away with the election to the surprise of nobody, based on his school-trustee experience), Donovan Cavers and Arjun Singh (who isn't technically new since he served a term between 2005 and 2008).
DISTAFF DOMINANCE: Kamloops has long been known as the bellwether riding in provincial elections, having elected a government MLA since B.C. became a province. Today, the Tournament Capital may be well known for its preponderance of female politicians.
Of the 26 city councillor candidates, only seven were female; however, five of those were elected, creating a 5:3 female/male ratio among councillors.
Twenty-one people (14 females and seven males) ran for nine seats on School District 73's board of education. Elected were seven females and two males.
Comparing councillor make-up in like-sized cities, Nanaimo elected two females and six males, Chilliwack elected one female and six males and Prince George elected eight males.
Regionally, Merritt elected one female and five males; Clearwater elected one female and five males; Barriere elected four females and four males; and Salmon Arm elected three females and three males.