I've been keeping a keen eye on the Mayoral race in the Welland Municipal Election and this quick comparison is based on the information I've been able to gather from the candidates.
Barry Sharpe shows that he knows what to do based on local experience. His time in academia has focused his plan, and a vote for him is likely to become a mandate for his projects regardless of public opposition. It's a gutsy approach, and I can support that kind of focus.
According to Mr.Sharpe his major infrastructure project is the Sewer Separation Project, something that will keep Welland Treatment Facilities from dumping sewage into the local waterways. My plan differs in that we need an overflow container, which will cost less in the long run and will eliminate the contamination from salt and debris that an unfiltered storm sewer would cause.
Barry Sharpe is older than other candidates, and I've heard no concerns about his health. His supporters sport similar grey hair and speak about his policies as though they are already a part of the fabric of the city. His office is across the street from City Hall two doors down from the closed "Jamtoke Hemp and Leather" store. His website is accessible at http://barrysharpe.com
Strengths: Knowledgeable, Practical, Speedy, Strong Message
Weaknesses: Poor Youth Appeal, Needs you to get off his lawn
Environmentalist, Advocate, and former councilor is trying to be mayor. I acknowledge that he is different from the rest of the group. His good guy demeanor doesn't interfere with his tough attitude toward problems. I support some of his initiatives.
Access to affordable housing, and the elimination of Child Poverty were mentioned during the session at the Rose City Kids Theater. He knows about commitments that previous mayors have made and seems like he will continue those projects.
He mentioned his support for the sewer separation projects and is receptive to consultants in this way. Though there may be information available to him that isn't communicated very well to the public about how holding up road improvements and dumping uncleaned water from the storm sewer is a good idea.
He has supporters from outside of Welland that want to see a steel framing facility built in Welland. This has been a source of controversy due to the fact that the builders imply that if he is not elected they will renege on the plan. This is reportedly because of red-tape issues in city hall - which is the problem. Rather than solving those problems it appears as though he has isolated a business in the problem and used them to make this a political issue. He reasserted that his only goal is the active creation of new jobs in a mass e-mail message between other politicians that I received.
His supporters are a diverse crowd, and are more forgiving of his outspoken nature. In the Mayors office his success would be marked by how well he can act as a bridge between entities inside and outside of the community. His office is in the Mews Plaza. His website can be seen at http://davidalexander.ca
Strengths: Seeks Involvement, Cautious, Family Oriented, Soft Spoken
Weaknesses: Overlapping Interests*, Band-Aid Solutions, Took My Sign, Needs Longer Hair
His business experience could translate into innovative ways to save money. Voting for D'Amico would put the city into a business friendly environment, and he will likely follow public opinion if it is popular.
His campaign is focused on personality and what he could do for the city, this leaves room for input. It does not communicate his infrastructure goals. His administration may be able to accomplish what the city needs if the right councilors are elected.
He claimed to have saved 13 jobs at 'Welland Printing' by putting its debts into a holding company and bankrupting it to clear the debts. This seems to be a common business practice according to academics that I have discussed this with - I just have trouble with the ethical and tax issues surrounding this kind of action.
His sales skills could be important if the Made in Welland campaign continues. A well funded campaign and ambitious supporters are a good sign for Greg D'Amico. His office is closer to Ward 5 and next to Cheers, Healthy Choices Cafe, and the Castle Quest Office on East Main Street. His website is http://www.gregdamico.ca
Strengths: Well Financed, Salesman, Family Man, Strong Supporters, Downtown Supporter
Weaknesses: "Technical Non-Resident", Overlapping Interests*, Needs Sunglasses
Leo Van Vliet
I had a hard time getting a hold of him early in the campaign and didn't know much about his ideals until the first round table discussion put on by the Chamber of Commerce. I am not confident that his political views match the interests of young voters. He has a wealth of experience and would be a great advisor to the next mayor.
Mr.Van Vliet indicated that he supports the idea of reducing the size of council. Reducing the size of council is something that concerns me because representation is something to take pride in - and he could support halving the pay to councilors rather than halving the number of councilors. He also shows signs of resentment toward the regional government, a difficult position for a potential representative in that level of governance.
I haven't seen Leo Van Vliet Supporters. Each time I went to his office it was closed and no hours of operation were posted. This has been corrected and he now has hours according to his supporters that have e-mail addresses. He is the only candidate I've had to cross a bridge to try and meet. His office is in a complex on the corner of Prince Charles Drive and Fitch Street.
Strengths: GO Train Supporter, Tough on Taxes, Saw Prosperous Welland
Weaknesses: Regional Teamwork, Needs more Rick Astley
Tough on crime, supports the arts, stomps on chains. John Watt has been a long-running contender for the office and has locked on to the issues that matter most. The Issues that matter most to him. I feel bad for him and everyone who lived in Welland when organized crime was at its worst. My generation has seen these guys go broke or leave town because the money isn't there.
His message is clear, but it doesn't address public infrastructure in a way that resonates. For a musician he could be more supportive of our new venues, and could see that restricted access is making them useless to a new generation of artists. I could not find his office but his website is http://johnwatt.ca
Strengths: Vocal, Combative, Determined, Stage Presence
Weaknesses: Anti-Cultural, Legal Issues, Rule Breaker, Needs a TV Show
Overlapping Interests: As an Existing Business Owner/Member of Other Organizations they should have a plan to distance themselves to avoid a conflict of interest. To support new businesses or adopt a plan for the entire city they cannot responsibly carry these special interests into office.
Please note that this page is commentary, intended for critical analysis. The issues discussed on this page do not constitute an endorsement by or for the candidates or policies mentioned. All images are linked to and come from the campaigns and media outlets covering the 2010 Municipal Election in Welland and belong to their respective owners. Thank you.