Dick Carpani for Mayor
Bradley isn't invincible
Look for a lively race for mayor this fall.
Although neither man has announced his intentions yet, word is all over town that Coun. Joe Murray is going to square off against incumbent Mike Bradley for the top job.
Murray could be a formidable adversary for the mayor, who has held the position for the past 18 years. He's perhaps best known for his efforts to get the Port Sarnia project off the ground, but he's also respected for his role in bringing junior football back to the city. More than that, he's a populist politician. Put simply, people seem to like him.
Of course he will have his hands full with Bradley, who is a masterful campaigner with a long list of election victories to his name.
But Bradley isn't invincible. Challengers can point out that the city's roads, sewers and waterlines have fallen into disrepair on his watch. And the municipal debt has skyrocketed.
Still, his cupboard of achievement is not bare. Under his leadership there have been some significant accomplishments. The city amalgamated with Clearwater, the Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre was built and UBE was lured to a municipal industrial park that Bradley had a big hand in developing.
The Chemical Valley has been downsizing throughout much of Bradley's time in office, but Murray will be hard pressed to make the case that that's the mayor's fault.
Perhaps the biggest advantage Bradley has is the fact that it won't be a two-way race. Former school board trustee Dick Carpani and Carlos Murray have already announced they're running. That means it will be difficult for any of the challengers to make a big impression at meet-the-candidates sessions. With four people talking, no one person will get a lot of time to make their case. And when reporters are assembling stories about the issues, they'll have to quote all the candidates. That, in turn, will limit a serious challenger's chances to score political points.
And of course three challengers will split the vote. Anyone who expects to upset Bradley is going to need every ballot he or she can get. If other challengers take only a thousand votes away from Joe Murray, it could doom his campaign.
There are two things that Murray has going for him. One is that he's seen by a lot of people as an 'idea' person. Whether you like his Port Sarnia scheme or not, you have to give him credit for at least trying to come up with new ways to revive the city's economy.
But Murray's biggest asset may simply be the fact that Bradley has been mayor longer than anyone else in history. One of these days people may decide it's time for a change. Ratepayers who think he's done a good job may turn against him just because they want to see a fresh face in the mayor's chair.
If I had to bet, I'd put my money on Bradley. But I wouldn't be making any plans to spend my winnings.
Monday, September 11, 2006 The Observer Dan McCaffery
|Date This Page Was Last Up-Dated: October 08, 2006|