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Nominations close and some interesting races open up for Hamilton Municipal Election

Nominations close and some interesting races open up for Hamilton Municipal Election

With the close of nominations Friday, the table is set for the October 24 municipal election. In some ways the “change” that some local individuals and groups have been calling for has already happened with Mayor Fred Eisenberger and six sitting councillors’ opting to not seek reelection. At least four of the six councillors not running would probably have been returned based on their past electoral record. It’s possible all six of them could have won again– even Terry Whitehead, who despite being censured for bullying and harassment, had been re-elected four times with large majorities.

The election will test how strong the desire for change is in Hamilton with the Mayoralty race featuring two former members of council, former Mayor Bob Bratina and former ward two councillor Andrea Horwath in the race along with newcomer former Chamber of Commerce President Keanin Loomis, and four others. Ejaz Butt is a former taxi advocate who ran in 2018. Also running again is white supremacist Paul Fromm who received about 700 votes in 2018.

Some of the more notable races include:

Ward Two

Will see a return match between challenger Cameron Kroetsch and incumbent Jason Farr. In a story the Bay Observer published last week IElect took exception to the Bay Observer’s statement that the political advocacy group supported Kroetsch over Farr. IElect Lawyer Craig Burley, asking for a correction, noted “IELECT Hamilton does neither endorse, or support candidates.” That may be the case, but they don’t hesitate to suggest who voters should not vote for, posting a video about scandals, critical of all councillors except Wilson, Nann and Danko. And another one about poor decision-making that in addition to the aforementioned three councillors, also spared Councillor Pauls. In addition, IElect co-founder and sometime media spokesman Graham Crawford has repeatedly attacked Farr on his personal social media and tweeted or re-tweeted messages supportive of Kroetsch. The city clerk’s office told the Bay Observer that as of Friday no organization had registered as a third-party advertiser, although the deadline for such organizations to register is in October.

Ward Three

Nrinder Nann faces three challengers, including Laura Farr who finished second last time out. Also running is restoration expert Walter Furlan who organized a petition in the ward against a safe injection site on Barton street which Nann supported. Nann has also supported the plan to demolish St Giles Church for a housing development that would provide some affordable units which has resulted in another petition from the Friends of St. Giles group. Nann is supported by Hamilton Centre MP Matthew Green and had a well-funded campaign in 2018.

Ward Four

Is notable because of the large field of 11 candidates vying for the seat long held by Sam Merulla. Among the candidates, are former Board of education chair Alex Johnstone, digital marketing expert Adam Oldfield, and Amalgamated Transit Union boss Eric Tuck.

Ward Five

This race also has a large field of hopefuls to replace Russ Powers who was appointed by Council to fill out the term of MP Chad Collins. There are nine candidates including Environment Hamilton Executive Director Lynda Lucasik, Kevin Geenen and Matt Francis.

Ward Seven

This will be a race to watch as Scott Duvall who stepped down as MP seeks to regain the council seat now held by Esther Pauls.

Ward 10

Maria Pearson once again faces Louie Milojevic and Jeff Beattie who both ran against her in 2018

Ward 12

Eight are in the race to replace Lloyd Ferguson who announced his retirement from council. Bob Maton is a heritage advocate who has opposed a townhouse development in the village as well as an eight story-development on the site of the Marr-Phillipo house. He was a candidate in 2011 for the Christian Heritage Party. Also running is Megg Markettos, who is a marketer for the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

Ward 14

Terry Whitehead ended months of speculation by not registering for re-election, leaving the field open to five candidates. Among them is Coleen Wicken, who worked as a constituency assistant for Whitehead before she left his employ and filed a human rights complaint against him. Also running is community activist Kojo Damptey, the former Executive Director of the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion. Damptey, a long-time critic of Hamilton Police, has dropped the “defund police” hashtag that used to be on his social media until he registered for election.

Hamilton Board of Education

There is a real game of musical chairs in this race, with overtones of retribution in what are normally low-key Board of Education elections. The ward boundaries have been re-drawn somewhat, and four incumbents are not running again. Among those not running is Carole Paikin-Miller who was one of the trustees who was found by a factfinder to have made racist comments. She was first elected in 2018, beating out former Board Chair Todd White who had worked for Miller’s husband Paul Miller and who filed a human rights complaint against his boss. White is now seeking a comeback in the re-drawn ward 5 and 10 .

On the mountain in the ward 8 and 14 seat, Trustee Becky Buck faces former student trustee Ahona Mehdi whose allegations of racist behavior by Trustees triggered the factfinder report that also named Paikin Miller. The Bay Observer investigated the allegations against Buck, and could find no wrongdoing on her part. Sources at the Board who were not named in the third-party probe, described the report as an “embarrassment” that appeared to single out four trustees, including Buck, who were the only ones who voted against curtailing the police liaison program in Hamilton schools. This all came in the immediate aftermath of the George Floyd murder when public sentiment was running hot.

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