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Notes From the Rafters: Who’s Who in the Race for Ward 2

in Notes From the Rafters by

You know how you all always picture city council meetings? Super boring snooze-fest like a beige industrial carpet? For the first time, this week, it actually was. It was also all of 30 minutes long. Boring and efficient; I’ve never seen the like. I will note: Cllr Korab looking practically giddy with robust excitement at the reopening of schools. Just the thought of it seems to have helped him recover from the spiral of despair he looked the last few months of WFH with a full house.

Since there was literally nothing of interest to report from this week’s meeting, I thought I would take the opportunity, before any actual platforms are released, to gossip about the Ward 2 candidates so far. Some have done a couple of interviews and posted a few videos but I have a hard policy of not learning things via video (other than which British person in a small shire murdered another British person each week). So, I still have time to speculate, generalize wildly based on a few tweets, and try really really hard not to spill all the unsubstantiated dirt people have been sending in private messages.

The candidates may not have made any promises yet, but let me promise you: I will dig very hard into any dirt you send me. Or as hard as I do anything work-related, so like…. I will get my nails filthy and see what I can do at a mild putter.

More candidates may announce before October, and some listed below may decide, in the end, not to file. But so far this is a good spread and I’m pumped. It is also a seriously St John’s spread with at least two candidates holding MUN folklore degrees. I feel like we could go pretty right here one way or another. We could also go pretty wrong, but maybe in an entertaining way. Win-win!

In free associative order:

Greg Smith

Our Home! Our Ward!
campaign colours: sort of periwinkle and goldenrod

Smith is a very good curler. He likes libraries, and upbeat selfie videos on sunny days. He likes it when everyone works together and he signs off with phrases like, “It’s all good all around.”

Sports writer Robin Short summed him up thusly while writing about Smith’s first whack at the Brier; “He quickly became a fan and media favourite for his outgoing personality and good quotes, but that didn’t translate into wins.” Except he did win the sportsmanship award.

Gregory Noseworthy

campaign colour: green

Like Smith he is a young fella. He is a lawyer “with a mobile private practice” which is intriguing. Is that like a book mobile or a food truck? His slogan seems to be three emojis: a leaf, a bus, a house; representing the environment, transportation, housing. Like most of the other candidates he has, so far, talked mostly about the Water Street pedestrian mall and how he would expand it in time and space. He comes across, so far, as not un-savvy. 

Matt Howse

campaign colour: orange (obvs)

He is all NDP so not sure how that translates into the non-partisan municipal world. But NL is nothing if not flexible in fitting its politicians (and political hopefuls) in wherever there is a hole. He is currently a residential youth care worker and ran an independent bookstore downtown which was (I must admit my bias here) pretty great, but I couldn’t help thinking it might have done better if it was run by a capitalist. Still I mourn its passing. He likes bicycles, books and good coffee. He is sort of like a Marxist Dave Lane?

Wallace Ryan

A political cartoonist running for political office. I love this. I am pretty sure this is a grand act of cartoon and he is “writing” his newest graphic novel as a performance piece. His latest post is a 14 minute long video. Again, unless people post a transcript with their info videos I will never know what is in them, but I can tell from the muted few seconds that play automatically that it is classic Ryan. Also he wears a beret and I think that should get a few votes for him no matter what. He seems to have no campaign colours and no permanent slogan. Which is also awesome. He plays by no one’s rules but his own and he is too busy throwing shit to make up his own rules.

Shawn Skinner

campaign colour: navy blue

I keep calling him Larry Lawrence by mistake. 

He starts his social media posts with phrases like “I’d like to take a moment…” and “As I pause on this long weekend….” I heard from one person (who strikes me as insightful and honest) that he did a solid job on the St. John’s transportation commission. He seems to have a standard bunch of human supporters from his #nlpoli past which I am zero interested in because barf, give me municipal or give me death. 

Ophelia Ravencroft

Transform Your City.
campaign colour: purple

Ravencroft would break barriers as the first goth on city council. She may also be the smartest candidate. But she comes across as an optimist so I could be wrong. I mean, I have no way to measure smarts but she has both a seriously witty online presence and a solid academic background. Most telling though, my 8 year old daughter (who knows more people in town than I do) told me that “Ophelia is very smart and really really nice.” In fact, this is where I have to disclose that my 8 year old has gone full in for Ophelia and already made an “ideas list” on how to help her campaign: mini-libraries, lemonade, art, signs, food. So, while I’m sorry that a member of my family is actively derailing my political journalism career by being so vocally biased, I am pleased with how engaged she is in municipal elections and how awesome she is at brainstorming. Here’s to all of ours being better than us.  

Lorne Loder

Moving Forward 2 (which makes more sense when you see it in full colour)
campaign colours: yellow and black

Loder is another candidate who has run multiple businesses downtown, but unlike Howse, still has a couple running. He also owns rental properties around town and generally has fingers in many pies. He was the bro behind Harbourage, which caused controversy for its lack of female acts but was also a lot of fun and introduced the concept of a “quick” beer table where you could run and grab a tinnie for 5$ cash (if memory serves), shot-gun it (if memory serves), and run back to the show without missing more than a note or two. So pros and cons I guess. And he does currently provide jobs for local workers—young workers anyway.

Photo by Graham Kennedy.

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