As mayor be­lit­tled con­cerns, tax anger pro­pelled ri­val

Calgary Sun - - NEWS -

Bill Smith still leads Nen­shi.

It is not as big a lead as the last Post­media/Main­street nosec­ount but it is still in dou­ble dig­its.

And there are not a lot of un­de­cided votes left to fight over.

If you look at all vot­ers counted, it’s Smith by 11 points.

That’s Smith 47%, Nen­shi 36%, Chabot 6%, those on the fence 10%, all the other can­di­dates add up to 2%.

If you just look at vot­ers who’ve de­cided or who are lean­ing to one can­di­date or the other, the count is Smith by 13 points.

Smith 52%, Nen­shi 39%, Chabot 6% and the oth­ers al­to­gether add up to 3%.

Main­street poll­sters ex­pect Smith to win the elec­tion on Mon­day and be­come Cal­gary’s next mayor.

“What was once thought to be a sleepy elec­tion for Na­heed Nen­shi has turned into a night­mare,” says Main­street’s Quito Maggi.

Then you drill down into the num­bers.

Ac­cord­ing to the poll, why does the sin­gle-big­gest group of Nen­shi sup­port­ers back the mayor?

His abil­ity to rep­re­sent Cal­gary out­side Cal­gary.

In other words, they aren’t vot­ing for him be­cause of any­thing he’s ac­tu­ally done at city hall.

They sup­port his out-oftown speechi­fy­ing and glad­hand­ing. They don’t agree the big­gest is­sue is taxes and stupid spend­ing and a city hall need­ing fix­ing.

By the way, for all Nen­shi’s talk about the arena, only 9% of his peo­ple are vot­ing for him be­cause of his stance on that is­sue.

Some smart sorts fig­ured the big­gest group back­ing Smith were do­ing it be­cause Smith equalled change and that’s what they wanted.

They ob­vi­ously want change but it’s not change for change’s sake.

They’re putting an X next to Smith’s name be­cause of his prom­ise to hold the line on taxes.

Tax hikes are a big beef. Nen­shi has talked a lot but not near enough about taxes for many peo­ple’s lik­ing.

As for how Nen­shi and Smith per­formed dur­ing this lat­est bal­lot bat­tle, more folks don’t ap­prove of Nen­shi’s per­for­mance than do.

Then again, more folks don’t like Nen­shi than like him.

With Smith it’s the other way around. More ap­prove of Smith’s per­for­mance in th­ese past weeks than dis­ap­prove, by a wide mar­gin.

And Smith’s elec­tion cam­paign was short on specifics and no rock and roll show when it came to ex­cite­ment.

The at­ten­tion turns to Nen­shi, the man who once cap­ti­vated the city.

He prob­a­bly thought he could never trail Bill Smith. Who is Bill Smith? Is he as great a talker as Nen­shi? Is he as cool?

No mat­ter. As polls showed Nen­shi’s pop­u­lar­ity tank­ing, he didn’t lis­ten to the num­bers.

As the econ­omy hurt, and with it the lives of more than a few in this city, Nen­shi didn’t ad­just. He mocked con­cern about taxes.

He didn’t seem both­ered about how his tone was com­ing across to many Cal­gar­i­ans. They felt him ar­ro­gant. He didn’t agree.

City hall is a bub­ble pro­tected by a thick coat­ing of tax­payer dol­lars, so thick Nen­shi could not see how far the bub­ble was away from re­al­ity and the many Cal­gar­i­ans want­ing to be heard.

Now, if the nosec­oun­ters are on the mark, Nen­shi faces an Ever­est bat­tle up­hill.

He has to get his vot­ers out big-time. He has to sway the un­de­cided vote and get some Smith votes to go else­where.

Will there be more neg­a­tive sto­ries about Smith? Will Smith or some­body on his team go bozo and erupt?

On Thurs­day, Smith didn’t step into any horse poop.

Speak­ing of horse poop, one can­not end this col­umn with­out com­ment­ing on Coun. Ward Sutherland.

Sutherland was at a gabfest for can­di­dates, talk­ing about the rusty-look­ing, tall thin­gies near Canada Olympic Park and how a city panel didn’t pick a lo­cal artist but in­stead went with “Johnny Jew from New York.”

Sutherland in­sists he said “Johnny Choo” and was think­ing of New York at the time and noted shoe de­signer Jimmy Choo came to mind.

Sutherland says he told a lo­cal rabbi no anti-Semitism was be­hind his re­marks.

Coun. Diane Col­leyUrquhart says Sutherland should suck it up and ad­mit he’s wrong.

‘There’s no way to sug­ar­coat an apol­ogy,” she says.

“He should have un­equiv­o­cally said he made a smart-ass com­ment, re­tract it and say sorry.”

Back at the mayor’s race, poll­ster Quito Maggi says it’s go­ing to take a mir­a­cle for Nen­shi to win.

Well, there was a time Nen­shi walked on water.

Guess he could pull it off. 403•250•4305

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