Just over 1,300 people had voted by 1 p.m., so the numbers are continuing to be diluted by the rain. In spite of that, there’s a fairly jolly atmosphere down here in the parking lot and streets around Tupper secondary as people stream in to vote, volunteers hold mini-tailgate parties nearby and all kinds of groups huddle under umbrellas or overhangs to schmooze with each other.
Mayoral candidate Gregor Robertson spent a while pedalling a bike that was generating some kind of power, while a band played next to him. When he got off that, I asked him what’s going to happen once the team is chosen — a team no one can completely predict, given the odd combinations of alliances that this race has produced and who has managed to get their people out today.
He said the team-building is going to have to start right away, to figure out where the common positions are and where the group — whatever it is — wants to go on issues. As alert political observers have noticed already, the Vision candidates don’t always have the same positions on everything. Shifting business taxes to residential is one, but there are likely others hidden underneath the Vision-building momentum. Robertson acknowledged that the policy on some issues “really depends on the make-up of the council slate,” once everyone knows what it is. And he said he’s not opposed to the idea of having free votes on some things — not sure what yet — but he thinks it’s good for democracy for different party members to be able to express different beliefs. We’ll see how that stands up if it turns out to be a 6-5 council.
In the meantime, the teams continue to bustle about: David Eby, Andrea Reimer, Rey Umlas, the Vision school board candidates, and the park-board coalition are the ones most in evidence. But even those without teams or coalitions seem quite happy. I talked to James Gill for a while, the park-board candidate who impressed many at the candidates’ debate. Gill said he deliberately didn’t go out and sign up members, because he figured that by the time 14,000 people joined for the mayoral campaign, there weren’t a lot more people he was going to find who hadn’t already signed up. So he doesn’t have a team and was quietly standing by the gym wall eating a Lebanese wrap, but seemed quite content with what’s going on.
Gill said that while some people may have found the jostling for position a little rough in this first round for the party, he thinks it’s healthy and everyone can learn from it for next time. Someone who expressed an opinion along the same lines was Paul Evans (husband of Catherine and an international-affairs professor), who found the whole scene in the Tupper yard quite thrilling in a post-modern democratic way, with a completely unpredictable mix of people coming through the doors to vote.