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Allan DeGenova: Independent councillor?

August 31st, 2008 · 1 Comment

I hear rumours that Allan DeGenova may be considering a run as an independent councillor. DeGenova has acknowledged to me over the past few weeks that it’s hard for him to contemplate the thought of not doing public service as he has for almost two decades.

But it would be hard for him to pick a party to run with that he doesn’t feel alienated from. Both the Non-Partisan Association Peter Ladner and Vision Vancovuer’s Gregor Robertson/Raymond Louie two-headed beast have approached him about running on their slate. But there are still people in the Non-Partisan Association who aren’t too fond of the park-board commissioner, who quit the party after Mayor Sam Sullivan suspended him for not being enough of a team player.

And DeGenova’s still got bruises from his round with Vision Vancouver, where he ran for a mayoral nomination and got whupped in what some feel like was a race that was set up to ensure Gregor Robertson won after an exciting but safe competition. (I’m just reporting, folks — don’t yell at me.) Not to mention his fairly steady comments to all and sundry that Robertson is not experienced enough and there’s just too many NDP people in his crowd of campaigners.

As well, as DeGenova said recently, he discovered that half his supporters had fled back to the NPA as soon as Sullivan was deposed.

“I got so many calls saying ‘We’re not really Vision people,'” he told me. DeGenova himself resigned from Vision the week before last.

The easiest thing to do then — except that it would cost half a million dollars and be a significant gamble — would be to run as an independent. The risk could be reduced slightly if one or both parties were willing to leave a spot unfilled. It’s doubtful that would happen on the Vision side, where the party already has 16 candidates in the running for council spots and it already has to deal with its unhappy sort-of-not-really ally COPE, where five people have indicated they want to run for a council spot. That’s 21 people for 10 spots.

But it seems possible that the NPA, which seems to be birthing new candidates with all the ease of someone undergoing a five-day labour, could leave a place open for him. (There are still three unfilled spots on their slate.)

If De Genova managed it, he’d be the first independent candidate elected since Carole Taylor ran and won in 1986. The last person who even came close was Nancy Chiavario in 2002. Chiavario, a one-time NPA councillor who was dumped in 1999, got 30,000 votes, which was about 10,000 behind Sam Sullivan’s squeak win onto council in the COPE sweep of that year.

Another thing to think about if he won — if council were evenly divided between Vision/COPE and NPA council members, he could end up being the deciding swing vote on any issue. The de facto mayor. There’s something to think about.

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