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NPA drops acclaimed candidate, some bow out, but others revving up to run

April 26th, 2011 · 43 Comments

Jesse Johl, we hardly knew you. For those who don’t recall, Johl was acclaimed as one of two NPA candidates acclaimed to run in the November election last fall, as a way of giving some support to lone councillor Suzanne Anton.

Bill McCreery, the other acclaimed candidate, has been busy peppering blogs, emails and live events with his presence, giving his opinions on political developments, nipping at Vision, and generally doing what a pre-election candidate should do. Johl, apparently not so much.

NPA president John Moonen told me today that the board has voted not to approve Johl’s candidacy, because he kind of disappeared after the acclamation.

“He wasn’t communicating, he wasn’t replying to correspondence or emails, he wasn’t attending training sessions. He didn’t seem all that engaged, said Moonen.

I was a bit surprised by this turn of events, as I’d always thought once a candidate was voted in or acclaimed, they were there until the election was over.

But Moonen says no, the party can choose at any time to disallow someone from running. Same could happen with those voted in in June. As we all know these days, things keep popping up during campaigns that have been unearthed from Facebook or bankruptcy records, so I guess nothing is a for sure any more.

In the meantime, though, other candidates are starting to emerge for the NPA. I went to Mike Klassen’s announcement last week, in a small art-supply room at the Roundhouse Community Centre, with excellent muffins supplied by his mother. His speech is here so you know what he had to say.

I’ll be interested to see how Mike turns out as a candidate. In his blog posts on CityCaucus, he can seem nasty and partisan. In person, he’s much more likely to talk about community gardening or long-term city planning, as I’ve noted on the occasions when we’ve gone out for a gab and lunch. It seems like it’s the latter incarnation who is going to be campaigning, from his speech.

He was asked one question by the faithful, about whether he would have approved a casino expansion. His answer was roundabout. It’s a moot point, he said, since Paragon will be long gone by the time November elections happen so there’ll be no point voting for an expansion.

The room was filled with people planning their run for an NPA position. Among them:

– Elizabeth Ball, on council with Sam Sullivan and trying for another run

– George Affleck, a public-relations consultant for whom I have a soft spot. He’s a Langara journalism grad and has a long-time affiliation with community newspapers. He lives downtown, loves the city, expresses thoughtful ideas about the place, families, the people who live here when I talk to him.

– Sean Bickerton, the neighbourhood guy from near the casino who helped kickstart the anti-casino movement.

– Francis Wong, a Chinatown businessman

– Bill Yuen, a former school-board trustee planning to run again

– Melissa de Genova, who won the vote to run for park board

– Joe Carangi, a lawyer who will be trying to get a council slate seat. I don’t know Joe at all, but here’s a YouTube video of him announcing his candidacy

– Not at the meeting but two others who will be running for park board for the NPA: John Coupar, who helped save the Bloedel Conservatory, and Dave Pasin, who has been an NPA board member.

Others in the crowd included former mayor Sam Sullivan, for whom Klassen did a lot of web work, MLA Colin Hansen, for whom Klassen worked on campaigns,

Who won’t be joining the crowd include:

– Rob Macdonald, the developer whose outrage over bike lanes and poor business decisions at council is well-known, as is his predliction for speaking his mind in blistering terms from time to time. Although I haven’t been told personally he’s not running, others say he called various associates two weeks ago and said he was out. Civic journalists are in some mourning, as Macdonald would have provided unmistakeable fireworks.

– Rick Peterson, the former journalist and investment counsellor who tried to run for the B.C. Liberal nomination in Fairview at one point but lost to Margaret McDiarmid. Another strong candidate. But, he says, his business is not at a point where he could leave it.

Moonen says there are still four candidates talking about running as the NPA mayoral candidate, though. And more for other positions to declare themselves to the NPA, though not necessarily us out here in media land, by May 4

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