I got another great chuckle this week courtesy of Calgary Alderman Andre Chabot! After calling for all Aldermen to "tighten their belts" and consider cutting their pay raise to 2.75%, he now proposes that city hall consider adding 2 new Aldermen to the City Hall! His rationale is that a review is due to the city's explosive growth since they went to the current roster of 14 Aldermen. He wants to see what a boundary map would look like with 16 alderman and is quoted as saying... “At the end of the day, I may not even support it. It depends on what it looks like.”
If you look a little closer, I think it is apparent why he would like to have another two alderman added to the city hall roster....
- Ald. Chabot was 1st elected in 2005, after 3 failed attempts to win the Ward 10 seat. He was only elected in a by-election following the Margot Aftergood voting controversy.
- Last fall, he was loudly opposed to a proposed "redrawing" of the City of Calgary Ward maps, as it looked like the communities in Ward 10 were going to be swallowed up by neighboring wards.
If this were to happen, Mr.Chabot's riding would be severely altered, which in turn would put a hamper on his re-election prospects in 2010.
Perhaps the fact that "adding" two new aldermen posts would leave his riding unaltered during any ward boundary changes are his main motivation here?
The City of Calgary uses a benchmark to determine the number of residents that are represented by each ward. Currently it is +/- 75,000 people. I have attached a breakdown of the ward populations below:
Ward 1 =92,186 Ward 3 = 99,077 Ward 5 =60,293
Ward 2 =77,831 Ward 4 =72,351 Ward 6= 84,112
Ward 7 61,418 Ward 8=66,916 Ward 9 62,568 Ward 10 64,484
Ward 11 = 65,902 Ward 12 = 92,933 Ward 13 =82,838 Ward 14 = 59,983
Source: 2008 City of Calgary census/Calgary Herald.
So looking at these numbers, the figures are not out line and definitely do not support the idea of adding new positions. I would say that Ald.Chabot is clearly looking at adding these two new Aldermen positions to save his own job. It stinks of political survival and I think it is a terrible idea. By the way these aldermen have acted over the past year, ( except for the common sense of Alderman Ric Mciver) I would prefer to see the number of alderman posts cut down, not increased.
I am sure that Chabot will try to push this motion through, if only for his own political survival. Let's see how well your ideas float in the real world... Good Luck!