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Re-elect a candidate who doesn’t hold office?

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How do you re-elect someone who isn’t an incumbent?

Apparently, it’s enough if the candidate has ever held office in the past.

School board candidates Wayne Ritcher and Scott Johnston are both using ‘re-elect’ signs, even though neither currently holds office. Johnston had voluntarily retired from St. James-Assiniboia school board four years ago, while Ritcher was chair of the River East Transcona board in 2006 when he was defeated.

Is everyone OK with that?

Moving right along, but staying on education topics for a change…

I’ve been writing recently about the quirks and perils of all-candidates’ meetings — OK, whining, too, I’ll concede that — but with less than two weeks to go until the election, I have yet to hear about a single ACM being held anywhere in the city for school board candidates.

Nary a one.

Yes, I know, the mighty Maples have won their first three games and you can’t tear people away from their televisions, but still, you’d think someone would organize…

Another topic now, but three in a row on the election, with no seguing into soccer or what movies I’m watching or what my kids are doing… at least not yet…

People are phoning and emailing me, imploring me to tell them in what ward of which school division they live, who’s running, and who these people are.

I’d point you elsewhere on our website — no, not yet, you haven’t read to the bottom — where you’ll find the responses from about half the city candidates to our election questions we first invited them to answer Sept. 25.

I have six candidates in my ward, south end of Winnipeg School Division, and I know the three incumbents. No sign of anything much new from them, don’t think they’ve joined the Tea Party or promised to form a voting bloc on the board with Mike Babinsky.

The other three?

No literature, no one’s come to the door when we’ve been home, can’t say I’ve seen a sign for any of them.

One candidate, Kevin Freedman, I knew that he has a website and I’ve read it, after seeing its address on the city clerk's website listing all the candidates (PDF). I only knew that because I know how to go looking for such things and make a point of doing so. Freedman has also responded to our online survey.

The other two, Brenda Poersch and Johnny Salangad, about them I know absolutely nothing. No websites, no literature, no signs, haven’t come to my door that I know of, didn’t respond to our online survey. I Googled them and all I came up with were links to their names appearing on lists of candidates.

Yes, I could seek them out and phone them and ask them who they are and what they’re about. I know how to find those numbers, but at some point, it’s the candidates’ responsibility to reach me as a voter.

Segue.

I was playing volleyball in the gym-sized sauna at Carpathia School, and I was thinking the students might appreciate that heat a little more in January. The rookie participants learn the first week to bring their own water from home, or fill their bottles with ice, if they’re going to load up from the hot water fountains in the hall.

Pause to change the set on stage for the next scene… whir buzz click.

I wish I could tell you what’s going to be built on the former Deer Lodge school site on Ness, or even if the building is going to be retained.

St. James-Assiniboia School Division sold it for $775,000. It’s been closed as a school for ages, and the province didn’t renew its lease to use it for offices, so on the market it went.

The sale did not include any provision for the buyer to indicate publicly the future use of the property.

SJASD sold it to a local development firm, which in turn sold it to a numbered company owned by a Winnipeg lawyer, who didn’t return my call.

Back to the election…

Bob Wilson, thanks for the series of emails this morning outlining your campaign in Louis Riel, but we’re not going to single you out from more than 100 city candidates for an individual story.

OK, OK, but just one sample of your campaign platform:

"In the future school board elections should be fair sample is all rest stops booked by incumbents?

a list of all advance polling of senior large holdings unknown to new candidates.. Bob Wilson was tipped to only two and yes — incumbents all had mail boxes , under the door and business mail insertions all arrange the day prior to elections staff.

Full disclosure school will close if strangers elected? Wilson’s wife a teacher vs incumbent an English teacher and owns education firm. Whose in conflict..."

And going on to more election stuff, only 388 more items to go here and I’ll have out-produced Bartley today… an election-fascinated reader says that trustee candidates should state their positions on uniforms for public school students. He also wants to know the cost of busing, and how many students will stop going to school if school divisions withdraw school bus service.

OK, maybe the first one. The second one, that would be sort of going boldly where no trustee has gone before.

And this just in from Louis Riel School Division… one of my most frequent correspondents and critics of the LRSD board sends along a copy of the division employee and parent newsletter released this week, the Louis Riel School Board Highlight for Learning. He points out that the front page contains the photographs and names of all the nine trustees prominently displayed, and suggests there may be something untoward about showing the trustees in their smiling glory in publicly-funded division publications two weeks before the election.

No cynic I, I’m sure this is surely a serendipitous fluke of coincidental timing, entirely innocent, absolutely having nothing to do with the election, and one would be totally beyond crass to hint otherwise, and, if anything is certain in this world, it’s that being crass is an unknown experience for me.

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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