There seems to be an interesting phenomenon happening in Davenport North, ward 17. Just as the media are predicting that right wingers may ride the Rob Ford bandwagon and unseat some left-leaning incumbents, the opposite appears to be happening in this ward. Last election, Alejandra Bravo came very close to unseating the sleazy incumbent, Cesar Palacio, losing by less than 300 votes. This looked to be her chance to finally take the seat. But she got hired by the Maytree Foundation and decided not to run. Instead, she endorsed Jonah Schein, the very progressive civic engagement coordinator at the STOP Community Food Centre. Great candidate but unfortunately he doesn't speak any of the major languages of the largely immigrant constituency here, unlike Bravo who spoke Spanish, Italian and Portugese. Looked like he was on a fool's errand.
But a funny thing seems to have happened on his way to a Quixotic candidacy. There appears to be a surge of grassroots support coming out to unseat Palacio. Hundreds of people attended his kickoff launch party last month and they seem VERY energized to get him elected. Plus, Bravo is working very hard to marshal her old supporters on his behalf and his brother/campaign manager happens to work for the neighbouring ward councillor, Joe Mihevc, whose progressive bona fides are undoubtedly helping Schein.
And probably because of his work at the STOP, a lot of low income tenants and other marginalized people are buzzing about him and knocking on doors. These are people who NEVER vote. It helps that Palacio has an extremely poor reputation in the ward and that his shenanigans are well known by many of his constituents. Plus, there is a veteran Italian pol also running here who will likely get a lot of the conservative Italian votes that might otherwise have gone to Palacio.
Still, I'll only believe that an anglo can win Davenport North when I see it. Extremely hard battle ahead for Schein, I suspect, though his momentum is very visible to anybody paying attention up here and I wouldn't bet against it. Would be cool if he could pull it off, especially with all the bad news that seems to be happening elsewhere in the city.