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Hamilton mayoral election a two-horse race

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Beleaguered Mayor Graeme Outerbridge will step aside on May 7 after the list of candidates running for Corporation of Hamilton seats was finalised.

Councillor Carlton Simmons and former mayor Charles Gosling have each thrown their hats into the ring for the top municipal position.

Municipal elections nomination day saw Nicholas Swan, Lawrence Scott, John Harvey and Dennis Tucker as the only candidates vying to become Hamilton business ratepayers' Councillors, so they win by acclamation, as there are four seats to fill.

Running for the municipal residents' four seats are John Holdipp III, Henry Ming, Carlton Johnson, George Scott, Aaron Scott, Derrick Phipps and RoseAnn Edwards. The new mayor and municipal residents' councillors will be determined on May 7, the day of the election.

The current administration has been plagued with infighting and legal battles.

Mayoral candidate Mr Gosling, along with Mr Harvey, Mr Tucker, Mr Swan and Mr Scott, who are vying for the business vote, along with Ms Edwards, Mr Johnson and Mr Ming, who are contending for the residents' vote, are running as a team.

Mr Gosling, who was the mayor before Mr Outerbridge won the last election for the post, has campaigned with a team before.

He said if this year's team is elected “we have got to investigate the current state of the Corporation and will report back to the Hamilton ratepayers and residents”.

In assessing the mood of the electorate, Mr Gosling said: “The response has been very, very positive so far. People are desperate for a positive change.”

With their priority being the investigation of the Corporation's affairs, it means their platform “is in some respects a great unknown”, said the candidate. “We do want to establish good governance for the city.”

Mr Gosling added: “We said, before when we were in office under the Progressive Labour Party Government, and it is the same thing now — our intention is to work in partnership with Government — there's no denial that the Government is the organisation that leads and governs the country.

“There is no need for us to spend time and money in the courts when we can work together, when we can come together, to find a working resolution.

“We are putting the Corporation of Hamilton back in safe hands,” he said.

This will be the first election under new legislation, which involved the introduction of a complex equation to determine the number of seats set aside for the two categories of Councillor. The Aldermans' positions have been made redundant. Municipal voters are registered in two separate categories, and their numbers determine the seat allocation for each of those categories.

Parliamentary Registrar Tenia Woolridge said there are 674 residents, and 416 business ratepayers. “The eight Councillors are split up between the residents and ratepayers — four each,” she said.

A City of Hamilton spokesman said they would have liked to see more businesses registered to vote.

The spokesman added that the registration process for business voters was a complex one, and there will be a post-mortem with the Parliamentary Registrar in the aftermath of this election.

However, Hamilton residents are on the register automatically. The spokesman explained: “If a person is on the Parliamentary Register as a resident of the City of Hamilton, they are automatically by default on the Register of Voters (for the municipal election). You just show up, and show your identification on the day.”

Mr Simmons could not be reached for comment.

Charles Gosling. (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
Alderman Carlton Simmons, mayoral candidate

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Published April 17, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated April 17, 2015 at 9:27 am)

Hamilton mayoral election a two-horse race

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