This post will probably be of limited interest to anyone who doesn’t live within a few blocks of me (though it is, regrettably, rather entertaining in a train-wreck sort of way), but here goes anyway. I wasn’t taking these council elections very seriously until we got a charming flyer from one candidate (Jennifer Jacomb) informing us that only 6 of the 24 candidates in North East Ward consented to police checks and providing not just a BLACK LIST but a REALLY REALLY BLACK LIST, asking IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR, WHY WOULD YOU CALL POLICE CHECKS GRUBBY?
Other highlights of this flyer were the fact that of the people who did agree to police checks, they only endorsed the ones with non-Muslim names. Hmm. Oh, and also, it seems that the Greens candidates would not confirm if they and their fellow Greens would implement an anti-Israel Policy… or whether they would betray their party…
Isn’t it nice to have the concerned citizenry helping us make these decisions? Apparently, this candidate emailed all the other candidates demanding that they provide *her* with their full financial and banking details, as well as police checks and proof of literacy and English skills. Within 24 hours. This is, I understand, not technically illegal, but it is pretty obnoxious.
And then we have the candidate (sadly un-named) who popped into the printer just after another candidate had left, claiming to be with the first candidate and asking him to add a little something to that candidate’s flyer. The little something was a promise of more mosques in Moreland, because heaven forbid we have insufficient racism in our election. The candidate in question wants nothing of the sort, as it happens, but has been fairly classy in response.
Anyway, with all these shenanigans, I am suddenly much more motivated to vote in an intelligent fashion, rather than being somewhat random for once. It’s not so much who I want to get in as who I want to keep out. And with 24 candidates and 55 how to vote cards registered (!!! there are only four seats, for crying out loud!), it’s going to get very confusing tomorrow.
So, below the cut, you may find my brief notes on each of the candidates, as gleaned from my internet researches and studies of their pamphlets. I’ve ordered them as they will appear on the ballot, for your convenience.
BOLTON, Sue – member of the Socialist Alliance. If memory serves, she is always a candidate in every election in these parts and never gets anywhere. She and the Greens do a preference swap. Not surprisingly, she wants a council that fights for you, helps with costs of living, decreases privatisation, and so forth. She’s a trade unionist and a feminist, none of which is surprising, of course, and her ticket basically goes from left to right, politically speaking, which could make it a handy one to pick up no matter which way you vote! Feels that developers should bear some of the costs of amenities where they create high density housing. Less bonkers than many of the other Socialist Alliance people. And wants to improve bike paths, which puts her in my good books.
THOMPSON, Lenka – a Green and a hydro-geologist. Ooh, and a musician! I do approve! Also a regular stander at different levels of government over the years. Is preferencing several other people I rather like, which is a good sign. Fond of public transport and free education for all, so yeah, I like this one. She’s apparently into community engagement, too. My only potential issue with her is that the Greens on our council have historically been a tad naive and uncompromising, and this can mean blocking small steps in the right direction because they can’t have the big ones. Which is frustrating.
Marleine RAFFOUL – Labor Party, and one of seven ‘out’ ALP candidates (there are one or two who may also be ALP but not identifying as such) for the four seats on offer. What is going on here? I suspect some bad blood, actually, because I keep on spotting the various Labor candidates making snarky comments when other Laborites are attacked… Raffoul seems very mainstream Labor (with obligatory dig at the Greens) / career politician. One article claims that she may have been involved in branch stacking. Close associate of Michael Teti. Not impressing me much.
Kyle DADLEH – Liberal Party, says he is progressive, and wants to improve bike paths (I’m not actually a one-issue bike path voter, though I do want them improved, but quite a lot of candidates are talking about them) and get rid of graffiti. Comes across as genuine and rather nice, actually, without the political polish the other candidates have (the Libs don’t try very hard around here). Rainbow flag on his website, and was apparently an indigenous representative at Melbourne Uni. I think I like him more than Raffoul, to be honest.
Michael TETI – Labor party, preferencing Julie Ouaida. Current councillor who is notorious for missing most of the council meetings. He claims he is still getting the job done, but Stella Kariofyllidis, (also ALP, oh dear) sort of hints that if he is, it’s mostly because she and Helou are carrying him. The only policy he mentions is keeping rates low and meals on wheels running.
Tony CHALHOUB – has made no statement, appears to be independent, but I couldn’t find anything about him online.
Anthony HELOU – ALP, former mayor, former left. Judging by the many highly entertaining articles I have been finding online about him, he seems to have swapped ALP factions at some point, and damn, I wish I knew what was going on there! He’s running on his 16 years of service, and being experienced, as opposed to all the untested candidates out there. He doesn’t really mention policies, so I don’t really have any opinion about him one way or the other (I require amusement).
Daniel CROTTY – Unfortunate surname, that. Independent, apparently he hasn’t run before, which is odd, because I could swear I know the name. But at least that means he isn’t the mad fundamentalist Christian we had a few years ago. Feels that political parties aren’t really relevant to local politics. Is preferencing several people who are to the right end of the political spectrum, which suggests that this is also where he hangs out. Seems to be a management and business consultant.
Shaun Kevin MINEHAN – absolutely no information anywhere about this guy (I stand corrected – El-Leissy tells me he is a community worker, which is a point in his favour as far as I’m concerned). I note that his parents either couldn’t spell Shaun or liked zombie movies. I also note that none of the 6 how to vote cards I have so far rate him higher than 14th. Neither of these points are sufficient to win my vote without further information.
Mohammed El-Leissy – lapsed Green, now independent, youth worker, and either was recently or still is the community outreach person for the Islamic Council of Victoria (there’s a nice interview with him in this capacity here), who wants us to know that this is not a political stepping stone – his political commitment begins and ends in Moreland because Council can bring communities together. Previously ran as a Green in Darebin. Member of the National Leaders group for White Ribbon (an organisation working to eliminate violence against women). Oh, hello, he is preferencing Shaun, because Shaun is a community worker! Information at last! Oh, and he was on the amazing race and in the Triple R Raw comedy competition! Kind of liking this guy. And it’s very, very easy to find information on him, which is a bit of a relief after some of the others.
Michael LA PORTA – independent, used to work at the Moreland Council (until April), not fond of the ALP. In favour of accountability and basic services. Further deponent sayeth not.
Stella KARIOFYLLIDIS – ALP. Did I mention factions? I don’t much like Stella because she somewhat sabotaged the campaign of a friend of ours who was running on the ALP ticket a few years back (she ran a different how to vote ticket to the official ALP one, and probably caused them to lose a seat by splitting the vote). She has experience. Part of this experience was letting her son run up a $20,000 internet bill on the Moreland account when she was mayor which she didn’t pay back. Ouch. I’m sorry, I’m sure she has done things I like, too, I just can’t remember any of them.
Steve LIBEROGIANNIS – oh lordy, he’s a project manager. And an independent. Seems to be favouring the people on the right. I think I’m automatically biased against project managers and economists and automatically in favour of community workers and youth workers. Having said that, he looks arrogant. But I am also getting very bored with this little list, so I am possibly biased again by that. OK, let’s be fair. His flyer is better than his site, he wants to improve youth services and support local arts and so forth, but I do get nervous when a candidate wants to tell me about his commitment to family values. What kind of familes does he value? Oh, and he is Greek. (I am amused to note that there is an entire website devoted to telling people who all the Greek candidates are in this council election.)
Giuseppe ARDICA – ALP, works for Red Energy, looks shifty, but then, I am almost certainly stereotyping by now. Labor left and worked for Carlo Carli, which may be meaningful to those who know the ALP better than me. He wants to discount rates for pensioners, which I actually think is a pretty good idea. He also wants to introduce free wireless along Sydney Rd and improve public transport. So I think I shall stop saying he looks shifty, because he’s probably OK. Also, my Labor insider friend reckons he’s lovely. So he probably is. (And then I went and googled his name and the first thing that came up was ‘Baby Killer Giuseppe Ardica”. He just can’t catch a break, can he?)
Francesco TIMPANO – Independent. Wants to eliminate waste. Comes across a bit aggressive, but did tell Jacomb that her email demanding a police check was ‘grubby’, which is a definite point in his favour. Oh, hello – I went to his website, which turned out to be called the Moreland Residents and Ratepayers Action Group, which is a little odd, since this is purportedly the group who sent said grotty letter. But no, apparently Jacomb managed to steal the group name out from under this lot and register it, and then sent out letters using their letterhead. What fun this election is! Thinks the current council are a bunch of sleeping timewasters.
Jocelyn (Julie) OUAIDA – ALP (left side, I think), volunteer welfare worker. I like her a lot – she seems very straightforward and down to earth, and very involved in the community. She started our local community centre! And does a lot of volunteer community work. I love how she said she rather wanted to get the Lebanese vote out, but there were so many Lebanese people on the ticket it was too hard! And then she said she liked Lenka a lot, but had to preference ALP people first. She plans to have office hours if elected, which I think is an excellent plan, and is very focused on assisting people on low incomes. Oh, drat, she’s against gay marriage. Not wholly surprising, given her age and demographic, but disappointing nonetheless.
Rob THOMPSON – oh, bless, it’s Give Rob the Job! He’s a Liberal, and got in a bit of trouble recently because he works for Citywide (who are our local waste disposal people) and was using their trucks to advertise his candidacy. Naughty! Another one who wants us to know he isn’t a career politician. Interestingly, he is keen to support the independents. He’s a project manager, and so he reckons he knows a lot about maintenance and infrastructure. And he’s certainly been getting his flyers out there.
Robert Allan HUMPHRIES – Green, Uniting Church Minister. No website, but mildly famous for being a whistle-blower on the Fellowship cult down at Camberwell Presbyterian 17 years ago, which resulted in the excommunication of 15 elders. He was a co-signatory on a letter to the PM from a number of religious leaders this year supporting marriage equality. Not surprisingly, he’s all about meeting community needs and having a caring community. I like him.
Alex WRIGHT – another ghost – no idea who this is.
Inaam AGHA EL ALI – female and married, but nothing else known about her.
Mohamed ELRAFIHI – ALP. This is the chap who had that nasty trick played on him with the flyers claiming he wanted to build lots of mosques in Moreland. This alone would incline me to vote for him, frankly. He is also a member of the Moreland Bicycle Users’ Group and I like his priorities. Also, his response to the flyer thing was basically “The police are investigating, this isn’t my policy, and I’m not going to stoop to this level in retaliation,” which is fairly classy. Nice website, too.
Bilal HAYEK – again, no information about this candidate anywhere online.
Damon RYDER – Liberal party, but nothing else is known against him. Or for him.
Jennifer Belinda JACOMB – ALP, and they must be horrified at this point, because she is our letter-writing lady. There is also something ominous about her answer to the question of how many council meetings she has attended in the last year “Every single one.”. I’ll just bet. Previously ran for the Brimbank council. Claims to be a community activist, but I’m not sure I like her idea of community. OK, further research tells me that she is transgender, was a victim of bullying and abuse when in the Navy in the 1980s and has PTSD. And she successfully sued the Navy for this, so good on her. Unfortunately, while this makes me more inclined to be sympathetic towards her, those emails she sent were really unpardonable, and apparently this is not the first time Jacomb has behaved in a similar fashion. (I still don’t understand why some people who have been bullied respond to this by turning around and starting bully others – surely they should know how bad this is?) So I’m afraid she is still getting the prized 24th spot on my ballot paper.
Here endeth the lesson. Don’t forget to vote tomorrow, and if you are in Moreland – use your vote wisely!