A HOUSE DIVIDED: Victoria City Councillors Young, Madoff, Lucas, Coleman, Thornton-Joe + Chandler versus Mayor Dean Fortin, Councillors John Luton + Lynn Hunter





Fortin refused to acknowledge reality of petition victory 

and tried to sabotage Councillor Madoff’s motion

to abandon the $42,000,000 loan bylaw


Victoria City Councillor Geoff Young emerged as the new ethical political conscience of the seriously chastened Victoria City Council in the aftermath of the recent overwhelming victory of petitioners for a referendum on the fate of the ‘Joseph Strauss Bridge.’

NDP Councillor Pamela Madoff led the new group of ad hoc dissenters out of the camp of the confused by Mayor by a motion to abandon the loan bylaw, study new options including refurbishment, further consult the public and go to referendum.

The mayor, conceding only a partial setback, tried to redefine Councillor Madoff’s original motion to mean that Council still preferred demolition and replacement of the present heritage Johnson Street Bridge with a new structure and thus would contest the petition results in a referendum within 80 days.

Councillors Coleman, Lucas, Thornton-Joe, and Chandler all seemed to agree with Young and Madoff, however, and were not in such a great hurry to go to referendum to defend replacement as was the mayor and his two friends, but  were rather more open to new information from senior levels of government about funding opportunities, new information on alternative amenities, costs and timelines from Victoria City Hall staff and further consultation with the Victoria taxpaying public, including a referendum at a date yet to be determined.

This was the gist of the eventual motion as salvaged in the last minutes of the important meeting by the logic, vigilance and eloquence of Councillor Young.

While none of the Council has come right out and gone to Mr. Young’s side to support repair of the bridge, the split in the Mayor’s camp is now more evident, with 5 former  hardcore believers and new doubters on one side, and 3 hold-out true believers (including Dean Fortin) on the other.

The Mayor’s camp is now thus reduced to the two most hardcore resistors, Councillors Luton and Hunter, both of whom are reluctant to heed the signs of the times and the new threatening reality of their own fragile political destinies.


– Gregory Paul Michael Hartnell, Editor




One Response to A HOUSE DIVIDED: Victoria City Councillors Young, Madoff, Lucas, Coleman, Thornton-Joe + Chandler versus Mayor Dean Fortin, Councillors John Luton + Lynn Hunter

  1. Avery Moore says:

    By the numbers..

    Newly Assertive

    7,276 – Young – (Leader)
    9,887 – Thornton-Joe
    9,017 – Madoff
    8,002 – Chandler
    7,042 – Lucas
    6,102 – Coleman

    47,326 – Total

    Die Hards

    6,002 – Luton
    7,706 – Fortin – (Leader)
    7,926 – Hunter

    21,634 – Total

    Yes. There’s a realignment (and distancing) away from bridge demolition mania. Perhaps Thornton-Joe, Madoff, and Chandler – all polled more votes than Fortin – got the public message: ‘Keep up this autocratic nonsense, your political career is toast.’

    But it’s an odd group to be following Young’s lead – unless these individuals intend to become more assertive than even Young has been. Which would make City Hall politics more interesting to follow and possibly quite progressive.

    Meanwhile life would be very difficult for Hizzoner, having lost authority and squandered control.

    Do Thornton-Joe, Madoff, and Chandler have no interest in replacing the Mayor?

    That said, Young remains the most credible alternative, so far.

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