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Lowe says he never took vote for granted

By Hempology | November 22, 2002

From the Victoria News, November 22, 2002

By Don Descoteau

Few political pundits gave anyone a real chancee to unseat Alan Lowe as mayor of Victoria.

In the end, the numbers proved that theory, as Lowe garnered nearly 62 per cent of the vote to win by a
landslide. But during the celebration party at his campaign headquarters Saturday night, Lowe wasn’t gloating,
at least not in front oft he microphones or cameras.

“I wasn’t ever taking anything for granted,” the 41-year-old architect said on the race, which turned into a
two-horse contest between he and left-wing candidate Ben Isitt.

“I know that the VCE (Victoria Civic Electors) block came out to vote quite strongly and they did get the vote
out,” said Lowe, who served as a councillor from 1990-96. “Obviously, I knew that Ben would be my No. 1 opponent
and I congradulate him for (his showing).”

Medical marijuana advocate Ted Smith, who did his best to branch out in the final weeks of the campaign and prove to
voters that he was more than a one-issue candidate, finished a distant third with only 518 votes in the race
for mayor.

Earlier this ear, Isitt’s name was being tossed around as a potential mayoral candidate for the VCE. But the
NDP-affiliated party, not convinced the 24-year-old UVic teaching assistant had what it took to defeat Lowe, chose
to run a council slate of six candidates in a bid to take control of council.

They managed to get four of them elected – incumbents Rob Fleming, Pam Madoff and Denise Savoie plus newcomer
Dean Fortin.

Isitt, for his part, didn’t sound bitter about being passed over by the VCE. Rather, he was pleased at the support
his camp generated, an impressive 5,000-plus votes for a campaign that targeted Lowe less than it did provincial
government policy.

“I thought it was outstanding,” he said. “To have more than 5,000 Victoria citizens support a grassroots campaign
that clearly challenged the economic status quo is excellent.”

He said having a focused coalition of organized labour and the environmental movement shows the “overwhelming
potential to build a new, united left-wing party in Victoria and in British Columbia”.

Isitt called the VCE a “strong organization” and surmised that he may have received more votes had he been running
under their banner.

“Then again, we probably got voted because we ran independently,” he said.

Lowe, who several weeks ago felt compelled to proclaim his independence in response to a perceived threat of
a VCE-hijacked council – and endorsed six “independent” candidates in the process – said the posturing that went
on during hte campaign virtually goes out the window when the new council sits down at the table come December.

“People deal with ways of trying to get as many people that are like-minded elected,” he said. “At the end of the
day… all nine of us were elected by he citizens of Victoria and we will all work together to ensure that the
citizens of Victoria are looked after.”

Smith admitted he was disappointed with his support level, claiming that more than 500 people told him personally
that they would vote for him. However, he said he felt good about how he conducted himself during the campaign.

“I haven’t been disappointed in my own actions and the things I’ve said and done,” said Smith, who is still
facing a pair of court cases on charges related to his operation of the Cannabis Buyers’ Club. “I’ve proven to
everyone that I don’t deserve to be treated like a criminal.”

Smith argued that the lack of head-to-head debate on local issues helped pave the way for Lowe to win by such
a majority. He blamed the absence of opportunities on the far-out behaviour of some of the mayoral candidates
and the decision by Isitt to run as a way of attacking the provincial government.

Lowe said among his priorities with the new council will be revitalizing the north end of downtown, given the
upcoming redevelopment of the Bay building, working to address affordable housing issues in Victoria and
continuing to foster more cross-municipal cooperation on regional issues.

See more civic election and school trustee election coverage inside.

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