Murphy is the incumbent who won in 2004 after Jerry Blumenthal retired. In 2000, he was soundly beaten by Blumenthal. This question this time is not one of experience, but whether Murphy has established himself well enough in the district to weather an assault from Mr B.
Murphy's family goes pretty far back in this neighbourhood. As he told the Bloomfield resident's association on Sept. 23, they survived the explosion. (Related to this, he says he helped get the Halifax Explosion Memorial Bells at Fort Needham repaired and tuned).
Murphy has a good biography on his website. This guy's done a lot of things. He did PR for the NS Restaurant and Food services association, managed Your Father's Moustache, was EA to an NS cabinet minister, promoted conventions and trade shows and managed student painters.
Interestingly, Patrick was also media spokesperson and:
"Executive Director, Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia. Lobbied different levels of government for taxpayers and property owners. Represented industry that generates $600 million to the local economy. Coordinated committee programs, sponsorship programs, events and membership sales."IPOANS calls itself "the "voice" of rental property owners in Nova Scotia." You can hear more about his development stands in Tm Bousquet's interview with him. (Bousquet adds that Murphy's position on development seems nuanced and fair, in his experience).
Goals and Issues
One clear advantage Murphy has over Blumenthal is a website that clearly lists his achievements. Sure, that's not an x on a piece of paper, but it's helpful for a voter.
In his responses to the Halifax-Dartmouth District Labour Council Murphy listed his top 3 issues as: transportation, recreation and public safety.
Recreation: Handily, there are tangible achievements: new playgounds, $50K for Needham centre and Seaview park. He says he's been a supporter of the Bloomfield centre, which is true. To be fair, though - even if it won't be shut down, how close are we on deciding what exactly to do with it?
Safety: Under Murphy's watch, a community police opened in 2007 on 3550 Novalea Drive. Funnily enough, he also mentions a $20,000 grant that to the Halifax Amateur Radio Club (HARC). How is that safety-related? "This is a broadcast of the emergency broadcast system..." Sound familiar, good buddy?
Traffic: Murphy says he took container trucks off of Commission and Mackintosh streets. He likes to mention 32 million people go through is neighbourhood every year. That is why he is a supporter of the fast ferries and possibly (as Tim Bousquet mentions) a third harbour crossing.
Another thing he mentions is that he has tried to "empower citizens groups to make things happen" which seems to me a good thing to say out loud. He wants to help people get involved to solve problems themselves.
Of all the district councillors, councillor 11 has to deal with three fairly unique interest groups: seniors, unions and the military. District 11 contains Northwood seniors home, our naval base and the container ports on Bedford Basin. Murphy hits those talking points and he includes them in his top 5 priorities.
On the record
See website. There is a long list of volunteer associations.
SourceWebsite. Responses to various questionnaires. Interview with Tim Bousquet.
2008 Report card
Patrick Murphy carries himself like an old-style ward politician, patting backs and shaking hands with the merchants and residents of his district. That's not a bad thing. He knows what's happening around the north end and who's making it happen.
Murphy has inserted himself in the battles over the Bloomfield Centre, generally on the side of the tenants, but there's still plenty of distrust all the way around. How this unfolds will say much for his abilities, or lack thereof.
At council meetings, Murphy advocates for arts and labour, and wants the government to buy locally. But talk is cheap and I'd like to see him more actively involved making the talk a reality.
Grade: B Cell: 476-2238
WHAT WE SAID LAST YEAR 2007 (Grade: B)
One major source of controversy in the north end this year came from the state of the Bloomfield Centre. In September of 2006, Murphy expressed surprise upon seeing a report that said Bloomfield would be closed down and demolished; by the spring of 2007, Murphy was touting the renovations and money being utilized to revive the community building. Tenants are still worried about the future of the site, and some groups are critical, accusing Murphy and the city of not listening to the communitys suggestions.
Murphy also gave the most concise answer to one of our survey topics. The Cogswell Interchange? Blow it up.
Like other peninsular councillors, Murphy has concerns about violence: More police, more intelligence gathering, better behaved bar patrons, responsible bartenders and bar owners that look out for their patrons. We must work on all of these things. And as for video surveillance, a divisive topic that raises privacy and security issues, If a video can save a life or find a culprit who has taken advantage of someone else, then I vote for video.
Remarks: Murphy is almost always accessible, and seems to be genuinely in touch with the concerns of his district---even with last years Bloomfield surprise taken into consideration.