Grade this year: C
Grade last year: N/A
Jerry Blumenthal retired after a long career as councillor in both the old city of Halifax and in the HRM, and then came back in 2008 to challenge his replacement, Patrick Murphy. Blumenthal seems to have won the October election thanks in large part to the nostalgia vote coming from the retirement homes he’s always talking about. Nothing wrong with that---elderly people need representing too---but Blumenthal’s perpetual ironic mannerism contrasts considerably with Murphy’s more strident style.
Beyond style, there’s not yet much of a noticeable difference in the political stands of Blumenthal and Murphy---both are generally left of centre---excepting that Blumenthal wants to divert transit resources out of the downtown runs into more service to the above-mentioned retirement homes.
I like Blumenthal---his unrestrained outbursts and flabbergasted catcalls can be a welcome relief from what are usually usually staid council proceedings. But he’s in real danger of becoming the class clown that no one will take seriously. Already he tends to let others take the lead---Bayers Road is the dividing line between their districts, but Blumenthal mostly let Jennifer Watts be the face of opposition to the Bayers widening project.
Blumenthal needs to buckle down, do the hard work of councilling and pushing an agenda, and leave the clowning around to the press gallery.