Start your engines: Race for regional reps is on

30 Sep

Will the regional incumbents get knocked down?

The field of hopefuls for Vaughan’s three regional and local council seats is a crowded one. Many onlookers argue it’s the race to watch, with the three incumbents being challenged by 10 new faces.

Some numbers for you:

In 2006, Joyce Frustaglio got 22.6 percent of the vote, Mario Ferri got 20.13 percent and Gino Rosati got 19.59 percent.

Fourth place went to Robert Craig, with 12.85 percent, and fifth was Joanna Cacciola-Lionti at 8.90 percent.

So, the three winners in ’06 won their seats pretty comfortably. But after a term of scandal and with some well-known city activists vying for seats this time, the incumbent regional councillors seem at greatest risk (compared to their ward councillor counterparts) to lose their seats.

The three of them haven’t been spared from Vaughan council’s reputation. In particular, Frustaglio faced scrutiny over her 2006 election finances (She was ordered by council to write an article for local media outlining the importance of following the rules after an auditor pored over her expenses at the request of two residents.) She also faced scrutiny for contracts from the city awarded to her son’s business without tendering.

Enter: 10 hopefuls campaigning for change.

Most well-known of the candidates are local activist Richard Lorello, former mayor Michael DiBiase and activist Deb Schulte (have you seen her campaign car? You can’t miss it!)

Lorello’s well-known for his Freedom of Information requests and his constant eye on council’s happening. He took a stab at a regional seat in ’06 and garnered 7,525 votes (about 5 percent). But he’s become much more well-known and vocal in the meantime. He also took ran federally for the Conservatives in 2008 (losing to Maurizio Bevilacqua).

There was a ton of speculation about DiBiase leading up to the close of nominations: Would he run for mayor? Would he run at all? He told the Toronto Star after he threw his name in: “I would like to continue the work I started while I was mayor. There is still much to do in Vaughan.”

DiBiase is one of several candidates with outstanding Municipal Elections Act charges (Linda Jackson and Bernie DiVona are too).

Schulte was involved in the democratic task force on voter turnout and was the provincial appointee to the Green Belt task force. She ran in Ward 2 last election. She placed third with 18 percent of the vote (to Tony Carella’s 43 percent)

DiBiase, Lorello and Schulte are likely the biggest threats. But, with 7 other candidates rounding out the field, one wonders if that will only serve to help the incumbents clinch their seats.

Robert Craig, Joanna Cacciola-Lionti (she was a school trustee for two terms 1997-2003) , Domenic De Luca, Mario Di Nardo (he got about 400 votes in Ward 2 last election), Carrie Liddy, John Ross Harvey and Krystof Klabouch round out the field.

The regional candidates will go head to head at a debate being held by the Vaughan Citizen and its community links panel on Oct. 7. Details to follow.



8 Responses to “Start your engines: Race for regional reps is on”

  1. Teresa Mete September 30, 2010 at 8:25 PM #

    The media needs to stop telling the public who their top 3 defenders are. Let the public decide on their own. We are smart enough to decide for ourselves.

  2. Robert Craig October 1, 2010 at 5:46 PM #

    Enjoyed reading the opinion and am very impressed with the election coverage and efforts of Vaughan Today in raising voter awareness.
    However, have to raise issue with whom you list as the three biggest threats. Having run two region wide campaigns with some success, I have to believe that I would challenge for one of the three seats.
    Since the article is base solely on opinion rather than polls I have to comment.
    Last election I recieved 17,136 votes. Since then my profile and involvement in the community has only gotten bigger, as well has my support base.
    Also many remember my campaign in 2003 against Mr DiBiase in which I gathered almost 40% of the vote.
    Over the course of the last two elections, only one person who is currently not on council has accumulated more votes than me, that being Mr. DiBiase.
    These are all signs that voters like my ideas, positions and platform.
    Thanks to the support I have recieved in the past and the efforts of this campaign to earn more voter support, I like my chances in 2010.
    It will be hard to knock out an incumbant, but my track record would indicate that I , as much as any other candidate noted have a chance and should be considered a real threat.
    Robert Craig
    “Lets Change Vaughan Together”

    • vaughanelection October 2, 2010 at 3:04 PM #

      Thanks for your comments, Robert. I hope that the tight regional race will push Vaughan voters to get to the polls to voice their opinions there on Oct. 25. It’s hard to say whether DiBiase’s reputation will help or hurt him this time ’round. (ie. whether or not the 28,306 people who voted for him to be mayor in ’06 will vote for him again). Thoughts?

  3. Claudio Pecora October 2, 2010 at 1:20 AM #

    It is funny how you state who the “biggest threats” are when they are conveniently the only 3 paying regional councillor candidates advertising in your publication. I am dissappointed the way you draw your conclusions. You are just as bad as our present municipal government.

    Before drawing this conclusion, one, especially in your position, should back up your opinions with actual poll numbers and facts, not simply by who pays the bigger buck!

    My top 3 picks are not activists nor trouble makers, that inturn cost the city money. They are genuine, honest experienced and professional citizens of this great city of ours.

    Disappointed reader & concerned resident!

    • vaughanelection October 2, 2010 at 3:10 AM #

      Thanks for your comment Claudio. I can assure you my opinions have nothing to do with advertising! Unfortunately, there are no polls that I’m aware of for the regional council race. My opinion (and it is just an opinion) of who could unseat the incumbent councillors (a difficult task in any election) has to do with presence/name recognition as I’ve seen in my role in the last few years as well as past election results. If I have overlooked someone whom you feel could pose a threat to the three incumbents, I welcome your comments and/or a guest blog post. Email me at I’ve also invited all regional council candidates (and others, for that matter) to give me details of their involvement.

  4. Teresa October 2, 2010 at 2:00 PM #

    If any women can challenge the current incumbent that would be Joanne Cacciola-Lionti. In the 2006 election she got 11,876 votes in comparison to Richard Lorello’s 7,525. In 2006 Ms. Schulte got 2757 votes in comparison to Tony Carella’s 6359 ( Frank Cipollone 3786, Mario Di Nardo 486 and Paul Donofrio 291).So Considering these numbers Ms. Schulte and Mr. Lorello are not the biggest threats. I noticed that you choose to quote percentages vs. numbers when it came to Lorello and Schulte as it presented their results in more favourable manner.

    I will say it again; the media needs to stop trying to influence the public on who to vote for! Let the people decide.

  5. Claudio Pecora October 6, 2010 at 2:02 AM #

    Again, I am quite concerned with your opinion, since the woman Teresa has given you actual vote numbers. You state that your opinion is based on presence/name recognition, yet the people have voted, in the last election and the results are an actual fact. Lorello and Shultz have received much less votes, compared to other candidates…The people of Vaughan have spoken and will do even better this time around, because we are all fed up with every single person on council. We want change.

    It is quite obvious what you are doing…you are basing your opinion on those who advertised in your paper…thats too baD! I hope your opinions do not affect your readers opinions.

    Yes I agree with this woman Teresa…


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