The 411: A Vaughan election run down

26 Oct
Maurizio Bevilacqua

Mayoral-elect Maurizio Bevilacqua

By Joshua Freeman

Vaughan residents cleaned house Monday, firing embattled mayor Linda Jackson, as well as four other incumbent councillors.

Joyce Frustaglio, Mario Ferri, Peter Meffe and Bernie DiVona all lost their seats as Vaughan voters opted for change after a tumultuous term marked by infighting and discord.

Former MP Maurizio Bevilacqua emerged the big winner of the evening, easily winning the mayoral race with over 64 percent of the vote.

“Tonight you have given me a strong mandate to lead our council, a strong mandate to lead the city of Vaughan. You have voted for change,” Bevilacqua told a cheering crowd of some 200 supporters.

Flanked by his children and surrounded by cameras and cheers, Bevilacqua said the people of Vaughan continue to inspire him and promised to do his best “and much more” in his upcoming term as mayor.

Bevilacqua

Bevilacqua addresses supporters at his victory party

“I, like the vast majority of Vaughan residents, believe that tomorrow can be better than today,” said Bevilacqua. “I see a city that will be… renowned for its first-class administration, its transparency, accountability and respect for your hard-earned taxpayer dollars. This will be Vaughan’s new image.”

[click here to see part of his speech]

Just around the corner was a more sober scene at Jackson’s party. She followed a distant second with 10,166 votes. Former MPP Mario Racco trailed 32 votes behind her for third place.

Around 10 o’clock, Jackson appeared at her party to concede the election. Surrounded by emotional friends and family, she congratulated Bevilacqua and wished the new council well.

Linda Jackson concedes

Flanked by family and supporters, Jackson delivers her concession speech.

“The people have spoken unanimously and they wanted change from me, and that’s OK… I wish the new council all the very best.”

Speaking to reporters afterward, Jackson said she has no regrets.

“The last nine years on council have been very difficult for me and my family and we worked through it,” said Jackson. “What will be will be. If it was closer, I would think I’d have a lot more regrets… I always believe everything happens for a reason. I’m looking forward to a whole new chapter of my life.”

The mayor said she has no immediate plans for the future.
[Watch her speech here]

At a joint party with his wife, re-elected ward 4 councillor Sandra Yeung-Racco, Mario Racco said he was surprised his numbers were so low, but acknowledged Bevilacqua’s win was decisive.

“It’s not a small win, it’s a very clear win. I wish (Bevilacqua) well,” said Racco. He said he has no immediate plans for another run at political life and, for the time being, will return to business and accountancy.

However, he said the election was not an entire loss.

“Am I ever pleased to see Joyce Fristaglio and Peter Meffe go down.”

Voters opt for change

Those councillors’ losses equalled a win for former mayor Michael Di Biase and newcomer Deb Schulte, who both won seats as local and regional councillors. Incumbent Mario Ferri was also out, with Schulte beating him by just 446 votes to snatch a place on council. Frustaglio finished in 6th place with 18,331 votes, just 28 behind challenger Robert Craig.

Voters also delivered a message of change in the ward races. Challenger Marilyn Iafrate took Ward 1 from Peter Meffe by just 95 votes. In Ward 3, Rosanna Defrancesca narrowly defeated favourite Steven Del Luca to win that seat. Incumbent Bernie Divona finished third.

York Region Catholic District School Board trustee Victor Schiralli was ousted in Area 4 by Cathy Ferlisi.

In a night of upsets, three ward councillors managed to hang on to their seats. Yeung-Racco held Ward 4 and councillor Alan Shefman held Ward 5. Ward 2 councillor Tony Carella also held his seat.

Overall, voter participation stood at 40.54 per cent for the election, climbing just two and a half percentage points higher than in 2006, far short of the 50 percent goal the city set itself for this election.

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5 Responses to “The 411: A Vaughan election run down”

  1. Domenic Paolucci October 26, 2010 at 5:36 PM #

    As a long time Maple resident,witnessing the good the bad and the ugly over the years, the results of the election are overwhelmingly refreshing. The ousting of an entitled, corrupt and inept group is a key turning point to the growth and future of Vaughan.

    • monica October 26, 2010 at 7:43 PM #

      I agree with Mr. Racco….it was refreshing to see Ms. Frustaglio go out, in 6th place, no less. She will never be missed.

  2. Joan Bailey October 26, 2010 at 9:59 PM #

    I moved to Vaughan in 1960 at that time Vaughan was in an uproar over councillors with infamous problems. It seems we
    attract some people who do not believe they are supposed to
    be elected to act “for the people”. So am pleased about the
    upset this year.

    • vaughanelection October 26, 2010 at 10:08 PM #

      Thanks for your comments. Historically it’s difficult to unseat an incumbent – but we saw it all across the GTA last night. Interesting! Did any of the results surprise you?
      -ad

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