By Loreth Beswetherick
Mayoral candidate Al Hurwitz was the big spender in the November 1999 municipal elections, with his campaign costing him almost $9,000 for a second place finish in the three-way race between himself, incumbent Hugh O’Reilly and Chris Childs.
On the whole, according to candidates’ financial disclosure statements filed with the municipality, Election ’99 campaign contributions and spending were down over the 1996 race.
While Hurwitz ran the costliest campaign last fall, no candidate came even close to 1996 big spender Max Kirkpatrick who forked out more than $22,000 in his run at the mayor’s chair and received several donations over $1,000. For the 1999 elections, cash donations generally hovered around the $100 mark.
This time round certainly proved somewhat cheaper for O’Reilly who, in his 1996 bid for the mayor’s seat, spent around $5,800 for his 1,574 votes. Last fall, the O’Reilly camp spent in the region of $2,000 — which works out to about $1.20 per vote — for the winning tally of 1,608. Hurwitz spent almost $9,000 — nearly all of it his own money — but garnered only 462 votes.
Cash donations to the O’Reilly camp were mostly small and came from the Masters Group, Peter and Jane Webb, Kerry Dennehy, Len W. Van Leeuwen, Rainbow Retreats, Mountain Adventures and Marie Anna Orr, among others. O’Reilly’s biggest election expenses were just over $800 in advertising costs and around $740 for signs and pamphlets.
Hurwitz spent about $5,660 in newspaper advertising, around $1,600 on signs and flyers and almost $500 on coffee parties at the Coast Whistler Hotel and Arbutus Club in Vancouver.
Chris Childs, on the other hand, ran a lean campaign. Childs’ total election expenses amounted to $4.29, which he spent on milk for a coffee party. According to his financial disclosure statements, Childs did receive a few contributions in kind including baked goods worth $10 and posters endorsing his candidacy donated by council candidate djtone, otherwise known as Anthony Catton.
Of the council candidates, Richard Wyne takes the cake for the cheapest bid for a seat. In his disclosure statements Wyne declared he did not spend a penny — not even for that yellow balloon he blew up at the All Candidates meeting. Scott Kittleson did, however, declare he plunked down $13.91 to dry clean a suit for the event.
Kittleson, Wyne and djtone did not collect any contributions for their campaigns. While djtone spent almost $24 in his bid for a council seat, Kittleson spent about $818. He bought a cell phone and one month’s air time for the phone and he spent the balance on advertising and transportation.
David Kirk did not collect any campaign contributions either but he declared spending just over $2,000 on advertising and signs.
The big spender — and winner — in the 1999 council race was Kristi Wells, who collected, and spent, just over $6,000. Her largest cash donations came from Evan Bryn-Jones who put $2,000 toward the Wells campaign and Peter Alder who contributed $1,000. Wells herself contributed more than $1,000. Other donors included Nigel Woods, Don McQuaid, McDonald’s Restaurant and the Hard Rock Café. She was given donations in kind by John Grills, Ron Hosner and Lawrence Black. For her efforts Wells won first place with 1,423 votes. Last time around she collected about $5,500 but spent well over $7,000 in her 1996 bid for a seat.
Ted Milner also had the backing of several restaurateurs plus a handful of realtors. Milner spent about $3,200 in his bid for a second term. His long list of campaign donors included Garry Watson, Michael D’Artois, Gord McKeever, Nigel Woods, Dick Gibbons, Don Wensley, Tony Kingsmill, Jack Bright, Peter Webb, Don McQuaid, Barb Cofield and Randy Symons. Milner collected a total of $2,800.50 in campaign contributions and earned a third place finish, behind Ken Melamed.
Melamed collected $1,702 in contributions but spent about $2,320. His contributors included past councillor Nancy Wilhlem-Morden, Elizabeth Chaplin, Mel Diamond, Ruth Buzzard and Marilyn Manso.
Stephanie Sloan declared only $299 in contributions but spent around $3,200.
For his first term on council, Nick Davies collected almost $1,400 in campaign contributions. He spent most of it on advertising with under $400 going toward rent, insurance, utilities and furniture and equipment for his office. His contributors included Millar Creek Development, Andrea Reynolds Inc., Dr. James McKenzie, Lawrence Keith, Ron Slack, Greg Murphy, Garry Watson and Russell Clark.
Out of the unsuccessful candidates, John Richardson spent the most to lose. His race cost almost $5,000. His biggest contributions came from mayoral candidate Hurwitz, David Wright and Bev Richardson. He also kept local eateries in business with expenses going to, among others, Citta, La Bocca, Merlins, the Noodle House, Auntie Ems, Southside Deli and Dubh Linn Gate.
Tyler Mosher put down just under $2,700 for his eighth place finish, Casey Niewerth spent $2,475, Tanya Ewasiuk forked out about $1,614, Richard Laurencelle spent about $1,225 and Kim McNight coughed up about $1,127. Stephane Perron missed a seat on council by 300 votes but spent only $780 on his campaign.
The two school trustees running for Whistler’s two seats were both acclaimed and neither Andrée Janyk nor Alix Nicoll collected, or spent, a cent on their campaigns.
Greg Lee was the only candidate not to file a financial disclosure statement by the due date, Monday, March 20. If he fails to do so within 30 days, plus pay a $500 penalty, he will be barred from running in the next election.