No more rapid transit, she said, and even the unfinished line to south Winnipeg was on the chopping block if possible. Rapid transit was Bowman's legacy project.
And as for his pledge to open Portage and Main to pedestrians? History. Not gonna happen, declared Motkaluk.
The battle lines appeared drawn.
Instead of spending hundreds of millions on Bowman's vanity transit plan, she believed in "putting more buses more frequently onto the roads that we already have so that we can serve Winnipeggers right now."
She would be a meat-and-potatoes mayor. Spend tax money on the priorities of the taxpayers and not the politicians. What a concept!
Bowman was momentarily stunned. Interestingly he didn't rush to the defence of his vaunted rapid transit dream. But he countered Motkaluk's Portage and Main stand---he would hold a referendum and abide by the result. Point, Bowman.
Since then neither mayoral candidate has said much about Portage and Main, leaving the referendum fight to others. Neither of them wants to die on that hill.
Motkaluk, the challenger, made a scattered series of weak announcements in the weeks following. More police in schools. (Huh?) Police on buses. A task force to tackle meth dealers. (Wow, why hadn't anyone thought of that before?) Replacing a bridge that everyone agreed needed to be replaced. More traffic signs around schools. And saddling homeowners with a new bill to remove organize waste. (What happened to the priorities of taxpayers?)
Bowman bided his time, and then, it paid off. Jenny jumped the shark.
She would spend more than half a billion dollars to replace Winnipeg's diesel buses with electric buses. Yep, all the savings from ending rapid transit would be spent.
From bold to bananas in one easy step.
If you have $500 million to play with, you could cut property taxes to zero and still have $50 million left over. That's got our vote. (The city's rule of thumb is that every one percent rise in property tax raises $4.5 million.)
The polls, as bogus as they might be (see the previous Black Rod), showed that her trip to airy-fairy wonderland had put the brakes on any momentum she might have had.
Bowman was back in the game. But because of some momentus brain fart, Bowman decided that property taxes were his strong point. He promised to raise taxes yet again as he had for his entire first term, but this time only by 2.33 percent a year.
And he dared Motkaluk to reveal her tax plans.
So she did. A maximum hike of 1.16 percent a year.
And she had a detailed explanation to show how she would do it.
Bowman, again, was stunned. WHATTTT?
The Winnipeg Free Press found someone to challenge Motkaluk's plan---an 85-year-old retired lawyer who fought an assessment case in the Supreme Court a generation ago. "I'm really confused and don't understand what she's talking about," he said.
Winnipeg Free Press opinion writer Dan Lett jumped in to clarify the situation.
"However, there is a more important concern in Motkaluk's tax proposal. No matter how you spin it, it will provide less revenue to the City of Winnipeg than Bowman's proposal," he wrote.
Duh. Thanks for pointing that out Dan. Raising taxes one percent will bring less money than raising taxes two percent. We see why you get paid the big bucks.
Bowman found his voice. "I don't believe the plan is credible and it's risky," he said.
And at that moment he must have realized the truth: the best man in the race for mayor was a woman.
"It's risky," he said, the words turning to ashes in his mouth.
Four years ago Brian Bowman embraced risk. He told everyone he wanted to be bold. Bold. Bold. Bold. He wanted to take bold decisions about bold plans to put into action his bold initiatives. The other word for bold is risky.
His online bio even brags:
Brian Bowman has the ability to turn vision into action, and that has created many positive changes for Winnipeg!
Prior to entering the race for mayor, Brian was instrumental, as the Chair of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, in launching the Winnipeg BOLD Initiative. This community driven think tank brought about the creation of YES!Winnipeg, The World Trade Centre, and the Centralia Conference (that showcased Winnipeg to 600 companies from 30 countries).
Do you know who else can put Yes!Winnipeg on her resume?
Yep, Jenny Motkaluk. Her bio reads:
Worked at YES! Winnipeg. Helped attract Canadian Tire’s Cloud Computing Centre, expansion of Market Force and Momentum Health Care in Winnipeg and the creation of the MTS DataCentre.
Bowman can lay claim to having "launched" Yes!Winnipeg, but Motkaluk did a lot of the heavy lifting to make it successful.
And her tax announcement showed she was still thinking bold. (Okay, boldly.)
Where was this bold candidate during the campaign?
Bold Jenny started strong, but got lost and wandered into lalaland. Then she came back.
Motkaluk should have used the time to introduce herself to voters.
She has a Bachelor of Science degree in molecular biology.
We don't know what that is, but she's smart.
Bowman was a privacy lawyer. What the hell's that?
He held positions with the Chamber of Commerce and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Glorified P.R. positions.
Motkaluk has years of business experience. Real jobs. Including six years on the board of revision where she learned more about property assessments and the rules governing them than Bowman can imagine knowing, if he even cared.
A smart, experienced, ballsy woman running against a disillusioned Gen X metrosexual.
The last election poll showed that Bowman’s strongest level of support is among those who say they are Liberals (72 per cent) and New Democrats (69 per cent). Men favoured him 59 percent to 27 percent, and women 63 percent to 28 percent.