And they’re off…

IT’S a huge turnout for the City of Perth election with seven candidates for lord mayor and 27 candidates vying for eight councillor spots. It’s a special election to make up for the one missed last year when the council was suspended, and Perth will be brought back in sync with other local government elections next year. That results in the lord mayor and the top four vote-garnering candidates getting a three year term, while the four in the lower winning bracket will get just a one year term.

Mayor:

Mark Gibson: TV and radio presenter and long time city resident, he says he’ll be an independent, full-time mayor with no political or business conflicts. He wants to brighten up the city’s darkened corners, and better footpaths, cycleways and recreational facilities. 

Sandy Anghie: An architect, lawyer and accountant, she’s had involvement with the City of Perth before as part of Adrian Fini’s “Historic Heart of Perth,” a project that received state and council grants along with private funding to revitalise the east end. Ms Anghie says “we need to fix the fundamentals – governance, homelessness, safety and support for local businesses”. 

Brodie McCulloch: Founder of “smart office” company Spacecubed, he says he has plenty of leadership experience and is big on governance, serving on boards and holding qualifications from the Governance Institute of Australia. In August Spacecubed was offered a $15,000 council covid-19 recovery grant, but knocked it back as Mr McCulloch had decided to make his mayoral bid. 

Bruce Reynolds: A city resident, he’s been working in town since he was 15 with his first job at Vanguard Printing, and at 22 he opened his own marketing, design and ad agency next door. Recently he bought the 120-year-old heritage-listed Braddock’s Dispensary building on Aberdeen Street, adapting it into a well-regarded cafe. He’s big on encouraging retail in the city, and wants to investigate shorter “drop-in tenancies” to reduce the risks for start-up businesses.

Tim Schwass: The first candidate to confirm his run, he’s a retired magistrate of 30 years, and says he’s independent and can bring relevant legal and governance experience. He’s also keen to turn Perth into a more pet-friendly city, proposing a “world class dog park” at Langley Park (there’s no current off-leash place to run a pooch in Perth) and wants licensed dogs to be allowed on public transport. 

Basil Zempilas: Sports talker and columnist, he wants a safer Perth and says 200 more police are needed for the Fitzgerald Street police centre. He also wants to encourage owners of vacant city buildings to put tenants in, proposing higher rates for vacant properties as used by Vincent and Fremantle councils. He’s got the backing of his employer The West Australian (which has been the source of criticism from both opponents and Media Watch)

Di Bain: The outspoken chair of city advocacy group Activate Perth (though on hiatus as chair during the election), she’s also a Tourism WA commissioner and a former ABC journo. She plans to keep up the campaign of getting a better deal on the Perth Parking Levy, an arrangement that sees the council and city businesses pay many millions in car bay taxes to the WA government every year for very little return. She’s into “the basics”: “Extending lighting/security patrols to increase safety, boosting street cleaning/greening, improving residential amenities, prudent scrutiny of budget/rates, and, critically, helping rough sleepers off our streets for a safe night’s sleep”.

Council: 

Gary Mitchell: Community TV presenter and former convener of the Australian Republican Movement, he’s scored an endorsement from his cousin Basil Zempilas.

Charles (Mark) Davidson: A mining industry veteran who wants to “reinvigorate the city centre into a family welcoming location which also attracts business and private investment”.

David Ho: A migration agent who says he’s seen “the ups and the downs, the good and the bad” working in the CBD for many years, he says October 17 “is a day of hope” to inject new blood on council.

Shelley Hill: President of the Parents and Friends Federation of WA, she wants a city that “looks after its residents without a home,” is safer and more inclusive for everyone and that celebrates its Indigenous culture and heritage. 

Reece Harley: A former councillor, he was vindicated by the inquiry into the City of Perth which backed concerns he’d had over city finances and a council culture of entitlement. A heritage, cycling and greener city advocate. 

Viktor Ko: A city resident and medico with experience in executive roles with bodies including the Royal Australian College of GPs. Australia-born to Cantonese parents, Mr Ko says “Perth should be Asia’s gateway to Australia” and the city should have a university campus to attract students. 

Liam Gobbert: A former councillor and deputy mayor at Joondalup. He’s a city resident and worker and qualified town planner, and wants to use “design out crime” strategies for city infrastructure. 

Claire Trolio: Co-owner of clothing and gift shop Rock Rover General Store in Northbridge since 2006, she says small business is vital for the economy, tourism and culture, and also says “I will push for a green, sustainable city with urgent and progressive action on climate change”. 

Lexi Barton: A former councillor from October 2017 to March 2018 when the whole council was suspended, the inquiry report didn’t have a bad word to say about her. She wants a safer and more vibrant city and promises a council that listens.

Nancy Haddaden: A coastal and environmental engineer, she was motivated to run for council after being a member of the community reference group that helped develop the city’s big Community Strategic Plan. Her ideas include a community garden for Crawley, a new and safer bike plan, and ensuring youth and elderly are considered.

Clyde Bevan: The proprietor of Friends Restaurant for 23 years, he’s also done six years as chair of Lotterywest and has the endorsement of lord mayoral candidate Basil Zempilas. 

Andrew Toulanan: Runs the tourism booking site waholidayguide.com.au, says the council needs “no infighting or factions,” and he’s keen on more security, clean streets with more trees, and more amenities for residents like a city pool.

Deni Symonds: A 28-year-old Perth resident who works in governance, integrity and reform at a state government agency, he wants more community facilities for residents, and cautious spending for the city budget.

Terresa Lynes: A former City of Gosnels deputy mayor, and also president of the Australian Local Government Women’s Association WA. She also has a diploma in local government and is studying criminology and justice. Her ancestor Richard Gallop (great-great-uncle of former premier Geoff Gallop) was among the first Europeans to arrive, and was an indentured worker for colonel Peter Latour. 

Dwayne Berwick: Having moved from the Goldfields to Perth about 10 years ago, he says he has no ties to any commercial interest and self-describes as “an everyman who has worked primarily in the mining industry”.

Taofeng (Leah) Xia: A Perth resident, she founded a dance school in 2016 and wants to bring international students back to the city, along with attracting foreign investors and tourists. 

Catherine Lezer: An East Perth resident and a director at the WA Strata Community Association, she wants better apartment living instead of cramped spaces, more amenities for families and pets to live in the city.

Michael Felix: A CPA and Murray Street resident, he missed out on his tilt at council in 2017 but is back with an aim to reduce financial waste and to keep the CEO and executive team accountable.

Vance Franklin: A 35-year-old Northbridge resident, he says getting around on foot lets him see and hear what’s working well and what needs improving.

Brent Fleeton: A former Bayswater councillor now living in the city, he runs consulting firm Overarch and has spent a bit of time in Perth council chambers lobbying for clients’ projects. He’s fighting red tape including signage approvals taking months, to “absurd fees attached to an application, or the lingering 1950s retail trade hours that Perth is known for. It all needs to go”.

Rebecca Gordon: Former deputy mayor at Melville (as Rebecca Aubrey, daughter of former mayor Russell), she also contested Willagee for the Liberal party in the 2017 state election. A city lawyer, and also served on the Local Government Standards Panel for four years.

Michelle Rosenberg: Lives in the city and now manages a family bar and restaurant after 20 years experience working in state and federal government agencies.

Raj Doshi: An East Perth resident who was involved in organising the city music sessions during the Covid-19 lockdown, she’d also like to see a local primary school in the city.

Aimee Smith: A climate change policy adviser, she says Perth is vulnerable to climate change but there’s opportunities in making the city greener and healthier. 

Di Bain, Sandy Anghie and Bruce Reynolds are also running for council, as candidates are allowed to run for both mayoral and councillor roles (but can only serve in one).

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