Volume 91, Issue 38

Wednesday, November 5, 1997

Nip it in the bud


Race for mayor's seat

By James Pugsley
Gazette Staff

The battle for mayor of London is entering its final week and aside from the use of a wooden chair bearing the slogan: "Dianne Haskett, AWOL," the two top candidates are not planning to use any secret weapons to conclude their campaigns.

For mayor Dianne Haskett, who is maintaining her physical absence from the race, nothing different has been planned for the next week, Mike Mitchell, her campaign manager said.

Acting mayor Grant Hopcroft said he will continue to focus on economic and tax claim issues but he will be placing emphasis on the issue of leadership – something he feels poll-leader Dianne Haskett has done without. Hopcroft said he wants to offer a different style of leadership than Haskett offered when she chose to take a leave of absence for the three weeks prior to the election.

"We all have our setbacks in life but it's how we deal with them that determines our leadership," he said. "Her absence has had a big impact on her credibility. I don't think silence on her part shows respect for the electorate or the City of London."

Mitchell disagreed, saying it has been Haskett's leadership and track record which kept her atop the latest polls by two to one. With regard to the poll, Mitchell said Haskett's campaign team was pleased with the results and he believes her support will continue to grow.

Meanwhile, Hopcroft said the polls did not reflect the views of the electorate because they were conducted before mayor Haskett's absence had sunk in. "A great deal of momentum is coming our way," Hopcroft said.

Hopcroft's most recent attack at Haskett came on Monday when he publicly displayed the empty chair with the sign to illustrate his opinion on her absence from the campaign. Hopcroft plans on bringing his new political furniture to the remaining candidates' meetings – something which did not impress Mitchell.

"It's disappointing that he would stoop to this form of ridicule."

Hopcroft said his plans for the week are to meet with as many people as possible by waving to cars on major streets as well as making appearances at the London Life building and the 3M and GM plants.

Mitchell said Haskett will not be making any appearances this week before she arrives at her victory party Nov. 10 at the Hellenic Centre.

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Copyright The Gazette 1997