Mayor Haskett steps down
By Sara Marett
In an unexpected political move, Dianne Haskett announced yesterday she will resign as London's mayor for the next three weeks. She is also resigning from her campaigning duties as mayoral candidate, although she is still running in the up-coming municipal election Nov.10.
"The announcement was certainly a great surprise," said Donna Kleiman, Haskett's campaign office manager.
The decision to resign was based on city council's decision Monday night to not appeal a ruling made by the Human Rights Commission regarding Haskett's refusal to proclaim a gay-pride parade for the Homophile Association of London. The commission determined Haskett and council will be responsible to pay $10,000 to HALO.
Haskett decided to resign from her mayoral duties in order to step back and allow council to implement their decision objectively, said Kleiman.
Haskett will not be making any physical appearances at meetings and forums and will not speak to the media during the next three weeks, Kleiman explained.
"She has passed on her mayoral duties to Hopcroft." Kleiman said Haskett would be taking advantage of council if she continued her campaign because she would be able to devote all of her time to it while Hopcroft is busy fulfilling her mayoral duties.
The decision means Haskett will not be attending the candidates' forum today in the atrium of the University Community Centre, although members of her team may be present to distribute campaign literature.
Nick Iozzo, USC municipal affairs commissioner and organizer of today's forum, said he will allow Haskett's campaign team to distribute information, but he will not permit someone to speak on her behalf.
Kleiman said Haskett's withdrawal will definitely have repercussions on her ability to win the election. "Hopefully people will respect and understand the decision she has made and vote for her because of her principles."
Maureen O'Leary-Pickard, campaign coordinator for Hopcroft, said this turn of events gives him added responsibilities he was not expecting, but he is prepared to take on the extra load.