Much grumbling in the Jonah Schein campaign for City Council about the role of Alejandra Bravo in the wake of his resounding defeat to Council embarrassment Cesar Palacio in Davenport North. The campaign was in thrall to Bravo, who came very close the last time around, losing to Palacio by less than 300 votes. She endorsed Schein early on and they believed she would be their secret weapon. There is no doubt that Bravo is a star. Very charismatic, talented, Latina, speaks Portugese, the dominant language of Davenport North. Schein, in contrast, is a unilingual anglo. They were obviously counting on Bravo to campaign hard for Schein, who she endorsed early on. However, in the words of one campaign insider, "she barely lifted a finger." Her people came in one night to make calls to their old supporters, she went out once or twice with Schein, despite sending an email three weeks before election day claiming she would spend every spare moment knocking on doors with him. Of course, she's a mother with a full-time job so perhaps she really din't have a lot of time to spare. But it was her long tentacles and unhealthy influence over the campaign that have people perplexed. First, she insisted early on that Schein distance himself from Joe Pantalone. Why? Not because he was a loser. But because Pantalone failed to endorse her in 2006. Instead, he campaigned for one of the fringe candidates, Fred Dominelli, one of his best friends who he grew up with. Then she insisted that Schein stay away from the local Trustee, Maria Rodrigues, a long-time Dipper and one of the leaders of the progressive faction at the TDSB, who Bravo originally asked to run in 2003 and who she campaigned with as a slate in both 2003 and 2006. Given Schein's lack of Portugese, one would think he'd be anxious to latch on to Rodrigues, a popular incumbent who is Portugese, speaks Spanish, and whose husband, a Salvadoran refugee, has strong ties to the progressive Latino population in Davenport. Rodrigues was also a key player in the battle against diesel trains, helping to ally the TDSB with the local community to argue for electrification of the Georgetown Corridor by sponsoring a Board study that showed the diesel trains would affect the health and hearing of thousands of students in schools near the tracks. Surely she would be an important campaign asset. But it seems that a few months before the election, Bravo approached Rodrigues and asked her to step aside so that she could run for Trustee, which is only a part time job. That way, she could keep her comfortable job at the Maytree Foundation and it would be a great platform to launch a future run. Understandably, Rodrigues declined and that put her on Bravo's very long enemies list. Schein was cautioned not to run with her. Rodrigues went on to win a landslide victory, getting more votes than all her four opponents combined, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of her fellow Portugese population are listed as Catholic school supporters and couldn't even vote for her. And yet she could have helped Schein win some of those people over, especially the progressive mainland Portugese who make up a small but politically aware percentage of the ward's population. Portugal, after all, has a socialist government. Peter Ferreira, another Portugese stalwart in Davenport, had also reportedly alienated Bravo, so no sign of him in the Schein campaign either, despite the fact that he built up a very strong team in his previous runs. That may not be entirely Bravo's fault though, considering that he and the riding association had a temporary falling out that has since apparently been healed. Partially as the result of these dubious choices, the Labour Council was very slow to endorse Jonah and provided very little support. I heard one member of the Riding association complain that he is "not a team player." In Schein's defence, he is not actually a Dipper and so he is not being disloyal by distancing himself from the Party faithful. In contrast, I admire his independent spirit. He ran a great, very inspiring grassroots campaign and brought up important issues that no other campaign addressed. In many ways, he was victimized by the Ford effect. In fact, his ward was one of the only ones in Toronto proper who voted for Ford, and I'm sure most of those Fordistas voted for Palacio, though he was truly trounced at the polls so the Ford bandwagon alone can't really explain it. It would be great to see him try again in four years, but this time, they'd be smart to listen to their own instincts instead of the ghosts of the past and realize that without Portugese support, Davenport is unwinnable. It's too bad that Bravo can't seem to let go of her petty vendettas, which are tarnishing her reputation and legacy. Very disappointing. She, like Karen Sun, could be the future of the NDP and I hope she can let it go because I was always a big fan of hers. The left has to stop eating itself or we're doomed to many more elections like this one.