Elections are good for one thing ... free dinners. Of course you have to listen to a few speeches. There is always a price.
The invite to Dave Mendicino's spaghetti dinner at the Davedi Club was easy to accept. I had to drop off a car rental across the street Sunday night anyway.
Obviously there's a bit more to it. Mendo and I go back a bit and had some fun in his first terms as a North Bay councillor during the mid-2000s. He was chairman of council's community services committee and I was the city hall reporter and columnist for The Nugget. We had some opposing views and shared some laughs.
He was ousted last election and must have bumped his head pretty hard because he wants to return to public office. It doesn't make sense to me but as far as council material goes, he's a harder worker and better suited for civic duty than quite a few of those at the table this last term.
If all he did was council duties, though, I wouldn't have bothered enduring the podium talk for some pasta and salad. I know he's involved in several things in the city and hasn't stopped despite not making the cut last election. So I give him some credit for that. And I know he has learned a bunch since the last go around.
There's also the Davedi Club meatballs. That was the deciding factor.
I can't actually endorse Mendo. I know there's some of that going on. There's a bit of conflict in my case. Back in April, Mendo got me a good price to rent the Davedi Club for the Relay for Life fundraiser June 14. And I've already agreed to do another charity event for the Nipissing Serenity Hospice, one of the bigger community projects he's helping. (The Davedi Club and I were looking at one of the Thursdays in late November or early December, but that's not a good time anymore. I'm thinking it would be better to hold something in February or early March when people are itching for a night out.)
Full disclosure: I've told Mendo and his team they can put one of his signs in my front yard by the highway. Should get a lot of traffic. The issue is that I don't live in the city limits. And people might think he's running in East Ferris too.
The official introduction at the dinner was handled by Daryl Vaillancourt, a fellow councillor who opted not to run for a fourth term. I sat beside him because nobody else would. Just kidding. Daryl and I have had some opposing views and it's fun teasing him.
Vaillancourt decided not to run because of new employment as a provincial manager of the Ontario SPCA after running the North Bay dog and cat pound for quite a while. He's also no longer a resident of the city after getting a place in Callander adjacent to the Osprey Links golf course.
I didn't like Mendo's speech. Don't get me wrong, it was good. There was a bunch of smart platform stuff. The city needs to do better on the economic development file and develop a practical strategy that alleviates mental health and addiction issues. His plan was well researched and made sense. But he was speaking to a room full of supporters as far as I could tell. There should have been a bit more pep in the rally, so to speak. Just my two cents.
The meatballs were delicious as always.