From Rags to Red Carpet ... to council? Liz West, the former City TV entertainment reporter and host of a Cosmo TV makeover show is running in Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth.
"I hope that Torontonians feel like they know me," Ms. West, pictured at right, said. "I'm not someone they have to get to know. I've been in conversation with them for many, many years."
Ms. West will probably need a crowbar to dislodge Paula Fletcher, the two-term councillor who captured 60 per cent of the vote in 2006. If there's a whiff of real competition in the ward, NDP/union organizers will start popping up like gourmet cheese shops in Riverdale and Leslieville. (Ms. Fletcher, a dedicated progressive, is married to John Cartwright, head of the powerful Toronto and York Region Labour Council.)
But Ms. West is willing to give it a shot. (She could always resort to playing this clip over and over as she door knocks.)
Ms. West, who registered Aug. 17, became interested in neighbourhood politics after the birth of her children, Parker, 4, and Ava, 2. She's been a freelance broadcaster since City TV axed its entertainment department in 2008, covering the Toronto International Film Festival for CP24, working for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and hosting the show From Rags to Red Carpet on Cosmo TV.
She's never belonged to a political party, but she's styling herself as a candidate fed-up with the Miller regime and Ms. Fletcher. "I had some residents from the community come to me, desperate, and saying, 'You know Liz? We have to do something here.' They put me in contact with other people and I learned very quickly that there was a huge dissatisfaction."
If Ms. West pulls off an upset, she'd be the second City TV alumnus on council. Former political reporter Adam Vaughan won Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina in 2006 and is expected to romp to victory again this year.
"I think Adam's fantastic," Ms. West said. "But I think we're completely different. He covered the political beat. He's got politics within his family. We're different. I'm coming at it from a love of the community versus my love of politics."
Four other candidates are registered in Ward 30: Mark Dewdney, Andrew James, Angie Tingas and Gary Walsh.