Free Election Day Transit in Regina/Saskatoon

How did it come about? Twitter played a role. Regina Transit initially wasn’t going to offer free transit on election day, despite doing so for a previous municipal election.

4 New Councillors Could Shift The Balance

I’m more optimistic today than I was yesterday about the new Council. Although a majority 6 Councillors were returned, with 4 new faces it’s possible that some of the incumbents could be convinced to change their votes on a number of issues.

Lori Bresciani is new in Ward 4. I’m concerned about her current view on downtown parking.

If we want to people to come downtown Parking has to available and convenient.  I do not believe we have adequate parking and we need to provide more parking options for residents.

Contrast her view with Joel’s below. I hope her perspective will change with experience.

Jason Mancinelli, a highly rated auto mechanic, is new in Ward 9. I couldn’t find his campaign page. He appears to want action on environmental issues. If he makes his first impact on changing the culture of transit by turning down his Council parking pass, and insist upon a Transit pass instead, that will be great.

Andrew Stevens in Ward 3 wants a bus route to the airport, first thing. That’s long overdue, and low hanging fruit. He also wants a housing first strategy that works, like Medicine Hat has. That’s great! He wants to “work towards water conservation and stewardship.” Excellent! He’ll focus on implementing the Transportation Master Plan, and Official Community Plan.

Fixing our infrastructure: The current Council has prioritized sprawl at the expense of maintaining and improving our existing infrastructure. Instead, we need to develop a strategy for improving public transit, bike infrastructure and recreation facilities, while fully implementing the Official Community Plan and Neighbourhood Plans.

When it comes to infrastructure, we need to talk about dedicated bike lanes and a better public transit systems. Cars are expensive and damaging to our health. We need to change, and that’s why I’d look to recommendations in our Transportation Master Plan for guidance.

Joel Murray in Ward 6 seems to understand that parking in downtown cannot be solved by adding more car parking. He gets bonus points for knowing about car sharing.

If we can invest more into options other than a private car (bike lanes, car sharing, and transit) we can keep rates low and have more parking available.

Protecting out environment is paramount. As a community we need to work together on diverting more from our landfill, expanding transit, increasing bike lanes, shopping local, and working from home if possible.

Is approval of the Blue Dot motion forthcoming from this changed Council? Time will tell.

Who Would I Vote For?

I decided not to run for City Council this year. A lot changed in my life since 2012, and although I’m not happy with who makes up City Council (and incumbents who are most likely to next time either), I didn’t feel enabled by enough people in Regina to be a leader for change this October 26th.

Instead I’ve provided some support to other candidates who sought my advice or support. For those interested, I’m going to list who I’d vote for in each Ward, if I had that opportunity.

Ward 1:
Neither. I don’t think either of the candidates is suited to building a Regina we need. Councillor Young has promised more cycling infrastructure, but her track record suggests it will never become enough of a priority for her to follow through on that promise. I’ve never met the other candidate, and he doesn’t appear to be running a serious campaign.

Ward 2:
SILZER, Laur’Lei. Why? Just a gut feeling.

Ward 3:
STEVENS, Andrew. Why? Never met the fellow, but he’s a co-worker, and I read he also bikes to work year-round.

Ward 4:
​DEBIA, Asfaw. Why? I’ve met him once.

Ward 5:
GOODMAN, Anthony. Why? He’s not an incumbent Councillor.

Ward 6:
This is difficult. Not Femi, as I’m informed he sought to be a HarperCon MP. Maybe even Murray since he’s recommended by some friends of mine, but I remain skeptical because his father wasn’t a very positive influence on Council. Maybe Deiter, Deacon, or Lavallee. I’d pick one at random between Deiter or Lavallee unless something changes. Stephenson I’ve met before, but he ran for the Sask Party, and the last Sask Party candidate to become Councillor has been a disaster.

Ward 7:
DULMAGE, James. Why? I’ve spoken with him a couple times online.

Ward 8:
CHAPADOS, David. Why? He’s the best of the candidates I’ve met running during this election campaign.

Ward 9:
WOTHERSPOON, Aidan. Why? I’ve met him, and he’s the obvious choice to replace Hincks.

Ward 10:
SKLAR, Brian. Why? I’ve met him, and he’s a capable musician involved in left-wing politics for years.

ELLIOTT, Jim. Why? He’s a friend, and the obvious choice for a capable Mayor who also cares about Regina’s long-term viability.

There are also school board positions.
Brett Salkeld I went to University with. He even once borrowed a computer of mine. He’d be a good choice for Catholic Board.
Misty Longman is another co-worker, and I think she’d do a great job for the school board.

Is Twitter Worth It?

Abuse on Twitter (and social media in general) is ending the usefulness of the network. I’m not blameless either, although I do attempt to be more helpful than confrontational and critical on social media. There’s an absolutely fascinating article you should read if you’re concerned about the decline of social media.

Can we create a better web? Sure. But I think we have to start with humility, gratitude, reality — not arrogance, privilege, blindness. Abuse isn’t a nuisance, a triviality, a minor annoyance that “those people” have to put up with for the great privilege of having our world-changing stuff in their grubby hands. It will chill, stop, and kill networks from growing, communities from blossoming, and lives from flourishing. If your purpose is social interaction, abuse is as central to it as bacterial infection is to selling meat. Get it wrong, and you might just end up like Twitter in 2015. Not a beautiful town square, but a raging mosh pit. Good luck selling tickets to that.

I’ve noticed a lot fewer new faces on Twitter since I first started my 2nd account when I ran for city council in 2012. That campaign was tinged by waves of new people to Twitter, including dedicated trolls attacking a mayoral candidate that got very little positive attention, and attracted the majority of negative attention during the whole campaign.

The waves of abuse that person saw compare to what many women face when using Twitter.

Eden, from Regina, offers examples of what sort of violent abuse she faces as a woman using and making technology and music.

So, how can we be critical, without being considered abusive by the targets of our critiques? A journalist at Global told me I wasn’t doing a good job of it.

So how are people to interact online given contentious political topics, especially where critique and peaceful public dissent is essential for maintaining an evolving democratic system? Leave your thoughts in the comments, without a trace of irony.

#EatThinkVote Event A Success

The tables were full of people, and full of delicious free organic food too, at the Eat Think Vote forum for candidates this evening at the Core Ritchie hall. (The event had to wrap up at 8:30 for floor hockey at 9pm.)

After, I got to speak briefly with Della Anaquod of the Liberals, Ralph Goodale (Lib), Tamela Friesen (Green), and Erin Weir (NDP). There was a Libertarian candidate there, and others of each party except the Conservatives. It’s so disrespectful of the Conservative candidates to shun non-partisan campaign events such as this one, which help raise the level of discourse and idea-debate during an election campaign.

I asked Della why she didn’t speak with Ralph, and she said that in 8 minutes it was thought Ralph would be able to get across the Liberal’s points the best. The NDP used this strategy too. The three Greens all spoke well though in their allotted time.

Next political campaign event that you should plan to attend in Regina is Sept 29th:

Results In #YQRvotes

The election results are in, electronically counted, and delayed by long lines at polls (good interest) and overwhelmed technology at City Hall. Councillor-elect Dr. Young is the new Ward 1 Councillor, and I congratulate her and her supporters for their victory. I’d like to also thank my wife and extended family who’ve been very supportive during my campaign. My campaign team, friends, and new friends have all made this an enjoyable and uplifting experience. I would certainly do it again, even knowing the result, because it’s valuable experience helping to engage and inspire my neighbours to make improvements in our city.

To get back to blogging a bit more, here are some of my perspectives on the numbers as they’ve turned out:
I’m pleased I surpassed the ten percent vote cutoff by achieving 11.7% and more than 700 votes. If my vote count had been counted in the mayor’s race with ten times the voters to draw on, I’d have finished fifth. As it was, I was third of seven in Ward 1, behind the well known Dr. Young (elected to school board previously) and Mr. Kuster who has run for Council twice before. I’m also surprised to see many incumbent Councillors returned to Council. I’m pleased with the result in Ward 3 where my friend Shawn Fraser was soundly elected in the city’s other hotly contested Ward race.

So, where to from here? On to solving the problems in our city with no less determination, or support, only less power to do so immediately. Life’s challenges will be overcome because they must. That’s just life, and life is good. Every thing else is just a bonus. Today was going to mean changes win or lose, because every day is like that whether we notice or not.

P.S. For Your Interest, here are results for Saskatoon and Moose Jaw.

Regina Election Day – #YQRvotes

It’s election day in our city, and Ward 1 has 3 polling places. If you’re not sure which location is yours, there are tools online, or my campaign team can assist you.

Please encourage your friends and family in our city to vote too. If they are unsure about who to vote for, explain why you’ve chosen the way you have, and how your selected candidates make you feel. Please make a positive choice, and feel good about your effort to keep our city working and improving.