Monday, October 21, 2013

I voted for the smartest person

Don Iveson.  Folks from all ideologies seem to be rallying around his positive campaign. It's not the rallying for me but the positivity and optimism that I also feel about this great city that has all the potential. I don't just want a steward, a manager, or a nit picker, but a real thinker, who applies common sense. 

Diotte had my vote but his campaign got off the rails not once but many times. As an armchair political strategist, there were just too many things that went wrong and it indicated to me that if one can't manage and get their own campaign message on track, how about city?

Campaigns matter.  Leibovici's appeared  to be too well funded and the shots of negativity from her camp did not sit well with me. Don's was funded by developers too but it's also big time grassroots.  Most of my politico friends from every federal and provincial party here around my age group were actively on his team and giving big endorsements. It was all positive and good energy.

Don's stance and vote switch on the arena deal matched my view exactly. 

He's the only councillor to spearhead small business initiatives and knows how to bring everyone together from all viewpoints.  And the only one with the foresight to bring sewers and drainage to be a forefront issue.

He's also a strong family man and that means something to me, even though I'm single.

And you know what?  Calgary can't be the only city to have a young, hip mayor. We need an articulate, smart champion for Edmonton to show to those people and businesses who are thinking about moving here can see us as modern, intelligent, exciting, and relevant city.

In my view, Iveson is the best of the candidates that truly represents Edmonton and me.


Seriously. Go to candidate websites, read their policies and views, and then vote. Edmonton had a 33% turnout last time and I suspect it will be a bit more being that there are more candidates running and we get to select a new mayor.

So where am I at?  In the last day, my support has bounced around all three mayoral candidates.  I've never been this torn about voting in my whole life. It's usually crystal clear to me.

The Issues:

These issues that I'm considering and that have different weighting and priority for me and they're not listed in any particular order. I'll put who I think has the advantage on the issues.

  • Downtown. I live, work, and play downtown and I've seen the great progress over the last six years and it's very exciting. Being a huge Oilers fan, I'm excited about the new arena project and especially the location and how closely it's connected with the business core (two blocks from my office) and 104 Street Promenade.  Street patio and food truck deregulation has been fantastic.  The urbanization plans for West-Rossdale are very exciting too.
    Advantage:  none, as all projects are moving ahead and all supported one thing or another.
  • Drainage. While we still need more affordable middle-class housing downtown to slow the continued urban sprawl.  That said, our sewers and drainage are taking a toll with the massive influx of new condos and people to downtown. Major upgrades need to happen.
    Advantage:  Iveson.
  • Taxes. Will they ever not go up?  I know how some of the city managers work building empires within the bureaucracy and how backwards budgeting is.  A serious full audit needs to be done here but it'll have to come from council and a strong fiscally-minded mayor.
    Advantage:  Diotte, Leibovici.
  • Debt. We're playing catch-up and thankfully, interest rates are low.  Better to borrow and spend now then later when costs are more than the interest we're paying now.  Wish we did this back in the 90's.
    Advantage:  Iveson.
  • LRT.  Edmonton used to lead the way for cities under a million.  Calgary is way ahead of us.
    Advantage:  Iveson, Leibovici.
  • Capital Region provincial tax distribution.  The City of Edmonton is getting screwed by the size of the surrounding cities and their use of our city without paying taxes.
    Advantage:  Leibovici, Iveson.
  • Attracting business, jobs, and people.  This is a big priority and core to the economy.  Edmonton has lots of jobs out there, but we're actually lacking skilled people for many industries.  Post-secondary schools, industry, the province and city need to do more and work together more here to ensure we have the right graduates who can easily transition into the skilled workforce.  This area requires a lot of vision.
    Advantage:  Iveson.
  • Roads and infrastructure.  Advantage:  Diotte.
Campaign grades, experience, vision and perceived ideology:

  • Kerry Diotte:  C-
    • "Diotte or Detroit"?  Bad bad bad idea. Anti-arena type TV ad at local business was also not smart which gave it a negative feeling campaign.
    • 3 years on council, city beat journalist for over 20 years. Knows the city well.
    • Libertarian-conservative
  • Don Iveson:  A
    • Positive, upbeat, and feel-good... folks from all ideologies working on campaign.
    • 6 years on council
    • Best vision
    • Progressive-liberal
  • Karen Leibovici:  B-
    • Dull campaign despite lots of money.  Signs and advertisements everywhere.
    • Many years on council, as an MLA, and president of Canadian Municipalities
    • Blue-liberal

My vote:

Well, I thought this exercise in getting this all down would help.  It only confused me more.  I've got about 4 hours to decide.  I wonder how many voters will not vote because of the difficulty in the decision.

Do I go with my gut, my brain, or my gut brain?  Do I stick to my ideology or go off?  Does ideology even matter when most of all, you need the ability to build consensus?

So I think I'll have to have a couple Guinness and decide because right now, I can't.

But please vote!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Edmonton Civic Election 2013 - A look at the 3 main mayoral candidates

I'll be honest, I haven't paid as close attention to this race as I should.  Why?  Because I'd be satisfied with any of the three mayoral front-runners leading this city over at least the next six years.  Now why do I say that?  I don't dislike any of them.  I liked at lot of their work on council.  They each have distinct positive qualities that are appealing and some drawbacks.  I think a big drawback for all of us is we're not going to see two of them on council for the next three years.  I'm leaning toward one of these candidates but having a closer look at another.

Let's also keep in mind that I've lived in Edmonton my whole life, have travelled to many cities in the U.S. and have seen how things are done and not done well as far as roads, taxes, transit, services, building a downtown core, drawing business and growing an economy, etc.

Anyway, let's look at the three candidates now from MY view (in alphabetical order):

Kerry Diotte
- Knows this city from a grassroots view
- King of the pothole issue -- a major issue
- Anti-arena deal from a taxpayer view, but not anti-arena
- Strong fiscal conservative
- Anti-bike -- he's got good points on the value here with our weather
- Anti-bike -- he lost the bike vote, oh no!
- Perceived as fully anti-arena
- Campaign stunts are too gimmicky and lame - "Diotte or Detroit?" Anti-arena TV commercial at Blue Plate fiasco. Seriously? Who approved those?
- Didn't seem to work well with others on council
- Even Lorne Gunter isn't supporting him

Don Iveson

- Although a family man for a while, perceived as youthful and energetic
- Articulate and has vision
- Only candidate to really talk about sewers and drainage in downtown and surrounding area as a major infrastructure issue.
- Very smart politically
- Too fiscally progressive/liberal. I see him as similar to Nenshi in Calgary.  He doesn't seem like the kind of mayor who'd put his foot down hard on tax increases.  Also, what I've seen in Alberta is a strong political movement of progressives taking over civically. 
- Maybe should have stayed on council

Karen Leibovici 
- Supposed fiscal-hawk
- Tonnes of experience in provincial and civic politics
- Former President/Chair of Canadian/Alberta Council of Cities something or other (look it up yourself)
- Woman - Yep, I'm saying it. She wouldn't be the first though.
- Liberal, but a blue-liberal
- Not all that inspiring
- Huge backing from developers who are funding her campaign with lots of cash. This means influence buying and it stinks.

I think Karen will win with about 40-45%. I said it from the beginning.  Don will get 30-35%, Kerry 20-25%, and the rest to other side candidates.  That said, I think Don probably has the best grassroots ground team that have been with him for many years now and haven't left.

Notable Councillor Candidates off the top of my head:

- WARD 6 (Downtown):  Dexx Williams - former policeman.  He's currently got my vote for this ward.  His policy is very thorough and smart.

- WARD 11 (Southeast):  Mike Nickel - businessman. He's back. He's got experience. He knows a lot about the city's finances and where efficiencies can be made.  And let's not forget, he was a big promoter and coordinator of LRT expansion BEFORE it was a really sexy issue.  His TV commercial is very good.

So there you have it, folks.  Maybe more on this later if anything comes up.