Edmonton Election 2017: A mandate to keep moving forward

Monday’s election resulted in very few surprises for City Council. Don Iveson easily won re-election as mayor, all but one of the incumbent councillors is returning, and while it is still early, the winners of the three open races seem like they’ll fit in just fine with the mostly progressive Council they are joining. Voter turnout wasn’t great, but it was far from the disaster many were predicting with such a boring mayoral race. So why does it seem like the overwhelming narrative is that citizens are unhappy?

Consider what Paula Simons wrote in her first column after the election. “Sure, incumbent mayor Iveson cruised to easy re-election, with support from almost three-quarters of those who cast ballots. But don’t misread that,” she warned. “Iveson faced no legitimate challengers, so voters who were unhappy with his leadership had nowhere to channel their frustrations.”

Her colleague David Staples seemed to agree. “Iveson will likely have majority support for his agenda on council, but on a host of issues where he has taken a strong stand, from LRT and bike lanes to photo radar and social housing, Edmontonians appear increasingly less inclined to go along with his progressive vision.”

Or consider what the Edmonton Journal’s editorial board had to say. “If letters to the editor, media comment boards, call-in shows and candidate forums are any indication, much of the electorate is in no mood for business as usual,” they wrote. “Many may have expressed their frustration by staying home Monday, which along with the lack of a high-profile challenger for the mayor’s chair, could help explain a disappointing voter turnout.”

I look at Monday’s results and I see something very different. I see a clear endorsement of the decisions that Iveson and the previous Council made and a mandate for this new Council to build on that work.

Iveson with the new councillors
Bumped into all four new members of #yegcc on the media circuit just now. Congrats! – @doniveson

Yes, there are citizens who are annoyed about bike lanes and photo radar. Some are opposed to infill, at least in their own neighbourhood. There are plenty of citizens who love to complain about how it isn’t as easy to park downtown as it once was. But these are just squeaky wheels and we shouldn’t let them speak for the majority. There’s a big difference between being annoyed that a traffic lane now belongs to bicycles and being upset about the overall direction the city is headed. This is what people really mean when they say they want to vote for something rather than against something.

I see no credible evidence that Edmontonians are unhappy with the direction our city is going.

“They wrote letters to the editor! They called the call-in shows! They tweeted their discontent!”

Then why not show up to express that anger where it matters, at the ballot box? Voter turnout was 31.5% in this election, which is down 3% from the 2013 election. Considering that voter turnout went from 41.79% when Stephen Mandel was first elected to just 27.24% when he won re-election the first time, I’d say a 3% drop isn’t too bad at all.

“Voter turnout would have been higher but people stayed home to express their frustration!”

If citizens were really expressing frustration by staying home, I would have expected much lower turnout. Don Iveson received 141,182 votes on Monday, up from the record-setting 132,162 he received in 2013. Only four times has an Edmonton candidate cracked the 100,000 vote mark and Iveson has done it twice in a row (the other two were Jan Reimer in 1992 and Stephen Mandel in 2010). A record number of Edmontonians voted for our mayor rather than staying home.

“They only voted for Iveson because there were no credible challengers!”

Why is that? In a city of roughly 900,000 people not one credible person was willing to step forward to run against Iveson. Could it be that no one was miffed enough to go to the trouble? The 2010 election, in which the City Centre Airport was the big issue and the downtown arena debate was starting to heat up, saw a challenger step forward in David Dorward. It has happened before.

“Incumbents never lose and Dave Loken lost! Ben Henderson barely scraped by! Tony Caterina nearly lost!”

Loken won his seat in 2010 by just 507 votes and won re-election in 2013 by just 501 votes. Is it really that unbelievable that he might lose this time around by 464 votes? Both he and Henderson were pretty quiet in this election. As Dave wrote, Henderson ran “what appeared to be a stealth re-election campaign in Ward 8.” It’s not at all surprising that the results reflect that. Caterina has never been seen as one of Iveson’s sure votes, so I don’t see how his narrow victory is any indication that people are unhappy with the progressive agenda. Quite the opposite, in fact.

“The polls say people have doubts about everything!”

Don Iveson and Ryan Jespersen talked about polls on Tuesday morning. “It’s not accurate, it’s not a true thing,” Iveson said. “I would enourage all media outlets as a matter of ethics and integrity to stop reporting that.” There are definite flaws with many of these polling methodologies. Trust them at your own risk.


I have no doubt there are some people who truly are upset about certain decisions, whether it’s bike lanes or infill or whatever. There’s always going to be someone who is upset about something. And yes, Iveson and Council should take what they heard on the doorsteps to heart and they should always strive to truly listen to citizens in order to make the best decisions possible. But they should also see the outcome of Monday’s election for what it is: an endorsement of the trajectory our city is on and a mandate to keep moving forward.

Edmonton Notes for October 15, 2017

Monday, October 16 is Election Day! Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Fall in the Mill Creek Ravine

Upcoming Events

  • Monday is Election Day! The polls are open from 9am until 8pm. Then check out our dashboard to see the results as they come in.
  • LitFest is underway! There are events taking plce throughout the city all week. The festival wraps up on Sunday.
  • Edmonton Startup Week takes place all week with events at various locations. Check out the schedule.
  • Also taking place this week is Small Business Week.
  • An event called Connect is taking place on Tuesday at the Shaw Conference Centre. It’s “a timely discussion on trade, investment and our future in the global economy.”
  • John Rose, Chief Economist for the City of Edmonton, is speaking at the Economics Society of Northern Alberta’s next luncheon on Wednesday at the Art Gallery of Alberta.
  • Launch Party 8 takes place on Thursday evening inside Ford Hall at Rogers Place.
  • AUPE is hosting its 41st annual convention at the Shaw Conference Centre from Thursday through Saturday.
  • The Edmonton Rock & Gem Show is taking place at the Alberta Aviation Museum from Thursday through Sunday.
  • If you hate networking but reocgnize the benefits of building social capital, check out this workshop featuring Nadine Riopel which takes place on Friday.
  • DECL’s Urban Kids group is hosting its next event on Friday night “where kids can play, explore and make friends in their neighbourhood.”
  • UX Edmonton’s UX Camp 2017 takes place on Friday and Saturday at MacEwan’s brand new Allard Hall.
  • Leftovers for Dinner takes place on Saturday evening at Ernest’s at NAIT. “Student chefs will be cooking using only leftover food and event attendees will have a chance to tour the kitchens and watch the entire process.”
  • For more upcoming events, check out ShareEdmonton.

Giant Arches
Giant Arches, photo by Kurt Bauschardt

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #270

Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

CBC & CTV

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

Want to read great stories about Edmonton? Or maybe you’d like to write them? Join Taproot Edmonton and help us ensure that local journalism has a future in our city.

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 37

Edmonton’s 37th DemoCamp took place at the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences (CCIS) on the University of Alberta campus last Wednesday. Here is my recap of DemoCamp Edmonton 36 which took place in May.

DemoCamp Edmonton 37

If you’re new to DemoCamp, here’s what it’s all about:

“DemoCamp brings together developers, creatives, entrepreneurs and investors to share what they’ve been working on and to find others in the community interested in similar topics. For presenters, it’s a great way to get feedback on what you’re building from peers and the community, all in an informal setting. Started back in 2008, DemoCamp Edmonton has steadily grown into one of the largest in the country, with over 200 people attending each event. The rules for DemoCamp are simple: 7 minutes to demo real, working products, followed by a few minutes for questions, and no slides allowed.”

In order of appearance, the demos included:

I always love seeing what local entrepreneurs and developers have been working on!

First up was WedImage which is “an online wedding vendor marketplace with an emphasis on wedding photographers.” It started as a hobby site in 2010 but now features more than 1,600 different photographers. WedImage isn’t just about photographers though as they also hope to connect brides with other vendors they’ll need for their wedding, things like jewelry, food, decorations, etc. Key to WedImage is the use of real photos and not stock photos, so that brides know what they can expect.

The Low Road is a graphic adventure game from XGen Studios set in the 1970s. You play as an intern at a corporate espionage agency. You’re kind of like James Bond, or at least you want to be, but you quickly realize that the world isn’t quite as you pictured it. Your goal is to get out into the field as a spy by lying, stealing, manipulating, and blackmailing your co-workers. The game has been in development for 3 years and launched this summer on Steam for Mac and PC. They’re also planning a Linux version, and are considering the iPad as well. The game features over 32,000 lines of dialogue written by Leif Oleson-Cormack and just won a Digital Alberta award for “Best Game Experience”!

Our third demo was of You Can Benefit, a website that aims to reduce the barriers to accessing benefit applications. The project is “a partnership between the City of Edmonton, E4C, and volunteers from BetaCityYEG.” It’s still under construction, but one of the key features is that administrators from E4C can update the data without having to do any coding. The site is focused on Edmonton and Alberta right now.

Foosify was supposed to be our fourth demo, but the demo gods didn’t want to play ball. Developer Sheldon told us about it briefly, saying that initially he just wanted to parody startup culture so he threw up a landing page. He got so much interest though that he decided to go ahead and build it anyway! Foosify promises to “up your office’s foosball game” and essentially is a way to track matches. Sheldon hopes to add tournaments in the future.

Our fifth demo of the night was Vaniila Moments, which is a way to capture and share live events. The idea is to provide a better user experience than alternatives like Twitter Search. You can cover events live (called a Live Moment) and then readers/viewers can replay the archive later (called a Moment). You can also collaborate with others to produce a Moment together. I love dogfooding at DemoCamp – the team used Moments to cover DemoCamp all evening long!

The final demo of the evening was Cognilit, which is a “fully immersive brain training program” that uses your mobile device and a VR system like Google Cardboard. It promises to “improve your attention, cognitive processing speed, peripheral awareness, working memory and perception of complex movement.” Simba showed us a virtual world with different colored balls that we had to follow and then identify after they stopped moving. Imagine those “which box is the pizza in” or “which cup is the ball under” games that you see on the big screen at hockey arenas. I feel like the demo just scratched the surface, but it was still pretty cool.

All the presenters did a great job, even when things didn’t go as planned! There were the usual startup announcements sprinkled throughout the evening, like who’s hiring. Be sure to check out the job board for opportunities.

Some upcoming events to note:

  • Edmonton Startup Week takes place October 16 to 20. There are more than 30 events scheduled throughout the week!
  • Launch Party 8 takes place on October 19 inside Ford Hall at Rogers Place. Here are the presenting companies. Tickets are just $25, or $15 for students!
  • The next Monthly Hack Day is coming up at Startup Edmonton on Saturday, October 14.
  • Prelight is Startup Edmonton’s year-round program “dedicated to supporting your efforts to build, launch, and grow a tech-enabled product.” The next workshops are coming up soon, so apply here if you want to participate!
  • There are always lots of great meetups taking place at Startup Edmonton!

If you’re interested in demoing at a future DemoCamp, you can apply here.

See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 38!

Edmonton Election 2017: Nomination Day Recap

Nomination Day took place on Monday, September 18. A total of 132 Edmontonians filed their nomination papers and paid their deposits to run in the 2017 municipal election. Michelle Draper was the only candidate acclaimed on Nomination Day, so she’ll continue serving as the public school board trustee for Ward B. Barry Koperski had filed his paperwork to run for council in Ward 4, but withdrew his nomination by the deadline on September 19.

So that leaves us with 131 candidates in this election:

  • 13 mayoral candidates
  • 70 city council candidates
  • 20 Edmonton Catholic School Board trustee candidates
  • 28 Edmonton Public School Board trustee candidates (including one acclamation)

A total of 131 candidates is a new record for municipal elections in Edmonton. The previous high was 120 in the 1986 election. The 2013 election came close, with 119 candidates filing their paperwork.

Linda Sahli
Returning Office Linda Sahli

“This morning ran very smoothly – now it’s the voters’ turn,” said Edmonton Elections Returning Officer Linda Sahli.

Andrew Knack, councillor for Ward 1, was running unopposed until Nomination Day, when three challengers came forward. “Thankfully people will have a choice in Ward 1,” he tweeted. It’s actually Ward 2 that has the fewest candidates for council, with just three, a significant decline from 2013’s seven. In the 2013 election, Wards 4 and 9 had just two candidates each.

There are 24 female candidates for mayor or council, which is about 29%, and that’s up from 17% in 2013. Counting all the races, 36.6% of the field is female (48 candidates), which is up from 32.7% in 2013 (39 candidates).

Election Candidates by Year

Edmonton Elections has made the full candidate list available on its website and in the open data catalogue.

You can see more photos from Nomination Day courtesy of Dave Cournoyer. Here’s my recap of Nomination Day for the 2013 election.

Your Guide to the 2017 Municipal Election

We’ve combined open data from the City with other data that we’ve collected to build an election microsite at Taproot Edmonton. You can browse the full list of candidates, all the wards and voting stations, and a list of election-related events. On Election Night, you can watch the results dashboard to see who your new elected officials are.

For a more personalized experience, try our Election Guide feature. Simply put in your home address and we’ll tell you everything you need to know – which wards you’re in, who your candidates are, where to vote, and more.

We’re also publishing a weekly roundup of election news and other links. Here’s our latest edition and here’s the archive. You can sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each week.

If you find the election microsite and/or newsletter updates useful, spread the word! Maybe we can bump the voter turnout numbers up a bit. And if you want to support the work we’re doing at Taproot Edmonton, become a member. It’s just $10/month.

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #269

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

Vigil for victims of Edmonton terror attacks 71079
Vigil for victims of Edmonton terror attacks, photo by Premier of Alberta

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

Want to read great stories about Edmonton? Or maybe you’d like to write them? Join Taproot Edmonton and help us ensure that local journalism has a future in our city.

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for October 1, 2017

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • I don’t have much to say about the events of Saturday night, now being investigated as “acts of terrorism,” that hasn’t already been said elsewhere. Here’s the Journal article and here’s the CBC article. Here is Mayor Don Iveson’s statement and here is Premier Rachel Notley’s statement. There are more useful links in this megathread on /r/Edmonton. Sharon and I were home all night on 104 Street, having dinner with friends. We heard the fireworks at Commonwealth Stadium, presumably for Military Appreciation Night as the Esks lost their sixth straight game, and the usual sirens and revelers all night long. We hear sirens all the time downtown so most of the time I just tune them out, and Saturday night was no different. We didn’t realize anything had happened until we looked at Twitter late in the evening and read about the high-speed chase that took place down Jasper Avenue and ended just a few blocks away. I was up until about 3am watching the F1 race, and heard the usual random groups of revelers all night long, so evidently they didn’t know or care about the events of the evening either. And today? Just another day, as Omar has perfectly captured.
  • Hundreds of Edmontonians gathered outside City Hall this evening to show support for victims of the attacks. “We stand together,” Iveson told the crowd. “All faiths, all cultures. We will not be divided.”
  • The City has submitted an annexation application to the Municipal Government Board for land in Leduc County and Beaumont. “It is expected that a recommendation will be made by the end of 2018. The City and Leduc County have requested an annexation effective date of January 1, 2019.”
  • On Monday, the shareholder group of Edmonton Global announced the company’s inaugural board of directors and board chair. John Day will serve as the organization’s first board chair. The first meeting is taking place on Monday, October 2.
  • We received our Where to Vote notice in the mail on Friday.
  • Check out Taproot Edmonton’s election microsite to find your wards, candidates, voting stations, and more all with just one click. Here is our latest Edmonton Election Update, a roundup of election-related news and events delivered to your inbox.
  • Alberta’s minimum wage increased from $12.20/hr to $13.60/hr today, another step forward in the plan to raise Alberta’s minimum wage to $15.00/hr by October 1, 2018. According to the government, more than 292,000 Albertans earn less than $15 per hour.
  • A new petition aims to give “Accidental Beach” an Indigenous name. “If Edmonton ends up keeping, maintaining and investing in the Accidental Beach, let’s create space for Edmonton’s Indigenous community to name it in accordance with local ceremony & protocol.” The goal is to get 500 signatures to take to City Council.
  • All three lanes of traffic are now open on the new Walterdale Bridge, as is the west sidewalk. “Ahead of schedule” is a definite stretch, though. Quality spin indeed.
  • Transforming Edmonton has a look at the River Crossing Heritage Interpretive Plan. “The River Crossing area in Rossdale is at the heart of our city and has borne witness to Edmonton’s evolution over the course of thousands of years.”
  • ATB Financial and Boyle Street Community Services partnered last year to launch Four Directions Financial, which uses biometric identification technology to serve the underbanked. The community agency now has more than 500 clients.
  • The [first edition of Gifted](https://www.edmontonmade.com/catalogue/, an annual collection of Edmonton Made products, is now available.
  • Here is the updated listing for Cecil Place, home of the former Sobeys on 104 Street and Jasper Avenue. The space has been subdivided into five different units ranging in size from 715 sq ft all the way up to 5,450 sq ft.
  • Yes, this really happened: “An Alberta judge has refereed a dispute over a pair of Edmonton Oilers season tickets.”
  • Alberta Health Services has announced the 2017/2018 Influenza Immunization Program will begin on October 23. All Albertans six months of age and older can receive a free flu shot.
  • For more recent headlines, check out ShareEdmonton.

Biking in Yellow
Biking in Yellow, photo by Kurt Bauschardt

Upcoming Events

  • Wills Week from the Edmonton Community Foundation, “a series of free presentations that help Edmonton and area residents learn the value of creating and maintaining an up-to-date will,” takes place at various locations around Edmonton all week.
  • The Weeknd is playing Rogers Place on Monday night!
  • Advance Voting starts on Wednesday and runs daily from 1-7pm through October 13.
  • There are plenty of election events taking place throughout the city this week! Get informed about your candidates and ask them your questions! If you don’t want to go to a forum, consider one of Edmonton NextGen’s pre-forum events.
  • Leadercast Women, “a unique women’s leadership experience featuring top female leaders who are powered by purpose,” is coming up on Thursday at the Shaw Conference Centre.
  • The Oilers kickoff the regular season on Wednesday evening at Rogers Place as they host the Flames. Game time is 8pm.
  • What Comes Next? Political Afterlives of the TRC takes place on Wednesday at the Myer Horowitz Theatre. “This facilitated roundtable discussion brings together three outstanding scholars to engage with political challenges and possibilities emerging from the TRC calls to action.”
  • The Bloom Festival takes place at the Shaw Conference Centre from Thursday through Sunday.
  • The Oil Kings host the Wheat Kings on Friday and the Silvertips on Sunday.
  • Earth’s General Store is closing its downtown location on Sunday with a Thank You Sale.
  • I hope to see you at Green Drinks: The Election on Thursday, October 12 at Yellowhead Brewery. The event is always popular, so be sure to get your tickets early!
  • For more upcoming events, check out ShareEdmonton.

The End Of The World Panorama HDR
The End of The World Panorama HDR, photo by ALLEN QIAO乔谦之

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #268

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

  • Global News has announced that Jim Haskins is Global Edmonton’s new News Director and Station Manager. “Replacing Tim Spelliscy who retired last month, Jim joins the Edmonton team from Global News Halifax where he worked as a News Director and Station Manager for the last five years.” He started last week.
  • The usual local media suspects are all well-represented in the 2017 Best of Edmonton from Vue Weekly. Sonic 102.9 FM’s Garner Andrews won Best Radio Host (AM), Now 102.3 FM won Best Radio Station, Global Edmonton’s Gord Steinke won Best TV News Anchor, Global Edmonton won Best TV Station, and CTV Edmonton’s Josh Classen won Best TV Meteorologist. On the social media side, The Borchelli Brothers won Best Podcast, Lisa Evans won Best Tweeter, Daveberta.ca won Best Local Affairs Blog, and Linda Hoang won Best Food Blog.
  • LitFest runs October 12-22. Writing (on the web) While Female takes place on October 15 and features Alex Zabjek, Paula Simons, Jana Pruden, and Kathleen Smith.
  • Keep up-to-date on the municipal election with the latest Edmonton Election Update from Taproot Edmonton. Each week we roundup the news and send it to your inbox.
  • The Alberta Podcast Network‘s launch party is sold out for Wednesday evening, but you can catch some of the show on Facebook Live courtesy of CKUA starting at about 7:35pm.
  • Glass Buffalo Magazine is hosting a writing prize reception on Wednesday evening at Yellowhead Brewery. “As you mingle over libations with fellow writers and literature lovers, you’ll hear engaging stories and poetry from Edmonton’s best emerging creative-writing talent, including the finalists for our 2017 writing contests and our Fall 2017 issue contributors!”
  • Episode 75 of the Seen and Heard in Edmonton podcast features Caleb Caswell, “who combines his background in journalism and music to have sincere conversations about Edmonton’s music scene on The Tear Down.”
  • A reminder that the Edmonton Broadcasters Club Fall Luncheon is coming up on October 11 with guest speaker Terry Jones.
  • Speaking of Terry Jones, he wrote recently about the CFL’s efforts to improve viewership. “Early evidence is that the league’s effort to draw new fans and especially younger fans is working.”
  • CBC Edmonton is looking for a temporary Associate Producer for Radio. The position will run until November 2018.
  • Tickets are on sale now for The Media Challenge at the Edmonton Comedy Festival which takes place on Thursday, October 12.
  • This is neat: some local bloggers are taking part in the Canadian Bloggers Fall Home Tour. “All week we will welcome you into our homes for some seasonal home decor inspiration.”

Urban Pedal Tours
Travel Alberta filming on Urban Pedal Tours

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

Want to read great stories about Edmonton? Or maybe you’d like to write them? Join Taproot Edmonton and help us ensure that local journalism has a future in our city.

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for September 24, 2017

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Walter Dale Bridge - Edmonton
Walterdale Bridge, photo by IQRemix

Upcoming Events

New Walterdale Bridge, Edmonton
New Walterdale Bridge, photo by Jeff Wallace

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #267

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

Interviewing Don Koziak
Members of the media covering Nomination Day at City Hall today

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

Want to read great stories about Edmonton? Or maybe you’d like to write them? Join Taproot Edmonton and help us ensure that local journalism has a future in our city.

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.