More power and money to cities in Alberta? I don’t believe you!

If you haven’t already done so you should check out Cities Matter, a website created by Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. It features questions in ten categories related to municipalities that all five of the major provincial parties have answered. The Municipal Financing category asks what each party would do to provide long-range, sustainable, and predictable capital funding for large cities in Alberta. Here are some highlights from the responses:

Alberta Liberals:

Our view is that provincial funding for municipalities should be provided with little to no strings attached, and that local governments are best positioned to determine what their own priorities are and how money should be spent.

Alberta Party:

We are committed to ensuring municipalities have access to stable, adequate and predictable funding. The Alberta Party will shift from 3‐year budget cycles to 5‐year cycles to ensure more long‐term planning can happen. We will also explore alternative ways for cities to raise their own revenues, so that they are less dependent on provincial funding and are more able to accurately budget for their needs.

Alberta’s NDP:

An NDP government would support municipalities’ efforts to occupy the entire property tax and would be prepared to consider additional sources of revenue for municipalities which are appropriate to their responsibilities.

PC Alberta:

The PC Party also plans to help meet the fiscal needs of our cities with city charters and more local decision making through transfer of power. Municipalities are entitled to a greater say and accountability in their own governance and fiscal management.

Wildrose:

Our Balanced Budget and Savings Pledge will lay the groundwork for growing surpluses in the short term; combined with rising income taxes this will ensure that municipal funding increases along with Alberta’s economy.  It also means that municipal leaders won’t need to curry favour with government ministers and align their ideas with the latest trendy notions among bureaucrats.  Wildrose trusts local communities to know what their short and long term priorities are, and with this formula will give them the autonomy to carry through in meeting them.

Sounds good right? More power and money to cities!

Thing is, I really don’t believe any of that.

Consider the proposed downtown arena. Our local leadership has determined (whether you agree or not) that a new arena is something the city needs, that it is something that would benefit Edmontonians. Yet none of the provincial parties seem to have acknowledged that decision. In fact, in many cases they have explicitly disagreed.

Here’s NDP Leader Brian Mason’s take:

“There are far bigger priorities for tax dollars in Edmonton than giving handouts to billionaire hockey owners. Instead, the New Democrats want to accelerate the construction of more light rail transit in Edmonton with more funding. We could use that $100 million to provide interest-free loans to 20,000 homeowners for energy efficient home renovations, or build 250 long-term care beds. New Democrats use public money for the public good.”

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith was even more blunt:

“We would not provide funding to a new arena in Edmonton.”

PC Leader Alison Redford hasn’t been quite so direct, but her government has thus far avoided the issue and has been more than happy to move ahead with the new Royal Alberta Museum (which nobody was talking about until the announcement dropped out of the sky). And she too does not appear to agree with the need:

“I think that we have enough funding in our system right now to allow for projects that matter to communities to be built.”

I have not seen either the Alberta Party or the Alberta Liberals directly address the arena (if you can point me to something that would be appreciated).

You might argue that these leaders are just responding to what Edmontonians are saying – they don’t want public money going to the arena. Walk down the street and ask people what they think however, and you get a much different response. I think a lot of people feel that other levels of government need to come to the table to support this project.

Either way, we seem to have conflicting statements here. On the one hand, these provincial leaders are happy to suggest that they would grant more control to municipalities to determine what they should build and how they should spend their money. On the other hand, they’re opposed to providing funding to a new arena in Edmonton. So which is it? Or perhaps a better question, exactly what strings will be attached to the greater autonomy granted to municipalities? The arena is just one example. The City Centre Airport is another (and we know that at least the Wildrose would reopen that can of worms) and of course there’s LRT.

I find it really hard to believe that any of these parties would truly give more control over finances and decision making to municipalities. And that’s a shame, because cities really do matter.

Youth Roundtable with Paul Martin & Mary MacDonald

I guess you could say that today is “federal Liberals day” here in Edmonton. Former Prime Minister Paul Martin is in town to lend his support to local candidates. He spent the day with Mary MacDonald, the Liberal candidate for Edmonton-Centre, and will join Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff at a public rally tonight. This afternoon Martin and MacDonald hosted a youth roundtable discussion that I was invited to and attended.

Paul Martin & Mary MacDonald

I was a little hesitant about attending a “youth” roundtable, because I didn’t want to be pigeonholed into discussing “youth” issues. I really liked that there was a mix of ages at Mike Lake’s roundtable. Why can’t an old person care about voter apathy and a young person care about foreign policy? The first topic on the invitation for today’s event was “youth engagement” and that’s actually what organizers suggested as a topic to start the discussion. I’m happy to report that it was a free-flowing discussion after that however, with some healthy back and forth.

We actually spent a lot of time talking about social media. Twitter came up, of course, and I learned that Mary’s tweets are written by both her and her staff. She said she has been enjoying tweeting so far, and vowed to keep it up after the election is over. I also thought it was interesting that she said she has learned a lot via Twitter. It’s a great tool for staying connected and finding information, so I was happy to hear that Mary is using it for that purpose as well as for getting her message across. Paul said he thinks there are definitely generational aspects to social media use, but conceded that it won’t be long until Twitter and Facebook are mainstream (I challenged that and said Facebook is already mainstream). What impressed me most throughout the discussion was that Paul asked a lot of questions of us. He seemed genuinely interested in learning more about how we would use social media. He brought up Canada’s aboriginal issues and asked how social media might be used, perhaps at first simply to build awareness. There were some great suggestions from others in the room – my advice was to resist the temptation to create new communities online, and instead to try to connect with existing ones. I also cautioned against thinking that only young people use social media.

We discussed a few other issues such as the arts, Internet voting, and Canada’s competitiveness. It was interesting to hear Paul share a few stories about his work in Africa throughout the various discussions as well. Given that so much of our discussion was related to the Internet, I thought it was appropriate to bring up the CRTC and the fact that Canada is an Internet backwater. Mary said their name is an indication of how out-of-touch the CRTC is, but said that it’s more than an issue of Canada having slower or more expensive Internet access than other parts of the world. She pointed out that literacy skills are perhaps more important than ever, and that Canada definitely has work to do in that regard. Digital Policy is listed as one of the Liberals’ top issues, so I was expecting Paul and Mary to talk a little more about it, but to be fair it came up right at the end of the time we had available.

Overall it was an enjoyable discussion, and I definitely appreciated the opportunity to meet Paul Martin! You can learn more about the Liberal platform here, and you can visit Mary’s website here.

If you’d like an opportunity to talk with Mary MacDonald, don’t miss candi{date} taking place from 5pm to 7pm on April 20 at Metro Billiards downtown. She’ll be there along with the other candidates for Edmonton-Centre: Laurie Hawn, David Parker, Peggy Morton, Lewis Cardinal, and Mikkel Paulson.

Open Data and Municipal Election Results

As local readers will know, I created an election results dashboard for the municipal election that took place in Edmonton on October 18, made possible thanks to the City of Edmonton’s open data. I’d say it was very well-received! There was lots of positive feedback, and it resulted in the highest-trafficked day ever for ShareEdmonton. There were also hundreds of tweets about the dashboard, including some from people in other cities.

I was able to update the dashboard on-the-fly that night, fixing the graph colors and other issues as they were identified. Overall I was pretty happy with how it turned out, though I wish I had been able to add a few more features in time for the big event. Over the last couple days, I decided to extract the dashboard from ShareEdmonton and I have now added that new functionality. Specifically, the page updates automatically (no more refreshing) and there’s a mobile view as well, so it looks decent on your mobile device.

New Dashboards

Today is election day in Ontario, and thanks to open data from Toronto, Ottawa, and London, I was able to launch three new election results dashboards, all featuring the latest improvements:

Some new issues have appeared that I didn’t have to worry about in the Edmonton election (for example, there are 40 candidates for mayor in Toronto, so having them all appear on the graph is difficult at best) but the sites all seem to be running smoothly. I guess we’ll find out at 8 PM EST tonight when the results start to come in!

Open Data

All of these dashboards were made possible because the cities made election results data available, so kudos to each of them for doing so. The tricky thing for a developer like me is that all four cities (Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, and London) made the results available in a different format!

  • Edmonton – XML/JSON using OGDI
  • Toronto – plaintext, pipe-separated
  • Ottawa – plaintext, HTML scrape, kind of a pseudo-CSV
  • London – XML

Fortunately, when I had created the dashboard for Edmonton, I had built in a translation-layer. So instead of loading directly from the City’s catalogue into ShareEdmonton, I loaded it first into an internal format. So to get the dashboard working with the other cities, all I had to do was write that translation piece, from their catalogue to my internal format. As you can see, that strategy has worked fairly well (Ottawa was by far the most difficult, and did not provide me with enough information to calculate voter turnout, so that was removed from the ShareOttawa dashboard).

I’m not complaining about the need for this translation layer. I would much rather have a city make its data available than delay just to try to find a common format. But I do hope to see convergence over time. It would be great if these cities (and others that offer this data, like Vancouver) could agree on a common format. That would remove the extra work required to make an application reusable, and would hopefully result in even more applications that make use of the data.

And Beyond!

I’m pretty excited about the possibilities of open data, especially as it relates to politics and democracy. There are some really great apps being built, such as Vote.ca, and we’re really just scratching the surface. If we keep at it, I’m confident that open data will have a positive impact on the way we engage with politics.

Edmonton Election 2010: Election Result Statistics

By now I’m sure you’ve seen the unofficial election results (official results should be released tomorrow). I thought it would be interesting to look at those numbers in more detail, and with a little bit of context.

There were 14 data updates throughout the night. The first voting stations reported in at 8:31 PM, and the final one reported at 11:35 PM. Here’s what the updates looked like:

Time is along the bottom, the vertical axis represents the number of ballots cast, and the size of the balloon represents the size of the update (the data labels are the number of votes after the update). You can see that there was one very large update, at 9:48 PM.

Here’s what Stephen Mandel’s win looked like throughout the night – the difference in votes between him and nearest competitor David Dorward:

When all was said and done, Mandel had won re-election by 49,533 votes.

A total of 196,661 ballots were cast. Here are the number of votes per ward:

You can see that Ward 8 had the most votes. Because the wards changed this year from six to twelve, it doesn’t make sense to try to compare them to 2007. We can compare the winning candidates however. To get elected in 2007, a candidate on average had 12724 votes. To get elected in 2010, a candidate on average had just 8640 votes.

Here is the difference between first and second place for each ward:

You can see that the two closest races were in Ward 2 and Ward 3. Those two wards were among the busiest in terms of the number of candidates, along with Ward 6 and Ward 11. The biggest wins were in Ward 5, Ward 9, and Ward 10, all of which had strong incumbents and few competitors.

Here are the number of votes per Catholic School Ward:

And finally, here are the number of votes per Public School Ward, compared with 2007:

There were two acclamations this year, versus just one in 2007. In every other ward, the number of votes in 2010 was higher than in 2007. This isn’t surprising, given the increased interest in schools due to the closures.

Just 1217 ballots did not indicate a choice for mayor (compared to 2491 in 2007), where as 4456 ballots did not indicate a choice for councillor. A total of 44,121 ballots did not indicate a choice for school trustee (keep in mind there were two acclamations, but still).

I’ll leave you with this:

UPDATE: Official election results are now available.

Edmonton Election 2010: Candidates capture the moment on Twitter

Twitter is a great way to capture the moment, so I wondered, what did the candidates tweet after the results came in? Here are post-election tweets from the victorious candidates, followed by the tweets from everyone else (if an account isn’t listed below, it’s because either they haven’t yet updated, or the account has already been deleted).

Enjoy!

Thank you Edmonton!

So proud of the citizens of Edmonton! Onward and upward!! #yegvote

Thank you Ward 3 !

I’d like to thank the voters of Ward 5 for their vote of confidence in me. Also, thank you to all the kind wishes 😀 #yeg

Thank you everyone for your support. All but one poll is in and it looks like I’m heading back to Council in Ward 8 #yegvote #yegcc #yeg

Touched by #yegvote results in the first batch of results.

We did it! Thanks to everybody. It’s an amazing feeling and I’m ready to get to work for folks. I’m honored. #yegvote

I’ve received a kind call from Ward C candidate Tony Henshall. My thanks to the #yeg Twitter community for all your help. #yegvote #epsb

I just removed the word "candidate" from my twitter bio. Thanks #WardG! #epsb #yeg #yegvote

Thanks to all the residents/supporters of Ward I. Best wishes to @PublicTrustTina. Ready for the leadership role as Trustee Cleary on EPSB!

Everyone has gone home, kids are all in bed, house is quiet and I am still way too excited to sleep! THANK YOU supporters ! #yegvote #epsb

A brave new world emerging within Edm. Public tonight. I say hurrah. Democracy delivers. #yegvote #yeg #epsb

Welcome Trustee-Elects Johner, Spencer, Mackenzie, Hoffman, Janz & Cleary, Congrats to Trustees Shipka & Colburn. Let’s get to work! #epsb

Thank you Edmonton for your support. It has been a great honour to have my name stand for Mayor of Edmonton. #yegvote

Hat’s off to @mandelformayor. My sincerest congratulations. #yegvote

Taking tomorrow off to spend with my family. Thanks for the support #yeg I will be back #yegvote

New day, New goals, "Defending Democracy" http://www.andrewlineker.webs.com

Thank you everyone for your support!

@serfx Thank you very much for the kind words and the campaign for 2013 starts tomorrow – today I will rest.

Thank you to all who supported me! We ran an honest upfront campaign and I am proud! #yeg #yegvote

Thanks for all your kind words everyone. Running for council was a privilege. Stay engaged, folks. Be well. #yegvote #yeg

a little disappointed in tonight’s results, but the road to 2013 starts Wednesday (Tuesday is nap time…) #yegvote

Took all my signs down Putting less up means taking less down Good luck 2 the others w/cleaning up your 1,000’s of pieces of litter #voteroxiemalone

Thank you everyone for listening, even if you elected someone else. Rami #yeg #yegvote

Its been a good fight. Hats off to @KerryDiotte for winning Ward 11. Thanks to all my volunteers. #yeg #yegvote

I want to thank all the volunteers and the voters. We ran a clean campaign and in 28 days, we fought hard had some fun & made new friends.

Thanks to all those in #yeg 4 their support and encouragement. The beginning of a new era for #epsb & the (cont) http://tl.gd/6i9uji

Beaten, but not defeated. I’ll be back so watch every steps and mind your mistake Mr Consoller for I will keep an eye on you the next 3 yrs

Oh so close! 1% difference. Recount! #epsb #yegvote #abed #yeg

Of course, candidates weren’t the only ones capturing the moment on election night! More on that in a future post!

Let us move forward, together

There were no major upsets last night. Mayor Mandel was re-elected to his third term. Every incumbent councillor was re-elected, including Kim Krushell in the close Ward 2 race.

Envision Edmonton made a lot of noise about 100,000 people wanting to have their say on the airport, yet they apparently didn’t care enough to show up at the voting stations.

By all accounts, yesterday was a victory for Edmontonians ready to move forward, beyond the airport and on to bigger and better things. Yet if you read today’s Edmonton Journal, that’s not the impression you’d get at all.

The Day After: Calgary Herald vs. Edmonton Journal

Here are the headlines/key phrases today on the front of the Calgary Herald:

  • It’s Nenshi
  • New mayor paints town purple with decisive win
  • Political newcomer vows change on the way for city
  • Best voter turnout in years ushers in new faces to council chamber
  • What’s next for council?
  • Big changes at City Hall
  • Calgarians flood polls

Here are the headlines/key phrases today on the front of the Edmonton Journal:

  • ‘Finally, we will move forward’: Mandel
  • Envision Edmonton vows to continue fight to save City Centre Airport

Turn the page, and on A3 you see in big bold letters, side-by-side:

I’m definitely not the first to point out the differences between the Herald and the Journal – this kind of thing happens far too often. And before you comment and say that the Journal is just trying to be balanced, let me say to that: I don’t buy it.

Is there really a division?

There’s no question that the airport has been a divisive issue in Edmonton in the past. But yesterday is not today, and today is not tomorrow. In his article on the airport issue dividing the city, David Staples wrote:

“A council bent on shutting the historic downtown airport won re-election, but the bitterness over issue will continue to fracture Edmonton.”

I humbly suggest that the only “fracture” left is the artificial one that David and his colleagues seem more than happy to perpetuate.

Let’s follow the logic here. Thousands of Edmontonians re-elect a city council that decided it was in the city’s best interests to close the City Centre Airport. Envision Edmonton’s Ed Schlemko says the issue “has divided the city”. As a result, we’re going to continue to be fractured?

This afternoon, the Herald’s website was full of stories about Nenshi. And the Journal? They’ve got a story about new ward 11 councillor Kerry Diotte pushing for an airport plebiscite. It’s not just the Journal either – CBC, the Edmonton Sun, and iNews880 also have similar stories.

Let’s move on

Edmontonians want to move forward – they voted for a council that decided to close the airport. Mandel wants to move forward, as he made very clear in his victory speech last night. Even David Dorward seems to want to move forward.

Envision Edmonton is heading to the courts, refusing to accept defeat. They and what few supporters they have left don’t want to move forward. Kerry Diotte has decided he doesn’t want to move forward either.

The City Centre Airport will close. And then the lands will be redeveloped. We need to focus our energies on making sure that redevelopment is positive for Edmonton.

Let us move forward, together.

Edmonton Election 2010: Unofficial Results

It took a while for the data to start flowing but that only added to the excitement of the evening! A total of 196,661 ballots were cast by Edmontonians in this election, giving us a voter turnout of just over 34%. Here is your new City Council (unofficial until finalized on Friday by Edmonton Elections):

  • Stephen Mandel (Mayor)
  • Linda Sloan (Ward 1)
  • Kim Krushell (Ward 2)
  • Dave Loken (Ward 3)
  • Ed Gibbons (Ward 4)
  • Karen Leibovici (Ward 5)
  • Jane Batty (Ward 6)
  • Tony Caterina (Ward 7)
  • Ben Henderson (Ward 8 )
  • Bryan Anderson (Ward 9)
  • Don Iveson (Ward 10)
  • Kerry Diotte (Ward 11)
  • Amarjeet Sohi (Ward 12)

Here are your new Public School Trustees:

  • Cheryl Johner (Ward A)
  • Ken Shipka (Ward B)
  • Christopher Spencer (Ward C)
  • Dave Colburn (Ward D)
  • Heather Mackenzie (Ward E)
  • Michael Janz (Ward F)
  • Sarah Hoffman (Ward G)
  • Catherine Ripley (Ward H)
  • Leslie Cleary (Ward I)

Here are your new Catholic School Trustees:

  • Becky Kallal (Ward 71)
  • Larry Kowalczyk (Ward 72)
  • Cindy Olsen (Ward 73)
  • Debbie Engel (Ward 74)
  • John Acheson (Ward 75)
  • Marilyn Bergstra (Ward 76)
  • Laura Thibert (Ward 77)

You can see full election results at ShareEdmonton.

The closest race tonight was in Ward 2, where Krushell defeated Don Koziak by just 539 votes. Aside from that however, I think tonight’s result is a clear vote of confidence in the direction City Council had been moving under Mandel’s leadership.

Congratulations to all the candidates who ran in this election!

Edmonton Election 2010: It’s election day!

There’s just a couple of hours left to vote today, so if you haven’t already done so, go vote! You can find out where your voting station is here. I voted this morning and spent the day with Dave visiting campaign offices and getting a feel for the election. So far, turnout is looking decent.

As of 4pm today, a total of 77,947 Edmontonians had voted. If you add the 17,658 who voted in advance voting, the total is 95,605, which is nearly 26,000 higher than the 69,638 for the same period in 2007.

If you’re looking for a place to see the results tonight, check out the ShareEdmonton election results dashboard!

There weren’t any lines to deal with when I voted at 10:30 this morning. I ran into a couple of Mandel supporters on the way back:

Mandel supporters

My next stop was City Hall, to get an update on the morning voter turnout from Edmonton’s Returning Officer Alayne Sinclair:

Edmonton Clerk Alayne Sinclair

Dave and I then began our tour of election campaign offices, starting with Mayor Stephen Mandel’s:

Stephen Mandel's Campaign OfficeStephen Mandel's Campaign Office

The mayor himself was pretty happy with the effort put in by his team!

Stephen Mandel's Campaign Office

Our next visit was David Dorward’s office, where we had a great chat with David MacLean. Most of the team was out getting people to the voting stations, but the office was getting setup for a party.

David Dorward Campaign OfficeDavid Dorward Campaign Office

From there we travelled to Daryl Bonar’s office, but there was no one there. They were out getting people to vote, as they should have been!

Daryl Bonar supporters

We headed back north of the river for our next stops, starting with Scott McKeen’s campaign office:

Scott McKEen Campaign OfficeScott McKEen Campaign Office

A short trip away was Tony Caterina’s campaign office. We caught him just as he was leaving!

Tony Caterina Campaign OfficeTony Caterina Campaign Office

We stopped at Don Koziak’s campaign office, but there wasn’t anyone there. Our last stop, on the way back to City Hall, was at James Johnson’s campaign office:

James Johnson Campaign Office

You can see the rest of my photos here.

Of all the campaign offices we visited today, I’d say that Mandel’s felt most like what I was expecting. There were lots of people there, phones were ringing, people were running around – there was energy!

Results

We should start to see results coming in around 8:15pm tonight. Stay tuned to #yegvote on Twitter and check out the election results dashboard at ShareEdmonton. You can quickly see the overall results, and if you click on a ward, you can get more detail about just that race.

Edmonton Election 2010: Candidate Surveys

I think it’s much more interesting and useful to hear a candidate explain their position on something, but there is still value in reading the many candidate surveys that go out during an election. Here are the ones I’ve found:

And if you’d rather watch your candidates answer questions, check out the election videos at ShareEdmonton or the archived candidate forums.

Advance voting is on now!

Stephen Mandel for a greater Edmonton

Last Saturday morning I had the opportunity to sit down with Mayor Stephen Mandel and two of my fellow local bloggers (Dave, Jeff) for an informal chat. We talked about a variety of things, including a few issues that I am particularly interested in.

Mayor Stephen Mandel

Homelessness

I asked Mandel what he thought about the conversation he had at The Learning Centre, where the biggest issue was homelessness. He admitted that he found it frustrating, because many of the people didn’t know too much about the Edmonton Homeless Commission or the plan that has been put into place. I think that illustrates how much work there is still ahead, something Mandel mentioned a few times. He said that “we need partnerships to get it done” and said there is an increasing desire from people and organizations to get involved. He noted that the plan continues to evolve, and while I think Mandel recognizes that completely ending homelessness is definitely a stretch goal, he is truly committed to making a difference.

Working With Councillors

Mandel likes to say that our current council has been quite successful at moving things forward. We asked him why, and what it’ll take to continue that momentum, and he replied that it’s about building consensus. He talked about this at a different event a couple weeks ago, and noted that councillors often do and should want to do more than just deal with ward issues. Mandel seems to want a team of thirteen that can think about Edmonton as a whole, and that can work together to progress things.

Local Food

I wanted to know what Mandel thought about food security and other issues surrounding our local food system. He agreed that the Municipal Development Plan was a good start, and noted the successful push by the Greater Edmonton Alliance in helping that document evolve. He talked about our food processing industry, and said it would be good to help it expand (something others are thinking about right now too). When I asked about beekeeping or chickens within the city, he said “we need to make it possible for people to do these things” but noted that it’s a complex issue.

In the economic vision he released yesterday, Mandel pledged to pursue “a new program to accommodate and promote Edmonton’s Urban Agricultural Strategy as both a community and economic initiative.”

Danielle Smith

I asked Mandel if he had any regrets on how he handled the Danielle Smith airport issue, and he replied “absolutely not.” He was quite emphatic that he’d say the exact same thing if it were to happen today.

Entrepreneurship

I think there are some incredible things happening in Edmonton related to entrepreneurship, whether it’s with Startup Edmonton, Keep Edmonton Original, or just creative people doing things. Mandel said it is important to find a way to effectively support entrepreneurs, noting that “it doesn’t even have to be that much money.” He talked about finding ways for small businesses to compete with big business for City contracts, something he mentioned in yesterday’s economic vision as well. He also brainstormed out loud that a startup fund or something like the Edmonton Arts Council for startups might be a good idea. From yesterday’s press release:

“There are leaders in this community already working to make Edmonton a hotbed for connected young creatives, engineers and entrepreneurs who can compete in a global creative economy,” says Ken Bautista, local tech entrepreneur and co-founder of next gen groups artsScene Edmonton and Startup Edmonton. “We are strong believers that under Mayor Mandel’s continued leadership and this vision, Edmonton will have the best environment for young entrepreneurs to connect, do and win in the economy of the future.”

The feeling I got from Mandel on this issue is that he sees the creative economy as very important to the future of Edmonton (indeed “creative” seems to be one of his favorite words) and that he’ll help if he can, but ultimately he doesn’t want to get in the way.

Open Data

I asked Mandel about open data and the City’s Apps4Edmonton competition, and he had nothing but positive things to say about the issue. He was familiar with a few of the apps, though he admitted the app he uses most is Sudoku! I mentioned that some departments at the City seem to be hesitant about releasing data, to which Mandel replied “I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t release it. I think we should just make it all open.”

Twitter

As you may know, Mandel himself hasn’t been updating the @MandelforMayor Twitter account. Paul Mennier, who leads communications for the Mandel campaign, said “it’s his words, my fingers.” Mandel told me he found Twitter “interesting” and that he’d like to explore it more after the election is done.

Development in the River Valley

I think we should explore limited development in the river valley, something Mandel agrees with. He noted that the efforts we have made so far, such as Louise McKinney Park, are not enough. The two biggest roadblocks as Mandel sees it? Proper access, and more vocal public support.

Mayor Stephen Mandel

October 18

I think Stephen Mandel is the the right mayor for Edmonton for the next three years, which is why I signed this letter of support along with hundreds of other Edmontonians. I encourage you to consider voting for Stephen Mandel on Monday, October 18.