Happening Today

Powered by Eventbrite See more >
December 16, 2017
September 29, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Friday, September 29, 2017

Don't call women "sweetie"

Written by Jeff Samsonow

City Hall, image: Edmonton Elections

Let’s start this episode of Headlines by looking at the mayor’s race. While 13 people make for a crowded field, surely, Edmonton’s highest office has attracted some of the city’s best and brightest and… oh…

“Time for Edmonton to revisit smoking ban, mayoral candidate says”

And that follows on Don Koziak’s comments about homeless people just doing it for free houses. Yikes.

Setting aside the facts that Edmonton’s had a smoking ban for nearly a generation, and it’s now provincial health policy and outside the reach of city council I wonder… no, wait. I’m not sure I was really going to be able to give Koziak the benefit of the doubt that there’s a plan here. This is a ludicrous idea.

I do have a couple of actual thoughts in reaction though. The first is that it’s becoming clear that Don Iveson can sit the rest of the campaign out.

What’s that? He’s still making smart policy proposals for a fast-growing city like Edmonton? Well, good for him, I guess, but he can really go on vacation until October 17.

The second thought I have is that Edmonton newsrooms might need to start being a bit more choosy about what they actually run stories about for the rest of the election. I know, it’s a crowded mayor’s race and you feel like you’ve got to run something, anything. And I get that candidates are sending out news releases and holding events that you’re spending time on. But can we stop running stories if the ideas proposed are objectively terrible?

Speaking of objectively terrible… one of the mayoral candidates was being sexist at the lunchtime forum.

And the candidate on the receiving end may not be a standout for mayor but she’s also not taking that crap.

I’m all for Carla Frost becoming Edmonton’s designated knocker-out of sexists. Maybe Mayor Iveson can make that happen on October 18.

*

All that talk about the mayor’s race and you probably missed the one link to Don Iveson’s legitimate policy pitch to get an Integrity Commissioner at city hall to keep council in check. It’s up there.☝️ Really, it is!

So, is it time for Edmonton to push the Alberta government to let us change the requirement to run for city council? I think it is. It currently takes 25 signatures and a $100 deposit to run for a council seat and 100 signatures and $500 deposit to run for mayor.

Leave the deposit amounts where they are. There shouldn’t be any financial hurdles to run for city council. But let’s increase those signature requirements. I don’t know if you should need 250, 500 or 1,000 people to support the idea of you as a candidate, but we should make it a little more difficult to run. Maybe difficult isn’t the right word, but anyone who does a round of community events the summer before an election should be able to get a pretty good number of signatures. (I’d also be open to tying the number of signatures needed for a nomination to the size of a ward, something like 0.5% of population.)

If you need to get 500 signatures, you’re going to need to put in more time before you run. You’ll need to meet people in the ward (or around the city if you’re thinking about being mayor), you’ll have to attend community events and meetings to get a sense of what’s important, you’ll probably even need to come up with some actual platform ideas.

We took a look at some of the first ward forums earlier this week, and there are plenty more to get to as the week winds down.

Up in Ward 3, the new downtown bike network kept coming up in the forum. I’m already over all the hate about bike lanes. Ward 3-ers were also talking taxes, snow removal and the many major projects that have been delayed. A few of the candidates also talked about the need for developers to pay more for the infrastructure going into new neighbourhoods.

It is a crowded ballot over in Ward 4, which doesn’t have an incumbent councillor. That meant the forum was limited in questions in order to allow the dozen candidates time to introduce themselves. One of the issues that sparked some splits among the candidates is over some proposed social housing.

Ward 5 is another spot without an incumbent councillor, and another packed lineup of candidates (including a majority of women running). Infill and transit seemed to be big issues at this forum. (This story may not have live-tweeting captured, so you might need to scroll through reporter Juris Graney’s tweets for more.)

The first thing to say about Ward 6 is that it’s one of those pesky wards with just men running. Not cool! The issues at the forum were housing and homelessness, safe injection (proposed sites will be in the east of the ward) and the western leg of the LRT. (Much like the Ward 5 story, you might have to check out reporter Clare Clancy’s tweets for the live version.) Social issues were also big on the Ward 6 agenda at another forum at the start of the week.

Every official ward forum is livestreamed by the City and is available to watch afterwards. You are going to want to watch them all!

Alright, that’s probably enough election stuff…


Around the city

Gay-Straight Alliance rules will be strengthened because of the UCP’s political posturing to out kids in the name of “parental rights”. This is a good news story, although it’s too bad we need such stringent rules to keep the political right from, well, I’m not really sure what the end game is on outing kids.

MacEwan University is hosting a unique conference this weekend, as Muslim LGBTQ issues are discussed.

If I had to pick a story for you to read today, it would be this one from the CBC’s Andrea Huncar about an Indigenous man appealing his conviction because of racial profiling. It ties into a lot of Edmonton’s reconciliation and racism stories from the last few months. Most interesting is that the guy pulled over for not having bike lights (and suspected of having stolen the bike) never received a ticket for that but sure got arrested for a bunch of other things after a police “hunch”. He also didn’t get his bike back for a year.

On Saturday, Edmonton will have its own March for Black Women, at the Alberta Legislature.

If you notice people wearing orange today, it’s to raise awareness for those who spent time in residential schools and honouring all those who were sent there for so many years.

There’s a new issue of The Yards out for the fall and one of the stories is about The YIMBY Hero, Michael Phair. We definitely see great things done when people say “Yes, in my backyard.”

The Edmonton Queen may one day (soon) ride again! Or, at least, open up to people dockside.

Why, yes - we do have a newsletter you can sign up for.

Subscribe