Filed under: Alberta, Arts, Calgary, Marketing, Politics, Technology
As 2009 comes to a close I wanted to take a look back. It was a good year for me personally and I think this blog shows some of the highlights that come to my mind when I reminisce about the last year of the decade. I could simply select my favourite posts, but I decided why not not just let the readers “select” by highlighting the most popular posts on this blog for 2009.
So without further ado, the most popular djkelly.ca Blog posts of 2009:
14. What kind of bridge will $25 million get us?
May 22, 2009
This was my first blog post about the soon to be built Calatrava bridge. I decdided I would take a look at the design limitations given to Calatrava and try to predict what the bridge might look like. While, I was right about it not being white with soaring cables, I wasn’t even close to the guessing the Chinese finger trap design, which is much more ornate than I was expecting.
13. Conversing with Alberta politicians on Twitter
June 4, 2009
A useful post that should probably be updated given how many more Alberta politicians have joined since June!
12. New Ward Boundaries Demystified
February 21, 2009
A simple post created by laying the old ward boundary map with the new map that was being proposed by the chief electoral officer. (Showing off my Photoshop skills.) It turned out to be a post that proved it was sorely needed.
11. Loving or hating Calgary’s new bridge is not as easy as it sounds
July 29, 2009
This is probably one of my favourite posts of the year, as I went through what I observed to be each of the areas of complaint about the proposed Calatrava bridge and outlined which were fair game and which were not. It was my attempt at adding clarity to an issue extremely misunderstood by Calgarians. While it landed at number 11 on the most popular posts, I don’t think I was overly successful because people still complain about the price with little understanding of “why”. If you’re one of those folks, it might be worth a re-read.
The last blog post on the old blog template! It holds a special place for me for that reason, but most people probably just appreciated it for what it talked about – as outlined in the post title. This is the most proud I was of our council this year. They painted themselves into a terrible corner, but admitted their mistake and righted their wrong. I wish they would have done this more times during 2009.
9. Vanessa Porteous, ATP Artistic Director Designate
January 14, 2009
I am shocked an arts related post ranked so high on this list! (And it’s not even the highest one!) Is it because of the lack of local entertainment reporting resources? I think it might be, because non-Hollywood entertainment news tends to take a couple days to make it into the papers. Maybe I should take up Metro Calgary on their offer to blog about Calgary arts for them… It could prove to be a very successful blog that maybe long overdue.
8. Doug Elniski: how to do it right
June 24, 2009
This post – along with number 5, which I wrote a day earlier – simply outlined where things went wrong in MLA Doug Elniski’s mini-Twitter scandal. This particular post provided follow-up and greater context to comments I made in several media interviews on the subject. (You can say SO much more on a blog than in a media interview!)
7. University of Calgary cutting 200 jobs
July 14, 2009
Out of all the posts in this list I think this is the closet to “regretting” one as I come. Unlike all the other posts (save the honourable mention) this post was “breaking” news instead of my usual commentary on the news. I didn’t mean for it to be however! Here’s what happened: the UofC sent an email to all staff saying they were cutting 200 jobs. I heard about this and asked the individual if it was okay I mentioned it on Twitter. They said yes, because it was sent to all staff and thus obviously public info now. The problem was, UofC never sent a press release. So when I posted it on Twitter I was inundated with media requests for more information. The result was I had another source send me the text of the email and I posted it on this blog. That night the television and radio news lead with the story and it was front page news in the papers the next morning. I’m not sure if the lesson here is about the power of Twitter, or to always keep your communications department in the loop when making major announcements. Maybe both.
6. Progress and respect
November 30, 2009
In the aftermath of the first Reboot Alberta conference I summarize my thoughts on the participants themselves.
5. Doug Elniski: now just another walled off politician?
June 23, 2009
(See number 8 first.) This is the blog post that started it all. I’m not sure why no one else was talking about Doug Elniski’s comments in context of his use of social media. It still baffles me that people think social media is some sort of special entity instead of what it actually is: just another way to talk to people. It’s nothing special, but is highly effective. This post was also was popular enough to result in me being invited to talk about his comments on CBC Calgary’s The Calgary Eyeopener, CBC Edmonton’s Edmonton AM and for a feature article in the National Post.
4. The #AskEd Accountablity Window ends tomorrow
December 3, 2009
Just like number 5 this was me talking about Alberta politicians and their failures with social media tools – although this time Mastermaq got the press coverage a week later
3. How to fix Ed’s communications problems
December 14, 2009
After number 4 I felt like I had to address the Premier’s communications problems appropriately. It’s bizarre how he’s lost the media and the public so thoroughly by a simple failure to communicate. He’s our premier and I want to see him, and thus us, succeed. This is my attempt to throw the premier a bone. We’ll see if he and his team take my advice or if they continue to fumble their way through 2010.
2. Look out Alberta, you’re about to get “rebooted”: First Impressions
November 28, 2009
I honestly think the Reboot Alberta movement – along with the Wildrose Alliance’s rise – is the single most important thing to happen in Alberta politics since the creation of the Progressive Conservative party. This post outlines my initial thoughts after the first day of the conference. The fact so many people read it gives me hope that Reboot Alberta is on the right track in their discussions. You can expect more thoughts from me on this movement in the very near future.
Yes, an arts story made it to number one on the list! And for such a short blog post?! The people spoke.
Honourable Mention: “Open Government” coming to Calgary?
July 21, 2009
Usually you expect to see an honourable mention at the bottom of the list, but I think this one deserves to be at the top of the list. July 21 had more people visit my website that any other day in it’s history. By a LONG SHOT – almost twice as many as any other day. There was only one post written around that period of time, and it was written on that very day. I think what happened was the main URL of this site was circulated and shared rather than the actual URL of this paticular post. Therefore I don’t have accurate numbers on exactly how many people visited this particular story, but the numbers are just so overwhelming I had to include it.
I wrote this post during the morning hours in a business centre of a hotel in Portland, Oregon. I had been given permission from Ald. Pincott and Ald. Ceci to announce the open data notice of motion the day before it became public when the council agenda was released. People from all over North American immediately sat up and took notice and did so by reading this post. Amazing. Look for a lot more on outcome of this notice of motion in early 2010.
I don’t know where to begin with my questions/issues around what transpired at last night’s Calgary City Council meeting. The whole thing is just so bizarre and unfathomable. How about with a summary of what has happened up until this point in regards to re-drawing the ward boundaries in time for the 2010 election?
- As outlined in previous mandates the Chief Electoral Officer for the City made a proposal for new ward boundaries as scheduled/planned. (Here’s my thoughts on them at that time.)
- The proposed boundaries moved Ward 10 to the north of the city – where more people live – to give a more balanced number of residents in each ward. (Currently Ward 1 has 94,000 people and Ward 3 has 90,000 people, while Ward 14 has only 58,000 and Ward 5 has 60,000.)
- The alderman for Ward 10, concerned about retaining his seat on council if his ward moves, cried foul and asked council to increase the number of aldermen from 14 to 16.
- Council said no to this proposal because no proper study had been done on its potential impacts. (Although you can see my thoughts on this issue here.)
- The alderman for Ward 10 began complaining to anyone who would listen. Eventually council agreed to send the issue to an Aldermanic Committee to reach a decision. (Warning bells should sound at this point.)
- The Aldermanic Committee instructs the Chief Electoral Officer to re-draw the boundaries while keeping 5 wards east of Deerfoot Trail. (Another warning bell sounds.)
- The Chief Electoral Officer makes another recommendation to council. The Alderman for Ward 10 makes a recommendation as well. (Yet another warning bell.)
- Council votes to turn down the Chief Electoral Officer’s recommendation so they can take a look at the proposal from the Ward 10 Alderman. (Warning bell, again.)
- Council votes to approve the proposal by the Alderman from Ward 10. (A BIG final warning bell.)
Does anyone remember from their Social Studies classes what this is called? It’s called gerrymandering. Something politicians SHOULD do everything in their power to avoid. However, in this case they did everything in their power to ensure it was the route selected.
As if this wasn’t enough to get me riled up, I do have a secondary issue: the hastily tabled and approved Ward reorganization is TERRIBLE. It shows no respect for natural boundaries and seems to be based only on political posturing instead of physical, on the ground, relationships.
An example: My community sits above Deerfoot Trail. I live five blocks from Centre Street. If this approved map goes forward my bus stop is no longer in my ward. But the city limits – over nine kilometres away on the other side of Deerfoot and Barlow and 36 Street and 52 Street and 68 Street – are. It makes no sense to me how our neighbours, who we share so much in common with, are in a different ward, while communities like Forest Lawn, that no one in Winston Heights would even DREAM of walking to if they wanted, are grouped together. The issues each of these communities are looking for their alderman to deal with are completely different. So why lump them together?
This was the major issue we were looking to have fixed by the redrawing of ward boundaries. Currently we are in Ward 9, which makes equally little sense. Any glance at a map and you’ll notice we should be in Ward 7. The new map once again ignores the physical realities of the real world (like the fact there isn’t even a sidewalk connecting Winston Heights/Mountview to the east side of Deerfoot) in favour of political trading.
Seriously. Ald. Farrell and Hawksworth were actually trading communities. How is this helpful? How is this not gerrymandering? How is this not wrong?!
But, I’m not just blustering here – although I’ll forgive you if you think so.
Instead I’m speeding up a project I’ve been working on. A project that may offer potential solutions to the problem Calgary is currently face with. More on that early next week.
In the meantime I ask that council slow down and consider their actions. These aren’t chess pieces. They are real people. These decisions affect more than just the 15 of you. It’s time to open the process up and take yourselves out of it.
UPDATE: I made a minor error about the number of people living in each Ward in this post. It has been corrected now. Here is the full population breakdown of each Ward according to the 2007 Civic Census:
Ward 1 94,281
Ward 2 76,749
Ward 3 90,987
Ward 4 73,207
Ward 5 60,434
Ward 6 80,688
Ward 7 67,294
Ward 8 71,259
Ward 9 78,103
Ward 10 68,139
Ward 11 68,841
Ward 12 86,698
Ward 13 80,054
Ward 14 58,801
UPDATE 2: I just wanted to clarify I’m not slagging Forest Lawn in this post by singling them out as someone accused me of. (Why do so many people assume if Forest Lawn is mentioned by name it must be a slight?) I used them as my example because they are the largest community in the new proposed ward on the east side. The fact of it is: they have very different community concerns than Winston Heights/Mountview, which shares more concerns in common with Tuxedo Park or Renfrew – who are not in the proposed ward. The other half of the comment is about it being so far away from Centre Street. If you were heading to Forest Lawn from Winston Heights only a crazy person would dream of walking. It’s so far way you pretty much have to take a car. So there you go, no offense intended. Apologies if you read it that way.
The winds of change are blowing at Calgary City Council. (I’m sure you already knew that.)
As I stated in the preamble to my previous post about the lack of representation of Calgarians on our city council – as compared to other Canadian cities – Council is redrawing the ward maps in the gear up for the 2010 election. It looks like everything has been approved and the new ward boundaries are a go.
The only problem is: I had a hell of a time finding a map showing what the new boundaries actually are. The old map is okay in this regard – albeit a little hard to read – but the new map (PDF) doesn’t even have any discerning marks to help you figure out what’s what. No roads marked, or rivers, or anything actually. Just big blotches of muted colour. Plus it looks like it a lo-res scan of a crappy overhead. (Yup, the people who decided this was the best copy they had to make available to the public are making decisions with our tax dollars. Sigh…)
Even if you recognize what ward you now live in on the new map how do you tell what has actually changed? Well, I decided to just take matters into my own hands and make something that would help us find our way. So here is a map showing the old boundaries (black borders) and the new ones (colour fills).
I admit it’s not a very good rendering but considering the source material the City has put out to work with it is the best we’ve got so far. I look forward to seeing something official – and of better quality – “eventually”.