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.
On August 13 Naheed Nenshi wrote a column for the Calgary Herald titled “Labels confuse our political understanding” in response to a comment Wildrose Alliance leadership candidate Danielle Smith made. Smith herself responded in print on August 16. (Shane over at Calgary Rants has his take on the exchange.) While this conversation is a good – and interesting – one that I normally would be happy to enter into I wanted to instead comment on something that grew out of the ensuing conversation that occurred on Twitter.
Jeremy at PolitiCalgary beat me to the punch a little bit by publishing the text of the Twitter conversation (although he is missing a few of the comments in the exchange). I agree with him that it was a bizarre conversation between Naheed Nenshi defending his position and someone only identifying themselves as “Alberta Conservative” arguing the need for political labels. I entered the fray at this point. I shouldn’t have but I did, because I feel political labels (not to be confused with party labels) add a layer of annoyance to the political process that hinders a lot of citizens’ ability to discuss the issues on their individual merit. Especially at the municipal level where there are no parties. I immediately tried to exit the conversation as it went in a bizarre direction I wasn’t interested in following. But I digress.
At one point in the conversation, long after the original debate had been abandoned in favour of speculation about conservative and liberal slates for the upcoming 2010 Calgary municipal election, Alberta Conservative mentioned, “@Nenshi If Calgary adopts civic parties like @RicMcIver may do your chances would be very slim in 2010.” Naheed then replied with “@ABConservative PGIB [Progressive Group for Independent Business] ran a slate for years and elected no one, BCC [Better Calgary Campaign, of which Nenshi is part of] had all but 2 endorsed candidates win last time (inc. Mciver – I’m a fan)”.
Now, and this is what this blog post is ACTUALLY all about, Craig Chandler, who is a part of the PGIB entered the conversation with this tweet:
@nenshi PGIB ran a slate once and in that slate Ric McIver was elected. We have endorsed since and all have won every time! Do your Homework
I couldn’t bite my tongue at this comment. Having just finished some reading on the 2007 election a few days earlier I saw this interjection for what it was: a lie. This kind of political hyperbole is something I just can’t stand. If you are going to make a comment as direct and challenging as that, the least it should be is accurate. In my opinion it is comments like this that make people outside politics have such distaste for people inside politics. It is what Stephen Colbert would call “truthiness”. If you say something that sounds true, with enough emphasis and determination, it doesn’t matter if it is true or not because people will begin to believe it. I’m not about to let that happen. So I interjected with:
I know I shouldn’t be surprised that it is Craig Chandler who undertook such a tactic (he doesn’t have a great track record with staying on people’s good sides). But this is the kind of thing we need LESS of not MORE of.
A surprising number of people have been trying to encourage me to run in the 2010 election. I’ve been saying the whole way along I’m not convinced I want to run. But if the rumours are true and Chandler is eyeing up an aldermanic seat, I’m half-ways convinced to run against him. Wherever he may run. If anything just to make sure this kind of rhetoric stays as far away from our council chamber as possible. No, make that three quarters convinced to run. (As you can tell, I really don’t like this kind of commentary.)
Our council has been bitterly divided on too many issues these past three years. False comments like this from from an alderman would be the exact opposite of the kind of camaraderie and cooperation we need to help Calgary fix the issues we are facing. Let’s pray that doesn’t happen because the results could be disastrous.
By the way, in case you are wondering, Chandler hasn’t replied to my “homework” yet. It was sent four days ago. I’ll provide an update if he does.
As you no doubt know, today is election day in Alberta. So if there is one thing you plan on doing today it should be getting out to your local polling place and marking an X next to the candidate/party of your choice. You can find your polling place by visiting www.elections.ab.ca.
Have you made up you mind who you’d like to vote for yet? There are many issues that you (or I) can choose to go into the voting booth with at the top mind. Health care, education, the environment, and the royalty review will no doubt be popular ones this time around. But I’d like to draw your attention to another issue that doesn’t get the same about of “air time” in Alberta: Arts and Culture.
It’s an issue that effects us pretty much ever moment of every day. It is the building blocks of quality of life and standard of living. Without it you can’t belong and you become just some loser in your dark basement typing (which is ironic actually…).
The Calgary Professional Arts Alliance (along with their Edmonton counterparts, PACE) provide a good run down of each party’s platform when it comes to arts and culture. I present them here for your review:
Although not listed in their election platform, the PCs announced a new Cultural Policy called “The Spirit of Alberta”.
- Ensure stable and predictable funding
- $12 m in the next provincial budget including a 30% increase to the AFA
- Provide support for arts festivals, post-secondary artist-in-residence programs, community presenters,Aboriginal arts camps, traveling exhibitions, public galleries and the acquisition of art
- Encourage greater private charitable giving to non-profit organizations by increasing the tax credit for charitable donations
- Provide funding for communities to plan, build and upgrade cultural and recreational facilities
- $1.6 million for the Alberta Film Development Program
- Double Alberta Foundation for the Arts funding immediately and triple it within three years.
- Pursue Status of the Artist legislation.
- Launch an Alberta Arts Festival, equivalent to the Alberta Games.
- Create an Alberta Film and Television Tax Credit.
- Pilot an Alberta Publishers Fund.
- Develop a capital investment strategy for heritage and cultural facilities.
- Eliminate entrance fees for youth to cultural facilities.
- Create a separate Ministry of Arts and Culture to coordinate arts funding and programs, and offer stable funding to arts groups.
- Improve the living and working conditions of artists by helping artists to establish thriving markets for their art, gain easy access to information about building their careers, and support collective bargaining in those sectors where the artists want it.
- Introduce $30 million in new funding for the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Ensure the independence of the Foundation’s board.
- End political patronage in board appointments.
- Allocate 1% of all large capital projects for the commission of arts projects. Increase fine arts curriculum in elementary and secondary schools.
- Expand and coordinate Alberta’s network of museums, historical sites, galleries and libraries.
- Promote Alberta arts and artists on the national and international stage.
- A Wildrose Alliance Government will ensure that the arts, music and physical education curriculums are fully funded in Alberta’s public schools.
- A Wildrose Alliance Government will encourage and support through funding for community projects and school programs such as music, art, theatre, dance, sculpture, reading-writing and other arts and cultural activities as an essential enrichment of life and integral part of Alberta’s communities and cultural diversity.
- The Alberta Greens will encourage diverse community arts programs and cultural centers by providing up to 3 years start-up money for community-initiated proposals.
- Proposals would be expected to be self-sustaining after three years.
- Stable funding would come from the general revenue, and not be dependant on lotteries.
The CPAA and PACE have a great table on their websites too which shows each parties’ stance on several key points around this issue. Please check it out if you have a moment.
If you haven’t made up your mind on who to vote for yet, hopefully this will help, and perhaps arts and culture will be your “top of mind” issue today.
Now get out there and vote before 9pm!
As we find ourselves passing the half-way point of the provincial election you have no doubt noticed I have pretty much been entirely silent during thus far. While I could blame my seemingly abandoned blog on the fact I was in Asia for the first third of the writ period, or the fact I’m still mad Premier Stelmach hasn’t apologised for calling an election while I was out of the country, or that I’m in the middle of packing for our upcoming move, I won’t. No, I won’t. Instead I blame it almost entirely on the fact there has been little if anything worth talking about. (That and I’m lazy.)
In that spirit I offer you here, my thirty second summary of what’s happened up to this point in the election:
- Ed Stelmach sounds like Woody Allen trying to make a quick decision each and every time he speaks. This is frustrating the majority of PC voters, members and candidates.
- Kevin Taft can make all the policy announcements he likes but people still aren’t saying they will vote for him or his party.
- Brian Mason and the NDP are struggling to be remembered.
- People have no idea who George Read is but a small number of Albertans will vote for the Green Party anyway.
- The Wildrose Alliance have yet to earn any of my allotted 30 seconds.
There you go. What else do you need to know? Did I really need to be blogging daily to give you more details? If you want more details however, I am back and will begin weighing in again. In my absence I give kudos to the following blogs for doing a great job keeping everyone informed.
Somewhere in the middle with me: The Enlightened Savage
General coverage: Alberta Election 2008
What a weekend! Did you feel it? The ground breaking momentum the Alberta PCs found on Saturday as they finally rose out of the ashes like a sparkling, flaming phoenix and nominated Some Body as their candidate for the upcoming provincial election in Calgary Egmont. Woohoo! No, you don’t feel it? Yeah, neither did I.
Don’t get me wrong we should be happy the Craig Chandler nomination saga can finally be put to bed, but should we really have cared this much about a party nomination? Sure the nominees and Calgary Egmont PC party members should have been swept up in the hoopla, but why should the rest of us have cared? Raise your hand if you belong to either one of those categories – nominee or Calgary Egmont PC association member? Maybe a handful of you?
I was quite happy not addressing the PC nomination process in this riding again but for readers arriving at this blog for the first time it is the second most searched topic.
Now we can move onto things we ALL should care about – the upcoming provincial election (I’m almost positive it’ll be called in February) among other items I’ll rant and rave about in the near future.
PS – The most searched topic for readers finding this blog for the first time is “sleeping porn”. When they search that they find this post I made about antics in the legislature and parliament. So there you go – us perverts can now read this blog safely knowing there will be no more talk of the Calgary Egmont PC nomination saga.
PPS – Okay, one more note: the Some Body was Jonathan Denis, who came second to Craig Chandler last time, won the nomination this time. Now that the pre-season is over we’ll see who comes out on top in the playoffs. Round two… ding, ding, ding.
PPPS (I don’t thing that is a real thing) – The Wildrose Party and Alberta Alliance party merged into one miniature, non-news-worthy, juggernaut over the weekend (the Wildrose Alliance). That’s why it is so far down in this post.