With Extreme Bias…

The following are my opinions, without any attempt at being unbiased or neutral.

These opinions may change in part or in whole. I may very well be wrong about some of these. Reader discretion is, naturally, advised.

On the Issues

The housing crisis is the top issue I’m working on. Please refer to CHAI, the Calgary Housing Action Initiative, for all sorts of details and opportunities to work on housing issues.

I’m also very interested in transportation issues other than motor vehicles. My biggest concern in this is the advancement of commuter bicycle infrastructure (not just recreational cycling). I am also pushing for expansion of public transit, advocating for expansion of the C-Train system, as well as a move to 24 hour service for buses and trains.

My third big issue is our ‘democratic’ process and civic engagement. The people of our city have been effectively disenfranchised by the processes of our government and electoral system. The example of the participatory budgeting process started in Porto Alegre, Brazil, points to some ideas for a different way of making the decisions our government is responsible for.

 Favourite Candidates

These are the candidates I have no hesitation in recommending. They all have shown an ongoing commitment to working hard for the community.

Ward 1: Jennifer Banks

Jennifer was a big part of getting CHAI going, and has contributed tremendous effort to addressing housing issues in our city. There are many other reasons to support her, but that one alone is enough for me.

Ward 8: Lindsay Luhnau

Lindsay has a great passion for addressing environmental and sustainability issues in our city. The incumbent, Madeleine King, is decent — but I think Lindsay would achieve more for our city.

Ward 9: Joe Ceci

Joe has been the most helpful member of city council. He has worked hard on addressing the social needs of our communities, especially on housing and poverty issues. He has proven himself to be a great asset for our city.

Ward 11: Brian Pincott

Brian is solid. His understanding of, and views on, urban growth, transportation, the environment, the arts and social issues are right on the mark for me. He has done all sorts of work with various aspects of city hall over the years, so has an excellent working knowledge going in. He will definitely give Joe Ceci a run for his money for being my favourite city councillor.

The other races

These races are the ones in which I don’t know enough about all the candidates to make a certain decision, or in which there is a candidate I support, but with some reservations. If you have more information on these candidates, please share it with me.

Mayor

I think Bronconnier has this one pretty much sewn up. That eliminates worries about strategic voting — I don’t see there being a strategic vote for mayor. Even if you disagree and think this is an open race, his closest competitor (Alnoor Kassam) is someone I am also not supporting.

So, that leaves us with voting to send a message — voting our consciences.

I think that, of the other candidates, the messages Jeremy Zhao represents are the most positive for our communities. He represents inclusivity — both for age and ethnic diversity. He represents democratic engagement, expanding people’s awareness of their real ability to participate in the processes. Perhaps most importantly, he represents a collective dialogue approach to governance rather than an assumption that one person can come to the table as a leader and have all the right answers.

Ward 2

I’m not a fan of the incumbent, Gord Lowe, but I don’t know any of the other candidates. I have no idea who to support in this one.

Ward 3

I think the incumbent, Helen Larocque, could be positive if there were more socially-progressive members on council. I don’t know anything about George Chahal. I do know that Jim Stevenson is associated with right-wing efforts in this city, so he definitely won’t get my support.

Ward 4

Bob Hawkesworth seems to share a lot of my values. I suspect that with more socially progressive members on council he would be a part of accomplishing some positive changes for our city.

Ward 5

I know nothing about Mohamed El-Rafih other than he is not the incumbent, Ray Jones, whom I don’t share many viewpoints with.

Ward 6

I would be very glad to see Craig Burrows leave city council. James Kohut seems to share a lot of my values. I know almost nothing about the other candidates.

Ward 7

Druh Farrell has been good on some issues (such as advocating for an ethical procurement policy for the city, and pushing for a living wage to be a part of that policy). I have disagreed with her on some issues, though. I do, however, think she’s another one who would be a good part of a more socially progressive council. Based on what I know of the other candidates in Ward 7, I believe she is the best choice.

Ward 10

I have not been happy with what I’ve seen from incumbent Andre Chabot. I don’t know anything about Nargis Dossa, though.

Ward 12

This is another ward where I don’t know anything about the incumbent’s opponent (Nick Halfyard), but I really don’t like the policies of the incumbent (Ric McIver).

School Boards

I don’t have any information on most of the candidates. Here’s the little info I have received so far:

Public School Trustee

In Wards 6&7, Drake Hammill has been recommended to me by a colleague I trust in this. Hammill is reportedly very good on opposing the privatization of our schools, and supporting the teachers and other staff in the schools.

Separate School Trustee

The following have received endorsement from CUPE 520:

  • Wards 6, 8: Lois H. Burke-Gaffney
  • Wards 9, 10 and Chestermere: Rosemarie Goerlitz
  • Wards 11, 12: Cathie Williams

I still don’t really know anything about any of them — so please send me any info you have.