- So yeah, the infection in my leg is taking over my body again. The specialist was hoping we had it killed but it came back in under 48 hours and started to move through my body. Am back on antibiotics but right now my throat, ear, eyes, leg, and many joints hurt. Also the fever is something else. It was a year ago that I dragged myself into St. Paul’s Hospital and the doctor simply said after doing blood work, “this infection is killing you”. A year later, it still seems able to do that. Yes it still sucks.
- Why do dogs sense that you have a fever and decide at that moment above all else, they need to hold you. I love Marley but I am sick, the last thing I want is to wake up to a dog sleeping nose to nose with me and touching me. She has twice tried to cover me up today as well. Also, where is that service when I am cold and she is taking my covers?
- I keep hearing that Bev Dubois is running for mayor. This could be the greatest thing over for the Charlie Clark campaign even if Atch does drop out.
- I watch Ken Burn’s The Roosevelt’s the other day. The entire documentary series may be his best yet. If you haven’t seen it, it is on Netflix.
- I’m missing something but I don’t understand Black Lives Matter protesting and disturbing the Toronto Pride Parade. I am totally okay with protesting but I don’t know what disturbing the Toronto Pride Parade accomplishes when they are clearly not the ones that Black Lives Matter has an issue with. Also, how does a festival that is about inclusiveness has a history of “anti-blackness”. Then they wanted to kick out the Toronto Police floats who BLM sees as racist, even if their new chief is black. At the end of the day, I don’t understand activists.
- Kudos to John Tory, Kathleen Wynne, Naheed Nenshi, Justin Trudeau and all of the other politicians who took stands and participated or lead Pride parades in their cities. You will notice that I left Atch’s name off that list. His refusal to march in the parade like almost every other liberal and conservative politician in Canada boggles my mind.
Given the fiasco involving route cancellations that greeted riders on the first day of a new school year, it’s difficult to take seriously the City of Saskatoon’s commitment to developing a bus rapid transit system, improve services to meet the demands of growth and lessen the urban carbon footprint.
City Hall seems to be pinning the blame in part on a shortage of qualified heavy duty mechanics in the market, as well as an inability to reach a contract with its transit employees, which is forcing it to advertise for mechanics at wage rates based on the expired 2012 contract.
A month after transit director Bob Howe apologized to commuters after cancelling seven routes because too many buses needed repairs for short-staffed mechanics to fix them all, and described the situation as an “anomaly,” frustrated university students and high schoolers on Tuesday saw the cancellation of direct routes to campus, downtown and many high schools.
In addition, no buses will be added to the busiest routes at peak travel times, and transit officials advise commuters to avoid peak morning and evening trips if possible. It’s those who are trying to get to work or school on time, and return home afterward, who are creating the “peaks,” and it’s transit’s job to accommodate their needs, not the other way around.
The cancellations and delays in the implementation of new routes were announced on Friday, before the Labour Day long weekend. Transit users, who have had to cope in recent years with frequent changes to routes and services, can’t be blamed for questioning why the city cannot seem to get its act together on managing the service properly.
“We have been in an environment of labour uncertainty for the last number of months which has proven to be challenging,” noted the city’s news release on Friday.
Yet, what isn’t clear is what role Saskatoon’s policy of buying second-hand buses that other cities don’t want is playing in creating the demand for more mechanics and a repair backlog that had rendered the transit service unable to field a full complement of buses for its routes.
Mr. Howe says transit has sent as many buses as possible to be repaired by private companies. Given that the problem has been obvious for at least a month, when the previous route cancellations occurred, when did the city began to contract out the work?
Surely, transit officials should have known long before Friday that they lacked enough buses and told the public, instead of waiting until the last possible moment to disclose the fact. This is far from acceptable customer service and effective issues management.
Mr. Howe said in July that transit was upgrading its aging fleet and expects to get five new buses this fall. It’s now obvious that the decrepitude of his 158-bus fleet has reached a point where even more replacements are needed soon, making council’s decision to use for the new commuter bridge the funding slated for bus replacements seem unwise.
When it comes to transit, Saskatoon talks a better game than it delivers.
Excellent editorial but I have one bone to pick with it. I am not even sure City Hall talks a good game about transit. Â If anything the message that I have heard from City Council at budget time is that transit is a burden on the city as they transfer more costs onto riders.
I have written about our aging fleet before but it is worth repeating. Â Some of our busses are so old that people travel to Saskatoon just to ride of them like rolling museum pieces. Â They shouldnâ€™t be repaired by Saskatoon Transit but the Western Development Museum. Â Instead of replacing them, Saskatoon City Council is building a bridge for cars.
It is to be expected. Â With the retirement of Myles Heidt and the defeat of Bev Dubois, there are no councillors who are strong on public transit. Â Unlike Calgary and Edmonton who both feature mayors who use and advocate for public transit, I am unaware of any councillors who actually use it. Â Maybe that explains some of the problems that we have.
The other problem is the Saskatchewan government contributes nothing to the bottom line of our transit in cities. Â Whereas Manitoba pays for almost half of Winnipegâ€™s transit costs (and injects capital for BRT), we get nothing except some money for Access Transit. Â Arguably that money is spent on STC which is still needed but it means that Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, and Regina are some of the few cities that are left trying to provide funding for transit with no help. Â While I agree that council has handled this poorly (again), a big part of the blame lands with governments going back to the Blakeney era that ignored public transit in the cities.
So after spending last night at City Hall waiting for the election results to be made public, here are my thoughts.
- It was fun doing a quick segment with David Kirton and CKOM on the election. Â I have always been a fan of Kirton and my only regret was not seeing more traction on food trucks (Twitter joke).
- I was shocked to see Troy Davies win in Ward 4. Â I had picked Sean Shaw and all of the metrics that myself and others have used to determine campaign victories showed Shaw winning. Apparently I need new metrics. Â Either that or I need to start putting polls in the field. Â Congrats to Troy Davies for winning and earning the right to be Ward 4 councillor. Â Sean is a good friend and I am sure he will be back politically but it’s hard to see friends lose races.
- I was also surprised to see Ann Iwanchuk win as after 10/11 polls reporting, Mike San Miguel had a sizeable lead but as the old saying goes, “it’s not over until it’s over” and all of a sudden I was looking at a result that I couldn’t believe and that is that Iwanchuk won by 28 votes. Â When I talked to her and Andy last night, they kind of had the same reaction. Congrats to her on a well run race.
- If I am Mike San Miguel, I have to questioning my decision to go negative late in the race with a pamphlet that attacked Iwanchuk and an attacking robo-call that attacked her NDP background. Â If anything it probably motivated people to turn out for Iwanchuk. Â It was a great campaign to watch that came down to under 100 votes.
- Zach Jeffries not only becomes the youngest member on council ever but knocked off three term incumbent Bev Dubois.
- So Tom Wolf came within a hair of defeating a long term incumbent after getting in the race in September. Â Impressive campaign by Wolf and they had by far the best campaign t-shirts.
- Pat Lorje won again in Ward 2 which is what I predicted.Â
- Since this will be long forgotten by 2016, I am planning to do a series of push polls, probably just to candidate homes that go something like, “Would you prefer crazed socialist (or robber baron) [insert councillor’s name here] or well respected columnist Jordon Cooper to represent your riding?” just to feed on their paranoia. Â I have no intention of running but it would be fun to do.
- I had a fun conversation with Andy Iwanchuk which is the first time we have ever met.Â When you think of it, the Iwanchuk family has been in campaign mode for a long time with Ann’s election a year ago, Andy’s provincial campaign and now her re-election campaign which makes for a hectic year. Â No truth to the rumour that both of them are getting away for a vacation by working on someone else’s campaign.
- After following the council pretty closely, I found the entire election disillusioning. Â Part of it is the sausage philosophy where you don’t really want to know how it is made. Â At the last of the last term, it was a very politically divided council. Â That division came across during some of the FOI requests that dropped and also it showed that more than one councillor/candidate had lied to me about some issue or another. Â Hopefully with some new councillors on council those bridges can be rebuilt but I am not hopeful that the partisanship will change.
- I want to thank each of you last night that aggressively shook my hand. Â If you noticed tears in my eyes, it wasn’t because I moved talking to you or about your victory, it is because I HAVE A TORN ROTATOR CUFF and it really HURT ME every time we shook hands. Â I was ready to be put down by about 8:45 p.m. Â It hurt that much.
- The election day someone put up an anonymous Twitter account bashing Darren Hill to the media and anyone who would listen. Â Sadly it was done by someone that knows Wendy and I and lives in Mayfair. Â I have a pretty good idea of who it was but it’s still sad. Â To be honest, if I was going to attack Hill I would stand behind them. Â An anonymous account doesn’t do anything other than provide something to laugh at.
- Got to hang out with Alex MacPhersonÂ andÂ Liam RichardsÂ for the first time last night. Â I always enjoy MacPherson’s writing in Verb and I have long been a fan of Richard’s photography (which always envying his gear).Â
- So this will be it until the next federal and provincial election when some councillors decide to run. Â If they win, we get by-elections and the process starts all over again.
Local Saskatoon businessman and media personality Zach Jeffries is running for Ward 10 city councillor against Bev Dubois. He joins, Dubois and Mark Horseman in the race. I have gotten to know Zach and Mark over the last couple of years as they are both avid city council watchers and fun to talk city politics with and both made credible challengers to Bev Duboisâ€™ re-election campaign. Both have experience in civic, provincial, and federal campaigns with a large network of people to call upon. It could be the race to watch in 2012.
The race for Saskatoon City Council race is well underway with fundraisers, door knocking and quips on Twitter breaking out all over the place. Dave Hutton does have the definite candidates list on City Hall Notebook but I decided to create a page myself to keep track of the campaigns). I have my biases and will disclose them. Later on this summer I will offer up some endorsements in Ward 1 (where I live), Ward 2 (which I have long had a special affinity for) and perhaps Ward 6 (where I will work) once I have had a chance to talk to candidates and had a chance to review campaign platforms (umm, some platforms would be helpful).
This year I am going to do something different in that I am going to give up the blog (and access to my Twitter feed) for any candidate that wants to use it to reach out on. Iâ€™ll create an account for them, give access to them, and let them talk about whatever issues they want. If you are interested, let me know at email@example.com.
The lowdown: Darren Hill will be running for his third term as Ward 1 city councillor. He will be challenged on the right by Carol Reynolds who ran against hill in the last election and long time candidate and Ward 7 Public School trustee Robin Bellamey (who lives in Ward 8). While Reynolds and Bellamey both say that represent the right, Hill is a fiscal conservative as well which means there isnâ€™t a lot of room to run in a ward that probably is is more comfortable with the centre. I am going to predict a Hill victory again.
The lowdown: Long time councillor Pat Lorje is running again in Ward 1 and her opponent is Marcel Petite. Petite is the executive director of the Core Neighborhood Youth Co-op and outside of a closed Facebook page, he hasnâ€™t said a lot online. I expect Lorje to win by a large margin.
The lowdown: Mike San Miguel has been running hard in this ward since narrowly losing to Iwanchuk in the by-election. Of course on the flip side, Ann Iwanchuk won by around 15% and itâ€™s really hard to defeat an incumbent yet at the same time Iwanchuk in a by-election with a low voter turnout. I have a lot of respect for both candidates which mean in the end Ward 3 wins. It should be a great race.
The lowdown: Shaw ran hard against Myles Heidt three years ago and narrowly lost to him. Shaw is an environmental geochemist, head of the Saskatoon Environmental Advisory Committee and local activist while his opponent Davies is the spokesperson for MD Ambulance and involved in Synergy 8. This will be another really close race.
The lowdown: I am not sure why anyone would run against Donauer in Ward 5. He won in the by-election to replace Gordon Wyant, votes to the right of most issues, and does an excellent job of communicating with his constituents in a riding that traditionally votes Conservative/Saskatchewan Party. James Ford is a progressive and according to his website will be releasing his platform based on the feedback he gets from constituents.
The lowdown: This isnâ€™t expected to be a close race. Clark, a popular two term incumbent is a centre/left candidate is a part of the city where centre/left is how they vote. He is probably one of the more astute thinkers on council which means that when he makes a statement or decision, itâ€™s defensible (even if you donâ€™t agree with it). My prediction is that Clark wins big.
The lowdown: Loewen beat Bzowey to win the ward after Bob Pringle stepped down. Like Ward 3, this will be a rematch between a popular incumbent and challenger. While Bzowey has been spending a lot of money in and around the ward with name recognition, Loewen is very popular in the ward and has a motivated campaign team. My feeling is that with both the advantage of incumbency and a good ground game, she will win again.
- Incumbent: None
- Challengers: Ainsley Robertson, Dave Wilton, Eric Olauson, Karen Rooney, Kevin Waugh
The lowdown: Glen Penner grew tired of winning all of those elections and has retired. Ainsley Robertson who ran in the Ward 5 by-election before narrowly losing to Randy Donauer and Eric Olauson who ran in Ward 3 before withdrawing are both running in their home of Ward 8. Karen Rooney, registered nurse is also running in the ward.
- Incumbent: Tiffany Paulsen
The lowdown: The question isnâ€™t if Paulsen will win (she will), its if she will win by acclamation (again).
The lowdown: Dubois is another long term councillor being challenged for the second time by Mark Horseman. Horseman is a data analyst at the University of Saskatchewan and long time Conservative Party activist. I keep hearing rumours of other jumping into the race so itâ€™s too soon to start thinking about what will happen.