Posts Tagged ‘McIver

BH squared

- October 14th, 2010

A day after Bob Hawkesworth announced he didn’t have a prayer of winning the mayor’s race, he made the unsurprising move of throwing his support behind Barb Higgins. After weeks of running pretty negative campaigns against the three front-runners, I guess Higgins was the candidate he loathed the least.

I’m not going to begrudge Hawkesworth the right to drop out and throw his weight behind someone else, although I’m sure people who cast a ballot for him in advance polls wish he’d have made that decision before nomination day.

BH the soon-to-be former alderman says despite some differences, he and BH the former anchor see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. This despite disagreeing on Hawkesworth’s big wedge issue, the tunnel.

Ald. BH went to great pains to tell us how the tunnel was going to set us back $500 million, mortgage our future and put other important infrastrtucture on the back burner, all to cut a few minutes off a commute and serve a small number of people.

That was his BIG issue. He even went so far as to claim Higgins’ idea to make the project a P3 would lead to something like a $16 toll.

He has also taken great pains to talk about how other candidates plans for budget cuts are the “wrong priority.”

I don’t know if Hawkesworth is aware, but to get to the property tax targets Higgins is promoting in her policy document would require steep cuts. Heck, to get to the proposed 6.7%, the incoming council has to cut $60 million. Now where did Hawkesworth think the money was going to come from?

So yeah, aside from those two pretty freaking huge issues, BH squared may be in perfect harmony. But somehow I doubt it. It looks more like Hawkesworth is selling out two of the biggest ideals he was pushing in the election to promote someone who is merely not the worst choice, rather than out of a belief that Higgins is the best person for that job.

What a difference a day makes

- October 6th, 2010

Monday: Campaign gadfly, and butt of “I was the first to…” jokes, Jon Lord puts out transportation policy that would see some city workers telecommute as a way of easing traffic woes.

Tuesday: Campaign front-runner and council contrarian Ric McIver puts out transportation policy that would see some workers telecommute as a way of easing traffic woes.

Now, this may be very good policy, and there are days I’d love to eschew the drive up Deerfoot to Sun HQ and work while channel surfing to catch every syndicated Family Guy rerun, but it raises a couple of concerns:

1. Even if it is good cost-cutting policy, if you’re the frontrunner do you really want to release it the day after the guy who spawned his own stream of Twitter mockery? Seriously, search #jonlord1st and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

2. With so much mistrust of how city hall is managing our money, wouldn’t the taxpayer rather have city staffers at work? In their offices? Where we can keep track of them?

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe we should have employees working from home. Given the fractious nature of the last city council, let’s start with them.

Money to burn

- September 29th, 2010

Not to be outdone by his mayoral competitors, Wayne Stewart unleashed his list of donors Tuesday night.

And in reading his list and comparing it to others one thing is becoming very apparent: Some of the well-to-do in this city have money to burn.

Aside from the development companies that are wont to throw money around come election time, there are a handful of this city’s luminaries who have chosen to support a pair of candidates, including businessman Richard Haskayne, prominent Liberal handler Daryl Fridhandler, former Calgary Stampede boss George Brookman, former MLA and senator Ron Ghitter, and Flames ownership members Ann McCaig, Murray Edwards and Harley Hotchkiss.

Elsewhere, current and former politicians are also showing up on donors lists, including former aldermen Bev Longstaff and Madeleine King coughing up for Stewart.

In the Naheed Nenshi camp he’s got the backing of a pair of school board trustees, Pat Cochrane and Nancy Close.

Ric McIver saw MLAs Shiraz Shariff and Jonathan Denis give to his campaign, current aldermanic candidates James Maxim, Richard Dur and Sean Chu, as well as former Stampeder and local sausage king Tony Spoletini.

Not that a donors list is really going to sway voters, at least, I hope not, but it makes for interesting reading.

Enough already?

- September 28th, 2010

My colleague Michael Platt took flak from some people on Twitter this week for the column to which I just linked, lamenting the lack of real excitement in this race. A “dreary drag” he called it.

It’s been a race many of us have wanted to get excited about, but some of us have had a hard time getting wound up about our options.

Add to that the fact that it seems to be a seemingly endless stretch of forums that seems never-ending as we crawl toward Oct. 18, and people wonder why Platt wrote what he wrote.

There have been standouts so far. Ric McIver and Naheed Nenshi have appeared to be the key rivalry, as the Barb Higgins campaign stalled due to a campaign manager switch and getting wrapped up in whether to release her campaign donations. She finally caved to pressure and did so on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Bob Hawkesworth can’t seem to shake his tunnel vision, and even when he manages to pull his head out of the still-fictional hole in the northeast he’s pitching arts policy. Well at least he has set himself apart.

Outside of McIver and Nenshi, the only candidate that has released cogent policy worth debating has been Craig Burrows, and despite some good ideas, he seems to be languishing in the polls.

Wayne Stewart doesn’t appear to be gaining any traction. Alnoor Kassam and Kent Hehr opted to step aside. And Joe Connelly had all but vanished until new “Take Back Your City” signs popped up and he came forward with his “crowd-sourcing” idea, or as I like to call it, the “Can’t someone else do it?” form of governing.

And don’t even get me started on the rest of the pack.

So is there something to get excited about? I hope so.

Have I found it yet? Still looking.

The return of Dr. No

- September 18th, 2010

Mayoral candidate editorial board meetings got off to a rousing start Friday, with Ric McIver’s appearance before the journalistic firing squad.

Page 5′s Rick Bell offers his take here and it’s nice to see McIver dial things up a bit.

My biggest complaint of the campaign so far has been the lack of detail from high-profile candidates.

McIver didn’t divulge everything, he has another four weeks of campaigning after all, but it’s nice to get the ball rolling.

And, in true Dr. No form, there were some interesting cost-cutting ideas floated.

Chief among them were the city’s communications department, which as best I can tell is waaay too big; the rebranding project, which I have been on record as suggesting is unnecessary.

He’s right when he says we need a detailed look at every departments’ books so we can find efficiencies. It’s how the province claims to have saved $1 billion in this time of austerity.

And he’s right when he says we need to re-examine city hiring practices, and how much the city puts into reserves during tough times.

What remains to be seen is how much in savings we can see in efficiencies and budgetary wrangling and how much will be required through staffing and service levels to get to his ideal 3-4% tax hike, and where votrers will draw the line.

But as we approach nomination day, it’s nice to see some of the outline sketched in.