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edmonton election 2010: deciding my vote in ward 6 & ward f.

There are now two weeks until Edmontonians have the opportunity to elect their Mayor, City Councillors, and School Board Trustees (either Public or Catholic). The polls will be open from 9:00am to 8:00pm on Monday, October 18. If you will not be able to vote on Election Day, you can take advantage of advanced voting until October 16 (open 11:30am to 5:00pm from Monday to Friday and from 9:00am to 4:00pm on Saturday).

If you have yet to decide who will get your vote, there are many online resources available to help you make an informed decision. You can also watch video recordings of the City of Edmonton all-candidates forums that have already been held and those that will be held this week.

Being a responsible citizen, I have been thinking a lot about the ballot choices I will make on election day.

Edmonton Public School Board Ward F

My vote for Public School Board Trustee was the easiest to decide. I will be voting for Ward F candidate Michael Janz. I have known Michael for a few years and know that if elected he will be a strong advocate for community involvement in the future of our public schools.

For too long, our Public School Board has acted as a pasture for retired school principals and school board administrators and because of this it has withered into insignificance among the general public. I know that Michael understands this and believe that if elected as a Trustee, he will work to increase the relevance of our Public School Board beyond teachers, parents, and children.

Marking an X beside Michael Janz was an easy decision for me, but do not let me stop you from reading more about Joanna Rozmus and Bev Sawyer.

City Council Ward 6

I am having a difficult time deciding what to do with my City Council ballot. I am feeling extremely underwhelmed about the candidates in the downtown Ward 6. I thought that tuning-in online to last week’s all-candidates forum might help me with my decision, instead it just increased my indecision.

Incumbent Councillor Jane Batty is a nice person and as a Councillor she appears invisible on the issues. I pay attention to municipal politics and still have little idea what Councillor Batty has achieved during her three terms on City Council. I have also seen little existence of her campaign in this ward and have only spotted her election signs in front of her campaign office on Jasper Avenue and 122nd Street.

Ward 6 challenger Bryan Kapitza’s ideas speak to me on paper, but that is not enough. After meeting the man in-person, I have serious questions about whether he has the personality to forge meaningful working relationships with other Councillors (which is essential if you want to achieve anything on City Council).

Cris Basualdo appears to be running a campaign focused on the neighbourhoods of McCauley and Central McDougall (these two neighbourhoods are the only ones mentioned on her website).

The other candidates all blend together. Wildrose Alliance caucus staffer James Johnson entered the contest late and has been running a fairly cookie-cutter conservative campaign. I honestly have very little to write about the other challengers, Carla Frost, Lee Permann, Adil Pirbhai, and Thomas Roberts.

Considering the challenges and opportunities facing our downtown core neighbourhoods, it is pretty disappointing that this Ward was not able to attract a more dynamic group of candidates. With the election only nine days away, the candidates in Ward 6 will need to do something pretty spectacular in order to convince me not to spoil the Councillor section of my ballot.

42 replies on “edmonton election 2010: deciding my vote in ward 6 & ward f.”

I think it’s fair that you don’t like any of the Ward 6 candidates, Dave, but I sure hope to see your name on the ballot in 2013 after reading this blog.

Batty is invisible, Kapitza doesn’t have the personality (whatever that means), Basualdo is too narrowly focused and Johnson is too conservative. The other ones not even an engaged citizen like you can comment on.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think you can participate in a democracy by expecting an ideal candidate in every election. And if that is how you choose to participate, I think the only logical thing for you do is to run for the seat yourself.

So let’s see it … Cournoyer for Ward 6 in 2013!

You would think a ward like Ward 6 would be able to drum up a talented contender. Underwhelmed, hey? I don’t suppose you’re a Sloan fan?

“For too long, our Public School Board has acted as a pasture for retired school principals and school board administrators and because of this it has withered into insignificance among the general public.”

You seem to be implying that older candidates for school trustee, who have considerable education experience, have made the public disinterested in the Public School Board and related public policy discussions — making them unfit for the job.

Although public engagement is a big issue, I don’t know how a candidate’s age or career influences their interest in public engagement and effectiveness.

Anvish: Thanks for the comment.

I am not implying that older candidates with education experience are bad, I am saying that there has been an unhealthy balance of retired school administrators on the board. I believe that this has created an environment where the Public School Board sees their role as administrators, rather than leaders.

Experience is important, but having a diversity of citizens is critical to making the School Board relevant to the broader public and a diversity of communities. If a School Board is only relevant to a small segment of the population, I believe that it is doomed to fall into irrelevance (or be replaced by an appointed board or administrator).

I too would love to see Cournoyer for 2013!

But for 2010 I’m going to have to go with Kapitza. Batty has just been too invisible, and a lacklustre councillor. I think Kapitza is intelligent and has a good understanding of how city council works, and would be willing to fight for the issues he has outlined in his platform. His smugness and arrogance is definitely present and did turn me off off voting for him initially, but after listening to his ideas further, he became the clear choice for me. I just hope that he can work through some of those image problems, and believe that he will find a way to work with the other councillors, if elected.

Hi Dave,
I feel the need to respond to your post to clarify my focus on the neighbourhoods of Central McDougall and McCauley and my vision of what our downtown could be like if those neighbourhoods were healthy and attractive to families. I believe that in order to have a vibrant downtown we need to hav

I was hoping you were going to push me beyond my Ward 6 indecision, Dave. Darn you!! That being said, it’s nice to have an easy heart regarding the Edmonton Public School board race in Ward C: Christopher Spencer. Christopher has the strongest understanding of the complex issues facing Ward C(Westmount to Winterburn). He is intelligent and able to see the big picture and pinpoint opportunities.

Now, back to Ward 6….hmm…..

I’ve met with Bryan Kapitza as well and consider him to be very personable.
His platform is clear, he offers alternatives that have not been considered by his opponents, and his involvement with worthy causes, namely housing issues and his work with persons with developmental disabilities demonstrates a sincere concern for the less fortunate. His social platform for the inner city finally takes into account what people are asking for.
Look again Dave. This guy is good.

Not sure why some folks think Councillor Batty is lackluster. If by that you mean she is thoughtful, a team-player and doesn’t seek out media attention them perhaps that’s right. On the other hand, she has worked effectively with the Province to help address homelessness in central Edmonton; worked with the Planning Department to attact major, high-density residential development into the downtown (think of 104 Street a few years ago [remember the Cecil] vs. today with Sobey’s and several high-rise towers); and has been a leading LRT advocate to all corners of Edmonton with dowtown as it’s hub. If only we could attract more intelligent, effective people like Jane to politics.

I like Bryan Kapitza’s platform, and I haven’t met him, so I have no issue with his personality.
But if there were NO candidate that I could honestly support, I think that spoiling a ballot makes a better statement than not voting.

I’m getting kind of sick of all these Joe Albertan/the Real Joe Albertan does not post to this website posts.

Newsflash: There’s no such thing as someone who can claim to be “Joe Albertan.”
If someone wants to post claiming to be “Joe Albertan” or an “Average Joe” or whatever who cares? Nobody has a monopoly on using the term “Joe Albertan”

So,.. besides the poor turn your website has taken recently, I have found it somewhat useful in keeping abreast as to what the community opinion is of the hopeful candidates. I have attempted to become as informed as possible through the archived forums, other posted blogs and websites highlighting our community issues, and the strengths and weaknesses of those running in ward 6.
Until now I have had only 1 candidate spend time at my doorstep (Kapitza) and I actually found him very informed and analytical rather than arrogant. Besides him the choices are individuals who do not have the initiative to look beyond the status quo of thought at City Hall. I might just be tired and cranky but re-electing someone who is just nice and does a good job does’nt cut it.
Kapitza has my vote.
Thanks for the blog.

Dave, like Sue, I was hoping your post would clear up the choice a little better for Ward 6. Michael Janz is the obvious choice for School Board Trustee. Never before have I actually cared to look into the Trustees before… and here is one actually campaigning on my doorstep! It was a personal touch, and after looking at his website and materials, I can say I will definitely be making the right decision.

As for City Councillor. I’m at a loss. I won’t be voting for someone who can’t even spell the position correctly on their signs. I liked Cris Basualdo, but I find that she’s too focused on Central McDougall and McCauley neighbourhoods. In her full response to you on Facebook ( http://fb.me/G9EeJbmv ) she tries to defend it, but I’m still left thinking that she isn’t considering the Oliver areas or areas west of McCauley. The Oliver area is the most densely populated area of the city, and if you’re not going to consider the young Edmontonians who live there (yes, it’s not just seniors) – I don’t think I could consider you as my Councillor.

Like you, I don’t see a good track record for Batty – and her comments about the decibel levels of emergency vehicles were alarming. (Ha!) So I’m left with Kapitza, or spoiling my ballot. Which, seems to be the best option, and something I’ve gladly done in the past. I want to show that I’m not apathetic to voting, but I do think that what you showed me wasn’t good enough.

Daveberta 2013?

Cris Basualdo – thanks for the response, I appreciate it. Your comment was incomplete, so please feel free to repost it.

Sue Huff – Thanks for the comment, Sue. Sorry I couldn’t help you with your Ward 6 decision, a few days later I am still undecided. Luckily voters in Ward C and Ward F have two good candidates running. I wish Christopher Spencer all the best of luck in Ward C!

Michael: I did not mean to suggest that Councillor Batty was a bad Councillor. I am sure she has done a lot of work over the past nine years, I have just not seen any evidence to convince me that she has been a great City Councillor or that she has been leading these initiatives.

Rainer – thanks for the comment. I’m sorry that you feel this blog has taken a “poor turn” lately. I’d be interested to know why you think this (because I’ve been getting a lot of complements about it lately). Vote for who you feel would be the best Councillor for Ward 6. This blog post was just my opinion as a fellow Ward 6 voter.

Avnish Nanda: Thanks for the comment, Avi. Experience is good, but for too long the board has been dominated by retired administrators and civil servants who refuse to see themselves act as leaders in our City. A healthy balance of experience and new blood is what the Edmonton Public School Board needs.

Jessica: Thanks for the comment. Not sure if 2013 will be my year, but we’ll see. 🙂

Lori Ranson: Thanks for the comment, Lori. I have spoken with many people who, like you say, are taking a serious look at the School Board elections for the first time. This is positive! Like you, I am still undecided about the Ward 6. While I am leaning toward the option of spoiling my ballot, I am still looking at the candidates and pondering my options. Hopefully there will be a more dynamic cast of candidates in 2013.

The internet is full of many inane, ridiculous and just plain stupid disputes.

The ongoing conversation in the comments section of this blog over who is the legitimate user of a pseudonym has got to be among the stupidest.

To all those Joe Albertans out there: please stop. No ones cares.

Thanks for the comment Dave, the sites Joe Alberta thing all though may be in fun is tiresome, and the idea of spoiling a ballot and not giving others the opportunity to effect change in council horrifies me. Spoiled ballots counted or not, will amount to nothing and stand for nothing in this election.

Bryan Kapitza – thanks for the comment, Bryan. We have actually met a few times. The BBQ at Ben Henderson’s campaign launch was one, another was at Rick Miller’s fundraiser for the Edmonton-Rutherford Liberals.

You have raised some good points and ideas during this campaign, but it is my interactions with you that make me question if you would be able to work with other City Councillors to implement any of these initiatives. I write this with the most sincerity and honesty: when we met you came across as smarmy and rude.

I was also not impressed by your comment in the Edmonton Sun on September 16 when you said you were “going to slam” candidate Cris Basualdo because she doesn’t live in Ward 6. It felt to me like an unnecessary statement on your part and seemed like a rich comment to be coming from someone who had only just recently moved into the Ward. 

It made me question your political maturity and how you might conduct yourself as a Councillor. It will influence my vote.

Sincerely,

Dave

Dave,
Sounds like you have an axe to grind with Bryan Kapitza
Not very professional
It says a lot to me about your political maturity and how you conduct yourself.
Sincerely,
Nora

Dave, please end this Joe Albertan BS, one way or the other. It’s obvious that some jackass is posting under Joe Albertan to be a dink and it’s working, they’re a dink. I check out the blog and it says clearly that Joe Albertan doesn’t post on this website. Could you please end this physcobabble on here and post only coherant comments.

I have similar concerns with Jane Batty, but the clincher for me was her attitude at the downtown arena meeting with the Katz Group. I want the councillor representing the ward where the development is proposed to be the most critical of the plan, not the most accommodating.

I actually spoke to Cris Basualdo about her emphasis on a few neighbourhoods and her inflammatory claims about the danger in the ward. I was less than impressed with her response. She doesn’t seem to have talked to many people outside her key neighbourhoods and only talked about more crime/safety concerns. Regarding how she talks about the core, she is so committed to her danger & crime & unsafe messaging that she couldn’t really speak to the good aspects of living in this ward. She didn’t mention walkability, connections to transit, diversity, the river valley, amenities like the AGA or RAM, or the wealth of locally run restaurants & retailers…very disappointed.

I like a lot of what Bryan Kapitza has said and I really appreciate that he’s bringing new ideas to the table. I think he’s got my vote, but I’ve still got a few days to decide! 🙂

Help! I’m the Joe Albertan from Earth-666, and our universe is being conquered by Sally Saskatchewan! Please save us!

You have a tough decision Dave.
You can vote for Batty with her record of building potholes.
You can vote for Basualdo who will deport the downtown poor to Glenora and lock up all the hookers.
You can vote for Johnson who will keep the airport open.
Or you can vote for Kapitza who you don’t like but seems to be liked by others and has ideas that resonate with you.
Quite a predicament.

^^^^^^^^ “Help! I’m the Joe Albertan from Earth-666, and our universe is being conquered by Sally Saskatchewan! Please save us!”

Joe Albertan does not post on this website.

Dear Dave,
You are not making sense.
You don’t like Kapitza because he rubbed you the wrong way.
What does smarmy mean anyways? Is it the same as manly manliness?
You think he is immature because he is out to “slam” another candidate.
News flash! You don’t win elections by helping other candidates.
And you’re upset that he lives in the ward but not upset that someone from outside the ward has the audacity to think that she can somehow can represent us.
Do some research. Attend a forum. Call and ask the candidates some questions
The choice in Ward 6 is clear
Vote Kapitza

Kim Watson, Stewart Fisher: thanks for the comments. WordPress tells me that you are posting from the same IP Address. Are you the same person or are you just using the same Internet network?

For those who think Brain Kapitza is bring new ideas – think again. They may be new but they are arguably not well thought out and could end up costing taxpayers millions.

For example, Mr. Kaptiza states:

Downtown Arena: “If no other private financing solution can be found I favor creating a Civic Corporation that would enter into partnership with the Katz group to finance the building the arena. As partners the City would be entitled to a portion of the revenue from ticket sales…”

Reality Check! What about the “risk” to the taxpayers who would have to back his “civic corporation”? Nowhere does Mr. Kapitza mention that it would be Edmonton taxpayers who would absorb the risk if a civic corporation is created and the downtown arena looses money. Mr. Kapitza does not appear to have any solid background in business to understand just how risky his “civic corporation” model would be for taxypayers. NO thank you.

Property Tax Reform: Mr. Kapitza states: “Our taxes should be based on the value of what the community provides to that property. We should set taxes in relation to value of the roadway, sidewalk, light standards, sewers, waterlines etc..”

Reality Check! What about the other public amenities that the City has to fund such as parks, overpasses, and police. These are services that are provided to the community at large and not just to a particular property. So how does one calculate the value of parks, police, and overpasses in relation to a vacate or developed property. And of course, any change to how property in Alberta is assessed and taxed would have to be done Province-wide as it is governed by provincial legislation. Good luck with that one Brian.

What we need is someone to focus on Ward 6 issues and is not going to put taxpayers dollars at risk by creating a “civic corporation” to fund a downtown arena. This does not appear to be Mr. Kapitza. Yikes!

Kim:

The thing is, I believe there are more options for a candidate than either “slamming” another candidate or helping them win, and to me, stating otherwise is needless rhetoric. It’s possible to be polite and respectful of one’s opponents and defeat them on no other grounds than the issues. Decorum and respectful behaviour towards people with whom one disagrees are important qualities for a person, especially a politician, to have. “Slamming” is part of wrestling, not governance.

re Cris Basualdo- hardly such a narrow focus… even when she talks about the neighbourhoods in the east end of the ward, it’s about issues that affect the whole city… concentration of poverty and crime in the core is related to the crime happening in adjacent neighbourhoods, to urban sprawl, to developers who want to build ridiculously huge highrises on the river valley… you can’t have a healthy city if it’s rotten in the middle… and recognizing the problems in that end of the ward isn’t all she says, she does speak very well of many aspects of living here (as she has for over 20 years)… i’d suggest you call or email her and have a proper discussion with her

she’s worked for years with residents of various neighbourhhods for different reasons

Hey Dave. Just as a heads-up, I heard on CBC Radio today that the ballot machine the city is using for this year’s election will actually detect whether your ballot is spoiled (that you’ve voted for more than one person in a particular race). People who do this will then be given the option of voting with a clean ballot.

I was pretty disappointed by the scarcity of candidate platforms when I was researching Ward 6. So far, this little blog was the best I came across (I don’t want to watch the damn videos, ok) … everywhere else it was just conservative vs liberal vs airport closure BS.

Keep up the good arguments…

Hi Dave – I guess you did not get the comment I sent to you after I had trouble with my Blackberry and posted an imcomplete one – the election may be over but this still stands true. Thank you for your comments about the inappropriateness of Mr. Kapitza’s comments about me. Not only do I live only a few blocks outside of Ward 6 but I have been working on common issues with residents of many Ward 6 communities on various issues for fifteen years. Anyway, I’m reposting what I tried to post here a while ago:

Sorry, Dave I have to respond to your criticism that I am too narrowly focused and that I’m only speaking about the neighbourhoods of McCauley and Central McDougall. My focus is on nurturing and building strong, healthy communities and a vibrant, desirable, and walkable city core. We all have to get our heads around the idea that the urban core and “downtown” don’t simply refer to some area defined by 109st, 97st and 104 ave. All of the neighborhoods of Ward 6, and I mean all, are critical neighborhoods for building a great and sustainable future for our city. However, we also need to recognize that those neighborhoods that are in real trouble are having profound impacts on the whole core area and on the entire city. For far too long the voice of council and administration has given only lip service to revitalizing and re-energizing these neighborhoods and continues to cover these problems with paint, lamp-posts, and more security at Churchill Square. As a result our efforts at downtown revitalization, Quarters redevelopment, North Edge redevelopment, urban core densification, etc. have met with what can charitably be described as limited success.

All throughout the Ward we are hearing of concerns surrounding crime, safety, and disorder. Parents in Glenora and Westmount are talking about hookers turning tricks and condoms and needles in the playground. Rossdale and Riverdale are being heavily impacted by traffic to and from the River Valley. Seniors in Oliver are afraid to walk down Jasper Ave at night. Containment of problems is a fiction that this city should have outgrown long ago. These impacts aren’t just limited to crime and safety but are driving the development patterns in Ward 6 and in much of the city. Vacant and densely zoned development land abounds adjacent to our downtown but we have little to no development on this land and no real promise of this development. Meanwhile on the west side of the ward we have good houses being bulldozed, area plans ignored, and rampant spot re-zoning whenever a developer wants to put up something big. Why? Is this because developers don’t like vacant land? Is it because developers are evil or not as smart as the rest of us? Of course not, the reason is that individual purchasers are unwilling to commit in sufficient numbers to purchasing in close proximity to the troubled neighborhoods bordering the downtown. Those that can afford to then go purchase in neighborhoods to the west and south, and those that can’t afford this opt for the safe investment that the distant suburbs are currently supplying. We all need to realize the costs financially, socially and environmentally of the urban decay that we are simply not addressing.

The most valuable economic commodity today is highly skilled manpower and it is the future of our and all other cities urban economies. Today’s worker is much more mobile than at any point in our history and cities are now competing to attract and retain the best and the brightest. Where this competition plays out is in the quality of life generated within the city and specifically the quality of life in core urban areas. Edmonton is simply failing to sufficiently compete and this needs to change now or we will face a dismal future as Alberta’s “also ran” city.

These changes to our urban core need to start now. We can’t wait for the romantic notion of festivals, lamp-posts, or hand-holding to make these changes. We can’t accomplish this with micro-loans to purchase rickshaws or hot-dog stands. We won’t get anywhere with poorly thought out and incredibly cumbersome taxation shenanigans. We need to look squarely at our real issues and do something about them. We need to get our taxation situation under control but we accomplish this through good governance and urban densification. We need to house our homeless and supply support services to those that need them but we need to do this throughout the city in truly supportive and non-impactful ways; integrate, don’t segregate. We need to stop approving every development onto our bordering farmland and realize that the “choice” we are not offering is the urban choice. Other cities have accomplished all of these things and more and we need to learn from the new cities of choice that are outcompeting us in quality of life issues… cities like Austin, Portland, Stockholm, and even Calgary. What we are doing and what we have been doing for the past decades is costing us all money, wasting our opportunity, damaging our environment, and undermining the social fabric that once made our City fabulous. We have a choice as a city to start living up to our potential: to take advantage of the wonderful things that we have now, the wonderful people we have now, the unbelievable opportunity that the resource wealth of Northern Alberta offers us, and to become that shining city that we all know is hiding under the cracked sidewalks and cigarette butts. Our core neighborhoods are where this future will either be realized or squandered and that is a choice all the residents of Ward 6 need to understand moving towards Oct 18. There is nothing narrow about the fundamental issues of Ward 6 and the distressed neighborhoods of this Ward are damaging all of our quality of life today and are undermining the future not just of all of Ward 6 but of the entire city.

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