I can’t believe this year is already the 100th anniversary of Calgary Stampede. To join in the fun, we went out to one of the many free Stampede breakfasts this morning. And I ran into Calgary city councillor Brian Pincott. I jumped on the chance to interview Brian for a few minutes to talk about Calgary 100th Stampede and the $25 million Calgary Peace Bridge. Yes, before & during last city election, I wasn’t too convinced of the $25 million price tag for a foot bridge even I was and still is a fan of renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. You see, I got hooked on Calatrava when I watched a documentary about his Turning Torso project years ago at Calgary International Film Festival. I will let you watchBrian‘s explanation of how pedestrian foot traffic has exceeded the council’s original expectation and there was an even unexpected added benefit of the bridge.
No matter who you plan to elect as your alderman/mayor to represent you, I think it is very important to talk to the candidates to tell them what you see wrong or need to improve with the existing system and then hold them accountable after the Monday Oct 18th election. Even if you haven’t voted for the person, he/she is still suppose to represent everyone in the ward/city, so hold him/her accountable!
– I expect him to better communicate his ideas, decisions, and voting record if he is re-elected on Monday. I suggest expanded use of tools like blog (need more frequent updates), twitter, and YouTube videos, nothing fancy but the important thing is to explain himself to the residents in the ward clearly and well. So that we know what is going on, and he can be held accountable for his decisions. Getting the messages directly from him, it reduces the chance of being misunderstood, being limited to sound bites, or words misquoted by the press.
– And I expect him to push for a better system where Calgarians can better track the workings of the council. Capturing and showing video clips of mayor’s and individual alderman’s council debates, meetings, discussions, etc. And a much simpler way to track voting records and decision processes taken by council members. We need these tools to effectively hold council members accountable.
At the moment, the aldermen’s and mayor’s voting records are “public” but it might as well be hidden/encrypted because the existing tracking/filing system is way too complex to use that it is unusable except by city bureaucrats or people with expert knowledge. For example, you need to know the exact dates when something were discussed or voted to find the right meeting minutes to find the voting records. And worst, as far as I know, the reasonings and decision rationales aren’t tracked (at least not alongside the meeting records of the vote!).
The goal should be updating the system so that concerned Calgarians can track and find aldermen’s and mayor’s voting records on any issues from beginning to end without much trouble.
In the 2010 election, one mayoral candidate claimed he voted “NO” in some issue, and then reporter discovered there were actually SIX votes, and the candidate’s final vote on the issue was a “YES”! If it took SIX votes to decide something, the SIX voting records and each of these debate discussions should be linked up and easily found and not be hidden in a beeping maze with beeping trap doors!