108 – Election Day

Four years ago, my vote in the municipal election would have come down to equal parts name recognition, what the polls said, and a quick read of the top issues for each candidate.

Then the O-Train plan for cancelled, costing us $100 million in settlements and expenses. Then there was a bus strike, in which I often walked to school for 40 minutes in often sub -25C conditions. Then an idea for a random tunnel came down and was hailed as a billion times better than the first plan to extend the current train to the Airport, which is all of 5 minutes away anyway! Oh yeah, and our mayor was out fighting criminal charges.

So I followed this one a little more closely. In 4 years time, the Web has changed dramatically. Candidates are tweeting and answering questions directly, are putting debates on YouTube, aggregating every article that mentions their name… It’s become so much easier to see where everyone stands, and to hear others’ opinions, and agree or disagree with them. I honestly don’t know how people did it before!

I think my most important vote is for city councillor. I never heard anything from my current councillor during the bus strike, and certainly not a whole lot came from him in the seemingly endless battles at city hall over important issues like transit, taxes, Landsdowne, etc. The key qualities I looked for was open communication, leadership potential, ability to work with others, and transit opinion.

The best thing I did was start a dialogue with every candidate through YouTube (view here). And right away, I got responses. The most unusual thing was that not everyone responded. And I’m not talking the little guys, but one particular candidate with huge signs everywhere! I’d like to thank everyone who took time to get their message out to me. Means a lot!

After this experiment and reading through websites, I’ve decided to vote for James O’Grady. His leadership in my backyard lends well to what I’d like to see in the ward as a whole. He has really solid ideas on how to improve the area and supports LRT and wants to see it now. He also has a firm grasp on how to make municipal work exciting and active through empowerment and not hogging the spotlight. While he isn’t overly active over Twitter, he took the time to discuss his vision over the phone with me when clearly there were a number of other phone calls coming in in the background, without hurrying or trying to get me to go away.

In terms of mayor, I was on the fence the whole campaign season. Jim Watson knows what he’s doing and seems to have the ability to make things happen. Clive Doucet, however, has a romantic whimsy about what Ottawa should be. And I like it. He’s interested in having a transit system that works and expands its userbase to become even more useful to everyone as a whole. He’s a champion of the O-Train and the U-Pass (while I never got in on that, it’s a fantastic idea), and to quote my January 2009 self,

In other news, I’m really starting to like Clive Doucet. He’s a city councillor for the Capital ward, central Ottawa. He speaks his mind, and usually his mind is on the people whom he represents. He thinks the 15ish million saved from the bus strike so far, and what they’ll continue to save, should be funnelled back into making OC Transpo free for as long as possible once service resumes. This is probably the most brilliant thing the city can do to gain as many riders as possible.

I owe him one for at least trying to end the bus strike, while nearly everyone else at the time treated it as business-as-usual. Thank you, Clive! He’s the first politician that I started following on Twitter, seems that he would continue that if he becomes mayor, and this huge online push in the last week or two really shows his and his volunteers’ passion, when everyone else (especially the incumbent) showed signs of fatigue and dare I say disinterest. I don’t want anyone who could care less whether he or she leads my city. I want progress. Clive will get my vote when the polls open Monday Morning.

I wish James and Clive the best of luck, as well as everyone else! And everyone, please take your signs down in a quick and orderly fashion Tuesday morning!

107 – Vanquished Malware at N45.113 W75.347

201010_05_02 - Mushrooms in the Field

201010_05_04 - Photo Op

201010_05_21 - Jason Mraz XIII

201010_12_04 - Glancing Upwards

201010_17_01 - Gum Post

201010_17_04 - New Trick

Much has happened in the past month. I’ve been to two concerts, tried Geocaching, got an iPhone, cleaned my website, and got into following the municipal election.

Concerts:
Jason Mraz and Stars. Both were fantastic in their own way. I met Mr. A-Z (do people call him that? Shoulda asked), and fell in love with a few of his new songs, most notable What Mama Say. First concert at Scotiabank Place, to! Stars had fantastic lighting and a great crowd, and are really good live. Very impressed.

iPhone:
iPhone4. Is there more to say? It’s perhaps the best device I’ve ever owned.

Website:
It was attacked somehow recently, and unwanted script ended up on every page. So I cleaned it out old school, and now there shouldn’t be any malware warnings when people visit. Check it out: BenjaminWood.Net! My blog, as part of the site, had also been flagged, so I hadn’t updated it just because of that headache. Maybe I’ll write more often now.

Geocaching:
One of the results of having an iPhone. Now I can know exactly where I am (within 5 metres, or sometimes 10)… which means I can find caches! I’ve found 17 so far, with Jen, Susma, Grace, Jon, and Leo. Leo is so awesome by the way! I’ve never seen a dog do a handstand before. Just knowing that peole have hidden things all over really renews my sense of the world around me. the Geocaching App is the best app investment I’ve made so far (Cut the Rope being a close second).

Election:
Mayor, councillor… the bus strike really showed me how important this municipal thing is! I’ve been following websites, news, blogs, etc, trying to figure out who will hold my interests in transit and transit and, well, that’s mainly what I’m concerned about. I’ll write more tomorrow probably.

044 – Dusting off the eStuff

200806_01_02 - Jump!!

200806_12_07 - Grasses and Rocks

200806_12_15 - Waves

200806_12_21 - Follow the Leader

200806_12_37 - Threesome

200806_14_10 - Tough Guy

200806_17_02 - Skylight

200806_25_07 - Great Big Sea CD Release Party VI

200806_29_02 - Wall-E

200807_01_21 - Three People and a Latex Parrot

200807_01_25 - Can you hear me, now?

200808_16_03 - Dow Honda

Well, I had the summer off, from a blogging perspective. But now that fall is officially here, it’s time to e-dust off my blog, my website, my and Prashanta’s podcast Livejournal, Flickr, and the like. That, and I have a fancy new laptop with which to do everything on. On which to do everything? Reminds me of a Fifth Grader Australia question. Anyway, I do have big news: Prashanta and I will be podcasting soon. Our revival was inspired in part by another podcast effort that we’re working on.

That effort, which involves Nepali Youth discussing (in Nepali) topics and stories relevant to them, finally got off the ground, and has actually been accessed by people from all around the world. When I think about that – how within one day of putting content online, people from Australia, the US, India, Nepal, Europe, and across Canada – it reminds me of how truly powerful the Internet is. That and how Canadian politicians are wasting resources scouring the ‘net for pictures and postings that get their rivals in trouble. It’s almost scary that if someday I ran for Canadian Prime Ministry, someone could spend a day on archive.org or something and find out that I wrote something like “Oh, I wish the power would go out” the day before the Blackout of 2003, and get me booted off the ticket for having beliefs and wishes that would destroy the very fabric of Canadian life.

Actually, I would probably make a great party leader. I would be more effective than Dion, warmer than Harper, and less annoying than Layton. I would focus on my platform and how it would benefit Canadians both in the present and the future. And I would explain it thoroughly, with realistic timelines. Simple, no? I think if people respect you and see you as someone without a personal agenda, they’ll hear and care about what you say. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’m overly interested in any politician right now.

Photos: A recap of the summer.