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Just A Motion Away: 14 Priority Items for Calgary City Council in 2014

Council is a slow grind even on a fast day. If they could slide it into second gear, we'd begrudgingly forgive the Culture of One Gear (bureaucracy) that has entrenched itself at city hall. It's a lot like peer pressure at school.

14 Priority Items for Calgary City Council in 2014:

1. Ombudsman

The most important addition to local democracy since the ballot. A 2008 imagineCalgary target.

The one thing council can do that will actually give accountability teeth.

2. Protected/Sheltered Bus Stops

Calgary Transit needs to embrace a design that will allow their customers protection from the elements. A competition, pilot project, CFP, et al.

3. #311YYC #YYC311

@Nenshi does a great job, but time to go big league, like NYC.

4. Finding Second Gear

Council is a slow grind even on a fast day. If they could slide it into 2nd gear, we'd begrudgingly forgive the Culture of One Gear (bureaucracy) that has entrenched itself at city hall. It's a lot like peer pressure at school, so a mind/spine issue.

"If you stand for something you will have people for you and people against you. But if you stand for nothing you will have nobody for you and nobody against you." ~Maurice Saatchi

5. Engagement

Council has not been able to grow the demographics of engagement. The audiences are unfortunately painfully small and happiness indicators have taken the change model off course. Solution? For starters it has to be inexpensive yet effective. So, with 15,000 employees & a tweet-friendly mayor, I'm surprised at the sliver of a presence council has online. Council also has a massive database that has not been engaged via multiple platform options.

6. Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative

The Hans Island of policy. More action, less talk would be a positive development.

Present position with poverty is similar to a non-aggression pact. We need to declare war on poverty.

7. Artocracy

Supercilious cultural elitism. Art should be inclusive, not divisive. The artocracy makes decisions for the public as a parent does for a child. Less #Ego, more #Local.

3a... Defining good governance, you'd think a government would make this the 1st order of business.

Instead we stumble in the dark on the fundamentals of our society.

5b... If you make policy, implement it. That's the law.

9. #UrbanAg Zoning & Growing Beyond Simple Proteins

2010 was the Year of Urban Agriculture in Seattle, accompanied by the launch of progressive Urban Agriculture zoning.

4 years later, it's 2014 and council has yet to implement very basic urban ag zoning. Presently only simple proteins (vegetables) allowed in Calgary. Comparable number (and size) of community farms as there are community golf courses. 111,000 acres of unused land in Calgary. Conduct land inventory. Huge economic development opportunity as a global leader in Urban Ag technology.

The Urban Hen Pilot Project, hopefully initiated in cooperation with Edmonton, has the potential to diversify urban ag and create a robust food system in Calgary. The Calgary Food Assessment & Action Plan (food policy in general) was initiated in 2008 by the citizen driven organization, the Calgary Food Policy Council.

10. One Stop Opportunity Shop

Consolidation of all departments associated with service delivery for Calgary's vulnerable population will create unrivaled efficiencies.

This is a move that council must lead and it begins by getting the province and feds together.

11. Bus & Fleet GPS

Fleet management is an oxymoron at city hall. No one seems to know how many or where they are.

Worse than that, if that's even possible in 2014 considering the access to technology and that a GPS component is valued at under CDN$2.00 (Global Positioning System (GPS) chip from Broadcom, costing $1.75), transit customers don't know where the buses are.

The city has chosen not to adapt vehicles for diverse deployment. This is especially alarming with parks, snow removal, admin, et al.

12. Land/Building Inventory

Calgary is a big city. We just don't know what our actual land assets are and there is a frightening absence of a process to connect citizens to unused space.

13. Zoning for Innovative Housing

For a city with a Homeless Foundation that has a Housing 1st policy, it is truly ironic that we do not have zoning for innovative housing. It is hardly a well kept secret that homelessness could be virtually eliminated with appropriate zoning, such as that which allows for micro/mini/tiny/small homes and their associated development.

Outcomes from the Mission Charrette, funded by Community Investment Fund, may address this issue, but certainly the adoption of Smart Code and looking closer at Andres Duany's work would serve the future of Calgary well. Many municipalities across North America are embracing smaller, innovative homes.

14. Locate the missing $45,000 from the Community Investment Fund for the Calgary Community Farm Initiative (CCFI)

It is in council minutes, approved by council, yet where is the completion of the stated Objective and Terms of Reference?

An answer would demonstrate a modicum of respect for the taxpayer.

More on the CCFI.

Post Script

#YYCCC has so much potential. Here's to hoping they pull out all the stops in 2014.

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