Thursday, December 19, 2013

Some TweetDeck and Twitter thoughts

This post is going to be mainly technical in nature for @tomwoolway but there is also some information that applies to @kirstinestewart with respect to spammers and advertising.

For Tom

 First of all, thanks for listening and responding in the past. I've been programming in multiple languages for 35 years or so, hence I get the concepts being done. Essentially (in simple terms) there are 2 base objects. One for columns, and one for rows. Columns are the headings of the groups of tweets, and rows are the individual tweets appearing in the column. In my opinion, there are a lot of issues with both of these, especially when you compare them to the "pre twitter owned" desktop app.

I like how each column has a name, and how it appears in the left side bar. (Note that I only use TweetDeck for one user account, and only for twitter feeds.) Column headings indicate the topic, and based on the column definition, various options exist for tweaking settings, etc. However if you take one of the canned columns (say for followers) and you change the 'filter' on it, the heading changes from "followers" to "notifications". Which makes the sidebar change. One ends up with a lot of columns called 'notifications', which could confuse a lot of users.

Hear is a suggestion for column headings. Add a line below the heading, leaving the top line and wording intact. Use the second line to show something like "filtered" (I like that redish color you use, just saying) which in my case its because I show followers and lists. You could also add in "alerts on" and/or "preview enabled" or other such things depending on the selection and options.

If you add in say, a hash tag search column (very popular) then the heading shows the search topic. Really nice job with that ... except there is also some bad stuff. Sorry.. :) You see, in the old TweetDeck when a search column was added, you could also filter a subset out, while retaining the main search. Simply clear the subset and boom, its all back. While the new version also allows some really nice subset features (woohoo) the problem is you cant define a subset, without changing the main search. So when you are done with a subset, you have to re-enter the main search again. I love that the options are there TO change things, but perhaps offer an additional toolbar for allowing a "subset" search (just like 'Showing, matching, excluding, etc). I've also noticed that my #yegarena search column is now limited in the records returned. In the other columns, as I scroll down to the end, more records are added. Not so with the search. Whatever you folks did with that column, I'd like to have it operate in the same manner. I also compared the "" with the #yegarena tweetdeck column, and there is a huge difference in whats returned. Just saying...

I also quite like the "drill down" side, where you can click on the "details" or "view" (and other) options on a row tweet. What I find most annoying in the "row" objects is that most of them use the entire background to "act like" it was clicked on details or view. When I shell out from TweetDeck via a link, keep the link open, and then 'click' somewhere in TweetDeck, it always ends up selecting that tweet and going into details. I'm forced to make sure I click on a sidebar of the main object frame, or that cute little twitter bird in the bottom left corner.

I know you can change this, because the "followers" column has NO "background" click properties to them. I figure that if I wanted to "know" more or whatever, then clicking on the already defined 'words' (nicname, view etc) then that's what they are there for.

Speaking of user name clicks :)  ... I also liked the old TweetDeck, where clicking on a name opened the profile in a browser. I also like the new side, a little. I can see where it makes it easier for quick information for many.

One of the things I've learned as a programmer, is people LOVE apps that they can configure. Now, I get that the new code is multi-platform. And its possible you only want some options based on the equipment the software is running on. So for a windows based app, why not allow the user to decide if "name clicks" open internally, or via external browser? It was there before. :)

And it would be nice if some of the more critical commands such as "block" etc, require confirmation. Its SO easy to make an accident in these areas. This could also be a user option for those that hate confirmation boxes.

With respect to "Followers", there could be a few tweaks in this section as well. I suspect the API side limits the quantity displayed at start up, with scrolling the list to fetch more is quite nice. But the API also seems to say "only those after 'this' date". So if I haven't had new folks in a while, the list gets less and less. For THIS column (and maybe others) this creates an issue. If the quantity returned is less than what the column height is set for (say only showing the last 2 follows) then its impossible to "shrink" the program down to allow to "get more" to show up. I'm the type of person that doesn't just automatically jump on new followers, I like to take some time, explore who they are, see what they say etc. It might take me weeks (sorry folks) and this API restriction is a killer. I'm forced to add more stuff into the column and then scroll to fetch and then reset the column, or I have to load up the webpage profile and deal with it there. Just saying, this isn't really "user friendly".

Still with followers, I can't tell who in the list I have followed. You currently show this little blue "person" icon next to the 'user name followed you'. Why not make the icon blue for those not followed, and green for those you have. Or some other color combination that works for you. Would really make things stand out.

With DM's... Nice touches on changing the icon from white to blue when there is something new. I've noted that many times, when I go to "purge" older DM's... I click on delete, the status display in the lower right corner says "successfully deleted", but the DM remains displayed. Most of the time it does disappear, but not always. With other columns, you can "drill down" and get details. DM's only show you how old the message is. It can say (example) 1 hour. But it will show 1 hour for the next hour. If someone says "meet me here in an hour"... well, that message could be 1 hour and 1 minute, or 1 hour and 59 minutes. I have NO clue exactly when it was sent.

Still with DM's, how about an option to "delete thread" or "delete all" when you have selected a particular persons DM's.. Also, in the menu list there is this new "mark + delete", which is within the "block" portion. Does this report a DM as bad? I'm afraid to try it and see.

Entering a tweet... I have to be honest here, I'm not really liking the sidebar. Yes, there is the option there to keep it open but it pushes everything to the right. Which means I have to make the program larger in size. I love the old way. On top. Why not have an option to allow the user to define if things are on the top or the side? And for the love of God PLEASE bring back the "press enter to send". Yes yes yes, I know, multi-platform, I get it.. People on websites know its TAB for the next field, and CONTROL ENTER to cause line breaks. But this is a windows desktop. Control-enter is hardly EVER used. So here is another great option to allow users to configure. And by the way, people in twitter are really great at getting every last character into a tweet. Quite often, the last portion of a tweet is a hash tag. Control-Enter does NOT work when the hash tag screen pops up. And the 'data entry' part will more often than not, cover the "send" button. So you end up having to put the cursor some place else, type a space or something to clear the hash tag popups. With a 140 character message, this puts it over the limit, so then you have to delete it. None of this is user friendly... And for what its worth, I hate having to do "two keys" to send something, so I prefer to use the mouse to click on send. If nothing else, the option to "press enter to send" really needs to come back into the windows interface. I know, I already said that. But its worth repeating.

With respect to the "mentions" type columns... I've noticed a new little "reply arrow" that now shows up in the DM column, showing that you replied. Why not add the same feature to those other columns too? The old TweetDeck had it. There are times when I look at a tweet and scratch my head... Did I reply to that already? Yes, I know.. I can click on the 'view' side but again, this loses the entire concept of being user friendly. Also, there are several times when I want to thank someone for a RT. And if the RT wasn't modified then when I click on the 'reply' side, I only get the folks mentioned in the tweet (if any), including my name. Never shows the name of the other person who RT'd it. So I end up having to type it in manually, and if that name isn't found with the auto-popup side, I have to open their profile to get it right. And if their profile is something that's "weird" to type in, then I have to click on their profile to open up their website profile so I can copy/paste their name in. Again, this is NOT a user friendly method. Just saying... :)

For Tom & Kirstine

The "block and report spam" side in the new interface... I love the options to allow more definitions but, I've done many "block/report", have the users tweet disappear, have the "success" show in the status in the lower right side. I've then closed TweetDeck, waited a while, re-opened it... and the same tweet is back again. Note, this is mostly in search columns. And I know, you will go "but they aren't filtered"... and I get that. But I will bring up the profile of the user I just blocked, and their profile does NOT show them as being blocked. So I have to open their profile on the web, and then block them. So there is some form of a glitch that needs fixing.

I'm sure many people will 'block and report spam' just for the hell of it. I get that twitter needs to be careful in handling this. Specific to the #yegarena tag (and I'm told several others as well) there ARE groups of people that are PAID to enter gibberish tweets to disrupt the timeline and cause confusion. Their text will often make no sense to the topic at hand, or the true purpose of the hash tag. I'm sure you are aware that the #YEG tag (for Edmonton) was number 1 in twitter. As a city, the people here have always been leaders for the entire country, when it comes to social media and general computer use. This goes all the way back to pre internet days, using dial up modems and BBS (bulletin board systems) sites. I know, because I ran one of the first of them on an Apple 2+ under CP/M.

Anyway, the #yegarena tag is very local. It has to do with a billionaire getting a free ride on taxpayer dollars, with values that will certainly exceed 1.4 billion dollars. And people here in Edmonton are pissed over this. These spammers that have been showing up all have the same generic numbers for tweets and following and followers. Quite often, the lists of those they follow, or who follow them, are identical. And they have been reported to Twitter hundreds of times. The pattern is easy to see, yet the accounts still remain active.

I'm sure advertisers will be really happy about spammers being given free reign.

Twitter must be more pro-active with dealing with these, including targeted harassment.

If you ever have a position open were spam abuser "spotters" are needed, I'd be happy to offer my detective skill assessment services. I find patterns where computer logic fails. Do note, I would never want the responsibility or power to suspend anyone's account. But I'd be happy to add a "flag" to a users account that would let the higher ups determine what needs to be done. It would be fun to do... and I work from home for very cheap too. :)

Anyway.... just food for thought. The things I like may not be practical from an operations point of view, but I know for a fact they can easily be done from the programming aspect. TweetDeck used to kick ass. It's why Twitter bought it. I've seen some nice improvements in the new TweetDeck, and while I wouldn't say it sucks ass, it does have a lot of very unfriendly things going on. Some little fixes... a few configuration options (which probably will vary based on the platform its being run on) ... it can go back to being the great app it used to be.

Again, huge kudos for what has been done. To so smoothly integrate the look and feel of the desktop into the web app impresses the heck out of me. To have both know my settings, and adjust things accordingly, is spot on.

Just a final personal comment to Tom, about updates. Maybe the industry is changing but I'm used to closing a program, and have it terminate. It was my command, it is my computer. I don't expect it to do anything after that, other than to perhaps send out some "settings" information during closure. Update checks should be done at start up of the program, and the user should be informed "an update is needed to continue" with a continue and a exit button. I suspect this also may need to vary, based on the platform but... when you compile the code, it does check the platform switch... :)

Thanks for listening..

Friday, November 1, 2013

100 Thousand Tweets

It's been a long road, this twitter journey. Over the past 3 plus years I've had a lot to say, of that there is no question.

When I first started, I was trying to run a non-profit agency called the Alberta Common Sense Society, which was geared towards helping those people caught between the cracks in the system. With the "system" being anything from political to health care to social services, and every where in between. I had my reasons for doing this, some of which I posted in this blog. Sadly, the NFP didn't work out due to funding issues, which is often the case for failure within the industry.

Over time, the way I have dealt with issues has also changed. I think I've come a long way, and have learned a lot more about communications and better methods. I'm still just as pissed as I used to be, maybe even more so now... and of course depending on the issues, it varies. The bottom line is I'm really concerned about the future for today's kids. Anyway.. enough of that, yes? :)

As I look back upon my twitter journey, I've found some really super great folks. And I've realized some that I thought were great, were fooling me. I'm not going to bother to name the latter, and to start to talk about the former would... well... Just way too many to mention. I'm sure I would miss a few people as well, just because there are so many of you that have blessed my world, my life..

You.. the good people... and you DO know who you are...

You make my day, pretty much on a daily basis... sometimes even minute by minute. Some of you have kept me sane during times when I've felt my world crumbling around me. Both male and female... and from every age group... and from all over Canada and the USA. You have allowed me to share my stories with you, which I hope has allowed you to gain some wisdom, and have a little fun. You have also shared your stories with me, many which have opened my eyes as well.

It's always a pleasure to learn new things. Something I have always been eager to do. Those that have taken the time to know me, understand that no matter what the topic is, I'm willing to listen. Just be logical with your passion, and I can't refuse to hear you. I may be getting to be one of those proverbial "old dogs", however those "new tricks" is what keeps my mind and my spirit alive and full of vigor. Don't ever stop!

Those that know me (saying it again) also know it's easy for my heart to let things get all mushie. The "social media" aspect tends to make me keep my guard up somewhat. About all I can say is a big "thank you" to those wise enough to read between the lines. I look forward to more coffee, more fun... and especially, more hugs.

So there ya go.. short and sweet. Just because there are never enough words to say just how much I appreciate you, and people would be totally bored reading it all.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Vote rigging at its finest? If it smells fishy...

It says...

"We’re allowing one vote per IP address, to reduce the chance of vote-rigging."

The Edmonton Journal Blog Poll is a classic example of something that is rigged. And its so easy to do. First of all, you have to remember that the Don Iveson camp of people are very technical. Many appear to have an exceptional understanding of just how HTML (the web programming language) is used.

And really, anyone who has this ability... and there are a LOT out there who do... can easily manipulate all forms of online polls. It's very easy to create a web script that would monitor "poll results", and then when someone else other than "your favorite person" gets a vote... your script will run and add in 2 or 3 or more votes for "your person".

I've watched this poll for several hours, at varying points of time during the day and evening. And I got curious when I would see one vote increase, and then the next refresh would show a few more being padded on to another selection. So I decided to do some experimentation. And I will explain to you just how easy it is to do.

EJ gives a big clue.. "one vote per IP".. which implies they are not using "cookies" to see if you have already voted. I mean, all one would have to do is delete that cookie, and vote again... And they want you to think that they kind of have that problem solved, by tracking peoples IP addresses. After all, the honest person typically has one, maybe two IP's that their ISP (service provider) has assigned. For the most part, those seldom change but that depends on the service you use. Some ISP's will assign a new IP every time you turn your system on.

This is so easy to get around. The simple "form" is to use a proxy server. What this is, is a place you go to on the internet, and instead of you 'speaking' directly to a web page (or other service), you speak to the proxy server, and it passes your request along... the response to that request is directed back to the proxy server, which then directs the information back to you. Even if you have no clue and are not a "geeky" person, you CAN still do this easily.

Do a search on "TOR" .. you will find a link to the TOR project, that will install software on your windows or mac or linux or android device. When you run TOR, it will make connections to various proxy servers for you, automatically... and then a web page will appear on your system showing you what your "new" IP address is. In my windows system, I use FireFox as my default browser, and there is a little tool bar on the top of the browser that has a little 'command tool'.. More on that in a minute.

So now that your proxy browser is open, you go to the poll address, and make your vote. Once your vote has been "cast", you use this command menu, and select "a new identity". TOR will close, and then re-open again, showing you yet a totally different IP. You can then go back to the poll site, and cast another vote.

And you can repeat this as many times as you want to. Its THAT easy to do.

Now, this is a manual process. Those 'in-the-know' folks seem to have done that type of thing, but they appear to be using an automated script. After all, isn't that one of the prime functions of a computer? To take the manual chores away...

Of course, this is all speculation on my part. I'm certainly not accusing anyone of doing this, for the only "proof" I have is watching the end result.

A result that is clearly biased and complete inaccurate. And as EJ points out, its no where near a credible scientific survey. So my question now is... why do they still run it? Is it perhaps they are also biased and are having some fun in trying to manipulate voters into believing something that is clearly a farce?

Just my opinion... this is a joke. And to keep running it... well.. it speaks volumes on the lack of credibility and more on the concept of grandstanding.

If only we could have the truth...

p.s. .. In testing, I voted for Kerry 3 times, watching Don's count go up by 12.. and several minutes passed between each vote, always refreshing to see if the numbers had changed between votes, and they had not. And to just add a little fun in, I voted for Don 122 times. After each of those votes, his numbers only increased by one... the one I cast.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Why I would never vote for Don Iveson

1) He professes to listen, but has selective hearing for only those that promote his ideas.

2) Over the years, he's been a supportive part of the Mandel destructive bandwagon, which has resulted in a broken down city, while developers prosper, and seniors and others on fixed incomes suffer.

3) He's proud of the green promotion, spouting figures about how much pollution has been lowered, yet fails to realize or acknowledge how traffic light timings promote gridlock, increase greenhouse gasses, and cause huge amounts of extra dollars to all drivers, in increased wasted gasoline usage and longer travel times.

4) He refuses to listen to citizen ideas for improving the traffic flow that surface LRT destroys.

5) He would rather bash a citizen that expressed concern over the death of a baby (likely) due to the "screw you" attitude over voting to close the most needed runway at the City Center Airport... rather than showing compassion for the situation.

6) He has many suggestions and policies to "fix" the things that he voted to break.

7) He refused to listen to the experts who lived and worked at the City Center Airport, instead he choose to believe biased and slanted reports that were ordered by council. Watch as the reclamation costs soar to well over 10 times what was estimated, while probably adding at least another 10 to 15 years of reclamation efforts before any form of construction is possible.

8) He lied in public, to the public, by saying "we would never leave federal money on the table... I can assure you of that"... Yet he voted to bait and switch pre-approved Federal funds to a non-qualifying project, which resulted in a loss for Edmonton, of $200 million dollars in senior governments grants. Elements of the project still had to be done, however those elements were subsequently paid for solely by Edmonton property taxpayers, instead of being shared by all 3 levels of government.

Note: Full details for this comes from the last mayoral public forum. This blog post provides all of the information on the event and this blog post provides the required information with respect to the "Gorman" funds.

9) He promotes experience ... of being the CFO for his wife's part time business. I'm sure that is very important.

10) He has no "real life" experiences that allow him to relate to those that struggle, which is becoming a larger part of the local population. His policies will create larger tax increases, but that's OK because when you can't relate, you don't understand.

11) He falls hook, line and sinker, into believing any report City Administration gives him, even though its obvious to hundreds of thousand of citizens that these reports are biased and speculative at best.

12) He loves Google products, because the city can use them for free. Yet those who are truly technically savvy, are well aware of Google's passion for spying. If anyone thinks Google does stuff for free, because they love you... well...

With respect to item 12, people will call me a hypocrite because this blog is a Google product. Let me point out that I could care less that Google will spy on my blog.

13)  He loves people who are deeply devoted to Ignorance Is Bliss...
Ostrich Syndrome is the best kind

and finally.. (I'm sure I could add on a lot more, but really... isn't this enough to make you wonder?)

14) He fails to see the huge problem CD Days create, and thinks citizens get great value from people that effectively work 3 days out of 5.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

How about a little integrity - maybe even some honesty?

On Thursday, October 10th 2013, the last of the Mayoral public broadcast forums was held at the Italian Cultural Center. This footage has been archived here, for your viewing information.

Around the 4 minute mark, the moderator states that "if you don't like their answer, you know what to do". Well, this is what I want to do... educate you on the truth, instead of being side-stepped by Karen, or fibbed to by Don.

First, here are some snippets from both of their opening remarks. Do note, there is a lot of what was said that is grandstanding bullshit.. ops.. I mean El Toro Poo Poo, however I will restrict things from the entire webcast to my specific question.

Karen - (12:40ish) -"being an active listener", (14:15ish) "When you look at my record, you can see that I am a doer, ... ... it actually ends up with a solution, a go forward", (16:25ish) "a city of dreams".

Don - (28:20ish) "When we don't work together, we make errors, expensive errors we have to fix later", (28:40ish) "We will build it together, council, city administration, the business community, developers, citizens, communities", (30:00ish) "Citizens have told us what they want, we know what we can achieve".

With that said, both Don and Karen have been making bold statements about how much they have been listening. I'd like to suggest about the only thing they have been listening to, is all of the rah-rah from supporters (fake or otherwise) and they both fail to listen to the tough honest questions. I have let both camps know that I have problems with the loss of 200 million dollars in combined federal and provincial funding and have tweeted both of them links to my blog post, which contains factual links with information and results.

Both have chosen to ignore a reasonable question, because this topic goes against them being the hero-goodie-two-shoes folks, who are only interested in promoting their perceived high points and have no interest in being truthful on their failings. Hey, I get it... we all make mistakes. The fact neither are willing to own them, speaks huge volumes on credibility.. or lack of... Anyway..

My question starts at the 44:00ish mark, and was addressed to Don and Karen only. It was about the failed Gorman funds. It's pretty important that you read my above mentioned post, as it has the links that provide the information...

Karen responds at  45:00ish mark. And she totally bypasses the question with a run around on what the arena financing is/was. Where is the recognition and the accountability? Not only that, you knew this was being directed to you, why did you not listen to the question? For someone that creates opening remarks about just how well you listen, I mean really. This is what we can expect from you as Mayor? I shudder at that thought. You certainly haven't listened very well at all. The constituents you represent, were strongly against the arena deal, according to your EA.

You talk about going forward, and dreaming. I'm kinda thinking that we can't afford more of the poor planning and "not listening", in order to reach impossible dreams. I'd suggest you need some life lessons in reality, rather than "doer-ing" years of spending other peoples money without regard to the consequences to the people.

Don responds at 46:05ish, and starts out to suggest that I don't have the facts correct. Gee Don, I think I might. What part of my previous blog post is not correct? I mean, specifically from the links provided. Remember, I didn't write the words but... those links sure speak volumes.

Then you continue on (noting your 'savings grace' of "what I can recollect') to suggest those funds were used for other things... Um, but what about your photographic memory? You sure made a really nice spin of just how "rah rah" your answer was. Except for one slight fact.

Is it not true that the Federal Government had pre-approved the Gorman plan, and then when council did the bait and switch side, the Feds pulled out of the deal? And since the agreement was for 300 million (100 each from city, province, and Ottawa) and the province would only kick in when the Feds kicked in... they were no longer obligated to contribute. Hence, we lost $200 million dollars.

At the 47:04ish mark, Don suggests that "we would never leave federal money on the table... I can assure you of that" ... Oh, I'm really not happy hearing your assurances... And to think this is what we would have to look forward to from you.

So there WERE no funds from the feds to be allocated... At least, that's what it would seem like. So for you to say that the funds were used elsewhere... would seem to be a big fib. So we lost $100 mil from the Feds and $100 mil from the province. Either way, I'm really curious on how this money (that we never got), ended up getting spent on other various projects...

With respect to your other opening remarks, it seems like you mention all big biz folks first, and leave the public to last. Its the people that pay. You are another that "listens" to what people say, and then do what the people don't want done. Your office was another that I polled on the arena deal support and again, as with every other office contacted, I was told the majority of the constituents have said "no" to this deal. With me, the most irritating fact is that you profess SO strongly about our cities children yet using your other breath, you are proud of robbing some $80 million dollars from education. All which will feed a billionaire's personal pocket book.

As always, if either Don or Karen is willing to point out valid errors in the information that I got, which could change the "truth", then I'd be more than happy to listen. And I will be totally honest here. I'm not expecting any response from either of them. Yet, I'm still willing to listen.

Prove me wrong. I'll be the first one to stand up and admit I made a mistake. All it takes, is facts.

Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

More reminders - 200 million dollars lost.

I received an email today with two attachments, reminding me of the waste and smooth talking of many council members and the Mayor. Do note, other than formatting issues with respect to fonts and links, I have not changed any of the words.

It is a bit of a long read, but if you want facts... its up to you the reader. If you ever had a desire to shed that "Ignorance Is Bliss" feeling, or shake off the "Ostrich Syndrome", this may be a good starting point.

Document 1 is as follows:

The failed GORMAN Gamble and Edmonton’s $200,000,000 funding Loss

A project overview of what was Lost for our city  -  via the 'management' of 2009 council members  -  can be found in the following web link

For one City of Edmonton employee’s description of the Works package that would have been funded by the monies Lost by those 2009 Councillors’ failed Bait-&-Switch gamble see

For one former Alberta MLA’s 2010 lamentation of that totally needless Loss of those major fundings please see

Additionally, one would expect any Edmonton area Federal Conservative MP in office back in 2009-2010 to have knowledge of our city's permanent LOSS of that $200mm 1-time jobs stimulus funding. There are a whole handful of items for which the incumbent council candidates can and should be judged.

But prime among them is the $200,000,000 permanently LOST for our city by bungling members of the 2009 city council;  a municipal financing mess and subsequent cover-up.

That story involves the $200,000,000 (permanent) LOSS of 1-time funding that was available to our municipality 4 years ago (but) only for approved, “Shovel-ready” Infrastructure works ... and speaks to the real reason Edmonton's outgoing Mayor started his very public feuding with then Federal Public Works minister Rona Ambrose.

Also, how a monstrous Bait-&-Switch scheme failed ... and contributed significantly to our growing civic DEBT load. 

Plus, the apparent motivation for that ill-fated scheming ... relating to ( siting for ) Edmonton's current, highly contentious Downtown ARENA deal.

N.B.  As we head into the final days of the municipal election campaigns it would seem Edmonton's Voters deserve to know, and should finally be told of this ( almost unbelievable ) tremendous boondoggling ... and which of the current council candidates were complicit in the 2009 secret scheming (and its early 2010 and subsequent Cover-up campaign).
This is a rather outstanding case of MIS-management;  phenomenal bungling by our 2009 city council members (save for Caterina) who were on duty back then.

And while “stuff” does sometimes happen, totally foolish and absolutely needless gambling away of $200,000,000 of Senior Governments' clearly defined, Conditional * fundings all in 1 go can hardly be classified as a mere bit of fiscal imprudence on the part of our city leaders.

* The only "strings" attached to that funding were that
·         it be spent on immediate jobs stimulus projects pre-APPROVED by the Canada Works program,
·         projects that would be substantially completed by the Federal Government’s fiscal year ending March 31, 2011 (not 2014, like the Nait Lrt line).

The criteria couldn't have been any clearer or simpler. And if Tony Caterina so easily got it, just what were the rest of them really up to ... that they took such a gamble as to cost all of us $200,000,000 during an economic downturn ?

One would expect Tony should be proud to confirm that he voted against the other, 2009 councillors' attempt to Switch utilization of those Shovel-ready, Gorman-allocated & approved funds;   
i.e. their failed attempt to switch utilization of those qualified Senior Government monies to a NON-qualifying project still in its DESIGN phase back then.

N.B.  Totally separate Senior Governments programs have since been funding the much later started construction of our NORTH Lrt - currently scheduled for completion in 2014.
e.g.  You may recall the $2B GreenTRIP funding first announced by Stelmach in July of 2008  which did not actually start to flow until years later. 

Whereas the very clear requirements / criteria of the Canada Works jobs creation stimulus dollars in the depths of the economic downturn back in 2009 included substantial COMPLETION / expenditure (i.e. on only approved, Shovel-ready projects) by March of 2011.

Thus, upon the 2009 Council’s attempt to re-assign use of the Gorman fundings to a Non-qualifying project the Federal jobs stimulus monies  -  $100,000,000 ( x 2 with Provincial matching)  -  was PERMANENTLY lost to our city. 

Also important to note is the funds approval for the shovel-ready GORMAN package of jobs stimulus works was a 1-timer ... and, sadly, council members of that day gambled it all away.

When you look at the size of Edmonton's accumulated debt, the Loss of that $200,000,000 is quite significant.

It is indeed quite the “accomplishment” that the culprits in this mammoth $200,000,000 Loss have managed to keep knowledge of it largely swept under the carpet for so long.

Here's hoping that this information shall help to now force accountability, transparency and democratic change in Edmonton.

Edmonton's GORMAN package of Federally-APPROVED, Canada Works Jobs Stimulus INFRASTRUCTURE dollars was a 'go' in 2009 ...
but council members of that day threw away those $200,000,000 !!!!!

Here we are, now 4 years later on when we have new neighbourhoods being constructed in Ward 4 places like ... Gorman, but with NO Lrt service there and NO Park-and-Ride Lot there.

The same 2009 city council that needlessly cost all Edmontonians that $200mm of 1-time funding are also the ones who, in July of 2008 so foolishly and needlessly voted to put N.Lrt tracks directly in front of the Central McDougall AMBULANCE Station on 105 Street ... and, to this day have failed to find a replacement site for that critical-to-downtown emergency response service.

We certainly don't need another 4 years of that level of 'performance.'
No Government ought to be without censors and where the Press is free no one ever will. 
- Thomas Jefferson

This is the 2nd document sent:

Mayoral Decision Matrix

Platform /
Voting Record
POTHOLES  -  repair & adequately maintain our Streets

            Voted for budgets that took away annual road maintenance dollars

ARENA:  stood up for HOMEOWNERS, versus a Billionaire’s entertainment business interests
            Prioritized ‘circuses’ ahead of core services like sewers / improving our drainage system
            Voted for putting a new Traffic magnet in our downtown with
0 grade separation between that increased traffic and imminent North LRT trains at busy
4-lane 107 Ave  -  thereby constructing a 51st Ave x 4.0 … in the new Entertainment District !
            i.e. Voted for a Level Crossing of 107 Ave (instead of a simple underpass at 104 St / an extension of the below-grade tracks emanating from the tunnel now underneath 101 St )


            Voted for a West LRT routing that will bounce even more traffic ( from Stony Plain Rd ) onto that 107 Ave arterial…only to have it regularly blocked by the North LRT’s barricade arms
Wants to spend over $600,000,000 to replace a 17,100-seat facility with a new one that seats only ~18,100 … not even keeping pace with Population growth since the 1970s !
Voted for Mandel’s initiative to construct the North LRT’s tracks directly in front of
the ( 9,000-calls-per-year ) Central McDougall AMBULANCE Station on 105 Street  - 
thereby requiring that Station’s expensive relocation + longer EMS wait times in the Downtown


Deliberately chose to ignore full and fair exploration of the superior 104 St. N.Lrt routing option
FRESH ideas;  on city council since…
Life experience  -  age:

LOST $200,000,000 for Edmonton Taxpayers by voting for a failed gamble; the quite foolish,  attempted bait-&-switch by Council  -  to reallocate Senior Governments’ fundings approvals for the “shovel-ready” “Gorman Package” of Infrastructure works to a NON-qualifying project !


DELAYED by 2 years 5-car-long Platforms for our existing LRT System – causing 2010 “Crush Hours” on the only 3-car trains - and needlessly ADDED to City borrowings to fix this

Has a VISION for much better management of our City and its finances
( and more responsible use of Senior Governments’ grants monies ! )


Gorman, Greed, and the Lost $200,000,000

In 2009 Mandel and certain City Councillors knowingly ‘baited’ the Feds with Qualifying, Shovel-ready LRT System-wide improvements (and requisite, immediate Jobs / economic Stimulus benefits)  
THEN, once they had obtained the Federal & Provincial fundings approvals for same, instead attempted switching use of those funds to a NON-qualifying, NON-shovel ready project !
But they got caught in the act by the feds … and that is how those 2009 City Councillors gambled away our $200,000,000 of (Gorman-committed)  public works economic stimulus funds  -  in pursuit of their I-know-better whim ... and that is why we Edmonton Taxpayers lost out, big time.

For one City of Edmonton employee’s description of the Works package that was LOST by those 2009 Councillors’ failed Bait-&-Switch gamble please see:

For one former Alberta MLA’s lamentation of that totally needless LOSS of those major fundings please see:

So, what was it that suddenly motivated those 2009 Mandel-lead Councillors to even attempt their failed switcheroo ?

Half way through 2009 Katz announced His choice of site on which we should build for Him a new facility;   
Land that was chosen and optioned by Him for His own revenues-enhancing purposes.
Land immediately adjacent to the ( NON-shovel ready, still in the planning stages ) intended North LRT line  -  which new ‘priority’ N.LRT connection and MacEwan Station could instead service His new revenues stream.

Thus, personal interests / a pet project got prioritized by City Councillors of the day ahead of the Gorman LRT works package, and it was their re-jigging that ended up disqualifying Edmontonians from receiving those clearly targeted,
Senior Governments’ (2009-11) Jobs-creation Canada Works stimulus funds.
i.e. Those 2009 Councillors felt they "knew better"  -  than to respect the very clear, Shovel-ready employments strings / criteria / conditions that were attached to the $200,000,000 in approvals committed specifically for the Gorman works.

N.B.  Councillors Iveson and Leibovici both voted for the above, failed bait-&-switch scheme, a needless gamble that
Lost for Edmontonians $200,000,000 of the Senior Governments’ funding that had been committed for much-needed and qualifying Infrastructure works.
So instead of a 3-way cost sharing  -  of the entire approved Gorman Package of works  -  it was the 2009 Council’s failed trickery that ended up having City of Edmonton taxpayers footing the entire bill for the required LRT Platforms extensions + Traction Power upgrades to handle the longer trains and additional cars purchased ... all with a Later-than-needed completion and, ultimately, funded 100% via City taxpayers !

In brief, Canada Works Infrastructure Jobs STIMULUS “wish lists” of immediate, Shovel-ready projects were submitted by Municipalities from across Canada to the Feds in Jan.2009 ... contingent on Matching fundings by the Provinces and by the municipality making such application ( i.e. 1/3rd each ) and the Job Creation project completions BEFORE fiscal year ending March 31, 2011.
From Edmonton's Wish List, the Feds elected to cover 1/3rd of the Shovel-ready $300mm Gorman PACKAGE of works  -  for
a)    the LRT System to be Upgraded to handle 5-car trains from only 3 cars, via
1. Lengthening the Platforms on the existing Clairview-to-South LRT line and
2. Increase Traction Power, to accommodate 5 cars ... all in time for Century Park's opening ... which would have avoided the “Crush Hour” subsequently experienced in September 2010 when UA students et al boarded the South LRT, plus
b) Lengthen the line from Clairview to Gorman, including
c) creating additional Park'N'Ride spaces @ Gorman ( for the freeloaders from Ft. Saskatchewan,
Gibbons et al who are now hogging / clogging spaces at Edmonton's Clairview Station ), plus
d) Transit Station and Park'N'Ride enhancements in the West end at Lewis Estates.
When the Feds got wind the 2009 Edmonton City Councillors were attempting to Switch use of the $100mm funding commitment that had been allocated (as per all Municipalities across Canada) solely for Immediate Shovel-ready works   to a project where not even the Design work had yet been completed,   
that Immediate Jobs-creation stimulus monies’ approval was yanked ... which also lost Edmonton the Province of Alberta's matching $100mm.
Thus, the 2009 Councillors’ attempted Bait-&-Switch permanently cost Edmonton Taxpayers $200,000,000.
         The Lengthened Platforms & Traction Power upgrades remained ongoing needs, but it was solely Edmonton's property taxpayers that had to finance those 'Regional' benefits entirely on our own, with borrowings of 100-cent dollars  -  instead of having built the greater number of (Gorman Package) works that could have been accomplished with only 33-cent dollars ... had our 2009 City Councillors not so foolishly gambled against such clear funding criteria.
0 grade separation, Guaranteed Traffic Snarls and Longer Emergency Response Times

The same Mandel-lead 2009 City Council also failed to simply instruct Transportation to build the 1st 3 blocks of our North LRT optimally and most cost-effectively on the 1st go, UNDER 107.
i.e.  With a simple grade separation at busy, 4-lane 107 Avenue  ( the progressive sort of thing seen in the vicinity of our 1970s Coliseum )  specifically to eliminate conflicts between surface vehicles and the mass transit system that serves such a people magnet.

Instead, situating the North LRT’s Tracks across the SURFACE of the busy 4-lane 107 Avenue arterial will now greatly compromise the capacity of our finite downtown roadways (and delivery of Emergency Services into the downtown) and especially in the immediate vicinity of a mammoth new people magnet, and needlessly CAUSE unnecessary gridlock ... thereby creating a 51st Ave x 4.0
( per known and foreseeable Edmonton traffic counts ).

In a David Staples's edmonton journal column of December 17, 2010 Mandel stated, regarding LRT and intersections:        
It was a mistake to have the LRT not go under ... the road traffic on University Avenue and 51st Avenue on the south side, and it would be a mistake to build the west line without going either under or over 142nd and 149th streets, even though it costs more,
"To say we're not going to worry about it and we're going to stop traffic everywhere isn't really a good solution. ... Why would we continue with a bad decision?"
David Staples continued:
Mandel is correct. The quickest way to kill support for the LRT is to say to hell with car drivers. And it's worth noting that the original decision to build Underground Edmonton's Downtown was costly, but it's proving to be an example of smart long-term thinking, as any Calgarian stuck in downtown traffic, waiting for the C-Train to go by, will tell you. ...

So why did those 2009 Councillors, including Iveson and Leibovici so intransigently proceed with construction of a REPEAT of the University Avenue and 51st Avenue Surface-crossing mistakes, only this time on the brand new North LRT in our city's Downtown, and at much greater Magnitude, in the new ARENA District, across the Surface of busy 4-lane 107 Ave ?_______
Where is their vision ?

Perhaps we are seeing the exact same, short-sighted thinking that so readily acquiesced to Katz’s own switching  -  away from His promise of $100,000,000 Up-FRONT CAPITAL Funding … instead to a paltry $5.5mm per year discounted facility rental fee ?

Here’s hoping a majority of concerned Edmontonians will now vote for a New mayor  -  instead of a
2009 Councillor proven capable of captaining us into a Greek Tragedy.

essential and proper grade separations are present at the current Coliseum / Rexall Place  -  separations between existing trains and vehicular  (including
Emergency vehicles) traffic on 118 Ave,  Fort Road,  the Yellowhead Trail,  and Wayne Gretzky Drive