Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Post game analysis:

I can live with Don Iveson as mayor, I didn't vote for him, or the councilor elect in ward two for that matter, but I can live with it.
 I have learned that election victories are fleeting things,  none of these folks are "emperor for life" and all of them, or most anyway, are using municipal office as a stepping stone to the big leagues.  Nothing wrong with that either.

The business at hand, however, be it the arena, that pothole you love to hate or the talus balls that look like both typographical and geological wrong are going to suddenly go away. 

Not much will change.
The art gallery will still leak, squishy architecture may, or may not, continue to be the fad of the week, buses will lose money, people will clamour for more services, more government and more rules until one is passed that causes grief personally, in which case it will be bad.
But rules that only affect others, like smoking within 9,000 metres of a playground will be thought of as good.

The last real conservative mayor  was liberal Lawrence Decore, a great guy who used his office in a pretty fair attempt at displacing a floundering Alberta PC party.  I don't see a Decore in this bunch, Linda Sloan was probably the close to Kerry Diotte in that regard, but neither of them are around now, Mike Nickel looks like the only conservative voice left.

Iveson owes a lot to the NDP and frankly  I don't think he can afford to be too pragmatic, given his support base.   Pragmatism is not Don Ivesons strength anyway and while I cannot argue that the vast majority of people think he will do a good job, the proof will be in the delivery.

He follows the polarizing Stephen Mandell and that will make things tough because Mandell covered such a broad spectrum by agreeing, disagreeing or ignoring issues that Don is going to find it difficult to make his mark.

There are no airports to shutter, arena's, art galleries or museums to built, the LRT has as a plan and aside from the traffic messes it causes, seems to be working.

Mandel's legacy, is impressive, he spent more, built more and yelled more than any mayor previously.  
There was one point in particular that was dear to Mandell's heart that got him nowhere:
Municipal taxation and other topics designed to induce sleep, are very real issues in both rural and urban centers. Cash flush counties and cash poor towns are legion in this province and a very real attempt needs to be made at (God, don't kill me for saying this) redistribution of the wealth.
We don't need new taxation but we do need a better mechanism of allowing those areas with population to share some of the Plant and Machinery windfall that is the current purview of the counties.
This, of course is a no win situation for the provincial government. Any pot of money can only be divided so many ways and ultimately those who's share increases will support the idea while those who's share decreases will strongly oppose it. Look no further than the Gaming Revenue review we did in 09. Ultimately we buried that report deeper than Jimmy Hoffa because there was no way to make winners out of losers.
This will be Iveson's real challenge, convincing the Provincial Government that there are issue with wealth distribution that are more complex than simply granting new taxing powers can solve. It is also Mandell's legacy, the one place where he was not successful.

Talk  of global this and world class that are fine but in reality to properly deliver on core services, to stop making excuses for badly managed infrastructure and to make Edmonton a great place to live some real issues of equity need to be addressed and our new mayor needs to address them quickly, quietly and persistently. That will be his real legacy starting today.

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