By Eric Fraser and RS Hardisty
Our term project for our Photo/Video class.
By Eric Fraser and RS Hardisty
Our term project for our Photo/Video class.
By Richard Hardisty
Real mayors don’t tweet.
At least that’s what some mainstream Calgary news outlets have been saying.
But some young Calgarians believe that in the 21st century, being accessible is what politics is all about, and using Twitter and other social media tools is the way for a politician to stay in touch.
A recent column by Karin Klassen in The Herald suggested that Mayor Naheed Nenshi was spending too much time on the social media website Twitter, and such a distraction may be detrimental to his job.
Despite Klassen’s concerns, for many young voters a candidate or leader’s social media presence can play an integral role in determining whether this voting group will support them.
“It’s one thing to hop on the social media bandwagon to get elected, but someone who is willing and able to maintain it after the fact gets big points in my books,” said Kyle MacQuarrie.
MacQuarrie, a Mount Royal University student in his early 30s, said the maintenance is huge part for him because it means the candidate remains accessible while they’re in office.
Rob Ford, Toronto’s current mayor, and Gregor Robertson, Vancouver’s current mayor, both have active Twitter profiles, as does New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
This type of social media presence isn’t just limited to mayors either.
At least half of Calgary’s 14 aldermen have Twitter profiles, with activity levels ranging from almost none (61 total tweets from Ward 14 Ald. Peter Demong) to highly active (just shy of 6,000 tweets from Ward 8 Ald. John Mar.)
The criticism hasn’t slowed Mayor Nenshi’s tweeting down.
He was especially active in the hours following the major windstorm that tore through Calgary on Nov. 27, tweeting information about the city’s efforts to restore the downtown core to a functional state.
“Nenshi usually tweets useful stuff,” Damien Prud’homme, 28, said.
“He was tweeting until after midnight about the status of the core after the storm, which I thought was cool.”
For some voters, the content of the information provided by a social media platform is just as important as having one.
“It’s good as long as they use it to disseminate actual information instead of nonsense,” Brent Reuther, 26, said.
The general consensus is clear: Accessibility is important.
With the rise of the Internet, people are becoming more and more accustomed to the idea of immediate accessibility.
As politicians (and campaign managers) who are social media savvy, including Mayor Nenshi, Alberta Premier Alison Redford and President Barack Obama, continue to become active in campaigning and in the political scene, it is likely the notion of an arms length disconnect between voter and candidate, or leader, will be a thing of the past.
When Nenshi was elected, his campaign was praised for its use of social media, though it is difficult to put into quantifiable numbers what impact it had.
But a Leger Marketing poll conducted a week before the election showed Nenshi’s support among the 18-34 age group swelling from nine per cent at the beginning of his campaign to 43 per cent.
Graham King, a 29-year-old former Calgarian, summed up his feelings about the situation succinctly via Facebook:
“Didn’t social media help Nenshi win?”
Check out Stephanie Buck’s great infographic on twitter titled ‘A Visual History of Twitter’ here:
You can find a list of most or all the Canadian politicians on twitter here. Also on politwitter.ca is a live stream of the tweets sent by those accounts.
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5 articles and associated media, produced for SAIT’s Polytechnic Press
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Published online – Oct. 21
By Richard Hardisty
The Calgary Parking Authority is hoping a new price promotion will help tempt Calgarians to visit the downtown core this coming holiday season.
The promotion began Oct. 14 and offers $5 parking every Friday from 11 a.m. until 6 a.m. Saturday. It will run until Dec. 30.
Ordinarily, the same amount of parking time would cost $27 at a city lot, making the promotion a substantial deal.
“I’d take advantage of it, but there would have to be enough available spots,” says Joey Bretzloff, who works downtown for Shaw Communications and has a typical Monday to Friday work schedule.
He also feels that 11 a.m. is too late of a start time.
The CPA’s official release, however, suggests Bretzloff and other citizens who work downtown aren’t necessarily the promotion’s target audience.
Troy McLeod, CPA’s acting general manager, said in the release they hope to lure more Calgarians downtown to experience its shopping, entertainment and dining during the promotion’s 12-week run.
“We’re hoping our $5 Fridays promotion will help Calgarians rediscover what a great downtown we have,” McLeod said in the release.
The promotion includes the Centennial, McDougall, City Centre, James Short, and Civic Plaza parkades, five lots that are spread throughout the core.
However, with the high demand for downtown parking during the day, the deal has lead to some scrutiny.
Justin Fredrick, another Calgarian employed in the core, feels the promotion starts too late in the day Friday for him to use it and it doesn’t affect the current early morning rates.
“I might take advantage of it if I knew I could get a spot close to work,” Justin Fredrick said.
“I think it would be so busy that I wouldn’t even try.”
It also does little to offset Calgary’s notoriously high parking rates.
According to a report published by real estate firm Colliers International in July, Calgarians pay a median rate of $472.50 a month for parking.
That rate is more than double the average of major Canadian cities, and makes Calgary as the second most expensive city for parking in North America, only behind New York City.
By comparison, the province’s capital has a significantly lower median monthly parking rate of $275.
Brad Enman would be more supportive of a deal that would allow him to pay one fee and park throughout the area, a promotion that would be more akin to a parking pass.
As a TELUS technician, his job takes him to a variety of places over an average work day.
“Right now, I have to pay every time I move my truck. If I could pay one fee, that would be awesome,” Enman said.
Earlier this year, city council ordered Calgary Transit to remove the daily rate at the park and ride lots, which may also help to encourage patronage to the core.
Two years after Ray (Rino) Johnson’s body was found, his killers have been found guilty of first-degree murder and will spend at least the next 25 years in jail.
Tosha Mary Hubler, 31, and Jason Miles Hubler, 36, were convicted of first-degree murder on April 1, following a high profile four-week trial.
A conviction of first degree murder carries an automatic life sentence, without eligibility of parole for 25 years.
Johnson’s daughters Laurie Bowie and Bonnie Gillard were among some of the family that provided victim impact statements at the trial after the verdict was read, and spoke about how important Johnson had been to them.
“The loss was so senseless,” said Laurie Bowie.
Bowie said before the murder, she’d never hated anyone, but now feels it all the time for the couple.
Johnson’s body was found in a trunk on Jan. 31st, 2009 in the trunk in the S.E. of Calgary. Jason and Tosha Hubler were arrested six days later in Johnson’s truck near Banff.
During the trial, the court heard testimony that Tosha Hubler let Johnson into their Bridgeland home on Jan. 30.
Jason Hubler was waiting for Johnson, a 77 year-old Hillhurt flea market regular, and struck him repeatedly in the head with two taped together hammock poles until he died from blunt force trauma. Jason Hubler then used a stun gun to shock Johnson’s body to make sure Johnson had died.
The couple’s ultimate goal was to steal Johnson’s 2008 GMC Sierra truck, the same one they were arrested in.
The jury was sequestered by Justice Colleen Kenny and deliberated the case for eight hours total, over March 31 and April 1 before returning with the verdict.
“Every day has been a struggle,” said Gillard.
Johnson had become a dual-role parent after Gillard and Bowie’s mother had succumbed to cancer in 2001, Gillard told the court.
She also said the family thought Johnson would have been around for a long time after he survived his own cancer battle.
Tosha Hubler’s testimony attempted to paint the picture that she had acted under duress, fearing for her life. Her council, Allan Fay, argued this point in her defense.
Because of Tosha Hubler’s testimony, Jason Hubler’s lawyer David Chow had presented a motion for severance, saying the testimony was extremely prejudicial and would prevent a fair trial for his client.
The motion would have meant two new trials would have had to take place, one for each of the accused.
Justice Kenny denied the motion after giving it careful consideration for a day.
Jason Hubler never took the stand as a witness during the trial, however the court heard that he initially told police Johnson had slipped on dog food and fell down the stairs.
The couple was also convicted of causing an indignity to a human body for disposing of Johnson’s body. The conviction carries an additional one-year sentence to be served concurrently with the life sentences.
Jason and Tosha Hubler read brief apologies to the court and the family after the verdict was read.