This Week At City Hall: Committee Attendance Infographic, Council Wrap-up, Exclamation Points!

How’s that for an infographic, eh? Snazzy, no?

What I did was type “ubercorporate infographic” into Google image search and ripped off the style of the first one to catch my eye.

Actually, that’s not true. The jpg I cribbed from used a lot of drop shadow but I thought that would make Awesome Klassen’s head explode. (He’s the prairie dog’s graphic designer, btw.)

Anyway, what that nifty graphic tells you — as if the info it contains really matters when you’re looking at something so Monsanto-shareholder-report worthy — is the attendance record of each of your ten city councillors. A handy thing considering we’re going into an election year. And! You can compare and contrast this graphic with last year’s model.* I think we can both agree that the one I drew up then was pretty primitive and we’re moving in a good direction, infographic-wise.

Next year, I hope to extrude my pie-charts into the third dimension!

As for the why’s of me posting this today, there was a council meeting last night that I missed. Because I suck. And at that meeting, they considered report CR11-144 which included all this info. And it also lets you know what committees everyone will be sitting on next year. Good stuff to know.

And there was other stuff worth knowing covered last night so after the jump, you’ll find a rundown of it along with everything else that’s happening this week….

Monday, November 21
CITY COUNCIL MEETING (5:30 pm): At last night’s meeting, council passed that exemption for the construction of new Super Fancy and Pretty Darn Fancy office space. As reported in an earlier post, thanks to this, developers will be eligible for three-year, 20 per cent discounts off their property tax bill (on the portion of the building that contains the fancy-grade offices). For the record, despite my earlier snotty tone, I’m not opposed to using tax breaks to encourage the development community to build stuff we need. And with a critically low vacancy rate for office space in Regina, one can argue that we need to cut developers some tax slack so they’ll build office towers that will, in the end, net them pots and pots of money. Because, as you all know, developers… hell, capitalists of all makes and models, absolutely hate to do anything that will net them pots and pots of money on their own when they could get a handout from the government to do it instead.

A couple things I do object to, though, are, as alluded to in the comments to that earlier post, the fact that the city can cut into the revenue for the school board and the library by passing these tax exemptions. Each one might result in a small reduction, but all together they’ll have an impact.

Also, I didn’t like how in the report there was all this talk about how the construction of new office towers will negatively impact the parking situation downtown as though that’s city hall’s problem. How about this, build underground parking on your building. I reckon if you haven’t paced out how much parking your tenants are going to need and accommodated that into your design, you haven’t properly costed out your spiff new office tower.

Beyond tax cuts for multi-million dollar office tower development, staff also put off a whole swack of finance-related reports. The big ones were the various city budgets — operating, capital, utility, library and police. Also postponed, requests for funding from the Wascana Centre Authority and Regina Reginal Opportunities Council. This was done to allow ample time for public input. These items will be considered at the December 12 council meeting.

And yes. I’ll make that one.

Council also approved the list of citizens appointed to their various committees and boards.

Now, apparently, I can’t get a list from the city of all the people who applied to sit on a committee but were turned down. I can understand there might be privacy concerns. But, I don’t know, if you’ve submitted your name to sit on a public committee, aren’t you sort of implicitly saying you don’t mind your name getting out there some?

The reason I’m wondering about this is two fold. First, I’m curious to know how many people actually send in applications. Second, some of these committees — like Planning Commission — actually have a lot of power. And yet, the process by which we choose people to sit on these boards doesn’t seem terribly open. If the public can’t find out who’s applied, how are we supposed to know that the people chosen are the best people for the job and not just the ones who are the most sympathetic to council’s position?

So…. if you’re reading this and you applied to get on a committee, send me an email — pauld {at} prairiedogmag dot com — if you have a minute. I wouldn’t mind hearing if you got accepted, if you didn’t, what was the letter like that you received from city hall in either case, what your thoughts are… all of it.

Thanks!

Last two things I want to run on about… recreation and cemetery fees. Staff recommended boosting both by a bit this year and council said okay.

They kind of get you coming and going, eh?

Wednesday, November 23
BOARD OF POLICE COMMISSIONERS (9 am): Crime is down! Crimes against the person down 15.5 per cent since October of 2010! Crimes against property down 7.8 per cent! Although! I do note they keep no stats on the criminal misuse of the exclamation point!! What gives, Regina Police Service?!? Hunh??!?!!

And that’s it! Another city hall update in the can!! Whooo hoo!!! You can get more info! Complete reports!! More!!! All on the city’s rockin! website!!! What was that?!?!! The exclamation point joke is getting old???!!! And it wasn’t funny to begin with??!??!!! Screw you!!! Coppers can’t touch me!!!!!! I can use all the exclamation points I want!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Footnote:
* You’ll note that in last year’s Parade of Pie Charts, I included one for myself. I didn’t this year because it would’ve fucked with the nice five-over-five symmetry. And, coming up with numbers for myself would’ve taken more time than I had. Hell, just recopying all those figures for council was pretty onerous. (A pet peeve of mine: All the pdfs to come out of the city clerk’s office are composed of graphics — TIFFs no less — so you can’t cut and paste text out of them. Can’t search them for key words either. It’s a serious pain in the ass. I think they must be taking printouts of their own reports, scanning them in and then converting them to pdfs. I kid you not. Insanity!) I can say this, though. My performance was well below what it was last year. Council meeting attendance: abysmal. Writers’ meeting attendance: worse than abysmal. Deadline making: very poor. Community association attendance: Meh… better than fifty/fifty at least. Podcast attendance: Perfect! (although, we use my mic, so if I can’t make a taping, we postpone it). Number of those novels I keep meaning to start writing that I’ve started writing: zero. A bad year except if you count fun moments with family and friends. I’m doing pretty awesome on that at least.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5’10” tall and he was born in a place. He’s not there now. He’s sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It’s “Girl From Ipanema”, thanks for asking.

You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

6 thoughts on “This Week At City Hall: Committee Attendance Infographic, Council Wrap-up, Exclamation Points!”

  1. Hey Paul,

    What about the mayor? I thought executive committee meetings were separate from Council meetings. What about council meetings?

  2. Fiacco missed the last city council meeting because he’s in London inspecting the boxing facilities for next summer’s Olympics. He said so on CTV Morning show a few weeks ago. He’s the President of Boxing Canada. Regina media is thrilled with this, completeley hands-off on the huge aamount of time the mayor spends on his hobby in a year.

  3. Please don’t use 3D pie charts. 3D rarely adds to the meaning of a chart and often it detracts from it. Pie charts in particular suffer from 3D-itis. I don’t like pie charts most of the time, 3D pies are the worst.

  4. Chris: CR11-144 doesn’t record the mayor’s attendance at exec committee. Or anyone’s attendance at council, for that matter. Not sure if there’s a public report on that. Mind you… I could call the clerk’s office. I bet they’d know….

    N.A.T.A.: You mean you don’t find that extra D makes pie charts more thrilling?

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