Our Question of the week: Where do you look for your news, in particular, local Edmonton news?
Just hit reply and let us know your answer. We've been sending these weekly newsletters out and are getting a ton of positive feedback about them, so we plan on keeping them up. We would be much obliged if you shared this week's newsletter on your social media or forwarded it to a friend in your neighbourhood with an opportunity to subscribe.
One of the first places I get my news is "The Pulse" by Taproot Edmonton. You can subscribe for free at https://edmonton.taproot.news/pulse. For provincial news, my friend Dave Cournoyer has a fantastic Substack which you can also subscribe to for email news. Here's his latest commentary on the provincial election 100 days away: https://daveberta.substack.com/p/rachel-notley-is-the-alberta-ndps
DEBRIEF: Love in the Time of Fentanyl - Thank you again to everyone who volunteered, attended or supported in anyway this incredibly powerful evening. We had over 515 RSVPs and had to put up signs at the door that we were sold out. Hundreds of folks received Naloxone training, made a new friend, shared laughter and tears, and we raised thousands of dollars for 4B Harm Reduction. If you didn't have a chance to attend, I've shared links to watch the films for free online at www.michaeljanz.ca/littof You can catch the summary of the event here from CBC: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/harm-reduction-event-aimed-at-breaking-down-addiction-stigma-inspiring-action-1.6752765
Must Read: this deep dive from CBC Taylor Lambert encapsulates so many of the strong points made by respondents to the film. We don't have enough recovery beds, recovery can't work if you are dead from poisoned supply, we must address the lack of housing and the material conditions that lead to addiction. Despite soaring death rate from opioids, Alberta steers away from harm-reduction approach: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-approach-opioid-crisis-1.6750422
Tweet: Orphan Wells vs Edmonton. It's getting real frustrating to watch social disorder, homelessness, amputations, and death rise over the last four years while the wealthiest province in Canada with Billions of dollars in surplus continues to ignore the root causes. City Council frequently incorrectly gets the blame for what are failures by our provincial government to address the health care crisis of their own creation or neglect. And then to hear that the UCP are providing billions in subsidies to orphan well owners, a move that even those marxists at <checks notes> Scotiabank condemned? Here's what I tweeted: UCP to abandoned well owners: $Billions. UCP to Edmonton: ~12 sheriffs. (https://twitter.com/michaeljanz/status/1625568694104629248) I've said it before and I'll say it again, we aren't asking for a special deal, just a fair deal for Edmonton. Please send a letter to the Premier here: www.michaejanz.ca/investinedmonton
ACTION: Noisy vehicle fines set to increase this week to $1000 and doubling per offence with proposed Bylaw: I have petitioned about this at www.michaeljanz.ca/noise and I've been pushing for these changes. I expect them to pass, but the real magic will be when we can install automated enforcement for noise detection. Edmonton Journal: https://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/council-to-vote-on-new-1000-noisy-vehicle-fine-in-edmonton-this-week
READ: Widening Whyte Ave Sidewalks and Adding Bus Rapid Transit: Provide your feedback on the new Old Strathcona Public Realm Strategy online or in person March 2nd. “We need to think about as a city what is our goal? If we want vibrant businesses in these areas … taking in the parking stalls and putting in the patios — doing things that actually bring people and keep people in the area — pay way more dividends in terms of business vibrancy,” he said. Janz said he lives on the street and is excited for the changes. “Whyte Avenue could be the kind of street where people really come as tourists, come take part in festivals, go to patios,” he said. “I think there’s a really exciting opportunity here to make Whyte Avenue more vibrant for everyone.” https://globalnews.ca/news/9486024/edmonton-whyte-avenue-changes-bus-lane-parking/
READ: Tax subclassing changes proposed: "First, I’m struggling to see the benefit. The report outlines that there will not be reduced rent as a result of this change. In fact, Council attempted to phase this out before and stopped because they were not seeing rents going down as a result. Additionally, the property owners on rentals have the ability to deduct building operating costs - including property taxes - from their income tax. Lastly, this shifts the costs onto those residential properties outside this subclass at a time when affordability is top of mind and property taxes are already going up to keep pace with inflation and enhance critical services to Edmontonians. Now is not the time to add on to the real pressures many are facing to get by." via https://www.erinrutherford.ca/updates-blog/taxsubclasses
EVENT: The documentary The Gathering Storm is about the right to housing, and the work of Jasper Place Wellness Centre to make it a reality for more people. RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/gathering-storm-documentary-screening-tickets-554368048757
EVENT: Join me at the Beautiful Minds (Fundraiser for the Canadian Mental Health Association Edmonton) 7PM, Saturday February 25th, 2023: https://cbo.io/tickets/purchase_tickets.php?slug=cmhaedmonton&form_name=BeautifulMinds
RSVP REMINDER: Transit Camp 2023 March 18th A Community Summit on safer, more frequent and better public transit. Saturday, March 18th | University of Alberta. RSVP: michaeljanz.ca/transitcamp2023
You are invited to be a part of a community conversation about advocating for better public transit in Edmonton. You will be joining employers, business leaders, academics, community advocates, seniors, parents, students, and a cross-section of the Edmonton Community.
There have been major changes over the past year to public transit. How are we doing?
- Has the Bus Network Redesign proved successful?
- Are people returning to public transit post-covid?
- How are safety concerns on the LRT being addressed?
- How can we grow public transit ridership, reduce traffic, and meet our climate goals?
- What investments were made in the 2023 municipal budget?
- Is there a future for public transit in the age of Uber, Google and Elon Musk?
Provocations from around the web:
Are parking lots ruining your city? "One of the easiest steps toward making your town stronger is by preventing one of its most important resource, land, from being wasted. Parking minimums stymie growth in towns. Citizens of Fayetteville, Arkansas realized this, and inadvertently began a movement by removing parking minimums, seeking to make it easier for entrepreneurs to rejuvenate empty buildings downtown. We went there ourselves to show you exactly what that looks like." About Strongtowns: We seek to replace America’s post-war pattern of development, the Suburban Experiment, with a pattern of development that is financially strong and resilient. We advocate for cities of all sizes to be safe, livable, and inviting. We elevate local government to be the highest level of collaboration for people working together in a place, not merely the lowest level in a hierarchy of governments.
Toronto’s Curbside Patios Made 49 Times More Money Than the Parking They Replaced. During the pandemic, Toronto, like many cities, began allowing some on-street parking spaces to be used as patios by local businesses. As reported by The Globe and Mail, residents spent a total of $181 million at curbside patios within 13 weeks of summer in 2021. If those spaces had remained dedicated to parking, only $3.7 million would have been reaped during the same time period. In other words, curbside patios produced 49 times more revenue than what would have been earned from parking fees. “This is an example of how productive a place can be when we don’t fixate on parking,” said Strong Towns Senior Editor Daniel Herriges. “Public space in a lively urban area is a tremendously important and scarce resource, and parking is often just about the least valuable thing we can do with it. Any city can do this math.” Link: https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2022/11/22/torontos-curbside-patios-made-49-times-more-money-than-the-parking-they-replaced
A 15 Minute City is a concept that puts people and the planet first: https://momentummag.com/the-15-minute-city-is-a-concept-that-puts-people-and-the-planet-first
Profits are skyrocketing for oil companies, yet they are slowing their pivot to renewables. Scientists say that the world urgently needs to cut its reliance on fossil fuels in order to reduce the catastrophic impacts of climate change. But the companies that pump those fossil fuels aren't exactly racing to get out of the business. In fact, they made huge profits last year by staying the course and sticking with oil. And some companies that had planned to make so-called green pivots are slowing down. via: https://www.npr.org/2023/02/14/1156987139/after-a-profitable-year-some-oil-companies-are-slowing-their-pivot-to-renewables
Pesticide Drift. A disturbing read about the pesticide on your neighbours lawn or in public spaces. A three-part series by Environmental Health News and palabra, a multimedia platform of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, on pesticide use in California finds that rural communities of color and farmworkers are disproportionately exposed to some of the most dangerous chemicals used in agriculture. Our reporting also highlights how communities most at risk of pesticide exposure have led the charge to enact stronger, more protective rules and increase the public’s access to information about pesticide applications before they take place. The series is centered in California but holds lessons for the nation as it grapples with how to manage and regulate toxics used to grow our food. Via: https://www.palabranahj.org/adrift
FILM: Pesticide Free Edmonton is organizing a screening March 18, of the film Into the Weeds hosted by Edmonton Public Library. It is a powerful story of a former California groundskeeper who successfully took on Monsanto after a terminal cancer diagnosis. You can attend the screening in person on March 18 to enjoy an introduction with the award winning documentary maker Jennifer Baichwal. A virtual panel discussion will follow. Registration is requested. Film screening: https://epl.bibliocommons.com/events/63dec5ce0748ed360064d165 If you want to watch on your own schedule from your computer, please do. Into the Weeds is really worth watching, free on GEM https://gem.cbc.ca/media/the-passionate-eye/s02e01
Who funded Ontario Proud? Mostly developers. Worth thinking about when it comes to Calgary and Edmonton landlord-development industry folks in advance of the next Alberta provincial election. Why donate? What are their asks? Who benefits and who loses? https://noraloreto.medium.com/who-funds-ontario-proud-76a56ca92de1
- CBC News published a powerful opinion piece by Chris McBain, a sociology student at Athabasca University who was once addicted to crystal meth, arguing that recovery and harm reduction are “both essential” to treating addictions.
Listen: The Pierre Poilievre Problem: https://www.readthemaple.com/podcast-the-pierre-poilievre-problem (The Maple) On the latest episode of The Maple’s North Untapped podcast, we spoke to Jen Hassum, executive director of the Broadbent Institute, about the challenges posed by Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre to progressives. Hassum explained why she thinks comparing Poilievre to former U.S. president Donald Trump is flawed, and argues that progressives need to understand that the Conservative leader is drawing together a coalition of support that includes some sections of traditionally progressive constituencies. Finally, we discussed what progressive politicians need to do to address the material concerns of working-class voters and stop Poilievre in his tracks.” (28-minute listen)