The Race is On
On October 21, Edmontonians will head to the polls to choose not only a new mayor, but also a new vision for our beloved river city.
Left to Right: Curtis Penner, Don Iveson, Karen Leibovici, Kerry Diotte.
Q: When you hear the word “pothole,” you think …
Curtis Penner*: Our roads literally look like they have been shelled. They represent long-term neglect of our infrastructure. Something needs to change.
Don Iveson: We can do better building a city that works – a functional city with passable roads, clean parks, safe playgrounds – all the first duties of any mayor and council.
Karen Leibovici: We can do better! Getting back to basics – we need to get the basic services right for Edmontonians. We need to ensure our roads are drivable – potholes must be fixed.
Kerry Diotte: How outrageous it is that we’re borrowing more than half a billion dollars to finance a rotten and risky deal on a downtown arena when our streets are falling apart. Until we fix all of them, though, perhaps it’s an urban trout farming opportunity.
Q: If the new downtown arena goes over budget, you will …
CP: We can ensure Edmonton does not pay for overruns by employing comprehensive scopes of work with very limited exclusions and expansive inclusions.
DI: There are different levers to pull to manage cost, and it’s imperative that the next mayor pull on all of them to keep the project on budget. Beyond saying that, it’s probably not wise to reveal a specific strategy for how to manage a cost overrun as doing so might weaken our negotiating position with our partners and the contractors.
KL: That is a key role of managing Canada’s fifth-biggest city – to make sure that big projects stay on budget and on time. Projects that will change the face of our city are great, but managing the details requires strong leadership. I have that experience to find solutions, manage complexity and get things done.
KD: Say I told you so, and send the bill to Daryl Katz, Mayor Mandel and others on council who voted for the deal (including the two councillors who are my mayoral opponents).
Q: We have a baseball bat on 97th Street and 118th Avenue. When will a baseball glove be completed?
CP: Finishing the glove would be an awesome art piece! I don’t know why we didn’t do this already with half the cash we spent on that pile of balls.
DI: Our approach to landmarks and public art is progressing, thank goodness. Consequently, I don’t foresee a giant baseball glove in our future.
KL: Public art is vital to creating dynamic and interesting spaces for citizens and visitors. Where I have the opportunity as mayor to support communities to re-invigorate themselves, including with public art, I will aim to do so.
KD: Soon, I hope, as it will provide a use for the “Talus Dome” balls.
Q: You could go out to dinner with anyone in Edmonton. Who would it be? Where would you go and what would you order?
CP: My beautiful wife. I would take her to The Blue Pear if it was still open. Since it isn’t, I’d take her to The Hardware Grill. I miss The Blue Pear! What a great local gem!
DI: I have always wanted to get to know Francis Whiskeyjack better. He is a Cree Elder who has spoken very movingly about healing the wounds between First Nations people and other Canadians. I guess I’m asking him out on a date through Avenue. I would let him pick the place.
KL: That is a tough question. There are lots of great Edmontonians – past and present. I have over the years enjoyed time with mentors like former councillor and mayor, Terry Cavanagh. And time spent with friends and family is always good.
KD: Premier Redford. The Legislature cafeteria. A grilled cheese sandwich, and a billion dollars to build the West to Southeast LRT line.
(Mayoral candidate Kristine Acielo declared as the magazine was going to press.)
*Editor’s note: Curtis Penner announced his resignation from the mayoral race after this issue went to press