VoteCalgary (housing construction) Mayoral Forum

VoteCalgary (funded by Calgary’s housing construction industry) presented our mayoral candidates with questions which allowed candidates to pitch “consumer choice” and “freedom” against sustainable growth, should they so choose.

Comparing candidates performance at VoteCalgary forum, then contrasting against their performance against CivicCamp forum (where “sustainable” is all the rage) could have reflected poorly on any candidate to played too strongly to their respective audience. But candidates pretty much held their ground no matter who they were speaking to. (Darn! No explosive juxtapositions between debates!)

This forum (which allowed rebuttals and rebuttal-rebuttals) was refreshingly short… aside from an introductory question, and a closing question, the only non-bookend question was “How will you support inward, upward and outward city growth?”

Host
Moderator - ???
Craig
Craig Burrows
Joe
Joe Connelly
Bob
Bob Hawkesworth
Barb
Barb Higgins
Jon
Jon Lord
Ric
Ric McIver
Naheed
Naheed Nenshi
Wayne
Wayne Stewart
introduction 00:40 02:28 04:04 05:20 06:54 08:28 10:04 11:37
city growth         15:58   14:53 13:48  
            17:28 16:30  
  21:31     20:27 19:24 18:52 18:30  
    23:38 22:44 21:46       24:45
  26:17 25:20            
  28:00         27:21    
differentiate 29:02 29:56 31:00 32:04 33:12 34:15 35:18 36:21  

This video is released under Creative Commons share-alike 3.0 license.

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CivicCamp Mayoral Forum

Our mayoral candidates faced off in University of Calgary’s MacEwan Hall for what must have been a grueling 2 hour plus debate. CivicCamp‘s inclusion of Oscar Fech and Gary Johnston brought the total participants up to 10 (out of the 15 running), in what is currently looking to be a 3-way race.

“What’s going on here? Can you believe it!?” -Oscar Fech

Did you know many candidates are polling at zero? As an infamous FOX NEWS host would say, “Now is no time to give up!”

The CivicCamp forum followed ArtsVote’s limited responses token system (this time it was poker chips), which kept things at a brisk pace, as did the entertaining lightning round.

This video is released under Creative Commons share-alike 3.0 license.

And I’d like to apologize to any color blind folk looking at my table. I’ve run out of ideas how to visually compress this information.

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ArtsVote Calgary – Mayoral Forum

An optimal candidate debate probably has some similarity to an optimal team size, too many members result in confusion, and ultimately… despair.

“The organizers had to make arrangements to get the candidates quite early. There are a few candidates running for mayor who are not onstage, but are here this afternoon. Afterwards, stick around and you can put your questions to them.” – Jim Brown

It would appear ArtsVote, by soliciting participation early and having a deadline, has solved this problem. Good on them, because the result was a better forum.

And, seriously, they put thought into how to force candidates to use their time wisely, and only speak when they have a critical point to make.

I enjoyed this Calgary mayoral forum immensely, and I hope you do too. Thanks to Chelsea Pratchett for help covering the event, and to ArtsVote for allowing me to do this in an official capacity.

Host
Moderator - Jim Brown
Wayne
Wayne Stewart
Ric
Ric McIver
Naheed
Naheed Nenshi
Jon
Jon Lord
Joe
Joe Connelly
Craig
Craig Burrows
Bob
Bob Hawkesworth
Barb
Barb Higgins
introduction 01:33 03:29 05:04 06:44 08:25 10:00 11:37 13:17
forced closures       19:22   21:02   17:18
affordable space     24:29   22:26      
accessibility   29:00       30:56 32:29  
CATA budget 34:10       35:49     36:55
arts festivals     43:10 39:08     41:27  
funding solution 50:14   46:39         48:35
retain artists 54:20 55:48       52:32    
funding pitch   60:15   61:57     58:13  
buh bye 67:00 66:38 66:13 65:24 Gone! 64:43 64:15 63:35

This video is released under Creative Commons share-alike 3.0 license.

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We Should Know Naheed Nenshi

Since February 2008, local artist and community-builder Mark Hopkins has hosted “We Should Know Each Other” parties in his living room.

“We Should Know Naheed Nenshi” was an event Mark organized (Sept 15th) to help undecided voters to hang out, talk, and hear Nenshi’s elevator pitch.

The event was open to everyone, had delicious food, sparked some fascinating conversations… the only thing missing was photons. You know, photons, like from the sun, from fire… from light bulbs. So the footage is kinda grainy.

I hope this coverage of Nenshi’s Q & A session illustrates why I think he’s such an exciting candidate for mayor. Nenshi’s policy proposals are very detailed, and it is clear he has a deep understanding of how to implement bureaucratic reform, and fix Calgary’s budgeting process.

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Nenshi’s thoughts condensed down
in to so few words as to be meaningless
02:12 02:12 Elevator pitch. Helps clients in private, public & government sectors increase their efficiency. At MRU teaches how to run non-profits effectively. Stands for sustainability [financial, social, environmental]. Will make Calgary a better place to start a business. Will fix city council.
13:52 13:52 Calgary Transit. Preferred choice, not last choice. Start experimenting with additional buses, increase capacity quickly. Express bus route that never goes downtown (already serviced by C-Train). Transit advisory committee made up of customers.
18:00 18:00 Public libraries. Incredibly important, particularly in areas with large English-as-a-second-language population. Does not believe director of library has proposed best budget cut options (stay closed on Sunday, halt opening of new N.E. branch). Does not know answer, but knows what questions to ask. Gives example, what are lowest used period for each branch? Can at least one library remain open in each city quadrant at all times? 2011 will be rough, 2012 should see restored services.
21:07 21:07 Broad change. Obama proposed new policies. Calgary is stuck in 1960s policy making. Lots of historical precedence for improving governance.
23:13 23:13 Social investment. Public transit is best investment.
23:48 23:48 Urban sprawl. Calgary developers more willing to engage in discussion than you think. Will not use developers as political football. If developers building livable communities fail, Nenshi will look bad. Need developers at table, but they can’t dictate terms.
26:52 26:52 Calgary film making. City can support new sound stage, or offer up civic resources. Not a subsidy war approach.
29:06 29:06 Winning. Campaign already projected third place on Labour Day. Alderman McIver’s support more solid than hoped. Barb Higgins is dropping like a stone. If Calgarians understand this is still a 3 person race, we will win. Our message resonates once people hear it, hardly anyone has heard it yet.
34:57 34:57 Gay community. Talking to all communities, what benefits Calgary benefits all communities. Discrimination (sexual, religion) is not the Calgary we are building. Acts of vandalism do not represent the Calgary McIver or Higgins want either.
38:24 38:24 Homeless. 10 year plan (Calgary is already following) is excellent. Lack of housing more of a cause than symptom of drug abuse. Homeless used to climb regardless of economy, now started to level off. Wants to start addressing poverty in similar manner.
40:58 40:58 Community green house. Streamlining, cutting red tape applies to projects of social value too, not just new businesses.
42:01 42:01 Arts & culture. Cites ArtsVote Q & A. Calgary needs flagship spaces for established artists, and facilities (in low rent neighborhoods) for emerging artists. Secondary suites & zoning changes will lead to lower cost housing & studio space. Likes proposal for International Avenue Arts Centre.
45:43 45:43 Evangelical interview. Don’t like gay pride parades? Don’t attend them. Everyone needs to be able to work together as a community.
46:47 46:47 Sale of ENMAX. Depends on price, depends on debt load. As public utility, ENMAX offers unique social value, is patient capital.
47:54 47:54 Local food. Down with community gardening. People should be able to try stuff (chickens!) in pilot projects.
49:23 49:23 City Council. Calgary City Council full of good people. New alderman will shake things up, gives opportunity to stop dysfunctional behavior. Governance reform, new procedures will help shift adversarial nature. Give ward alderman city-wide responsibilities.

This video is released under Creative Commons share-alike 3.0 license.

UPDATE: It appears Bob Hawkesworth has cited this video as Nenshi “being on the record” saying he’d sell ENMAX.

I believe anyone but Bob Hawkesworth watching this video would come to a very different conclusion.

I was already under the impression Hawkesworth was the only candidate factually wrong on the issue of the airport tunnel. Is this a Calgarian example of a political candidate inhabiting their own reality, as seen far too often in the USA?

Just the fact Hawkesworth isn’t willing to share where he saw Nenshi “on the record” talking about ENMAX, makes me think Hawkesworth knows he’s not on solid ground with his claim.

What pisses me off here, Bob, is that not only are you quoting Nenshi in my video out of context. You are behaving in a way that makes our mayoral candidates less likely to speak frankly about these issues. If every candidate knows their words will be taken out of context by their opponents, then they’ll revert to vague platitudes and intelligent discussion will cease.

Bob, I don’t see any video of you online sharing your insights on the topic of ENMAX. You know how hard it is to use an iPhone to video yourself talking in depth about any topic, and uploading that to YouTube? It is not hard at all.

UPDATE 2: Bob Hawkesworth first shoddily re-edited the We-Should-Know-Nenshi video (posting only his misleading edit), then finally (after a DMCA takedown citing the rules of the Creative Commons license) Bob linked to the original video.

Bob Hawkesworth is still being misleading on this, and I have no idea what his intention is at this point, except having the Nenshi campaign join his own in the “out of the mayoral race” category.

I’ve downloaded copies of the videos Bob’s posted, and I’ll have more to say on this once I’m done working on more important election video coverage (like indexing the content of mayoral forums).

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Calgary Leadership Forum’s Mayoral Debate

Derek McKenzie joined the mayoral race! Anyone else? Anyone? Anyone? C’mon folks, there’s still a month to go. What else are you going to do with your time?

The embedded video was shot & edited by Chelsea Pratchett (with help from Clinton Waller) on behalf of CalgaryDemocracy.ca. My contribution is strictly hosting it on my long-video-enabled YouTube account, and constructing the index table below.

If you don’t like my snarky comments below, don’t blame CalgaryDemocracy.ca, they’re 100% neutral and snark free!

Host
Moderator
Kent
Kent Hehr
Wayne
Wayne Stewart
Ric
Ric McIver
Paul
Paul Hughes
Naheed
Naheed Nenshi
Jon
Jon Lord
Joe
Joe Connelly
Derek
Derek McKenzie
Craig
Craig Burrows
Bob
Bob Hawkesworth
Alnoor
Alnoor Kassam
introduction 0:10:53 0:15:16 0:20:04 0:34:51 0:40:18 0:29:43 0:00:17 0:45:26 0:05:39 0:49:08 0:24:51
Alnoor, if you were still in the race, how would you cut taxes 2.5% annually? 0:54:10
Bob, is Calgary LRT really all that? 0:55:34  
Bob, how to deal with the deficit? 0:57:09  
Craig, how do you really feel about park & ride? 0:59:40  
Craig, are you for, and what priority is, the airport tunnel? 1:01:21  
Derek! Have you by chance been involved in community work? 1:03:08  
Derek!?! Is council an equal partner in managing community’s business? 1:04:05  
Joe, how do we attract staff for the new hospital? 1:05:01  
I’ve just spoken to our psyentistz. Joe, the fluoride is toxic. 1:06:04 Our precious bodily fluids!
Jon, why did we let the province take our taxes? 1:08:12 You can get them back, right?
Jon, how can we provide affordable housing? 1:09:30 (To low income community?)
Naheed, what budget process will you use? 1:11:19 (To make the administration accountable?)
Naheed, how to fund the airport tunnel? 1:13:00 Let’s be like Charles Bronson in The Great Escape!
Paul, why is housing unaffordable? 1:14:41 It contributes to our homeless problem.
Paul, how can Calgary’s arts & culture 1:16:08 become world class? <take-a-shot />
Ric, transportation. 1:18:18 You can fix that, right?
Ric, how would you 1:20:51 balance new projects against our debt level?
Wayne, how would you 1:22:29 bring cohesion to council process?
Wayne, how would you 1:23:17 support the homeless… with buns?
Kent, can you 1:24:45 make Calgary safer?
Kent, 1:26:14 you like gay people, right?
closing 1:29:56 1:29:54 1:31:50 1:33:28 1:35:38 1:37:53 1:39:27 1:41:22 1:43:00 1:45:08 1:47:35

You might notice a few small errors in the video’s title cards. Our workflow was a bit messy, as I’d never used iMovie before, let alone someone else’s project.

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Calgary Mayoral Forum by Golden Age Club

12 candidates for mayor is a lot. Maybe a few could drop out? Please?

The table below the video offers hyperlinks to particular moments in the debate video. Hold the mouse over a candidate’s name or question summary, for more details. Time codes appear out of order because candidates were constantly prompted to respond in changing order. Green background indicates which candidate was the first to respond to a given question.

Or, you could watch the entire 2 hour, 45 minute forum video from start to finish. (Whoa, I kid, I kid…)

Host
Moderator
Kent
Kent Hehr
Craig
Craig Burrows
Joe
Joe Connelly
Barb
Barb Higgins
Paul
Paul Hughes
Gary
Gary Johnston
Alnoor
Alnoor Kassam
Jon
Jon Lord
Ric
Ric McIver
Naheed
Naheed Nenshi
Wayne
Wayne Stewart
Bob
Bob Hawkesworth
introduction 0:24:09 0:22:24 0:20:40 0:18:59 0:17:19 0:15:44 0:04:53 0:06:49 0:08:40 0:10:25 0:12:11 0:13:55
East Village 0:28:50 0:30:36 0:31:56 0:34:04 0:35:55 0:37:59 0:40:09 0:40:57 0:43:07 0:45:21 0:47:39 0:26:55
qualifications 0:57:28 0:55:21 0:53:23 0:51:12 0:49:33 1:11:55 1:10:02 1:07:52 1:06:05 1:03:54 1:01:52 0:59:45
beholden to 1:34:50 1:13:32 1:14:03 1:17:11 1:19:18 1:22:09 1:23:13 1:24:36 1:27:22 1:28:41 1:30:47 1:32:36
inspiration 1:52:00 1:53:46 1:56:05 1:37:03 1:39:10 1:41:32 1:42:47 1:44:05 1:46:17 1:47:02 1:48:49 1:50:49
cut waste 2:18:45 2:16:30 2:14:24 2:12:01 2:10:11 2:08:14 2:06:04 2:03:54 2:01:37 1:59:39 1:58:17 2:20:36
promises 2:32:20 2:33:47 2:35:26 2:37:52 2:40:48 2:43:00 2:23:21 2:24:55 2:26:50 2:28:09 2:30:04 2:31:25
< < < 2 finger scroll > > > 2 finger scroll < < < 2 finger scroll > > > 2 finger scroll < < < 2 finger scroll > > > 2 finger scroll

I’m constantly trying to find more effective ways of conveying long and/or dense video information such as this. Aside from some issues with the YouTube offset hyperlinks not working on my iPhone’s iOS4.0 (it used to work under a previous OS, am still investigating), I’m not sure what else I could do to make debate footage such as this more engaging, or easier to navigate.

If you have any suggestions, or critiques of the 4 minute “highlight roll” at the start, let me know.

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SONY HDR-SR1 Picture Utility Download

SONY Picture Utility - Not in the SONY folderSONY included a utility with their HDR-SR1 camcorder for copying video clips from the camcorder’s hard drive to PC hard drive. On many occasions I’ve needed to copy footage from my HDR-SR1 to someone else’s PC. To do so without the Picture Utility sometimes causes grief…

On the HDR-SR1 drive, video files are stores as .MTS files, up to 2 GB in size. Filenames are automatically incremented as the camera records, so the 2 GB filesize limit is never crossed.

I’ve found SONY Vegas is picky about importing MTS files when filenames are auto-incremented. Usually they import, but sometimes they have not.

SONY Picture Utility addresses this, by combining the auto-incremented-filename MTS files into bigger-than-2GB .M2TS file(s). And, you have the convenience of having a single video clip, for any single video shot, instead of 2GB fragments.

Many of us have lost, or misplaced our software DVDs which came with our cameras. And unfortunately SONY does not offer this program for download.

If you somehow manage to come across a copy of SONY Picture Utility, I’d grab it just in case you ever have an .MTS file SONY Vegas can’t read.

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Calgary Mayoral Candidates Forum

On August 12th, Calgary’s mayoral candidates met at Holy Trinity Family Centre to compare their platforms, and answer questions posed by the local community. This footage is released under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license.

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candidate
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00:14 48:45 Naheed Nenshi nenshi.ca
02:27 45:42 Jon Lord jonlord.ca
04:49 44:51 Bev Longstaff for Wayne Stewart waynestewart.ca
06:49 41:38 Barb Higgins barbhiggins.ca
09:00 38:29 Joe Connelly joeformayor.ca
11:10 35:22 Alnoor Kassam alnoorkassam.com
13:17 32:13 Bob Hawkesworth bob4mayor.ca
15:29 28:59 Ric Mciver ricmciver.ca
17:38 26:11 Craig Burrows craigburrows.ca
19:58 23:11 Kent Hehr kenthehr.ca

This represents a slight alternation in the chronology of events, as originally each candidate was introduced by Wil Tigley, then each candidate was allowed to describe their platform, then each candidate closed by addressing 3 questions.

I’ve combined Wil Tigley’s introduction with each candidate’s description of their platform. That way the viewer isn’t trying to remember what a candidate’s bio is by the time they’re finally speaking.

If this is a concern, the raw footage is always available on the Internet Archive.

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By Any Means Necessary – Calgary Film Race

Before I vent, here’s our video. Our team featured many-a-fan of Shane Carruth’s Primer, and we were eager to see what we could pack into our Film Racing submission (which the rules cap at 4 minutes). We’re pretty darn happy with how it turned out!

However, we were beaten in all categories by Dink Pajama Party’s “Normal”, which everyone agrees kicked much ass. (Fun fact: Parts of it were shot in Calgary’s Hackerspace.)

If you get a chance to participate in a Film Race in your city, it is a heck of a fun way to spend 24 hours… plus the nap which follows.

Now, onto the anger.

SONY Vegas isn’t the worst purchase I’ve ever made… it has served me for years, and is pretty good at importing the broad range of video formats I throw at it. It has low overhead, and (big plus) can have multiple instances run at once.

And today’s SONY Vegas, run on my quad-core machine with 7 GB of RAM and 64-bit Windows 7, may occasionally crash, but it tends to recover work nicely and can get the editing job done.

But… the one thing Vegas never perfected: Exporting projects to various rendered formats.

“Gord,” you say, “Maybe you should point this out to SONY, and not be posting it on your blog like a whiny little bitch.”

Yeah, I’ve tried that. I’ve offered to ship a frigging hard drive full of video projects to SONY so they could run unit tests against the various projects to determine why renders fail. I’ve pointed out in the forums that projects can fail to render due to nothing more than project length.

I don’t think they care.

So when the Calgary Film Racing 2010 program guide includes an ad for SONY Vegas, and Calgary Film Racing asked for video projects to be submitted in QuickTime DV format, I was wondering…

Has anyone ever tried exporting a SONY Vegas project to QuickTime DV?

I’ll tell you what happens when I do it. Year after year. On different machines, different Windows operating systems.

The progress bar moves towards 100%, but never reaches 100%. Estimated time to render keeps increasing. Forever.

When you’re trying to meet a Film Racing deadline, that will kill you. SONY Vegas, the product advertised in the Film Racing program guide, will ruin your chances of making the 24 hour deadline.

Due to a bug that’s been there… certainly for the past 3 years I’ve been using Vegas. It is still there, in version 9.0e (64-bit).

That was the deadline-critical project I didn’t quite render this week with SONY Vegas. The less important one was a 90 minute comedy feature.

The feature will not render out using the SONY Vegas MainConcept MPEG-4 variable bit rate encoder. It crashes with an “unknown error”. It can be rendered with a SONY MPEG-4 constant bit rate encoder… which is just great if optimizing for high quality isn’t your thing.

That’s two export fails. In one week. Not one-time crashes. These are consistent, repeatable failures.

Vegas has really improved since I migrated from 32-bit to 64-bit… 32-bit was unusable for long, complex projects. No out-of-memory errors. Just frequent crashes when editing. Persistent crashes when rendering. I used have to render complex projects in tiny fragments, and piece them together in another simpler Vegas project. It isn’t that bad any more.

But the saddest thing about SONY Vegas is that I have no reason to think their QuickTime DV or MainConcept MPEG-4 rendering bugs will ever be addressed. They’ve been there for years. And SONY has no means of replicating these issues, so how can they be expected to fix them?

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Calgary mayoral candidate Naheed Nenshi

Having seen Naheed Nenshi speak at TEDxCalgary on the subject of “Calgary 3.0”, I wanted to hear his mayoral pitch.

His July 7th reception at Art Central was my first opportunity to do so. I was too busy taping to get an answer to the questions: “Are you concerned about splitting the (social) progressive vote? Can you pursue Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) as mayor for civic elections?” Maybe next time I see him we’ll get to discuss it.

For more information on the Nenshi mayoral campaign, visit the official website.

This footage of Naheed Nenshi is released under a Creative Commons share-alike license, and is available for download and recycling from Internet Archive.

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