We’ve been doing a lot of work on the People’s Agenda project, but we haven’t been doing much of it out loud lately, so it’s time for an update.
We’re grateful to the hundreds of people who answered our question about the issues that matter to them and participated in the eight listening sessions we organized around those responses. They conveyed so much passion, intelligence, and curiosity to us, all of which is fuelling the next phase of this project.
As we noted in our previous progress report, the next steps are to generate a voter’s guide indicating where the candidates stand on the issues people told us they cared about, and to publish stories further examining some of the issues we heard about.
Foundation laid for voter’s guide
We have developed a questionnaire that we will be asking candidates to fill out indicating where they stand on various issues, derived from what we heard from participants in the People’s Agenda and bolstered by the close attention we pay to city council. The questionnaire consists of 30 multiple-choice questions organized in groups of three under 10 headings: economy; environment; finances; housing and homelessness; planning; police; politics and governance; quality of life; roads; and transit.
The questionnaire doesn’t cover every issue that was raised in our gathering phase, but we’ve done our best to create a representative sample with a range of answers that will allow candidates to demonstrate their values and the approaches they would take to matters that the next city council will face. We will also invite them to share a pitch to voters, which we will publish along with their answers to the survey.
Our desire is to create an interactive guide similar to what a site called The City created for New York’s recent mayoral election. The City compiled candidates’ answers, and then made the same questionnaire available to New Yorkers so they could learn which candidates were most aligned with them. We are working to generate a similar experience so Edmontonians can find out which candidates for their ward and the mayoralty are the best fit for them.
The questionnaire will be sent to candidates soon. If you are running, please fill it out — we will be sharing the results far and wide, and this will help you find your voters. If you are working for a campaign, please make sure your candidate fills it out. And if you are a voter, kindly nudge them to fill it out.
Stories are in the works
We’ve published the first feature story inspired by People’s Agenda participants: This social-services experiment is working — could there be more?. The idea to take a closer look at the C5 North East Hub came out of a discussion during our listening session on housing and homelessness. As reporter Jackson Spring discovered, the hub seems to be working for people in a part of the city that needs support and doesn’t have easy access to it, but its future depends on whether the next city council decides to fund it.
We’ve got some other features in the works on such issues as 15-minute districts, public toilets, and carbon accounting. The answers to our questionnaire will also yield stories about each ward and act as a jumping-off point for deeper examinations of the questions at play.
More election-related matters
We’ve started a regular feature in The Pulse called the municipal election rundown, gathering up what the candidates are up to. Right now, that runs on Thursdays. Subscribe to The Pulse to get it for free every weekday.
You’ll also hear an increasing amount of campaign coverage on Speaking Municipally, our award-winning weekly look at municipal issues in Edmonton, hosted by Troy Pavlek and Mack Male. That comes out every Friday at noon.