New Year’s Directions for 2016

I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. If you want to make a change in your life don’t wait for an arbitrary date on the calendar to start making those changes just because it’s the first day of a New Year. Having said that though, it seems appropriate to take this time to set goals for the coming year, and this year for Politico I have some big goals. To my mind, nothing makes you working harder to achieve goals than making it known publicly that you have a plan, and in the interest of full disclosure, here are five things you can look forward to changing this year on Guelph Politico.

1) Live-blogging from Council Meetings – I had tremendous success with this at the end of last year covering the Niska Rd. bridge debate and the budget deliberations, so let’s keep doing it. So many people have told me they’ve enjoyed the ease of access, being able to look at their phone and follow along with the latest developments at council, especially when Rogers aired the budget night council meeting four hours after it started. Sure, you can Periscope council too, but people like the quick hits more, so let’s keep it up.

2) More Podcasts – I enjoy putting together the Guelph Politicast weekly, but it’s a lot of work, so I want to make sure that I start putting aside time during the week to make sure this gets done. There are so many people doing great things in Guelph worth highlighting, and there is also an imperative to hearing from our local politicians in a venue that offers more than a couple of soundbites (in other words, having to explain themselves). And how often do we hear from city staff and managers? Or people doing good works or advocacy in the City of Guelph?

3) Transit Coverage – This promises to be a big year for transit, a transitional year. There are broader doings in the surrounding area with the LRT in K-W getting closer to completion, and the promise of all-day GO train service in the not too distant future, but there are serious developments here in Guelph too. There are cuts in Guelph Transit service this year, but next year there’s the promised restructuring of the system, and the implementation of changes to make getting on the bus more appealing. This is important to me because whenever the Mercury writes about transit, it makes me cringe; they don’t take the bus, and the people they talk to at city hall, the managers, also don’t use the bus. These issues, I think, require an insider view, and I that’s something I can bring to the debate.

4) Electoral Reform – This is an issue that’s personally important to many people in Guelph, and with the Federal government making it a priority, it’s definitely worth keeping a local eye on the developments. But more than looking at the developments as they come, and with the Liberals having set an 18-month deadline to pass some form of electoral reform, we need to do more to understand the various electoral systems that might come up in conversation. It’s a mission that I would like to take all the way to the top, with an interview with the new Minister of Democratic Institutions, Maryam Monsef. It may be ambitious for a local Guelph blogger to want a word with the minister in charge, but let’s put those sunny ways to the test…

5) Crowd Funding – This is an imperative for me, to make Guelph Politico a professional and fully-funded media outlet. The increased viability and commonality of crowd sourcing has opened up a door to sustainability for start-ups and new independent media outlets like Canadaland and The Public Record, and it’s a model that I’ve become increasingly convinced will work very well for Guelph. We need it. Many have tried over the years, but the one missing, though wholly necessary, ingredient has been funding, The expected launch date for the Politico Patreon is sometime in February, so stay tuned to learn how you can contribute.

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