Village People Update

Lifted this photo from Facebook. It shows Regina-based pop-cabaret performer Jeff Straker meeting up with the Village People following their performance at the Casino on Tuesday night (he's the one in the feathered headress).

Election Over

While the results won't be official until Friday, the results are pretty much settled now. Mayor Fiacco is back in with 85% of the vote. Eight out of ten councillors will be returning. You can look at the totals on the city's election results for council, mayor and school boards are website here.

I'll crack open my envelope of election guesses. But I can already tell you I'm certainly not batting 1000. But I'm going to wait until I've had a beer. Or ten.

EDIT: Steve says I shouldn't be closed minded and maybe have some shots. We'll be at O'Hanlons. You can find us there.

The Football Player, Part Two

Paul and I just interviewed Chris Szarka, the football player councillor I was disdainful of in an earlier post. Nice guy. His concern isn't "one note" as I reported earlier, it's actually two-note: property taxes (high) and services (bad). I asked him to reconcile what seems to me to be contradictory priorities: lowering taxes and improving services. He didn't, I should note, say he wanted to push for lower taxes. What he actually said, and I don't have the direct quote so hopefully I'm paraphrasing correctly, is that people in his ward pay high taxes and have bad services. He specifically mentioned poor, low snow removal and no doorstep mail delivery. Reasonable things to gripe about. But if those can't be improved, he said, the level of taxes need to be revisited.

EDIT: I suspect he might be a Ward 10 secessionist. You heard it from prairie dog's editor first.

So there you go. Back to Dechene, who'll cap the evening with a quick post on the results you certainly shouldn't be reading this blog for.

Mayor Pat Is Back

I'll tell you, people do love Pat Fiacco. Not everyone but more than his critics might think. Semi-interesting story: when I was in Saskatoon last weekend buying the World's Greatest Awesome Rockaroll Coat (but I digress), I was talking to the shop owner about our two cities, comparing what we like and what we don't, that kind of thing. This guy raved about Regina's political bench boss. "He's terrific," said this businessman. "Great promoter of Regina. Not like our mayor at all."

So there you go. Saskatoon wants our mayor. The one guy I talked to proves it.

Public School Looking Very Divided

Incumbents Dale West and Barbara Young are looking pretty locked in to return to school board. Joining them is newcomer, Angela Fraser who won Subdivision 7 by acclamtion. Young and West are part of the council that brought in the controversial 10-year renewal plan, while, according to her campaign literature and profile, Fraser is also a booster of the plan.

Meanwhile, Carla Beck -- Real Renewal member and a critic of the plan -- who won Subdivision 5 by acclamation will find support from Cindy Anderson who is looking very strong in Subdivision 4.

The final winner by acclamation, Timothy Stobbs, and leader in the Subdivision 6 race Katherine Gagne are less strident in their critiques of the plan.

So... in short, three plan supporters, two opponents, and two I can't say one way or the other for certain.

A very fractured result. Curious to see how this board will work out.

Results Stalled

Wondering why the election isn't over yet? There's been a glitch with a few of the voting machines and they're being brought in to election central and their results re-run.... or something to that effect.

Personally, I'm having a pretty good time here and this just adds to the drama.

For the record, I still think it's too early to call Ward 10, Stephen...

31 Days of Horror: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

Today is International Animation Day and ideally I would like to highlight an animated horror movie. But for some strange reason there isn't really any.

There has been some Japanese anime that play with the horror genre like Vampire Hunter D (1985) and Blood: The Last Vampire (2000) but I found Vampire Hunter D to be a mediocre film at best. It's ok but it's more of a fantasy film than a horror movie and Blood: The Last Vampire is more of action film and is only 48 minutes long - it barely gets started and then it's over.

But in 1953 Warner Brothers made the first of the atomic powered giant monster movies and the brilliant Ray Harryhausen provided the stop motion effects.

The movie claims to be based on Ray Bradbury's short story of the same name. In fact the movie was shot and then the producers bought the rights to Bradbury's story to use the name. Bradbury then changed the name of his story to The Fog Horn.

In the arctic during a nuclear bomb test - a frozen dinosaur is awakened and then goes on a rampage in New York City. The beast ends up at the Coney Island amusement park because Disneyland wasn't open yet.

This film started the whole giant monster movie craze and it inspired Japan to create one of the most famous giant monsters of all - Godzilla. Harryhausen's animation is amazing and it's pretty cool that when the monster bleeds, it releases a ancient "horrible, virulent" prehistoric germ that also starts killing the people off who weren't trampled by the beast. The ending at Coney Island is fantastic and the film itself is one of the many highlights of Ray Harryhausen's long career.

The Football Player And Other Stories

Well, it looks like Roughrider and political novice Chris Szarka is destroying incumbant councillor Jerry Flegel. Paul, who unlike me has glasses and can therefore read the numbers on the jumbo screen, says Szarka has 1,746 votes to about 1200 for Councillor Flegel.

Carle Steel, working from her home office, called a community and arts activist for an opinion. Was expecting a good quote but apparently this longtime arts booster and defender of the public interest was speechless.

Our view: Flegel is a right-leaning councillor in a sprawled exurb, so on one hand it's tough to mourn his apparent looming defeat. But in my experience he's also a friendly, polite and intelligent professional politician who listens to his critics.

Chris Szarka was one of only three candidates who did not answer or pre-election candidates survey. As far as I know he's a newbie politician running on a simple-minded, one-note "cut taxes" campaign. Maybe I just don't know enough about him. Well, fine, whatever.

All I can say is, if he wins he has some catching up to do to his yes, perhaps wrong about some important things but still class act predecessor.

As for the titular "other stories", one of our roaming election operatives called in a little while ago. Apparently John Hopkins from the Chamber Of Commerce is on Access television questioning the need to even have a mayoral race when there's so much support for Fiacco. Harrrunk? I know Mayor Pat wouldn't agree with that. I guarantee our city politicians and more democracy and more competitive races. Even if it doesn't always work out for candidates like Jerry Flegel.

Fiacco takes it

31 of 55 polls reporting and its pretty clear that Pat Fiacco will continue as mayor. He has 83.5% of the vote right now. Jim Elliott (picture at right) has taken 12% with 2556 votes so far.

Chris Szarka ... okay, newstalk is calling it the upset of the night and I'm finding it hard to not just transcribe everything I'm hearing.

Here come the results.

The numbers are starting to scroll up the big screens.
Pat Fiacco is way out ahead in the mayoral race. For the council race, it's looking like a good night for incumbents in all wards except Ward 5 where Findura is leading long-term councillor Bill Gray. Also, in Ward 10 the football player is leading incumbent Jerry Flegel by 500 votes.

Media Setting Up

This is the view from the hall. We're sitting next to News Talk, educational listening on their pre-show patter.

Awesome big screens, eh.

Election Night Begins!

We made it! The media are setting up and I'm feeling like a total twit. Haven't got a clue what I'm doing here. Over to Steve.....

Whitworth here. Dechene's got us set up and we're ready to roll. We've never covered an election live and we have no idea what we're doing. I predict awesomeness.

UPDATE: Dechene says there's only one "G" in "blogapalooza". I guess we don't want to steal the "OO"'s thunder. Edit made.

Paul's Picks: The Envelope

Here they are. Sealed up in an envelope and not to be opened until after all the votes are in. My pics for mayor, city council and public school board. (Sorry, catholic school board. I just didn't have a clue how that race is going to go....)

For the record, these are not necessarily the people I would've voted for, they're the people I think will win tonight. Tune in after the results come in (sometime between 8:30pm and 10pm, I'm guessing) and I'll open the envelope and you can see how close I came.

Stephen and I will be at city hall tonight pretending to be press as candidates wait nervously to discover their fate. Apparently, election central is open to the public so if you want to be where the municipal election action is -- and action aplenty there will be -- or if you're just looking for a way to kill the evening, come on out to Henry Baker Hall. If you can't make it, we'll try to "live blog" or some such "online" nonsense.

Ricky Talks!

And writes! And makes a whole bunch of sense in the Canadian cable vs Canadian television companies steel cage match. (Montreal Gazette). Told you getting your Grade 10 is important.

Rider Pride's Dubious anniversary

Rob Vanstone’s article in today’s Leader-Post (LP) details the 30th anniversary of the famous ‘Rider Pride game, where the Riders were mired in a sea of debt, unable to muster fans, and during the $200-a-plate bun-toss, Winnipeg sportswriter John Robertson railed at Saskatchewan the way Bluto rallied Delta House to glory in the last reel of Animal House. Robertson didn’t utter the famous quote ‘WAS IT OVER WHEN THE GERMANS BOMBED PEARL HARBOUR?’ But he may as well have.

Like about 28,000 people, my father and I attended the following home game against the British Columbia Lions, and the Riders won and everyone went home happy. But in the end, there was a shift in Roughrider fans’ mentality, and in the mentality of the Roughrider board of directors (The Powers That be). Saskatchewan people stopped being football fans, and became ‘enablers’ in the 12-step sense of the word. (Alcohol Self Help News). Roughrider fans became known for accepting any crap inserted into green-and-white jerseys, no matter how badly the game was played or how little, um, ‘entertainment’ was in the match.

Season ticket campaigns took the “Ol’ Yeller” routine: unless people bought tickets, they would kill the club … and if that threat were raised, there were a lot of businessmen and sportswriters, their eyes drooling like Glenn Beck, crying about The Need To Save An Important Part of Our Heritage. In many ways, it was a con job – the Riders were in better financial shape than some of the teams that folded (Montreal Alouettes/Concordes, Ottawa Rough Riders) and had better connections to its local business community than other teams in Toronto, Hamilton, and Vancouver. The Roughriders’ real problem was that they didn’t use those connections and financial stability (in relative terms, this was the CFL after all) as a springboard to bigger and better things – they used it as a crutch to have the club limp along a road to nowhere, both in the stands and as an organization.

Except for a couple of years during the Bill Baker era, the Roughriders didn’t seem to operate like a football club whose main ambition in life was to win football games. Instead, the Riders seemed to be run like, say, the Weyburn Exhibition Board. A bunch of businessmen would get together, hire a couple of people to run the show, and give them the order Don’t Lose Money. If you could bring in the same number of people to the grandstand with ‘family entertainment’ rather than a legitimate act that will draw in people, get the ‘family entertainment’ even though in a couple of years the kids are going, “Well, this sucks,’ and are going somewhere else.

I would argue that one of the two most important games in the history of the Saskatchewan Roughriders was not that game, but a game on Thanksgiving Sunday in 1999, when the Riders played Montreal (I think it was the only game that year that the CBC picked up involving the Riders). It was a beautiful fall afternoon in Montreal, and Percival Molson Stadium probably never looked better, as just over 20,000 jammed into the stands at McGill University to see one of the finest, best run best-cached, and best supported football teams in Canada. And the Roughriders.

The Riders were still in some form of a playoff ‘hunt,’ even though they had a 3-11 record at the time. Reggie Slack was the starting quarterback, who had come down with substance abuse issues and the whole squad looked dead on its feet. I remember the Riders down 35-0 at the half, then the first play from scrimmage to begin the third quarter – Tracy Ham of the Als had all day, all freaking day, to decide where he was going to throw, and lobbed the ball to a wide receiver who ran for paydirt … even as the camera pulled the shot back, there wasn’t a Roughrider player in range. I was editing the Fort Qu’Appelle Times at the time and thought, ‘the closest person from Saskatchewan on that play was my member of parliament, in a hot tub in the Gatineaus.’

I watched that game in the kitchen of my parent’s home, while my father, who was about to finish off his combining, finished his lunch. A few years previous, I bought for him a gag gift at a sporting goods store that was going out of business – a ball cap with the Montreal Alouettes logo – the one they used in the mid-70s before they went bankrupt in 1986. When the Als scored that touchdown, he shook his head, looked at his lynch-lid, now covered in durum dust and sweat, and quipped, ‘Gonna have to buy another hat.’

Later on, I did an op-ed piece for the CBC (actually a rewrite of my Fort Times column) that pronounced not just Rider Pride but the Roughriders dead. There was no way that the Riders’ Powers That Be had the vision or the guts to make the sort of changes that would be needed to make the team a contender. There was a generation of Saskatchewan residents who had grown up knowing the Riders as nothing but a pitiful, helpless excuse of an organization. Nothing like it is today.

Vanstone can wax as eloquently as he wishes about the Riders’ Good Old Days, as he has in two recent books, (LP) but for the Roughriders, these days are the good old days. The Roughriders, by all accounts, are the strongest and wealthiest franchise in the CFL, with the Leafs and Canadiens as one of the most recognizable sporting teams in Canada, the top draw for road teams and worth at least a quarter of a million extra viewers per TSN telecast. (SLAM Sports/Sun Media) Rider Pride was a celebration of wimpdom, in that the Riders needed pity and fear to sell tickets: for all the grousing about the greater corporate entity that’s now the Saskatchewan Roughriders, it’s hard to argue with success, on and off the field. Even if they’re a little less loveable in a teddy-bear sort of way.

Six in the Morning: the How to Vote Edition

Election day is here. Not sure how to go about voting? This six-question FAQ should cover everything you need to know....

There are 52 polling locations in the city. The city has set up a handy tool on their website where you type in your address and it tells you where to go vote. Find it here. Alternately, you can phone the city's information line, 777-7000, and someone from city staff can help you find your polling station.

2. WHEN CAN I VOTE? Today. October 28. The polls open at 9 am and will remain open until 8 pm.

3. AM I EVEN ALLOWED TO VOTE? If you're 18 or older, the answer is probably yes. The only catch is on the day of the election you have to be a Canadian citizen, have been a resident of Saskatchewan for six months and a resident of Regina for three months.

And don't think that just because you didn't get a voter card in the mail you're off the hook. You can fill out a voter registration card when you get to the polling station.

4. WHAT WARD AM I IN? The city has a ward map you can consult here.

5. WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL BOARD? If you're voting for a public school trustee, you can find out what subdivision you're in by checking the map on the Public School Board website here. If you're voting for the catholic school board, they use an at-large system so you can vote for any of the candidates running. The seven receiving the most votes will become board members.

6. WHO SHOULD I VOTE FOR? Can't tell you that. But we can tell you how to get more information on everyone who's running.

prairie dog Candidate Profiles
You can pick up one of our latest issues in which you'll find candidate profiles for everyone running for mayor or council (plus great suggestions for Halloween movies). But if you're the type who needs more info, over the last few days we've posted longer profiles for everyone running including those in the school board races. Follow these links to get to them....
City of Regina profiles
The city has lists of candidates with photos and short bios on their website. You can check the mayoral candidates here, the candidates for council here, the candidates for public school board here and the candidates for separate school board here.

Candidate video profiles
The city has also set up a YouTube channel with video clips of each candidate talking about why they're running and what they hope to accomplish. Find it here.

Pick of the Day: Hair

Regina's municipal election is today. Make sure you do your part for democracy and vote for who you think should represent you as mayor, city councillor and school board trustee. If you need incentive, think about checking out this Do-It-With-Class production of the notorious Broadway musical afterwards. It closes out a two-night run with a performance at Conexus Arts Centre at 8 p.m.

Set in the mid-1960s in New York, Hair concerns a group of long-haired "hippies" who, having rejected the conservative values of their parents, embark on a counter-culture lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll while waging a political battle against conscription and the immorality of their country's growing involvement in the Vietnam War.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since the musical debuted. Most of it polluted with ideals that are the polar opposite of those espoused in the musical related to individual freedom, peace, ethnic tolerance and sexual liberation. Earlier this year, though, a revival of Hair opened on Broadway, earning strong reviews along with a Tony Award for best revival of a musical, so maybe the tide truly is starting to turn again.

Do-It-With-Class will doubtlessly have their own take on Hair. But here's video of the Broadway cast performing the title song at the Tony Awards. (YouTube)

And don't forget to vote, okay.