Kevin O'Donnell's blog

It's complicated, but it's not a conflict.

In the last few weeks a few people have asked pointed questions about the relationships I have with people at City Hall. The tenor of their questions seems to be that my various activities (as a business person, a resident, an activist, and a volunteer) are somehow inappropriate.

They are not.

Jerboa Consulting Inc.

I am an independent contractor who provides a fixed service for a fixed price.

Sidewalks are for signs that are for drivers, dontchaknow

The constant stream of obstacles and grief sidewalk users have to put up with drives me nuts sometimes. Sometimes being driven nuts drives me to tweet. Other times it drives me to write letters like the one I just sent, below, to Dan Séguin, Manager of Media and Public Affairs at Hydro Ottawa.

Mr. Séguin has already replied that he's received my email and is forwarding it internally for a response. I'll update this post when it comes.

Bicycle Licensing report by the City of Ottawa, 2012

The idea that cities should license bicycles, or the people riding them, will keep coming up until the heat death of the universe. Did you know the City of Ottawa has already looked into it? Below is the response to a councillor's inquiry about it, which I post here so it's always easy to find down the road. Because this "good idea" will keep coming up until the heat death of the universe.

Real enforcement means we need to ticket cars, never mind the drivers

We have a problem in Ontario. We have some very sensible laws that regulate traffic to make it safe. Our sensible laws include things like "obey traffic signs". We can agree that obeying signs is a good idea, right?

The problem we have in Ontario is that these signs are impossible to enforce. For police to issue a ticket they have to see the infraction happen, they have to pull the car over and issue a ticket to the driver of the vehicle.

Big fat index page

Turns out Google cannot reach into the federal government's open data page because the "robots.txt" file says it can't.

Leveraging the data portal's API I've created an index page of packages available via (WARNING: it's 20MB of nothing very interesting, other than to search robots). This will let Google find the meta data and will hopefully lead to more results showing up in Google searches.

Should know within a week or so. Google is very fast to update their search index these days.

Open Letter - Municipal Elections Act Reforms - MPP Yasir Naqvi

UPDATE: My open letter was forwarded to Minister McMeekin. I received a response from him on May 6th. It's appended at the bottom of this page. I haven't heard of any official process for participating in the consultations. In the mean time, I'm sure your thoughts on this topic are welcome at the Ministry's email address:

Hello Yasir,

Things You Can Do: Emailing Committee of Adjustment

How do you move the needle on how your city evolves? Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's easier. Commenting on Committee of Adjustment applications can be an easy one*.

The way CoA works is you have to show up to the meeting (April 15th in this case) in order to have legal rights in the process (notification of the written decision, the ability to appeal the decision to the OMB, etc). That said, if you email they will forward your comments to the Board, and the Board does take those comments into consideration.