News and horrors from the last two weeks
CITY HALL: HOLDEN ON TO WHAT YOU GOT
After a months-long, country-wide search, city hall selected one of their own to become Regina’s next city manager. On Feb. 10, a press release went out from the city’s communications department announcing that a subcommittee of council had selected the director of communications, Chris Holden, for the city’s top administrative job.
Before becoming director of communications, Holden also served eight years as director of community services. But before ascending to those lofty posts, Holden began his 38-year career with the City of Regina as a lifeguard.
Holden will be taking over from Glen Davies, an Ontario native, who held the post for nine years before retiring in November of last year.
By all accounts, Holden is an amicable person to work with. In fact, I’ve interviewed him myself on several occasions and found him friendly and good-humoured.
His amiable nature will serve him well, as will his deep, insider’s knowledge of the city’s workings and its recent years of ambitious growth. Holden will not only be taking over several complex mega-projects — the stadium, the wastewater treatment plant, the Railyards and Southeast Lands developments — but he will also have to grapple with long-standing morale issues at city hall. According to internal job satisfaction surveys, city employee morale has remained below the average for the public sector over the last decade.
Here’s hoping that someone with experience of all levels of city government — from the trenches to the top floors — will be able to bring happier, more satisfying times to our local civil service. /Paul Dechene
DEADPOOL: THE HERO REGINA NEEDS THOUGH NOT NECESSARILY THE ONE IT WANTS
Hollywood’s latest superhero movie opened just before the Valentine’s weekend and it had one hell of a surprise for Queen City residents. Turns out the fictional red-and-black costumed Deadpool — a wacky, talkative assassin who only kills bad guys — was “born” in Regina.
At least that’s what Deadpool said in the movie as he was kicking a villain’s head in.
The revelation was basically a chance for Deadpool, played by Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds, to make the old joke about Regina being “the city that rhymes with fun.”* Some locals complained on social media and in reflexively conservative media outlets, but others — such as the Prairie Dog writers who saw the film on opening weekend — immediately realized that everyone seeing the movie who doesn’t live here (an estimated 99.9975% of the film’s global audience) suddenly became aware our small and delightful city exists.
Now that, my fellow Reginans, is a marketing opportunity. Especially since Deadpool is a smash hit that made close to $250 million before Valentine’s day ended, breaking records for the biggest opening by an R-rated movie along the way.
One savvy local, Luke Oliver, launched a pair of online petitions demanding a Deadpool statue. It’s a great idea. City Hall should get on it, so we can fly Reynolds in for the unveiling. Maybe he’ll even wear the suit — he says he stole one from the production.
But a statue will take a while to build and install. In the meantime, I have another proposal: let’s make sure Deadpool is the #1 movie in Regina and that the world knows it.
Think of Deadpool TV ads and billboards in cities from New York to London to Japan, all with the phrase “The #1 movie in Regina, Saskatchewan.” It’s hilarious. And since Deadpool’s marketing team is demented, I bet they’d totally do this.
It’s a joke that could be worth millions in free publicity to “the city that rhymes with fun.”
Here’s hoping that those charged with promoting Regina held emergency strategy meetings last weekend to take advantage of this opportunity. Because it’d be a real shame if, as the rest of world hears about our city maybe for the first time, professional Regina boosters were all sitting on their oblivious asses, watching TV or something. /Stephen Whitworth
*The joke is funny because “Regina” rhymes with “vagina”, a part of the female body many people enjoy interacting with.