LET'S END TOP DOWN DECISON-MAKING! PRO BUSINESS, PRO COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT, END THE TAX HIKES.
With over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur in timber frame architecture and business I am excited to contribute to civic politics and represent you in Ward 9. Instead of complaining about bad decisions and citizen's voices not being respected it's time to get involved for positive change! Calgary council needs a huge injection of optimistic spirit and business minded professionalism. I do not have a political machine to target voters but instead I am talking to everyone and LISTENING. I want to understand what is important to citizens and be their strong voice and RESPECTFUL ADVOCATE!
Born and raised in southern Alberta as a 'prairie girl' my professional background combines a business degree with work experience in the oil industry followed by a Masters degree in Architecture. As an experienced small business owner in design, I am well versed in Calgary's planning issues. I will bring a hard work ethic and multi-faceted skill sets from managing several files in architecture, project management and business to take on complex challenges at Calgary City Council.
EFFECTIVE DECISION MAKING based on EXPERIENCE with RESPECT FOR TAX DOLLARS.
An entrepreneur myself I understand the challenges small businesses face in Calgary. Tax hikes during a recession hurt. Yet where is the financial restraint with council? I also understand the pressures citizens of Ward 9 - mature neighbourhoods face when suddenly zoning and planning rule changes impact their properties.
Many citizens feel decisions are made by City council that go against the will of the communities they purport to represent. People want to be HEARD and they want their neighbourhood and VOICES RESPECTED not paid lip service to when decisions are already made then 'sold' to the communities via expensive PR paid for by taxpayers.
I PROPOSE MEANINGFUL CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT ---TRUE, GENUINE AND RESPECTFUL!
A democracy is only as strong as it's foundation. We need more than new paint at city hall -- we need to fortify the democratic foundations for real accountability to taxpayers. Power is very centralized in council under the current system. Council appoints the boards and committees and this should be a process that ensures independence and impartiality.
END ALL POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS. I propose a citizens committee be created that represents all communities in Calgary to select the members of committees and boards. This would include the CPC, SDAB -- the very powerful planning boards. These must be INDEPENDENT and non politicized. Councilors should NEVER be percieved to be advocating for or against private interests but must be impartial. The playing field must be equal for all and must be seen to be equal for all. Red tape needs to be cleared out with rules simply understood and equally applied.
TERM LIMITS. I propose a ONE YEAR term for a councilor on the CPC -- Calgary Planning Commission. I also would propose a single councilor only on this board to prevent any possibility of political motivations. This is a very powerful board as it involves the control of land. It must be be IMPARTIAL and INDEPENDENT and seen to be to ensure public trust in this board.
FIREWALLS are needed between councilors and planning administration. In civic politics you're dealing with the CONTROL OF LAND so there's often competing interests. The big cities in Canada have put in controls to ensure there is no possibility of conflict of interest or privilege on council to this end. Time Calgary rises up to high standards. One cannot underestimate the importance of this. NO citizen, business, or development should be subjected to the potential bias or favoritism of any councilor ever. This must be legislated to ensure an equal playing field for all.
TRANSPARENCY on all city contracts. All contracts must go out to tender and be easily accessed on the City of Calgary website - a SUNSHINE list on all contracts. Public accountability.
FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY -- END TAX HIKES In 5 years business taxes increased 180%. Property taxes have increased 60% also over 5 years. Is this responsible fiscal management? It certainly is not and all during a painful downturn in the economy. Do you trust the current council to be responsible with this track record?
MORE COMMUNITY SELF DETERMINATION -- I propose we give communities more determination over their destiny. A more POWEFUL VOICE. It's time we pulled funds from Ward offices and sent it to community planning boards so they can 'DO THE DRIVING'. They know where the best areas are for densification, rezoning and vital green spaces worth protecting. Decisions based on solid knowledge and community input protected from political interference.
THOUGHTFUL DENSIFICATION -- Ad Hoc densification is a failed solution. It disrupts neighbourhoods and often negatively impacts existing home owner's quality of lives and property integrity. Intensive rezoning is afoot designed from 'ON HIGH' and even with fierce reistance at the community level it is being pushed thru. Citizens voices NOT HEARD NOT RESPECTED.
So much frustration I hear in the community from all these uninvited non-democratic top down changes. To change the way politics is done we must start by changing those who DO POLITICS. We must end this cycle and bring back TRUE REPRESENTATION of citizen's voices. I would challenge everyone running for council to sign on to these foundational changes. If not ask WHY? Why have city hall operate like the former Canadian senate where it is set up with political appointments.
TRANSPORTATION SOLUTIONS. Why is the 'celebrated' Greenline not destined for the airport or any hospital? 4.6 billion$ for 20 kms. NOT to the suburbs, hospitals or airport? How is this a transportation solution when it will not remove cars from Deerfoot trail or decrease smog? Where will we find the next 5 billion$ to actually construct it to the suburbs at the very least? All with debt financing at at time when 33% of downtown offices are vacant and unemployment high. Are the rider numbers there for the 4.6B$ route? Will this operate at a loss once the first phase is built? We need full transparency on these decisions. Do others sense this disconnect?
GREEN BINS. More taxes more fees -- greenbins alone add 6.50$ per month then add the special bags and it's over 10$ per month. Another $120 per year per household yet condos are not in this mix so house owners are subsidizing this program for the city. Did anyone consult the citizens on this decision?
GREENLINE, GREEN BINS ....MORE DEBT; LESS AND LESS PUBLIC INPUT. We need CHANGE!
MORE -- FISCAL PRUDENCE, INDEPENDENCE, TRANSPARENCY
GREEN SPACES -- if there is a pet project of mine it will be to champion more green spaces not less, more off leash parks for dogs in communities that are walkable -- these are the spaces to energize us, unwind, engage with our families and neighbours in nature. The tonic to a busy techno world. Frankly, it seems green spaces to our councilor are merely viewed as another piece of land to rezone for more density and pave over.
A paved over neighbourhood isn't what we in Ward 9 moved here to become. We're Albertans; we LOVE our space, our big skies, our gardens and straight talk -- honest and candid -- sincere. I call it 'Prairie directness'.
LET'S GET OUT THERE AND BE THE CHANGE!
Look forward to meeting you on the campaign trail as Ward 9 candidate in Calgary! Thank you. Cheers!
Calgary, Alberta, Canada