I ran for Mayor out of a yearning to dig out the pertinent and otherwise nitty gritty bits of information on how our particular council runs. I am finding the minutiae of municipalities to be rather muddled and inaccessible. I have a mind for what may to some seem mundane and boring. As long as I may use this mind to help those around me understand and in some small cases control their environment, then this is truly a good thing.
2) What do you think of the performance of the last council?
Personally, I believe in the good of people. I do truly believe that people are inherently doing what they believe to be the best of their options. The last council was presented with many challenges and suffice to say they made it through and the efforts of the council and the city staff are all around us. Given the same situation and information myself would I have made the same decisions? It is impossible to say that I could have saved the council from any unseemly errors, if we can call them errors and not justifiably call them attempts. In closing, I believe that the council did what they could with what they had and we owe them a great deal of gratitude for civic service can be a thankless and over-whelming undertaking.
3) Please describe your position/ideas on the following issues:
I personally am just learning the lower echelons of how taxes work within our Government. This is something that has not seen the last of Scott Nightingale. Taxes will always be daunting and unappreciated, but they are a necessary element in the City's tool belt and would seem to be an effective source of revenue albeit far from perfect or pleasurable. Only clarity will save you from the lions. Clear descriptions of how taxes are used will quell the fires that lie in the taxpayer’s heart. If they can see their taxes at work, they are LESS likely to be concerned.
I can not wait to get my hands on the budget and an economist. This to me is a lesson sent from heaven. Right now I have a wing of desire and a prayer that one day I will master the budget and delegate myself to improve upon it. It is a tempestuous beast and there is nearly never enough. The bleeding hearts of me and my people would likely give all our money away but we would not like it later. The budget is about reserve and preventative maintenance right now as the projects pile high and the federal funding seems foggy somewhere maybe in the future. The budget must be kept calm and cared for like a cholicky child.
Transit is a service that the city requires. A healthy transit makes for a healthy interconnected community. It is important to get people where they need to go when they need to get there. This being said, transit is a huge headache and Guelph is an inconsistent user of public transit, or I’m lead to believe that by surveys and studies. I personally have been led to believe this more by experience and from what I hear on the street. And the street says we need transit and transit needs the backing of the city.
D is for Development and it is coming. Oooh boy is it coming. The development is designed to keep Guelph a strong community involved in Guelph things done by mostly Guelphites. The developers are married to the city and in this marriage there must be compromise on both sides. The Council must make the city appealing and lure in development: residential, commercial and industrial. In order to be appealing there must be infrastructure. The last council has got the ball rolling all we have to do now is build a foundation of trust between the people and their businesses and the City and its council.
e) Arts & Culture
Lastly, but not leastly, Arts and Culture are alive and limping in Guelph. There are many artists and many opportunities for culture in the City if you know where to look for them. We have but to give them a venue and a nice big green pat on the back. But who, who do we give the venue to and who the green backs? I would say there is a turning of the tide in the young, they want to have something, to be involved in making the city the greatest it always has been. We must celebrate our alumni artists and encourage them to leg up the little guys. With an arts community there comes great opportunity for something new. A colossal web of culture can be founded right here in Guelph but it will take some back breaking labour and serious hours of volunteering to make it a good solid lasting community. They are out there and they are working hard. Let's shine a light on them.
4) Is there another issue that you’d specifically like to highlight/focus on?
An issue I would like highlighted specifically is our plight of voter apathy. As the machinations of municipal politics gets more and more convoluted so does wane the interest of the every man. We work hard these days to survive and raise a family and maybe even find some time to relax. Budding young families are popping up all over the place but times get harder and the recession doesn’t help. My issue is with ground level democracy, empowering the public to not necessarily be knowledgeable about all the issues in the city, but to feel as though they can understand and even act within the city. Right down to permits and tax receipts there should be a co-operative feel to local government. I would like to take back the town and give it to the people. But, governance is a two way street. If I can start a fire people might just stare at it for hours and see in its licking flames exactly what they want, and if that fire should spread then maybe just maybe we can really have a democracy.
5) What’s your message for voters?
Love something, learn about it, and never lie to yourself or others. Get out there and vote, get out there and educate, get out there and act.