Ward 5 candidate Alex Green grew up just south of Guelph, and went to high school at Centennial C.V.I. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a BSc in Mathematics, where he also showed a talent for being funny, writing for a humour themed U of T student newspaper. He was also active in several organizations that attempted to increase student participation in the political process. Back home in Guelph, Green worked in manufacturing and then enjoyed a brief stint working for Statistics Canada on the 2011 census. Looking for a new field, he went into business for himself as a mobile app developer, creating custom apps for small businesses as well as game and puzzle apps for a broader audience. He also works as search engine analyst, helping the biggest names in the business improve the accuracy of their search results. Alex lives with his partner and her six-year-old son in the University Village neighbourhood, where when his not designing apps or politicking he can be found indulging his hobbies in photography, writing, and board games. Speaking of games, he took time out of his campaign schedule to answer the Guelph Politico candidate questionnaire.
1) Why did you decide to run for city council?
The current council has spent far too much time on grand projects, and not enough time paying attention to the little things that affect people on a day-to-day basis. Transit needs to be improved, snow removal needs to be improved, and sidewalk and road repair needs to be improved.
2) What makes your ward unique to Guelph?
Ward 5 contains the university, and thus has a higher student population than any other ward. We also have the Village by the Arboretum and a number of other retirement facilities, which means we have large numbers of students and seniors living right across the street from each other. Such a large generational divide between residents presents a unique set of challenges.
3) Using a letter grade, how would you rank the performance of the current city council? Explain.
C. It completes work slowly, refuses to listen, and does not work well with others.
4) Some people say that Guelph is over-taxed, others believe that our taxes are inline with a community our size; where do you stand on taxation in Guelph?
The tax rates in Guelph are reasonable, but they've been growing at an unreasonable rate, which is what seems to irk most people. I'm in favour of limiting future tax increases and scheduling them a year in advance so people will know what they're in for.
5) Do you believe that Guelph has a spending problem? If yes, then please cite specific examples of areas and/or programs that you would cut to save money?
It doesn't have a spending problem per se; it's more of a problem with priorities. The city's not allocating money in an efficient manner, and the things it's spending money on aren't always beneficial to everyone.
6) What’s the biggest priority for Guelph in terms of services needed? This could be something that’s provided by the government, ie: a library or rec centre, or it could be a commercial need, ie: a new grocery store in the east end.
Better transit services. If we want to be a city that encourages people to leave their cars at home - and it seems like we do - then they need to be able to get where they want, when they want. You can't take a bus anywhere after about 7pm on Sunday. That's ridiculous.
7) How would you propose to mend relations between the city and transit workers, and to improve the services of Guelph Transit?
Taking lockouts off the table in future contract negotiations. Other than that, the only thing that will mend relations is time. Trust is something that is easily broken, and very hard to rebuild.
8) What will you do to insure the best possible communication between yourself and your constituents if you’re elected to council?
I'll make ample use of social media, since it's a quick and easy way to communicate. However, I'm aware that not everyone uses Facebook and Twitter, so I would be available by phone and email at any time. If possible, I'd also like to set up a regular meeting at the university to try to get the students more interested in what's going on in municipal government.
9) Guelph is implementing online voting for the first time with this election, are you in favour of this development or against it? Explain.
Absolutely in favour. Anything that can increase turnout is a good thing, and any concerns about security or voter fraud are greatly overstated.
10) What issue, aside from any previously mentioned in this questionnaire, do you think should be a priority and why?
Storm water management. The system is in serious need of an upgrade before flooding becomes a problem. It's not an exciting issue, but it's something we need to deal with sooner rather than later.
11) How can local government be a force for good in the lives of the people of Guelph?
The municipal government is in charge of a great many things that affect people's daily lives, but those things are often taken for granted, and it's only when they start to go wrong that anyone starts to notice. Trash collection, property standards enforcement, roads, parks, libraries; all of these things fall under the purview of the local government, and when properly managed, they're all an obvious force for good.
12) Where can voters get more information about you and your campaign?
On my website at www.alexgreen.ca
On Twitter: @VoteAlexGreen
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/VoteAlexGreen