So far the 2014 Municipal Election has been an amazing experience for me. I’ve had my eyes opened to some positive opportunities to build a better local government.
I’ve also been able to listen to my cohort, and get a better understanding of what they need. Along the way I’ve challenged some of my own long-held views, and hopefully come up with better ones to bring to council this November.
It’s certainly been made clear to me that we have a long way to go towards engaging the youth in politics and serving them with government function.
How do we start connecting?
Citizens of all generations will become more engaged when our discourse becomes more practical and less politicized.
Using ideology, fluffy language, and veiled accusations will not serve to communicate the practicality of any candidate or platform. Likewise it will not work to inspire the upcoming generation to vote or be involved.
It’s the primary reason why I’ve chosen to stay out of political debates focussed on persons alone. I’m also actively speaking to all participants in a collaborative and practical fashion, as I feel all candidates should.
Furthermore, I have not chosen sides on any issues of politicization, but rather focussed on principles I know I can stick to over the next 4 years.
I’ve also found it’s a good exercise to de-politicize my own language, so I’m going to start with my previously stated 4 points (link), which are my guiding principles.
The practical measures outlined below are the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how I will actually do this, in each and every vote, if elected Councillor.
I further challenge other candidates to ‘de-politicize’ their content, and offer clearly communicated measures for voters to choose.
I have a clear idea of what I want future budgets to look like: balanced operating budget with room for infrastructure investments.
I will not vote for a budget if it contains less than 10% total investment in infrastructure, and likewise if it isn’t balanced in the near term, or uses reserves without a clear ‘path to payback’.
I’ll be working collaboratively over my term to push infrastructure investments higher in weight towards 25% of total budget. I think the single best way to serve all generations, is by making sure we keep investing in facilities, and replacing and improving aging infrastructure.
I believe there are other opportunities to further trim the operating budget of the district.
Along these lines, I’d like my first resolution brought forward in council to be a 5% pay cut for all Councillors and Mayor.
We can afford a pay cut, but the measure is more symbolic than substance. By doing this, we can set the tone early that we’re here to re-work the budget towards improving our service delivery. Let’s start with our own wages, and work over the next 4 years to see if we can further remove 5% cost off the top of everything we do at the District.
I will be open and forthcoming about my intentions behind every single council vote. Feel free to ask me, and I will happily tell you why I voted a certain way on any item.
In fact I’ll go further by listing reasons on my webpage for all major budget items. We may not always agree, but I will be open to communicating the information that influenced my vote.
With practice, I hope we can make this the ‘new normal’ for all members of council.
There is an opportunity at every juncture to ‘tweak’ council decisions to correspond with green values, and that includes the functioning of council itself.
These are meant to be practical measures, and should extend to all levels of function in District activities e.g. forgoing hard-copy printing whenever possible, ‘idle-free’ vehicle policy, energy efficiency upgrades to District infrastructure.
My personal goal for my first year on council is to arrive having done the most research of any Councillor at every meeting. This is partly to combat my disadvantage as a first-time councillor, but foremost to ensure that my perspectives are based in solid and substantial research.
I aim to be pragmatic, and offer workable solutions that can help all generations meet their needs. Specifically by targeting young people, I believe we can renew our whole system, leading to benefit for the entire community.
I will always engage with respect, and keep debate focussed on the issues.
I will bring in-depth knowledge of economic systems and the built environment to the table, and make sure I listen to all sides before I act.