One of the key organizers behind a coalition that fought a proposed casino in downtown Vancouver is running for a seat on city council.
Sandy Garossino, a local business woman, former Crown prosecutor and community activist, announced her city council bid today (October 3) as an independent candidate in the November 19 civic election.
Garossino co-founded the Vancouver, Not Vegas coalition, which campaigned against the proposed construction of a major casino complex next to B.C. Place. City council voted to reject the project last spring.
Garossino said she decided to run following the group’s battle against the casino expansion.
“When you look at what’s happening in civic politics in places like Surrey, in Calgary, in other urban centres that are really doing well, they’re taking a collaborative approach, and one of the keys to that is that they have strong independence involved,” she told the Straight by phone.
“So I think it’s very important that we start opening the doors to independence, and that we get past...the political mudslinging that is going on.”
According to Garossino, improving the city’s public consultation process will be a central plank of her election platform.
“Neighbourhoods are up in arms,” she claimed. “Almost all of the issues that are really dividing the community right now, or that are creating controversy, come from a poor public consultation process.”
The candidate also plans to plans to focus on the issue of affordability.
“The lack of affordability is the monster that’s eating our lunch,” she said. “It’s destroying opportunities for young people, seniors are being stretched to an unbelievable degree, and ordinary people, they need help.”
Garossino noted she's not concerned about going up against candidates from the city's established municipal parties in the November election.
"We know that we can reach into households across the city," she said. "We did that with the casino campaign."
"The power and money that was arrayed against us was massive, and we didn't let that discourage us," she added.
Garossino said she’ll be releasing further details on her platform over the next few weeks.
Her past experience also includes board memberships with the Vancouver International Writers Festival and the Alliance for Arts and Culture.
You can follow Yolande Cole on Twitter at twitter.com/yolandecole.