Update (September 22): Wesley Mussio has withdrawn his candidacy over differences regarding the Cedar Party’s election strategy.
As long-time Vancouverite, business owner, and father, I am excited to announce my intention to represent the Cedar Party by running for a seat on Vancouver city council in this year’s upcoming election. If I am elected, I would be honoured to represent my local neighbourhood of Kerrisdale and all of Vancouver’s diverse residents and communities as I work toward revitalizing our beloved city’s broken democracy.
For years I have watched the current government make a series of seemingly unilateral decisions to vastly change the communities in Vancouver. Rather than fully engage neighbourhoods and citizens in urban planning, the city has imposed unsuitable large-scale commercial developments in many once-quiet neighbourhoods throughout our beautiful city, from East Van to Granville Street to the West Side and downtown. Many decisions surrounding these local developments have already been made even before the mandatory public hearing takes place, thus democracy and the power of the electorate is lost. This must change: If elected as a city councillor, I will devote my service to bringing authority of such decisions back to individual neighbourhoods, giving residents a say in the changes that specifically impact them and their families.
Another significant concern of mine is a series of city-owned properties that have been sold or leased without first releasing them into the marketplace in order to determine the best price and option available. By failing to do so, the city has not maximized the revenue from these properties on behalf of taxpayers, and has also raised suspicions of backroom “sweetheart deals” taking place for political insiders. As a city councillor, I would ensure that no such deals took place and would fight to change the current status quo of consistent off-market deals. It is imperative that city council generates maximum revenue from the sale or leasing of public-owned properties on behalf of Vancouver taxpayers.
I have always been a strong advocate for equality, specifically as it relates to tax dollars spent on capital improvements and infrastructure. The current government, at the expense of other users, has imposed multiple bike lanes without considering the impact on other users, including vehicle traffic, residents, and commuters. While some bike lanes and multiple-use roads are an important part of our city’s infrastructure, there must be limits on the extent of the development of single-use bike lanes, especially considering the fact that the current government has done very little to compensate vehicle traffic for the loss of multiple roadways in Vancouver. As a result, our current government has wasted an enormous amount of tax dollars while negatively impacting a large portion of the public with increasing traffic gridlock in numerous communities.
In addition to wasted resources on unwanted and unnecessary infrastructure, the number of civic workers and the cost of the workforce has increased at an alarming pace over the past few years. Although I am in full support of funding crucial and valuable municipal employees such as sanitation workers, police, and fire departments, I have concern over the increasing cost of wages for communications departments, social media managers, sustainability departments, and special task forces. I believe it is essential for a responsible government to objectively analyze the need for these “human” resources as well.
I am honoured to be running for Vancouver city council alongside fellow Cedar Party candidates Glen Chernen (mayoral candidate), Charlene Gunn (city councillor candidate), Jeremy Gustafson (city councillor candidate), and Nicholas Chernen (city councillor candidate). Together, we will bring about the democratic change that is long overdue in the City of Vancouver.