In 2011, I was honoured to be elected to council for the City of Vancouver.
Being one of two NPA representatives on council, I understood that our job would be to act as the voice of opposition, when necessary, but over time I became genuinely shocked at the anger and frustration from citizens across Vancouver about the way the Vision-dominated council manages our city’s affairs.
My background in journalism, business, and volunteer work provided me with a skills toolkit to oversee the policy work that is required as a councillor.
But once I realized that decisions were being made behind closed doors and that, with a majority of seats on council, park board, and school board, Vision would rubber stamp development proposals, controversial policy changes, and complicated staff reports, I soon came to realize that democracy was dead at Vancouver’s city hall under Vision rule and no matter how much I, or the people of the Vancouver fought and yelled, (or sued on 16 occasions) it has made not an ounce of difference.
To say I am disappointed would be an understatement. Vision, Mayor Robertson, and his backroom team run Vancouver like an autocracy. They think they have the divine right to make decisions because they truly believe they know best, no matter what the people say. Not only is this bad for morale across the city and for staff at city hall, who are leaving in droves, it is terrible for creating a city where good ideas should be embraced, not shot down or mocked as Vision does consistently in the chamber at 12th and Cambie.
My goal is to win another term. I am proud of the NPA team, led by Kirk LaPointe. While it has been a frustrating three years for me, it has also been hugely rewarding, hearing first hand from citizens who take the time to come to council and show passion about their neighbourhoods.
As well, I believe that even in opposition I have managed to drive a few things through that will help the city, like the future of False Creek South lands, a permanent boathouse for the dragon boat and paddling community, expanding opportunities for the craft beer and sprits community, and raising the public’s awareness around spending that is out of control, as exemplified in the city’s communications department (or non-communications department, or Spin Machine Central), where the staff numbers increased from a few to more than 20 and the budget has gone from a few hundred thousand dollars to several million.
On November 15, don’t believe the Vision election platform that choosing the NPA is a step backward. Choose the NPA; we have a solid track record governing the city responsibly, respecting the wishes of the people, and—moving forward—have a highly skilled team ready to take on the responsibility of making Vancouver great.