Monday gives Victoria’s mayoral candidates a grilling for you
We asked, they told. Now, you have to power to decide who wins your affection — and vote — by checking out our Victoria mayoral candidates’ not-so-secret plans for our city, should they win ruling power, and a few other questions that could help sort out your voter quandaries.
Q: What will be your most important priority as mayor?A: There are many competing interests and needs in our community. Whether it is more supportive and affordable housing, public transportation, more parks or ageing infrastructure, there is no shortage of projects that will enhance our city for the benefit of everyone. I remain committed to all of these vital projects, but how we pay for them is a big question. That is why I believe economic development is a priority right now. Our Made-In-Victoria Economic Development Strategy will help Victoria continue building a strong, diversified and green economic future.
Q: What do you see as your greatest challenge to winning this election?A: The greatest challenge is also the greatest opportunity — making sure I am reaching out and engaging with as many people as possible. It is through meaningful community outreach that we make the best decisions for the future of our city. I have learned so much over the last three years and believe we have made significant progress on key issues. But there is much more to do, and I hope to be granted the honour of continuing this important work for another term.
Q: What is one thing the voting public does not know about you yet?A: I coach girls’ basketball, and have for many years. Currently, I have the great pleasure of coaching my daughter in the Under-11 girls Night League. I believe that sport is a great way for youth to get active and learn to work together as a team. Plus, it is a lot of fun and a great way to give back to the community.
Q: What will be your most important priority as mayor?A: To focus City Hall’s attention on issues it can actually influence. Council is presently spending the bulk of its time on small problems, like building public urinals and re-landscaping Pandora Green, while letting our roads, bridges and public facilities fall apart. City Hall should not be afraid to tackle the tough issues. For me, the most important issue is the city’s finances. City Hall has cut services and grants to community groups, jacked property taxes — seven per cent last year alone, which hits renters as much as owners — and tripled the number of city staff paid more than $75,000 a year. If we ever hope to solve homelessness, keep Victoria affordable and build for the future, we need to spend our money more wisely.
Q: What do you see as your greatest challenge to winning this election?A: Getting my message out. I am not a politician, and I am not supported up by a political party. I will tell people what they need to hear, not what some policy analyst thinks they want to hear.
Q: What is one thing the voting public does not know about you yet?A: My wife is not excited about me running, but she is supportive. Jill, you are my sweetheart.
Q: What will be your most important priority as mayor?A: Common Sense has been missing in City Hall for too long. I will work to re-install it as the main mechanism for problem solving. I will create several access points to relevant information and stimulate debate about directions to pursue. I will fund the community centres to a level enabling them to facilitate genuine community-building initiatives and I will create Dignity Villages for those of us who have been left out in the cold for too long. I will shift the spending of our $200-million annual budget toward those changes this community has been in need of for quite some time. I will make sure all those shifts are done in an open and accountable manner in the light of day and with plenty of opportunity for all to chime in. I will place more demands on those in leadership roles of the city and supply more support for the workers who provide the results.
Q: What do you see as your greatest challenge to winning this election?A: The biggest challenge to winning is inspiring people to believe they can defeat the establishment and win our democracy back. Victoria in the hands of the people is something to strive for. Affordable Equity-Gaining Housing Strategies and Reasonable Services for those truly in need are quite possible, so wake up your neighbours — 48,000 of them typically don't vote.
Q: What is one thing the voting public does not know about you yet?A: My top eight councilors List: Ben Isitt, for being the working man’s hero, Rose Henry, for advocating for the well being of all people, Lisa Helps, for getting great things done, Shellie Gudgeon, I have heard so many terrific things, John Turner, committed, creative and resourceful, Linda McGrew, excitingly entrepreneurial and forward-thinking, Philippe Lucas, for how he stands on the issues and, last but by no means least, Geoff Young, for his genuine integrity and sensible perspective. My Dream Council: help me make it come true. M
Editor's note: candidate David Shebib was invited to participate in this Q&A, but declined.