I’ve been quite active in local issues, from the efforts to save the Pantages Theatre, which sadly failed, to more recent attempts to revive the Hollywood Theatre, which (at the moment) seem to have a good chance of success. I’ve volunteered for a local women’s shelter for 18 years now as a fundraiser. But I never thought about running for office. Until now.
Having spent many years writing letters, signing petitions, attending demonstrations, and pushing for change, this year seems like an opportunity to take my efforts to the next level, gain direct influence on civic decisions, and fight for what’s best for the people of Vancouver. It feels like there’s a desire for a change at City Council, and I have realized that while I haven’t previously thought in terms of a run for office, I in fact have plenty of the skills and requirements to do so. I really love talking to people and building connections. Because of that, I have a large network of friends and colleagues. I’m a good communicator who writes and speaks well. I have a good sense of humour. (Heck, I dressed as Doc Brown to support the Hollywood Theatre, and even sang to City Council for the same purpose!)
But most of all, I have a true passion for this city. I lived here as a kid, and have now lived here for over 20 years as an adult. I’m raising a family here. And I worry about what future Vancouver will be like for my little guy (currently 7) when he’s older.
Affordability is vanishing and we’re discovering more and more the true reasons why. Development and speculation, while a necessary part of a thriving city, have gotten out of control. Spot rezoning has made a mockery of anything like the CityPlan that was supposed to provide a predictable, community-approved growth framework. There are solutions to these issues – some involving multiple levels of government, but many that the City can implement independently but has not.
We treat our heritage architecture with a careless lack of concern or stewardship. The list of vanished icons and beloved – or potentially revitalized – buildings is long. The Ridge Theatre, the Pantages. The amazing Art Deco “Colliers Building” (see photo) which last served as the Fido HQ when it was sneakily destroyed during a civic strike in 2007. Even protected heritage homes are left to the elements thank to toothless bylaws. I want to change that.
Transit decision seem to be made more to drive development, not serve transit users. The forced choice of SkyTrain for the Broadway corridor will drive towers and transformation of neighbourhoods, while the billions poured into it could instead provide flexible, speedy bus service for the entire city. Instead, you’re passed by a full bus headed for the SkyTrain station. I want to see transit solutions that make sense.
All of this is driving my effort to run for City Council. I may not have elected political experience, but that shouldn’t be a requirement. I’m a pretty smart, logical, and empathetic person. I learn quickly – and I’m learning plenty lately about the complexity of the issues that motivate me. The solutions aren’t easy, but they are achievable. I want to help make them happen.
In Vancouver it’s virtually impossible to get elected independently, without the support and resources of a civic party. And the Green Party is my natural choice. I’ve always admired and generally agreed with not only what the Greens stand for, but their truly different way of approaching the political process, seeking consensus, not just power. And I’ve known Adriane Carr for a long time, and not only has she made a real difference in her two terms on council, but I can personally vouch for her smarts, integrity and good heart. I would love to work alongside her on the important issues facing the city.
So my quest for council has begun! I’ll be blogging here about the process of running, about the issues, and more, as I proceed with this attempt to serve the people of Vancouver. I hope you’ll follow my progress (you can subscribe to my newsletter to get occasional updates), and regardless, I hope that if you can vote in the Vancouver civic election this October, that you’ll support me.