Wednesday, November 05, 2014

My Picks for Victoria City Council 2014

updated: November 6 2014

With advance polling beginning and the general voting day fast approaching I thought it was time to share my thoughts on the candidates I will be voting for this election.

Mayor

I will be voting for Lisa Helps. She is truly non-partisan and in my view she has a good plan for making council work and work better. Her willingness to listen to residents and to try fresh approaches to issues would make a welcome change in the mayor's chair. Of the candidates in the race her website is the most comprehensive on the issues facing the city for the next four years and in person she clearly states her position and disagreements without turning into a negative, attack-oriented tape recorder, mouthing pre-scripted sound-bites.

Council

There are 8 councillors seats and thus far I think I have chosen the following people.  I have tried to include what I see as a balance of interests and experiences on the council but mostly I have simply chosen those people I think would make the best councilors without regard for past or present party affiliations.

Ben Isitt is the only incumbent to earn my vote, Isitt is often criticised by many (myself included) for some rather radical views on some issues. As I recall his record however I realized that much of what he is being criticised for are provincial and federal issues of equality and fairness. His record as a councilor on local issues has been one of someone working hard for his constituents. In both cases I like someone who cares for those he represents.

Andrew Reeve is my pick for "youth" at the council table. I find his thoughts on most issues align with my own. I think he does have the experience required to fill the seat and his pitch for a new generation of councilors resonates with me. On the issues, I particularly like what he has to say about the downtown core.

Justin Stephenson recently became an enthusiastic choice for me. I find myself agreeing (mostly) with his positions on the issues and where we disagree it again becomes a case of someone choosing to do more for the city than less. I like the sound of experience with mediation and government alongside his experience in the business community.

Hilary Groos is a choice that comes naturally to me. I believe that international experience combined with deep roots in the city makes her an excellent choice for council. She is my choice for "accountant" on council to offer a voice at the table that will force her fellow councilors to carefully consider any spending hikes or upward adjustments to taxes or fees and her stance on transparency (along with several of my other choices) offers something that is currently lacking on council.

Erik Kaye impressed me one-on-one as someone willing to make a rational decision for the city based on evidence. His commitment to a walkable city and public transport seem genuine. I hold the dream of LRT close to my heart and his involvement in efforts to make that a reality deserve support.

Jeremy Loveday was on the cusp for me until I had a chance to meet with him.  His passion and ideas for this city are just what we need. He may be young but new ideas come from new people and he has a lot of good ideas that I look forward to seeing him bring forward during his term.

There are two candidates missing from this list because for some reason they chose to run for mayor instead of council. As first-time candidates I would have been happy to endorse both Jason Ross and Stephen Andrew for council but neither is ready to be mayor.

Well that is my list so far. It may expand before I head to the polls and if so, I will update as appropriate.
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