Citizen/Sun questionnaire 2018

CITY ISSUES

1. Taxes. Are they too high? Just about as high as they should be? Not high enough for the city we wish we had?

People in Ottawa wouldn’t grumble so much about their municipal tax bill if they a) TRUSTED wasteful Watson and his gang of developer-financed career politicians to spend our hard-earned money wisely b) felt that the most affluent among us were paying our FAIR SHARE.

We need honest SQUEAKY-CLEAN politicians who are not beholden to the developers in order to regain the trust that has been lost.

Many incumbents (including the mayor) flaunt the rules about using taxpayer funds and taxpayer-funded employees to campaign. They should STOP using their million-dollar “office budgets” as gigantic slush funds to indulge themselves, reward their friends, promote their lucrative political careers and show their disdain for the taxpayer.

Municipal politicians should STOP taking money from the 1%. I call on Mayor Watson (and all other candidates) to reveal the sources of their campaign donations over $100 BEFORE the election. This is important information that the voter needs before deciding who deserves a vote.

We need to elect independent councillors to clean up the corruption and waste at City Hall at the highest levels and make the wisest decisions for the common good. Council should limit car-dependent developer-friendly suburban sprawl and spend less on building new infrastructure to serve it.

We need a council that is working for the entire community, not just for the 1%. We need a plan for the future of our children, not higher short-term profits for the developers and other insiders.

Tax increases should be determined on the basis of need, not a fixed and arbitrary percentage like the current 2% cap. The city should be doing more to maximize alternative revenue streams before resorting to tax increases. Stop the tax giveaways and other incentives that too frequently get extended to developers.

How about a “mansion tax” for homes valued over $3 million that makes the wealthiest in Ottawa pay a little bit more so that the many can benefit?

2. Given the option, should the city allow private pot stores? If so, in what way should the city restrict where stores can operate?

A decision on the cannabis issue will be up to the 24 people sitting around the table after the election, and they should all consult their constituents and the experts fully to get it right (and not just look to the mayor to tell them how to vote).

It’s important that the price be low enough so that unscrupulous dealers who sell potentially lethal adulterated pot be put out of business. It’s important that the children be protected (and anyone else who chooses to consume this controversial drug).

So why not just make it only available online from government-regulated sources with delivery by Canada Post? Wouldn’t it be more efficient and less problematic than expensive bricks-and-mortar stores? It would be easier to control the safety of the product and keep it out of the hands of the underaged. Do we really want pot marketed like booze?

3. There are more than 10,000 people on the waitlist for affordable housing. The city has a 10-year homelessness plan with a lofty goal of ending chronic homelessness. Is this plan enough? Should the city be doing more? If so, what actions should the city take?

Some of us are living in great misery in disgraceful conditions so I hope the next council does a MUCH better job. I support inclusionary zoning as a tool to improve the supply of affordable housing units in Ottawa.

4. What should the city do to slow down traffic in neighbourhoods?

Photo radar is the most efficient way to reduce dangerous speeding. Speed limits should be lowered on residential streets. Speed humps are better than signage, but there are many tools out there to work towards a vision-zero goal of safe streets for everyone. Politicians should not use their traffic-calming budget as a political slush fund – let the engineers make the smart decisions.

5. Where should the city extend LRT first after Stage 2? Kanata or Barrhaven?

Ha! Ha! Can’t wait to hear the mayor’s mealy-mouthed answer on this one! Why not put Harder and Hubley in the ring to battle it out in a bare-knuckle round? Seriously though, this is a perfect example of what’s wrong with governance in Ottawa, where developer-funded politicians put their own short-term interests first. The failure to adequately plan for growth, and then stick to those plans, will have far-reaching consequences for the sustainability and liveability of our city.

6. What should the city do to get more people using their green bins, beyond allowing plastic bags?

I think we took a step backwards by permitting plastic bags in the green bins. The best way to encourage their use is more effective education: Ottawa only spends 50¢ per household.

I endorse Waste Watch Ottawa’s recommendations: rescinding the previous council’s decision to allow non-compostable plastic bags in the green bin, a target to divert 65% of waste to recycling and composting by 2022, tripling spending on promotion and education for the recycling and green bin programs to a level commensurate with that of other large Ontario municipalities, a partial or full user pay system for garbage, obligatory clear garbage bags, a reduction in the number of bags/bins of garbage that can be set out bi-weekly for collection and a commitment to engage residents in constructive consultations. For multi-residential buildings: required green bin composting and a concerted effort to improve recycling program performance.

7. Should council support opening more supervised injection sites in Ottawa?

Yes. I REALLY wish they weren’t necessary but they are. The mayor and other incumbents should be ashamed of their opposition to harm reduction.

8. Should homeowners not connected to the city water and sewer network be forced to pay an additional fee for stormwater services, as council enacted this term?

Yes. Do rural parts of the city pay MORE than their fair share of the overall tax burden? I don’t think the complainers have a strong argument. Taxes from the densely-populated areas of the city subsidize the car-centric suburban sprawl favoured by the developer-funded mayor and his 1% friends.

9. Are you happy with the snow clearing operations for roads, sidewalks and paths? If not, what should be done to improve the winter maintenance program?

We need safe routes for everyone in winter, especially pedestrians. Top priority should be keeping arterials and collectors open for emergency vehicles and transit, then sidewalks, then winter bike routes, then private vehicles exiting car-centric suburban sprawl developments.

10. Did council make the right decision to allow the Salvation Army to build a new shelter and social services complex in Vanier, replacing its facility in the ByWard Market?
No! One more reason to not vote for Watson and his developer-funded bobbleheads working for the 1%.

11. Do you believe community design plans should be set in stone?

Maybe not in stone, but not in sand either. The public’s voice has been all but ignored on planning issues.

When a respected Conservative journalist/politician like Randall Denley is arguing convincingly that the 65-storey decision is BAD, and that something smells rotten at City Hall, shouldn’t voters at least listen to his arguments? Right-wing Denley agrees with left-wing Clive Doucet’s analysis of why Jim Watson and other developer-funded councillors don’t deserve your vote: “The real test of development is the liveability of the communities it produces, not the maximization of developer profits.”

12. Should a women’s bureau be created for city hall? Why or why not?

I’ve listened to all the arguments for and against and I’ve concluded that it’s a good idea. It is essential that we have a plan in place to ensure that an equity lens is applied to the City’s services and programs, and that the lived experiences of all citizens are captured in the way our city is run.

13. What’s been the greatest success of the current council over the past four years?

If the main goal of most council members is to get themselves re-elected, most incumbents can congratulate themselves on being in a good position to stay on the gravy train for another four years.

That’s quite an accomplishment considering that many of them don’t deserve it! The developer-financed mayor and his bobbleheads have done a good job of selling their flawed vision of Ottawa.

14. What’s been its greatest failure?

The developer-financed politicians voted against considering ranked-choice voting (18-6), a small simple change that would make Ottawa’s elections fair and friendly. With fairer elections and limits on the power of big money and incumbency at City Hall we’d have better politicians making better decisions. Seriously!

Voters should ask the candidates two important questions: a) Do you support ranked-choice voting? b) Are you willing to reveal the sources of your campaign funding BEFORE the election?

YOUR WARD

1. What are the two most important issues in your ward? Why?

1) Electing a decent councillor to represent us. I live in College ward and we have arguably the WORST councillor in the entire city on issues of integrity, transparency and accountability. Career politician Rick Chiarelli fully exploits all of the advantages of incumbency and flagrantly misuses taxpayer resources and his $1M “slush fund” to campaign, spread misinformation and dine out on the taxpayer’s dime.

But alas! We have TWO strong candidates running against him. I’m sure Emilie’s supporters would prefer Ryan to Rick, and Kennery voters would make Coyle their second choice ahead of Chiarelli. Wish we had ranked-choice voting, not vote-splitting.

2) Sending a message to the mayor that we’re not fooled and that he has to change his evil ways. Unless Mr. Watson suffers a #JimToo moment and has to withdraw his candidacy your only chance to slow down the runaway Watson train is to protest by choosing one of the other 11 men running against him. Don’t worry, none of us has a hope in hell of winning (at this point anyway) so you can waste your vote on the character of your choice!

If the unthinkable happens and I get elected mayor I would live up to my solemn zero-means-zero promise: ZERO compensation from the taxpayer for me and ZERO personal power. I would act more like the Speaker of the House, doing my best to ensure that the collective wisdom of councillors and the voters they represent help us find the best solutions to the many thorny problems that face us.

We need to bring in the smart people to make the important decisions instead of concentrating power in the hands of the developer-financed career politicians.

We need to listen to organizations like Ecology Ottawa, Bike Ottawa, the Healthy Transportation Coalition, Acorn Ottawa and many others.

A good start would be opening up decisions at City Hall by implementing a ward council system and making sure that component neighbourhood community associations are legitimate, transparent and accountable. NOT fake community associations created and financed by a councillor to serve the needs of a small clique at the taxpayer and community’s expense!

2. If you are the incumbent, what ward-specific decision made by council in the last term are you most proud?

3. What ward-specific decision do you wish council had dealt with better?

There has been a lot of misinformation spread by the mayor and the councillor about the so-called “Bells Corners Community Improvement Plan” and the dysfunctional efforts of the fake Bells Corners BIA led by Team Lisa MacLeod. In reality the secret plan is a finger-licking BAD tax giveaway to the 1% who coincidentally cut fat cheques to Watson and Chiarelli at election time.

Randall Denley said it best: “Politicians should not be subsidizing private businesses. And private businesses should not be subsidizing politicians!”

4. Do you live in the ward in which you’re running? If not, what’s your interest in the area?

Yes, I’ve lived, taught and volunteered in the Bells Corners area most of my life. After two university degrees I took my first teaching job in Arnprior. During my 30-year career as an overpaid/overworked classroom teacher I spent fifteen years as a grade 5 immersion/computer/gym teacher at Lakeview P.S.


For many years I ran arguably the BEST outdoor rinks in the city before Rick Chiarelli fired me as president of the Lynwood Village Community Association.

I put in MANY hours of volunteer labour for the local bike coop, Ottawa123, the Healthy Transportation Coalition and many other worthy groups.

I run Ottawa’s silliest but most popular blog, https://bellscorners.wordpress.com.

ABOUT YOU

1. If the election were held tomorrow, which mayoral candidate would get your vote?

As of Fri. Sept. 7 I’m undecided. I’m following Mr. Doucet’s campaign with interest and I have yet to fully explore the platforms of my fellow fringe candidates. But if the vote were held tomorrow I’d have to conclude (sigh!) that four more years of Jim Watson tyranny is inevitable, so I’d probably vote for myself. I would hope my ego could handle it, but finishing LAST out of 12 candidates might be a bit hard to swallow, even if I’m not spending a single penny on my campaign.

But I have an open mind at this point – Oct. 22 is a long way off! And let us not forget what happened to Patrick Brown – it ain’t over until the fat person sings.

2. Are you, or have you been, a member of any political party?

Not until last year when I paid $5 to the NDP Nepean riding association so that I could join the executive and help them at least field a candidate against Lisa MacLeod and Doug Ford.

3. Have you ever donated to a political campaign? If so, to whom?

No. I’ve volunteered lots of time and labour to different politicians from various parties, doing everything from signs to door-to-door to strategizing to translation. So I resist all party attempts to squeeze me for a tax-supported donation, especially since a lot of it gets wasted in environmentally-unfriendly ways. Hope this doesn’t count: I once bought a Green Party tote bag from James O’Grady ($5) and a Gordon Kubanek t-shirt ($10) that I only wore once.

4. How often do you use OC Transpo services?

I hate that question, since I’m VERY interested in transit issues but I rarely take OC Transpo. My excuses: service is lousy here in Bells Corners and I have the time to cycle wherever I want to go, even in winter. I also have the option of taking my car if the weather’s lousy or I’m hauling stuff that won’t fit on my bike-taxi. It’s WAY easier and cheaper for me to hop on the Queensway, burn a bunch of carbon and park for free almost everywhere, even in the downtown core. Can you blame me?

5. Do you own a bicycle? If so, how often do you use it and for what purpose?
I cycle everywhere I need to go in all seasons, so I only take my car as a last resort. I have quite a collection of bicycles, with the unique home-made bike-taxi being the most unusual. I’m fully trained as a bike-taxi pilot registered with the Human Powered Vehicle Operators of Ottawa (HPVOoO). I’m proud of my 7-year perfect safety record piloting the Bells Corners Free Bike-taxi (no tipping allowed) and the tens of thousands of genuine smiles I’ve helped produce.
https://bellscorners.wordpress.com/bike-taxi-passengers/

campaign blog

CBC questionnaire

Why I’m running for mayor