My Priorities

It's not possible to anticipate every issue that will come before City Council over the next four years. What I can say is that I will always be respectful, reasonable and responsive. I will also listen to my council colleagues, city administration, community associations and residents before I cast my votes.

The City of Calgary's Fall 2020 Quality of Life and Citizen Satisfaction Survey identified the following three priorities for the residents of Ward 11:

  1. Infrastructure, traffic and roads

  2. Crime, safety and policing

  3. Taxes

All of these priorities are addressed in the platform below. The 2020 survey also reported that a disappointingly low 52 per cent of Ward 11 residents believe they get good value for their tax dollars, only 56 per cent are satisfied with the way council and administration are running the city and only 43 per cent trust the City of Calgary. We have work to do!

Here are some of my thoughts:

Responsible Spending

Spending responsibly is about balancing priorities.

Calgarians are proud of their low taxes and they want to keep it that way. To make this possible, councillors must scrutinize each expenditure as if the cash were coming out of their own pockets. It's too easy to spend other people's money.  

In addition to responsible spending, councillors and administrators must continue to find ways to control costs. Searching for savings has been the focus of the City of Calgary's Solutions for Achieving Value and Excellence (SAVE) program. It's not only too easy to spend other people's money, it's also too easy to cut other people's services. Ultimately, searching for savings requires that we think a little more about others and a little less of ourselves. One person's wasted dollar is another person's treasured service.

As a business owner and volunteer director, I'm comfortable with balancing budgets, spending responsibly and cutting prudently. It will be impossible to please everyone, but my commitment is to listen to others, consider the facts and share the rationale for my decisions related to saving and spending.

Tone at the Top

City Council must work together.

A successful City Council must work together. It's impossible to get anything done at City Council working as an individual. City Council requires cooperation, compromise and collaboration.

Councillors must strive to be non-partisan. Decisions must be made based on a consideration of the facts. Admittedly, no one has all the answers. Humility is essential. Everyone must listen and learn. I will not go into a council or committee meeting with my mind made up about an issue facing City Council. I will listen to the arguments of my council colleagues, listen to residents who participate in public hearings, read public submissions and reach out to residents for input.

A positive tone starts at the top.

Public Safety

A focus on community policing.

Public safety is expensive. In fact, the city's 2020 expense for police was $515 million and for fire was $299 million, for a total of $814 million. The expenditure for the police was exceeded only by the $559 million spent on public transit and the $534 million spent on water services and resources. Despite the high numbers, I believe policing and firefighting are expenses Calgarians are willing to pay to feel safe in their homes and communities. 

But there's more to safe communities than law enforcement. The focus of crime prevention must be on community policing and identifying root causes. Police need to continue to partner with schools, communities and organizations to focus on proactive policing.

While I was president of the Lakeview Community Association, I saw the benefit of community policing. Despite constable Rich Wall's large zone of coverage, he found time to attend our block parties, lead crime prevention meetings in our community hall and spend time conversing with residents on Lakeview Fun Day. Proactive and preventive policing pays.

Vibrant City Centre and Economic Strength

The challenges facing Calgary's downtown core are real. So are the solutions.

The problems facing Calgary's core will not solve themselves. As we know from commercial and residential property taxes in Ward 11, everyone pays for the pain facing the city's centre.

With one-third of available office space sitting empty, it makes sense to work towards a better mix of residential and commercial space, to attract new businesses and investors and to consider ways to enhance the opportunities for enjoyment, comfort and entertainment downtown. It also makes sense to continue to position Calgary as a centre for innovation, both within and beyond the oil and gas industry. 

I believe the City of Calgary is on the right track investing in The Greater Downtown Plan. The key is to ensure the city has no role to play in picking winners and losers. The incentives available for one should be available for all.

The Value of Partnerships

Building connections is key.

There's a reason why the City of Calgary's 2020 annual report lists 33 city and civic partners. Partnerships are key to a successful city. In fact, I believe strong relationships with council colleagues, city administration, community associations, residents and non-profit organizations all contribute to a high functioning City Council.

As the president of the Lakeview Community Association, my focus was on building bridges. I built bridges with the Tsuut'ina Nation, welcoming Chief Lee Crowchild to speak to 400 residents at a town hall meeting in 2017. I built bridges with Lakeview's churches, bringing them together for a meeting to discuss joint concerns and inviting them to write a newsletter column called News from the Pews. I built bridges with Lakeview's seniors, speaking at their quarterly lunches and encouraging their involvement in the community. And I built bridges with the North Glenmore Park Community Association, collaborating on special events such as the Kids Christmas Party.

As a member of council, my commitment is to continue to build bridges. The City of Calgary cannot function without its partners.

Road Maintenance

Issues related to roads are a top concern.

Road maintenance, vehicle volumes and traffic noise are on the minds of Ward 11 residents. Snow to clear. Potholes to fill. Sidewalks to repair. Streets to clean. Stop signs to implement. Speed limits to enforce. Sound barriers to enhance. The list goes on. These issues touch our lives every day.

The 2020 expense for roads, traffic and parking was $457 million, exceeded only by public transit, water services and resources and police. Although the expenditures are high, road maintenance is not an area where people are prepared to compromise.  

I know from my 15 years on the board of the Lakeview Community Association that traffic concerns can divide residents, raise temperatures and increase stress. My commitment to you is to listen to concerns, help residents put them in perspective and work to find solutions. 

Efficient Transit

It's fair to ask whether our tax dollars are being spent wisely.

I recognize the value of Calgary transit, especially to those who rely on the service for their transportation needs. The key is to make sure we're investing public dollars wisely. Questioning transit expenditures and searching for savings is fair game and will ensure the sustainability of the transportation network.

Although all expenditures must be reviewed, the Green Line is a done deal. The Green Line would not have made sense if the city had been forced to cover the cost alone, but it's too good to pass up this infrastructure and the associated jobs given the contributions of $1.53 billion from the provincial government and $1.5 billion from the federal government. This enormous investment has now been approved by all levels of government. Delays cost money. Let's get the job done.

Supporting the Underprivileged

It's not all about me.

Running a successful city involves recognizing that some residents rely more heavily on city services than others. We're not all alike. Some people face financial hardship, physical disabilities and mental health challenges. A healthy city invests in affordable housing, youth programs and community services. As a bonus, these supports for those who are underprivileged are all essential components of creating sustainable and safe communities.

Most Ward 11 residents are financially secure. As a result, it's easy to lose sight of the wide range of needs in our city. If the members of council are focused only on themselves or their own wards, people will fall through the cracks. Calgary deserves a municipal government that cares for and caters to those who are underprivileged. If we do that, we all win.