Thoughts from the campaign trail
Updated: Sep 29, 2019
As of last night, I finished walking all interior neighborhoods in Ward 2. I have likely knocked, personally, on over 1,000 doors. I spent a lot of time explaining why I am running for city council. Often neighbors just want to know what my key drivers are. The more entertaining discussions start with “why, in god’s name, do you want to run for city council”.
To the first response type I typically say – council has not been faithful guardians of our tax dollars or our community. They spent money on some good investments, like the YDC, and done nothing with it. They spent money on some bad investments, like Velocity Broadband, where we have spent $4 million and it is clear it will need further investment very soon as it is almost out of capital yet again. And they made decisions to relocate town hall for what sounded like a reasonable (debatable?) investment to start with but allowed mismanagement to cause out of control spending and overages.
All this while reducing spending on roads, sidewalk development, and stalled connectivity plans outside of the former village leaving township areas cut off. Of course they will further connect the skate park.
To the second response type I have said - I often learn lessons the hard way.
At those same doors I spent a lot of time listening. Most people don’t know that when you go door to door you need to time your pace. Five minutes is the limit of time you can spend, according to those in the business. They are right I am sure. There are a lot of doors. It takes a lot of time. But the best doors I have visited have lasted 30 minutes or longer. I will return to those after the election, win or lose, and reconnect.
What I have heard has been clear. City council stopped listening and started doing what they wanted several years ago, and it has only become worse. How can you claim to prioritize connectivity when you overspend on city hall? How can you claim to listen to the community when they not only have to vote no on your plan but also march into city hall time and time again to force you to pause and reconsider? Our civic leaders did not just cave. It was forced capitulation. How is it that we can spend $155,000 on Golf equipment but we can not afford $180,000 to repair baseball fields in all our parks? We expand a skate park for over $300,000 but we don’t repair Chadbourne Road, which I have to say is in horrible condition. I think it is scheduled for 2022 resurfacing. It will look like a roman era stone path by 2022. So will many others thanks to reduced infrastructure spending over the years.
When the city debt has risen into “cautionary levels” and we need to borrow to maintain infrastructure; how do we provide better fields, roads or city services? We cannot even begin to discuss a community rec center until our finances are under control.
I believe a city should focus on the city needs first and foremost. When in question, ask the citizens of the community. Be open and transparent. Council needs to be better stewards of our community and money.
Referring to those people who asked “why, in god’s name, do you want to run for city council” – I am not a politician. I did not know what this process would bring--but in all honesty the conversations and connections made from canvassing door to door have reaffirmed why I'm running. At the same time looking behind the curtain - seeing what those in power are willing to do to maintain power has been disheartening. It seems to me that our city needs a wake-up call. Please vote on November 5th.