My name may sound familiar to people who have been watching Vancouver City Council meetings.
That’s because I’ve been attending those meetings regularly for years now, long before I filed to run for City Council Position 3 and launched my campaign.
So how did I make the leap from citizen to council candidate? Well, it began with a local issue affecting myself and my neighbors.
I found out that parking spots were going to be removed on Columbia Street to make way for bike lanes.
As it is, Columbia is currently one of the most affordable streets near downtown Vancouver. It’s also a registered historic neighborhood. In fact, it’s the only one of those in all of Clark County. One can witness its age and character by noticing the old rings embedded into the curbs, which in its early days facilitated the tying off of horses.
There are very few driveways or garages along Columbia Street. There’s a lot of traffic in the area but not much in the way of available parking.
I was shocked and figured that my neighbors had probably caught wind of what was being proposed, so I went to go talk to them about it.
Much to my surprise, none of my neighbors knew what was going on. They had, in fact, first heard about it from me.
To me, that indicated a lack of robust public process and participation being prompted and promoted by our city leadership. A minimum of five residential neighborhoods and all of the Uptown Village businesses would have been adversely affected by this proposal. Yet, the people in those areas were not engaged by city staff or by anybody on the council.
This convinced me that I needed to be more involved in what was going on.
Aside from city council, I’ve also been attending planning commission meetings and often testify on matters when I feel that citizens’ perspectives need to be provided. I am currently on the board of the Vancouver Neighborhood Alliance and co-chair of the Hough Neighborhood Association. All of this helped me become more effective when I was appointed to the Citizen Task Force on Council Representation last February.
Being part of this has only strengthened my stance that the needs, wants and desires of citizens should come before those of special interests. City government must be responsive to the needs and values of Vancouver residents and the long-term livability of our neighborhoods.
Decisions affecting members of the public need to be made in open meetings and not behind closed doors. We need more transparency and less cronyism, and favoritism.
The Vancouver City Council has some big issues coming in front of it throughout the next several months. I want to ensure that when matters like a Climate Action Plan are considered, the council thinks about the potential impacts of higher utilities on impoverished residents, while considering the benefits of these policies.
I intend to represent my neighbors and all residents of Vancouver in City Council, Position 3, and eliminate the power and influence of powerful, well-connected groups who prioritize their own good over what’s in the best interest of Vancouver and its people. Please join me in keeping Vancouver city government accountable to its citizens.