Q: What prompted you to want to run for Vancouver City Council, Position 3?
A: The city was planning a project in my neighborhood that would have long-term impacts on our quality of life. I went to talk to my neighbors about it, and none of them knew what was going on. Nobody had bothered to reach out to any of us about this. After that, I started attending city council and planning commission meetings and I speak out whenever I feel citizens’ voices needed to be heard.
Q: What other involvement and experience have you had in local government?
A: I served as Westside Neighborhood Coalition, committee chair for the Uptown Village Association and was on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for the Westside Bike Mobility Project. I am currently on the board of the Vancouver Neighborhood Alliance and co-chair of the Hough Neighborhood Association. I have also been appointed to the City of Vancouver’s Citizen Task Force on Council Representation.
Q: What are the top issues that you’re running on for your campaign?
A: Housing affordability and homelessness, transportation accessibility and the transparency of and citizen involvement with our city government?
Q: Why are you so opposed to the proposed multifamily tax exemption?
A: I think there are better ways of addressing blight and revitalizing our neighborhoods than the large tower blocks we are seeing, which give no opportunity for home ownership, as they provide only apartments that are being exempted from property taxes. We have seen many areas become gentrified over the years, and all that does is displace people who have deep historic and family ties to the neighborhoods they live in. If we are going to incentivize development, the end results should be a community in which all people thrive, especially those who have long lived in the neighborhood. We shouldn’t be incentivizing anybody to gentrify and displace low-income residents. I think we can revitalize areas and preserve their character, while increasing the housing inventory for people hoping to achieve the American Dream of homeownership.
Q: How do you think the City of Vancouver should approach transportation issues?
A: Above and beyond all else, we need to be realistic. Most people aren’t going to ride their bicycle to work because it’s simply impractical. Most people aren’t going to take the bus, either; they’re going to drive their own private automobiles. All these decades of policies of discouraging people from using cars have only resulted in traffic jams, longer commutes and congestion. We need our transportation policies to be based on common sense and citizen demand. Our public transportation systems should be efficient, effective and based on what gets riders from their homes to where they’re looking to go as quickly as possible.