Sunday, 30 October 2011

MY POSITION ON THE KEY ISSUES


Amalgamation with Surrey


If Surrey wants to join White Rock, that would be fine, but we will not become another Surrey neighbourhood.
We have the wherewithal to remain independent from Surrey, all we have to do is to manage our resources and finances better, and to welcome new investment into our community. We can and we will be a better community under our own leadership than we will ever be as a small part of Surrey.

Commercial Core

I want the City to adopt a "can do " attitude. We need residential and commercial investment to gain more taxes which in turn will support the social needs of the community. Our urban vision needs to be unique and interesting - enhancing the character of the community.

Taxes


We must and we will minimize taxation and not look to borrowing - this will be a 'pay as you go' Council.

Infrastructure 


We will build for the future and maintain what we have. We will be innovative and be prepared to use new technologies.

New City Hall


We will NOT build a new City Hall.  Finances allowing, we will renovate the current building to the degree necessary.

Development


Investment in our community will be controlled .Stick to the OCP on Marine Drive. No more 21 storey buildings. We will increase the allowable density in the Upper Town Centre to encourage further  investment and renewal.
We will not turn investors away, but will work with them to realize our vision of White Rock not theirs.

Respect .

We will respect the Public and will listen to them when we make decisions as a Council. We will respect the democratic processes by which we govern. We will institute Citizen Forums to allow citizens to have input on  key issues.

Because...
WHITE ROCK MATTERS

Thursday, 27 October 2011

BILL GOOD SHOW CKNW 980 THURSDAY OCTOBER 27,2011


Wednesday afternoon I received a phone call from the producer of the Bill Good show asking me to appear on a 'Waste Patrol' segment focused on White Rock on Thursday, Oct 27.  The Mayor had to attend an important Translink meeting and was unavailable, and none of the Councillors wanted to do it. This is extraordinary because most politicians would kill to get on that show. Strange, eh?. Following is the link to the website and the podcast. The interview is in the 2nd half of  the 1st segment . While it went from 9:30 to 10:00 the podcast is shorter because the commercials are deleted.

You may be interested in listening to it.

Please click the image below to go to CKNW's site to listen to the interview, select Hour 1, and fast-forward to the 16:30 minutes remaining marker.



       



Why the interview? Because ...

WHITE ROCK MATTERS

Saturday, 22 October 2011

CAMPAIGN LAUNCH

We held our Campaign Launch Meeting on Wednesday, October 19. My Co-Campaign Managers, Marc Burchell and Gavin Johnston have pulled together a wonderful team to bring my message to the voters. It will be a lot of work , but we hope we can make it fun and by having lots of volunteers spread the work out. Many hands make light work , as they say.

 While we have lots of volunteers, we can always use more. So if you are interested in helping out in any way, please let me know either by phoning (604-535-0432), or by emailing  wbaldwin@shaw.ca. Locations for lawn signs are also needed (they're incredibly attractive and suit any decor). Because...

"WHITE ROCK MATTERS"

Thursday, 20 October 2011

EQUITAS - A New Role

As someone who served our country for 15 years as an officer in the Canadian Army I am acutely aware of the inherent dangers of going into combat missions. What I didn't know was how callously our government deals with young men and women who return disabled - either physically or mentally.

A few weeks ago , before all this election stuff started up, I was asked to join the Board of EQUITAS.

EQUITAS is a Society formed to raise the money required for to cover the cost of disbursements associated with the legal costs of a class action suit against the Canadian Government on behalf of the disabled soldiers who have retuned from Afghanistan. The national law firm of Miller Thomson have generously offered to take on the suit, which will  likely cost several million dollars as a pro bono case. The estimated cost of the disbursements is high - about $250,000. It will cover the court costs, witness expenses, etc.

The stories of these young soldiers is enough to make you cry.One young man I spoke to at length was wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device in 2008.He suffered a broken femur, broken back and a crushed ankle. He still has difficulty walking. He was offered a cash settlement of $13,600 by our government and was advised that he might want to obtain some advice from a financial institution on how best to handle his money. A recent slip and fall due to a crushed grape in a Safeway store resulted in a settlement through the courts in excess of $300,000. What is going on here?

EQUITAS recently held a fundraiser at Hazelmere on October 14. I must admit I cannot take credit for it, because all the work was done before I was elected to the Board. It was a wonderful event. Due to the incredible efforts of Board Member and former Mayor, Hardy Staub we had three young soldiers flown in from Calgary. Our MLA , Gordon Hogg was the event MC. Even Gordon got so choked at times he had difficulty getting the words out. The goal was to get 125 people out and raise $10,000. The event drew 225 people and raised nearly $20,000. 

A truly incredible display of caring and generosity on the part of the people of White Rock and South Surrey. Because...

WHITE ROCK MATTERS


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

RUNNING FOR MAYOR

The unexpected and rather dramatic announcement last week by Mayor Catherine Ferguson that she will not be seeking re-election has totally changed the political landscape of White Rock. The Mayor has a new opportunity that she is very excited about and is very sure that she has made a decision that is in the best interests of the City. In the meantime she is going to continue to do her job to the best of her ability, and will work hard for the citizens of White Rock right up to and probably beyond the end of her term of office.

As a result of this change I have decided to run for the position of Mayor. My nomination papers have been signed by  Mayor Ferguson and by former Mayor Hardy Staub who was Mayor from 1993 to 2002. They will be filed on Wednesday, October 12.

To my knowledge at this time the only other candidate for Mayor is Councillor Lynne Sinclair. Councillor Sinclair is the "leader" of the CPR slate who were swept into office at the last election. Initially, the slate consisted of : Lynne Sinclair, James Coleridge, Al Campbell, Doug McLean, and Helen Fathers. The CPR group has now kind of disintegrated.. Coleridge was ousted by the courts for illegal campaign procedures, McLean has decided not to run in the upcoming election, and Fathers courageously took her leave of the CPR after taking exception to their style of governance. So now that Councillor Sinclair has taken on the candidacy for Mayor, that leaves Al Campbell  as the "last man standing" of the original CPR slate as a possible candidate for Councillor.

As the last term of Council has so aptly demonstrated, a good Mayor alone is not going to guarantee a good Council. To be effective , a good set of Councillors are absolutely necessary to have good governance. By the same token, a good set of Councillors can be cancelled out by a less than adequate Mayor.

In essence, the voters are electing the Board of Directors of a multi-million dollar corporation. It is really important that we have people in office who are not only competent , but also respectful.. They must be respectful of the public, of each other, and of the employees and the volunteers of the City. They must be respectful of the democratic process, and the public processes by which they govern. Without that respect we have a less than acceptable government. I believe White Rock deserves better - much better.

Because...

"WHITE ROCK MATTERS"

Monday, 3 October 2011

COMMUNITIES and COMMUNITY BUILDERS


The dictionary definition of 'Community' is rather flat and lifeless: "An interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location." To me that hardly captures or evokes an emotional response and certainly doesn't speak to the issue of caring or quality of life.

One factor which is not mentioned or alluded to in the definition is the effect of Community Builders. Without Community Builders I would contend that there can be no real sense of Community Identity and without that there can be no real Community.

We have been blessed in this area with many, many Community Builders. These are people who quite simply freely give their own time and energy , and in some cases, resources, for the betterment of others and thereby improve our overall quality of life. Most of these people do so as a regular part of their lives, in most cases probably without really considering the beneficial effect they are having on others because that is just who they are and what they do. Seldom receiving attention, but always caring, these people are the backbone of  a Community. They are the volunteers at the Spirit of the Sea, the Tour de White Rock, the hockey and soccer coaches, the Cancer fundraisers, the Foodbank volunteers, the Hospital Auxiliary members, the Service Clubs, and the Community Police volunteers to name but a few.

Occasionally we are even more blessed to have people who go way beyond what could be reasonably expected - they literally hit it out of the park with their contributions. This Community has had more than its fair share of such people, and to a degree that also sets us apart from the norm and has to be one of the reasons we live in such a wonderful  Community.

Tragically, we lost one of the great ones last week, Linda Klitch . Linda was a true Community person. As the Publisher of the Peace Arch News she gracefully walked a very fine line ensuring that her paper maintained its neutrality no matter what her personal beliefs were, yet at the same time she threw her considerable personal talents and energy into many community causes for the betterment of others. Linda Klitch was The Real Deal, and will be greatly missed. 

At her service, it was noted that she kept a quote from the Dalai Lama in her purse because the words helped guide her actions and beliefs. These words are worth repeating here because they speak to an ideal we could all aspire to.

"Everyday,think as you wake up,
today I am fortunate to be alive,
I have a precious human life,
I am not going to waste it.
I am going to use all my energies to develop myself,
to expand my heart out to others,
to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.
I am going to have kind thoughts towards others,
I am not going to get angry or think badly about others
I am going to benefit others as much as I can."

Truly lofty ideals to live up to, but worthy goals to aspire to , because...

"White Rock Matters"



Sunday, 2 October 2011

RE: EMERGENCY PIER LIGHTING REPLACEMENT

This was an interesting exercise in priority setting, fiscal management, and decision making none of which were particularly well done.

In short, Council was told the pier lighting was in such bad shape it was a safety hazard. Moreover, if they didn't want to lose a large(?) government grant, they had to get the work done before October 31st.

From reading the report , one would have thought the grant was about $100,000 and from Council's discussion it was evident that was what they thought.. Fortunately, the Director of Finance, seeing where Council was going with it, pointed out that in fact, the grant was not $100,000 but was actually $30,000.

While not mentioned in the report or during the discussion , except as a comment by the Mayor, the arches were never intended to be up year round. They were erected as a temporary Christmas decoration , were put up annually the first week in December, and were taken down at the end of January. Unfortunately, somebody made a bad decision to keep them up year round a couple of years ago, and not surprisingly the lights corroded . If you look at them it is obvious they were meant to be temporary, and on  a nice summer day they are singularly unattractive and detract from the appearance and heritage nature of the pier.

In their panic to deal with the crisis, Council managed to entirely bypass the fundamental question of whether they need to permanently replace the temporary arches with very expensive (around $300,000)  specially designed arches or simply go back to the light poles which  have been there for more than 30 years. There is no question that the poles had to be replaced. Thirty years (plus) in a marine environment would necessitate that. The option of replacing the poles alone would have cost about $100,000 (a lot less than the $415,000 they decided on) and would have been eligible for the grant. But that option was not even looked at. Moreover,  the corrosion didn't just happen in the past couple of weeks - this was a problem that should have been foreseen and should not have been dealt with in crisis mode.

Instead, Council allowed themselves to be stampeded into making  a hasty decision to replace temporary arches with permanent ones. They were able to keep the  $30,000 Federal grant, but spent $385,000 of the taxpayers' dollars to do so. A poor financial decision by anybody's standard. 

It is precisely this lack of financial acuity that can eventually put the City into a position where we are no longer financially self-sustaining and must join Surrey. That's not a situation I want to see develop, because...


"White Rock Matters".