Picking a 4-year team of Richmond councillors

This article is my personal view. I am not speaking for the Garden City Conservation in it. Neither I nor the society endorses candidates, but I can still go further than the society in my personal opinions.

2014 Richmond Council election picks

It’s time to rebuild Richmond council for a strong four years —ill late 2018. We need “new blood” that’s ready to succeed in team roles from the start and for the long term. To that I’d add a savvy old-timer or two who put citizens first, not developers first.

As a voter, I’ve viewed the all-candidate meetings as tryouts for the council team. Great new talent!

One party wants the city to pay consultants to curb its spending. At a tryout, Grace Tsang and Alexa Loo had no-cost solutions. Grace, a school trustee and financial planner, proposed an audit committee like the school board’s. For clear sidewalks, Alexa would guide residents to trim back shrubs but bill at cost if the city has to step in.

For a question about the ALR legacy of the Garden City Lands, incumbents who’d hindered it puffed about their own legacy. In contrast, Adil Awan and Coun. Chak Au cited community perseverance to save the lands for ALR values. Bonus points to Laura Nastasa, whose insight began with the honest “I worked on the developer side at first.”

Note: Earlier, Coun. Harold Steves had described the community role in many conservation successes, including the lands. When he brought in his own role, it was the truth.

From seven years working with Carol Day and Michael Wolfe, I admire how they’ve led community action for neighbourhoods and the environment. Also, they often bring input to council meetings. Anyone half-awake can echo staff, but Carol and Michael go further.

Jerome Dickey has interacted a bit with council and a lot with citizens in person and via JeromeDickey.com, where he analyzes each issue. We could do with his diligence.

After chatting at length with ex-staff Dave Semple, I’m perplexed that the city’s half-baked Garden City Lands concept hasn’t drawn on his expertise. Still, I think he’d apply it on council, which also needs his concern for the poor and his sense of fun.

My top eight are all among the 21 candidates in this election who’ve taken part in Garden City Lands tours with Garden City Conservation. Of the present council, in contrast, only Chak and Harold have done so. The difference shows.

My councillor team so far: Chak Au, Michael Wolfe, Carol Day, Harold Steves, Alexa Loo, Dave Semple, Jerome Dickey and Grace Tsang. The first six became clear choices as the campaign went on. Some others I’ve considered for the final two spots are Adil Awan, Jennifer Huang, Sal Buhlar and Andy Hobbs.

Each person I’ve mentioned would bring a particular strength. For personal strength, I’d choose Jennifer Huang first, but she seems too low-profile to get elected, so I’ve reluctantly left her off my list.

By the way, if too few candidates deserved my vote, I’d vote for less than allowed. To avoid forgetting my final selections, I’ll bring my list to the voting booth.

I’ve evaluated largely on “level playing fields” like candidate meetings, eco-tours and the Review’s “Richmond election candidates survey.” It’s also easy to access candidate profiles at Richmond.ca.

Bad choices would haunt us for four years. Let’s get it right! For now, thank you, candidates, for being so good that you make our choice hard.

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Update:

I strongly recommend AGAINST slate voting for Richmond First, with its developer ties, but Andy Hobbs shows some promise.

Similarly, I strongly recommend slate AGAINST slate voting for Richmond Community Coalition. Despite the benign name, they are led by developer Rob Howard, who was shrilly for high-density development of the Garden City Lands when on council, and they won’t reveal where their big budget is coming from (quite likely developers who expect something in return).  However, I strongly support Chak Au, and there are others like Sal Bhullar who show some promise.

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4 Comments »

  1. 1

    Looking back it was Linda Barnes and Sue Halsey-Brandt that gave us three votes and the momentum to save the Garden City Lands. The community did the rest. As they have both retired, people must vote wisely to suppport those who support the community.
    Harold

  2. 2
    kewljim Says:

    Thank you, Councillor Harold Steves! I agree about Linda and Sue, who are much appreciated, and I believe that your follow-up comment is precisely right.

    While responding, I should add this:
    Richmond has been incredibly fortunate to have your service and leadership for all these years, and we’re also incredibly fortunate that you somehow still have enough energy to run circles around some of your council colleagues when that’s what gets things done.

  3. 3
    Steve Says:

    “I’ll keep evaluating until November 15, and any of Adil Awan, Jennifer Huang, Kris von Schalburg, Laura Nastasa and Roy Sakata could excel onto my councillor list.” – That date is getting very close now. I’d be interested in seeing your final list before election day. Names like Sakata, Bhullar, Awan seem to have ambivalent support from you. I’d be interested to see the final resolution of their candidacies in your mind.


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