1) Spending at city hall has been made an issue in this election campaign. Why do you think the city is or is not spending taxpayers’ dollars efficiently?
I believe the City has done a good job of keeping the staffing costs down through private contracts. The City also has done a good job of keeping taxes low. I believe it is time to build up the neighborhoods in the community. This is done through upgrading the infrastructure. I also believe the park systems must be linked through the trail systems. All areas of Kelowna should plan the necessary upgrades to the playgrounds and parks. Each neighborhood should be encouraged to strengthen the business community through the associations. The City must also improve communications with the neighborhood associations.
2) What do you think is the single most important social issue facing the city and how would you address it as mayor?
We need to support and encourage the oppressed, the poor, the vulnerable and the aging in our community. Kelowna needs to be a place where spiritual, physical, mental and financial aid is available to the people through a network of agencies. We need to support the agencies that already exist and ensure they are working efficiently together to provide a full spectrum of services. Currently, there are many people who are falling through the holes in the network. We need to work at finding solutions to repair those holes. No one in Kelowna should be without help or hope.
3) The recent Conference Board of Canada grade report for Kelowna had the city receiving a low or failing grade on many issues. Do you feel this report was an accurate reflection of our city? Why or why not?
I believe that we must take all evaluations seriously and reflect on what the evidence reveals. Often, communities get caught up in themselves and become very self-involved. We forget to pull back and take a look at things from a bigger picture or an outside perspective. This leads to a distorted view of the community as a whole. I believe it is city Councils job to monitor our perceptions from a broader perspective. Too often council can get caught up on certain issues and just the business of today. We must look beyond the immediate and to the future.
4) Define what you think the role of the mayor is in providing direction for city council and as the public representative for our city?
The City Council represents each citizen and guides Kelowna into the future. The Mayor provides leadership for the Council and keeps things functioning so progress can be made. The Mayor takes the lead when it comes to communications with the public and the City Manager. Communication is a key to building trust. It is important that the neighborhood associations are informed on the actions of Council. The Mayor also is key in communications with other communities. This builds up the relationships with our neighbors. The mayor must also keep in good working relationship with all levels of government.
5) What personal characteristics do you think make you qualified to be mayor?
I am a good listener. As the leader of the Council, it would be important to hear the other members elected. It would also be important to hear the concerns of the community. There are many sources that Council will be able to gather information from and this comes from listening. We must gather the pertinent information from a variety of sources before putting any plans forward.
As for experience, I worked for 7 years in municipal recreation management. I have an understanding of the operations of a municipality and the challenges that entails.