It would have been great to have you at the NPNA session Stephen if for no other reason than to counter Ben Isitt's assertion that NewCouncil are "conservatives". I am sure you would have made mincemeat of that remark.
This “conservative” or “right-wing” narrative is tiresome fear-mongering.
To layout my opposition to this “dystopian society” rant that Isitt and his fellow supporters lay out, here’s an edited version of what I said on Facebook after someone laid out some pretty inflammatory statements:
I’m not sure how or where the writer based her erroneous statements on the intent of NewCouncil.ca candidates, however I am going to correct her misstatements and layout the truth. I will deal with the issues that I am privy to as I was unfortunately not in attendance at the first All Candidates meeting.
The writer states, “This election will decide - rip up the bikes lanes or complete the bike grid”
Here’s the truth:
What the independent members of the NewCouncil team actually said is we will “Pause” the project pending an audit of the Johnson Street Bridge Project. We want the lessons from the cost overruns of that major infrastructure project to guide future projects.
So just so I’m clear on this, here are two definitions you should consider:
Definition of Pause: a temporary stop
Definition of Rip Up: to completely destroy (something) by tearing it into pieces.
How we get from “Pause” to “Rip up” is incredulous.
I do not support ripping up the bike lanes and I know the rest of the NewCouncil.ca team have not stated that and will not vote for ripping up the bikes.
So it’s bewildering, no make that fear mongering, that anyone would deliberately mislead voters with a set of untrue statements.
Further on Bike Lanes, here is a statement that I made on the site Vibrant Victoria:
“Before any infrastructure project moves forward I want to see an independent audit of the Johnson Street Bridge.
We need this to review how your money was spent and what went wrong and what went right. This should not take long.
We will learn lessons from the audit that we can apply to all infrastructure projects.
Biketoria is a valued project and I want to see it completed as successfully as possible and with an outcome that has the best value.
I do not want it “on the back burner”.
As to the [number one] priority in my mind: fast action on homeless file. This is getting out of hand. I want to see resources on this so we can move the needle.
I am asking people what they want to see. I have to be honest, expansion of bike lanes is not coming up at the door, online or in my emails. That doesn’t mean I dismiss the issue, I am not, you asked about first priorities and I do not want to mislead you.
I hope the next council will take the time to construct a transparent strategic plan to reflect issues in the city . I use this in my day-to-day work and on the two boards where I serve as a director. This way Council would have a goal and you would know where in that plan each issue stands. I believe cycling infrastructure would high on the list.”
With these two statements I suggest it is disingenuous to suggest we would do anything else.
The writer states, “This election will decide eliminate existing affordable housing policies or build more affordable housing”
NewCouncil.ca will soon release a significant policy statement on this issue to which I participated in driving the discussion.
All of the New Council team believes there needs to be a varied array of housing stock. We also believe affordable housing is extremely important.
If anything, I would like to see an accelerated approach to bringing housing on line. There are several steps council can take to speed up the process.
Those are just two issues that appear to elude the writer.
From what I’m reading online and the messaging I’m hearing from candidates who self/identify as “left” or “progressive” (Note: that’s a term that is not exclusive to a small group of candidates), this disingenuous portrayal of candidates such as myself and other members of the new council team is that we are “right-wing” and do not have the ability to understand the issues and lack compassion.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I would hope after all these years The writer knows me to be a compassionate person who cares for his fellow human beings.
I would hope, as a friend, she would defend any such inference about my character and not propagate a false impression. That’s saddens me. But, I guess that’s politics and nothing matters other than getting “your ideological team elected”.
I do not know the mix of political persuasions of our team. I do know there are varied ideas on issues and the focus is on delivering a better Victoria.
All the candidates know there has to be swift and decisive leadership on the housing file and we all intend to follow through.
We all believe heavy-handed enforcement is not a solution and from a conversation a few days ago, without exception everyone showed tremendous compassion as they presented their views on how to move forward on the file.
And in closing to this post, in case anyone doubts “my” sincerity, I will share my experience from my younger years.
Sadly, I have lived through two bouts of being homeless. I wish it on no one. I found myself sleeping on park benches, train or bus stations and couch surfing.
It was a harrowing experience.
I remember standing at the corner of Yonge and Dundas Street one Christmas Day wondering if my life would get any better. I struggled to comprehend how I was in such a position and I was extremely depressed.
So, today when I hear people say “it’s a choice”, or “all they need is a job”, and “there are shelters”, I know this to not be true.
Through my years as a journalist I challenged this notion and continue to do so to this day.
Thank you for taking time to read my entire post.
If you respond or have questions please tag me so I can continue to engage.
You can also comment on my Facebook page www.Facebook.com/StephenAndrewNews
Edited by Stephen Andrew, 17 September 2018 - 03:33 PM.