Friday, February 12, 2010

Number One Issue: Citizen Empowerment

After many days of thinking hard about how to communicate my biggest reason for registering on February 1, 2010 to run as a candidate for City Councillor in ward 18 (Davenport), I concluded it is these two words: CITIZEN EMPOWERMENT

As someone who initially supported what appeared to be hopeful change in a too long ignored neighbourhood in the 2003 municipal election, I bet on a young Adam Giambrone. What followed was a disappointing period of inattention to ward issues, lack of consultation with or respect for constituents and a general 'If it's not about the TTC, I'm not interested' attitude from Mr. Giambrone. The ward seemed to go from being ignored by complacent city councillors to being ignored by a councillor who had a narrow focus and overarching personal ambition.

In the 2006 election, when I asked Adam why I should vote for him, he replied, "Because Mayor Miller will make me Chair of the TTC". What does that do for his constituents? (Need I say I did NOT vote for him in that election?) Mr. Giambrone's recent disasterous mayoral campaign has only reinforced my belief that he is not the person able to effect the kind of positive change I want to see in my neighbourhood.

I do not know the other candidates who have come forward to challenge for city councillor nor do I know who else will join the race. I am not a member of any particular political party or lobby group. I have no obligations to any power brokers or lobby groups (I am a free agent). I am just an ordinary citizen who wonders what it will take for other ordinary citizens in my ward to have meaningful input and impact on decisions made in their name.

CITIZEN EMPOWERMENT is what the main issue is for me.

How can we ordinary citizens become more aware of changes that affect us? How do we reach all our constituents in a ward that is effectively fractured into many different languages and have different ways of communicating (some of us have technological access, many do not). How can we participate better? How can we make government more responsive and effective? How can we each make a positive contribution?

No longer should we just put up with mediocre or self-centered representatives.

Davenport Deserves Better!