My name is Brian Deacon, I have been waiting for the chance to introduce myself, and engage in a bit of discussion about the issues affecting us all as Edmontonians. I am running for city council for various reasons and hope to get more in depth about that here. To begin with, I have lived in multiple cities across Canada over the course of my life, but Edmonton is the city that really speaks to me. Edmonton has a special place in my heart and Edmonton is where I've chosen to make my home. I see it as a great city, as I am sure all of you do, and I am ready to contribute towards making it even greater, by working on board at city council. With your help, I aim to make a difference, to make Edmonton the city we all know that it can be.
How do we accomplish this? I am for increased transparency in our local government and reduced spending. I am not going to be your typical politician. I believe we have to listen to one another. What does the public really want? I believe it is for city council to be looking out for the interests of all Edmontonians. Not just look out for the interests of big corporations, or special interest groups but everyone.
As a regular transit user, I am aware of the need for an LRT system that works and am committed to getting it in place sooner as opposed to later. We need federal, provincial and city funding to accomplish this and I am as aware as anyone of the concerns over privatization. I do support a private-public partnership to fund the new LRT lines, but only if the city controls the schedule and the cost of the fares. I feel making it partly private could be fine, as long as people don't have to deal with issues such as having to pay more than one fare, or wait long periods of time or deal with a lack of frequent service. I am like a lot of citizens in that I use public transit every day and have to journey for an hour when my place of work is a mere 15 minute drive. Elect me to council and I will push hard for a smoothly efficient LRT system that eliminates such wait times.
Another matter I believe in firmly is our city's need to pull back on the amount of outward expansion we are currently seeing. When there is not enough money to fix basic problems like filling in potholes on city streets, there is not enough money to properly grow our city outward. Expanding the city boundaries and taking up viable agriculture lands is not a good idea at this time. Edmonton is lucky to have Class 1, 2, and 3 agricultural soils within the city limits, but so far we have not done a very good job of preserving it. Since 1982, Edmonton has lost 74% of its Class 1 soils.
I believe in focusing on the infrastructure that is in place. Make the necessary repairs to our roads, fix those potholes, update our drainage systems. Let's place the focus on improving what we already have, taking the time to make it better. The bottom line is that the agricultural land on the edge of Edmonton is some of the best land in the province. With more than enough capacity to support anticipated population growth within existing areas, there's no good reason to relinquish such a valuable asset, especially before a proper analysis of the land and how it fits into Edmonton's future is completed and a strategy is approved
We must be willing to stand up and declare that the Edmonton of 2013 and beyond will be a more compact, sustainable city than the Edmonton of the 80s and 90s
Currently our city's debt stands at nearly 3 billion dollars, meanwhile our mayoral candidates have been talking a lot this election season about the possibility of raising taxes. If this does happen, I have a proposal: a roll back on pay for all city Councillors as well as the mayor. Salaries in city council have increased steadily over the last three years to the point that our Councillors are now making 13% more than they were in 2010. At over $90,000, the salaries are very high right now. With that in mind, I posed a question to some of our fellow candidates in Ward 1 recently. Would they support a roll back on city council pay? One gentleman responded that the quality of person you get with a lesser salary would be disastrous for the city. I consider this a slap in the face to all the hard working men and women of Edmonton who earn less than $90,000, and there are many of us. Make no mistake that I do understand this is a demanding job and serious work, and should be decently compensated, BUT, I believe a city Councillor should be a servant of the people, not the other way around. I am prepared to be that public servant and put your interests first.
I want to stress that I believe this city belongs to everyone. This is your city and you should all have a say in how your city is managed.
The decision is in your hands now and I encourage everyone please make your voice count, please get out and vote October 21