THE BLOG

Jamie Post for Edmonton Ward 1

10/19/2013 06:51 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

I say with quite a bit of pride, that my city changed my life.

I've been around the inner west-end community of Glenwood for my entire life. Glenwood aged, saw a decline, and became part of a multi-neighbourhood revitalization.

I wanted to help, to be a part of that revitalization in some way, so I took the opportunity about five years ago to attend the AGM of the Glenwood Community League. By chance, the role of Civics Director was available, a neighbour nominated me for the job, and with the support of a wonderful Board of Directors, I went to work.

Over the past five years, I've continued to serve as a member of the Glenwood Community League, dealing with issues such as the West LRT, revitalization of our community and business areas, infill redevelopment, and community safety. I've served on the Steering Committee of the Jasper Place Revitalization Strategy, and volunteered time to the Stony Plain Road Business Association. Acclaimed by communities across the Ward, I serve as our district representative with the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues. I'm a Board Member with the Edmonton Food Bank, a City Council appointed member of the Edmonton Naming Committee (where we've given landmarks like the Valley LRT Line, and Blatchford Field, their names), and have served as the editor of the Stony Plain Road Urban Revitalization Report.

I've received an education that I never could have paid for, and went from someone with almost no interest in politics, to a person eager to help, and willing to commit years of my life to public service, and bettering our communities and our city.

It's also carried over into my professional life, where I work as a coordinator in the disability sector, providing support and assisting with professional development for the thousands of front-line staff who support Albertans living with developmental disabilities- building and advocating for stronger support networks across Alberta.

There's no such thing as the best, or most experienced person to serve as your Councillor. Just the individual whose ideas and platform, personality and experience you're most willing to put your faith into.

We're a diverse Ward in a growing city, that must now look inward for future growth, diversify its economy beyond governance and serving the energy sector, budget within our means, and fix the way it interacts with you and me, the average residents of Edmonton, giving us an actual voice in Council decision-making.

This is our home, everything starts here.

We interact with civic government every day of our lives. In the way our communities are planned and built, the housing options available, and the health of local amenities. Local government is seen in our roads and basic services; fire protection; community policing; planning & development; pedestrian connections; accessible infrastructure and public buildings; mass transit via bus, LRT and for those with disabilities; parks, playgrounds and skating rinks; festivals and events.

Local government is the place where you speak directly with your decision-makers, where there is no party system between constituents and elected officials, where one person can actually change minds and make things happen.

My Platform

Built on my experiences, I've designed a platform of practical ideas and solutions based on six principles: Quality of Life, A Fair Balance, The Big Picture, Public Participation, Responsible Finances, and Representing Ward 1.

They're summarized below, while my full platform is available at JamiePost.ca. These are basic guidelines for good local governance, that is good for everyone. It is one that balances various interests and ideas as well as our ways and means. It is designed for a city that can grow inward, while giving residents an actual voice in decision-making, not just token consultation after decisions have begun to be made. One that provides accessibility for all, while never forgetting that the number one goal for local government, is building a great place to live, work, and have fun.

Quality of Life

Achieving a high quality-of-life for all residents should be the guiding principle for all decisions made by City Council.

This should be the purpose of local government; making our city, our home, a great place to live, work and have fun.

Fair Balance

Council should ensure that city policies strike a fair balance between various interests and stakeholders.

"Good government" should be good for everyone, not just those who have the time and resources to gain greater access to government.

Council should strive to provide facilities, services, and policies, that the majority of Edmontonians want and can afford.

At the same time, Council needs to keep in mind that a strong economy is what makes municipal facilities, infrastructure, and service possible, and it should do everything it can to create a good environment for prosperous businesses and a diverse economy in the city.

The Big Picture

Council should take a broad, long-term perspective on all its decisions.

Council needs to consider the impact that its decisions have on everyone: on you and me as residents, on businesses and non-profits, on rich and poor, young and old, healthy and those living with a disability, on the City and on neighbouring municipalities.

Public Participation

We need greater public participation in city planning, decision-making and elections.

Recognize that administrators and professional lobbyists do not represent the public-at-large, and that ordinary residents are often given the least say in Council decision-making.

Make public participation easier. Make it easier to get information and easier to have a say, both inside and outside of Council chambers.

Make sure that Council knows what the public wants, and not just what internal decision-makers or special interests desire.

It isn't for Council or administration to decide who is "the public" or who should be consulted the most on a decision. A new Council should start with a new public involvement policy, prepared by citizens-at-large, as a first step to increasing the public's involvement in government.

Council shouldn't shy away from putting major expenditures or other controversial questions on the ballot for residents to consider and vote on. An election is an expensive process, and would be well-used putting questions forward to find out what Edmontonians really think.For example, city funding for a downtown arena could well have been placed on the ballot in 2010.

Responsible Finances

Council needs to make financial decisions based on our revenues, not what we desire to spend.

The annual budget process needs to start by establishing benchmarks for City revenues that relate to the strength of our local economy.

City expenditures should be based on what residents and businesses can afford to pay, not what City administration wishes to spend.

Responsible budgeting means saying "no", when the numbers don't make sense.

All decisions with significant long-term financial effects must be supported by thorough cost-benefit analyses, showing best, middle, and worst-case scenarios, with expected results for each. Council must get the financial analysis before it makes a decision.

Employment costs are the city's biggest expense today, an expense which property taxes do not fully cover. Council needs to control the size of City administration and the number of city employees.

Council should put the highest priority on long-term goals that benefit the general public, rather than controversial, short-term proposals, with unproven results.

Representing Ward 1

Jamie will provide attentive local representation, addressing the issues and concerns in Ward 1 communities, building on his extensive volunteer background.

"All politics is local", and it's impossible to be an advocate for your community without seeing the need and importance of local representation. Representation that's attentive, responsive, and energetic" - Jamie Post

A few examples of issues within Ward 1:

- Revitalization in Jasper Place and along Stony Plain Road

- Infill development from High Park and Canora to Jasper Park and Crestwood

- Growing transportation needs in Lewis Estates

- Concept planning and eventual construction of the west LRT

- Crime and safety in mature communities and those surrounding West Edmonton Mall

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please take a few minutes to visit JamiePost.ca, and contact me if you have any questions or comments. I'm pleased to say that I've received tremendous support from family, friends and the endorsements of our retiring Councillor, Linda Sloan, and some great advocates and engaged citizens who do wonderful, if unappreciated, things for our city. Thanks again, and please be sure to vote on Monday, October 21st.