At the present, there are six candidates that vie for the Ward 2 Councillor position:
- Joe Magliocca (incumbent)
- Kim Tyers
- Jennifer Wyness
- Francis Aranha
- Sareen Singh
- Theo van Besouw (yours truly)
The traditional approach to answer the question “Why vote for me?” is by explaining why not to vote for others by highlighting their major flaws and shortcomings. In the case of Mr. Magliocca, this is not difficult because he has demonstrated to hold dubious personal values. Yet, there is a surprising number of people who sympathize with his “end justifies the means” way of doing political business, for who the concept of moral value means very little and for who the maxim: “voters get the leadership they deserve” holds validity.
Going down the list, the situation becomes more challenging because, except for Mr. Singh who I do not know, the candidates’ personalities are notable. I may not agree with every point they show on their website, but I do believe that each and every one of them could be a decent representative for Ward 2. As such, I have little inclination to quarrel on details that eventually will turn out of precious little consequence.
So, I will focus on what I specifically have to offer.
In a nutshell these can be summarized in knowledge and experience gained over more than four decades while employed in various positions and geographic areas. My education includes a bachelors’ degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Business Administration. The former is predominantly focussed on the science of problem solving and the latter on the art of implementation of sound practises. Both assisted me through a varied career accumulating in the position of manager of complicated engineering projects where knowledge of statistics, risk analysis, budgeting and writing of policies and procedures is essential.
Being self employed, also means embodying the fundamentals of integrity, responsibility and accountability because without these, particularly in a city like Calgary where the private sector is tight, the reputation of a consultant is very short lived.
Observing City Council antics for over the last decade or so, it became abundantly clear to me that councillors by and large lack the background to deal with complex situations. Instead, they are being “ran” by city administrators who actually do the work. If a councillor does not have the “tools” to ask questions, problems like budget overruns, contract deficiencies, inability of setting priorities or devising unintended consequences become rampant and the political game of blaming ensues. Budgets are dictated by the public servants because councillors do not have a clue as to what it takes to manage departments. If there is an imbalance, the natural way is to shift the burden to the taxpayers.
To ensure that they get enough money, the City of Calgary uses its own inflation rates that are invariably higher than those calculated by reputable institutions. But as councillors do not have background in economics, nobody cares and except for two, all councillors voted for a 7% + increase (even Councillor Joe Magliocca). Not one single measure was taken during the last lean years to reduce the burdens of taxpayers.
My admittedly ambitious intention is to challenge the entire administration as to how the City is managed. This includes the number of bureaucrats, compensation packages, red tape practises, and rampant inefficiencies. Calgary taxpayers need to be provided with detailed information as to how their hard-earned dollars are being spent and be fully appraised as to who is responsible and accountable for spending. There should be specific triaging procedures to determine what merits funding and what does not. There should be consequences if targets are not met.
The City administration should stop funding special interest groups and ensuring that all people are being treated equally. As a form of government that is to promote a “just” society, the City of Calgary should stick to neutrality instead of letting it be swept away by emotions of minority groups. Governing the City is a huge task so concentration on essentials should be a priority.
My reason for running as councillor Ward 2 is because I have something to offer that Calgary needs and City Council lacks. I hardly hold any political ambitions but am willing to offer 4 years of my retirement to put my hard-earned experience and knowledge to the benefit of taxpayers. Should you find someone who in your opinion is better qualified, please support that person. We need the best talent Ward 2 has to offer.
Ward 2 residents: it is now entirely up to you! Cast your vote wisely.