I am running for White Rock City Council, hoping to bring my experience in video game development to help modernize and improve the way that the city interacts with the citizens. I want an open and accountable council!
When I lived in Vancouver I never gave much thought to the city council. I voted in the elections after educating myself on the issues and the candidates' positions but once the ballots were cast I trusted that the city would be well run. Even if I didn't agree with every position the council took, I trusted that they would handle the basic necessities of city life. I trusted them to do things like pave the streets, change the traffic lights and provide safe and clean drinking water.
Moving to White Rock the drinking water became my first concern with how the city council were handling things. Water is a fundamental necessity of life, and supplying safe drinking water is one of the primary jobs of local government. Yet White Rock's council seemed conflicted about what the status of our city's drinking water was. On one hand they explained that it was perfectly safe and on the other hand they were devoting millions of dollars to build new water treatment facilities.
I am not a scientist. I am not a water expert, but I began to feel that the city was being less than candid about the issue. I wanted my government to provide me with information, not spin.
My concern deepened when the city launched it's "Rumours and Misperceptions" page to limit discussion around civic issues. At the time I sent the email address a jokey rumour suggesting that Mayor Baldwin was actually two children wearing a trench coat. Council also eliminated question period making it harder for citizens to find out what was going on and decreasing transparency.
In a time when government transparency is easier than ever, and when most levels of government are moving to encourage citizen engagement White Rock is missing an opportunity. What council is doing should be as open as possible, shared as widely as possible. Every citizen won't agree with every decision that council takes, but we all should be informed about what the decisions are and why they were made. Our government is only made better with participation and feedback from the people that its serving.
I have made a career out of engaging with and communicating to large and diverse fanbases in the video game industry. Gamers, like White Rock's citizens, are passionate people. Their feedback can at times be blunt, but it's always better to listen to it and consider it than to ignore it. The best ideas can come from the most unexpected places.
I want to work for and with the citizens of White Rock to make our city better. I want to make our government transparent, open and accountable to the people who live here. I want to work for my neighbours and my neighbours neighbours. Not for out-of-town developers or property investors, but the people who live, work and are raising families in this great city by the sea.
That's why I'm running for White Rock city council.
That's why on October 20th, I hope you vote for me.
A full list of my policies can be found on jefferysimpson.com. More are being added as I talk with my fellow White Rock residents.
However here are some highlights.
Environmentally Progressive: White Rock is a beautiful city. With a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean we are privileged to be surrounded by natural beauty. As a member of City Council I will work towards preserving that natural beauty. This means a considered and cautious approach to future development and ensuring that we do our utmost to preserve our natural assets including the city's tree population.
I will also look to encourage transit usage, sensible commuting strategies for those who like me travel from White Rock into Vancouver for work and working to make our roads better for cyclists and pedestrians. Supporting the expansion of Translink's routes into and out of White Rock as well as new services is a priority for me.
To further reduce waste and make White Rock a more environmentally conscious city, I am calling for a ban on single use plastic bags similar to what the city of Victoria has put in place.
As part of my commitment to the environment I am running a Zero Waste campaign, and will not distribute campaign handouts, door knockers or plaster White Rock in flyers which will only end up as trash on our streets or in a landfill. Other candidates may talk about being a green choice, but I'd rather lose a few votes than create needless waste.
There's more on my website, so check it out!
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