July 26, 2017
Over the past two months, I have been meeting with and listening to residents of Ward 11 at their doors and at numerous community events. During these conversations I get asked many questions on the major issues concerning residents of Ward 11. From questions regarding taxes, transportation, flood mitigation and some of the upcoming big ticket items being proposed at City Hall.
The other question I am asked frequently during these conversation is Why am I running?
My decision to run as Councillor for Ward 11, was made with the encouragement of many ward residents, along with business and community leaders. From a personal standpoint, I am passionate about being an active public servant – I continue to have the energy, the experience and the willingness to serve residents by championing their views and priorities as a representative of my neighbours in City Hall.
The three areas where I feel City Hall can improve upon are:
- Citizen engagement and impact on city projects – One of the concerns I have is that city processes have to be respectful and include an open two-way communication about projects outcomes. I believe that engagement is about interaction and joint resolution to a problem, this process should not be a “check the box exercise” to only inform or offer limited choices to Calgarians. I believe that Ward 11 needs a Councillor at City Hall who will work to ensure citizen engagement is truly collaborative.
- We have to live within our means – Another concern that many residents have raised is prudent management of tax dollars by the city; I believe public policy should encourage entrepreneurship and ensure that the tax and fee burden is fairly shared between residents and businesses across all areas of the city. And most importantly, at all times, spending by city hall has to be done to solve clearly defined problems and it needs to be monitored so desired outcomes are achieved.
- Maintaining our Thriving Neighbourhoods – The communities that encompass Ward 11 are some of the most diverse, energetic and welcoming areas of our City. The current strength of Calgary, and one that I believe we need to maintain, is that there is sufficient housing, transportation, retail and community options available to support Calgarians of all demographics and income levels.
Since my campaign launch, I have had hundreds of conversations with residents of Ward 11 – overall we are all proud of our city and what has been achieved. The specific concerns I have heard all line up within the three items I outlined above.
In my opinion, the areas needing priority attention are:
- Transportation – whether you drive, take public transit or cycle – projects should be undertaken that make common sense and serve our needs today and in the future.
- Flood mitigation – The Flood of 2013 remains a major concern to residents of Ward 11 – whether it is to protect the economic viability of the downtown or the personal homes in the floodplain. Diligence has to be maintained regarding defensive actions taken and planned to ensure we do not experience such devastation again.
- Development Matters – Residents of Ward 11 live almost evenly in apartment/condo buildings and single family homes. City policy has to be respectful of the choices made by individuals in the past while anticipating what housing will look like in the future. Our current housing inventory has allowed schools, businesses and community services to open and thrive – future zoning changes must be balanced in order to maintain and expand services to maintain our current quality of life.
As Councillor for Ward 11, I believe I can bring my understanding of community dynamics to create respectful solutions; I can use my understanding of business to evaluate city hall decisions; and I can use my previous experience of being elected to ensure timely and respectful actions are taken for the good of the city.
I passionately believe one person can make a difference – whether as an individual, a community member, as an employee, a business owner, and especially as an elected official. My reputation is strong as a constituency focused public servant – listening and acting on behalf of the concerns of those I am accountable to – all the electors of my area. My previous experience of working with elected and department officials of our provincial government is the ideal prerequisite to be an effective Councillor for Ward 11. In summary, I have been a resident of southwest Calgary since 1986, raising my family and experiencing the aches and pains of our turbulent economy; benefitting from the historic and ongoing entrepreneurial initiatives of the Calgary business community. As your representative, I will positively work to bring the right resources to the right project at the right time to meet the needs of Ward 11.
On October 16th, 2017 we will each have the opportunity to vote for members of Calgary City Council. My name will be on the ballot for Ward 11 Councillor. I ask for your support in the October civic election.
Linda M. Johnson