Nomination Day

September 18, 2017

We’re off to the races!

Yesterday my team and I submitted our nomination papers to make our campaign official. It’s been months of hard work to get here, and I wanted to share this moment with you.

In 28 days, voters in Ward 11 will elect a new councillor. Over the past four months I have been meeting with residents, business owners, community members to listen to their concerns and share my vision for the ward. I am excited about the next four weeks on the campaign trail and the opportunity to earn your trust.

As we cross this milestone, I am asking for your support with our campaign. There are variety of ways you can get involved, either through volunteering to help get our my message or by making a donation to our campaign. Every little bit of support helps us reach our goal.

I am excited and energized for the next four weeks of this campaign. Thank you for your support and I look forward to criss-crossing Ward 11 and continuing to earn the support of voters.

Sincerely,

Linda


Municipal Arena Funding

September 17, 2017

During the campaign, I will be discussing the issues facing Ward 11 residents. The next topic I want to dive into is, the proposal for a new arena.


This past week we’ve seen a lot of debate and rhetoric from all sides on the new arena proposal. Calgary is a culturally vibrant city, from our arts, to music, to film, and of course to our sports– and a new arena will continue to build on that vibrancy. But we can’t let the project play out in public theatre, and most importantly we can’t have Calgarians’ public investment be held hostage.

As a Calgarian, I’m supportive of any projects that grow our cultural economy, and a new arena builds into our reputation as a world class city; the continued revitalization of Victoria Park is something I also welcome.  At the same time projects that use public funds need to benefit Calgarians and respect the use of taxpayer dollars.

The proposal released by the City on the three-way ⅓ funding split is a solid framework that a new deal can be built on. The deal respects public investment and is financially responsible on the public versus private investment.

Our Issues:

  1. The Saddledome is an aging arena, and needs upgrades to infrastructure, capacity and aesthetics.
  2. The level of municipal funding for the project needs to align with the public benefit of the project for Calgarians and the local economy.
  3. The Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) is a private business, that needs to demonstrate financial accountability for a new arena and highlight the use of public investment. The deal needs to be a partnership and a business transaction.
  4. The arena deal needs to be respective and transparent; Calgarians deserve to know how their public dollars are being spent.

My Strategies:

  1. Get A Deal Done; Transparently – For the last two years the negotiations between the City and CSEC have taken place behind closed doors, and have been plagued by ultimatums, rhetoric and mudslinging. Both parties have a common interest: build a new arena and contribute to Calgary’s cultural economy. But in order for this deal to get done, we need a new forum for discussion and a platform that is transparent to the public. Discussions need to be fair and reasonable – we can’t have either side being held hostage in this debate.
  2. Clearly demonstrate public benefit – Using public dollars for the new arena needs to be supported by clear public benefit. The project needs to be a partnership between the City and CSEC and Calgarians need to see the benefit of their public investment. An arena is an important part of a vibrant urban centre, but I would push CSEC to demonstrate the full value of the partnership and the return on value to Calgarians on their public investment.
  3. Risk and Return Must Align – A basic tenet of finance is that there is a relationship between risk and reward. If multiple entities are investing capital into a common project, they share in the rewards or losses. This must be true in the deal for the arena, the City and CSEC should share in the rewards and losses of the venture pro-rata their contributions of capital. A deal that reflects this will be a fair deal for all parties, a market deal.

Public Art Policy

September 11, 2017

During the campaign, I will be discussing the issues facing Ward 11 residents. One of the more recent pressing issues in Calgary is the city’s public art policy.


With the unveiling of the ‘Bowfort Towers’ art installation earlier this summer, the City’s Public Art Policy has been a topic on the minds of many Ward 11 residents. We all agree public art is important; it promotes innovation, it showcases a city’s culture and personality and it highlights our incredible talent. At the same time, we cannot lose sight of our fiscal responsibility to Calgarians.

I support the motion put forth by councillors earlier this month to reexamine the City’s Public Art Policy and I believe now is the time to make sure we get this policy right. Recent events have shown that Calgary’s Public Art Policy consultation process must be improved and simplified, as I hear at the doors — let’s not unnecessarily complicate policy.

Our Issues:

  1. Calgarians feel they are not given enough opportunity to engage with and provide input towards the public art process.
  2. Several recent public art projects have been unveiled without significant engagement by citizens and have been received negatively by Calgarians.
  3. Existing federal and provincial regulations are over-restrictive on how dollars for public art can be used; This has resulted in public money being spent on art projects which are located in areas which are inaccessible or otherwise undesirable.

My Strategies:

  1. Enhance the Visibility and Robustness of Citizen Engagement – In my conversations with residents, they have expressed their concerns on the lack of opportunity for citizens to engage on the public art process. It’s clear from feedback, that current opportunities for engagement are not well communicated or accessible. City Hall needs to be better at communicating how Calgarians can provide their feedback, including:
    • Participation on the public art selection panels.
    • Priority setting for the types and location of public art projects.
  2. Push for Changes to Provincial and Federal Regulations that restrict the way money is spent on public art – City administration identified the need to change provincial and federal regulations a number of years ago, but this has not yet been done. Changing these regulations will allow Calgary to build projects in areas that are more desirable and accessible to provide maximum public benefit.
  3. Review the Public Art Funding Model – The City’s economic circumstances have changed considerably since the funding model was last modified in 2014. A review of the funding formula is necessary to ensure that current levels of funding align with Calgary’s current realities and priorities.
  4. Link Public Art Engagement to the Main Streets and nextCity projects – City Hall can leverage existing consultations under the Main Streets and nextCity project to engage public feedback on public art, and link public art projects to accessible and inclusive locations in the City.

Ward 11 Outcomes:

  1. Better citizen engagement: Providing Ward 11 residents with more opportunities for their feedback and engagement is a priority for me. Reviewing the public art engagement process means that more of our neighbours will have a chance for their voices to be heard on this issue.
  2. Better use of tax dollars: Calgarians across the city, and in Ward 11 deserve to be assured that their tax dollars are being spent wisely, while living within our city’s means and the new economic realities.
  3. Creating inclusive, and accessible community spaces: It’s important to have spaces that all neighbours can access, enjoy, and benefit from. Revising Calgary’s public arts process allows for better linkages to existing public space consultations like nextCity and Main Streets and will create better communities across this city, including in our own Ward.

Campaign Office Opening!

September 4, 2017

On Friday September 8th from 5pm – 8pm, we are officially opening up our new Campaign Headquarters (#20, 2439 54th Ave SW) and you are invited to join us!

We will have snacks, drinks and it will be a chance to hear from Linda and meet the team. So come join us on Friday evening as we kick off September by opening the new office! Invite your friends and neighbours.

Details:

Where: Linda Johnson Campaign Office – #20, 2439 54th Ave SW.
Time: 5:00-8:00pm
Facebook Link:Click Here To RSVP.


Thoughts on Midfield Mobile Home Park

September 2, 2017

The news reports of the closure of the Midfield Mobile Home Park over the past week have been very concerning. The feeling residents have of not having their concerns heard and the uncertainty with previously agreed upon offers, shows that along the process the city has let down residents of Midfield. But I do believe we have a way to help rectify the situation and provide a compassionate solution that works for all. Here are a couple of ideas that I believe would provide a positive solution:

  1. The City should pay out residential mortgages for trailers left on the site. This would alleviate the impending financial issues for owners and personal stress. (People who have already moved on, but are currently paying an existing mortgage would be allowed to apply as well)
  2. The City should fulfill the original promise and pay out the full $10,000 moving allowance to the remaining residents.
  3. The City should no longer pursue previous owners for the clean-up costs of previously abandoned Mobile Homes.

These simple steps would allow the city to regain credibility and show compassion for the residents of Midfield. This demonstration of integrity would begin a healing process with residents of Midfield and their families.