You may have been watching what has been discussed at City Council meetings recently and wondered, “Why are they talking about THAT?” Lowering speed limits throughout the city, building bike lanes on some of our busiest streets, building a gondola – who comes up with these ideas? And why do they merit Council’s immediate and constant attention.
In the hundreds of emails I receive from constituents each month (both from within Ward 11 and from other areas of the city), I only hear about these issues in the context of being issues that City Council should not be spending time discussing. The concerns I hear are more basic: Why are my property taxes so high? When are this winter’s new crop of potholes going to be fixed? Why isn’t the LRT running properly yet? At the root of these concerns is a common issue – inefficiency and poor stewardship of your tax dollars. It’s an issue we – City Council – need to fix. But these concerns are often brushed aside in council meetings, or “tabled” to be discussed for another day.
It feels as though the rest of council has forgotten why we’re in those seats. An election is meant to test a political candidate and then hold them accountable to promises and commitments. And at its most basic, a politician is obligated to listen to their constituents.
I find it difficult to believe that the rest of council is listening to you – individual citizens – as opposed to various special interest groups. That basic political obligation, where has it gone? Was it ever there to begin with? I wish I could give you an answer.
There is one thing I can say with confidence, though. The people driving this nonsensical agenda in City Council are not going to stop any time soon. Not unless a group of determined and passionate citizens stand up to them.