I am asking for YOUR VOTE. Please read this section to understand the background to my request, and my motivation for wanting to represent YOU.
For the past several years, as a hard-working taxpayer in the City of Edmonton, I have spent much of my personal time trying to get a better deal for Edmontonians with respect to the new downtown arena.
On the basis of my concerns, and on behalf of other Edmontonians, I wrote City Council innumerable times, spoke passionately at the public hearing, I wrote (and had published) many Letters to the Editor, I stood on streetcorners talking to hundreds of Edmontonians,
I spoke with people on my walk to work, on the LRT, in my local stores. I can honestly say that I met a scant few who supported the funding model for the new downtown arena.
Will a new arena be good for Edmonton and our downtown? I was always
neutral on that point. What I DO know, is that the funding model was NOT supported by the majority of taxpayers, including me.
Independent polls repeatedly told Council how Edmontonians felt about the use of our
tax dollars for a new hockey arena:
- Ipsos Reid, August 2009, 76% opposed;
Ipsos Reid, October, 2010, 70% of opposed;
- Environics Research, January, 2011, 68% opposed;
Ipsos Reid, March, 2011, 71% opposed.
In May of this year, at my own expense, I retained a reputable, national pollster (Environics) to run yet one more survey – something a private taxpayer should never have
to do. As The Edmonton Journal reported, “I felt that the voice of taxpayers was not properly represented at the bargaining table. It’s my hope that city hall will hear their taxpayers’ voices on this issue, in that we
do not support the use of our tax dollars on this initiative.” Here are the results I submitted to the Mayor and City Council:
- 61% of Edmontonians oppose the use of tax dollars for
a new arena;
- 78% would prefer that their tax dollars be spent on other municipal priorities;
- 83% disagree with taxpayers taking on $500 million+
in debt to build a new arena;
- 71% feel City Hall should negotiate a different deal for taxpayers.
Despite City Council knowing how we felt, a deal will be inked that will take
on over $500 million of debt in our name, without our permission, and against our wishes. Enough said. For me, this is no longer about the arena funding model; it is about proper
representation. What next? Read MY PLATFORM.