Q) Hello, I'm a Calgarian in Ward 1, and I want to know Tom's stance on a few topics:
- Mental health
- Cultural diversity and immigration
Mental health has taken too long to become a topic of discussion in society, but I am glad it's finally here. I am a strong believer that projects that acknowledge and support mental health throughout communities need adequate funding and support from all levels of government, especially a civic government that is affected the most by the issues caused by poor mental health. Since we cannot always see the state of someone's mental health we not only need to provide easily accessible support in communities but also education. I've lost three friends over the years to suicide, I truly believe that at the time if I was more knowledgeable of the signs I might have been able to help. I've also seen the toll depression takes on people's finances through the many years I've worked in the financial industry. With proper social projects, we can help reduce strains on other civic resources. Even possibly lower homelessness and drug overdoses, yes it may sound far-fetched but I believe together we will make a difference.
Cultural diversity is one of the things that makes Canada a great country, we need to embrace the opportunities to better our community by being exposed to multiple cultures. Although the city does have many festivals throughout the summer showcasing different cultures, I feel there might be a way to tap into our cultural diversity as a city not only to celebrate it within to our fellow Calgarians but also to attract tourism. Instead of a weekend make it a week-long event with proper advertising where we can allow the different communities to showcase their culture. When we learn we understand better and grow into a stronger community.
I'm sure you are aware of the stats that show we need immigration to continue to sustain our economies of scale. I believe it's more than that, the majority of the population's family at one point over the last 200+ years were immigrants. We need to tap into what they are bringing to our city and utilize their knowledge and skills to better our communities.
Q) What is your stance on flood mitigation for Bowness, including the berm?
A) Thank you for the question, my views on flood mitigation are simple we should be trying to create a diversion for the water prior to entering the city limits. Although to some a berm may sound ideal it leaves us with many unknowns, such as environmental effects as we would be altering its natural process. A berm will also cause unnecessary overland flooding as it is built to prevent the water from flowing inland and will also affect the natural flow of water to the river. Another concern I have with a berm is they are built as a form of last defence, if for some reason the waters flow fast and higher than expected this method would limit our response time to put in any further measures to protect the city.
I am in favour of increasing the damn capacity at Ghost Lake this option makes the most sense to me, as then will make it easier to get funding from the other two levels of government as it will be protecting not only Calgary but other communities west of the city. I would also be in favour of the Morley and Glenbow east options as well, creating a diverson rather then a retention barrier allows better control of the water levels and I reiterate this gives us time to better react if for some reason the next big flood is larger than we anticipate.
I did have a video conference call with the Berm Steering Commitee and stressed to them during that call that I will work with and support them in this matter.
Q) Covid-19, "I would like to know your position on the following items please before I vote:
1. Lockdows for Covid
2. Mask mandates.
3. Vaccine Certs or Passports"
A) These are all very good questions, but they really aren't civic questions. These should all be asked of our MLA's and provincial government. The City should focus on city duties and work with the other levels to achieve a harmonized government.
When it comes to civic regulations on these issues the only thing they can do is pass bylaws which in sense is just another form of tax. Don't get me wrong I am 100% in favour of trying to provide a safe community for our residents and I encourage people to get the vaccine, but the city is limited on how they can deal with these issues.
I want our city to get back to taking care of the issues that surround the city and use those tax dollars to improve our parks, recreation and transportation corridors.
Q) Fluoride, "I dont see on you platform your stance on flouride in the water and funding the police - can you please provide your thoughts on these?"
A) I feel that because we are doing a plebiscite and everyone gets a vote, I will 100% support ward one's decision.
My actual preference is for fluoride, I want to stress what I said in the previous statement I will back the choice of our Ward and vote in the manner they tell me regardless of my personal feelings.
With the increase in crime and vandalism in our neighbourhoods, we need to find ways to free up police services while staying within a budget. I would work with the police department and see if we can create a plan that will see either Cadets or Peace Officers handling traffics control, examples are when we send police out to help with a tow truck, direct traffic at a non-severe traffic accident or even when road crews need support at night. This will free up valuable time to have our police more visible in the communities which will help prevent crime.
Q) Vaccines, "As the advance polls begin tomorrow, I’m needing to make a decision on who to vote for. I have looked at your platform. My question to you is: What is your stand on vaccine passports? Any and all details would be most appreciated."
A) When it comes to issues such as Vaccine passports, this is truly a provincial issue. I do support the idea as it reduces the chance of us having to shut down the city again. The overall mental health of our society is important and when we shut down it affects not only people's sources of income but their stress levels. We need to have solutions that will help us get through this pandemic, this may not be the ultimate solution but it is better than doing nothing.
Q) "Developers Permitted to Rezone single dwelling property for High Density structures – past council gave approval to developers to rezone a single home property to build 4-8+ multiplexes. Calgarians want homes with yards and distancing; now buying outside Calgary. Developers unable to sell are renting these multiplexes.
What is your position on rezoning properties for high density? Will you advocate for the community and Stop developers from rezoning & constructing multiplexes?"
A) The existing council supports these measures as it helps increase their tax revenue without the expenditure that comes with developing new communities. I am not a supporter of these projects as the existing infrastructure cannot support today’s lifestyles. An example of this is most of the communities where these are happening were developed when every second house had a vehicle, now we want to put an 8 plex up that could possibly bring in 16 vehicles to that same residence. This overloads the street causing more problems than it solves. I know personally, I wouldn’t be happy if my neighbor tore down their house and put up a multiplex.
Mission statements – You can tell a lot about a company by its mission statement. Don’t have one? Now might be a good time to create one and post it here. A good mission statement tells you what drives a company to do what it does.
Q) "Montgomery Bowness Road Renovation. City outsourced this 1-mile road redesign that cost $1.3M (more than 14 Street overpass at Stoney Trail). City transit, first responders and public can’t get through this “huge error”. Single bike lane is only required on 1 side of Bowness road. In past, Druh had city tear up 16 Ave (4-10 Street NW) 3 times in 1 year. Montgomery community and business did not / do not support this redesign. City transit pulls in mirrors when driving down 42-52 Street Bowness Rd. More public driving down residential streets to bypass Bowness Rd. (Safety issue)
What is your position on this 1-mile redesign? Will you support the community by revising errors making Bowness Road (42 Street to 52 Street NW) more user friendly to the community, drivers, city transit and cyclists?"
A) Although I am a supporter of a city having a wide variety of transportation options when it comes to main existing roads we have to use caution when we redesign them to ensure we can maintain the existing traffic flow and limit the risk of incidents for all. For example, the existing bike path down Bowness main street would have allowed safer passage for everyone had it been set up on one of the parallel off streets.
Q) "Bias Against Vehicles: Calgary is appr 46 km North to South. Present councilor/mayor were strongly against vehicles despite using them to get around.
What is your position re: cyclists? Are you bias against vehicles? Will you support Bicycle Licenses? (note Calgary used to have bike licenses; we license cats why not bikes?)"
A) I personally believe that the implementation of licensing pets is just another form of unnecessary taxation. Licensing bicycles can be seen in the same light and in doing so allows for further disadvantaging of those who cannot afford a personal vehicle or public transportation. For example, it could hinder those living in low income who are already stretching their dollar as far as they can.
Q) "Art – as you’re aware, past council spent obscene amount of taxpayer money on ridiculous art, some that insult our indigenous community (near OCP) or bad for environment/public that its stored in a warehouse costing taxpayers.
What is your position re: Outdoor Art in Calgary? Will you support good art that represents our city, indigenous community and our talented artists in Calgary, Alberta, Canada? Will you advocate to replace the offensive construction looking art near COP?"
A) I am a huge supporter of public art and relate to your frustration especially in how much we are spending in comparison to the finished product, the nature of the art, and how it contributes to our communities. We need to use our art funds better and fuel that funding into local or up-and-coming artists within our city. As supporting local and encouraging up-and-coming artists will not only have less of a cost but they will be connected to the values that Calgarians stand for. In response to equity and diversity in our art, we should be making sure those who are creating it are rooted culture it is reflecting.
Q) "Taxes – Past decade Calgary is 1 of the most expensive Western cities in Canada. Past council was highest paid with multi-pensions who approved 12% salary increase (2016-2019) for city employee. Raised residential taxes to assist small business; ended up increasing residential & business taxes.
What is your position re: city council being fiscally responsible, working within a reasonable budget and taxpayer transparency?"
A) Being a Manager for a Credit Union and running my own financial corporation has taught me the importance of balance sheets. We need to get our spending under control in city hall while also prioritizing it further, we need to increase our services while reducing the burden on small businesses. We can accomplish this without increasing any taxes to our residential side or creating and new service fees. It is extremely important that we are transparent to the taxpayers of Calgary as they are our employers.
Q) "Representing our ward means advocating for the community. Too often city made “courtesy call” advising community members of city decisions contrary to community’s needs/wants. Need council who can meet and debate without bullying, name calling and voting based on who they like.
Will you advocate and stand up for what your community wants even if contrary to what city management is looking at? Do you think you can be a team player while maintaining your stand to support your Ward?"
A) I’ve coached for many years and have always taught my players that no matter what you do in life you will require others to help you and work as a team. My first responsibility is to the constituents of Ward 1. This is one of the main reasons I am running as I feel that our past representative did not want to put his ear to the ground and find out how we felt in the community. I can’t always make everyone happy but I will always put the concerns of the community first no matter what. I want to be the councilor that is easily reachable and listens/responds to his constituents.
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I wanted to thank the recent outpour of support through emails and phone calls. Let's win this election!