Putting my candidacy into perspective, crafting my platform for why “fighting the good fight for Oshawa” and “ culture and community matters” – I thought about the story unfolding in Oshawa. I put myself into many situations facing residents, communities, businesses and politics. I try to see it from how would I feel if this were impacting me. This is why society needs a long hard look at itself because Oshawa is shaped by policies and influences. The constituents need a stronger voice to influence how the City of Oshawa develops for their benefit.
Politics is a blame game, no politician is accountable
It’s not enough to wish government can do better with politicians who want to be re-elected by using rhetoric to say what sounds good, and hope the citizenry will not remember their long-term record, just their latest rhetoric. A system built on shifting sand is not sustainable.
Good governance comes from Statesmen who are concerned with truth, its conviction, and faithful adherence to it regardless of the consequence. Most importantly, a leadership and loyalty that is accountable to the People. Politics isn’t a career. It’s not a job. It’s a public service.
Cultural activities and creative expression is key
It’s through cultural diversity that community learns and explodes new ways to solve social-economic issues. The wisdom of the People, is a movement to a thriving and prosperous Oshawa. The new economy will be creative collaborations and entrepreneurship that reinvents how we receive quality patient focus healthcare, building sustainable housing, developing more efficient-renewal and cheaper ways to deliver energy, worker co-operatives and co-operative greenhouses, community learning centre and free school, cultural diversity museum, hemp and marijuana production, and philantropy that invests in performance and industrial arts.
The New Oshawa
This all leads to an environment of productiveness and how everyone can relate to each other and shape a meaningful life created from: Experience, interpretation, contemplation, and imagination. Culture and community puts meaning into what people create. It’s important for individuals, groups and community to recognize culture as a pillar of support in our lives together – breaking down barrier to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
6 Pillars of Making Culture & Community Matter
Cognitive Diversity: Being well informed about a wide-range of topics and issues to have a world view.
Communication: Effectively communicating information with no presumptions.
Collaboration: Coming together in sharing a common purpose and limitation to minimize effort and maximize output that is enjoyed by all.
Coordination: Keeping the flow of decision-making simple and expedient.
Collegiality: Engaging others with respect, openness and trust in pursuit of a common purpose, having regard for individuals, ideas, and Oshawa as a whole.
Convalescence: Taking time to recover from illness by rehabilitating to your greatest version.
A Movement towards A Thriving and Prosperous Oshawa Plan
In Oshawa, we can create a thriving and prosperous communities and industries by addressing the problems facing: diversity, equity, and inclusiveness. This can only happen with a balanced partnership between Society and the City of Oshawa that establish policies that encompasses arts- cultural activities, sustainable communities, and having productive livelihoods at the heart of the Oshawa experience.
Creating Life Together Strategic Goals
I have 3 long-term goals for implementing a “creating life together” expression that will have a powerful effect on the culture of Oshawa City Hall to achieve the highest standards in delivering goods and/or services to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusiveness.
Note: I’m working on a 4th Strategic Goal called: New Economy Matters.
Whether a City Councillor or City Staffer, everyone should feel inspired that they represent and are contributing to making life better in Oshawa. We are all roving leaders with a responsibility and privilege to be a part of a legacy of an evolving and expanding City of Oshawa. It begins inside Oshawa City Hall with a healthy and caring environment, despite the stresses of deadlines and budgets. As leaders, we cannot “abdicate that responsibility and fail to pay attention as we become too busy and overwhelmed. To be an effective and inspiring leader, we need to be able to step back and listen deeply to what’s happening around us. Our employees’ sense of safety and level of productivity depends upon our ability to see and manage the dynamics and emotional welfare of our teams.”
“The question of reaching sustainability is not whether we will have enough energy, enough food, enough tangible resources – those the Earth can provide. The question is: will there be enough leaders in time.” – Dr. Karl-Henrik, Founder of The Natural Step
Creativity and Collaboration Matters
The People expect their elected representatives to work together to deliver value for their money. A framework for a sense of place and the potential for creative collaboration between Society and the City of Oshawa or within communities, and coordinate to address local challenges more quickly and efficiently. Whether it’s a community yard sale and BBQ or Neighborhood Watch, its about building stronger communites where individuals, great groups, local government, and Durham Regional Police Services can partner, share, and collaborate together to solve issues impacting neighborhoods and communities.
“Collaboration is important not just because it’s a better way to learn. The spirit of collaboration is penetrating every institution and all of our lives. So learning to collaborate is part of equipping yourself for effectiveness, problem solving, innovation and life-long learning in an ever-changing networked economy.” – Don Tapscott
Culture and Community Matters
Oshawa is exploring itself. A beautiful life has always been there, just has to be unfolded, has to be discovered. The treasure is there to experience, but resources and investment is needed to enable people to have productive lives. It’s through arts-cultural activities and community lifestyles that is the key to unlockinging the door to a happy, healthy, and fun Oshawa.
“A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.” Mahatma Gandhi
Value in Money Matters
City Council currently has minimal involvement in the development of the annual City budget. The Treasurer will prepare the budget, assuming that year after year, the same expenditures get planned, without much debate. They announce the tax increase percentage, and then open the floor to have Council tap-dance to reduce the increase a few percentage points. There is minimal opportunity for public discussion, debate or scrutiny. This is an oldstyle way of doing business.
Many municipal governments have eliminated this old way of doing business a long time ago. But this is Council’s financial convictions and norms, doing the minimal expected, so Council has grown comfortable doing the minimal, yet the group-think has lose touch with the original reasons for the department’s expenditures and the bottom-line. Mistakes made in one year may be compounded from year to year with a big cost to taxpayers, with little or no opportunity for changing the system given the way things work now
Open Government Matters
- Representation is accountable decision-making, so an open channel establishes trust and understanding how and why decisions are made.
- Civic engagement is the bedrock of a participatory democracy, so Committee and City Council Meetings need to be a conducive environment where constituents voices are heard and considered in the decision-making process.
Barrier-free Access Matters
My Proposal of Programs and Initiatives for a Thriving & Prosperous Oshawa
Integrated Sustainable Community Plan
Integrated Sustainable Community Plan is a guideline intended to provide a process that enables neighborhoods and neighborhood Stakeholders to connect and coalesce around a shared future vision for their neighborhood, and also allows them to collaborate on the realization of that vision, one step at a time.
The City of Oshawa has enjoyed intensive urban community growths. The demographics and social-economics is changing the cultural landscape. Majority of the new home owners are coming from the GTA and work outside of Oshawa. Traditionally, individuals and families moved to find work, but in Oshawa- its affordable new houses. With that said, there will be a culture barrier because of little attachment to the industrial base that is rich in Oshawa’s culture and heritage.
An urbanization plan is needed for creating sustainable new communities. An urban partnership framework for understanding ethnographic nature of areas when developing infrastructure for anyone seeking to move into a new neighborhood in Oshawa with intention of raising a family, a place to live-work-play, and chose to be apart of the community.
A sustainable neighborhood creates for people to meet their needs and enjoy fulfilling, decent and respectful lives while enhancing the ecological, social and economic conditions of the neighborhood, community, City of Oshawa and Durham Region.
An Integrate Sustainable Community Network is like a self-learning system in which allows different neighborhoods and localities to share, partner, and develop innovative and creative local solutions to problems facing individuals and communities.
The City of Oshawa and Durham Regional Police Services can coordinate and leverage their resources and community input and sources to initiate this framework for safe and sustainable communities.
Once a framework is establish, a webpage can be made available with: knowledge, resources, and a toolkit for the citizenry to organize their own town hall meetings, neighborhood watch, and other culture and community activities.
Policies that will lay the foundation for a new economy
will be creative collaborations and entrepreneurship that reinvents how we receive quality patient focus healthcare, building sustainable housing, developing more efficient-renewal and cheaper ways to deliver energy, worker co-operatives and co-operative greenhouses, community learning centre and free school, cultural diversity museum, manufacturing versitile hemp products, growing medicinal marijuana for production and retail, and philantropy that invests in performance and industrial arts.
Joint Partnerships for Energy and Environment is an initiative to be aware of the key players in the world for renewable energy and green infrastructure to deliver affordable energy, creating vibrant green spaces, storm water management, and kick start a new industry.
- It’s essential to have sensible sustainability programs to meet Oshawa’s growing energy needs and unique green initiatives. It’s an opportunity to partner with key players in renewable energy sector to development infrastructure that delivers affordable energy and strives environmentally. Oshawa can be Durham Regiuon’s leader in renewable energy industry, while creating a market and demand for jobs.
- Green infrastructure is a cost-effective, resilient approach to managing wet weather impacts that provides many community benefits. While single-purpose gray stormwater infrastructure—conventional piped drainage and water treatment systems—is designed to move urban stormwater away from the built environment, green infrastructure reduces and treats stormwater at its source while delivering environmental, social, and economic benefits.
- An Education and Training Session, because Local governments are in the best position to promote sustainable stormwater management on a larger scale. They also face some of the most complex challenges. Resources are limited, responsibilities are fragmented, and the tolerance for risk is generally low. These strategies should help municipalities overcome those challenges.
- Communities can experience the benefits of green infrastructure by having the City of Oshawa adopt urban development standards or incentives promoting green infrastructure while using City owned facilities and parks for demonstration projects.
An update to City Council Charter outlining the principles that City Councillor leadership follows to exercise their office for public service.
Within the period of three months, when new City Council is sworn in, City Council to approve a motion to direct City Staff to should be called to have input from the constituents on how they feel they should be represented, other sources should be considered from the Ombudsman of Ontario and Integrity Commissioner of Durham, Oshawa Legal Services, and reviewing code of conduct by-law. After all these inputs and sources are collected, City Staff has within 3-5 months to boil down an updated draft City Council Charter that includes a number of principles establishing the convictions and norms City Council will be guided for their term of office. This would be introduced at Corporate Services Committee, debate and discussions about the City Staff’s Public Report for on an updated draft of a City Council Charter, amendments can be made, and than goes to City Council to be vote on it’s implemention. Beginning with the day on which a By-Law amendment or motion for a Declaration for an updated City Council Charter is passed, it should be published on the City of Oshawa website immediately.
Building Garden City Plan
The concept of the Garden City will perhaps be the most radical and relevant legacy of the new Oshawa. The planning aspires to provide a blend of environmental sustainability, social inclusion and steely economics; a new kind of mutualised community with the highest standards of design accessible to all and profits of rising land values shared for the benefit of everyone. With the Oshawa and Durham Region now facing an acute housing crisis, these principles are more relevant than ever.
The Art of Building a Garden City traces the extraordinary journey of the Garden City movement from its utopian origins to the delivery of a new generation of communities for the 21st century. Drawing on lessons from the fist Garden Cities, the new towns programme, and other large-scale developments, it identifies the approach that needs to be taken in order to deliver the highest standards of design and placemaking today. This book is essential reading for anyone involved in planning, designing or delivering new, Garden City-inspired communities at a range of scales.
The best way to not dogged by bad deals and cost surges is applying the principles of zero-based budgeting. In a zero-based budget, each department must defend their expenditures on an item-by-item basis for each budget period. Just because it has been done in the past, doesn’t automatically justify continuing in the future. Zero-based budgets will put Council in better control to make changes required if municipal departments are not performing according to plan, or if new citizen priorities emerge. This strategy eliminates waste and requires a conversation around spending that is critical to good fiscal management.
Council should direct staff to empower our front line workers to apply their skills and knowledge to solve problems quickly and make sure they have the tools and training to meet today’s needs. We should adopt the newest operating procedures, streamline our business processes and learn from other successful cities ways to get more for our money.
It’s not about cutting back our services. It’s about doing things better! It’s about doing things smarter! Its important to remember that our municipal government is not a business. Business is motivated by self interest and profit. Our city government should be dedicated to delivering important services that matter most to citizens, and protecting public interest. Prudent business practices should be applied with this in mind, making
sure we get the best value for each tax dollar. Our goal should be to build the tax base, not the tax burden.