I have deep roots in East Calgary.
I spent every summer here rolling around Inglewood with the neighbourhood kids on our bikes, playing ultimate frisbee at Stanley Park and Riley Park, hiking and camping in the Canadian Rockies ...
I worked at Spolumbo's and did river jumps off the old zoo bridge that floated me right into my parent's backyard. I met my wife playing ultimate frisbee at the University of Calgary where we both did our Masters degrees. We got married on the banks of the Bow in 2007. We are proudly raising our son as a fourth generation Calgarian. I grew up in New York City, but for the last thirty years Calgary has been home. I love this city. I love the people of Calgary. I love our mind-blowing potential.
Is there a better place to live than Calgary? It rates consistently as one the world's most livable cities with some of the cleanest drinking water on the planet. Our city is recognized as entrepreneurial, affordable, community-minded, and inviting. It's hard to dispute the advantages we enjoy. While we Calgarians are lucky, we didn't get here without a lot of hard work, and there is still a lot of work to do. Great cities take work!
Put simply, Calgary is now at a crossroads. This election is about Calgary choosing what kind of city it wants to become. In an era of misinformation, disinformation and fake news, Calgary's potential is threatened by bad actors fooling us into thinking we can return to a time in our history that never existed. It is my obligation to be a berm against this coming flood. The issues we face are complex, and those complexities must be embraced and engaged with. Space must be made for previously unheard voices.
As an urban designer with ten years of professional experience before taking office, I have often focused on how place and environment affects people. Between Covid-19, the Black Lives Matter movement, and municipal politics following the polarization of provincial and American politics, I have shifted my focus to how people affect place and environment. Calgary is not a place for everyone and it never has been. Many Calgarians feel unsafe calling the police. The Greenline is being challenged by a small group of well-heeled interest groups who gain no benefit in connecting our growing city with transit. Calgary has long been a place to establish roots, but we are reaching a critical juncture where our economy and our policies must reflect the city we want to become, not the town we once were. Calgary must be a city for everyone.
The public hearing on systemic racism in Calgary City Council in July was a turning point for me. Racism, white supremacy and gender inequity have always been present in our city. Covid 19 has exposed the fact that BIPOC individuals and communities have far less access to basic rights and privileges. It is also clear that women have been most affected by the ‘new normal’ that Covid has thrust upon us. Racism and gender inequity cannot be improved upon if they are not acknowledged and directly engaged with.
I have served on council for three terms, 12 years. So why a fourth term? As Calgarians we take pride in how we show up for one another and how we give back. However we can no longer claim ignorance of the inequity that exists. It is time to show up and rise together for everyone who calls Calgary home. It is time to do the hard work.
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