Wednesday, September 4, 2013

McCreath Responds to MUNSU Election Questions

Jennifer McCreath
Deputy Mayor Candidate - City of St. John's Election
twitter @jenn_mccreath
C332-91 Larkhall St., St. John's, NL, A1B2C5

1.1 - Volunteer Portfolio

- Founder and Former Head of Corporate Management, and Chair of Board for St. John's Pride Inc.
- Founder of grass-roots Newfoundland Animal Appreciation Society
- Civil Activist for human rights, government transparency, and civil liberty
- Running Coach
- volunteer policy advisor for,,,
- founder of grass-roots organizations, and

1.2 - How to make City Government more inclusive & responsive to youth

- Take a proactive approach to youth engagement
- Create committees to specifically engage youth and make them part of the decision-making process
- Make Government more e-friendly, both in terms of communications and in terms of providing products and services

1.3 - critical issues facing youth

- affordable housing
- managing student debt
- finding good quality employment with career growth potential, after graduation
- being able to find good work at home rather than have to travel away

The best way to deal with this is for the City to work closely with schools and employers to ensure steps are being taken to recruit students into programs that will ensure they graduate with the best skill-set needed to start employment. The City should encourage organizations to create entry-level positions to ensure youth can get their career started and not have to face rejected due to lack of experience.

2.1 - Public Transit

- Create carpool lots and have express or shuttle buses to quickly transport people from the edge of town to major hub areas, malls, downtown, mun, etc.
- Collaborate with neighbours to arrange bus service in and out of St. John's to Paradise, Conception Bay South, Torbay, and other areas nearby.
- Review existing bus routes and consult the public on how we can make routes more efficient

2.2 - Housing Crisis / Rent Control

- Create incentives for developers to build lost-cost housing units, such as apartment buildings, condos, and townhouses.
- Come up with a fair system that will allow landlords to make sufficient profit, yet not gauging the tenants with excessively high rental increase prices that are above the rates of inflation
- Carefully manage the mil rate so that homeowners are not excessively dealing with tax increases due to the substantial increase in property values
- Conduct a study on rent control, review other major cities rent control policies. consider creating a policy if deemed feasibility and fair for all parties

2.3 - Accessibility and Affordability of public services

- Access to government should be available in person, via phone, via fax, via snail mail, or via internet.
- Government should take steps to streamline service to ensure integration and collaboration so that access to multiple service can be obtained through multiple channels and through the least needed channels.

2.4 - Crosswalk Safety

- Consider reducing speed limits, add speed bumps, and increase traffic safety patrol presence, in areas know for speeding and otherwise dangerous drivers
- Consider making an arrangement to either get more RNC police patrol officers to watch the roads, or give City officials more power to enforce traffic violations

2.5 - Snow Clearing streets and sidewalks

- Stop using bulldozers and start using proper snow plows to ensure sidewalks are completely cleared- take steps to ensure all sidewalks are cleared in a timely manner

3.1 - Recycling and Compost Vision

- Find ways to enhance recycling and compost programs so that more citizens and businesses can conveniently partake
- conduct a feasibility study on a composting program

3.2 - Environmental Sustainability

- Take steps to ensure our lakes, ponds, & rivers remain clean for swimming & wildlife
- Organize projects to encourage citizens to take advantage of green space
- Initiate a project that will look at cleaning up the pollution in St. John's harbour
- engage environmental activist organizations and form partnerships with them to take steps to ensure the city is following global standards. create incentive programs for private businesses to undertake environmentally-friendly approaches to their work - promote public transit, carpooling, cycling, and walking, to reduce the amount of cars and trucks on the road emitting emissions.

3.3 - fighting oppression and discrimination

- Conduct studies on specific minority or unique demographic groups such as seniors, women, students, LGBT, people with disabilities, immigrants, etc, to find out how the City can improve their quality of life and improve the city services for them
- Engage the provincial Human Rights Commission, the Women's Policy Office, as well as various non-profit organizations that represent minority groups, so that the City can strongly understand the issues, and work together to come up with solutions.
- Take proactive approaches to celebrate diversity as a core value of the city.
- Conduct a review of city civil service to determine if affirmative action could be a valuable and feasible tool, to ensure a work force that reflects the diversity of the city population
- collaborate with provincial and federal government entities that are designed to fight discrimination and promote equality

3.4 - top 5 priorities (in no particular order)

Restore Faith in Government Process

- Better citizen engagement
- More transparency
- Pro-active accountability
- Streamline service delivery

Cooperation and collaboration

- Get the City working better with neighbouring cities & towns
- Develop better working relationship with provincial & federal governments
- Form stronger relationships between city, citizens, and businesses

Smart Growth

- Find a key balance between growing the city while preserving our historical downtown and cultural heritage
- Encourage building up instead of building out, to limit urban sprawl, especially in areas outside of core down town

Taxes and Finance

- Take steps to ensure that citizens have a better understanding about how city budget works, and how they can get better involved and engaged in the issues and decision-making process
- Find a fair balance between taxing business and citizens to ensure maximized quality of life for all
- look at tax credit and tax reduction programs that will help those less fortunate

Vacant Grocery Stores

- Eliminate the vacancy tax break to promote the use of privately
-owned empty business spaces- encourage property owners to sell or lease to others who are willing to set up grocery stores

Additional Comments:

I am a strong independent person who won't back down from a challenge and will never back down from standing up for what I believe in. At the same time, I feel I am a good listener and a team player who takes pride in reaching decisions based on consensus. I am not afraid to think outside the box or challenge norms. I want what's best for this city and I am willing to devote full time attention to making this city all that I know it is capable of being. I do whatever it takes to engage people on issues that matter. I take pride in battling indifference and getting people to care and develop passion for their city. I have overcome some of the most difficult challenges and stigma known to mankind, as I have managed to survive hatred, discrimination, and phobia, as someone who has gone through a medical sex and gender transition. This experience has taught me how to lead and manage change in a challenging situation, and has also given me extensive experience dealing with Government policies and red tape. I like to think that my ability to engage and delegate, makes me a good leader.

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