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Ward 1 candidate aims to return accountability to city hall

Paul Brown is running for the Ward 1 council seat
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Paul Brown is a candidate in Ward 1.

Paul Brown

Age: 57

Occupation: Retired from construction management

 

How long have you lived in Cambridge?

Since 1978

Do you reside in the ward/city you are running in?

Yes, a proud ward 1 resident

Why are you running in this election?

I have always believed that it's important to give back to your community. I have sat on committees, taken part in roundtables. Now that I'm retired, I have more time to dedicate to my community and as a person that naturally wants to be the leader in the room, I thought the timing was perfect for me to run for council.

What qualifies you to represent your ward?

I have lived in my ward for over 8 years, I have been heavily involved in municipal politics for many more years than that and I believe my ward needs change and a strong voice.

Why should people vote for you?

People should vote their conscience. Get to know me and my positions. People may not always agree with me but they will respect me. I want to improve not only transparency, but accountability at city hall. Councilors work for the residents, not the other way around and it's about time they have to account for their actions. No more back room deals if I'm elected, I'll pull the curtains back.

What do you see as the main issues facing residents of the ward?

1) housing, not just affordable housing but housing at all levels needs to be addressed. I would like to see a task force of all 4 levels of government to address the homeless problem, unless all levels of government are involved, we are just spinning our wheels and wasting money. We need a coordinated effort.

2) Continued economic development, we have seen great progress in this area with the opening of the new industrial park but more needs to be done. We still have to consider the economic development of our core areas. All three need to be addressed.

3) community safety, homelessness and prowling are on the increase. People need to know that they are safe in their own neighbourhoods, I would love to see an increase in police presence but that takes money and taxpayers have been stretched to thin as it is, we need some out of the box thinking and in my opinion, we need to concentrate on developing neighbourhood watch communities again. This was a great program that seems to have lost its appeal.

I would also like to add a fourth, if I may...taxes. Council needs to stop looking at taxpayers as an ATM, it's time we start utilizing our reserve funds for what they were intended for. No sense having 100s of millions in reserve funds if its not going to be used for it's intended purpose.

What do you see as the main issues facing residents of Cambridge on a broader scale?

I think these same issues are ubiquitous in Cambridge. I'm hearing the same thing from the four corners of Cambridge but on a more operational side, council needs to learn how to get things done. You could never sit on so many decisions in the private sector, make a decision and get moving, I hate continued deferrals that will just lead to losing control by other means (MZOs, etc). Also, I will fight with every fiber of my being to keep a CTS out of my city.

What is the most important thing you want to see changed in Cambridge?

I want people to feel safe. I want them to know that their property is safe and that if something does happen, the police will take action and our courts will uphold that action. Cambridge needs to take care of it's people, yes, but we should not be responsible for providing services to people that are relocated here when other regions send them here on the bus. There needs to be some push back there, and that's ok.

What services need to be improved in Cambridge?

We need to invest in local, neighbourhood athletic developments. We don't need a massive sports complex, we need to update and improve our existing facilities so families with smaller children can access these services in their own neighbourhoods and we have to stop stalling, the longer we wait, the more it's going to cost.

Is Cambridge growing too fast, just the right amount, or not fast enough? Industry is booming here at the moment and with that comes growth. We can't shy away from it and keep our heads buried in the sand. We need to tackle the problem head on and look at where we want this new type of intensification. It will happen either way, let's be smart and look how to do it properly.

What can be done at the local level about the rising cost of housing?

I don't know how much control we really have at the local level but more inventory would certainly stabilize the issue.

What can be done locally about the homelessness issue?

Stop accepting imported homeless from other communities, send them back. Our pockets are not bottomless and we can't fix the issue all by ourselves. I would like to see a task force of DECISION MAKERS from all four levels of government get together and really look for a solution. Sheltering is too expensive and encampments are not a solution.

We know that housing the homeless is much cheaper and more effective than sheltering but we can't leave it there. We need assisted or supported housing for those that have mental health issues and can not succeed on their own, let's not set people up for failure.

How do we make Cambridge an even better city to live in?

The people of this city is what makes it so great. Let's help them feel safe in their own community so they're not afraid to come outside anymore.

To learn more about Paul, email him at:

paulbrownforward1@gmail.com