Post Election Reflection

 

Results 2It was exciting watching the results of the first municipal election that I have been a part of.  In the end, 8197 votes were cast for me.  I worked really hard going door to door, handing out my handmade cards and meeting people one on one to discuss how I felt I could make a difference in this city.

I am extremely proud of myself.  As my first foray into politics, I believe this was a great accomplishment for a completely grassroots campaign.  It was hard being an organization of one, but it was an excellent learning experience.  It was empowering to be able to meet like-minded people through this process and share this experience with my children.

I would like to thank everyone who supported my campaign and those who voted for me.  It is humbling to know that 8196 people in the city of Vancouver believed I could do the job.

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Advanced Voting Begins Tuesday, November 4.

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In the effort to bring more people to the polls, Vancouver is offering 8 days of advanced voting for the 2014 municipal elections.  Between 8am and 8pm on November 4-10 and November 12, Vancouverites can vote at the following locations:

  • West End Community Centre – 870 Denman Street
  • Roundhouse Community Centre – 181 Roundhouse Mews
  • Thunderbird Community Centre – 2311 Cassiar Street
  • Sunset Community Centre – 6810 Main Street
  • Killarney Community Centre – 6260 Killarney Street
  • Kitsilano Community Centre – 2690 Larch Street
  • Kerrisdale Community Centre – 5851 West Boulevard
  • City Hall – 453 West 12th Avenue

There’s no excuse not to get out and vote.  Also new this year, is the ability to vote at any location you feel is convenient.  Vancouverites are no longer confined to voting at one designated polling station.  Instead, voting can take place at any of the voting locations that fits your schedule.

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Making Vancouver Affordable!

Home For Sale Sign in Front of Beautiful New Home

It is a fact that Vancouver’s real estate prices are ridiculous!  Buying into the Vancouver housing market is difficult, if not impossible for the average person.  One of the reasons for this, is the ability for foreign buyers to purchase Vancouver properties.  It is a well-known fact that many houses in Vancouver are being snatched up by foreign buyers, and then sit empty for months on end.  I agree that we need foreign investors to drive our city’s economy, but not at the expense of its citizens.  If these people do not live and work here, they are not paying taxes and contributing to the economy, like the rest of us!

There has been talk during this election to impose taxes on houses that sit empty.  This reactive approach will not make housing more affordable for Vancouverites, because foreign buyers will still have the ability to purchase houses in Vancouver.  I propose a proactive approach that will curb foreign buyer’s habits, leading to a more affordable city to live in.  When international students want to study at Canadian universities, they pay a premium to study at our schools.  Foreign home buyers should also be subject to the same fate.  Requiring proof of citizenship when purchasing Vancouver real estate and imposing hefty levies on foreign home buyers will not only deter foreign ownership, but it will also enable City Council to collect revenue from these sales to either infuse back into the community, or create a grant for first-time Vancouver home buyers who actually live in the city.

Currently, houses priced at $1.5 million seem to be a drop in the bucket for foreign home owners.  If City Council imposed a 50% levy on the sale of a $1.5M house, that would be an extra $750K revenue for the city.  The sale of 2 houses in Vancouver at the same rate would generate a revenue of $1.5 million for the city.  The imposition of the levy would ensure that foreign home buyers are not buying out the Vancouver market and would likely deter some from investing in the first place, opening up the market for actual Canadians.

The reality of making Vancouver affordable is this:  the current demand of housing in Vancouver far exceeds the supply available, and thus the price of housing in Vancouver is exorbitant.  Not only that, but wealthy individuals living in other countries can easily purchase property in Vancouver (and they don’t even pay income tax to our government, something the rest of us are doing!)  If the supply, at some point, exceeds demands, because less foreign buyers are investing in our real estate market because it is no longer profitable, then housing prices we eventually decline.  This would create a more affordable Vancouver to live in and essentially put houses in the hands of people who actually live here!

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Open Letter to First-Time Voters- Especially Those Currently in Post Secondary Education

 

ballot-boxThis is an open letter to anyone who was born on or before November 15, 1996, but especially those voting for the first time.  This may be the first time you are eligible to vote in a municipal election.  Busy with classes, homework, studying, exams, or your day-to-day lives, you are likely not aware that on Nov. 15th, 31 days from today, there will be a municipal election in your community or the significance of your vote.  It is your democratic right and privilege to be able to vote.

You may be thinking to yourself:  “I don’t know who to vote for!” or “What are the issues?”.  Regardless, the thing you should understand is:  the municipal level of government, is probably the level of government that affects your life the most!  Everything from how often your garbage is picked up to your commute to and from home.  If you decide to buy property in Vancouver (or wherever you live), the policies and decisions your city make will affect your day to day living for the next 4 years (and maybe beyond that).

You may or may not know all of the issues that are being discussed during the election, you don’t have to.  When you vote, you will be asked (in Vancouver at least) to choose one mayor; ten councillors; 9 school trustees; and 7 parks board members.  You likely won’t know 10 councillors you want to vote for, or 9 school trustees, but I encourage you to read up on the candidates and decide who your values align with. Contact the candidates and ask them questions.  If I remember the ballot question correctly (and make sure you read it properly), I believe it says something like: “choose up to X# for this position”.  So if you feel strongly about only 2 candidates, then only choose those two!  The top one (for mayor), 10 (for council), 9 (for school board) and 7 (for parks board) candidates with the most votes are elected into office and are responsible for making decisions for your city!

There will also likely be a few close-ended (yes/no) questions asking you about how you feel money should be spent in the city; things about the libraries, parks, transportation, community centres and the like.

I encourage you all to empower yourselves, there are 31 days until voting day.  Do a little research.  A good place to start is the city’s website (www.vancouver.ca).  Keep in mind that everything is coloured with its own bias.  Use your critical eye and ask yourself, does this make sense?  Is this person really wanting to make my city better?  Is this person in it for other reasons?  What was this person’s track record?

If you don’t live in Vancouver, but live in British Columbia, your municipality is holding an election on November 15th! Read up, ask good questions, be active citizens and exercise your right to vote! If you choose to put an “X” next to my name, I appreciate your support!  If I’m not the candidate for you, that’s okay, I am glad knowing that you made an informed decision to make it out to the polls and voted for the candidate you believed could represent your beliefs the best, and make your city the best place for you to live!

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David Versus Goliath!

The period to submit nomination papers closed on Friday.  I checked this morning, and it appeared there were going to be 42 candidates running for City Council.  As of 7pm tonight, that number has climbed to 49!…WHAT!?!  I came across an interesting blog about running for this election: http://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/a-word-to-vancouver-election-candidates/  I guess I’m contributing to the “Too many candidates” scenario… but you know, I may not win… but if I don’t try, I’ll never know!

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Another batch of bumper stickers have arrived…

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Just received another batch of bumper stickers from Faron in the mail on the weekend.  Just in time too, I was running low on the first batch.  If you’d like a bumper sticker, or would like to help distribute them to people you know in Vancouver, please let me know and I will find a way to get some to you.

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Nomination Papers Submitted

I have officially submitted my nomination papers to City Hall.  Candidates will be announced Oct. 10th.  Not much more for me to do than campaign.  Spread the word… VOTE LENA LING!

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New Beginnings…Official Nomination Period Begins.

Today is the official start to the nomination period for Vancouver’s municipal elections.  In anticipation for my appointment with the Elections Officer, I have been gathering all of the necessary paperwork to be submitted into City Hall.  Apparently my candidate picture and profile can be submitted online.  While investigating the additional requirements for my candidate profile and picture, I discovered that the city will publish any social media information I may have available; and so this blog was born!  Only 47 days until election day!

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