Sandy ran for Vancouver City Council in the November 19, 2011 civic election, in which she won the most votes received by an Independent candidate but was not elected. It was her first run for political office. She plans to stay involved in civic issues. Below are the issues she foregrounded in her 2011 campaign.
For too long, we’ve been dogfighting over party lines, overplaying our differences, dividing over ideologies rather than advancing the shared interests of Vancouver citizens. Sandy is running as an Independent for City Council because she believes there is a better way to govern – a better way to resolve the toughest issues we face as a city.
An Affordable City / Affordable Housing…
Vancouver must curb our wildly escalating housing prices. We have one of the least affordable housing markets in the world – and the ripple effect on our quality of life is devastating: neighbourhoods “gap toothed” by absentee ownership; seniors traumatized by rent increases; skilled immigrants passing us by because they can’t afford to live here; and young people leaving to pursue a less expensive future elsewhere.
Sandy believes it’s time to fix the real problem: unbridled speculative investment in housing. The City must broker reasonable strategies for attracting and directing capital away from residential housing toward investments that better serve our infrastructure needs, our community development interests.
We should resurrect and explore the co-op model that has served Vancouver so well in the past.
Real Public Engagement…
Vancouverites deserve intelligent, honest, reasonable debate about complex issues. They deserve more than a political exercise in “optics”; the public deserves to be genuinely engaged and consulted. This is the kind of “engagement” Sandy will fight for:
- Full and honest disclosure about the facts and all “interests” surrounding issues
- Front-end community consultation so that development adheres to community priorities, not the other way around
- Clear framing of decisions
- Realistic timelines and proper notice for fair and inclusive debate
- Outreach efforts to engage those who are not being heard
- Commitment to finding legitimate common ground and reasonable consensus
- Courage to take principled, transparent, and decisive action
An End to Casino Expansion and Backroom Deals…
Sandy was the co-founder of the grassroots citizen’s movement Vancouver Not Vegas! which defeated a planned mega-casino in Vancouver’s residential downtown core. Her opposition to this Edgewater Casino has two dimensions:
- First, Sandy is opposed to gambling expansion because of the social and economic devastation it wreaks on our communities. She opposes locating casino facilities in densely populated residential neighbourhoods and supports measures that prevent or ameliorate gambling addictions. For example, casinos should operate according to regular bar hours, not 24 hours a day.
- Second, she opposes “backroom” deals that allow developer interests to overshadow those of the public. The casino fight exposed a civic bureaucracy with interests too close to developers. Sandy will continue to work tirelessly to achieve the transparency of process, approval, and disclosure necessary to protect the interests of Vancouver citizens – as they, the citizens, define it.
A Real Arts Strategy…
Sandy has long been an outspoken advocate for Vancouver’s arts community. If elected, she will advance its interests on three fronts:
- Advocate for the City to demand the Province reinstate arts groups’ eligibility for gaming grants and reverse the rescinding of grants awarded in 2010. Loss of gaming funds has crippled our arts community, costing hundreds of jobs, while Vancouver allows the provincial government to operate casinos and gaming facilities in the City;
- Recognize our vital community interest in Vancouver’s cultural scene by protecting iconic arts spaces and activities, and creating affordable spaces for working artists, rehearsal & production, and storage; and
- A real and ambitious Arts Strategy that recognizes culture as an expression of our own unique identity; as a key economic driver, and the lifeblood of the Vancouver “scene. Our arts sector needs youth, energy, and diversity.
A City Free of Gangs /Organized Crime…
As a former Crown Prosecutor, Sandy understands law enforcement issues. Her priority is this: to crack down on Vancouver’s organized crime and gang-related violence once and for all. Determined to rejuvenate law enforcement on this most deep-seated and challenging front, Sandy is advocating that we:
- Create the country’s premier Gang and Organized Crime Unit here in Vancouver – an elite law enforcement unit resourced with adequate manpower, state-of-the-art technologies, and cutting edge ‘best practices”;
- Immediately re-instate the Integrated Illegal Gambling Enforcement Team (IIGET) as a condition of any relocation of casino facilities; and
- Recognize and guard against the link between organized crime and corruption of public institutions.