Friday, August 13, 2010

Interview with Calgary 2010 Ward 12 Alderman Candidate Shane Keating

This is a continuation of a series of interviews that I will post about local candidates that are running in the 2010 Calgary municipal election. I do not endorse any of the candidates necessarily, unless stated otherwise. The intent is to allow the candidates a forum in which they can share some of their views.

This interview is with Shane Keating,  who will be running for Alderman in Ward 12 this term.

1) I am a resident of Ward 12 and a potential voter. What do you think is the biggest issue facing the voters of this ward?
SK: With the change in Ward 12 boundaries during this election and the removal of five communities from Ward 12 (Willow Park, Maple Ridge, Haysboro, Acacia, and Riverbend), a clearer sense of the biggest issue facing the voters is the inability to remain current with city infrastructure. The lack of infrastructure can be divided into three main components.
First and most noticeable deficit is in transportation. Simply increasing the width and number of lanes does not alleviate the congestion that riddles the city's roadways, it merely delays the crisis while Calgary grows and again becomes too large for the existing traffic.

Council must rethink traffic patterns to allow for flow in both directions not just to the city's core and consider a less centralized approach to how businesses are situated in the city. Quarry Park is a perfect example of this concept.

Quarry Park is a good mix of business and residential where residents are able to live close to their employment without affecting the "suburban lifestyle" that the community appreciates. Quarry Park is nestled between Riverbend and Douglas Glen, as well as close to many different communities, and offers employment for (an estimated) 2000 individuals. Many of these people who were required to drive to work now have the privilege of walking, biking or taking a short ride on transit. Part of the deficit in transportation is the Southeast LRT which must proceed as soon as possible.
The number of employees from Ward 12 who live and work in other areas of the city need easy access to transit, not a long bus routes with multiple transfers.

Calgary must be fiscally responsible in their budgeting, not just for the three years before the next election but in the long term. The interest paid on monies borrowed to complete the Southeast LRT leg is far less than the increase in costs to build it later, plus the added benefit of the users over the next few years instead of waiting. It has been stated that now is the perfect time to build such an expensive project, the economy is low therefore builders are readily available. Quality companies are able to build at a reasonable amount rather than when the economy is booming and all costs are a premium.
The second deficit that I see in Ward 12 is a lack of recreational facilities in the Southeast. As a member at large of SECRS (South East Calgary Recreation Society) whose goal is to develop the Southeast Regional Recreation Strategy and advise the City of Calgary on how to spend $80 million on recreation facilities, there is a significant need to look at the Southeast as a whole to develop recreational facilities and to do this ASAP.

Finally the third deficit is within our school system. The drastic number of students being bussed (in some cases great distance) is appalling. Although education is funded by the provincial government and governed by local school boards, the city council must take an active role in securing the desperately needed schools in Ward 12. As a school principal I have worked with all levels of government within the education realm and my background would be a great benefit in this area.

2) Many people feel that there is a lot of dysfunction with the current council. If elected what would you do to rectify this?

An Alderman's job is to support the ward in my case Ward 12, but not at a detriment to the rest of Calgary. An Alderman should not worry about being re-elected the day after they are voted in. The present council may have forgotten that working for the complete city does, in fact, support their ward.
It almost appears that that often some members of council find themselves with a single minded focus of trying to leave their mark, for example with the "Peace Bridge", rather than leave their legacy.
I also think that many aldermen have not stayed current after many years in office. Dysfunction may have simply become protectionism (only looking after their own ward), enabling the concept of teamwork to disappear.
Let us not forget the role the City administration has played in the last number of years. A feeling of entitlement seems to have crept into the many aspects of City Hall as described by one senior manager "we're not here to solve problems but managed the corporate entity of Calgary." Once we ignore the "big picture" and focus only on one aspect of our organization all other components suffer. The city of Calgary is not a private entity that has only one focus, Calgary is a corporation as well as a corporate citizen with specific managerial objectives. Public organizations are here to serve as well as manage. The city of Calgary must become a great corporation as well as a great problem solver for the benefit of all the residents.
I wish I had a simple answer to this question. During my career in education working as a team player became my goal. I believe I have developed many skills in organizational management. I would, and have, expressed views, opinions, and strategies to make individuals focus on all sides of any issue, not just the easiest way out.
The new council must be creative and not single minded. It can not simply not accept the status quo and must be willing to do what is in the best interests for all the residents of Calgary and not just what is best for the Corporation of the City of Calgary or what is best for their own interests as Alderman. We must understand that this election we will have a new Mayor and a significant number of new Alderman, therefore, change is going to happen. It will be upon us the new elected Alderman to set the tone for a new atmosphere of teamwork and a service oriented city.

3) Tell me why you would make a better Alderman than your opponents? What candidate will be the hardest to beat in Ward 12?

Convincing a voter that I am more qualified than another candidate has never been my 'cup of tea'. I believe that by comparing the differences, the ideals and the platforms of all candidates, voters will discover that I am their best choice as their Alderman, and will do as I promise.

Since I was a teenager I have given back to the community in many ways, starting with my desire to work with some of the physically challenged members of my community, volunteering during community cleanups and holding the position of President of a youth club while I attended high school. My dedication to the community and helping others in need has not altered during my adult years and has remained just as strong as of today. I am currently a member of five different community committees and founder of a national non-profit society.

As a school Principal I have dealt with bureaucracy and all levels of government. Success while working with a large organizations and individuals who have their own agenda can be a tiresome task. Honesty and integrity must always play a part in an Alderman's character, but you must also be confident in your decisions. Asking the right questions of city administration is something I am not shy in doing. For example the first question regarding the Peace Bridge is "do we need it", and not questions which deter the simple fact of necessity and fiscal responsibility.

Looking beyond issues and digging deeper is a talent I have while keeping everything into perspective. An individual once told me that "the job of Alderman should not be the best job you've ever had" with respect to pay and benefits and prestige. The "job" can then become more important than the job that you were elected to do. I believe that it would be my privilege to be your Alderman not your privilege to have me as your Alderman.
My experience has led me to deal with city bureaucrats, provincial levels of government, municipal levels of government and the public in general all with great success. I am confident that the talents and skills I have gained over 31 years as an educator are well suited to leading Calgary into a service harmonious oriented city council.

4) In your opinion what is a biggest mistake that Alderman McIver has made the as Ward 12 Alderman?
Alderman McIver was an excellent representative for Ward 12 and the city of Calgary. He has shown his supporters the path and we need to continue and improve on his leadership. If I was to offer constructive criticism it would be to contradict the "Mr No" label that others have placed on him. A focused and well understood policy does not allow for the opposition to pigeonhole an Alderman. Alderman McIver has supported issues (when they were worth supporting) but may not have received the recognition for doing so. The city of Calgary must be fiscally responsible all the while supporting areas that require need.

5)  Did the decision in Ward 12 Alderman McIver to run for Mayor have any impact on your decision to run in the selection? Would you have run against Ric McIver if he was still on the ballot?
In all honesty yes of course it did. My entrance into politics was not because I had any issues with Ric McIver. As far back as two years ago I suggested to Ric that he should run for Mayor and that I would then run in his position. At that time my Community Association was having great difficulty working with the City of Calgary. I am running for your Alderman as I saw then, as I clearly see now, the need for policies, procedures and methods within the City of Calgary and City Hall to be changed.
I would have only ran against Ric if I had issues with how he was representing me as a resident of Ward 12, I had no issues with Ric.

6)  With no incumbent in the riding, are you finding it easy to fund raise and find volunteers? Is every candidate on a level playing field?
This question is yes and no. With no incumbent all supporters are forced to find a new candidate. I have been very fortunate in finding some individuals who believe I am the right candidate, therefore, I am not on a shoestring budget. Yet my campaign is not fluid with donations as I believe many supporters are not making up their minds until later in the campaign before deciding on financial contributions.
I'm extremely fortunate to have assembled a core of excellent members of my campaign team. I am very grateful that after all the volunteer hours I have donated over the last 40 years, my view of a better Calgary is the focus of others who are volunteering their time.
It is both humbling and greatly appreciated for others residents Ward 12 who believe I am the right candidate for their Alderman. I must thank the following individuals as they are my support, think tank, motivation, management, and conscience. Thank you to Merviana, Kate, Larry, Tammy, Jason P, Marilyn, Succan, Kelly, Richard, and Jason L (in order of signing on). It is through great volunteers that great goals are achieved.

The task is also great and there is a need for many more volunteers to have a successful campaign. Many talented hands and minds are needed to distribute and manage lawn and window signs, to visit each resident within Ward 12, volunteer at upcoming events and a host of other invaluable ways to help. Please consider helping me to help make Calgary an even better place to live, work, learn and raise a family in any way possible. Visit my website and sign up as a volunteer, make a donation to the campaign, and to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and on my blog site.
Thank you
Shane Keating
Aspiring to be your Alderman in Ward 12


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1 comment:

  1. I really enjoy your Ward 12 interviews. Thanks for the good work. Looking forward to further Ward 12 candidates interviewing with yourself as well as your other blog posts. Cheers.