A message from Ross Buchanan, independent candidate for mayor of Surrey.
Two things for you today on the campaign trail in Surrey!
Recently Ross received an email from a reporter asking him “what your previous political/leadership experience is and why those experiences qualify you to run a major Canadian city with a huge budget, council process, hundreds of policemen and major crimes.”
Valid question, absolutely, and one that would have greatly served the voters of Surrey to hear in totality. However, the truth is there are tight word and space limits for reported stories and so the answer was understandibly abbreviated to the line ” Ross has leadership experience”. No criticism or reflection on the reporter at all, in fact they did a great job on the focus of the story- but I felt that the small line about leadership experience doesn’t really convey the wealth of total experience and knowledge Ross brings to the table. Unlike many current political leaders, he even holds a university degree in public administration. So, for those wanting to know a bit more about Ross’s experience, here is the total answer :
“Good question. I guess you have to wonder what makes anyone qualified for this kind of responsibility don’t you? The good news is that any mayor is supported by a wealth of professionals who are talented in their areas of expertise such as policing, finance, operations, etc. That is the operational excellence that I would hope to achieve at a managerial level.
What I offer to the citizens of Surrey is far beyond management…it is all about Leadership. The kind of mayor that I would be is a mayor who is focused on working “on” Surrey not simply “in” city hall.
In my capacity as CEO of Strategic Results International I have had the opportunity to work with over 1000 organizations in the last 23 years. In my two areas of specialization, Strategic Planning and Leadership, I have worked with leadership teams to help them move their organizations to new levels of success. Specifically much of my work in the last few years has been in helping clients to significantly shift self-limiting corporate cultures that have hindered their ability to best serve their stakeholders.
As a Consultant it is my job to view how other corporations and organizations could strengthen their success.
As a Strategist I will be able to help the city identify and shape a guiding vision for the future and to develop an action plan to the achievement of the goals.
Supported by a BA in Public Administration, the fact that I have no political experience is exactly why I will do a great job as a mayor. I am not a politician. I am not working towards any particular agenda nor am I owing to any political party. The only people I want to serve are the citizens of Surrey. My goal is to improve and strengthen what we already have in Surrey. The unfortunate situation we have in Surrey now -where Council is nearly a full slate of one political organization -has created a tenuous situation where debate and discourse no longer occurs, and that is what I hope to change.
My experience of providing Leadership Coaching to Premiers, Senators (USA), Cabinet Ministers (Provincial) and Mayors has been a great learning opportunity for me. Throughout my consulting career I have learned much from my clients. What I hope to achieve in terms of creating a Better Surrey is all about what I have learned from others specifically in the areas of inclusion of all and respect for the citizens.
I think the bottom line on this is, what I will be doing as Mayor of Surrey is exactly what clients have been asking me to do for their organizations for over two decades.”
~ Ross Buchanan.
Imagine that. A political leader with a university education… while I think we all agree it is not a necessary component for good leadership,it certainly is a plus.
The last thing I wanted to leave you is a feature that ran in the South Asian Journal recently, of the vision Ross holds for Surrey under his leadership. Written exclusively by him, from the heart, it speaks volumes to what we have lost in the quest for being biggest and best in Surrey, and what we stand to gain by reaching for change.
You be the judge.
A BETTER SURREY
BY ROSS BUCHANAN
Candidate for Mayor of Surrey
I appreciate the opportunity to share my vision for the future of Surrey with you. If elected, I commit to create a Better Surrey. So what does a Better Surrey look like?
To me a Better Surrey is created on a solid foundation of the ward system which will improve safety, reduce violence and foster accountability. We need wards. Our neighbourhoods are the backbone of our city and we need the ward system to help strengthen the communities.
My vision for the future of the city includes a city hall that is welcoming to ALL, not just to the elite of big money corporations and which is both respectful and responsive to all. This will require a huge culture shift at city hall and to help accelerate that shift I pledge to be on a stool at the kiosk inside the front doors of city hall for an hour every day that I am in the building. If you don’t get the help that you deserve as a citizen at city hall I want you to come see me. It is your city. It is your city hall. You deserve to be treated as a citizen not a subject and you deserve to be treated with respect.
The incidence of Violent Crime in Surrey is shameful. From 2009 to 2010 the numbers have skyrocketed. Weapons seizures are up 35%, Sexual Assault is up 30% and Home Break-ins are up 14%. What kind of fools do they think we are when they keep telling us that Surrey is safe?
My vision would be to personally head up a task force that will focus on the reality of these problems, discover the solutions and produce the results that we are all looking for. Reduced crime and a safer Surrey. A Surrey that we can all be proud of.
If you are sick and tired as I am of being taxed to death then you will want to stop the reckless, out of control spending at city hall that is driving up our taxes. In the last five years the population of Surrey has grown 4.8% and the expenditures at city hall have increased 43.8%. When is enough enough?
Spending has outpaced population growth by a factor of nearly 9 to 1. In the future of Surrey the leaders will need to stop this out of control taxation with zero based budgeting and not allow any tax increases to exceed the rate of inflation and population growth.
Building a community that works for families and keep this as the #1 priority at city hall is vital for a Better Surrey. For years the current mayor and council have made big business and the city centre “vision” their priority, and have lost sight of the core needs for families who live in Surrey. This means education funding, transportation services and health care access. We need the kind of mayor who will roll up his sleeves and fight to ensure that the citizens of surrey get “our fair share.”
My vision of Surrey does not include a new city hall. At a construction cost of $100 million and a loan repayment of $165 million to build this new city hall is a big mistake. Now is not the right time. We already have a great city hall that is centrally located and is the envy of other cities. To abandon what we already have is so wasteful.
What else do I see for the ideal future of Surrey?
I see Better Roads rather than what we are using now which in some areas are what you would expect in a third world country.
I see Cleaner Air to protect the health of our families and our children.
I see a Better Business environment that supports and fosters all business, not just big money multinational corporations. Let’s not leave our own businesses and people behind as we race into the future. I see properly constructed truck parking facilities located in the industrial zones.
I see a Surrey where we finally get “our fair share” of funding. I have had enough of the Province, Translink and Metro Vancouver sucking hundreds of millions of dollars out of the pockets of the citizens of Surrey. We need to let these other levels of government know that the citizens of Surrey are not their personal ATMs.
Our fair share of education funding, our fair share of health care, our fair share of public transportation. What this mayor and council have allowed to happen on their watch without fighting for the citizens of Surrey is shameful.
No longer can the city turn a blind eye to such a rampant, unchecked issue as the thousands of illegal suites in Surrey. I see a Surrey where legal suites should be allowed. Accommodations should be made to bring existing suites into compliance and the registration process should be inexpensive and easily completed.
Housing needs to be affordable and we need to keep a healthy supply of affordable rental housing available for all. The city through their failure to act has created this problem, not the citizens. Once the new rules are in place they should be enforced for new construction from this point forward.
I see a vibrant growing business sector that will continue to provide a wealth of job opportunities right here in Surrey. I see better planning and the provision for significant green spaces spread through the entire city. I see an increased sensitivity to the environmental issues of the day and a willingness to preserve and protect all of the wonderful natural assets that we have in Surrey.
I see a city where we welcome with open arms the Municipal Auditor to help us clean up some of what smells so badly at city hall. I am TOTALLY, 100% in favor of a Municipal Auditor.
We need an independent Municipal Auditor to unwrap the complex Enron-like accounting that includes the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars of city owned land (your land) to the city’s private wholly owned corporation Surrey Center Development Corporation that is designed with one intent in mind. To circumvent Democracy.
I see a Surrey where George Bush or any of his kind is never invited again.
This list is not meant to be complete, however in response to what would be my vision for the future of the City of Surrey these are some of the things that would be important to me. In my mind Surrey could be so much better.
We are blessed with so many possibilities. Now is our time to create and claim a Better Surrey … a Surrey that we can all be Proud of. I am a Caring and Courageous Man who will not stand by and allow bad things to happen. Above all else I would be honoured to serve the citizens of Surrey and to serve Democracy. Please join me in restoring Democracy to Surrey city hall.
~ Ross Buchanan