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RITE Richmond unveils candidates

Carol Day and Michael Wolfe are hoping a new party name and a clearly-defined five-plank platform will change their fortunes during the upcoming civic election in November.

Day and Wolfe are seeking a seat on Richmond council, after falling 302 and 1,518 votes short in 2011. They, and along with incumbent trustees Rod Belleza and Norm Goldstein, and board-of-education hopeful Michael Starchuk, form RITE Richmond, formerly the Richmond Independent Team of Electors.

Day said the existing members of council simply aren’t doing a good enough job of being transparent to the electorate, something she vows to change should she be elected.

“Let’s go back to June, for example. Richmond city council voted to endorse staff’s report in the plan for replacing the Massey Tunnell. That went in under the radar, while a lot of people were on vacation, and our job as candidates...is to bring those issues to the forefront and explain why that’s an issue to the average person.”

Day’s experience is that when she engages members of the public in dialogue, they become more passionate about topics such as this, she said.

The job of RITE Richmond candidates is to demonstrate how existing members of council have not done their job, she added.

“I look back to the pub bylaw, which used to require public surveys, and people like (Rob) Howard, Bill McNulty, (former councillor) Kiichi Kumagai and Derek Dang voted to take that right away from us, and I bet a lot of people don’t know that.”

RITE is hoping to engage the public in conversations through a series of free barbecues, the first of which will be hosted by Carol Day at her home at 11631 Seahurst Rd. on Sunday, Aug. 24.

Michael Wolfe was critical that the current council is largely development driven.

“It’s been a developer driven group and developer money funds their campaigns so they get re-elected and they keep doing the same thing. And they’re not working for the people, citizens, and that’s clear through the frustration I hear when I go to city council meetings in the last decade,” he said.

RITE Richmond’s five-plank platform includes healthy business development, which would fast-track businesses who provide much-needed health services. As well, a development action plan would put mechanisms in place for a greatly-improved civic engagement process on rezoning, allowing for new kinds of zoning and downsizing to maintain the character of existing neighbourhoods.

RITE Richmond’s campaign disclosure reform plan would see it become the first electoral group to make public all campaign contributions during the election.

Goldstein, Belleza and Starchuk are calling for increased choices for students in schools, which would improve participation and enthusiasm. And they are calling for a renewed commitment to dealing with child poverty, which they say affects a child’s performance in schools.

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