Mayor Candidate Interviews The Sputnik October 5, 2010 NewsInterview – Mark LittellQ: Why do you feel you would be a good mayor for the city of Brantford? A: I think that, over the last four years, I’ve shown the leadership that it takes to move this city forward, bringing forward several motions including the South Side of Colborne Street Task Force, a neighborhood plan for the south west, the four pads, amongst several other things. I’ve shown the leadership that’s needed.Q: Your campaign slogan is “Moving Forward.” What does that mean exactly? A: What that means is we need to look at the future. The city has lots of opportunity: opportunity in the downtown, opportunity in the development areas. We used to be referred to as low-hanging fruit for new industry to come here and we have an opportunity to get that back again. I have a positive attitude about this city.Q: As mayor, do you feel you would be able to capitalize on these opportunities you’ve mentioned? A: Of course, I’ve been a salesman all my life and I’ll continue to sell and promote the city.Q: With so many students in the downtown core, how do you plan to improve the life of those students? A: It’s up to the private sector to come down here and capitalize on that, and I hope that they will… They have to capitalize on the fact that the students are here and they’re looking for entertainment.Q: Do you feel that it’s just entertainment the students need? Or are there other things that can be done? A: The big thing that we’ve been working on for the last four years was to get the YMCA on the south side of Colborne Street. For Laurier to expand past the 3000 mark, they need some recreational facilities. The Y is looking at a triple gym, a swimming pool – a complete athletic facility.Q: If you are elected, what are you initial plans for the city? A: If I’m elected? Well, that’s a good one! The big thing we need is to get more industry here, but we have to finish the downtown. So the number one priority will be to finish the downtown and get that going, and we’re going to have community consultation from that perspective.Q: What are your thoughts on the demolition of the South Side of Colbourne Street? A: As the chair of the South Side of Colborne Task Force, it was the solution to a problem that’s existed for 30 years. There has been consultation, there have been efforts, there have been incentive programs, you name it and we’ve done it over the last 30 years and nothing has worked. Now we’ve got a fresh start and the people of this community are excited about it. We need to make the downtown a destination place whether they’re coming to play at the Gretzky arena, or they’re riding our trails, to come down and use our facilities down here.Q: What do you have to say about criticism that the project was over-budget and there still are no plans for it? A: The plan in the process was very clear. We’re not over budget. We budgeted and we’re right there. There is nothing – no problems. All the naysayers were waiting for Colborne Street to fall down onto Icomm Drive. The view is fantastic now. As for the process, the process was very clear, the process was expropriation and then demolition and now we’ll have community consultation as to what we’re going to do next there.Interview – Winston “Bucky” FergusonQ: Why do you feel you would be a good mayor for the city of Brantford? A: I’ve helped put a lot of developments together. You can go up Colborne, Dalhousie, Darling, Wellington Street – several things were accomplished downtown. The first one was the bus terminal, then a week later the city had a problem with what to do with the Sanderson Centre, and I told them to buy it and they bought it.Q: A big issue in this campaign is the availability of jobs. If you are elected, how do you plan to create more jobs for students? A: Well, a little advice: you get out and you create your own jobs with companies. It’s something I learned from an uncle of mine. You go up to a job, any job – if you’ve got some unique ideas, you bring it to them and sometimes they like it.Q: What are your plans for improving the life of students in this city? A: You have to make that choice by yourself, what you want to do. You have to make your own choices. You go to university and you apply all your energy into learning different things. Some make it and some don’t. If you want to be smart, you hang out with smart people. You know the kind of person you are by the company you keep.Q: What do you plan to do for the city if you are elected? A: Another civic square… The ball park for the Brantford Red Sox, any team in the inter county can have their games in there. The Red Sox don’t use the stadium all the time, and it won’t be too hard to put up football stands to play some football games.Q: What are your thoughts on the demolition of the south side of Colborne Street? A: Well, actually, the buildings had to be demolished to get my Native casino in there. The Natives are waiting, and another Harmony Square. The people that were relocated? I made sure that it came with council that those people, before they were moved into a residence, that it had to be a decent residence. It couldn’t be just a place to hang the hat.Interview – Mike QuatrociocchiQ: Why do you feel you would be a good mayor for the city of Brantford? A: I have a lot of experience – more real practical experience than the other candidates do. I’ve been self-employed for 20 years. I think with my experience in construction, that is a dog-eat-dog industry in itself… I have experience as a former councilor. What I think is important is that I set my sights on that and I usually end up getting the job done. I have results. A lot of the candidates running have great ideas and great visions, but they never follow through on them.Q: How do you plan, as mayor, to get students more involved in the city? A: I remember when I was 20 years old. At that age, you obviously have different priorities and thinking about taxes and employment, things like that, aren’t really your priorities. How do you get people involved? You get everybody involved by making city hall more open. The people who want to participate, you allow to participate.Q: In articles you’ve said that you will bring “transparency” to the job of mayor. What exactly do you mean by that? A: Everything’s going to be open. This community belongs to the people, to the rate-payers. It’s the community’s money. We (the community, as a whole) should have input into the decisions that are made. When I say transparency, I mean there are no secrets, that everything is open.Q: What are your thoughts on the demolition of the south side of Colborne Street? A: What’s done is done. I was upset because there was no public participation, even though people claimed that there was. There was no plan, and there was no real budget. For our current councilors to say they’re on budget, and for staff to say they’re on budget is a lie. It’s not misleading, it’s an outright lie. They have no idea what they’re going to be paying the owners of these properties, so how could they possibly say they’re on budget? These people here are playing with our money and when they make mistakes they just go back to the wells, like playing Monopoly where you just go back to the banker and continue to take money. Real life doesn’t work like that.Q: What would you have done differently? A: I would have numerous public meetings, during the day, during the afternoon, in the evenings, to facilitate people who can’t make certain meetings. To have two meetings during the day? Well, most people work during the day and that was just a farce.Q: What are your plans for improving the life of students in this city? A: Well, I’d obviously like to make the downtown a lot safer than it is. I think that’s a priority. You have crime downtown, and you know you have that in all communities. But, try and address it rather than pretend everything is fine because, once again, real life doesn’t work like that.