Financial watchdog enters race for Richmond mayor

With nomination papers due today, one more candidate who has been a watchdog of the city’s finances has stepped forward.

Donald Flintoff is a long-time Richmond resident and professional engineer, who has served as a member of the Richmond Advisory Planning Committee. He is also a founding member of the Richmond Taxpayers Alliance, a group that says it “investigates bureaucratic and political decisions in Richmond to expose excessive taxation.”

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For Flintoff, the decision to run for mayor was about making the biggest impact he could.

“You’ve got a bunch of people running for council and almost nobody is running for mayor and I sort of looked at this and said ok, if I’m going to have any impact at all serving four years on council waiting to get to mayor I’ll be too old,” Flintoff told the Richmond News.

“This is sort of my last kick at it.”

Flintoff said that, if elected, he would want more resident-driven advisory planning commissions.

“The people have to have a say whether they want all these high rises or not and what they’re going to do about affordable housing and how are they going to keep businesses in Richmond,” he said.

“And there should be a finance committee that looks at the finances before it gets to council.”

Flintoff’s campaign website also highlights his desire to move away from a complaint-based process.

“The City currently operates on a complaint basis instead of a proactive enforcement basis – this will change,” his website says. “Long-standing unresolved issues will be dealt with effectively and swiftly. Council will listen to you and act if I’m elected.”

Flintoff, who has also been extremely vocal about the city’s spending on the Olympic Oval, added his desire for a more accessible government, explaining that he had a hard time getting access to the city’s financial records even through freedom of information requests. Flintoff’s website says he will appoint a freedom of information officer if elected.

“The openness and transparency and accountability functions of the government basically, the door has to come open,” he said.

Richmond’s municipal election is on Oct. 20 and the nomination period ended on Friday at 4 p.m. As of Friday morning, five individuals had put their names forward to run for mayor.

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