Former Richmond Mayor, MLA and long-time city councillor Greg Halsey-Brandt is discouraged with the state of Richmond city council and sees no point in running for office in the upcoming civic election.
City council had gotten too comfortable, and I dont see change coming, said Halsey-Brandt.
I couldnt get anywhere on a number of initiatives, he added.
Last election, Halsey-Brandt ran on a platform calling for more scrutiny of city finances, for example.
He wanted council to look at each departments budget and carefully assess expenditures. It wasnt about going in there with an axe, he added. Some programs may have needed beefing up.
Either way, council should be making that evaluation, he argued.
However, no one on council, apart from his wife Evelina Halsey-Brandt, would support his initiative.
Im really not sure why. It would take time, but we used to do it, and how else can we know if we are getting good value?
Instead, each departments financial total from the previous budget was simply accepted as is. The only thing discussed was possible new expenditures.
Halsey-Brandt has also become frustrated that so much focus has been on big ticket items, such as building the oval, or the new RCMP headquarters or a couple of new fire halls.
These are all good things, but we are forgetting about the little things that impact peoples day-to-day lives like installing a left turning signal at a particular intersection, or playgrounds in the city centre.
Moreover, it is difficult to hold councillors to account on anything, Halsey-Brandt said.
We used to have a slate on the left and a slate on the right and there would be more accountability, at least you knew what they stood for. This way, its a mixture, and you cant pin anyone down on anything. Its difficult to run on your record because we did everything as everybody.
While Halsey-Brandts political frustrations partly explain why hes not seeking re-election, personal interests are also at play.
Halsey-Brandt, 68, said he wants to spend more time with his grandkids, boating, traveling and enjoying life as a senior.