Brenda's Blog

 

Open letter to Kingston regarding strategic voting

October 25th, 2014

Today I signed my name on this open letter to Kingston, along with other political leaders in this community, to speak out against strategic voting for the municipal elections. I believe that strategic voting harms democracy and the health of the community, and I urge all Kingstonians not to vote strategically, but to vote honestly. Feel free to share this letter!

 

 

 

Thoughts on landlord licensing

October 23rd, 2014

In response to a question tweeted at me by AMS that asked what my position was on landlord licensing in Kingston, I responded on Twitter with:

1st - It's a great idea & in 2007 (when municipalities were given ability to license) Kingston should have acted #ygk #Slomka4Mayor

2nd- initial reg & annual renewal fees must be very low so renters (students) don't end up covering the cost #ygk #Slomka4Mayor

in summary, this is about monitoring and insuring standards not a revenue grab for the city. #ygk #Slomka4Mayor

I will work with landlord representatives, student governments to create a fair plan. #solutionready #ygk #Slomka4Mayor

Here's a more full response on my position:

Let me start by stating that my response to [the AMS] municipal plan was with ideas and solutions that I want to prioritize. This is why I shared my possible solution for enforcement. I did not address licensing specifically but frankly, I cannot see how we can have good oversight and enforcement if we do not know who the landlords are and where their properties are.
I hear and I appreciate your concerns about cost of licensing because we know that registration and annual renewal fees will probably be passed on to renters. Let me be clear: I envision a one time registration fee of less than $100 and a simple online annual renewal process that costs between $20 - $40. At these levels the financial effect on rents will be negligible but will ensure that those landlords that abuse tenant quality of life by maximizing their revenue at the expense of standards are held accountable.
Please rest assured we would be designing this plan together with student governments and representatives of landlord associations.
We need to track who is renting to our students and other tenants, often times from vulnerable sectors of our population, without burying ourselves in red tape and reducing incentives for the provision of rental properties.
In summary neither the status quo nor a heavy-handed, high-cost, high-red tape response is the solution, but instead what I propose could go a long way to address a chronic problem in Kingston for our post secondary students, and others.

 

Thoughts on the city school issue and the Memorial Centre

October 21st, 2014

I believe that the City missed an important opportunity to clearly lay out the values by which we are trying to build our community when this issue came to council the first time.
I believe we also missed an opportunity to form strong alliances with cities like Peterborough, Hamilton and London, to approach the Premier as a collective and to ask for a moratorium on the PARC Process until the capital spending bias for erecting new buildings over renovated buildings was addressed. This would have been a strong example of a municipality leading by values of cooperation and creativity and common sense.
A number of community members brought forward thoughtful, well researched, evidence-based proposals of how we could utilize and repurpose space. I was and still am disappointed that not enough time was given to consider and develop some of these ideas further.
Before discussing a motion in Council Chambers on the future of the Memorial Centre, I would first want to work with the two elected councillors for Williamsville and Kingscourt-Rideau, knocking on doors and fully surveying the opinion of the people who live in that area.
I'm aware of the fact that there is very little green space already for both of those two districts relative to other districts, and that the Memorial Centre grounds make up a significant portion of what is available. It is concerning to me that Bryan Paterson brought forth a motion directing staff to "explore the possibility of locating a new secondary school on the Memorial Centre property," before the school board even formally asked Council to consider that option.
I do think the "1 school - 3 campus" model has real merit. There is so much potential in that model that allows for full use of all the school space in ways that could enrich the community, generate revenue for the School Board and share some of the costs.

 

The First Mayoral Debate

October 1, 2014

Yesterday during the first Mayoral Debate, I proposed the creation of a Kingston Waterfront Innovation District.

The site stretching from MetalCraft Marine to the end of the Tannery Lands could be a hub of entrepreneurship, healthy living, and protected green space.

A mix of recreational, residential, retail, commercial, institutional and industrial uses, this district could be a gem of economic development and quality of life.

 



Cycle Sunday at Ontario Park!

September 28th, 2014

I had such a great time at Lake Ontario Park this morning participating in Cycle Sunday.

It was a great reminder of the value of providing opportunity and education to increase cycling awareness. It also spurred my thinking to consider where else we should be doing this.

Congrats and thanks to all the participants for a job well done

 

The Active Community !

September 28th, 2014


I signed this pledge today. I believe cycling is a key to healthy and active communities as well as one of the main ways we can minimize our dependence on cars.

We must be intentional as we plan and develop cycling infrastructure that is networked for more ease of use.

Will you sign as well?

#ygk #Slomka4Mayor @STRCanada @KCATonthego #CycleSunday

 

Art After Dark

September 26th, 2014

We opened our doors to participate in Kingston's Art After Dark and featured local painter Shari Doseger's beautiful work. Thanks to everyone for coming by! We thoroughly enjoyed all the conversations about art, community and culture in this city.

To find out more information about Shari, visit http://www.sharidoseger.com/ or come by 286 Princess St to see her work!

Check out the photos from the event on our facebook page:


A Busy Media Day!

September 25th, 2014

Today was a busy media day, including filming at TVCogeco and articles in local news papers (check out the Heritage and Kingston This Week from Thursday, September 25, 2014).

I am grateful that we still have local outlets in Kingston.

Let's continue to support homegrown newspapers and radio stations as we build a more cooperative, creative and compassionate city.

 

Latest Press Release: Poverty and Homelessness

September 25th, 2014

 

I issued an press release yesterday on poverty and homelessness. I believe that anti-poverty success is key to sustainability as we work together for a cooperative, creative and compassionate city.

I encourage you to read more here:


Environment & Climate

September 21st, 2014

As we celebrate CRCA 50th anniversary here in Kingston and as many from our community walk in the climate march in NYC I am very mindful of how decision making needs to consider our impact on our environment and natural space and making this space as accessible to everyone.



Kingston Princess St Promenade

September 20th, 2014

Had a great time meeting everyone at the Kingston Princess St Promenade! Thanks to all the volunteers for helping out!

 

Thoughts on the News

September 18th, 2014

 

The Cost of Sprawl

There are hidden costs of sprawl. I have some ideas as how we can make sure we are doing our part so our Kingston is better off and I shared them yesterday.

"If we can reduce the cost of housing in established neighbourhoods with good transit and community facilities, and include the true costs of sprawl in the price of new housing, all Canadians will be better off"





 

Venture Capital Fundig

Yesterday in my policy platform release I spoke of our need to develop a Loyal Venture Capital fund that would support talent that starts here and stays here.

Here is a great article to give more perspective. Our City can do this. We can do this. We have the money. We have the ideas. We have the people. I am fully committed to working to see this come to fruition.


Platform Release

September 17th, 2014

Thank-you to our local media who came to our platform release today at the campaign office.

I emphasized the opportunities we have to be an entrepreneurial hub of local job creation while being a more cooperative, creative and compassionate city

If you couldn't make it you can read an overview of my policies here: http://www.brendaslomka.ca/pdf/17September2014-MayoralElectionPlatform.pdf

Now on to an exciting evening of volunteer training!