"@Premier_Redford @GriffMLA What he said" and include a mention or a link to this post.
Without further a due, here is the open letter.
April 15, 2013
An Open Letter to the Government of the Province of Alberta
Attention: Honourable Premier Alison Redford
Attention: Honourable Doug Griffiths, Minister of Municipal Affairs
Re: Taxpayer concerns
On July 12th 2012, I wrote my first ever open letter, in which I expressed many concerns and suggested some possible solutions. I received a response on November 19th 2012, which addressed some issues but provided no solutions. Today I am writing “part 2”; something that I had never anticipated would be needed.
Taxpayers have expressed continued concerns over the proposed Arena project in the Edmonton Downtown core area. The Mayor has not listened to these concerns. And now we have more deception being cast against the citizens of the City and Province. The fact that the CRL requested, will remove in excess of $71 million from education, considering the current situation, is shocking. The recent implication of using much needed MSI funds designated (in spirit) towards maintaining existing infrastructure and directing that towards a private for profit is deplorable. The Mayor has insisted this project will go through regardless of what citizens want, and this is a complete breach of public trust.
While it is true that council is required to hold public hearings on the bylaw for the CRL and that the majority of the people will speak against this, the Mayor will sit there and twiddle his thumbs and be bored being forced to hold hearings that he has no intention (and apparently no obligation) to listen to. And that is something that slaps the concept of democracy right in the face.
With all due respect, I think I have a simple option that will allow your Government to not only save face with the taxpayers concerning the association with Mr. Katz, but will allow for a legal option to be exercised and bring a little bit of the power back to the people. This is always a good thing.
According to the MGA, with respect to the approval of a requested CRL, section 381.2(4) states the following:
The Lieutenant Governor in Council may approve a community revitalization levy bylaw in whole or in part or with variations and subject to conditions.
The Mayor has stated that it will probably be September before the documents for the arena are signed. In October, Edmonton residents will be voting for a new Council and Mayor. Considering the Public School Board is looking to add a request for additional taxation for education on this same ballot, it would be reasonable for the LG to impose a condition on a CRL approval, requiring the City to also add a question on the same ballot concerning the arena project. Something simple such as “Do you want taxpayer dollars as proposed, going towards this development”… This will let the people be heard. And if the result is yes, then so be it. And if the result is no, then it allows a new council to take a bit of time to craft a better honest deal.
Again, I remind you this is also the opportunity to remind those running for office that they need to listen to the people, and that taxpayer dollars are supposed to be used towards essential items and not to be directed towards any private business. There is NO urgent need for this arena. Rexall will still be there, and it wouldn’t hurt anyone for them to play there for one more additional year.
I have polled the majority of city councilors, and my own MLA has also said… the vast majority of the people do not want this deal, under these terms. Hundreds of thousands of citizens are waiting for their voice to be heard, and your Government is in the unique situation to allow that. I only ask for that right of democracy.
Fax to: Premiers Office 780-427-1349
Municipal Affairs 780-422-9550
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Stephen.Mandel@edmonton.ca