Candidate Profile: Bob Hawkins For Ward Two

Name: Bob Hawkins

Ward You’re Running In: 2

Current Occupation: Professor of Law in the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Regina

Voter Information: 789-2888, [email protected], www.facebook.com/bobforcouncil

– I have degrees in law, history and economics from five universities including Oxford and Yale.  I am a law professor at the public policy school at the University of Regina and am a lawyer in Saskatchewan.
– I have held senior administrative positions in 4 universities including the position of President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina.
– I am a resident of Ward 2 and have had extensive community volunteer experience including as co-President of the Lakeview Community Association and Vice-president of the Saskatchewan Children’s’ Hospital Foundation.

QUESTION AND ANSWER

1. Briefly, why are you running for council?
I believe that we can ‘step up our game’ at City Hall.  That means getting more for the municipal taxes that we collect through more careful oversight of budget expenditures, through more attention paid to bringing projects in ‘on time and on budget’, and through investigating ‘best practices’ in use in similar cities and adapting them to Regina’s needs.

2. What is the single most pressing issue facing Regina? How would you solve it?
Long-term planning in the areas of infrastructure, low-cost housing, and downtown planning, including environmental planning, are the most pressing problems.  We need to look at state-of-the-art thinking on these issues in other cities, we need to engage the University of Regina in these problems, and we need to listen to what our citizens have to say about what they would like to see in these areas.  Our consultations must be done with a view of achieving results as opposed to simply talking.

3. Imagine the Regina Of The Future that you want to help build. What will it look like?
Regina is the capital city of one of the fastest growing provinces in the country with one of the strongest economies in the country.  Now is out time.  We should be planning an environmentally sustainable city with safe, livable communities, a revitalized downtown, good housing, the preservation of Wascana Park from commercial development, and we need to take advantage of the incredible resource that our young people, particularly our Aboriginal young people, represent for the development of the future economy of the city.

4. Beyond immediate concerns like housing, the stadium and infrastructure renewal, what “big idea” project do you want to work on that nobody seems to be talking about?
One of the residents of Ward 2 suggested to me that by installing city-wide public access to WiFi throughout Regina we could become one of the smartest and most productive cities in the World.  He had a paper on this all thought out.  That seems to me to be a neat idea, one worth exploring.

5. Name something the last council got right.
Something that the council got right was the stadium proposal, although they could have done a much better job seeking citizen input, providing information, and explaining the project.  There are two reasons, however, why this is the right project.  First, the City will invest $73 million dollars to get a first-class facility worth $278 million.  That means that the City will only pay 26% of the cost of a needed improvement.  The other 64% of the cost will be paid for by the Province, the Riders, and the users of the stadium.  You just can’t get a better deal than that.  Second, the Riders, who will bring $2.3 billion into the City over the next 30 years, deserve a big-league facility in which to play, and our capital City deserves a stadium that will attract attention and investment to our City.  We do not need to settle for second best.  I worry that if we can’t build a stadium we will never find support to build other public facilities such as libraries and cultural centers.

6. Now, point out their biggest mistake.
The cost overruns (almost double the estimates) in building the Victoria Square Plaza were unacceptable.  This indicates that we have a bigger problem in managing City projects and ensuring that we get the most that we can from our municipal tax dollar.

7. What are you reading these days?
I read a great deal of history and am a big user of the Regina Public Library.  Over the summer, I read three long biographies: Eisenhower in War and Peace (Smith), Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power (Caro) and Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China (Vogel)

8. Beyond your residence, do you own any property in Regina or in the immediate area?
No

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Bob Hawkins chose not to answer our fun questions nor to weigh in on the Pick A Side list. He did, however, do the bonus question….

BONUS QUESTION: Make up your own question (And answer it, of course!)
If you could do one thing to invigorate city politics in Regina, what would it be?
What city council needs to up its game, to keep everyone on their toes, is a Stephanie Langenegger to report on the goings on at City Hall.  City politics is interesting.  We need some enterprising media type to really dig, and really inform the citizens of Regina about the inside story of city budgets and projects and personalities.  And, to do that we need city counsellors who are ready to take time with the media, provide information, and encourage interest in what is going on at City Hall.  If I was a recent graduate from the University of Regina journalism school, I would make City Hall my beat and, as a counsellor, I would readily make myself available to anyone in the media interested in telling the city’s story, day-to-day, in depth.

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Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5’10” tall and he was born in a place. He’s not there now. He’s sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It’s “Girl From Ipanema”, thanks for asking.

You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.