Candidate Profile: Liz Brass For Mayor

Name: Liz Brass

Current Occupation: Registered Doctoral Psychologist at Child and Youth Services, RQHR, and Vice President of Brass Homes Ltd.

Voter Information: [email protected], Phone: 209-9770, Twitter: @LizBrass, Facebook: LizBrassforMayor

I am a Registered Doctoral Psychologist at Child and Youth Services in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region and Vice President of Brass Homes Ltd. I have over 20 years of professional experience in both the private and public sectors. I am passionate about the future of Regina. I have served 15 years as a volunteer committee member for the City of Regina. I was an appointed committee member of the Regina Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee from 2001 to 2011. Committee participation included involvement in the City’s Official Community Plan development process and 7 years as a committee delegate at the Heritage Canada Foundation national conference. I was an appointed committee member of the Regina Crime Prevention Commission from 1996 to 2001 and was appointed as co-chairperson of the Vehicle Theft Strategy, a broad-based community initiative. I am 44 years old, have been married for 20 years, and have two teens and a ‘tween.

QUESTION AND ANSWER

1. Briefly, why are you running for council?
The trigger for my decision to run was my experience at the Design Regina forum for the Official Community Plan that will guide our city for the next 25 years.  The citizens who participated were passionate and they had great ideas. For weeks after the forum, I thought about those people and their vision of Regina. They were skeptical, but they had hope that they would be heard—that the city would listen. Regina is a world class city and is on the cusp of an exciting future. The decisions we make today will determine the futures of our children and grandchildren. We must invest in long-term infrastructure and sustainable opportunities for future generations. I am running because we need someone to listen and act.  A mayor who will continue to take our city forward.

2. What is the single most pressing issue facing Regina? How would you solve it?
The housing crisis is the most pressing issue. I will work with administration to expedite the process to provide funding for housing organizations to build affordable housing. I will establish a Housing Task Force and bring community, business, and government together to develop attainable, innovative housing options. After the Housing Task Force identifies needs, I will explore the establishment of a City of Regina Housing Corporation as an “arms-length” municipal revenue-generator that will work with private investors and citizens to invest in a structured bond issue to build attainable housing. The mandate of the City of Regina Housing Corporation will protect citizens with board representation that includes designated citizen directors from the business community, province, and individuals who represent the diverse population. I will also work with Council to develop incentives for developers: a tax abatement policy to build affordable, multi-unit rental property. I will also work with builders and developers to find innovative ways to help first time homebuyers—e.g., option to pay the down payment over time so they can get into a home sooner, increasing the availability of rental accommodation. Also the city must ensure that housing meets standard living conditions. I will ensure that if land is sold, there will be fairness and equal opportunity among housing organizations and builders/developers. I will advocate for and support community-based programs, such as the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, aimed to prevent and reduce homelessness.

3. 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?
We must identify new and innovative ways to generate revenue to address current priorities and needs. Businesses are the economic drivers of growth and it is time to collaborate with business to facilitate long-term sustainability of Regina. As Mayor, I will work with Council to approach the provincial and federal governments to establish a Foreign Trade Zone at the Global Transportation Hub to provide more export opportunities to existing manufacturers in Regina – and to encourage the development of new and diverse exporters. A Foreign Trade Zone will allow local industry to import product components, manufacture and assemble local components, and export final goods in a value-added fashion. The revenue generated from property taxes will go towards paying for the city’s needs.

4. Name something the last council got right.
Council approved the Regina Downtown Neighbourhood Plan (three years after completed).

5. Now, point out their biggest mistake.
Council’s biggest mistake was and is the decision to defer needs to the next year and the next year and the year after that. We have a pension deficit. We need a water treatment plant. We have 40% of sewer infrastructure that is more than 70 years old. We need to improve traffic flow with transit and roadway development. Streets and sidewalks are crumbling—some sidewalks are taking two years to finish repairs. Our Central Library needs an upgrade or adaptive re-use. Over the next 10 years, we will need $2 billion to rehabilitate or renew existing infrastructure, of which $1.3 billion, or 61%, there is no identified funding. Yet we continue with unsustainable urban planning.

6. What are you reading these days?
My reading list has certainly been focused on specific interests over the past several months. I’ve been reading many books on a variety of topics including politics, leadership, planning, and sustainability. To name a few, Toward sustainable communities: solutions for citizens and government by Mark Roseland, Cultural planning for creative communities by Gordon Hume, and Walk to work: Regina Downtown Neighbourhood Plan by Office for Urbanism. After the election I look forward to reading two books, Let’s pretend this never happened: a mostly true memoir by Jenny Lawson, and The Secret Power of middle children: how middleborns can harness their unexpected and remarkable abilities by Catherine Salmon and Katrin Schumann, among others.

7. Beyond your residence, do you own any property in Regina or in the immediate area?
I own a small heritage cabin at Regina Beach that is nestled in the woods.

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FUN QUESTIONS!

1. What is your favourite Regina restaurant?
I have many favourites, but I like the mussels at La Bodega.

2. Who is your favourite Regina artist?
Sean Randall.

3. What actor would play you in the gritty cable drama, Queen City Hall?
My husband says that Marg Helgenberger from CSI would act my role because she is a no-nonsense investigator who always finds the truth.

4. How would your character die?
Killed in the Library, with the Mayor’s gavel, by Colonel “Mustard” Fougere.

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PICK A SIDE

Cats or Dogs? Dogs

Vampires or Werewolves? Werewolves

Boxing or Roller Derby? Roller Derby

Steak or Sushi? Sushi

Hill Towers or Legislative Building? Legislative Building

Quance Street or Dewdney Avenue? Dewdney Avenue

Artesian or Wascana Park Gazebo? Artesian

Prairie Dog or Richardson Ground Squirrel? Prairie Dog

Giant Grasshopper or Stegosaurus? Giant Grasshopper

Saskaboom or SaskAdvantage? Saskaboom

Bike or Sports Car? Bike

Le Macaron or Five Guys? Le Macaron

The Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Rolling Stones

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BONUS QUESTION: Make up your own question (And answer it, of course!)
Red wine or white wine?
Red wine

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Find out about all the other people running in this election on our Candidate Profiles page. And follow all of our online election coverage — including interviews, analysis and podcasts — on our Regina City Election 2012 page.

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.