By Schnarr, J.W. on October 7, 2017.
Lethbridge City Council candidate Rena Woss says Lethbridge has an untapped opportunity for being a leader in the green energy sector.
The retired tradesperson and contractor also wants to talk about the level of spending and the rate of taxation experienced in Lethbridge.
She wants to talk about gender balance on council.
What she does not want to talk about are a series of tweets she made last year calling on people of Islamic faith to assimilate to western culture, and questioning if Islam is a religion of peace because she did not know of any peaceful Muslim cities or countries in the world. She tweeted it was “sad” Muslims were coming here “by the millions.”
Woss said the tweets have been taken out of context and are being used by a few people to try and scuttle her campaign.
“It’s a small handful of people who are generating this kind of garbage and they are known for it,” she said. “They’ve just put a different spin on it this time around. And to feed into that is not doing our community a service.”
She later stated her tweets were attempts to speak out against extremism, and that she was not singling out Muslims specifically.
“I just want it to be known that it does not indicate racism and it does not mean I hate Muslims,” she said.
In terms of the City’s financial management, and how it affects local taxation, Woss said she would like to see zero-based budgeting put in place in Lethbridge.
“Progressive communities are adopting this and it’s effective,” she said.
She also wants to see tax disclosure on new Lethbridge projects and expenditures.
“For every major expenditure, we should know as residents here in Lethbridge, how much our property and business taxes will be going up,” she said. “Right now, we have no clue.”
She said one spending problem is the amount of growth seen by the City’s administration.
“We keep hiring more and more managers and staff,” she said. “What I’d like to see is a performance review of senior administration, so that we might streamline our operations, increase efficiencies, and be responsible to our taxpayers.”
Not enough has been done by previous councils to address climate change, according to Woss – in spite of calls by the United Nations for all governments to do so.
She said partnering with both the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College could help create a hub of renewable energy development in the city.
“Our city could be the Silicon Valley of renewable energy,” she said – and build Lethbridge as a hub of research, expertise, apprenticeship training and manufacturing.
“Right now we don’t even have a solar farm anywhere to be seen,” she said. “I’m really disappointed by that. It’s time we diversified our economy.”
As for gender balance on council, Woss said she would like to see a council shakeup for a new vision and financial responsibility.
“I want this to be a safe, inclusive and affordable city for all of us,” she said.
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