Damin Starr, Candidate for Ward 7 in Ward 7 By-Election 2016

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Candidate Details (top)

NameStarr, Damin
ElectionWard 7 By-Election 2016
AreaWard 07
Email damin@daminstarr.ca
Website http://www.daminstarr.ca/
BioDear Friends,

My name is Damin Starr and I am proud to announce my candidacy for councillor to represent Ward 7 (Central Mountain) in the upcoming by-election on March 21st, 2016.

My involvement with civic engagement in Hamilton dates back to the early 1990’s (Citizen's Expressway Committee) where my primary role was to assist in educating residents and the public at large on the processes and impacts during the construction phases of the Red Hill Valley Parkway (RHVP). As many of us may remember this was an “off again” / “on again” project that was stalled many times by conflicting political mandates, until it opened in 2007.

Since then my municipal and provincial engagement has been in the areas of social advocacy (inclusiveness & accessibility for the disabled), electoral reform (municipal, provincial, and federal), multi-modality (mobility options & integration), and community development, all of which, I have provided delegation and facilitated discussion on. My decision to put my name forward as your representative is supported by my experience and ability to contribute in a meaningful way for the betterment of others and our surroundings.

I am an active participant in many community liaison committees and can often be found providing input, listening to, observing, and engaging in progressive discussion on key issues. I am motivated by a desire for all residents to achieve their full potential through opportunity and participation.

While applying a ‘healthy community approach’ to overcoming traditional issues surrounding the development and delivery of quality ‘municipal services’, I commit to continuing efforts in facing citywide challenges such as ‘affordability’, ‘tax-base imbalance’, ‘a rising infrastructure deficit’, and ‘inadequate mobility options’.

Reflecting on my ongoing commitment to citizen engagement and 20+ years experience as an entrepreneur (providing ‘hands-on’ industrial consultation and manufacturing to both the private and public sectors, including Mass Transit, Locomotive, Freight, Water-treatment, Environmental Controls, Accessibility, and Recreation), I firmly believe I have the knowledge and capacity to effectively represent the residents of Ward 7, delivering a balanced approach to social and fiscal responsibilities as an elected councillor at City Hall.

With my wife, Debra, we proudly raise our 6 children (including 2 children with developmental disabilities) in Hamilton.

I live with a belief that ‘City Building’ is a responsibility we all share. It is ‘simply’ not enough to cast a ballot every 4 years, because ‘the truth is’ developing desirable communities requires the interest and engagement of all residents, regardless of affluence. I am excited about Hamilton’s future, but always mindful of the importance of living in a fair and equitable society. My hope is that YOU feel the same.

Throughout this campaign I will strive to earn your support and would be honoured to serve as your Ward 7 (Central Mountain) councillor working diligently beyond March 21, 2016.

I look forward to meeting you and welcome your engagement in person,

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daminstarrward7

Twitter: https://twitter.com/daminstarr

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
Will you push for increased transit investment on the Mountain? If so, how will you pay for it? Yes I will encourage council to increase the allocation of funds provided to the municipality from the Federal Government through the Gas Tax under "Environmental Sustainability". Presently, it is my understanding approx. 10% is earmarked for transit and I would like to see this increased to 30%. Low ridership directly impacts operating benefits passed down from the Province. It seems logical investing towards increasing ridership is a win for everyone.
Will you push for a safe, continuous cycling network in Ward 7 with better connections to the rest of the mountain and the lower city? Yes
Will you encourage the creation and growth of more neighbourhood associations in your ward? Yes I am already working with the community to do this. Regardless of the outcome of this by-election, I fully intend to lend my efforts to grow new Community Hubs like "The Butler Hub" because I believe in their potential to promote citizen engagement and empowerment.
Will you encourage the city to shift new development away from car-dependant sprawl? Yes
Income inequality is a serious problem in Hamilton, and poverty is increasing in mountain neighbourhoods. What will you do to reduce inequality in Ward 7 and across the city? Yes I acknowledge this reality. I believe access to education and opportunity also plays a role in financial well being and personal health. Working with our education boards and post secondary institutions to promote relevant skills training will be key. Also capitalizing on projects like LRT to provide good paying jobs to local workers is essential. I am a strong believer in the benefits of "Living Wage", and will strongly promote and encourage employers to consider this initiative.
Do you support a more vibrant neighbourhood retail destination on Upper Wellington? If so, what do you propose to achieve this? Yes This process must begin with consultation with both businesses and residents. A plan must genuinely develop from those consultations as would be the case with any good community development project. As councillor, I believe my role will be to facilitate the discussion and provide resources and liaison in a progressive manner.
How important is it for Council to work with specific goals and targets for each City Department at the beginning of each year? How would you ensure this happened? Yes I believe goals and targets are essential to establish and meet expectations. I would recommend a unique committee to monitor, measure, and report regularly on Council directives to City Departments including accountability of senior management to meet expectations.
In your view, what's not happening now in the City of Hamilton that you'd like to see happen? Why? What's not happening now in Ward 7 that you'd like to see happen? Why? What's not happening now at City Hall that you'd like to see happen? Why? Yes I believe the City of Hamilton fails to put emphasis of "Safe and Accessible Mobility Options" as a broad vision. To often we look a modes of mobility in isolation of each other. Our Transportation Master Plan can be an amazing tool if it's used as a genuine framework with measurability built in.

I believe Ward 7 struggles with effective representation on council due to population growth in recent years and the unique divide created by the Linc. I believe Ward 7 will benefit greatly from the Ward Boundary Review.

I believe City Hall is failing in the area of transparency and communication. A commitment to implement "Open Data", improve "Live Streaming" and archiving of all committee and council meetings, and a review of it's FOI policies will promote engagement and strengthen confidence.
How will you help to break down barriers between Councillors and the Wards they represent to ensure a more cohesive Council and more balanced decision making? Yes As I've demonstrated as a citizen, I intend to be a councillor that sees value in the unique characteristics of all areas of our municipality. While ensuring my representation for Ward 7 is paramount, I believe sincere recognition of challenges facing other councillors and their Wards can break down silent barriers and develop a fresh lens of co-operation.