Name: Jacques A Blackstone
Occupation: owner, GT’s
Q1. What have you personally achieved, or what initiative have you personally led in recent years that qualifies you to be elected or re-elected as a Maple Ridge councillor?
1: I have owned and operated businesses for more than 20 years in the film industry. I am the one that led the B.C. Bylaw Reform Coalition, which was comprised of RV owners and other citizens who felt unjustly targeted by bylaws officers. I also managed to inform our councillors of the bylaws dispute adjudication system. What qualifies me to be a councillor is my business approach to operating efficiently, maximizing every dollar, and the capability of reading documents. Until I highlighted the Attorney General’s document, it seemed like no one at city hall had read this properly. This concerns me, the lack of due diligence, and only makes me question what else has slipped through the cracks.
Q2. Provide two examples of council’s actions over the past three years and explain why or why not you support them.
2. Until I was the target of bylaws enforcement, I led my own private life and, as most of us, paid no attention. Not until this debacle did I get involved and voiced my discontent. So the primary example I can give you is again about adjudication. If it took someone like me, who accidentally stumbled upon this legal system that will render property owners powerless, I am seriously concerned about anything else that may have been missed over the years.
Q3. Do you support the 13-per-cent increase (over three years) in councillor’s salaries approved last summer? Why or why not? Explain what you would do if elected.
3. The reverse mentality is required: cap the wages until we can create a financial surplus in the municipal coffers and be able to reduce property taxes. Then I believe that a raise may be in order. They seem to forget that these are our tax dollars. The citizen’s of Maple Ridge deserve a transparent municipal hall that works for them, not against them. Changing the district’s policy to make its citizen’s the number one priority is vital. Creating efficiency at municipal hall is a huge endeavor that I am ready to tackle.
Will I support another raise after these three years? Only if I see the work we’ve accomplished brings a monetary surplus and we start reducing property taxes – can a raise be brought into question. This last 13-per-cent raise was not justifiable in my eyes as my property taxes went up just about the same amount.