Ward one hopefuls want to be students' No. 1 choice on ballot
By Andrew Jefferson
As the municipal election date draws nearer, The Gazette will attempt to make your voting experience a little easier. Each day until the election, we will feature three candidates running for ward one and two councillor positions. Also, pick up this Friday's edition for profiles on the five mayoral candidates.
Today's ward one councillors were asked why they are running for their positions and why students should vote for them.
George Istifan, a customer service agent and activist for the community, said he is running for ward one councillor to provide leadership and accountability for the city.
Operation of libraries, community centres, pools and student housing are among the essential services he vows to protect in the wake of the provincial download. Privatization of the convention centre is one avenue he said he would consider to avoid tax hikes and to ensure services remain as they are.
Sandy Levin is a training and development specialist at the London Health Sciences Centre who works with groups to improve dynamics and conflict management. Levin has been involved in a number of community and city issues in the past, including transit improvement, environmental protection and bicycling in the city.
"I have learned that you can be most effective by being one of the decision makers," he said.
Maintaining contact with the University Students' Council's municipal affairs commissioner is one of the ways Levin said he makes student concerns, like reliable transit service, heard.
John Irvine, account manager and contract negotiator for Neon Products, a London area sign company, was previously a city councillor for nine years and is anxious to return after a six-year hiatus.
He wants London City Council to speak to the issues and change petty argumentation into team consensus which he believes will lead to policy direction for the city. He also promises to keep in touch with his constituency while recognizing the university as a key component.
Student housing is a major issue for Irvine. As a graduate of urban studies at Western and a former member of the student housing advisory board, he said he will employ quiet diplomacy, acting as intermediary to ensure the issues are addressed.