Name: Raymond Kobes
Party affiliation (if any): none
Education: Currently enrolled at the University of the Fraser Valley
Previous political experience: Post-Secondary Commissioner on the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission
Residency (city/neighbourhood): Abbotsford
Community involvement: Jam in Jubilee Organizer, Friday Nite Basketball Gym Director, volunteer for various events in Abbotsford
Marital status/children: Single
Social media: raymondkobes.com
What do you feel are the three key issues Abbotsford voters should be considering in this civic election?
1. Fiscal responsibility and dealing with our municipal debt.
2. Providing a long-term solution for homelessness
3. Increased awareness and emphasis on arts and culture in Abbotsford
What’s your plan to deal with homelessness in Abbotsford?
I support the Housing First approach in which the homeless do not work through the different levels of housing, but rather are immediately moved into their own residence. Stable housing is the first and primary need. Other issues can be dealt with once they have a home to live in. Many of the homeless people are addicts and are in dire need of housing, regardless of their habits and lifestyles. A coordinator that ensures all programs relating to the homeless are working together rather is also needed. Most importantly, we must stop treating and thinking about the homeless as stats and problems. They are people that need our help and support. A society is judged on how it treats its weakest and most vulnerable members.
How would you make city hall more accountable and transparent?
City Hall must be more transparent and I will assist with this in any realistic capacity if elected. I am prepared to have an online journal with weekly entries showing the proceedings. This would include links to the agenda and minutes so that each citizen will have an easy and quick way in which to see what is going on in city hall, while being able to verify the information with official documents. However, in order for transparency to improve, the people of Abbotsford must put the effort in to find out what is occurring.
Are changes required in local municipal spending? If so, what are they and how would you address them?
In order for municipal spending to be accountable, constant reviews and analyses are essential in order that money is being used properly and distributed in a fair and priority-based manner. With regards to Parks, Recreation and Culture I would be in favour of shifting more funding to culture as it only received 7% of the PRC budget in 2013. With regards to spending, we must build a plan in order to reduce and eventually eliminate our municipal debt.