Nadine Nakagawa is running for New Westminster City Council, and she answered my questions!
1. There are two types of people in the world: people who like simple pop-culture “what type of cheese are you” quizzes that they can then share on Facebook, and people who don’t. Sadly, I don’t have a quiz for you but this is close enough: are you an order muppet or a chaos muppet? Which muppet are you?
Nadine: I don’t support the use of muppets to describe personalities. Controversial enough position to start with? I hate the term “chaos muppet”. Don’t @ me.
2. When was the last time you visited City Hall? What changes would you propose to make City Hall more welcoming? When was the last time you attended a City Council meeting? What changes would you propose to make City Council meetings more welcoming? Sorry, I guess that was kind of four questions.
I was last at City Hall to file my candidacy paperwork. Before that, probably the Temporary Modular Housing Public Hearing and before that likely an ACTBiPed meeting. To make City Hall more welcoming, we should add more comfortable seating to start. We should then ask members of the community what would make their City Hall feel more welcoming. This was done by the WINS table a few years back and we should incorporate their feedback. To make meetings more comfortable, perhaps we should consider a Council Meeting 101 package and workshop. We should also strive to use plain language and bring council meetings into the community.
3. Buy Low Foods recently shut its store in Uptown, leaving a hole in the market for grocery stores. What will you do to ensure that there is proper competition among grocery stores and a Save-On Foods opens in that location, restoring the competitive marketplace that the Competition Bureau foisted upon us in 2014?
The Buy Low Foods community room was an incredible community asset and I hope residents support grocery stores that have community rooms.
4. New Westminster has a number of advisory committees, task forces, and working groups. Upon being elected, which one would you like to chair the most and why? No need to restrict yourself to an existing one either, if you feel strongly that a new one needs to be formed (that you’d obviously chair) feel free to answer that!
The to-be-created Renters Task Force. I’d also like to chair the Community Social Issues Committee that I’ve sat on for a number of years (sorry Councillor McEvoy)
5. What is your favourite neighbourhood, and why is it Brow of the Hill?
As the immediate past President of the Brow of the Hill Residents Association, I can confidently say #BeLikeBrow
6. The process leading up to and including the public hearing for the temporary modular housing in Queensborough was… challenging, to say the least. This question is only for the non-incumbent candidates: on the final motion to amend the OCP and rezone the property to allow the temporary modular housing, how would you have voted? Please note that you may describe why you would have voted a particular way, but you must say whether you would have voted in favour of or against the motion on the table.
I would have voted yes. I have previously worked as a Housing Support Worker for the Elizabeth Fry Society and understand how soul shatteringly difficult it is to find affordable (read 30% of your income) housing, particularly for people on income assistance, disability, or a pension. We are in a housing crisis and I believe that everyone has a right to housing.
7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?
My golden retriever Gus. He’d love to meet a Sasquatch. In fact, he’d love to meet just about anybody. We really wouldn’t be hunting, just going out to say hello.
8. How do you propose engaging with renters, new immigrants, and youth?
By bringing people who identify as renters, new immigrants, and youth onto committees and task forces and asking them how to do this and then listening to them. By going out into the community to places where people we want to reach gather. By being humble. By practicing cultural humility. By asking questions. By never making excuses for why it’s not happening. By asking people to come and then making space for them. By not giving up until our public engagement reflects our community.
9. With absolutely no apologies to Chris Campbell, what would your entrance music be? Please note that if you dare pick We Built This City by Starship you are hereby banned from ever running for public office ever again.
My theme song is Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix.
Thank you Nadine!