Candidates unite in call for more people power
SOME of Bristol's mayoral candidates have come out in favour of people power instead of leaving all the decision-making to politicians.
Labour's Marvin Rees told a hustings meeting yesterday there needs to be a sea change "in the way in which we 'do' Bristol".
He said: "It's no good making decisions in the halls of power and then going out to consultation and saying to people, 'What do you think about this decision we are going to make?'
"The boundaries between everyday life and power must be much more porous.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
"Unless the decision-making is shared among people from all backgrounds, then the decision-making machine is going to work in the same old way."
He said that the elected mayor would not be some kind of Messiah who had all the answers to Bristol's problems.
The elected mayor would need people to engage in the city's future.
Lib Dem candidate Jon Rogers said he wanted to give more power to local communities.
"We've already given some power down to the Neighbourhood Partnerships because we recognise that local communities often know far better than central Government or councils how best to spend the money in their own areas.
"If they have more control, then it is a much more effective way to provide the services which are most needed.
"I feel passionately that we should be reducing diversity because nobody is better or worse than anyone else."
Geoff Gollop, the Tory candidate, said the key was to empower people so the best decisions could be made.
He said: "Everyone has got a view which is worth listening to. Every view counts. The only way is not just to say, 'We want to give' but actually giving.
"I've got an example in my ward, for example, where a bus lane has been put in at a cost of £100,000 which nobody wants.
"That money could have been much better spent on people in need. We just don't have the power at the moment.
"One of the roles of the elected mayor is to empower people so that their view actually counts."
George Ferguson (Independent) said the diversity in the city was something to be celebrated.
But much more needed to be done to make people feel part of the governance of the city.
He said: "We have a Council House which is the seat of local government and it's more like a fortress. Most people don't relate to it at all.
"It should have much more open access. It should be an open place, a City Hall, a market place where people feel they can come and go and play a part in the governance of the city. We need youth mayors, we need people who represent communities and are not necessarily councillors.
"We need a mayor who mixes with people, someone who gets down into the communities.
"It's really important that we have a mayor who mixes.
"I love mixing with people from all walks of life – it gives me a buzz."
Daniella Radice (Green Party) in answer to a question about supporting voluntary groups, said it was important not to cut services which were provided to the most vulnerable people in our communities.
She said: "We must say to Government that you are taking more money from us than you give back.
"We have to say to them that we must have more of it to give more help to people."
The hustings were held at the Arc Cafe in the undercroft of St Mary Redcliffe Church.
The cafe is a community project organised by the Addiction Recovery Agency in partnership with the church.
It is staffed by a team of trained volunteers who are in recovery themselves and those who use the cafe are people who might be homeless or are living in vulnerable circumstances due to domestic violence, mental health issues or housing problems.
Bristol will go to the polls on November 15.