PROFILE: Daniella Radice - "Equality is at the heart of my agenda"
The Post is taking an in-depth look at each of the candidates bidding to be Bristol's first elected mayor. Today, Daniella Radice.
How long lived in Bristol: Ten years
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Job: At present full-time mum (housewife). Previously environmental advisor for Network Rail.
Marital status: Married
Secondary school: -
Have you ever been a member of a political party? If so, which ones (current and past): Yes, Green Party.
City or Rovers' fan? Neither
Odds (Ladbrokes): 100/1
IN one respect, Daniella Radice finds herself all alone in this mayoral election race because she is the only female candidate to stand. "I think it's really important there is at least one female candidate to put forward the female perspective," she said.
"We did have Barbara Janke as leader of the council and Jan Ormondroyd as the chief executive but we haven't got them any more."
As a mother of two young children aged four and six, she can speak from experience how difficult it is to board a bus with a pram or watch a bus go sailing past a bus stop and to be left stranded on the pavement with two little ones.
She has been interested in environmental issues since she was a teenager and you could say her background gives her a global perspective.
Born in London, her father was an English teacher who taught all over the world. It meant Daniella spent some of her formative years in the Middle East – Afghanistan, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.
She spent some years in Gloucestershire but she didn't really build a connection with Bristol until ten years ago when she took a post with the Environment Agency in Bridgwater.
Her job in waste regulation included Bristol where she met her husband, Andrew, an engineering consultant, and now they live in Ashley Down with an allotment nearby.
She graduated at Oxford in biology and took her masters degree in environmental technology in London.
She said her work – she is currently a full-time mum – meant she came into contact with people from all walks of life from the boardroom to labourers in the field so she believes she can work and deal with anyone at any level. She said: "I am not a showy or argumentative type of person. I think one of my strengths is bringing people together.
"When I was working at Network Rail as an environmental specialist, I was putting forward a slightly different perspective and explaining my ideas to bring people along with me.
"Until two years ago, I was dealing with senior management and also people on the ground.
"At the Environment Agency, I might be meeting people in a scrap yard one day and dealing with a technical officer from a large manufacturing company the next."
She might be able to mix it within the confines of her own field where she is an expert but would she be able to hack it with the great and the good, the number crunchers down at the Council House and the blunt-nosed politicians who love a fight for the sake of it?
Daniella, 38, said she was quick to grasp issues and already understood most of them through working with the city's Green Party leader, Councillor Tess Green.
She added: "I would make sure I had a good team around me which obviously would be key." She said she would have a cross-party cabinet so she could choose the best people to help her run the city.
But what would she do on Day One? "I would probably read through all the budgets," she said.
That's not to say she hasn't got a clear idea of what she wants for the city during her four-year term of office.
Obviously, as a Green Party candidate, the environmental agenda is at the heart of her manifesto.
But "green" doesn't just mean solar panels on council houses and everyone riding to work on their bikes instead of using their cars.
Daniella said: "I want to see a city which really values the communal things because one of the things which gets missed off with the Greens is that we believe in equality. We can't expect to bring people along with us unless we can show that our policies improve people's quality of life."
One of her ideas is to invest in Bristol's infrastructure by getting the council to borrow money by buying bonds. "California is going ahead with building its own bullet train, yet it's $50 billion in debt. We think that in order to get the economy moving again, you need public investment."
Yes, she is keen on renewable energy projects, not huge ones such as the Severn Barrage but much smaller ones, anaerobic digestion of waste, improvements to public buildings and cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.
She also wants to create jobs by helping small traders and businesses because she believes that this was the best way to build "resilience" into the local economy and protect it from the vagaries of the global downturn.
On education, she would like to see powers transferred to the elected mayor so they were responsible for the standard of schooling in our academies which are mushrooming all over the city. She would like to see private schools sharing their facilities more with state school pupils.
And she would like to see the neighbourhood partnerships given more power so that local democracy was de-centralised and people had much more of a say in what goes on in their own communities.
"Ashley has 11,000 people represented by two councillors but you cannot expect each one of them to know 5,500 people however hard they try," she said.
On transport, she said that when she had been out canvassing, it was the one issue that came up again and again.
"I can't believe the public transport in Bristol," she said. "The roads are clogged with traffic but the buses are usually half empty."
She said it cost her £3.20 return into the city centre and therefore it would be cheaper to drive. But if the cost was only 50p, then it would be a huge incentive for people to leave their cars at home.
She doesn't think the bus rapid transit system is the best solution for the city's traffic congestion – she prefers an ultra light rail tram system.
She wants to see a transport hub at Temple Meads including a bus interchange to help travel become much more integrated.
Her main priority, however, would be to protect services for vulnerable people and ring fence them against cuts.
She was confident she could rise above party politics and would be able to bring a different perspective to running the city.
She said: "We have got to get better public transport for Bristol and also help the elderly and vulnerable.
"I want to see a green city and one which is more equal in broad terms for everyone."