My name is Tommy Caldwell, and I am running for city council in London, Ontario. I’m a husband, father of three & a local small business owner who pays close attention to local politics, and the events of the last few years motivated me to get involved. Below is where I hope to influence the city with a council position.
Controlling Violent Crime: Violent crime has increased by 50% since 2017, and the arrest rate for local crimes is 28%. We have the lowest police per capita in all of Southwestern Ontario. Our officers are overwhelmed as they become the frontline professionals for the homeless issue in our core. A few days before writing this, a North London High School student stabbed two fellow students at lunchtime and sat in class the next day. We can’t wait any longer before acting swiftly and seriously on the issue of local crime.
Curbing the Homelessness Issue: I have great empathy for homeless individuals who are plagued with mental health and addiction issues. We have several resources to aid this population, but the systems aren’t working. As a result, the homeless population is growing, while downtown businesses can’t even keep their doors open during the day. It’s no surprise that Londoners won’t bring their families to the city’s heart. Let’s focus on collaborative and rehabilitative programs that sincerely aid this population while reviving the core for residents and small business owners.
Building Economic Prosperity and Opportunity: The main job of a municipality is to create and allocate resources that result in opportunity, new business, and lower taxes. Without a thriving local economy, we can’t fund the projects citizens care about most. I believe the city has lost its way in this department.
Rebuilding the Small Business Economy: Small businesses were decimated over the past two years. The average small business carries $158,000 in lockdown debt, and bankruptcies are steadily increasing in this sector. I was denied when I asked to speak about London’s small business situation on two occasions during municipal meetings. The reason? “There’s nothing we can do about the legislation,” I beg to differ, and small business owners deserve a council member who will stand for them.
Ending Local Bureaucracy: Politics is often self-serving and inconsiderate of the effect decision-making has in both the short and long term. When representatives don’t face natural consequences for their actions and errors, their decision-making incentives become misaligned. This is what is known as ‘agency theory’. As a small business owner, I understand the meaning of accountability and taking ownership of my mistakes. I won’t make decisions for the city with re-election as my first concern. I can think about long-term consequences and future problems that may result from initiatives that sound good today, because my goal is to serve my community, not to be a career politician. I am dedicating my first-year salary to community initiatives to show Londoners how serious I am about working for the people, not the paycheque.
In addition to my main concerns, I want to see environmental solutions that work for citizens as well as schools that provide the optimal experience for children. These two topics are complex and involve the influence of both Provincial and Federal governments, so it is difficult to summarize my concerns and proposed solutions in brief. I can assure you, however, that these topics will be part of my conversations in debates, on doorsteps, and if it is the will of citizens, in council.