Statement of James Stevens
We invited them to tell you a little about who they are, any political history and about their political leanings.
Firstly I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my blog . I am a local man , I was born in wrexham and grew up in the Wynnstay ward for over 20 years and I am well known throughout the ward . I am a single parent and I have a Degree from Glyndwr university .
I currently work as a Life Coach & Author and I also work part time n sales .
I dont really have a political leaning as I find that a restrictive policy and at some point this will conflict with your desire for your own ward, and towing the party line . I am a humanist first and foremost and a voice for the people ,not political parties who have their own agenda on local and national level .
If your elected by the people then you follow what they want regardless of your own egoistic ideas . I believe in the people I represent its the first rule of being a public servant . I want to make a real difference and the strategy is simple ,a happy healthy wealthy town for all .
Questions & Answers
1. Often we are told that highways, street lighting, bin collections and anti-social behaviour are some of the issues people care most about. Aside from those what are the key local issues in your ward? (The question below will ask what you think should be done)
I like to question what we are told to see the validity of things ,this also gives you an insight to see if issues can be collectively solved . The key issue for me is to raise the profile of the town ,bring back its old identity ,making it more positive and friendly and create the quaint market town appeal it once had in abundance , this helps my ward immensely as it gives them a shopping community that they can be proud of and want to frequent often .
2. Further to the above issues you have specified, at a ward level what would you do to resolve these problems if elected?
I will only know how to resolve the issues when I know the framework and timeline of the issues as I have yet to have the honour of being elected then I dont have the full facts on how to solve them . I can say this ,in life you get two things when attempting to solve anything , you either get the results and confidence of solving the issue or you get a reason or excuse as to why you haven't solved it . I am all about results and you can keep the excuses and reasons for the politicians whose track record on results local and national is absolutely atrocious . They keep trotting out the same old mantras and political rhetoric which is geared to create problems just so they can claim to solve them in future .
3. As a councillor and as a member of the council what would be in your power, and your priority, to help local businesses?
I simply want to free the town up ,make it more competitive against the backdrop of internet shopping ,it makes no sense what so ever to charge any sort of fee to park in the town ,so freedom for the people of wrexham to shop is paramount ,I like the idea of wrexham being a real life internet shopping experience where you wander around with an eclectic mix of shops and services . This brings the community together after doing the door knocking in the past week the people of the Wynnstay ward highlighted this to me , so I would like to bring about a town they can believe in ,experience once more and more importantly be proud of.
4. How do you think adult social care in Wrexham should be funded?
If elected I will have more financial facts and figures at my disposal ,without this access no candidate can really say with any honesty how to achieve anything ,only the candidates who are being re-elected will have a better measure of this obviously as you have already seen their results via the empty shops in the town centre . I can only say that its obviously a priority ,a society it has been said can only be measured by the way it treats and cares for its young and senior citizens alike ,and we all have duty to come together to make sure this area is totally funded from the floorboards up .
5. What do you think is the most urgent thing, in the power of councillors, required to improve the local education system?
I personally believe that the education system is way behind in its methods . If you look at a picture of a car from 100 years ago it will be totally different in its looks and its performance ,yet amazingly we are still grouping children into a room and telling them information like we did a 100 years ago when there was no internet or laptops or games consoles,children find school an inherent distraction and switch off and cant wait to get out of class ,there needs to be a national debate on this whole subject and a look into whats working in other countries education systems . Education should be fun and rewarding for both child and teacher without this dynamic then your mostly pouring money and resources down the proverbial drain .
6. What do you think should be done with the Groves school building, and the site?
If you leave a building standing idle for years and years its because you want it to rot and therefore have a reason to get rid of it . I would have had people in that building within 20 months rather than 20 years . There is always a solution to any problem as they both cant exist without each other , Once there is a collective decision the wheels turn and a solution is found . I personally would open up a dialogue of interests from Glyndwr and Coleg Cambria on a sharing dual purpose use ,we will only find solutions when exploring options rather than bicker about who is right or wrong. My personal opinion is the groves building is still standing solid ,it was built to last ,buildings these days are built to rot so lets make good use it as soon as possible .
7. What are your thoughts on the housing supply in Wrexham, and if you feel more housing needs to be created in volume, where would that be sited and who would it be targeted at?
Once again without the full facts and figures to look at then I can only assume ,which wouldn't be very productive ,but where possible we should be proactive to find the housing solutions to cater for all the people that need affordable housing . The whole of the council needs to sit down and ask themselves these questions and use our own resources to solve them ,rather than take the easy route and simply farm out this process to a consultant company ,who only make the obvious choices anyway . This issue is so important it needs a common collective approach based on the right solution for the needs ,not based on personal ideas to score political scoring points.
8. On litter and dog fouling enforcement, do you think this should be provided via a third party, and should it be enforced to the letter of the law or in a more lenient manner?
Using any type of force is a negative step as it only solves the problem part time ,it also creates a negative feeling toward the council and takes the life blood of money flow out of the community to be swallowed up into the bureaucratic machine ,which in turn shrinks our economy . I prefer just asking people to do the right thing ,if done positively 99% of people will comply as its in there nature to naturally want to help their community . Parking fees ,fines, and any sort of financial pressure creates tension and stress ,that is not good for the health of the town ,the feeling of the people of the town is so important ,I have traveled extensively and some towns feel good ,they are productive happy places some towns feel bad and are restrictive and lack the flow of energy within it . Ask the towns people for the help ,and they will respond in their thousands if approached with the right attitude .
9. Do you favour the current Executive Board system or a politically balanced system? Why?
I have only one way to look at any system ,does it work for all involved ? if it does then no need to change it ,if it doesn't work then it has to been changed to incorporate fairness for all the parties involved . The old politics of the world is changing more and more independents are taking up the mantle of politics it will be an interesting local election which could see more of the old guard being swept away by the new young bloods rushing in to to fill the political void with their own humanistic holistic common sense approach to what works and what doesn't .
10. As has happened in Wrexham recently - if you change political allegiance from what you are currently seeking election for (eg. resigning from, or joining another party) will you trigger a by-election? If not, why not?
I believe in sticking to a course until successful ,if you believe in yourself then you know your right . I dont think chopping and changing sends out a positive message . If you look at anything that is worth having or fighting for ,it all takes time to evolve. Success in anything takes persistence and persistence always pays off , nothing of any great value was made instantly or overnight ,fast paced projects like fast food is bad and has no long term lasting effects . For example the quick fix of raising the parking fees or rates or council tax never works as you shrink the economy of the town and keep its population entrenched in a scarcity attitude ,nothing then flows and the cycle continues ,you have to cut more costs and services ending up with a an ever shrinking economy and more empty shops ,which is exactly what you have got right now in the town centre .
11. 'Reshaping' Wrexham Council is a major theme impacting all areas of the local authority. What areas do you think could see deeper savings made and why?
Reshaping , another Buzz word the corporate officers like to use , whenever I hear this type of language it means shrinkage ,more money to be taken out and less services offered for the money rendered . If we carry on doing what we have always done we are only going to get what we have always gotten . Einsteins definition of insanity was people ,organisations doing the same thing hoping to get different results. This town needs more freedom of flow of economy we have to take the risk and step out with a unique selling point for the town ,this is a priority for me if elected .
12. With the 'Reshaping' programme, which specific areas would you look to grow and create revenue streams in?
I have no interest in revenue streams as the town is not some sort of cash cow for the bureaucratic machine that runs it , this is the wrong way round to think of it . Money is the flow of energy ,we raise the energy of the town , and find ways to make the town happier healthier this in turn raises the profile of the town and creates a million times more "Happy Streams " which in turn will create all the wealth needed for the town and much much more ! We just have to step out and take the risk of putting in the investment in the first place.
13. The Town Centre Masterplan is an aspirational document which could shape and transform the town centre over the next ten years. What is your future vision for Wrexham town centre, and how will you help achieve it?
The Town Centre Masterplan ,is just that a document ,I read it ,it was full of cold corporate language ,acronyms and we have seen the extent of redevelopment with King Street . Over sized Lamposts some crazy paving type flooring that is uneasy on the eye and what can only be described as over sized ashtrays littering the pavements . If the same people are involved then it doesn't bode well . We need a core idea of Free parking for all ,cut out the one restriction that creates all the others , Why should the people of Wrexham pay to park in their own town ,why should council workers pay to park to go to work ,this town was built and paid for by their ancestors in blood sweat and toil ,its an insult to the past generations . My master plan is this ,we create the first free town in the UK ,a place to shop and live and free from the restriction of a time limit on how long you can shop . We put this in first as the foundation then we can add on all the extras afterwards .
14. Many politicians are accused of being out of touch with voters and only surfacing before elections. What will you do to ensure you stay in touch through the coming years if you are elected?
First and foremost I am a humanist ,I dont have some overactive ego to massage ,I realise in deciding to stand for election I am a channel for the peoples voice and nothing more ,My job is to make the towns people happier and make them feel welcome in their own town ,if I keep that as my core strategy then the policies will shape themselves in the coming years. If people are taxed less and given more freedom then it makes more sense then a load of restrictive policies and other peoples ideologies forced upon them . People are all for change when its their choice. People will pay for a great service just as equally as they do for a great product for example the best trainers or the best smartphone ,it isnt rocket science to simply put service first and the money "revenue streams " second as a basis to make wrexham a truly unique place to be ,live and be happy . Make the people feel valued and cared for and all else will follow .
15. What are your thoughts on the current provision and support for the arts in Wrexham, and what would you do to support the arts?
I am a creative person , I am all for artistic projects ,but I am also for the idea of "something for everyone" young and old alike ,we should really find out what people really want across the population in wrexham . How about one a year ,all Councillors go round their ward and ask their constituents what is it is they like ,its something I intend to do from time to time and why not ,they pay me to listen ,why should I not do this ,its a common courtesy . In my few days of door knocking , people have mentioned they want their town back to how it was ,so thats my main priory ,this helps my ward and all the other wards too ,so we start there first .
16. Wrexham Football Club had been let down greatly before being taken over by the fans themselves. As a councillor what action would you champion to help the club?
I have great some ideas and techniques on motivation ,I previously contacted the previous manager of WFC with the psychological and creative ideas to change the inner game of the players but he wasn't open minded enough to take his ego out of the equation which was unfortunate as he has now left . I have made contact with Wrexham football club via an ex well known player but I have yet to receive a response but I was wanting to get involved well before I decided to stand as a candidate. Success at Wrexham football club is part of my vision to return the town to its proper status as a successful footballing town as this will create success and inspire the people and children of the town .
17. Wrexham's Night Time Economy employs a large number of people and generates revenue for the town. As a councillor what action would you like to see from Wrexham Council to improve that sector?
To put it simply we create a new identity based on free parking for the town ,this is the core step and has been at the centre of our problems all along ,we improve the day time and the night time economy will improve itself as they are both side of the same coin ,you dont even need to waste your time,money or energy thinking about it . The towns problems are all self created with this corporate obsession to make money ,its taken the compassion and heart out of the town .
18. Wrexham Council currently has two Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) in place in the town centre and Rhosddu area. How should anti social behaviour be tackled?
Anti Social , a buzz word for bad management ,this anti social behavior comes from the anti social management of the endless years of restriction and negative policies by successive councils , we are perceived as a negative town ,only recently plastered all over the national news . We have to root out these negative restrictive ideas based wholly on the money side of the things ,people feel used and its this cold zombie like attitude that has entrenched our town. Anti Social behavior is an effect its not the cause.
19. New Psychoactive Substances are a recent well documented problem in and around town, what do you think is the solution?
Once again ,this is an ongoing theme of decline ,based on bad management based wholly on a strategy of money and restriction and give as little service as you can for the money you have been given. If you create a happier environment then the people within that environment will turn be happier . All societies have their social issues ,it how we care for them that matters . Fining a homeless person is possibly the most ludicrous policy you can ever ,ever dish out ,this shows the society you have become when you think all problems can be solved via money.
20. Councillor pay, iPads as tools for the job, and allowances have all been topics of debate over the last few years. What is your view on this?
I dont use an iPad ,so I wont be asking for one ,if I have to use a laptop or similar device for security of details and confidentiality etc then so be it , I am paid to do a job and in any job your given certain tools ,this is no different ,but I have my own tools in this case I prefer to use so its not an issue . I wont be putting in any expenses unless its over a certain amount and its a mandatory thing or event I have to attend . I would be mindful of the peoples resources and how we must use them more effectively.
21. The ownership and operation of Plas Madoc Leisure Centre has been debated over recent years - where do you believe the responsibility for funding and running such public amenities should lie?
I believe in Plas madoc ,I learnt to swim there so did my daughter ,I believe long term it has saved 1000's of lives and that is priceless . I campaigned to keep it open was very vocal on the subject went to most of the meetings ,so I will be doing whatever I can to make sure it stays open for the long long term. It is a visitor attraction and should be kept its facilities are well known and appreciated across the borough. We all want our children to swim ,so its all our responsibilities ,the future of our town is based on the children we raise so lets not ever forget that. If we can find money for City statuses we also find money for swimming children .
22. What actions would you take, or support, as a councillor to encourage Welsh language use growth? Or, if you are against this, why?
Language is a personal choice ,you can't infringe on something so personal that describes the way they view their world . I would much prefer to concentrate on peoples issues that impact their health and well being . The welsh language is an institution and it will always be used ,You dont have to promote English in England or Gaelic in Ireland ,its the mother tongue so if it aint broke dont fix it .
23. Currently Wrexham Council webcast their Full Council, Executive Board and Planning meetings, and some Scrutiny. Would you like to see the webcasting system rolled out to cover all meetings and how else do you think the local authority could involve the public more in the democratic process?
If it works and is cost effective ,then yes roll it out ,but if its at the cost of a needed public service then obviously the people come first . I believe in total transparency where possible ,You shouldn't have to put in freedom of information request ,how can it be "freedom" if I have to request it ? If you had this system then certain polices would think twice on the wasteful vanity projects that slip through unnoticed like the Illuminated parking signs at a cost of £200,000 ish which we didn't need and are completely useless ,directing people to empty car parks ,in place where All drivers new the P for parking sign meant car parking ! frivolous wasteful egotistical policies !
24. This will be the first time some people are old enough to vote, with that age limit possibly dropping in future. Candidates are on the whole older and male. What will you do to represent a more diverse viewpoint?
I speak to all people the same ,I dont see diversity I see people who think and feel regardless of their ethnic colour race or creed ,these are arbitrary labels anyway , its not about that ,if we focused on the inner nature of the person then you have a complete compassionate embracing nature which will shape better policy making without any need to feel that you have to just tick ethnic boxes on some race relations monitoring form . At the core people just want to Live ,love ,laugh ,no matter where you are in the world ,no matter what tribe ,or what country ,its the real religion ,it is the only politics of the people you should strive to understand .
25. What local activity have you taken part in over the last few months to improve your ward? Regardless of if you win, will you continue any such action that benefits your ward?
I have been very vocal on the broken lift at waterworld for the last 6 months and I have been in constant contact with relevant organisations ,what kind of town can we be perceived to be if it takes nearly a year to fix a lift ,which it will be by the time it has been replaced ,that kind of slow response and a failure to spot the real issue in the first place should never be allowed to happen again and it will never happen on my watch ,the people of wrexham have my guarantee on that . Wrexham Council and Freedom leisure have acted with utter contempt for the disabled members that use waterworld ,they claimed there was problems but never offered any proof to back up these claims and still haven't as yet . Its no surprise or shock that as soon as the new financial year came about in April a new lift was ordered ,that is utterly deplorable and its this type of mental attitude to services based on cash that is at the core of the towns problems .
In a few hundred characters to wrap this up, why should people vote for you?
Firstly I can do nothing until elected ,I believe I will do my best for my ward and wrexham on the whole as we are all in this together. I want to engender a togetherness across the wards ,we need each others help to make this town great again . I believe the people dont trust polices off politicians so if elected then they can judge me on my honest approach and the results I produce . If elected I will be armed with better facts and figures and be able to make some real result making changes for the betterment of the whole town . Its time we had a truly holistic approach to People and policies as the old way of running things has had its day and I feel the election will show that with more independents being elected this time around .
Social & Web links
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OTHER CANDIDATES FOR Wynnstay
- Welsh Labour