Unable to draw breath after being elected on Friday Nov 16th, I found myself in the leader’s office the following Monday morning in the re-named City Hall in charge of the city that has given me so much and for which I feel so proud to serve. Just 6 weeks on and I am well under way with plans for the coming three years or so – some more certain to be achieved than others:
Wish 1: To strike a deal with the bus companies to get a better and more affordable service with special deals for young people, disabled and elderly, including journeys before 9am, and implement changes to unsatisfactory Bus Rapid Transport scheme.
Wish 2: Bring 1000’s of new jobs to Bristol by attracting investment and encouraging small firms to grow by breaking down barriers to doing business. I want to see our universities and colleges working closely with industry to create a high skill economy and for our schools to continue to improve standards.
Wish 3: Bristol to become the most welcoming, healthy and caring city, where we all look out for each other and for newcomers, and where we provide good community day care and make a step change in providing affordable housing to rent and buy.
Wish 4: Bristol to be well known across the world and to make sure that by the end of the year we are universally recognized as being a great British city, building on our history, creative industries and green technologies. I want BIG Green Week to be BIG in 2013 and for both our football teams to bounce back!
Wish 5: To make Sundays special by freeing much of the city centre and some of our high streets of cars. I would like to see the streets animated by children playing, pedestrians, considerate cyclists and roller bladers, market stalls and all forms of artistic and family activity.
Wish 6: To work closely with Sue Mountstevens the new Police and Crime Commissioner with the aim of achieving a safer and cleaner city free of street prostitution, drug dealing and other activities that are an affront to decent citizens.
Wish 7: A ‘rainbow’ Cabinet that better reflects the democratic will of the people of Bristol. A three party cabinet is no mean achievement and I look forward to working closely with Cllrs Geoff Gollop, Gus Hoyt and Simon Cook and two elected Youth Mayors to achieve great things in the face of a huge financial challenge.