Saying he wants to “create a space for issues to be discussed with an open mind about solutions,” Taleeb Noormohamed officially announced today he’s making a run for Vision Vancouver’s mayoral candidacy.
“I think we’re hearing a lot of negativity about how bad things are, and I think we have the opportunity to come out of this with some very hopeful, exciting perspectives on what we can be and the things that we all feel can be the DNA of the city,” he said.
Noormohamed made the comments during an interview with Daily Hive, in which he expanded and touched on ideas and plans he had, should he be elected.
On running with Vision
Noormohamed’s announcement comes after he hinted at the possibility of a mayoral bid late last week.
Asked why he decided to run with Vision, versus running with the the NPA – or even as an independent candidate – Noormohamed said there are things Vision has done “that are remarkable, in terms of setting the city on a trajectory of success,” including the Olympic Village and bike lanes.
And while he conceded that the party’s record over its past 10 years in power isn’t flawless, what excites him about Vision, he said, “is the fact that it’s a coalition of people with different points of view, different backgrounds who are coming together to really think about long-term success of this city and to build a place that everyone can belong and everyone can aspire to do very well.”
Civic politics, he added, is about “building a team and group of people, regardless of what their political stripe may be and coming together to solve problems. I think Vision is a really good starting point for that.”
On issues facing the city
Like many others running for office across the board, Noormohamed said there are a number of issues he’d like to tackle if elected mayor, not the least of which is housing and affordability in Vancouver.
In addition, “it’s important to think about long-term economic development that supports small businesses and supports start-ups, innovation, and entrepreneurship.”
But a city needs more than just business to be vibrant and Noormohamed said it’s important to create cultural spaces as well as a vibrant arts and culture sector along with “spaces for that to grow and thrive.”
He would also like to see a “renewed emphasis on the long-term vision for what the city is going to be; a vision that looks at this city as being a world-class city that has top-notch transportation solutions, housing options across the spectrum, that has space in place for companies to grow and build, and vibrant communities and culture.”
From this, he said, “you can start to build a number of specific things that we’ll be talking about over the course of the campaign.”
On bringing new perspectives
While he said there’s been much talk of Vancouver being the “greatest city on earth,” Noormohamed offered his own idea on the subject.
“It isn’t the greatest city on earth – but it can be,” he said. “The way that we get there is by actually thinking about all of us in diffferent ways and how everybody in this community of ours has the opportunity to be successful, to thrive, and to grow.”
The tech entrepreneur said it’s not “just about putting band-aids on problems today, but about thinking about the long-term…what we are leaving 10 to 15 years from now in terms of the legacy of a city that is exciting, vibrant, and world class in the way that we hope it will be.”
On being a visible minority candidate
If elected, Noormohamed would be Vancouver’s first Muslim mayor – a historic milestone to be sure, but not one he is overly concerned with.
In his view, it would be far more important to be a mayor “that led a team of folks and helped to build a better city where residents felt like their hometown got a whole lot better, and that the mayor happened to be Muslim.”
That, he said, “is the real win, where it’s about what we all achieved together, not just about the first whatever.”
On why he’s best suited for the mayor’s seat
“Everything I have done in my life is about bringing different perspectives together and looking for the best answers to problems, regardless of the source, and that’s the type of problem solving that I want to bring to this,” explained Noormohamed.
“What I want to do is make sure we create a space for issues to be discussed with an open mind about solutions,” he said. “Nobody owns a monopoly on the right answer and I think the openness to look at finding long-term out-of-the box solutions is something that I really want to bring to the table.”
With a “track record of having solved complex problems,” Noormohamed said he brings with him “a reputation of bringing people together in a way the city really needs right now to solve some of the problems were facing today and develop long-term solutions for the future.”
He was VP of Strategy and Partnerships of VANOC for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and ran for MP of North Vancouver in the 2011 federal election under the Liberal Party.
Vision Vancouver will hold its nomination meeting (vote) to decide the party’s mayoral candidate on Sunday, June 24.