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Anti-casino advocate enters council race as an independent

October 3rd, 2011 · 17 Comments

There hasn’t been an independent candidate elected to city hall since Carole Taylor in 1986, but that doesn’t ever seem to stop a few brave souls from trying to beat the considerable odds.

First up in the independent category this time is Sandy Garossino, who led the Vancouver Not Vegas coalition. I haven’t been able to schedule an interview yet (sorry, Sandy) so I’m unclear as to how Sandy’s position would be different from Vision Vancouver’s on the casino, which did reject the expansion.

I’m guessing that she would like to see the casino eliminated entirely from the Vancouver landscape and would not be open to any creeping amendments in future years to add a few tables here, a few slot machines there, at the existing casino.

Sandy Garossino declares candidacy as independent candidate for city council in Vancouver municipal election

Vancouver businesswoman and community organizer wants to return transparency to City Hall and help build an economically sustainable city.

Vancouver, Oct. 3, 2011 – Sandy Garossino, who co-founded and successfully led a campaign against the proposed expansion of a downtown Vancouver mega casino earlier this year, announced today she is running as an independent candidate for Vancouver City Council in the November 19 civic election.

Garossino, a former Crown prosecutor and businesswoman, said she is running because it is time to put the “Public” back into public service at Vancouver City Hall.

“The casino experience taught me how City Hall works, how citizens can make a difference in how their city is run and how there are too many barriers between elected officials and everyday Vancouverites,” said Garossino.

As an independent candidate, Garossino wants to make sure that the public’s voices continue to be heard, so that Vancouverites and future generations are partners in the evolution of the city. “I am running to help make sure the public has a real voice in civic government,” she said.

Garossino said Vancouver residents are also more interested in having their elected officials get things done, rather than have them fight battles around political agendas.

“As an independent councillor, I can serve as an impartial, fair councillor who will listen without an agenda, ideology or party interest to protect. I can speak my mind on issues without fear of being silenced. We need to bring everyone to the table to make this city work the way it should.”

Sandy’s priorities:

  • Ensure Vancouver City Hall once again becomes a servant of the people where transparency, access to information, and public consultation are priorities.
  • Develop sound fiscal discipline in a way that protects the city’s long-range interests and demonstrates value for tax dollars spent, while caring for its most vulnerable citizens.
  • Help create conditions where the local economy can flourish and benefit all citizens.

About Sandra Garossino

Born in Vancouver, Sandra Garossino was raised in a small Alberta town before returning to Vancouver to attend university.  She obtained a BA from Simon Fraser University in 1980 and an LLB from the University of British Columbia in 1983. She practiced law as a Crown prosecutor until 1988, working on cases such as gang activity.  When her father died, she and her brother assumed the ownership and management of the family business, operating three Metro Vancouver taxi companies.  As one of the largest privately held taxi fleets in Canada at the time, the operation employed some 250 people.

Since then, she has been active in several businesses, including the development of a firm aimed at making legal services more affordable to all.

She also took time to raise her now-grown children.

Garossino sits on the SFU India Advisory Council and has ties to UBC’s Asia strategy through her support for the Institute for Asian Research.  The objective of both bodies is to develop closer business and cultural links with Asia. Sandra sits on the Advisory Council of the Indian Summer Festival of Arts and Ideas and the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration.

Past board memberships include the Vancouver International Writers Festival, the Public Dreams Society (which produces Illuminares and the Parade of Lost Souls), the Alliance for Arts and Culture, and the Vancouver Biennale, which Garossino co-chaired.  She also chaired the Alliance for Arts’ Advocacy Task Force, and served as a volunteer consultant for the BC Association for Charitable Gaming, which represents the interests of thousands of BC charities affected by provincial gaming grant policy.

These relationships ultimately led her to co-found the Vancouver Not Vegas Coalition, successfully opposing the casino expansion.

Sandra is married to Ravi Sidhoo, who runs the 62-year-old family enterprise, East India Carpets in Vancouver.  Sandra and Ravi, who have 5 grown children, support a local school near Varanasi, India, offering education in grades 1 to 9 for the children of local carpet weavers.  They maintain a strong focus on girls’ education.


Categories: 2011 Vancouver Civic Election