SURREY â€” Mayoral candidate Barinder Rasode has confirmed she has a team.
Dubbed â€œOne Surrey,â€ Rasodeâ€™s slate is made up of candidates with backgrounds from law enforcement, business, community advocacy and farming.
â€œThe One Surrey team is a group of independent thinkers who are united by their shared goal of creating a safe, vibrant and prosperous city,â€ Rasode said.
â€œComplacency has led to a culture of neglect in Surrey, and our citizens deserve better.â€
Some of those eyeing council seats as part of Rasodeâ€™s team have announced their candidacy already and some have not.
Those who have already publicly announced intentions to seek office include 27-year-old restaurant manager Maz Artang, farmer Mike Bose and Narima Dela Cruz, a realtor and founding director of the Surrey Philippine Independence Day Society with a volunteer background.
Jumping in for the first time are three other hopefuls: Merv Bayda, Darlene Bowyer and Brian Young.
Young is the chief operating officer of the Surrey and Delta golf clubs and is president of Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce.
Bowyer is president of the Port Kells Community Association, and is also involved with Surrey Environmental Partners and Surrey Association of Sustainable Communities.
Bayda served as an RCMP officer for more than 35 years and has spent the last 10 working as the Surrey RCMP Auxiliary Constable Program manager.
There is likely one more member of the One Surrey team, but his organization has yet to respond to his intentions to run. Check back to the Now website to learn who the last member of the team is.
So the big question is: Why a team?
Rasode split from her Surrey First team earlier this year to sit as an independent, claiming her teammates had become increasingly hostile after she spoke out about needing to do more on the public safety front.
â€œWhy a team now? I think thatâ€™s a big one, because I stepped away as an independent and want independent voices,â€ Rasode acknowledged during an interview at her community hub on Tuesday. â€œI think that looking at the personalities that have formed the team of One Surrey, one thing that speaks is their record on advocacy in the community,â€ she said, adding, â€œthe culture of complacency where you hand the torch down to insiders is not something that people want.â€
Asked what her response is to her critics who will likely say she wasnâ€™t able to be part of a team, as demonstrated by her leaving Surrey First, Rasode said â€œthe team will always remain the City of Surrey. Full stop. Who weâ€™re accountable to are the residents.â€
So why a team instead of running as independents? â€œBecause the culture of complacency that has not only existed at city hall but has actually become entrenched at city hall,â€ she said. â€œThereâ€™s clear denial of even wanting to talk about the fact that we have public safety issues. My job is to be responsive and the community has compelled me to say this: We need some change. Letâ€™s work together to elect some new faces at city hall,â€ she said.
Last week, Rasode announced a 10-point plan to crack down on crime, which was developed in collaboration with senior law enforcement professionals, including Delta Police Chief Jim Cessford.
Her plan would see the city adopt a similar policing model to that of Delta, embracing the â€œno call too smallâ€ concept.
The One Surrey team is expected to present a full election platform in the coming weeks.
Visit the Now‘s Civic Election section to see the most up-to-date election coverage.
-With files from Vancouver Sun