I want to serve on the council because the 9th district needs a strong advocate and a voice that is willing to speak up for the forgotten people in our communities. Our district lacks a strong leader with a concrete plan to change the economic and social indicators that are holding our citizens back. As a councilperson, I would have voted no to the mayor's FY 2011 budget and advocate that we spend more of our city's budget on investing in our children and our city's future. This year, despite budget shortfalls, funding for policing climbed to $356.9 million, while the budget for our recreation centers dropped to $10.2 million. This type of budget disparity highlights how backwards our priorities are and demonstrates the need for strong leaders on the council who are willing to stand up to some of the long-time, entrenched political establishments in our city. If I am elected to city council, I am going there with the intention to lead. Under our current government structure, we have a powerful mayoral system of government. Because of that power, city council members rarely challenge the mayor when it comes to passing his/her budget or any major mayor-directed initiatives. The system is set up for people to make nice, pass the mayor's budget, support his/her ideas, and remain in office. I do not agree with this philosophy. We will continue to destroy our city if we maintain the status quo. We will not be able to make the great changes we so desperately need. I must go to city hall to stick up for our city and its residents without thought of re-election. I cannot negotiate on certain principles, nor do I intend to. Too often, as we have seen in Washington, when the "nice guy" tries to negotiate with the "bully," the bully ends up winning and not giving anything back to the people. Our city is in such need of repair that I cannot go to city hall with the intention of maintaining the status quo. I must go there with a purpose: to be bold enough to state what has to be said and demand more for our citizens. Leaders do not spoon feed us what we want to hear. They push and challenge us to become better and to change beliefs.