Read the Interview with Ken Sim

 

The following transcript is an excerpt of an interview podcast Ken Sim participated in August 2018.

 

Host: Let’s talk about your foray into politics. You’re obviously very successful in business. Why move from that and why get into politics and why are you running?

Ken Sim:  I get asked that question all the time. And  I can crack some jokes, but the reality is, for me, this is deeply personal. I have a family. I have friends. I have co-workers. I have people that I mentor at UBC, SFU, other businesses through the CPA program. They’re all leaving town, and I have four boys. My eldest boy turned 17 about three weeks ago, and he doesn’t see an opportunity for him in the city. And he doesn’t necessarily want to stay in the city when he goes to school. And later on in life, the career prospects are looking a little bleak. Being able to afford a place to live, it’s looking unattainable.  And now, I’ve spent 45 of my 47 years in Vancouver. I’m not going anywhere, I don’t want to go anywhere. But I do want my friends and family to be here, and people that I meet – so, hopefully, I’ve answered your question.

Host: I think you guys don’t get enough credit for what you are, and that’s being job creators. And you’re job creators on the basis of your own financial risk, and I think that’s something that’s truly special and it should be celebrated. We should recognize this accomplishment of being able to create something that creates employment as a big plus for someone who wants to run for office. I mean you understand cash flow and financial statements. And especially on a municipal level, I think you sort of need finance wonks, at least I think so. So let me throw this to you in response to people that say that you have very little political experience. What in your professional life has equipped you to become the Mayor of Vancouver?

Ken Sim: The reality is we’re just a bunch of organizations with people. And so there actually is no difference at city hall. You have a bunch of people that are trying to get something done and you have different stakeholders with different objectives. And in reality, when I look at my own experience –  for example at Nurse Next Door  – we have 5,000 employees as a conservative number. And when you look at the City of Vancouver – tons of employees as well. You have thousands of employees. And so, the organizations are actually very similar.

Host: Interesting way to look at it!

Ken Sim:  I can really empathize with people that work at the City of Vancouver. I’ve spoken to thousands of people over the last four months,  and I can tell you we have really good people at the City of Vancouver. There’s the odd person that may not work too well, like in any organization but the vast majority of people in City Hall are amazingly great. They’re just working in a broken system right now. And I feel badly for them because you have these people that are working in a not-so-optimal environment. And then we wonder why the struggle.

Host:  So you think it’s more about maybe fixing processes or the way the organization runs as opposed to the actual people involved.?

Ken Sim: Oh absolutely.

Host: Which political figure do you admire the most?

Ken Sim: I would say Nelson Mandela. Here’s a person who was imprisoned for his beliefs. He wasn’t an advocate of violence, and when he became the President of South Africa,  instead of taking his ideology and pushing it on the entire country and looking for payback, he actually embraced the whole nation and the people who imprisoned him and worked side by side with them. He’s one of the great figures of the 20th century.

Host: Yeah I get that too. I get goosebumps thinking about that.

Ken Sim: And so, when I look at Vancouver and B.C. and at our country right now, it feels like politics is very divisive. And that helps politicians get elected as they try to divide the public. I can tell you, I know people across the city, and there’s probably something like 95 percent of things that unite us. So why are we dividing our city? Every single person that’s running for Councillor or Mayor loves the environment, wants to tackle affordability, doesn’t like congestion, wants to make a dent, wants to improve the stuff that’s going on with the Downtown East Side and from a broader perspective, mental health and addictions across our city. And they want their kids to live here, they want to be able to live in their homes. Literally every single candidate for Parks Board, councillor and school board.

Host: You’re absolutely right. And it shows in the rhetoric and the platitudes everyone saying the same thing. Obviously, platforms are different but when we’re talking about end goals and results everyone’s talking about making Vancouver a more affordable model example of a green city.

Ken Sim: There are so many things that everyone agrees upon with regard to the top of the mountain, but it’s just sort of how you get there. I think that’s the big distinction in this election.

Host: Right.

Ken Sim: Based on all the Vancouverites I’ve spoken to we can all agree on those issues. It’s how do we get there and who is the person and who is the team that has the best opportunity and the best skill set to get us there.

Host: At the end of the day, ideas are great. It’s the execution that’s incredibly difficult. So let’s talk about your team for a little bit and talk about the NPA in this election. I find it strange that for an opposition party, a party that’s not governing, the NPA is the target for a lot of political attacks. I mean there’s this big emphasis from progressives to unite and defeat your party the NPA. This is usually rhetoric that’s saved for incumbent parties. Why do you think that is?  What do you think the NPA represents, and what do you want it to represent?  Do you feel it’s misrepresented in the public eye?

Ken Sim: Yeah. Well – yes. But I would say it’s not all progressives who feel that way. It’s only half, okay? The other half of the progressives are half of the NPA right now.

Host: Well said.

Ken Sim: I think anyone who attacks someone without knowing who they are – well, first of all, we don’t believe in attacking people. I just think that’s bad form. I’ve never done it, and our team won’t do it. I do find it kind of bizarre, but I guess that’s just how old-style politics work. And like I said,  I’d rather unite the place than divide it because I have friends right across the city,  some of whom have incredibly different views than I do.

Host: I think that should be celebrated.

Ken Sim:  I just don’t like it. If you go to some other countries right now, people are afraid to talk about their views because they’re being ostracized or bullied. So  I do think it is a little bizarre how people are trying to label us as not being progressive. Just look at our Council slate. We have nine people running, six of them women, and it wasn’t because we were trying to fill a quota. It’s just that there are six first-rate individuals that happen to be women that are running. And in fact, in my business at Nurse Next Door, our entire senior executive team- except for one person- is a woman. And at Rosemary Rock Salt, all our stores are led by women. It just happened by chance. And so I don’t even think of it being progress. I just think it is what it is. When you look at the ethnicity of the candidates, they are all over the map. I don’t even think in terms of ethnicity, because I grew up in Vancouver and it’s a melting pot. But, if people want to know –  if the alleged progressives are making it an issue – well,  we have ethnic diversity, sexual orientation diversity, socio-economic diversity, and we have a bus driver running for School Board. So when you look at our slate of councilors and Park and  School boards, they really represent the entire city.

Ken Sim: I was mentored by a guy by the name of Milton Wong. He was the most socially responsible, most socially progressive entrepreneur you would ever meet. I had the benefit of his mentoring for almost two decades. He was the chairman of our company. I met him in ‘93 when I was just coming out of university and couldn’t find a job that I wanted. And not knowing me from a hole in the wall, he sat down and gave me an hour of his time. I do the same thing now, and it’s not because I have to, but because I want to I want to pay it forward. I want to be like Wong. If I could be even one tenth or one one hundredth of him, I would consider my life a success. He was just an amazing guy. And so when I hear these negative comments, I just find it funny how some people can attack others without having met them, without having done research as to who I am,  or who we are. If they did, they would find no basis for those attacks.

Ken Sim: On this campaign, here and now, we care for lives and we’re not going to attack anyone. We’ll disagree with ideas but I’m not going to attack anyone.

Host: You don’t strike me as a type. You’re so nice.

Ken Sim: I’ve actually reached out to most of the candidates and I’ve had conversations with people at the Green Party like Adrienne Carr and Michael Wiebe. We’ve spoken to a lot of the mayoral candidates and I can tell you right now that a lot of these individuals are nice people. Why would we attack them? I think it’s amazing when anyone puts their name in the hat to do public service and I want to thank everyone who’s done that. I think it’s really cool because it’s for the benefit of our city. So why don’t we celebrate? Why are we attacking people? A diversity of ideas reflects upon a healthy democracy. We have a lot of people, a lot of different backgrounds, and a lot of different ideas. That makes things interesting, and it makes things vibrant for what we want to accomplish here.

Host: What should the public know about the NPA?  What does the NPA represent?  You touched on candidate diversity, but for the party as a whole,  what does the NPA stand for?

Ken Sim: If you look at the actual name, it’s the Non-Partisan Association. We’re non-partisan, so we’re not going to bring ideology to City Hall. We’re just a bunch of people who have a deep love for the city, who want to do the right by the city and not want to politicize the whole process. You don’t have to be on one side or the other of the political spectrum. What we want to achieve here is fiscal responsibility but being very socially progressive. We just want to bring our city back.

Host: Right. Touching on depoliticisation, there was a little bit of drama with the NPA starting in May. There was an exodus of a small faction that became Yes Vancouver, although most of the people that left are now running as independents, who may not actually be associated with that party. How does the NPA look today?  Is the NPA united again after what was portrayed in the media to be a dramatic mayoral nomination?

Ken Sim:  Up until June 3rd I was just another candidate, kind of this square fish swimming upstream, just trying to win the nomination.  So I can only speak to what the NPA represents since I’ve been elected.  Socially progressive, fiscally responsible. I try to surround myself with people that I like who have great core values and who have a deep love for the city. And that’s it, that’s what we stand for.  If you look at our candidates, they’re absolutely amazing. We had some hard choices to make, many great candidates seeking one of the spots. We’re not Team Canada but when Team Canada selects their Olympic hockey team, there are always three or four players where you shake your head and go Wow! how come they’re not on that team? Because the candidates are so good.  When you’re running a full slate, you’re running nine people. We could have run 13 or 14 running against each other.

Host: You guys have gotten a little bit of flak for running nine candidates but I think it just shows confidence and it shows that you have strong candidates you’re willing to run.. And the fact that you had to cut candidates I think is interesting. So, let’s get into the actual issues. Let’s talk about things that do matter to Vancouverites. Obviously, the number one issue in this city is housing affordability.  Some might even say it’s a single-issue election in a lot of ways. But before we get into your plan on tackling the housing affordability crisis, what I want to hear from you is: what’s the role of civic government with regards to regulating the housing market? Because there’s a lot of things that the city simply doesn’t control that’s controlled at the federal level or at the provincial level. So I want to hear from you in terms of what does the city control when it comes to housing.

Ken Sim: Well there are two big levers that the city does have. One is permitting.

Host: Right.

Ken Sim: I’d like to talk about the permitting backlog, the fact that it takes two to seven years to get a permit for the most part. There are some exceptions where it’s a little faster and a lot of exceptions where it’s longer, but on average it’s two to seven years. That’s a problem. And so that’s one of the big levers that the city has.  If we fix it or improve it, it will have a huge impact on affordability. And the second one is zoning

Host: Right.

Ken Sim: How we zone the city will have an impact on affordability as well. When it comes to regulating everything else,  it’s not my skill to know or have all the answers to complex issues like that. But I think I’m pretty good at asking questions and then bringing on the right people to help come up with those answers.

Host: Sure.

Ken Sim: Once government gets involved in too many things you might make a nice little impact but then there are always unintended consequences that can make the situation worse. So I think government has got to really be careful when they start to wade into regulating certain things.

Host: Fair enough. So based on that answer I’m going to assume that your main tactics in dealing with this housing affordability crisis will be with regards to permitting and zoning.

Ken Sim: Absolutely. Those are the two things. Another thing we have to think about is affordability which is in everyone’s mind. Any solution we come up with, we have to factor in transportation at the same time or we may have significant improvements in affordability,  but then we’ll have a livability issue in 5 to 10 years.

Host: Right.

Ken Sim: If we don’t think about our traffic patterns and how we’re going to deal with them – well, while I love Hong Kong and Mumbai for example, I don’t care for their traffic.

Host: Fair enough.

Ken Sim: We do run the risk if we don’t think of these complex issues together from a holistic perspective. We could paint ourselves into a corner.

Host: Fair enough. Now, everyone likes to say –  OK let’s just cut red tape – that’s essentially what you’re saying, in terms of cutting down permitting times. What is the plan? How can this be done?  Have we seen examples of it done before?

Ken Sim: So, I’m a bit of a management workflow geek connoisseur. Actually, there’s a technical term, called Leene, or Toyota Production Management System, and  I’m a certified black belt. We look at workflow big time. In fact, I travel around the world and probably see 30 companies a year. I’ve been to Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda, FedEx in Memphis, Google, LinkedIn, Tesla. I’ve seen them build houses in three months. You walk into a showroom, pick out your custom house that’s earthquake proof and fireproof, and if you walk in say on January 20, you can move into your house on March 29.

Host: Really?

Ken Sim: Yeah! And so when you look at the fact that we have to wait two to seven years for a permit, it just doesn’t reconcile. We can look at the workflow and make improvements. We don’t actually have to go too far around the world to get some examples of better workflow. If you look at the City of Burnaby, there’s a Safeway distribution site that they had permitted in 14 months, and that’s just on the other side of Boundary. We’ve made our system just too complicated, and there are ways of dealing it back.

Ken Sim: It’s going to take a bit of time and in the interim, there are there are some things that we can do. We can have some accelerated permits if it makes sense. Sometimes after you wait nine months or 18 months or 22 months, you just get a rubber stamp anyways. Why don’t we just accelerate that process? Here’s is a business example that’s dear to my heart. There used to be a Thai restaurant on West 41st  and there was a fire. Luckily it didn’t burn the building down but they had to apply for a permit to fix the restaurant. They waited, and they waited, and they waited. And then – they went out of business.

Host: Wow!

Ken Sim: People don’t realize that we can talk about inefficiencies and make them better. There is a human cost to this. That family lost their business. Those people lost their livelihoods, they lost their jobs,  they lost their ability to pay rent, or pay their mortgage. They lost their ability to put their kids through programs and the community lost more. It was a family business, and that should have been a rubber stamp. Maybe I’m naive, but if you already have an existing restaurant, and you’re just trying to fix it, then instead of putting someone through a queue, why aren’t we saying  – hey, here’s a rubber stamp! Bam! Done. What else can we do to get you back on your feet?  And so bringing the human element back to it. I know that that’s an overly simplistic example, but there is a lot of that going around.  There are other situations where should ask: do we even need this process in the first place? Why do we have this here?  and then maybe, we can eliminate it after we study it. It shouldn’t take that long to study this stuff. We can start to have all these wins and when you wake up 12 to 18 months later, the process is a lot faster.

Host: Let’s talk a little bit more about businesses in this city. As a business person, you obviously understand the importance of affordable housing to keep a workforce in your community.

Ken Sim: I think that’s something that does often get overlooked because it’s not just about living here – you need functioning workplaces around you to make it a livable city, whether that’s a grocery store or a doctor’s office or a place where you yourself work. How urgent is this housing affordability crisis for businesses in this city?  My own personal belief is that it’s pretty dire. Businesses in the hospitality industry, for example, a lot of restaurants are struggling to keep or attract people.  There are a lot of places that are actually scaling back their hours or shutting down because they can’t get people into the city. When you look at other industries and bigger businesses, it’s hard to attract people or to get people to stay in Vancouver. The salaries are just as high in other markets, so people take a discount to live in Vancouver. I don’t think that should be the case, but right now that is the case. And then houses are just so expensive that if you’re trying to attract someone to stay in Vancouver, a lot of people are going to say:  well, wait!  I can make way more in Toronto or London where my house is going to cost half to a third as much.

Host: We’ve lost a lot of people already I imagine. You brought up hospitality, but I think even the tech sector is having issues bringing people into the city.

Ken Sim: There are tech companies that are outside of Vancouver proper, and one of their advantages is that they can attract people who can live closer to their actual office. I’m pretty passionate about this.  We have a government South of our border that has policies in place where individuals in the tech space from other parts around the world would rather set up in Vancouver than down there, but we’re making it really difficult because of the affordability issue. If not for this, we could actually become the next tech hub of North America. But that may not happen, because affordability is a big issue. Every day I speak to someone who has a couple of kids say 24, 28, or 32 and they’re living all across North America, maybe not just because of better opportunities or better pay,  but because they can afford homes. That’s a big problem.

Host: You’ve also promised to be the most business-friendly mayor, and that’s a phrase or a term that I think some people get a little skeptical about. Can you explain exactly what that means for you, and why is that important?

Ken Sim: Well, it’s super important, because most people are employed by businesses. Big business,  small business, your local corner store, your local clothing store, the sandwich store, the little restaurant, what have you. They all employ people, and if we don’t support them, they’re not going to exist. That’s just the reality. And if we don’t have those businesses, guess what? Everything else in this province relies on them. Without businesses, we don’t have the tax revenue to pay for our social programs or hospitals or public schools or roads. So it’s a big deal.

Host: Do you think that the city right now is not very business friendly?

Ken Sim: In my personal experience, it hasn’t been very friendly. This example is not from the city of Vancouver, but from Richmond. However,   it could have happened in Vancouver and I have multiple examples that did happen to others here. But I want to personalize this story.  So we’re in Richmond and we opened up a Rosemary Rock Salt that should have opened on August the 26th. We’ve hired all our people and didn’t get our occupancy or health permit till December 19th.

Host: Wow.

Ken Sim: So, we carried these people for five months, because we care. People have to make rent and pay for their kids’ programs or what have you, so when we hire people we try to treat them really well.  It was the right thing to do because we didn’t know if it was going to be September October November. So we went through  all the process, and we kept all the people, and we paid for payroll for four months. We could do this because luckily we have a company called Nurse Next Door that helped us support that.  Think how a twenty-nine-year-old know individual who wants to start their first business could do that? Most companies could not afford that,  contrary to popular belief, most small businesses are living in poverty. Some 87 percent of small businesses are clearly going from paycheck to paycheck and barely making ends meet. That’s just the reality. Eighty-seven percent in Vancouver, in Canada, in North America.

Host: Interesting. Wow.

Ken Sim: But they all pay taxes. When I look at Rosemary Rocksalt for example, before we make a single dollar on sales we have to pay GST on all of the people that we employ. We pay CPP, WCP, payroll taxes, and the list goes on and on. All those taxes are payable regardless of we’re profitable or not.  I think it’s really important for people to realize that we need to support our small businesses because they have such a huge impact on all the things that we want to achieve socially. Like I said, I’m very socially progressive. I believe in a very strong education system and health care system and social programs. I sat on the board of the learning partnership that celebrates our nation’s 50 best principals and welcome to kindergarten.

Ken Sim: We never talked about it before because it was never a marketing thing, but I walk around the Downtown Eastside three to four times a year. A bunch of families get together with their kids and we go down and hand out food and socks and feminine hygiene products. But the most important thing we give is identity.  We actually talk to people because that’s the one thing that’s missing in the Downtown Eastside. The point I’m trying to make though is that none of the support programs can happen if we don’t have our businesses supported.  We won’t have any police officers, nurses, doctors because no one is going to be able to pay for it. That’s why I’m very proud to support businesses because it’s great for our city or province and our nation.

Host: One of the other things you’ve also prioritized is mobility in this city. What does your plan look like to ease congestion? Usually, people would ask, what are you going to do about the bike lanes?

Ken Sim: I was going to get to that. It’s funny because with Vancouverites, the one issue that every single person has an opinion on is bike lanes. Unfortunately, I think it’s being exploited as a wedge issue as well.

Host: You have one mayoral candidate whose whole candidacy is kind of running on ripping out bike lanes.

Ken Sim: Like I said, we’re not going to attack anyone. Personally, I do think the City of Vancouver is a lot more complicated than bike lanes. We have some real issues and those are what I’m going to address when it comes to transportation. We are planning to have an independent audit of congestion around the entire city.  And it won’t take long. It’s like running a business.  If it took four years, we’d be out of business. That’s the methodology we apply, and one not based on ideology. So we’re not going to have someone who’s pro-bike lanes, or pro-taxi industry, or pro-bus industry or pro cars on this audit. It’s going to be an objective look at how we move around the city. One interesting fact that I have learned while running for office is that the number of cars on the streets of Vancouver have not increased in the last 20 years.

Host: Is that true?

Ken Sim: Yes. I actually ran it by a reporter and I said “don’t quote me on it, but this is what I’ve heard” and she said, “that’s a well-known fact”. Once you get beyond the emotional attachment to things like bike lanes, interesting things turn up. Let’s look at everything that affects traffic. Left hand turns are a big deal. As a side note, U.P.S. won’t let their trucks do left-hand turns at all. Not because it’s bad for traffic but because it’s inefficient. So they actually do a series of right-hand turns. I’m sure there’s an exception but anyways. Let’s look at the pedestrian controlled lights. You go down a street and every single intersection has a hand control. Let’s look at how we’re enforcing how people cross the street. When I was a kid, when the red hand came up you stopped walking, you stopped running. Now we have a countdown clock. One of those things hitting 3 2 1, people will now start running. The way we turn? No one can make that turn the way we park our construction trucks at construction sites. The way we actually dig up roads? A lot of people in Vancouver have seen this: a lot of roads in a neighborhood are blocked off for construction, but then you don’t see any work being done there for months. So when you add everything up, that’s the real conversation. It’s not a bike lane issue, it’s a congestion issue and it’s about what can we do to alleviate congestion. There are a bunch of moving parts because cities are going to get more complicated in the future.

Host: So this audit that you’re proposing. is it going to analyze where the congestion is the worst and what times, or is it also going to be providing recommendations in terms of how to alleviate?

Ken Sim: We want to identify the problem. But we also want the solutions, and it won’t be based on ideology. I think that’s the big thing. At the end of the day, as Mayor of Vancouver, I will be representing the residents of Vancouver who just want to get about the city in a more efficient way. So, right now it’s not a yes or a no in terms of ripping out any bike lanes. There are only a couple of bike lanes that I actually have an issue with. The first one is in front of the hospital.

Host: Right. I think a lot of people agree.

Ken Sim: I’m a cyclist. I also drive a car. I use Car To Go, I take the Canada Line, I walk around the city. I like all modes of transportation and there are times when I dislike all modes of transportation. So the bike lane in front of the hospital is a public safety issue. I’ve spoken to a lot of first responders and people that work at the hospital and surrounding health care facilities and they all find it problematic. The second one to have a challenge with – once again, I’m a cyclist as well – is the one that’s proposed on the Cambie Street Bridge. Well, it’s not proposed yet. The east side of the Cambie Street Bridge has a pedestrian walkway that is wider than most. If you go to southern California, you have all of these paths along the beach where cyclists and pedestrians coexist, with high volume traffic.  They are about the same width as the current sidewalk on the east side of the Cambie Street Bridge. So why put a bike lane there based on ideology? Why can’t we use that sidewalk? I just want us to take a look at that.

Host: Yeah, right.

Ken Sim: If there’s a real reason why it makes sense, then fine, but I think it’s important to recognize that as Mayor of Vancouver, I’ll inherit an infrastructure that includes bike lanes on October 21st. What’s done is done. How do we move forward and how do we improve traffic flow?  And if it means that there’s a bike lane that doesn’t make sense there then you ask yourself the next question. Let’s say it’ll cost 5 million dollars to remove a certain bike lane. Could we spend 5 million dollars somewhere else in the transportation network that would actually be a better investment? We just make the best investments we can, and it’s not ideological,  it’s not personal,  we’re just going to try to make the best decisions. Vancouverites know that that’s how they want the city run. That’s actually a testament to the entrepreneurial mindset because it’s not just the cost benefit of one particular issue, it’s looking at the opportunity costs of where else that money could go.

Host: Right. That’s public money that can also be used for a lot of other things and maybe those things have more value.

Ken Sim: I like how you said it’s public money. Every single resident of Vancouver, homeowner or not, is paying those taxes, so we should spend them wisely.

Host: I want to give you the opportunity to talk about any other priorities that you might have in your platform that I haven’t covered. We talked about housing affordability, about congestion, about being business friendly in the city. Is there anything else that you’d like to bring up in terms of your priorities?

Ken Sim: Yeah, there are a couple. If you Google my name, there was an article written six years ago in the Georgia Straight.  I’m passionate about the Downtown Eastside – actually, it’s a broader issue of mental health and addictions across the entire city. There are a lot of resources that go into the Downtown Eastside every single day. Around a million dollars a day and that’s a conservative estimate. I’ve even heard numbers in upwards of a billion dollars a year. Regardless, the number is big and you have a lot of people that care. They are leaders in their communities that are trying to address this issue. So it’s not a lack of resources and it’s not a lack of people who care. I think that the issue there is coordination and political will. And so as Mayor of Vancouver, one of the things I’ve committed to is spending a day a month down in the Downtown Eastside during my entire mandate to improve the situation. It’s not going to be solved. I’m not going to give false hope out there and to say we’re going to magically solve it because the issues are way too complex. If only it was that simple. What is solved when someone already gave that promise and didn’t do so well? But we can make a dent, I do believe we can improve it. We’re going to work hard and we’re going to try to improve it because it’s super important. I’ve known three people personally that ended up in the Downtown Eastside and two of them are no longer with us. Everyone is connected somehow to someone from the Downtown Eastside, whether they realize it or not. We went to school with them, or we have family members and friends who know people who end up down there. And so that’s something that I’m passionate about.

Ken Sim: And the other thing is one I find it kind of weird no one’s really talking about.  Seniors. We have a lot of issues with that affect seniors that we’re not talking about. This is my area of expertise. It sounds like seniors  don’t have a voice in this election right now, and that has to be changed because we have a lot of seniors here,  and a lot of us who over the next 10 to 20 years will become seniors as well. The issues are small and the issues are large. I will give you an example. Earlier, I talked about pedestrian controlled lights at intersections, and how it affects congestion.   I have talked to many seniors. There’s a public safety issue here as well,  as it relates to seniors. Can the lights change too quickly? It can be terrifying to cross the street.

Ken Sim: We have a lot of complex issues and there are going to be some tradeoffs, but we have to have these conversations. People are talking about Millennials and affordability and that’s most of the conversation. Affordability affects seniors as well. There are a lot of people getting kicked out of their homes because they can’t afford to live in them anymore. Our seniors are losing their community, and they want places where they can go to. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. I find it interesting that that hasn’t been part of the conversation.  I’ve spent the last two decades of my life advocating for seniors, trying to get them to stay in their homes. We actually created this thing called the Dream On Foundation. That’s effectively a Make-A-Wish for seniors, and it was through Nurse Next Door.  If you ever visit our website, it’s http://dreamonseniorswish.org. There’s this one gentleman who flew planes during the Second World War, and one of our caregivers set in motion a bunch of events where he actually got to a World War II plane. We brought him to the plane and he actually went up and flew. The point of it is that no one’s talking about seniors. I hope during the election we do focus on seniors as well because it is a shame if we didn’t share their concerns.

Host: Everything you’re talking about sounds like it’s personal. Everything you touched on. you’ve added this personal experience that shows you’re not just doing talking points. It’s pretty cool to see. that.

Ken Sim: Well thank you.