Paul Griffin

Former communications manager to run for Surrey council

Paul Griffin will run as an independent.

The man who first coined the phrase “City of Parks” is running for political office in Surrey this fall.

Paul Griffin, Surrey’s former general manager of communications, has indicated he will run for council as an independent in November.

He said he will be the only true “independent” on council if he is successful.

“I’ve got to laugh when I hear all these people riding on the mayor’s coat tail who claim they’re independent,” Griffin said Wednesday. “Does anybody actually believe they’re independent?”

Griffin worked with the city for seven years, developing a communications strategy. He was also the first to come up with the motto “City of Parks,” which stayed with the city for more than a decade.

He said he’s sorry to see the slogan go, and believes there aren’t many people who could say what the city’s new motto is. (It’s “The Future Lives Here”).

“I think (City of Parks) said something about Surrey and what we’re trying to be, and what our goal and our vision as a city is,” Griffin said.

He will be challenging his opponents on transportation, particularly on their hopes for light rail over SkyTrain.

“It’s going to be a disaster for Surrey if we don’t get the SkyTrain in here,” he said, adding if it’s good enough for Vancouver, Coquitlam and Richmond, then Surrey should have it too.

“We should have a first rate transportation system,” he said. At-grade rail will play havoc on Surrey’s already congested roadways, Griffin said.

He will be running a campaign on a slim budget, he said.

“This is a modest campaign,” Griffin said adding it will be “truly independent” in every respect.

“I’m not taking any money from developers, any money from unions, any money from anybody,” he said. “I’m financing this thing myself.”

He’s setting up a website and will lean hard on social media to engage the public.

The civic election will be held Saturday, Nov. 19.

kdiakiw@surreyleader.com

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