2014 City Council Election: Ward 28 – Toronto Centre-Rosedale

The Incumbent:

Pam McConnell

The Race

After two decades of representation from the same Councillor, is it time for new ideas and a new approach in Ward 28? Of the candidates that participated in our survey, all of the incumbent’s opponents agree that we should look at reducing the Municipal Land Transfer Tax.  They also offer fresh ideas with regards to tackling the City’s unemployment.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Miguel Avila, Christopher Brosky, Gerald Derome, Jonathan Hughes, Michael Loomans, Adam Pham, Raj Rama, Sammy Shaltout, Mohammed Sheikh, Sean Yilmaz

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Blackmore, David Will consider
    McConnell, Pam No
    Melnyk, Andy Yes
    Patel, Daniel No


  • Candidate Response
    Blackmore, David Unnecessary administration and high salaries would be the first place to find savings.
    McConnell, Pam While there are always efficiencies that can be found and should always be sought out and taken advantage of, the city does not have excessive waste or a spending problem.
    Melnyk, Andy TTC. Further review of the structure of other agencies would result in finding additional savings.
    Patel, Daniel Toronto Police Services – paid duty.


  • Candidate Response
    Blackmore, David No
    McConnell, Pam No
    Melnyk, Andy Yes
    Patel, Daniel No


  • Candidate Response
    Blackmore, David Yes – with conditions.
    McConnell, Pam No
    Melnyk, Andy Will consider.
    Patel, Daniel Will consider.


  • Candidate Response
    Blackmore, David Will consider reform and reduction.
    McConnell, Pam No
    Melnyk, Andy Yes – reduce or eliminate.
    Patel, Daniel Yes – reduce.


  • Candidate Response
    Blackmore, David I would advocate for the creation of paid internships for 15- 24 year olds, the hardest hit by unemployment. The participating small businesses and start-ups would be able to increase human resources during their crucial start up phases.  The interns would have a greater chance to be hired on a permanent basis with the participating businesses as they grow.
    McConnell, Pam Continuing to fund civic improvements such as transit services, public spaces, and other amenities that make it an attractive place for businesses to operate, as well as encouraging and facilitating programs and apprenticeship opportunities to assist young people, are some of the actions that will create good, well-paying jobs in Toronto.
    Melnyk, Andy Infrastructure revitalization programs and accelerate plans for Don Lands with private sector. This will result in extra revenue coming from tourism as well as will create new jobs alleviating high unemployment in Toronto.
    Patel, Daniel Working tightly with the private and public sector to identify jobs that can be be done by new graduates, internship programs and mentorship programs are all key contributors to creating jobs.


  • Candidate Response
    Blackmore, David Tax Increment Financing and expand scope of transit planning to allow for new commercial and residential properties to raise future transit revenues. City council should focus on the policies for the planning process and the larger vision, instead of trying to implement plans and weigh in on areas they have no expertise in.
    McConnell, Pam Funding from Provincial and Federal Governments and exploration of other revenue options that do not rely entirely on the Toronto property tax base. More robust public consultation component needed.
    Melnyk, Andy If wasteful spending of money is rectified, TTC will not only fund itself but will also find additional revenue to fund new transit projects to ease congestion.
    Patel, Daniel  "Programs that only charge passengers by transit time would help balance the cost of long and short rides. I am in support of keeping all approved transit plans moving forward."


  • Candidate Response
    Blackmore, David The negotiating team on all sides should be prepared and understand the limits, and look at external factors such as other employer's compensation packages for similar work, major benefits provided by comparable employers, and recent contract settlement terms for comparable employers in the same industry and geographic area
    McConnell, Pam The City must negotiate fairly and in good faith, ensuring that all parties reach a deal that is affordable to the residents and fair for the workers.
    Melnyk, Andy Eliminating defined benefit pension plan for new municipal employees.
    Patel, Daniel Look for wasted or redundant programs and try to maintain a motivated, effective workforce while saving money. Balance is the key to success in labour negotiations.


  • Candidate Response
    Blackmore, David Yes. Culture and recreational programs, hosting major events. Outsourcing city owned theatres where it makes sense.
    McConnell, Pam Some P3s work. However P3s that surrender operation of a public service or asset costs more and does not serve the public.
    Melnyk, Andy  Ontario Place + Don Lands.
    Patel, Daniel Partnerships are important for urban planning and expansion, job creation and organized events. Street festivals such as Buskerfest is just one example of how these partnerships can help fund charities and programs around our city.


  • Candidate Response
    Blackmore, David Leadership, reputation and a focused council, protecting neighborhoods, safety, heritage, public spaces, trees and greenery, small businesses, parks, schools and the environment. Take the lead on community initiatives at council and be accountable to the community by issuing regular reports, hosting digital forums and roundtable discussions with citizens.
    McConnell, Pam Affordable housing. I will continue to seek out opportunities to facilitate rental housing that is affordable for all levels of income.
    Melnyk, Andy Safety, cleanliness (graffiti removal) will be on top of my list. I plan to make our Ward 28 to be a model for all wards.
    Patel, Daniel Transportation and making Toronto more family friendly. Making safe environments for people to enjoy(outdoor or indoor) is a definite priority of mine.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I believe the goal of council should be to set the inflation rate as a target and live within their means.

    However there is trouble ahead, the province cut pooling revenue funds for Toronto and their will be financial challenges in 2015.

    I will work with council to push the province to not make any cuts to the city where crucial services are delivered.

    The city has to balance the books, borrowing and raising taxes should not be an option, we should only increase spending when it is needed and we have the revenue from growth and prosperity to support it.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Unnecessary administration and high salaries would be the first place to find savings.

    I would begin budget consultations with citizens early in the process so we ensure that voices are heard and we don’t have oversubscribed deputations and marathon meetings, which divide us and usually result in hasty decisions.

    Once a full hearing of programs and services by citizens brought forward, I would share the information and present options for savings, efficiency and staying within our overall budget.

    I believe an informed citizenry if given the opportunity will understand, support and work with council to operate within our budget if it is seen as a fair and open process.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I would work with citizens to consider the size and composition of council.  I have walked the entirety of Ward 28 on many occasions it is large and diverse like many other wards in our city.

    My goal is to get council at its current size functioning properly in a professional, respectful way that brings citizens together and serves them well.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Only if it proven that on the west side it is working well and citizens are getting good service while the city is saving money.

    I would also improve any future contracts by making them shorter and stipulate that trucks are maintained by contractors to avoid high number of complaints like we have had in district 2.

    I support and would expand service contracts for qualified organizations to deliver community services such as recreation and culture. I would also work with local groups to help strengthen their financial stability by encouraging private sector partnerships and local volunteer fundraising programs.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Immediately eliminating the MLTT would result in increased property taxes and or cuts in services of up to $300 million.

    Step #1

    Home and business buyers currently pay MLTT upfront, at a time when they can least afford it. If payments were spread out it would make it easier for buyers and sellers.

    Step #2

    Gradually reduce rates, in line with development and business growth, which ultimately generates more property tax revenue to offset reductions.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    While small business is the growth engine of new jobs it also has a high failure rate within the first five years.

    I was the Executive Director of the Toronto Youth Pluralistic Pilot Program 2009-2012 for St. Jamestown youth 15-29 years which had an 85% success rate for getting new immigrant and marginalized youth into employment, education, training and volunteer work. A major conclusion of the pilot was a need for more paid internships to enable youth to obtain valuable job experience and grow with those businesses organizations. Businesses are more likely to hire an intern before going outside.

    Therefore I would advocate for the creation of paid internships for 15- 24 year olds, the hardest hit by unemployment. The participating small businesses and start-ups would be able to increase human resources during their crucial start up phases.  The interns would have a greater chance to be hired on a permanent basis with the participating businesses as they grow.

    Funds for the internship program could be sourced by including private sector participants in existing employment programs like Toronto’s Investing in Neighborhoods, (now only available to non profit charitable sector) and attract matching funds from other levels of government and private sector partners.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I would take a serious look at Tax Increment Financing and expand scope of transit planning to allow for new commercial and residential properties to raise future transit revenues.

    It is a tremendous waste when a new government is elected and changes plans abruptly that already well underway (providing those plans are still reasonable). City council should focus on the policies for the planning process and the larger vision, instead of trying to implement plans and weigh in on areas they have no expertise in.  We need to move on with existing agreements and manage those agreements so we avoid overruns and get the best results for citizens, as time is of the essence.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    The negotiating team on all sides should be prepared and understand the limits, and look at external factors such as other employer’s compensation packages for similar work, major benefits provided by comparable employers, and recent contract settlement terms for comparable employers in the same industry and geographic area. Sometimes looking at comparable employers in other geographic areas can provide the team with favorable economic comparisons.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes I see opportunities for P3s in various aspects of service delivery, i.e. culture and recreational programs, hosting major events. I will look at all potential partnerships where they make sense for the benefit of citizens in the most cost effective way.

    Outsourcing city owned theatres where it makes sense.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Leadership, reputation and a focused council, protecting neighborhoods, safety, heritage, public spaces, trees and greenery, small businesses, parks, schools and the environment.

    Take the lead on community initiatives at council and be accountable to the community by issuing regular reports, hosting digital forums and roundtable discussions with citizens.

    Work with city planners to ensure minimal negative impact on quality of life for residents and small businesses during transition, construction and revitalization.

    Ensure adequate infrastructure to support growth by working with resident groups in neighborhoods undergoing revitalization and make them aware of section 37 provisions for this purpose.

    Work with groups to preserve our heritage, tree’s, parks, public spaces and environment.

    Work with local school boards and trustees to ensure schools are safe and surrounding city property areas are well maintained.

    Play a direct role in local police community response initiatives and work with resident groups to solve long-term problems with crime and social deviancy.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    No

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    While there are always efficiencies that can be found and should always be sought out and taken advantage of, the city does not have excessive waste or a spending problem.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    No. Council is about representing and responding to the people.  Reducing the number of Councilllors and increasing the size of the wards would drastically reduce the ability to represent residents or deal with their issues.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    No. I have consistently voted against contracting out.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    This is an important revenue stream that needs to be maintained.  The alternative would be a cut in services equal to the entire annual operating budget of Parks, Forestry & Recreation.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    We have seen a number of head offices move into the downtown core.  The reasons that they give is the walkability, transit services, public spaces, and other amenities that make it an attractive place for businesses to operate.  Continuing to fund these civic improvements, as well as encouraging and facilitating programs and apprenticeship opportunities to assist young people, are some of the actions that will create good, well-paying jobs in Toronto.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    The provincial and federal governments need to recognize their role in funding large capital projects in the country’s economic centre.  As well, there needs to be a rational exploration of different revenue options that does not rely entirely on the Toronto property tax base.  The current transit planning process needs a more robust public consultation component, to ensure that we get it right before the shovel goes into the ground.  I have worked with our City staff to bring about this very initiative in the planning for the downtown relief line.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    The City must negotiate fairly and in good faith, ensuring that all parties reach a deal that is affordable to the residents and fair for the workers.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    There may be opportunities to partner with the private sector, such as having a head lessee operate the retail at Union Station or in the partnership with Daniels and TCH in the revitalization of Regent Park. These work when it is a true partnership with the City is in the driver’s seat so that there is proper accountability and assurance of the public interest.  A   P3s that surrenders operation of a public service or asset costs more and does not serve the public.  One need only look at the 407 fiasco as an example.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Housing that is affordable.  I will continue to seek out opportunities to facilitate rental housing that is affordable for all levels of income. I pushed to ensure that affordable housing is an important component in the West Don Lands and East Bayfront developments, and accelerated affordable units in a pilot project in the Bayside development.  The Regent Park revitalization is demonstrating the needs and benefits of high quality affordable housing in a mixed income community.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Absolutely. I do support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation. Ideally, it should be less than the inflation rate.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    TTC is certainly the place where you could advocate for finding savings in the current city budget. I also believe that further review of the structure of other agencies would result in finding additional savings.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I do support reducing the size of Toronto City Council. The best example is city of Los Angeles where the number of councillors is about 1/3 compared to Toronto. That leads me to believe that there are many inefficiencies that can be improved upon.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    My personal knowledge of truck operators and garbage handlers leads me to believe that they certainly deserve their jobs and the money they earn. As to the rest of the structure, I will closely review them once in the office (including any other agencies).

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    My position is that MLTT is hindrance to the growth of Toronto economy, therefore I would support reducing or eliminating it.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    We must put liberal government to the word and fire up infrastructure revitalization programs, accelerate plans for Don Lands with private sector. This will result in extra revenue coming from tourism as well as will create new jobs alleviating high unemployment in Toronto.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I strongly believe that after horrific wasteful spending of money is rectified, TTC will not only fund itself but will also find additional revenue to fund new transit projects to ease congestion.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Eliminating defined benefit pension plan for new municipal employees. Limiting or eliminating streetcars that cripple our city and are extremely costly.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    The one that sticks in my mind is Ontario Place + Don Lands.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Safety, cleanliness (graffiti removal) will be on top of my list. I plan to make our Ward 28 to be a model for all wards.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Taxes are the lifeblood of any city. Without proper funding, nothing can happen. Funding needs to come from somewhere and with years of property tax freezes, it may seem hard to understand why property taxes need ever increase. However, without gradual increases, Toronto will face increased deficits in our budget which in turn result in drastic future cost cutting. We all need to be realistic. We live in one of the world’s greatest and biggest cities. To maintain all of the services andinfrastructure, monies need to be collected.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I support a proposed savings to the budget by ending jobs throughout the city that are considered paid duty. For example, having cadet and security co-op programs partnering with the Toronto Police to oversee areas such as construction sites, traffic control, and light duty patrols. This would have a two fold impact, creating new jobs for our youth while saving money for our tax payers.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I do not support the reduction of Toronto City Council. Toronto is an extremely important part of the Canadian landscape. Each area of Toronto is divided and allocated to a particular ward. It is a huge responsibility to represent all of the residents within a ward. To do this effectively, council members are needed. Residents in a particular ward deserve to have someone who has a stake in their community. Reducing the number of councillors only allows for a broader net, which will in turn cause lower priority issues to never get addressed.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I am in support of strategies that would save the city and tax payer money. While there are many pros and cons to private vs public, I think it is important to take each service separately and not consider them all as equal. Making sure worker’s rights are protected while still doing the job well, efficiently and in a cost saving manner is critical.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The Municipal Land Transfer tax brings in much needed revenue for the City of Toronto. I am however, in favour of reducing it over time as other sources of tax revenues can be found. The fact is that Toronto needs taxes to run effectively. So finding other tax sources that have less impact on Toronto economics would be a critical first step.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Employment is a very important issue. This includes such things as fair wages for all, creating new jobs for our youth and to have the safety and rights of each employee protected. Toronto has an employment crisis starting in the 25 to 54 age group. Working tightly with the private and public sector to identify jobs that can be be done by new graduates, internship programs and mentorship programs are all key contributors to creating jobs. It is also helpful to have a system that can monitor up to datestatistics within industries that need workers, allowing students to understand the job market and future potential before making lifelong career choices.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Transportation has been a main issue for many years. There is no clear answer to this dilemma. We all know new transit lines are needed to get all of the residents of Toronto around. Putting systems in place to operate the transportation more efficiently is critical. Programs that only charge passengers by transit time would help balance the cost of long and short rides. I am in support of keeping all approved transit plans moving forward.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Understanding the needs of the residents of each ward is critical. Look for wasted or redundant programs and try to maintain a motivated, effective workforce while saving money. Balance is the key to success in labour negotiations.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I think public and private partnerships are key to the success of any ward. Partnerships are important for urban planning and expansion, job creation and organized events. Street festivals such as Buskerfest is just one example of how these partnerships can help fund charities and programs around our city.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    One of the major issues, besides transportation, is making Toronto more family friendly. More and more people want to stay downtown and raise a family. It is critical that we makeresources available for people who transition from single to multiple dwellings including those who want to start a family. Making sure all areas have access to a percent of larger living spaces(2 or more bedrooms), parks, schools and playgroundsare important. Making safe environments for people to enjoy(outdoor or indoor) is a definite priority of mine.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 27 – Toronto Centre-Rosedale

The Incumbent:

Kristyn Wong-Tam

The Race

In 2010, Kristyn Wong-Tam entered Council as a rookie Councillor with just under 500 votes more than her top opponent. She faces a new batch of opponents in the 2014 race.  Most of the candidates that participated in our survey agree that streamlining of departments is required to eliminate duplication. Views vary on what the top issue concerning the residents of Ward 27 is.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate:  David Byford, Robin Lawrance, Jordan Stone

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal Yes
    DAmours, Alain Yes
    Dichter, Benjamin Yes
    Humfryes, Susan Yes
    McIver, Megan Yes
    Roberge, Pat Yes
    Wolvin, Rob Yes
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn No


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal Maintain financial integrity of the City.
    DAmours, Alain ROAD INFRASTRUCTURES AND CONSTRUCTIONS, OUTDOOR, PARKS AND RECREATION PLANNING
    Dichter, Benjamin Police Services, amalgamate real estate departments, and increase manager to worker ratio.
    Humfryes, Susan Remove duplication throughout every department, unifying purchasing departments, contractors must be held liable for the “performance bonds”, and reduce the use of consultants.
    McIver, Megan Areas that need to be streamlined are the tremendous duplication between the city and its Agencies, Board's and Commissions, and another is IT not being fully utilized.  The City should review all tax and benefit administrative programs and services, with a view of moving to a fully electronic service model within the next five years.
    Roberge, Pat See what services can be contracted to save money to the city. And anything related to healthcare aka Toronto Public Health, should be funded in part or total through provincial and federal government.
    Wolvin, Rob Some departments might be able to share administrative staff, perhaps resulting in better communication between offices
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn I believe the City of Toronto can further examine its procurement policies and practices; and streamline its purchasing power to secure better savings. We need to find efficient ways to improve services while reducing the cost of service delivery.


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal Yes
    DAmours, Alain No
    Dichter, Benjamin Yes
    Humfryes, Susan Will consider
    McIver, Megan No
    Roberge, Pat No
    Wolvin, Rob Will consider
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn Supports re-configuration of wards based on population.


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal Yes. Also contracting out waste recycling management, landscaping, leaf cleaning and snow cleaning programs.
    DAmours, Alain YES. ALSO ROAD, PARKS, BUILDINGS MAINTENANCE.
    Dichter, Benjamin Yes. Open to all suggestions of privatization that does not negatively impact tax payers.
    Humfryes, Susan Yes. I’m interested in the wheel trans system and have no doubt that the taxi industry may be better suited to deliver this service far more comfortable and safety for the people that need it most.
    McIver, Megan Yes. Also open to contracting out other services.
    Roberge, Pat Yes. Would consider contracting out road repairs.
    Wolvin, Rob Will consider
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn No


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal Does not have enough info to make a judgement.
    DAmours, Alain Will consider
    Dichter, Benjamin Yes – eliminate
    Humfryes, Susan Yes – reduce
    McIver, Megan Will consider reform, but not elimination.
    Roberge, Pat No.
    Wolvin, Rob Will consider reducing
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn Will consider reform, but not elimination.


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal I will work with community associations, human right associations and business groups to create employment and business opportunity.
    DAmours, Alain  "MAYBE CREATE A PROGRAM TO REGULATE INOT A PROGRESSIVE FORM PAYMENTS OVER A SPECIFIED PRIOD OF TIME. KEEP BUSINESS/KEEP JOBS"
    Dichter, Benjamin Encourage development and revitalization. Help spawn development and revitalization within Ward 27 and specifically the Church Village. Ontario Place should be revitalized into an eco technological hub that capitalizes on both innovation and the dramatic shift occurring in the entertainment from entertainment to infotainment.
    Humfryes, Susan Would like to see the City of Toronto have complete control of Hydro which includes power generation and the independent ability to buy cheap hydro from other Provinces and States. Affordable Hydro rates equal more jobs and happier citizens of Ontario and Toronto! We must reduce red tape for businesses within the city bureaucracy.  Promote and support the film industry that have created thousands of jobs and can create many more.
    McIver, Megan Businesses need to know that Toronto has a competitive tax system, that there are opportunities for partnership, that they have a supportive government, that Toronto has top educational institutions for collaboration and a high calibre hiring pool, etc.  Investing in transportation infrastructure to move goods to market faster and create jobs, as well as developing partnerships with already growing sectors in Toronto such as ICT and Financial Services is a must.
    Roberge, Pat Offer any employers tax credit as incentives when hiring new employees, giving them skills and experience on a temporary basis. Also if it's a possibility, I would decrease the maximum age for the pension to 60, making many jobs available quicker.
    Wolvin, Rob I think Small Business needs to be the engine for Job Growth. Regulations need to be reviewed. Shops need a pedestrian friendly city to encourage customers to linger in a neighbourhood, browse, spend, even notice them. I'd also like to see a more Film Production friendly city.
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn Expand the City of Toronto's social procurement practices to implement local hiring policies, Invest in attracting Creative Economy industries to Toronto. Support a Toronto bid for Expo 2025. Invest in labour market training to better meet employer needs. Support tax incentives to maintain office space in mixed-used development. Reduce bureaucracy to assist business start-ups and foster a bold entrepreneurial culture. Expand apprentice programs and invigorate Toronto Employment and Social Services.


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal Yes, I feel we need to change the current transit planning process. Specially, I believe require subway facility for Rosedale Area and North, who don't have facility right now?
    DAmours, Alain I FEEL THAT EVERYONE SHOULD NEED TO CONTRIBUTE, NOT ONLY THE COMMUTERS.
    Dichter, Benjamin We need to reallocate funds and restructure the transit budget for permanent incremental TTC subway expansion. We need to implement a 40 year expansion program and bring a couple of new subway stations online every year in the same way, Seoul, Toyko, London, Paris and New York have done for decades.
    Humfryes, Susan Legislated sustained funding from Provincial and Federal Governments. Toronto must have relevant portions of gas taxed, land transfer taxes, land transfer taxed, infrastructure funding provincial offences fines, clean air fees and more. No new taxes or no tolls.
    McIver, Megan Borrowing to subsidize the current investment in transit (issuing bonds or otherwise) and capturing the projected future gains in taxes generated by additional revenue (because of things like job creation, increasing value in real estate, increasing business investment) and dedicating those increased gains to pay for transit projects. I advocate for one transportation body.
    Roberge, Pat I would change the purpose of the 5 cent plastic bag fee, to a 5 or 10 cent on every transaction for purpose of transit funding. Should fine any pedestrians caught jay walking. Fines can also be used to help transit as well.
    Wolvin, Rob We need DRL ASAP. It's essential for Toronto, economically AND for the quality of life of all Torontonians!
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn I have continued to  support the Transit City plan. I have supported exploring a number of transit tools to expand transit including: development charges, fuel tax, parking levy, sales tax, high occupancy toll lanes, highway tolls or other road pricing, vehicle registration tax and funding from the Provincial and Federal Governments.


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal As an Immigration Professional I believe I will do as much as I can do for the city's negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers.
    DAmours, Alain LOOK AT SUBCONTRACTING BUT ALSO TO INCLUD NEW TASK TO SOME OF OUR WORKER WITH BETTER INCOME
    Dichter, Benjamin I am a fiscally responsible candidate who is the son of a union worker. It is the responsibility of council to find the middle ground. A pro-union position and fiscally responsible position can be mutually exclusiveviewpoints when a reasonable balance is achieved.
    Humfryes, Susan With team work and respect to one another we can provide the right solution to the taxpayer.
    McIver, Megan Everyone has to do their fair share and has the responsibility to review budgets to find savings and efficiencies to ensure better results and better value for taxpayers.
    Roberge, Pat Respect taxpayers dollars by negotiating what is best for the city, its residents and employees involved. Try to find a balance while negotiating any request so both sides has some benefits.
    Wolvin, Rob Wages cannot be increased beyond inflation rate.
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn Delivering exceptional services to the residents should be a priority for both  City Council and the Toronto Public Service.


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal Yes. Housing and commercial building sectors and also some recreation and park sectors.
    DAmours, Alain YES: PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARKS (BUILD BY CITY ON PUBLIC OR PRIVATE PROPERTY BUT MAINTAIN BY PRIVATE SECTOR
    Dichter, Benjamin Yes. Public Transist, toll roads, information technology, construction, Toronto tourism and marketing are all areas we can reach out to the private sector for help.
    Humfryes, Susan Yes. Most departments except transit and water.
    McIver, Megan Yes. Economic development.
    Roberge, Pat Yes. Naming rights, aging city infrastructure and revitalization of Ontario Place.
    Wolvin, Rob Yes. Transit.
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn Yes. Development of new affordable housing.


  • Candidate Response
    Ahmed, Kamal Ensure that clean, safe and viable community in our ward and neighboring words. Resolve housing and transportation issues. Senior citizen programs and children's curriculum.
    DAmours, Alain BIKE LANES AND LGBTQ RETIREMENT HOMES. I WILL DO EVERYTHING I CAN TO BRING THE CITY UP TO DATE WITH THE WORKD WITH BIKE LANES  AND I WILL WORK WITH PRIVATE INVESTORS, 2 LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT TO FUND A NEW GAY ORIENTED RETIREMENT HOME
    Dichter, Benjamin Lack of communication and involvement from the councillor in Ward27. Residence are frustrated with councillors who take extremist positions and feel the right to choose with whom communicate and work. They want representation that has the ability to reach out to both sides and can communicate to everyone.
    Humfryes, Susan Homelessness/housing, marginalized, employment, overcrowding, crime, parking, noise, traffic congestion, transit, wheel trans, pollution. How I will address these issues is by working with the people of this city and the government to address these issues and concerns. And keep the taxes down.
    McIver, Megan Lack of planning and infrastructure around the large number of condo developments in the Ward is top of mind, as well as Section 37 agreements between developers and councillors which have loose guidelines (often not followed) and negotiations that often done behind closed doors.  I think there needs to be a new framework in place involving community and economic development experts, and much more transparency in the process.
    Roberge, Pat Unemployment/poverty among youth. I will work to have more resources available for younger adult 15-24. From help on building good resume, selling trades and other hot jobs in demand to those wishing going back to school, tax credit to employer hiring youth for summer, to more free resources for those with some addictions, mental illness, disabilities, as well as easier access to loan and grants.
    Wolvin, Rob Development. I'd like development to contribute to distinct villages within Toronto where people live, work, shop, go to school or recreation, steps from home. I want developers to be required to help create this type of environment not hinder it. Zoning and development requirements must be paid attention to by the next city council. We must find the political will to build a city with emphasis on it's people NOT just jobs for today and desolation tomorrow.
    Wong-Tam, Kristyn Land use development.  Ensuring responsible development has been a key issue I have tackled in my first-term of office and I have fostered strong relationships and new engagement processes and brought our local resident and business stakeholders to the table with developers to shape the development entering our neighbourhoods.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes, I do support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of financial inflation and also rate can be measured.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Maintain the financial integrity of the city, make sure taxpayer money doesn’t waste.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Yes, I do support reducing the size of Toronto City Council. I found Ward 27 total voter is 51499, but other wards are not and lower then our ward. So, require balance for that? Also I believe this would improve Council operates.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes I support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street. Also I do feel contracting waste recycling management, landscaping, leaf cleaning and snow cleaning programs.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    This is very good question? I’m new in council election. I’m not ready answer it? I will work out about it?

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    I will work with community associations, human right associations and business groups to create employment and business opportunity.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Yes, I feel we need to change the current transit planning process. Specially, I believe require subway facility for Rosedale Area and North, who don’t have facility right now?

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Yes, I believe labour negotiations will be a big part of the council term. As an Immigration Professional I believe I will do as much as I can do for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes, I do see opportunities for public-private partnerships involving the City of Toronto. Specially, housing and commercial building sectors and also some recreation and park sectors.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Ensure that clean, safe and viable community in our ward and neighboring words. Resolve housing and transportation issues. Senior citizen programs and children’s curriculum. Toronto is one of the great cities of North America. Also the city and our ward require lots of development work. Hopefully I was answer your previous question about it. Let’s discuss any other issue, try to find out how to solve and make a better future together.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    YES I WOUKD

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    ROAD INFRASTRUCTURES AND CONSTRUCTIONS, OUTDOOR, PARKS AND RECREATION PLANNING

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    NO, THE WARDS ARE ACTUALLY PRETTY BIG AND REALLY NEED ALL THE ATTENTION OF THEIR COUNCILLORS

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    YES, ROAD, PARKS, BUILDINGS MAINTENANCE,

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    WE CANT CUT ALL INCOME TAX FOR THE CITY BUT I WOULD CERTAINLY GIVE IT A LOOK

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    MAYBE CREATE A PROGRAM TO REGULATE INOT A PROGRESSIVE FORM PAYMENTS OVER

    A SPECIFIED PRIOD OF TIME. KEEP BUSINESS/KEEP JOBS

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I FEEL THAT EVERYONE SHOULD NEED TO CONTRIBUTE, NOT ONLY THE COMMUTERS

    CERTAINLY NEED TO LOOK AT THE ACTUAL TRANSIT PLAN AND MAYBE APPLY SOME CHANGES AS INCOME

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    LOOK AT SUBCONTRACTING BUT ALSO TO INCLUD NEW TASK TO SOME OF OUR WORKER WITH BETTER INCOME

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    CERTAINLY: PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARKS (BUILD BY CITY ON PUBLIC OR PRIVATE PROPERTY BUT MAINTAIN BY PRIVATE SECTOR

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    BIKE LANES AND LGBTQ RETIREMENT HOMES

    I WILL DO EVERYTHING I CAN TO BRING THE CITY UP TO DATE WITH THE WORKD WITH BIKE LANES  AND I WILL WORK WITH PRIVATE INVESTORS, 2 LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT TO FUND A NEW GAY ORIENTED RETIREMENT HOME

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes. All residence have the option to contribute more in property taxes when they submit. If they would like to contribute more to the city, I encourage them to do so on their own accord.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    The entire budget from the top down needs to be reworked. $1.2 Billion for police services in a city with a crime rate as low as Toronto is obscene. $1.1 Billion for Toronto Unemployment and Social Services and well over $4 billion in debt is economically unsustainable.
    The City of Toronto manager to worker ratio of 1:3.4 employees in the city of Toronto staff and administration. This is economically unsustainable.
    There are real estate departments in each department of the city. This must be amalgamated into one department.
    View the following chart. Notice $712,000,000 of “other”. This cultural lack of accountability and lack of control must stop.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Yes. Much of the cities progress is hindered by too many councillors focusing too much on their personal interests instead of what is best for the city as a whole. The proposed reduction to 25 councillors could be a huge benefit to the city.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes, I am in favour of privatized garbage collection across the GTA. I am open to all suggestions of privatization that does not negatively impact tax payers. One of my policies to reduce red tape is to move permit issuance to a digital process much like Seattle, Washington. This could be administered by a partner in the technology sector and revenues split with the city.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I am in favour of eliminating it entirely.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Development and revitalization: “It is the job of city councillors to try to accommodate developers because they are the ones who will build the city as it is needed.” – Frederick G. Gardiner. This mindset alone, will help with job creation and building the local economy.
    Tourism: A large part of my platform in the ward is to help spawn development and revitalization within Ward 27 and specifically the Church Village. This should become a destination like the Distillery District. The Church Village, unlike other local destinations, has global outreach.
    However, regressive councillors have prevented this from happening. I would take a leadership roll in unlocking this revenue tool which ultimately would result in job creation and revenue for the city over the long term.
    I have a vision for Ontario place that I would present to the city, the province and Toronto residents. It should be revitalized into an eco technological hub that capitalizes on both innovation and the dramatic shift occurring in the entertainment from entertainment to infotainment. This
    movement, currently sweeping the globe through organizations such as TED, are a natural byproduct of living during the information age.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    We need to reallocate funds and restructure the transit budget for permanent incremental TTC subway expansion. 40 years of regressive transit expansion policy and shortsighted decisions to cancel major expressways have resulted in the current congestion fiasco. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to solve this problem immediately and we should resist reactionary decisions and
    proposals that ignore long term reprocussions. We need to implement a 40 year expansion program and bring a couple of new subway stations online every year in the same way, Seoul, Toyko, London, Paris and New York have done for decades.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    I am a fiscally responsible candidate who is the son of a union worker. I understand the concerns of both pro-union supporters and anti-union sentiments. It is the responsibility of council to find the middle ground. A pro-union position and fiscally responsible position can be mutually exclusive
    viewpoints when a reasonable balance is achieved. However, extremist positions from the pro union camp contributed greatly to the decimation of economies like Detroit and Flint, Michigan.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes, there is a long list of areas where public-private partnerships can be explored. Public Transist, toll roads, information technology, construction, Toronto tourism and marketing are all areas we can reach out to the private sector for help.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Ward 27 is a complicated ward because there are large communities that have opposing views. However, the common ground seems to be a lack of communication and involvement from the councillor in Ward27 who seems more concerned with pushing her own personal agenda.
    Residence are frustrated with councillors who take extremist positions and feel the right to choose with whom communicate and work. They want representation that has the ability to reach out to both sides and can communicate to everyone. Owning a business in the ward for almost a decade has helped me develop this strength the community.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    By getting rid of the duplication services throughout every department, unifying purchasing departments, Contractors must be held liable for the “performance bonds”, reduce the use of consultants.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I believe that as long as City Council can work as a team and be fair anything is possible no matter the number and only if it helps the people of Toronto.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes I do support the contracting out of garbage on the east side. I’m interested in the wheel trans system and have no doubt that the taxi industry may be better suited to deliver this service far more comfortable and safety for the people that need it most.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I do support the reduction

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Once again the responsibilities of the other levels of government have fallen on Toronto. I would like to see the City of Toronto have complete control of Hydro which includes power generation and the independent ability to buy cheap hydro from other Provinces and States. This will stop companies from leaving our city and province.  This in turn will stop taking jobs away.

    Ontario and Toronto would have flourished all these decades if we had cheaper rates for the people and the ability buy cheap hydro from other Provinces and States. Because our forefathers had the foresight to provide cheap hydro, this attracted manufacturing and jobs; we need to keep an open mind to provide cheap hydro! Affordable Hydro rates equal more jobs and happier citizens of Ontario and Toronto!

    We must reduce red tape for businesses within the city bureaucracy.  Promote and support the film industry that have created thousands of jobs and can create many more.  If we can make Toronto the financial film and technology centre of Canada we can create jobs and improve tourism.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Toronto needs new communication with the provincial and federal governments on legislated sustained funding. So many countries around the world fund transit straight to the municipalities. Toronto must have relevant portions of gas taxed, land transfer taxes, land transfer taxed, infrastructure funding provincial offences fines, clean air fees and more. Failing this Toronto must review its ties with the province of Ontario, and must keep in mind not to create No new taxes or no tolls. Yes I believe there is a better solution for transit planning.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    I believe the negotiating team should be sensitive to the people of Toronto’s needs, perhaps the team could ask the people what issues they are having so they can negotiate well informed. With team work and respect to one another we can provide the right solution to the taxpayer.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes, I see opportunity in most departments except transit and water.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The top issues in my ward are homelessness/housing, marginalized, employment, overcrowding, crime, parking, noise, traffic congestion, transit, wheel trans, pollution. How I will address these issues is by working with the people of this city and the government to address these issues and concerns. And keep the taxes down.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I support measures that provide more value and better services for taxpayers.  Areas that need to be streamlined are the tremendous duplication between the city and its Agencies, Board’s and Commissions, and another is IT not being fully utilized.  The City should review all tax and benefit administrative programs and services, with a view of moving to a fully electronic service model within the next five years.  Currently, some programs and services are provided electronically but not fully utilized.  The City should explore opportunities for enhanced applications, registrations, collections, and other services.  For areas that have already generated efficiency, the City should continue to implement and in come cases accelerate, while applying that model to other departments.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I don’t believe reducing the size of City Council would improve its operations.  Representing a Ward in all of its constituent parts as the boundaries currently are is challenging and requires great dedication to the job.  Unless major overalls were made to the role and responsibility of a Councillor, I would not support these changes.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I support contracting out garbage east of Yonge Street. There are no other specific services that I am looking at contracting out at this time, but am open to the idea if a sound proposal is put forward.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The Municipal Land Transfer Tax revenue is needed to balance the books. If elected, I would carefully look at reforms, but we are not in a position to eliminate it.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Creating a climate for business investment and job growth is multi-dimensional. In order to create jobs, companies need to look at Toronto as a place to invest.  Businesses need to know that Toronto has a competitive tax system, that there are opportunities for partnership, that they have a supportive government, that Toronto has top educational institutions for collaboration and a high calibre hiring pool, etc.  One area we need to work more closely with business on is hiring more youth to address the unacceptably high youth unemployment.  Investing in transportation infrastructure to move goods to market faster and create jobs, as well as developing partnerships with already growing sectors in Toronto such as ICT and Financial Services is a must.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    There are many funding options being debated.  I most support those that involve borrowing to subsidize the current investment in transit (issuing bonds or otherwise) and capturing the projected future gains in taxes generated by additional revenue (because of things like job creation, increasing value in real estate, increasing business investment) and dedicating those increased gains to pay for transit projects.  The planning process should also be changed and housed under one roof.  I advocate for one transportation body.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    We have difficult choices ahead of us.  Everyone has to do their fair share and has the responsibility to review budgets to find savings and efficiencies to ensure better results and better value for taxpayers.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    There are many opportunities for public-private partnerships, particularly in the area of economic development. The Digital Media Zone, a public-private partnership between Ryerson and the AMC Complex at Yonge and Dundas Square is a perfect example.  To have success in attracting investment and creating new jobs, its critical to have a more cooperative approach.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Lack of planning and infrastructure around the large number of condo developments in the Ward is top of mind, as well as “Section 37″ agreements between developers and councillors which have loose guidelines (often not followed) and negotiations that often done behind closed doors.  City Councillors have a great deal of discretion in the planning process which I take very seriously.  I think there needs to be a new framework in place involving community and economic development experts, and much more transparency in the process.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes. But after heard the latest news about the aging infrastructure, we might have no choice to increase property taxes a more than rate of inflation.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I would study the entire city budget first and prioritize the services from the most important to the less, considering what can be the consequences over the 4-5 next years. See what services can be contracted to save money to the city. And anything related to healthcare aka Toronto Public Health, should be funded in part or total through provincial and federal government.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I think the size of City Council is efficient as it is. One councillor per ward is perfect considering the size of each ward, giving the chance to be very familiar with their ward, knowing the priorities, and what exactly needs to be done. Less councillors would make more larger area cover and might not be able to answer any issues from the constituents.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes I would support contracting garbage collection east of Yonge Street. Depending also on budget allowed for road repairs, I think City of Toronto could also contract it. Chances we would pay less and have better roads as well.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Like everybody I think it would be great to eliminate it, but since it is an important revenue for the City, by eliminating it would mean replacing with something else or increasing property tax. So in my opinion, we should keep the Municipal Land Transfer as it is and maybe freeze it for the next 2-3 years.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Offer any employers tax credit as incentives when hiring new employees, giving them skills and experience on a temporary basis. These incentives would help them with the cost of training new employees. Also if it’s a possibility, I would decrease the maximum age for the pension to 60, making many jobs available quicker.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    First I would change the purpose of the 5 cent plastic bag fee, to a 5 or 10 cent on every transaction for purpose of transit funding.Also, for the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, police officers should fine any pedestrians caught jay walking like it is in other cities, or when they cross against their lights, reducing by the same time amount of injuries/fatalities caused by collision between motorist/cyclist and pedestrian. Fines can also be used to help transit as well.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Respect taxpayers dollars by negotiating what is best for the city, its residents and employees involved. Try to find a balance while negotiating any request so both sides has some benefits. If can’t come to a fair agreement, wait for contract expiry and think about contracting service if doable.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    They are many opportunities that city of Toronto can benefits from public-private partnership such as naming rights, aging city infrastructure and revitalization of Ontario Place.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Top issue I would say is unemployment/poverty among youth. I will work to have more resources available for younger adult 15-24. From help on building good resume, selling trades and other hot jobs in demand to those wishing going back to school, tax credit to employer hiring youth for summer, to more free resources for those with some addictions, mental illness, disabilities, as well as easier access to loan and grants.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Some departments might be able to share administrative staff, perhaps resulting in better communication between offices

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I am in favour of reducing the number of Wards in the City of Toronto BUT not necessarily by half. I think it would be appropriate for Toronto to review the boundaries of their wards. I don’t think they represent the distinct communities in Toronto. I think, if this review was done, there would be an opportunity for the number of Wards to be reduced and for distinct communities to find more informed and robust representation on Council.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I need to see the numbers before making this decision. Are residents losing quality? Are they actually saving in west?

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I would be willing to look at reducing the Land Transfer Tax.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    I think Small Business needs to be the engine for Job Growth. Regulations need to be reviewed. Shops need a pedestrian friendly city to encourage customers to linger in a neighbourhood, browse, spend, even notice them. I wonder if creative, hard working, optimistic entrepreneurs would benefit from a city that facilitates securing skills they don’t have, more affordably, ie. expert management and accounting services through city sponsored program.

    I’d also like to see a more Film Production friendly city. Consult with producers and locations people on what that might mean, actively promote Toronto as a Feature Film production centre. One major production can drop $150,000,000 into our economy. Generally Toronto only gets one a year! Why? What can we do about it? That means JOBS for our city!

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    2010 Metrolinx and many experts said a Downtown Relief Line was PRIORITY #1 !! Why has Council been squabbling for 4 years over a Scarborough Subway, with a few more stops, to bring more into the Downtown? Politics! Complete lack of common sense! NO respect for the overall economic good or quality of life in the city as a whole! How faster, affordably could we lay subway track on existing rail lands than digging tunnels or taking space from our streets? Could the rail lands make room for a double deck ribbon of transit with one direction on top of the other? Why not lay subway track, link to Line 1 so trains can be transferred based on need? How hard would it be to negotiate a good deal for Toronto with developers to build and maintain new stations if the city is building a subway to the door of their developments? We need DRL ASAP. It’s essential for Toronto, economically AND for the quality of life of all Torontonians! BTW, why don’t we have automated trains like Vancouver’s skytrain? Wouldn’t this save money for the TTC?

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Wages cannot be increased beyond inflation rate.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I think there are several places where this type of partnership could be explored. I’ve already recommended looking at a deal between city and developers to build new subway stations. I think that developers are spending billions in this city with intensity that’s unmatched anywhere in the world! This is an enormous opportunity for city and business to coordinate on the kind of city we want for future generations. Let’s not continue with this indifferent hands off approach from recent councils!

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    I see the biggest issue for my Ward is the attack on neighbourhoods. We need development that enhances each community’s distinct nature NOT near identical towers that stomp on paths, parks, and heritage, with NO regard for those who will be their neighbours. I’d like development to contribute to distinct villages within Toronto where people live, work, shop, go to school or recreation, steps from home. I want developers to be required to help create this type of environment not hinder it. ENOUGH steel and glass, from grade to sky, for people who sleep on site, inches from those who will always been strangers, then travel an elevator to parkades, driving miles away to work, shop or play! People need to walk, shop in locally owned stores, linger in parks, community festivals and cafes. Meet and get to know your neighbours! Get to know the heritage of your particular corner of this massive city. Feel connected, take ownership of your community! This approach to planning, zoning and development partnerships would also have a positive impact on health and crime statistics as well as being the right way to go.

    Zoning and development requirements must be paid attention to by the next city council. We must find the political will to build a city with emphasis on it’s people NOT just jobs for today and desolation tomorrow.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Each year the City’s staff review the infrastructure needs, transit priorities and social development programs set out by City Council and create budgets based on those priorities.  If city priorities remain unchanged year over year, then it may be possible to commit to a property tax cap that does not exceed the rate of inflation.

    However, we all know that Canada’s largest and most important city will not remain stagnant.  Committing to a property tax cap without knowing fully the future financial obligation of Toronto would be premature and irresponsible. As a business owner, I know what it takes to run a successful operation. To run Toronto with streamline business efficiency, we must be adaptable, ambitious and be ready to overcome big challenges and capitalize on opportunities.

    Extreme weather conditions which produced massive floods and ice storms of recent years has demonstrated that are sometimes unforeseen costs that must be borne by the City.  I am committed to creating fiscally responsible budgets that establish contingencies for these types of events, while also recognizing that the Toronto’s infrastructure is aging and has been neglected for many years without sufficient investment.  If we want Toronto to continue to prosper, then investing in our infrastructure is a necessary reality.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Of interest is a recent report by the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance stating that Toronto does not have a spending problem, rather it has a revenue problem. That said, I do believe that the City can work towards finding efficiencies within its business processes.  One notable example, is that we are one of the largest procurers of service and goods in the Province of Ontario, I believe the City of Toronto can further examine its procurement policies and practices; and streamline its purchasing power to secure better savings. We need to find efficient ways to improve services while reducing the cost of service delivery.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    As a Councillor for a ward that has more than double the population of other wards, I find it difficult to support reducing the size of City Council. Currently, the volume of work and staff resources are not distributed equally across the city by population count. However, I do strongly support the re-configuration of our current wards so that they are more proportionally balanced with adequate and corresponding staff resources.  I would also support further study on the structure of the current City Council, so that decision-making can occur more expeditiously by way of eliminating parochialism.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    In the most recent contract negotiations Local 416 came to an agreement with the City of Toronto for a contract that is more cost efficient than private sector bids.  The City of Toronto must carefully weigh the long-term financial impacts of contracting out of services versus immediate savings.  Losing the control over the direct management of employees can impact the quality and efficiency of city services.  Contracting out does not necessarily mean savings for the City of Toronto and can be more costly in the long-term as the impact of contracting out on the worker will ultimately impact the city’s bottom line in other ways.   When the city contracts out services, the worker, who is also a taxpayer is impacted.  Loss of good jobs that provide pensions, benefits and job security have an impact on our economy that is often more than the immediate cost savings of contracting out a service.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    As Councillor for Ward 27 there are more than 100 active development files in my ward and even more in the neighbouring downtown wards.  As developers and investors prosper from land development, the state of the City of Toronto’s infrastructure continues to decline and the impact is being felt more and more on the property tax base.  I support the municipal land transfer tax rebate offered to First-time Home Buyers and I believe that this rebate should increase with inflation. I also advocate that the Province should not be in the business of collecting land-based taxes and should surrender MLLT collection to all local governments.  However, as the City continues to intensify and grow it is entirely appropriate that the City of Toronto also recover costs to expand services for residents.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    City of Toronto can do the following to foster job creation:

    1. Expand the City of Toronto’s social procurement practices to implement local hiring policies
    2. Strategically invest in attracting Creative Economy industries to Toronto.
    3. Support a Toronto bid for Expo 2025 that will bring thousands of jobs, over a ten year period, to Toronto to build infrastructure, expand cultural facilities and create the opportunity to build a new university on the waterfront.
    4. Strategically invest in labour market training to better meet employer needs.
    5. Continue to make Toronto attractive to employers by supporting affordable housing, expanding accessible transit, investing in our arts and culture and public and green space.
    6. Support tax incentives to maintain office space in mixed-used development.
    7. Reduce bureaucracy to assist business start-ups and foster a bold entrepreneurial culture.
    8. Expand apprentice programs and invigorate Toronto Employment and Social Services.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I have continued to  support the Transit City as a plan that will bring transit expansion quicker and more affordably than Council’s current plan for turning our existing LRT service into a subway.  Our current mayor has supported a 25 year increase to property taxes to fund a subway that will not expand service further into Scarborough and has put a burden on all property tax payers for the next 25 years.  I have supported exploring a number of transit tools to expand transit including:

    a.         development charges

    b.          fuel tax

    c.           parking levy

    d.           sales tax

    e.          high occupancy toll lanes

    f.           highway tolls or other road pricing

    g            vehicle registration tax

    I also firmly believe that the Federal and Provincial Governments need to pay their fare share of Toronto’s transit costs.   Toronto taxpayers only receive approximately 25%  of the Federal and Provincial taxes they pay through income and sales tax.  As a major driver in Canada’s economy, Toronto deserves better.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    The City of Toronto has a strong history of negotiating fair and fiscally responsible contracts with our labour unions.  I will work hard to ensure that City labour negotiators continue to represent the interests of the City of Toronto in a fair and responsible process. Delivering exceptional services to the residents should be a priority for both  City Council and the Toronto Public Service.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I do see potential for the City of Toronto to explore opportunities for further partnership with the private sector.  One of these areas is the development of new affordable housing.  In my first term of City Council, I have fostered innovative public-private partnerships that will see the creation of more than 25 units of affordable housing as part of private mixed-used development in Ward 27.  As our construction boom continues, there may be further opportunities to explore these types of partnerships.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    With over 14 different residential neighbourhoods in Ward 27, the needs, interests and priorities of Ward 27 are quite diverse.  However, land use development has been a key issue currently facing the majority of Ward 27.  There are over 100 active development files in Ward 27 which has seen intense mixed-use residential and commercial development over the past ten years.  Ensuring responsible development has been a key issue I have tackled in my first-term of office and I have fostered strong relationships and new engagement processes and brought our local resident and business stakeholders to the table with developers to shape the development entering our neighbourhoods.  I have fought actively to remove Toronto from the purview of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), one of the biggest obstacles facing responsible development in our City.   If re-elected I will continue to engage Ward 27 stakeholders in the development process and will continue to advocate for the City of Toronto to have autonomy from the OMB.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 3 – Etobicoke Centre

The Incumbent:

Peter Leon (appointed)

The Race

The residents of Ward 3 had the good fortune of being represented by former Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, and his replacement, departing Councillor Peter Leon. The future looks bright for this ward. The candidates standing for election all advocate fiscal responsibility, smart development, and investments in infrastructure and transit. There are many worthy replacements to Doug Holyday on this list. Good luck to all!

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Paula Bauer, George Bauk, Peter Fenech

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Yes
    Comeau, Greg Yes
    D'Urzo, Frank Yes
    French, Dean Yes
    Holyday, Stephen Yes
    Hutcheon, Annette Yes
    Moskalyk, John Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Don't cut services. Simplify service delivery processes.
    Comeau, Greg Need a line-by-line review of operating budget. Privatize garbage collection east of Yonge St. Root out bureaucratic efficiencies.
    D'Urzo, Frank Police, fire department, and EMS.
    French, Dean Staff must find across the board savings and be recognized and rewarded for it.
    Holyday, Stephen City Council must consider outsourcing services as it did with garbage collection in the west side of Yonge St.
    Hutcheon, Annette Contracting out non-essential services such as cleaning services on TTC and city lawn maintenance and landscaping.
    Moskalyk, John Will consider trimming the budget for savings on a year-to-year basis.


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto No
    Comeau, Greg Yes
    D'Urzo, Frank Yes
    French, Dean Yes
    Holyday, Stephen Will consider
    Hutcheon, Annette Will consider
    Moskalyk, John No


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Will consider
    Comeau, Greg Yes
    D'Urzo, Frank Yes
    French, Dean Yes
    Holyday, Stephen Yes
    Hutcheon, Annette Yes
    Moskalyk, John Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Yes to modifying
    Comeau, Greg Yes to elimination
    D'Urzo, Frank Yes to reducing
    French, Dean Yes to elimination
    Holyday, Stephen Yes to reducing
    Hutcheon, Annette Yes
    Moskalyk, John Yes to reducing


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Macro level: Simple taxation, simple business regulation, and a long-term investment strategy. Micro level: Links between Enterprise Toronto and local universities.
    Comeau, Greg Support development near transit hubs for job growth. Keep non-residential tax rates low.
    D'Urzo, Frank Boost tourism and 'financials'
    French, Dean Listen to our existing business and trades communities so we can attract entrepreneurs, jobs, and opportunities.
    Holyday, Stephen Keep taxes low, cut red tape, and reduce traffic congestion.
    Hutcheon, Annette Keep the cost of living in Toronto and working in Toronto low. Attract knowledge-based industries through a livable city with quality parks, education, and cultural activities.
    Moskalyk, John Preferred hydro rates or lower taxes for new business. Promote programs in research and development such as the Ryerson University DMZ Zone.


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Debt financing should be considered. Also new revenue tools such as gas tax, corporate income tax, development charges, and highway taxes.
    Comeau, Greg Supports John Tory's SmartTrack proposal. Then, build Downtown Relief Line.
    D'Urzo, Frank More funding from provincial and federal levels of government.
    French, Dean Possible transit tax. Pressure provincial and federal governments for more funding.
    Holyday, Stephen What can be done now is a city-wide electrified rail system using existing tracks.
    Hutcheon, Annette Planning process is not flawed, but the implementation is. Metrolinx is a good agency.
    Moskalyk, John Push the federal and provincial government for more subsidies for transit and a portion of the gas tax. The city should engage more with transportation engineers.


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Independent evaluation of customer satisfaction with city services. Concessions should be tied to outcomes in quality and efficiency.
    Comeau, Greg Be firm with unions with respect to increases in benefits.
    D'Urzo, Frank Allow part-timers
    French, Dean Be firm but fair. There is a growing divide between private and public sector pensions, benefits, and job security.
    Holyday, Stephen Prepare service contingency plans to show you are serious about a negotiated settlement.
    Hutcheon, Annette Use the same strategy as we did in the last term as it appears to have been successful.
    Moskalyk, John There is a limit to what the city and taxpayers can sustain but look for a compromise in a non-threatening environment.


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Yes. For example, get developers involved in improving mobility across the city.
    Comeau, Greg Will consider
    D'Urzo, Frank Yes
    French, Dean Will consider
    Holyday, Stephen Yes, for example in major infrastructure projects such as transit expansion.
    Hutcheon, Annette Yes, in policing, transit, and social housing.
    Moskalyk, John Yes, in traffic, transit, and real estate.


  • Candidate Response
    Alvarez, Roberto Poor services for higher taxes. Also childcare, garbage collection, road maintenance, library and recreational services.
    Comeau, Greg Improving transit, development, and reforming the OMB.
    D'Urzo, Frank Infrastructure, flooding, development, and transit.
    French, Dean Over-development and problems with the OMB.
    Holyday, Stephen Renew aging infrastructure, keep roads safe, provide clean drinking water, and good operation of wastewater and utility systems.
    Hutcheon, Annette Holding the line on taxes. Infrastructure replacement. Better management of roads and transit.
    Moskalyk, John Increased condo development linked with aging infrastructure. Expand current consultation requirements for future developments so it is more transparent for the residents of the ward.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes, I believe a property tax cap is fairly efficient in term s of tax equity.  I also believe that future tax hikes should be at or below the rate inflation.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I am against cutting services in order to balance the budget. I believe we can find saving opportunities by simplifying the service-delivery processes and increasing organizational productivity based on specific quality indicators

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    No, I don’t think City Council will be more efficient by reducing its size. Instead I advocate for organizational changes in order to make the city council decision-making processes more transparent and efficient and city council more accountable.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I support contracting services out after a careful cost/benefit evaluation and always based on at least yearly-based evaluations to monitor quality service.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I support the idea to raise the tax credit for first time buyers.  I believe that first buyers for houses up to a price of $ 600,000 should not pay the land transfer tax. Also, considering that Toronto property buyers pay two taxes (at provincial and city levels), I support the idea of gradually reducing the tax up to 10 %.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    At a macro level, we need to increase the city competitiveness to attract businesses, investments and tourism.  An essential component of this is a long-term investment strategy to improve the city’s physical infrastructure and mobility. Additionally, efficient and simple taxation, simple and transparent business regulation and proper policies protect producers, consumers and citizens are needed.

    At a micro level, City Council must lead initiatives to promote partnerships and collaborative strategies between Enterprise Toronto and local universities to implement startup initiatives (grants, training, mentorship, for example) focused on specific populations such as women, the unemployed, students and graduates.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    The problem is that the discussion of public transit has become so political and the arguments are based more political parties’ view rather than on what is best for people.

    Traditionally, the Province of Ontario used debt financing to build infrastructure and it seems feasible to use debt to finance public transit. Additionally, a set of dedicated revenue tools must be applied. Gasoline and fuel tax, corporate income tax, real estate development charges and high way taxes should be considered among other alternatives

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Before negotiations the city needs to have, if possible, independent evaluations in terms of customer satisfaction, coverage and service delivery efficiency.  An objective cost/benefit analysis should be the base to define the negotiation strategy.  In the same way, any concession should be tied to specific outcomes in terms of quality and efficiency

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes, specific transit project such as walking/cycling networks connected to the TTC services, for example, can be a very good opportunity to get real estate developers involve in the process of improving mobility in the city (which is crucial for real estate development)

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    People are concern about how their taxes are being applied. Many people feel that they are paying more taxes but receiving not only less but also poor quality services.  Specific issues such as children care, garbage collection, road maintenance, library and recreational services are among the main concerns

    As a City Councillor I will be committed to monitor and most importantly to make the process of how the resources are being allocated more transparent and efficient.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I will commit to keeping taxes below the rate of inflation.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    We need a line by line review of the various operating budgets. City Managers need to be tasked with finding these efficiencies. Green For Life has done a good job collecting garbage, and saved us money, in the West end of the city. We should look at privatizing garbage collection East of Yonge street. We need to look at middle management within city organizations. We need to root out our bureaucratic inefficiencies.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    A consolidation of wards would save Toronto millions of dollars, which could go towards reducing the Land Transfer Tax or re-invested in infrastructure and services. Fewer councillors would also make council meetings more efficient. It would be necessary, of course, to first determine if this size reduction would mean that constituents have a harder time accessing their councillor.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Private garbage collection has worked well west of Yonge Street, so I will advocate for private garbage collection east of Yonge.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The Land Transfer Tax needs to be phased out.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    We need to continue to keep the non-residential tax rate low and invest in transit and other services to attract new businesses and development. We need to support development near planned transit growth so that new business hubs are created, generating jobs and additional revenues for Toronto.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I support John Tory’s SmartTrack plan – which will connect the city, be finished quickly, and which the city’s portion of the funding has been found without adding burden to taxpayers. We need to stop debating transit and start building it. After SmartTrack we will have to look at a DRL.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Be firm with the unions, because any large increase in benefits is borne by the taxpayer and could result in a loss of services, or an increase in taxes, to make up the difference.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I support any mechanism that will deliver services in the most cost effective manner, while ensuring the quality of service remains the same, or increases.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    I’ve already knocked on thousands of doors and improving transit is the main issue – I support John Tory’s SmartTrack plan. Development is another major issue in my ward – people are fed up with the OMB and I think it is worth looking at reforming the OMB to make it more accountable.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    All efforts should be made to stay below the rate of inflation, the short answer is yes, there is still room to find efficiencies. One area to be considered is retiring employees and how to coordinate the introduction of new technologies and management that will reduce hiring.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    The police, fire department, EMS simply because of the size of their budgets. TTC, outsourcing one simple question to ask is why do our roads break up so fast.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Twenty two councillors will be enough and I support assigning more powers to the mayor and speaker. We should consider a mayoralty ticket Mayor plus Vice mayor, there is simply too much work for one person. I would like to introduce the idea that a voter should be able to vote no for a candidate that he or she cannot live with; a no vote would count as a deduction.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes as well as other services

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    We have to keep it for now reduce it on less expensive homes following the reasoning or guidelines of the HST rebate on new homes.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Boost those areas where we have lots of potential such as tourism, financials.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    The TTC spends an average of 100 000 dollars in wages and benefits for staff in turn Ottawa and the province’s enjoy Toronto’s largess, more funding has to come from these two levels of government.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    The present system is not sustainable, this is well understood by all, one simple step is to allow part-timers.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    It must be the rout to examine in all areas.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Infrastructure and flooding as a priority, development, and traffic and public transit. Developers should pay more and in line with surrounding areas, they are needed but should not be subsidized; the building they build should be more environmentally friendly and rely less on an overburdened infrastructure. I have too many specific points on the two items.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    One of the first thing I learned 25 years ago when as a young business owner was that -what gets measured, gets managed. Voter’s expect us to be responsible with their tax dollars and city council needs to make sure that senior city staff know it’s not always about increasing tax revenue to solve problems. It’s also about spending tax dollars wisely and reducing our expenses. As a Councillor I’m committed to making sure that our city staff find across the board cost savings. Those that do should be rewarded and recognized like they would in the private sector.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Yes. Reducing the size of council to line up with the Federal riding boundaries makes sense on many levels.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes. Etobicoke voters expect that their city government to make wise decisions when it comes to spending or saving their tax dollars. Being the first part of the city to contract out garbage issomething we are proud of in Etobicoke and don’t understand why it’s taking the rest of the city so long to do the same.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Eliminating Municipal Land Transfer tax over time as we find cost savings and efficiencies in our operations is important.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Here’s what I’ve learned about job growth as some one who has been a business owner his entire working life. Entrepreneurs create jobs. Politicians don’t. Career politicians, or career government employees who pretend to understand job growth create more problems then they solve for our economy. History shows that Great cities attract Entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs create jobs and opportunities. Together we need to make Toronto a great city so we can attract new business and increase opportunities for everyone, especially our young people. At the same time, we need to listen to our existing business and trades community on how to make a better Toronto. Any MP, MPP or Councillor who takes credit for creating jobs, or promises them has likely never met a payroll or created a job.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    It’s been said that all progress starts with the truth. The truth is that there is only one tax payer and we have 3 levels of government in Canada who have spent the last 30 years hoping not to be blamed for a Transit tax. At the same time grid lock is effecting our quality of life and economic productivity. As Councillor I would take a leadership role in helping Toronto and GTA MPs and MPPs put pressure on Provincial and Federal governments to take action and finally recognize that the economic engine of Canada needs Transit funding now. The truth is that getting Ottawa and Queens Park members to stand up for Toronto is easier said then done and we can’t avoid further delay. This reality means that the City of Toronto will have to take a leadership role and explore a Transit Tax.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    My advice is to the city’s negotiating team is to be firm but fair. There is a growing divide between the private and public sector when it comes to pensions, benefits and job security. In light of the economic realities and challenges that we all face, Toronto voter’s don’t have patience for unrealistic demands by public sector unions.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Although I’m open minded about Public-Private Partnerships I’m more focussed on working with senior staff to find cost savings and improve city services.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Residence rights need to come first and not last in the city planning process. Over development is a real issue in Etobicoke thanks to a an unelected Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) over ruling Toronto City Council decsions on height restrictions and density in
    our neighborhoods. Traffic, infrastructure, schools, property value and overall quality of life are all effected by over development and that’s why I got involved with city politics. As a member of an Etobicoke Residence Association I experienced first hand the time, energy and costs involved in the OMB process only to see our elected City council members overruled. We need a city that works for more than just downtown developers. As Councillor I will be committed to reminding Provincial Members of Parliament that the unelected and outdated OMB isn’t working for the voters that we are all accountable to working for. I’m also committed to working with residence associations from all over the city have to stand united and pressure our Provincial government to act. Although there are many important issues in Etobicoke Ward 3 the one the effects property values and quality of life the most is over development. There will always be room in Etobicoke for progress and responsible development but not at the expense of our neighbourhoods.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Property tax hikes should be at or below the rate of inflation and are a performance indicator that your council is doing its job responsibly.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Council must continue to look for opportunities for savings, including outsourcing, which lead to better service at a lower price. Outsourcing garbage collection in the West is a good example of a measurable service that has come at a lower cost with no impact to the service. Garbage has continued to be picked up as it always has, even though someone new is doing it at a lower cost.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    This is a matter I am open to debate, there is evidence for and against it. Simply cutting council size is only part of the discussion. It needs to be considered as part of a broader restructuring which may include boundary realignment and providing other forms of cross-city representation.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes – contracting garbage collection East of Yonge Street is the next step. Other opportunities will come up over time and it will be important to evaluate the merits on a case by case basis. Services must be measurable, and the contract must deliver equal quality service at a cost savings to taxpayers.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Yes – the land transfer tax should be reduced, it is a hidden tax that unfairly impacts homeowners and property values. However, before it may be eliminated a replacement source for the revenue will need to be determined.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    By keeping taxes low, cutting red tape, and reducing vehicle and transit congestion, Toronto will attract and retain businesses that provide jobs.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Transit funding is a complex mix which includes pledges from other levels of government, taxes, financing, and the fare box. Every source must be looked at and maximized to determine final mix.

    A long term vision of a wide network of subways may be the gold standard for transit, but there is a quick win to do right now to create momentum in one direction. A city-wide regional electrified rail system branching into the 905, but using existing railway tracks, is a logical next step which is affordable, provides immediate relief, and is a useful permanent legacy that will form part of the system of the future.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Prepare service contingency plans now to show you are serious about a negotiated settlement, but ready for anything.

    Like the last contract negotiation, commence bargaining as early as possible to avoid the chance of a strike in the summer where it would have maximum disruption to citizens, with rotting garbage, closed park amenities and cancelled day camps. If a strike occurs, it is best to get it out of the way in the winter when the impact to citizens is less.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Major infrastructure projects such as transit expansion are ideal candidates for public-private partnerships. This is an opportunity to leverage outside funding and expertise to deliver efficient works, and transfer risks of cost overruns to others. The city and its agencies can continue to focus on what they do best in their core operations rather than taking on the new business of major undertakings.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Ensure Ward 3 is prioritized to renew aging infrastructure, to keep roads safe, provide clean drinking water and wastewater and utility systems operating. The summer floods and winter ice storm had a massive impact on us, and prove the urgency. Renewal of roads infrastructure and signals will go a long way to ease traffic congestion.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Tax hikes over the next four year should be no higher than .25 basis points below the rate of inflation. Tax hikes have been above the rate of inflation for many years.  Thus, capping tax increases at the same rate as inflation does not give taxpayers the opportunity to catch up.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I support privatization and contracting out non-essential services such as:

    1.  cleaning services on TTC,
    2.   lawn maintenance and landscaping in parks and works department.
    3.  I would vote against entering into agreements such as Bixi Bikes.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    If we reduce the size of Council – Ward/Councillor representation should be based on ‘per capita population’.  For instance currently Ward 23 has twice as many residents as Ward 9 One ward is arguably over-represented and the other is under-represented.    I also believe that the first order of business, before restructuring council, should be to change the Procedural By-Law with regard to the Council Standing Committees.  Committee members do lots of hard work, they listen to and learn from stakeholders as they deliberate on public policy.   They do the homework and get the best briefing form City Staff.  That work should be acknowledged and recognized in the Procedural By-Law.  Committee recommendations should only be able to be overturned by a ‘Super Majority’, eg. 2/3% or ¾% of Council.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes – I do believe we should continue to contract out garbage collection east of Yonge Street.  This has proved to be successful West of Yonge St.   However, I could consider using different contractor for the East and West of Yonge St. so that we have managed competition.

    Other services that could be contracted out would include:

    1.  Lawn maintenance and Landscaping in our Parks and Works Department
    2.  Cleaning services

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Taxes are supposed to be ‘fair and equitable.’  The Toronto Land Transfer Tax is not!  I consider the LTT a cash grab from a Government that has not been able to manage budgets and live within their means.  For 170 years The City of Toronto managed without this tax.  This tax prevents city managers from finding efficiencies and delivering quality services.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    In my opinion the unemployment rate for Toronto will always be higher than the Provincial rate because we are the place where unemployed people come to seek work.  Those would include, but not be exclusive to, newly graduated students, people who have been laid off elsewhere, and immigrants.  Toronto also provides important support services that are not always offered or available in other parts of the Province.  We need to be more competitive by keeping the cost of living here and the cost of working here – low.

    New jobs and industries will be created by building the infrastructure that will attract ‘knowledge-based industries’ that require unique infrastructure.  Educated and trained workers and executives want to live in a live-able City with quality parks, quality education facilities, and quality cultural and social activities.  Government can’t create jobs per se, but government can create the environment.  The recent takeover of Tim Horton’s and the relocation of Burger Kings head office to Canada is an example of how a low cost regime will bring jobs and opportunity to our region.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    The Province has stepped in and created a Regional Planning Authority called Metrolinks, which is was the right thing to do because they are taking the tax dollars from across the Province and investing in the GTA.  The GTA is the economic engine which drives the Ontario Economy.  I believe it is not the planning process that is flawed – it is the implementation process.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    The Negotiating Team’s job is to get the best possible deal, under the circumstances, for the taxpayers of Toronto.  Council did an excellent job in the last term to get one of the best deals ever. I would hope that the Negotiating Team would use the same strategy as last time, as it appears to have been successful.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    We should look at the 3 biggest expenditure items in the City Budget ie:  Policing, Transit and Social Housing/Social Services, and look for opportunities there.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Taxes are the number one issue. I will work to hold the line on taxes.  Secondly Ward 3 was badly affected by the 2 big storms in 2013 – the July 8th rainstorm caused extension flooding and damage to peoples home.  The December ice storm especially affected those living in high-rise accommodation.  Those storms remind us that we have poor infrastructure in need of replacement.  As an inner suburban community traffic congestion affects almost everyone in Ward 3.  I would look to manage better roads and transit to fight congestions.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes, I strongly a property tax cap that should never exceed the rate of inflation.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Whilst I do not completely agree with the idea of a ‘gravy train’ existing, there may be areas of the budget that can be tightened, trimmed or re-adjusted. The city budget is submitted annually, and certainly priorities and projects change year to year.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Not necessarily. While we have 44 city councillors, by having smaller territories than provincial or federal ridings, it allows councillors to become more intimately acquainted with their residents, their needs and concerns. It is akin to increasing class size. That said, our elected provincial and federal officials do a fine job representing increased populations. However, it is a matter of the issues they have to handle. Being a city councillor is very grassroots.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    In the 1990s, the city of Etobicoke began contracting out garbage collection, and it was very effective. I would certainly support a similar endeavour east of Yonge Street.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I was not in favour of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax. This tax is directly based on the strength of the real estate market. Currently, the Municipal Land Transfer Tax generates approximately $350 million in revenue for the city of Toronto. Notwithstanding the hot real estate market currently, one does pay a premium to live in the city of Toronto. Should the market cool in coming years, Toronto City Council could consider lowering the Municipal Land Transfer Tax as an incentive to boost real estate sales.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Toronto and the GTA account for over 50% of the entire population of the province of Ontario, thus the unemployment rate, when condensed, seems much higher. The city could certainly make concessions such as preferred hydro rates or deferred/lessened tax rates for new businesses within the city limits. As a businessman, I have always believed in the power of innovation. Programs promoting research and development or innovative process will lead to new entrepreneurial excellence in the city. An example of this is Ryerson’s DMZ zone an incubator/mentorship hub that allows high-tech businesses to flourish.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    The question of public transit is an on-going one, and will continue to be as Toronto continues to expand and welcome new residents each year. A strategy may be to approach the provincial and federal governments to give the city a greater share of revenues relating to transportation (e.g.- gas tax) to fund expansion and by finding efficiencies in our city budget. Currently, we get 0% subsidies from the provincial and federal government where as Montreal transit receives 10% and Ottawa 9%. The current transit process is not ideal. I feel strongly that Toronto can gain a great deal by engaging with transportation engineers who have had great success in other world class cities and simulate and adapt their models to our city.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    This is something I personally look forward to as an accredited mediator. I am confident that an alternative can be reached that will be both satisfactory to the unions and the taxpayers. People need to be compensated for the work that they do, but there is a limit to what the city and its taxpayers can sustain. My advice is to look for the best possible compromise in a non-threatening environment.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes! Absolutely! P3s present a wonderful mechanism to begin projects, without the city fully funding them solely with tax payer money. It is a great way to attract business and industry to the city. While opportunities exist in all sectors, I believe there will be many in the traffic, transit and real estate areas.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Within Ward 3 there has been a lot of consideration – and also conflict – surrounding condo developments, specifically in the 427 corridor and along Bloor street. While we all recognize the need for housing, many residents are apprehensive about having large blocks of condos being erected essentially in their backyards. This is compounded by problems surrounding aging infrastructure that became apparent during the rainstorm in July 2013 and ice storm in December 2013. It is important to ensure that concerned citizens receive an opportunity to voice their concerns or suggestions during the planning phases of future developments. There is a need for new developments in Ward 3 – it’s a great place to live! However, due consideration on existing residents and how to minimize the impact of new dwellings must be given. To address this issue, I plan to expand on the current consultation requirements the City has in place for future developments to ensure the process is more transparent. The process should empower the residents of Ward 3, instead of being controlled by the un-elected City planners and the OMB.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 7 – York West

The Incumbent:

Giorgio Mammoliti

The Race

This race shows the return of 3 candidates who participated in the 2010 ward election. One of whom is high-profile Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti. There is wide agreement in keeping property taxes low and contracting out city services that could be operated through private partners. This ward has diverse needs and the candidates have a range of opinions on how best to attract jobs and investment.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: John Chambers, Nick Di Nizio, Keegan Henry-Mathieu, Chris Mac Donald

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Yes
    Brar, Harp Yes
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Yes
    Perlman, Larry No


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Benefits, expense accounts, management, donation rebates, and reducing severance pay
    Brar, Harp Will not take a position until informed by experts, auditors, and city departments.
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Amalgamate social housing departments
    Perlman, Larry Zero-Based Budgeting whereby all managers must justify the costs to provide services. Onus for justifying expenses would lie with those managing the funds.


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott No
    Brar, Harp Will consider, but ward boundaries should change according to unique services required locally.
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Yes
    Perlman, Larry No


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Yes
    Brar, Harp Yes
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Yes. Consider contracting out city planners, lawyers, and inspectors>
    Perlman, Larry Yes. Consider contracting out services such as security, cleaning and maintenance, legal, administrative, IT and computer services. Use a temporary staff pool instead of agencies.


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Yes
    Brar, Harp No to reducing or eliminating but would consider an amended formula that would divide the tax between purchaser and seller.
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Yes to elimination
    Perlman, Larry Yes to reducing


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Only business can create jobs.
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Re-visit the concept of a casino for jobs and tourism. Build highway above highways and more subway lines.
    Perlman, Larry Post-Secondary Education – initiate an internship program in the ward.


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Less management and bonuses. Riders should pay operating costs.
    Brar, Harp City Council should take an independent view of the suggestions of retained experts. Council and Mayor should not over-ride expert opinion because they are lawmakers not urban developers. Build Finch West – Humber – Pearson SkyTrain modelled from other cities.
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Designate corridors that will be for subway lines. Public-private partnerships will work for transit development.
    Perlman, Larry Transit planning should be taken away from City Council. Put TTC under umbrella of Metrolinx where it will link with a regional transportation strategy.


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Reduce benefits, perks, and pensions.
    Brar, Harp Negotiations should occur within the limits imposed by tax increases. No more than inflation rate.
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Councillors should not be part of negotiations. Leave to bureaucrats.
    Perlman, Larry Eliminate essential services except for police and fire. City's negotiating team should not be afraid of striking workers.


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Yes. Exceptions are hydro and water.
    Brar, Harp Yes, in park maintenance, snow removal, and administrative work at City facilities.
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Yes, in funding transportation. Also, Business Improvement Areas should form larger P3 initiatives.
    Perlman, Larry No


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Less condos in the community. A more responsive Councillor.
    Brar, Harp Depends on the resident. Every issue should be a top issue.
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Property taxes followed by transportation. Proposed Finch LRT should be a subway or buried form of transportation. The province should create a better home care system.
    Perlman, Larry Complacency that has resulted in a lack of municipal services and resources for families, seniors, and the most vulnerable. Commits to hold regular community events and to invite city staff and agencies.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Benefits, Expense accounts, Management, Donation rebates, And reducing
    the months severance pay for each year of service especially for those who quit.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    No and I don’t believe it we did it would improve Council

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes and yes

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Yes and I don’t believe we need more revenue tools.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Government can’t create jobs only business can and the will only hire on need. People with disposable income spend money creating a need for business to
    hire to deal with demand

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    It doesn’t seem that way it is that way.
    Less management and bonuses, It’s not popular but riders need to pay operating costs which  are way to high due to union demands, Employees need to pay a reduced fare not ride for free  to start with

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    It’s time to claw back the benefits, perks and pensions those in the private can only dream about, The City pays it’s employees good money already

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    If the private sector can do it contract it out. Exceptions are of course Hydro and water, I believe they must be kept public.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    There wishes are never followed. Who asks for more condos in their community adding to traffic congestion and transit needs. No notice unless you live within 200 feet of a project. Negative option voting, (If you can’t get a majority of people out to vote for something they don’t want it)

    No respect, Not answering the Councillors phone or returning messages.
    I could spend hours on what’s wrong with Government.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Council’s job is to balance the budget, provide services, and raise revenue for these activities. Council needs to shift the tax burden from tax depleted vacant properties in the suburbs to income generating and progressive communities. What is the point of a 10 Million dollar building empty in Ward 7 that should generate $300,000.00 but cannot due to the access tax burden? We all lose. Residential taxes should remain in bay with inflation, but it is my position that commercial taxes should be apportioned according to income potential. However, a condition of my position would be contingent on insuring rate payers that the City’s expenditures also remain at bay with inflation. This may anger unions and contractors. But the reality is how can the City afford to pay more while leveling less

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Toronto’s current budget is vast, complex and dynamic. It would be a disservice to all voters for a single Councillor to take a positions on what services, expenditures or benefits need to be trimmed to find savings. As a Councillor I will not take firm position on saving measures until I am well informed by the experts that our City has retained to study where to trim the fat. After reviewing measures proposed by auditors, city departments and retained experts, I would invite Council to engage in an intellectual debate in order to come to a compromise of which taxpayer expenditures can be reduced or eliminated while still providing the quality of life that Torontonians and our visitors from around the world have come to expect.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?Council’s job is to balance the budget, provide services, and raise revenue for these activities. Council needs to shift the tax burden from tax depleted vacant properties in the suburbs to income generating and progressive communities. What is the point of a 10 Million dollar building empty in Ward 7 that should generate $300,000.00 but cannot due to the access tax burden? We all lose. Residential taxes should remain in bay with inflation, but it is my position that commercial taxes should be apportioned according to income potential. However, a condition of my position would be contingent on insuring rate payers that the City’s expenditures also remain at bay with inflation. This may anger unions and contractors. But the reality is how can the City afford to pay more while leveling less.2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?Toronto’s current budget is vast, complex and dynamic. It would be a disservice to all voters for a single Councillor to take a positions on what services, expenditures or benefits need to be trimmed to find savings. As a Councillor I will not take firm position on saving measures until I am well informed by the experts that our City has retained to study where to trim the fat. After reviewing measures proposed by auditors, city departments and retained experts, I would invite Council to engage in an intellectual debate in order to come to a compromise of which taxpayer expenditures can be reduced or eliminated while still providing the quality of life that Torontonians and our visitors from around the world have come to expect.3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council? Do you believe this would improve how Council operates?The size of City council should not be based on the number of electors present in Wards. Ward boundaries should be divided according to the needs of the diverse and unique services required locally. As a Councillor I will look beyond the established Ward boundaries to put an end to the gerrymandering that has made our City waste resources needlessly. The question that should be asked is why the current City Council consistently over rides the advice of Elections Canada on a continued basis. The operation of Council will improve if it can set aside its own political aspirations and adopt recommendations proposed by those individuals at Elections Canada that have vast expertise in just and proper representation

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Over the past 3 years the City’s taxpayers west of Yonge Street have enjoyed a more efficient, healthy and consistent service of garbage collection through the public and private venture established with Green For Life and the City. Why should the residents east of Yonge Street be deprived of this improved service while imposing a tax burden on the entire ratepayers of our City. The answer is simple. Yes.

    Once again, there are many services that maybe contracted out that the will improve services while cutting costs. As a Councillor, and as a lawmaker it would be my job to review reports, recommendations and public input to decide what is best for our City. To take an uneducated position would be a disservice to all residents of Toronto.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Municipal Land Transfer Tax has proven since its implementation in February 2008 to be an excellent stream of revenue for the city while at the same time taking away further tax increases on residents that decide to remain in this City as ratepayers. It has helped keep real estate speculator at bay providing for more affordable housing to loyal residents and newcomers.

    I would not support reducing it or eliminating it. But I would support drastic changes to the way it is implemented and levied. I would support a formula that would divide the tax between purchaser and seller that would be equitable to all while fostering the growth of our City based on public, private and expert consultations.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Diversify. Diversify. Diversify. Pundits have always said that the key to a prosperous economy in limiting monopolies and engaging capitalism with a close collaboration
    between labour and management. In a global economy we need to attract diversified commercial, industrial and service investments. We need to attract and retain a diversified work force. And last but not least we, need to have diversified programs to retain and reincorporate all those residents willing to work to make Toronto the great city it has become.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Once again, the City should retains experts to study, develop and support all transportation facilities within the city. The role of City Council should be to take an independent view at the suggestions of the retained experts and come to an educated and voted compromise that serves the residents of our City for generations to come. Forty-four Counsellors and one Mayor should not be engaged in overriding the expert opinions of over 440 experts. Councillors are lawmakers’ not urban developers. Let’s keep it that way while contemplating that why has anyone not thought of building a Finch West – Humber College –Pearson SKYTRAIN like Vancouver, Delhi, Athens, and many world class cities have done. Does our Mayor and City Council lack world class experience to look beyond the current agenda.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Simple. Labour negations should occur within the limits imposed by our tax increases. No much and no more than Statistic Canada’s inflation rate for our region.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    The recent past has shown that garbage P3s have been a successes. I do look forward looking into other city service in which P3s can be involved. Park maintenance, snow removal, and administrative duties at City facilities are just a few areas that I will examine if elected to represent the people of Ward 7 and Toronto.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The top issues in Ward 7 depends on who you ask. The single mother living in the Jane and Finch area or the widow living on the Islington and Humber River boundary. To answer this question would be a disservice to all residents of Ward 7. As every issue should be their elected representative top issue.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I believe there is room to find savings in the current City Budget by amalgamating social housing departments and putting it under one roof. It would be more efficient for the City financially and for the client operationally to deal with 1 counsellor instead of 8 or 9.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Yes, I believe reducing the size of Council would make for a more collegial environment and condense our 4 day meetings down to 2 days so that we as Councillors can spend more time in the community.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I support the contracting out of garbage East of Yonge and I also believe there is savings to be had in contracting out our planners, lawyers and inspectors.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I support eliminating the Municipal Land Transfer Tax and revisiting every social program we have to find efficiencies in order to cover the costs.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    I have always advocated for a casino and I think it’s time to revisit the concept as it will create jobs and generate tourism which is an industry of it’s own. I also think a plan to create highways above our highways and the building of a stronger transit infrastructure including more subway lines will create many jobs.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    We need to designate which corridors are going to be for subway lines so that the whole city understands where they will be and what it will mean for transportation in the City as a whole. In terms of funding, I still believe that public private partnerships can work if there is effort at City Hall to make it work with the agenda.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    With regards to labour negotiations I don’t believe that anyone who has made up their mind on any side of the equation, left or right, should play a part. I believe the bureaucrats should be instructed to work out the best deal possible and to work with the next mayor in achieving the best deal. Councillors should not be part of the negotiations.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    The main opportunities for public-private partnerships involving the City lie in funding our transit system and in helping fund a transportation plan for the City as a whole – such as building new highways above our existing highways. I also believe our BIAs should form a larger public-private partnership initiatives

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The top issue for residents of Ward 7 is property taxes, followed by transportation. I always have and always will advocate to make sure property taxes stay low and I’ll be asking for the proposed Finch LRT to be a subway or other buried form of transit. Seniors in Ward 7 and all over the City need stronger support programs and I believe there is room for the province to create a better home care system so they don’t have to move to publicly funded institutions that cost more than in home services. Spending $300/day per client in a home care system makes more sense to the taxpayer than $1500/day for the same client in an institution where they have no independence.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    No, but with an explanation.  There will always be a need to raise property taxes beyond the rate of inflation based on numerous factors such as expanding the TTC or to deal with other capital investments that provide the City with a long term benefit​​s​ ​(such as improving TCHC housing stock).  However, in the 2010 election I signed a pledge with other candidates not to increase the City’s budget in 2011 as a symbolic gesture after out-of-control tax increases became the norm.  There must be times when the City budget provides relief to weary taxpayers, but it should not be at the expense of important investments in City infrastructure.​

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    There are many places to find savings in the current city budget, but the approach would lead to a situation where services are cut based on political factors (say savings in vulnerable areas where there is little political support) rather than being the best interests of the City.  I am a strong advocate of using “Zero-Based Budgeting” (ZBB), where all managers would be responsible for providing the Budget Committee with a report justifying their costs to providing the services within their responsibility, starting with no funds at all.  The onus for justifying expenses would shift from the committee and Council to the ones managing the funds.  It is a long-term solution that would require at least four to seven years to implement, but once started would expose managers to a level of scrutiny and transparency that minimizes waste.  Many municipal and state governments have implemented ZBB to various levels of success.  However, given the high caliber of managers in Toronto, I am confident ZBB is the best approach here.​

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    In fact, I would support an increase in the size of Council to include an addition four regional Councillors to represent each of the four community councils (Etobicoke York, Scarborough, Toronto East York and North York).  Toronto residents and businesses are not being well-represented by their current member of Council overall and the need for a Councillor to look at things from a regional perspective provides the City with a valuable knowledge and alternate representation.  Reducing the size of City Council will result in a greater distance between taxpayer and politician​, and municipal governments require a far closer relationship.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes, absolutely.  In fact, there are many services today that can be contracted out at significant cost savings.  For example, 1. Security firms instead of Police at construction sites; 2. Cleaning and maintenance services throughout the City that have not done so yet; 3. Legal services; 4. Administrative services, including mailings; 5. IT and computer services; 6. A temp staff pool instead of using agencies.  The City should introduce an efficiency committee to allow staff and residents to suggest savings.  If successful, the person should receive a reward in the form of a percentage of the savings over a number of years (with a cap of course).  Many large organizations have this type of program in place and the savings are significant.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The Municipal Land Transfer Tax is the perfect example of an unfair tax that was brought forward for political reasons, as it found little opposition.  Unfortunately, this tax relies on a robust housing market which is true today but may not be in the future.  I would support reducing the tax but not eliminating it, since it represents an important revenue source.  In fact, I am a strong advocate for relying less on property taxes to fund our budgetary expenditures and introducing other tax sources for a more diverse approach, currently provided to Toronto as part of the City of Toronto Act.  Alcohol taxes, cigarette taxes, hotel taxes, license renewal taxes and other forms of taxation is important for the future fiscal health of the City.  I would also push for an introduction of a municipal sales tax.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Unemployment rates in large cities typically are higher than the provincial/state averages due to the concentration of residents and businesses and economic and social factors that minimize one’s mobility to other places.  The key to job growth in Toronto is EDUCATION.  Toronto is blessed with three Universities, numerous Colleges and other post-secondary institutions that helps build careers rather than simply jobs.  Torontonians need to take control of their careers rather than expect their municipal government to find them jobs.  I am also a big advocate for internships and would initiate an internship program in my Ward to help get those ready to work a first start in the working world.​

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Not only should the transit planning process be changed, I believe the whole process should be taken away from City Council entirely.  Transit is far too politically sensitive and sophisticated to leave in the hands of Council.  I am a strong advocate for putting the TTC under the umbrella of Metrolinx (a provincial transportation agency) and allowing professionals to design a regional transportation strategy that includes the GTHA (ie GTA plus Hamilton).  Only professionals have the skill and desire to push forward a transportation strategy that benefits those in Toronto…sooner rather than later.​

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Unfortunately, the City’s negotiating team has their hands tied when negotiating the best deal for taxpayers, since some important services are currently labeled “essential” and are decided with an adjudicator.  Once the essential service contracts are made public, other service staff demand similar pay and benefits, creating a bad cycle.  If anything, I would propose eliminating essential services altogether (except for police and fire) and telling the City’s negotiating team not to be afraid of striking workers.  The City of Toronto has been on the weak end of most negotiations with staff collective agreements…it is time to push back.​

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Most residents and business people do not understand the concept of P3s, thus complicating matters significantly.  It is not as simple as bringing in private interests to help fund some infrastructure and the City saves money.  Private interests expect a significant return on their investment and, while willing to take some risk, understand as well that partnering with various governments is not easy to do.  In many cases, agreements require a minimum return on investment built into the agreement (and paid by the government to the private interest).  Having said that, there are many successful P3s (at the provincial and federal levels), while others such as Union Station and the Vaughan subway station will be a showcase at the municipal level.  It is most difficult at this time to identify special P3 opportunities in Toronto. ​

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The top issue of concern for residents in my ward is complacency that has resulted in a serious lack of available municipal services and resources for families, seniors and those most vulnerable in our society.  Far too many residents have given up looking for help from their municipal government and are fearful of losing what little they currently have by remaining quiet.  As Councillor it will be my first priority to eliminate the fear and tell everyone that they deserve more and better.  This must start at the community level, and I would hold regular community events to identify what is unique about their specific community and bring out the agencies and city staff to speak out to those looking for more.  There are ten unique communities within Ward 7, each with its own identity, history and opportunities.​

2014 City Council Election: Ward 6 – Etobicoke-Lakeshore

The Incumbent:

Mark Grimes

The Race

We’re pleased to see almost all candidates from this race respond to our survey – with the exception of Councillor Mark Grimes. It would have been beneficial for voters to read his views but there are plenty of options to choose from here, and most espouse fiscally responsible ways forward for the ward. Of note, is the need for expanded transit and infrastructure in this growing community with new condo developments.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Councillor Mark Grimes

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Ford, Russ No
    James, Ruthmary Yes
    Jankielewicz, Miroslaw Yes
    Laxer, Michael No
    Letonja, John Yes
    Moulder, Peggy Yes
    O'Callaghan, Sean Yes
    Searle, Dave Yes
    Sheppard, Everett Yes
    Sysak, Robert Yes
    Vella, Tony Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Ford, Russ Doubts there are any significant savings to be found.
    James, Ruthmary Councillor, Mayor, and city workers' salaries should be to the rate of inflation. Stop buying umbrellas to put in concrete at Queen's Quay.
    Jankielewicz, Miroslaw A full review of operations is required to assess this question.
    Laxer, Michael Does not regard this as a priority.
    Letonja, John Will look into finding savings
    Moulder, Peggy Compare Toronto to NYC – Less staff positions in Planning Department, and the planning process is more streamlined, democratic, and efficient.
    O'Callaghan, Sean Cut back on non-essential items. A review of management structure to check for duplication of services. Companies awarded contracts must stay within price.
    Searle, Dave Prioritize transit funds over other services. Departments should receive lower compensation. Scrutinizing the large police service budget.
    Sheppard, Everett Office and counsellor expenses.
    Sysak, Robert Address the police budget.
    Vella, Tony Freeze councillor wages for a few years


  • Candidate Response
    Ford, Russ No
    James, Ruthmary No
    Jankielewicz, Miroslaw Yes
    Laxer, Michael No
    Letonja, John Yes
    Moulder, Peggy Yes
    O'Callaghan, Sean Yes
    Searle, Dave No
    Sheppard, Everett Yes
    Sysak, Robert No
    Vella, Tony No


  • Candidate Response
    Ford, Russ No
    James, Ruthmary Yes
    Jankielewicz, Miroslaw Yes
    Laxer, Michael No
    Letonja, John Yes
    Moulder, Peggy Will consider
    O'Callaghan, Sean Yes
    Searle, Dave Yes
    Sheppard, Everett Yes
    Sysak, Robert Yes
    Vella, Tony Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Ford, Russ No
    James, Ruthmary Yes to elimination
    Jankielewicz, Miroslaw Yes to elimination
    Laxer, Michael No
    Letonja, John Yes to elimination
    Moulder, Peggy Yes to reducing
    O'Callaghan, Sean Yes to reducing
    Searle, Dave Will consider
    Sheppard, Everett Yes
    Sysak, Robert Yes to elimination
    Vella, Tony Yes to reducing


  • Candidate Response
    Ford, Russ Stop re-zoning industrial lands to residential. Gridlock is a major impediment to job growth.
    James, Ruthmary We need to get manufacturing back with the land that is still available. More high-tech jobs and help to start a business.
    Jankielewicz, Miroslaw Redevelopment of former industrial and underdeveloped sites into business hubs.
    Laxer, Michael Build new infrastructure and transit to stimulate the economy. Implement municipal minimum wage of $15/hour.
    Letonja, John Hire Torontonians to do infrastructure work.
    Moulder, Peggy There is economic value in cultural heritage buildings. Waterfront, cultural heritage, community college, and employment lands can create jobs.
    O'Callaghan, Sean Provide incentives to private companies for job growth.
    Searle, Dave Lower taxes. More commercial units in condo developments.
    Sheppard, Everett A larger Personal Support Worker program for disabled and seniors.
    Sysak, Robert Use the approach took as Executive Director of the West Queen West BIA to bring business and employment to a ward.
    Vella, Tony Any new development must incorporate business with increased employment.


  • Candidate Response
    Ford, Russ Supports electrification of CN lines for light rail transit. Build the most economical service delivery model that moves the most people.
    James, Ruthmary Puts blame on Mayor and Councillors who did little to improve transit.
    Jankielewicz, Miroslaw Subways, a regional transportation system, and the adoption of smart technologies. Sustainable funding from provincial and federal governments.
    Laxer, Michael Use dedicated revenue streams to fund transit expansion with the goal of free transit.
    Letonja, John Implement a city of Toronto lottery. Let companies buy streetcars and subways. Get rid of Metrolinx and let the city make its own transit decisions.
    Moulder, Peggy Use funding options from Metrolinx study and figure out a reasonable configuration. All proposals should be reviewed at public hearings, voted on by community boards, with a written report submitted to City Council.
    O'Callaghan, Sean Would need to review current transit services first.
    Searle, Dave Utilizers of a service should bridge the gap between municipal, provincial, and federal funding. Service quality and frequency of streetcars and buses need to improve.
    Sheppard, Everett Remove streetcars and put more buses on the streets. Future transit should be underground.
    Sysak, Robert Dedicated tax for transit funding. Don't re-open decisions once voted on.
    Vella, Tony Short term: buses. Long-term: subways. Participation from all three levels of government for a separate transit fund. Use Section 37 funding for additional revenue.


  • Candidate Response
    Ford, Russ The whole dynamic has to be changed away from current adversarial relationship. Listen to the staff and city workers and not consulting firms.
    James, Ruthmary Only give the rate of inflation for wages.
    Jankielewicz, Miroslaw City must provide support for employees to become more innovative and effective.
    Laxer, Michael City workers deserve fair and regular wage increases and benefits.
    Letonja, John New hires should work as contractors. Get out of the business of pensions.
    Moulder, Peggy Considering number of employees and the salaries they are paid in times of unemployment, everyone should be reasonable and fair.
    O'Callaghan, Sean Do not offer any increase to workers greater than the cost of living.
    Searle, Dave Give unionized employees job security in exchange for reasonable contract settlement without costly arbitration.
    Sheppard, Everett City labourers should not be paid higher than average private equivalent positions.
    Sysak, Robert The Council's budget goals should be the driving force behind the negotiations.
    Vella, Tony An increase must make sense and be affordable to taxpayers.


  • Candidate Response
    Ford, Russ No
    James, Ruthmary Yes, for example, in building sports facilities.
    Jankielewicz, Miroslaw Yes
    Laxer, Michael No
    Letonja, John Yes, for example, on TTC and garbage collection.
    Moulder, Peggy Will consider with careful scrutiny to protect public interest.
    O'Callaghan, Sean Developers should set aside profits or units for affordable housing.
    Searle, Dave Yes, particularly with commercial space near new transit stations.
    Sheppard, Everett Yes, in essential utilities to bring the costs of these to affordable rates
    Sysak, Robert Will consider if there are benefits to city


  • Candidate Response
    Ford, Russ A councillor that is responsible and visible. Commits to hold office hours and public meetings.
    James, Ruthmary Bring back Police Services 21 Division. Highway traffic gridlock.
    Jankielewicz, Miroslaw Lack of trust in elected officials. Also, lack of safety, congestion, pollution, poor transit, unplanned urban development.
    Laxer, Michael Waterfront West LRT plan and free transit.
    Letonja, John Use referendums and a new website so residents can tell councillor what to do.
    Moulder, Peggy Transportation – re-instatement of the Long Branch streetcar, a new GO station for Humber Bay, and fully connected bicycle routes.
    O'Callaghan, Sean The disconnect between the city and residents.
    Searle, Dave Irregularity of 501 streetcar scheduling. Infrastructure upgrades for walkways.
    Sheppard, Everett A lack of community spirit
    Sysak, Robert Transit, sewage, traffic, roads, daycare especially with new condo developments.
    Vella, Tony Ensure tax dollars are spent wisely.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    In general,I do not support simplistic solutions or formulas like this. I wish I could tie my personal expenses to inflation but I cannot.  If the furnace blows I have to find the money to fix it no matter what.   If the city has needs that must be addressed it would be irresponsible not to address them.  I favour an open and transparent budget process.  So residents can see who voted for what and why.  Then it is up to the residents to voice either their support of disapproval.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I would be open to finding savings. I think we have an obligation to do that but given the results of the core services review I am extremely doubtful that there are any significant savings to be found.  Currently the city is saving money by job gapping.  All that does is delay the functioning of the city. Service  cuts are not on the table for me.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Less councillors would likely reduce the time of council meetings but that is a big price to pay.  Council is already perceived by many especially in the suburbs as being too remote.  We need to strengthen citizen engagement not take steps to reduce it.  People want more access to their political representatives not less. If a councillor is doing the job they should be doing,there is more than enough work.  So I support keeping council at its current size.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    No I do not support contracting out.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I believe the land transfer tax brings in about $350 million.  I cannot see how we can afford to eliminate it.  If you do that you will have to increase property taxes.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    First, we have to stop rezoning industrial lands to residential.  That is just an invitation for owners to close plants and build condos. We need to make Toronto attractive to people who are looking for a place to do business.  Grid lock is a major impediment.  Your staff have to be able to get to work on time.  So we need to make Toronto a place that employers want to come.  That will involve considerable public investment.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Yes we need investment in public transit.  I support the electrification of the CN lines for the purpose of running light rail transit on it.  We have the rails, let’s use them.  You cannot build subways in areas other than those with high density otherwise the operating costs will exceed revenues.  We need to build the most economical service delivery model that moves the most people. I am not sure if the process is bad or is it the level of political interference in the process that has resulted in the current level of inertia?  Clearly we need a transit plan that can withstand political postering.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    We need to change the whole dynamic that  has been created.  We need to move away from the current adversarial relationship between the city and its unions and replace it with a completely different process.  The city and its unions need to develop an effective partnership which is in contrast to the current state of affairs. Every city worker I know can tell me of ways the city can operate more efficiently.  Staff know the issues.  So rather than hire some big management consulting firm, the city needs to listen to the people that actually do the work.  They need to listen to its own staff.  But they won’t do that because of how poisoned the relationship has become between the city and its unions.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I am not aware of any.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    From  my canvassing the number one issue seems to be the need for a councillor to truly represents the community.  Specifically someone who responds to constituent concerns, holds community meetings and raises ward issues at city hall. In short, the current councillor is not invisible.  I will be very visible both in my community and at city hall.  I will have office hours in the ward, hold public meetings and actively address the concerns of residents.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes, I support a property tax cap, no greater than the rate of inflation. We must make sure that our seniors still living their homes can afford to keep the house.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Cap all Councillors, Mayors Salary to the rate of inflation. All City  Workers most be paid re rate of inflation. I realize they are Unionized, but it must be done. The majority of workers these days are not making what they are. Stop buying umbrella”s,concrete put in @ Queens Quay, I believe they purchased 6 or 7 $30,000.00 each, what a waste of money. We must look after the taxpayers money wisely, as they work so hard for it.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    City of Toronto continues to grow @ grow. I do not support reducing the size of Toronto City Council. Keep the same # of Wards. The problem is the that at the Council Meetings open to the public, the councillors get up & talk to each other, they are on cell phones, leave, some come back, others don’t. What are we paying them for? They are paided by the Citizens of the City of Toronto, act professional and sit down & do your work.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes, I would support contracting out garbage collection east of of Yonge St.. We in Etobicoke have had contract garbage collection for some time now. We must cut costs.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Yes, I would eliminate the “Municipal Land Transfer Tax” for sure.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    We need to get our manufacturing back from the U.S. & Oversea. We certainly lost a lot re Free Trade.  We still have land available & new offices being built they could move into. Get more Hi-Tech jobs too.  We have so many people come from out of town, immigrants who can”t find jobs. Help them start a business.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    This is a million dollar question. The issue with regards to Transit should have been looked at, focused on the future, with the Mayor & Councillors prior to 2014. We have had Mayors/Councillors who did nothing, look at the road situation. What a terrible mess. I was told that on the Lakeshore streetcar line, a person I know had to wait 45min. at the Humber Loop waiting for a Streetcare to take her to the Long Branch Loop. Thats a problem.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Be tough and give only the rate of inflation for wages. Look also at benefit pkg., & number of sick days.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes I see opportunity for public sector/private partnership re the City of Toronto. Building facilities re sports for the poor sector of society. Building Cente for a number of activities……. The private sector would have it named after the private partner.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    “Top issues, concerns in Ward 6″

    1) Police-need 21 Division back, been closed for a number of years. Population growth, re housing, condos… 22 has too large of an area to patrol. Issues concerning break-ins, quite a few.

    2) Taxes-house

    3) Highway grid lock

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    A full review of city operations, expenditures, return of investment and other analyses are required to properly address this question.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Yes, reducing the size of City Council is part of my platform, but I need to emphasize that reduction by itself will not improve its effectiveness. We also have to look at how the city works and operates as well as the skills and roles of City Councillors that are required to better serve the needs of Toronto in the 21stcentury. I’m also in favour of term limits for councillors to encourage ongoing influx of top talent and ideas.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes. I’m for a fair and open tender process.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Eliminating it. The city must work towards developing a new relation with the provincial and federal governments to ensure there is sustainable funding for Toronto. At the same time, the City must become more efficient.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    We need a comprehensive strategy for economic and social development that includes all levels of government. We have to plan for the future. My vision for Ward 6 is the redevelopment of former industrial and underdeveloped sites into business hubs that will provide employment to local communities and beyond.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    In my view, the mayoral candidates’ transit proposals fall short of what the city of Toronto needs. We need leadership and a bold vision to create a transit strategy that can move us forward into the future and at par with other metropolis. One that includes subways, is integrated with a regional transportation system and includes the adoption of smart technologies. Transit in Toronto cannot be looked at in isolation. It will require sustainable funding involving the provincial and federal governments.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    My advice for the team is to work with labour unions to ensure that the city continues to improve on service delivery and adopts best practices. The City must also provide the support and the right platform for all employees to become more innovative and effective.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I favour public-private partnerships; one that is based on a clear set of rules and regulations to protect the interest of the public and private investors. Partnerships can happen anywhere.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Residents have shared with me a number of issues impacting their daily life and communities, from lack of safety, to congestion, pollution, and poor transit, to unplanned urban development. One of the things that consistently comes up is residents’ disillusion with how the City is run and lack of trust in elected officials. Residents I talked to agree that we need change and we must focus on the future that requires a vision and a long term strategy to place Ward 6 and the City on the right path.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    No. This is a terrible idea given the many programs and infrastructure needs facing the city. I do, however, support mitigating property tax hikes by working for the implementation of a city progressive income tax, creating a property surtax on the luxury homes of the wealthy and through the imposition of road tolls on non-residents entering the city by car, among other things.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I do not regard this as a priority. Rob Ford’s gravy train turned out to be a myth, as I predicted in 2010, and searching out so-called “waste” really usually means cutting programs.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    No. Reducing the size of City Council means reducing political representation and power for Torontonians and our diverse local communities and neighbourhoods. Why would anyone support this?

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    No. To quote my campaign website:

    A fundamental part of the right wing austerity agenda is to make public services private. Eventually they would like to see all government privatised and run for the profit of corporations and Bay St. instead of for the needs of the community. They want to drive down wages and make the people pay for what should be free services.
    If elected to council I will fight not only against the further privatization of any public services, including garbage collection, but also to put back into public hands all services that have been privatized.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I support it.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    We need a job creation plan centred around the building of new infrastructure and transit (both of which would create many new, good-paying jobs), new city programs and services and the stimulus to the local economy that would result from bringing in a municipal minimum wage of $15 an hour and a Living Wage Ordinance. Workers, unlike the well-to-do and the wealthy, spend most of their income on food, services, entertainment, etc and do so in their local communities.

    The is no better job creation stimulus plan than living wages for all!

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I believe in using dedicated revenue streams such as the ones listed above to fund transit expansion as well as a universal fare reduction strategy with the goal of free transit as exists in Tallinn, Estonia. I will fight to get the province and federal government to pay their fair share of this, in part by diverting funds used to subsidize car usage.

    I also believe that LRTs provide better service for far less money for most (though not all) neighbourhoods and I would support reverting to the original plan for a Scarborough LRT.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    I am opposed to the disgraceful race-to-the-bottom wage cutting agenda of Bay St. City workers work hard and deserve fair and regular wage and benefit increases. No one in the community benefits when wages are cut and money is taken out of the economy.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    No.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Transit. As Councillor I will work to bring back the Waterfront West LRT plan for our community and for an affordable transit fare agenda for the TTC whose goal would be free transit.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes I do.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I do not know I did not deal with the city budget but I am sure there is allot of ways in the budget to find savings.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Yes. Only if the people have a say in a referendum in city hall they are the tax payers they should have a say on city issues.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes. The city should be our own contractors we would save allot of money cutting out the middleman on projects that the city has.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Yes. I do.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    We will do our own infrastructure work, we will hire Torontonians that want to work.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    On funding we can start a new city of Toronto lottery, and we can sell Toronto made wines, beers and spirits that would taste better then any other one on the market. sell T shirts of Toronto that is done by the city. The city can buy T shirts for a 1 dollar and sell them 5 dollars and on other products that the city can generate money. Plus any companies that want to participate can buy there own streetcars or subway and advertise there name on its transportation or rent cheap advertising space on the transportation so everyone can afford to place an ad on the T.T.C.    I can show them how to do that at least I am thing on how we can make money Plus I want to do an experiment that the city will make money without the tax payer support of funding money.

    On transit change, we can build cheaper infrastructure and make more transit lines and faster service plus we can get rid of metro links which they are dictating what to do and buy for this city which is costing tax payers money metro links have to be paid to, we do not need a middleman to tell us what to do. The city of Toronto can make there own customize streetcars and subways and buses that we can and will save tax payers money and create jobs in Toronto.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Keep the labour people as they are. If there is a restructuring the people can be trained on new jobs but if they do not want the position they will be laid off. And on new hires the people will work as contractors as the city is getting out of the business on handling pensions . The people can find institutions to handle there money.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes I do on T.T.C. and on garbage the city can save money  and make money at the same time one mans garbage is another mans gold we can make products from garbage.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    I will start a new referendum so people will tell me what to do at city hall on major issues.

    I will also build a website so all the people in my community in Ward 6 they can post their link on the website, so if the people wants to have a garage sale or post jobs, or need a handyman or a women to work for you, or find shops and stores, plus need community information on activities and programs, and services.  And let the people know what is happening in the community on anything an everything  I will post it on the website. I want the people to participate so they do not have to go outside of the community if they want, to do something or buy something.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Toronto is now the 4th largest city in North America, after Mexico City, New York and Los Angeles.  New York City (NYC) provides a good city management model for comparison.  For example, the NYC has 235 positions in the Planning Department with plans to reduce staff, whereas the City of Toronto Planning Department has more than 300 positions with plans to add more staff.

    The NYC Planning Commission reviews and provides NYC Council with recommendations on nearly 500 public and private development applications each year.  NYC planning processes are streamlined, democratic and efficient.  The performance of the City of Toronto Planning Department does not match that of New York City, and major legislative and management reforms need to occur, which will result in financial efficiencies.  This exercise of comparison with New York City and other jurisdictions needs to be continued.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    New York City (NYC) has 8.3 million people and 51 City Councillors.  Toronto has 2.6 million people and 43 City Councillors.  Proportionally, Toronto is clearly “top-heavy”.

    Each Toronto City Councillor is allocated more than $450,000 (2013 budget) annually in the City budget for a total of $19.7 million for 43 Councillors.  They would like to increase the number of Councillors.  The question is, will increasing the number of Councillors (more of the same) and related costs provide substantial, or incremental, improvement in management for the City?  The answer is “incremental”, at best.

    The solution is to reform City management by creating Community Districts and Community Boards, based on the New York City model.  You can then create 23 Community Districts based on the Provincial Ridings’ boundaries, with Community Boards, each having a City Councillor and up to 50 citizen members on their Community Board.

    The 23 Community Boards will be funded by the $9.2 million re-allocated from the elimination of 20 Councillors, who will be replaced by 1,150 citizens on Community Boards, to hold public meetings, and to subsequently provide information and recommendations to City Council on all City matters.

    This will result in vastly improved and inclusive public consultation, efficiency in the flow and exchange of information, identification of further options and solutions to problems, better oversight and management of city operations within communities, and obtaining far more benefit from the current expenditures for Toronto City Councillors.  To review draft legislation for Toronto Community Boards, see: www.peggymouldercampaign2014.com.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Which communities will be affected by this proposal?  With Community District Boards in place (as discussed in #3 above), meetings should take place within the affected communities to discuss the pros and cons, and find out from the residents, who are very knowledgeable about the physical layout of their neighbourhoods, what they think will work and what may not work.

    With Community Boards in place, all information is provided on the proposals at public meetings; minutes of the public meetings are recorded; the Community Boards of the affected communities then take a recorded vote and provide a written recommendation to City Council on the proposal.  This is how all subject matters affecting citizens and their neighbourhoods should be handled.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Yes, I will support reducing it.  If the City is relying on this Tax for general operations, then other funds will have to be found to replace this source of funding.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Communities need to consider and build on the attributes within their communities which can attract business and new jobs.  In South Etobicoke, we have the waterfront, cultural heritage, a community college, and employment lands which can all be levered to attract tourism, visitors and new business.

    We need to reform City government so that our community visions are not thwarted by City Councillors and support staff at Toronto City Hall, who, for example, often dictate demolition of our cultural heritage buildings because they cannot recognize the economic value.

    We also have the PanAm Games in 2015 which will put Toronto in the spotlight.  We all will need to put our best foot forward and promote Toronto as a city of opportunities.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    There are two current detailed reports on transit:  the Metrolinx Investment Strategy and the Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel Report, each recommending various funding options for transit.  The funding from these options is to be dedicated to transit and for no other use:

    (a) capped increases to gas and fuel taxes from 0.5-0.10cents/L

    (b) a modest increase in Corporate Income Taxes

    (c) transfer of a portion of the HST on gas and fuel

    (d) increase Development Charges to fund transit

    (e) pay-for-parking at transit stations

    (f) use of municipal borrowing capacity and debt at a debt-to-revenue ratio of 2.5 to 1, and applied to debt retirement upon completion of projects

    (g) federal government investment.

    I would support some reasonable configuration of any of these funding options.  We cannot get the City moving without funding.

    The City has requested changes to the Metrolinx Board to include municipal and citizen representation, and greater consultation with the GTHA municipalities.

    Proposals concerning transit and funding should also be reviewed at public hearings within (23 proposed) Toronto Community Districts, with minutes of the meetings recorded, and proposals subsequently voted on by the Community Boards, with a written report to City Council to form part of the public record on transit and transit funding.  These public meetings would include teams of City, TTC and Metrolinx staff assigned to the particular Community District to provide information and participate in the discussions.

    In our Ward 6, a draft transit proposal has been created by one of our residents, Paul Chomik, P.Eng. following many resident discussion groups over the years, and forwarded to the TTC Chair, TTC General Manager and Metrolinx, identifying areas for improvement and expansion of services for public transit in our neighbourhoods.  “Big Ideas” from our citizens and communities must be encouraged and discussed at the Community level through Community Boards, and then elevated to City Council once the “Big Idea” is supported by the Community Boards.  New York City has benefited from Community Boards for the last 45 years.  Toronto is a half-century behind with respect to democratic and efficient government.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    The City of Toronto employs 35,000 people:  20,000 full-time and 15,000 part-time.  The remaining 2.6 million residents pay their salaries, which are generous in these times when there is widespread unemployment.  I would kindly ask that everyone be reasonable and fair.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Too often P3’s prove to be more costly to taxpayers by 15% on average than with traditional procurement methods.  This has been the case with Presto, eHealth and ORNGE.  Studies show that the Provincial Government has overpaid on 28 P3 projects by about $1 billion, with no real idea of the risks they may be assuming (Siemiatycki-Farooqi-2012).

    Governments have the resources to hire appropriately experienced lawyers and professionals who can create and review contracts that protect the public interest.  Clearly, City politicians and support staff have a responsibility to ensure all contract proposals, P3 or otherwise, are carefully scrutinized by appropriate professionals to protect the public interest, and to ensure that citizens are receiving good quality products and services at a fair price.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    A recent poll of our area identified transportation as the top issue for residents in Ward 6.  As noted in #7 above, I support a draft plan for transit prepared by one of our residents, Paul Chomik, P.Eng. for South Etobicoke in response to residents’ concerns.  Important transportation issues to be addressed are:

    • Re-instatement of the Long Branch 507 streetcar to Dundas West Subway Station will connect residents more quickly to the subway system and avoid the traffic congestion experienced with the streetcars on Queen St West to Yonge St
    • A new GO Station for Humber Bay and a Humber Loop Transit Hub
    • Bicycle lanes and cycle tracks are required for the safety of cyclists and to create fully connected bicycle routes in South Etobicoke and throughout the City of Toronto

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I absolutely believe that there should be a property tax cap as there are many people in the area who are on fixed incomes.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    We need to cut back on non-essential items. Secondly, when contracts are awarded, companies must stay within their given price, there are no overages. A review of the management structure within the City of Toronto programs is reviewed to determine if there is duplication of service at the higher levels of management.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Yes, I believe that we should be able to cut the council in half to equal 22. I believe that a smaller quorum can accomplish more, this would save the City over 2 Million dollars annually.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I live in the former City of Etobicoke and we had outsourcing of garbage for many years. We have had continual service and it has been proven to be a cost savings.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    In an ideal world the Land Transfer tax would be eliminated however it generates too much revenue for the City but I would support a reduction.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    I would work with companies in the private section and offer incentives to promote job growth in our community.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I am currently not a transit user as my job requires me to travel, I would be interested in reviewing the current services and making sure the necessary funds are being put towards the areas that need it most.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    The City Councillors should take the lead and not accept any increase to their salaries. I would suggest that we do not offer any increase to the workers that would be greater than the cost of living.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    These developers should be asked to set a side a percentage of their profits or units to be used towards the construction or refurbishing of affordable housing.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    In talking to the people in ward 6, the biggest issue is a disconnect between the city and its residents. I would have an open phone and door policy with my constituents and would encourage them to meet with me to discuss their issues and how we can resolve them.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Absolutely! With a “tax freedom day” mid-year there is no appetite for taxpayers to pay a penny above the Statistic’s Canada inflation rate for that would give folks less disposable income transcending to job losses and hampering prosperity.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Prioritizing transit funds over expensive sports complexes, suspension damaging speed bumps, ritzy brick intersection side walks, and privatization where union’s don’t work with the city -for example new agreements bringing in new personel at City Departments at a lower compensation freeing up funds to eleviate transit gridlock. We always hear’ “well in this or that region police or firefighters earn more”; however, compared to neighbouring New York State municipal employees Toronto’s personel are well compensated. Scrutinizing crime in Toronto and when on decline accordingly have it reflected in the large police services budget for that would be prudent.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I sense their is an inadequate consensus on Council to cut the number of councilors in our rapidly expanding city; however, would certainly not agree with any increase in councillors as we see happening with M.P.’s in the House of Commons. Candidly, I doubt a reduction would serve the City well as councillors are on the front lines of representation and halfing councillors size as has been suggested would not be sound policy when so many are immigrating to our great city every year.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Without question, lets contract out garbage, and any department where evidence from other municipalities that took such initaitives shows potential savings over the status quo.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Unlike Councilor Grimes, I did not support it although it now seems to be gaining momentum as a “revenue tool” (let’s call a tax a tax) as Premier Wynne calls them outside of Toronto bring us to an equilibrium with neighbouring municipalities. Mayor Ford’s reign has brought us unprecedented residential development in Toronto and I certainly wouldn’t want to see all those construction jobs axed by spiralling transfer tax fees and development levies that I believe Olivia Chow as Mayor would unleash.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Simple economics, lower taxes = greater disposable income for products and services accelerating job growth.  The O.M.B.  and the City requiring more commercial units in new condo developments would certain help and objecting to the re-assignment of commercial business properties to residential units where the areas have insufficient local retail space to meet the demands of a growing population.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I am a regular TTC bus, streetcar, and subway commuter, yet also enjoy the liberty of travel afforded by my automobile, and believe the utilizers of a service should pay for it and bridge the gap between provincial, federal, and municipal transit procurements.  A federal government going into surplus may be instrumental helping with Toronto’s overdue transit infrastructure modernization granted that it is a preferred destination in Canada for many immigrants..  Service quality needs to improve when TTC bus and streetcar schedules at the Humber Loop for example show frequency of every 10 minutes when streetcars and buses are often a 1/2 hour or more apart and then two streetcars following each other with the second one empty is an example of waste or poor coordination of drivers.  If you want to increase ridership you can’t have people standing outside getting frostbite because of these irregularities.  Police prioritization of clearing-up accidents blocking TTC rail lines and of tagging and towing vehicles for example in the winter along Queen Street where with plowed snow piles many motorists actually leave their vehicles at a proximately from the curb where they obstruct passage of streetcars -this has got to change!

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    There are limits to what government can tax, spend, and borrow as even N.D.P. Premier Bob Rae admitted; therefore, give unionized employees job security in exchange for reasonable contract settlements without costly arbitration as B.C. Premier Clark did with the teacher’s unions.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Indeed I do, where developers wish to develop on, near, or adjoining municipal transit projects where they will thrive and be a partner in new transit stations, where we can build commercial rental spaces in the system that generate revenue why not welcome those opportunities.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The irregularity of the 501 Streetcar scheduling must be addressed!  The narrow walkway at the Humber Loop Tunnel over to the Sobey’s Shopping centure inhibits pedestrian access to these business as it is difficult to manouver through it from Humber Bay Shores rampantly growing condo developments for those with grocery carts, walkers or wheelchairs, and babycarriages where there is simply no room for passage in this over 1/2 century old “rusty-railed walkway”.  This is an example of infrastructure upgrades that would accelerate commerce in our community.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Absolutely, I support property tax capping without any increase if at all possible.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I believe there is a rather large amount to be saved in office and councilor expenses.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Yes, I believe if there are councillors continually not present to vote on issues then these councillors are not a necessary part of the Toronto City Council.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes, contracting out garbage collection has improved the collection by being much timelier and less costly. I believe the same could be accomplished by contracting out mail delivery, and then mail may actually be delivered within two business days between major cities as well as within the GTA itself.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Yes, I believe that the Municipal Land Transfer Tax is way too high, if it is possible to eliminate it completely that would be the perfect solution.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    If excess taxes can be found by cutting back on administrative and councilor expenses, then there should be a much larger Personal Support Worker program for our disabled and seniors.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I would remove the archaic streetcars for safety reasons as well as easing the traffic congestion. The excess funds from the running and maintenance of the streetcars can be put into more buses on the streets until the subways can be built. Yes, the current transit planning process is not viable for a city the size of Toronto. The new streetcars are a ridiculous and costly mistake as they will be no different in running and maintenance costs as the current streetcars. The future transit should be underground as above ground is too congested.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    The city labourers should not be paid any higher than the average private equivalent positions.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes, essential utilities, i.e. Hydro, Gas, and Water; to bring the cost of these utilities to affordable rates.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The lack of community spirit is the biggest concern. People need more family and musical street events and neighbourhood watch promotion.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes I do support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    In order to find significant savings in the current budget the Police Budget will need to be addressed. At $1.1 billion and 11.3% of the City’s Operating Budget, changes need to be made.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    No I do not support reducing the size of Toronto City Council because I do not believe it will improve how council operates.Bringing in term limits will improve how council works, 2 terms for the Mayor and 3 terms for councillors.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes I will support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street. If it can be shown that contracting out other services will save the city money than that’s what we will do.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I do support in the gradual elimination of the Municipal Land Transfer Tax.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    As executive director of the West Queen West BIA (WQW), I have demonstrated that even with a limited budget, you can bring prosperity and jobs to an area. In fact Vogue magazine declared WQW the 2nd most happening neighborhood in the World.With the work that I have done, with businesses, residents, building owners, tenants, artists, the City, and the list goes on, WQW has developed into an area that has almost no vacancies, we have brought business and employment to WQW. For Toronto to prosper its neighborhoods need to prosper.It took long hours, hard work, commitment and an ability to bring folks with different political agendas together, but in the end we were able to highlight ourstrengths; the areas strengths; and we used those strengths to bring success to the WQW. To bring employment to an area, a ward, and a city, takes a certain set of skills, and those are skills that I have proven that I posses

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Transit funding needs a consistent and reliable funding source, and that means a dedicated tax.I believe that once council votes a transit decision, it should not keep getting re-opened in order to make changes.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    The Council’s budget goals should be the driving force behind the negotiations.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    If it can be shown that there would be benefits to the city than we should look at them.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The top concern(s) for Ward 6 residents are transit, sewage, traffic, roads, day care and all the rest of what makes up our infrastructure. With all the new condo development the infrastructure in Ward 6 is being stretched to its limits.In order for Ward 6 to get all the work that needs to be done; actually done, you need to make those points at council meetings. You cannot be absent from council almost a third of the time. I will be at council to make sure Ward 6 concerns are heard and dealt with.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes! Citizen tax dollars need to be respected. Tax increases need to make sense. Proper planning and informed decisions will help reduce wasteful spending.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Freezing Councillors’ wages for a few years.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I believe at this point council size should remain the same.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I have received positive responses about our current, private garbage collection system. I would support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I do not like the tax! I would be willing to consider reducing a portion of the Municipal Land Transfer tax to help first time home buyers.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    I would insist that any new development incorporates new businesses with increased employment.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I personally like a short term plan of adding additional bus service and in long term having subways installed. I would seek participation from all levels of government to create a separate fund for transit. I would even use Section 37 funding for additional revenue.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Be fair to everyone involved. An increase must make since and must be affordable to the taxpayers.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes! For example, study the feasibility of using of our waterfront by creating a water taxi service using public and private partnership to help reduce traffic congestion.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Ensuring our precious tax dollars are spent wisely.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 5 – Etobicoke-Lakeshore

The Incumbent:

James Maloney (appointed)

The Race

Ward 5 was represented for many years by a capable Councillor in Peter Milczyn. With the departure of interim Councillor James Maloney, this ward has the opportunity to elect a fresh, fiscally responsible voice. There are mixed opinions on cutting the size of City Council and eliminating the Land Transfer Tax, but we’re pleased to see broad support for finding efficiencies in government and holding firm on labour negotiations.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Magda Chelminska, Tony D’Aversa

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Bowie, Guy Yes
    Desilets, Raymond No
    Di Ciano, Justin Yes
    Lehto, George Yes
    Melnyk, Walter Yes
    Samac, Nikola Yes
    Surma, Kinga Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Bowie, Guy Improve processes, technology, and finding balance in the ratio of management to staff in all departments.
    Desilets, Raymond We have a revenue problem, not a spending problem. Property taxes are low and have been declining when adjusted for inflation.
    Di Ciano, Justin Re-structuring middle management and bring accountability to the role of Manager.
    Lehto, George Bring down the number of people relying on city assistance by increasing the employment based. Can be accomplished through training programs. Attract small business and get youth working.
    Melnyk, Walter Change the budget process
    Samac, Nikola Councillor salaries and expense accounts
    Surma, Kinga There should be a budget review at the beginning of every term. Assess which city services can be prioritized.


  • Candidate Response
    Bowie, Guy Yes
    Desilets, Raymond No
    Di Ciano, Justin No
    Lehto, George No
    Melnyk, Walter Yes
    Samac, Nikola Yes
    Surma, Kinga Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Bowie, Guy Yes, also for police services
    Desilets, Raymond No
    Di Ciano, Justin Yes
    Lehto, George No
    Melnyk, Walter Yes
    Surma, Kinga Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Bowie, Guy Will consider reducing or eliminating
    Desilets, Raymond No
    Di Ciano, Justin No without revenue to replace it
    Lehto, George Reduce the tax for first-time buyers
    Melnyk, Walter Yes to eliminating
    Samac, Nikola Will consider if savings are found elsewhere
    Surma, Kinga Yes to elimination


  • Candidate Response
    Bowie, Guy Research how other cities in North America used innovative approaches to bring business to cities.
    Desilets, Raymond Invest in infrastructure and public services. No race to the bottom with subsidies and tax cuts. Continue to invest in successful existing industries. Lobby provincial and federal governments for a long-term industrial strategy.
    Di Ciano, Justin Raise the minimum raise to $15/hour so there is more disposable income to spend creating new jobs.
    Lehto, George Lower commercial property taxes. Streamline bureaucracy for business ventures. Develop new relationships with world entrepreneurs.
    Melnyk, Walter Broad and aggressive initiatives for economic development.
    Samac, Nikola Tax incentives for small business and corporations.
    Surma, Kinga Reduce commercial and business taxes. Address traffic congestion so it doesn't affect businesses operating in the city.


  • Candidate Response
    Bowie, Guy The political process has caused confusion in moving ahead. Provincial and federal governments need to help fund transit.
    Desilets, Raymond Develop four other urban growth centres to balance transit load. Need to identify commuting pattens before building transit. Province should continue to fund Metrolinx and provide funding for local Toronto transit. Toronto should also issue long term debt to avoid sharp tax or fare increases.
    Di Ciano, Justin Funding requires investment from all three levels of government. Transit system must use all forms of transportation.
    Lehto, George Municipal, provincial, and federal governments need to share in responsibility to build transit. Light rail transit over subways.
    Melnyk, Walter Use reserve funds. All 3 levels of government should find money.
    Samac, Nikola Yes to changing transit planning
    Surma, Kinga Expand the subway system because it is the fastest and most convenient mode of transit. Would only support new revenue tools if dedicated to transit expansion.


  • Candidate Response
    Bowie, Guy Fair compromise and realistic expectations from unions.
    Desilets, Raymond City workers deserve to get paid as well as private sector counterparts.
    Di Ciano, Justin City employee performance levels should be compared to private sector performance levels.
    Lehto, George Negotiating very little in wage increases is the new economic reality.
    Melnyk, Walter Need to be less afraid of union strike threats
    Samac, Nikola No more money to be given. Privatize more city services?
    Surma, Kinga Will request to sit on the labour committee so best results for taxpayers are accomplished.


  • Candidate Response
    Bowie, Guy Will consider with cautious and detailed analysis.
    Desilets, Raymond Will consider on a case by case basis.
    Di Ciano, Justin No because the city is not business friendly enough for partnerships to flourish.
    Lehto, George No
    Melnyk, Walter Yes, for TCHC
    Samac, Nikola Yes
    Surma, Kinga Yes and they should always be explored


  • Candidate Response
    Bowie, Guy Traffic congestion and transit as it affects quality of life.
    Desilets, Raymond Etobicoke Centre has been designated as an Urban Growth Centre for intensification and re-development. Residents should have their say on design and amenities.
    Di Ciano, Justin For a full list of issues visit www.justindiciano.ca
    Lehto, George Reasonable condo development. Put the needs of residents ahead of the developers. Also, road safety and traffic calming solutions.
    Melnyk, Walter Will introduce a Taxpayers Bill of Rights at Council.
    Samac, Nikola Expansion of care programs for seniors and employment programs for youth. Responsible development of the Queensway and Six Points.
    Surma, Kinga Traffic, keeping taxes low, development, and illegal body rub parlours.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes, I am in favour of property tax hikes at or below the rate of inflation.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I believe that savings can still be found in making all city departments more efficient and productive through improved processes, technologies and by finding balance in the ratio of management to staff.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I support the reduction in size of Toronto City Council and I believe that council can operate just as well with some adjustment to ensure that constituent services are not negatively impacted by the new boundaries.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes, I support the contracting out of garbage collection east of Yonge Street. Another area that would save taxpayers money would be the paid duty services currently provided by Toronto police. Much of this can be handled by private security firms at a fraction of the cost we currently pay.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I was not in favour of the increase to the Land Transfer Tax and I support looking at reducing or eliminating this in the future. However, given our current dependence on this tax, we would first need to look at the impact on the city budget and areas where we can reduce costs and find savings to make up for its loss.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    I believe that we need to research how other cities in North America have used innovative approaches to attracting new businesses into the city. The United States have certainly suffered heavily over the last few years and many cities have had to struggle with this employment issue. Their experiences can help us to come up with solutions most likely to succeed.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I believe that the Transit planning process is sound…it seems that the political process is causing confusion and gridlock in regards to moving ahead. The funding of transit will certainly involve the Federal and Provincial governments and we need to rely on them to assist in building this infrastructure so that it will benefit all Ontarians and the economy as a whole.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Be tough and know that the people of Toronto expect fair compromise and realistic expectations from the unions given the current fiscal climate.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I believe that P3’s can be attractive but they are still controversial and the jury is still out as to how effective they are and how beneficial they are to the public interest and the ultimate cost the public ends up paying. Each potential P3 initiative would require very cautious and detailed analysis.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    It seems, from my discussions with the residents of Ward 5, that there are a number of top issues depending on which part of the Ward you address. However, overall, I would say that traffic congestion and transit issues rank the highest…especially given the number of high density developments going on in the area. Traffic congestion and Transit have an enormous impact on our quality of life. It places stress on people, their families….recreation time, time spent with children and the list goes on. I would work to address this by building a world class transit system that encourages people to use as a first choice, and I would work to employ the latest “Smart” technology when it comes to managing the flow of traffic on our streets.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    As the city’s density increases, the cost per capita of providing services should go down. Therefore, tax increases greater than the rate of inflation should not be necessary to cover operations. However, this may not be true for program spending and infrastructure investment. I accept that no one wants to pay more tax and that all levels of government must be fiscally prudent. But on the other hand, we never stop to consider the reason why our property values go up. It isn’t just inflation and there is no housing bubble. It’s because Toronto is a very desirable place to live, it occupies a finite geographical space, and the more that people want to live here the higher our property values will go. But to keep that trend going, we need to invest to our infrastructure, public spaces, and public services. Under current provincial and federal government intensification and immigration policies, we can’t have our cake and eat it too. We can’t have higher property values driven by a high demand from people wanting to live in Toronto coupled with lower property taxes especially when we are so far behind schedule in building the required supporting infrastructure. Toronto has the lowest property taxes in all the GTA. We have the capacity to increase them to build a better city.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    For years we were led to believe that Toronto stands at the edge of a fiscal cliff. As it turns out, there is no fiscal cliff. There never was one either as argued by a pair of professors at the University of Toronto’s Institute for Municipal Finance and Governance. Professors Enid Slack and Andre Cote made a very clear and compelling case in August that Toronto does not have a spending problem and that its property taxes are low and have been declining when adjusted for inflation. There are other reports as well that come to the similar conclusions. So it seems we have a revenue problem and not a spending problem. Local politicians are doing the taxpayers a great disservice when telling them that we can build mass transportation systems and other infrastructure projects and we can pay for it all by finding efficiencies in the budget.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Not at all. I expect that if I’m elected Ward 5 councillor most of my time will be dedicated to dealing with local ward issues. I suspect that is the case with other candidates and ward councillors. The wards are big enough already.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    No. Once the city disposes of all its garbage collection equipment, it will lose all of its bargainingpower and will be at the mercy of the private garbage collection contractors. All the cost saving of contracting out will be lost. As far as other services go, I would have to look at them on a case by case basis.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    No. Why aren’t residents of Toronto outraged about paying 5% of the value of their homes to real estate agents. Homeowners are willing to pay $40,000 on an $800,000 sale to a real estate agent and for what? … a sign on the front lawn, a few pictures uploaded online and advertised in the local paper, an open house or two, and completing a standard form with a few initials and signatures. What kind of value for money is that? At least the money raised through the Land Transfer Tax goes to city building and programs. Where does the real estate commission go? How about we as home and property owners change our terms with the Toronto Real Estate Board and real estate agents with the following opening proposal: a combined 5% sales commission and LTT. The real estate agent can keep whatever is left after the LTT is paid.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Unlike provincial and federal governments, the City doesn’t have fiscal and monetary tools to create jobs. But, it doesn’t mean we can’t do anything. First, we must continue to make Toronto an attractive place to live, work and conduct business. That doesn’t mean racing to the bottom with subsidies and tax cuts like our competitors in other jurisdictions. It means investing in our infrastructure and public services to retain our high quality of life and civility. Second, Toronto must continue to foster and promote its existing successful and competitive industries that provide many good high paying jobs. Third, Toronto must lobby the provincial and federal governments to develop a long termindustrial strategy that will restore some of our lost manufacturing jobs. And finally, I support the Province and City’s plans to intensify the suburbs where many newcomers settle and lower income people live. I firmly believe that developing the four urban growth centers into real mixed use communities will provide many employment, educational, social and cultural opportunities for those who live nearby. Good, stable, and well payable jobs are an important factors in eliminating employment and poverty

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    The larger a city gets, the less the private car remains a viable mass transportation solution in terms of costs and space. We need to focus on moving people and not cars. Also, building a mass public transportation system designed to move people to and from one central location doesn’t make sense either. We must discourage additional downtown development and start developing the four other urban growth centers in Toronto to balance the transit load. Rather than drawing lines on a map and before committing billions of dollars, the provincial government should survey everyone in the GTA to determine where they live, where they usually go and how they currently get there. Once we identify commuting patterns, then we can start building mass regional transit rather than building transit in the hope that people use it. Furthermore, we must make a distinction between regional transit and local transit. That process has already begun what with Metrolinx and its expansion. Metrolinx should continue to be funded by the province. And given that the province funds Metrolinx, GO, and other regional systems that feed into the TTC, then it also has an obligation to provide serious funding for the TTC – fair is fair. Pressure should also be applied to the federal government for funding. Torontonians will also be required to contribute. The city has the capability to issue long term debt so minimize the need for sharp tax and fare increases. In the meantime, let’s consider local transit solutions like myQueensway Express Streetcar proposal that are affordable, efficient, and quick to deploy and can be funded by the city and TTC.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    We have a highly skilled and educated city workforce that is the envy of any large metropolitan city in the world. The evidence of this can be seen every day in how civil, orderly, and efficiently this city works. Furthermore, there is very little evidence of corruption and kickbacks that plague other cities even in our own country. Therefore, city workers deserve to get paid as well as their private sector counterparts.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I am suspicious of P3sgiven that there is ample evidence to indicate that governments tend to privatize the profits and socialize the costs and even the losses. Highway 407 comes to mind. With that said, I’m not fundamentally opposed to them and would consider them on a case by case basis.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Etobicoke Centre has been designated by the Province and the City as an “Urban Growth Centre.” That means 1.69 sq. km. of land will be intensified and redeveloped to the accommodate some 67,000 people and/or jobs. Add to this a Metrolinx -TTC Mobility Hub at Kipling Station, it is the single most important development project in Ward 5 and one of the most ambitious in Toronto both today and for the next 20 years. Although it’s not off to a particularly good start, there is still time for Ward 5 residents to have their say on many of the design details and amenities. We can and must develop a community that combines the best qualities of urban and suburban living and not just another cluster of condos.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes I do. Taxpayers have a responsibility to operating a vibrant and functioning city, so do the politicians elected to manage the public purse. Capping the rate of future tax hikes to the rate of inflation is a fair and sustainable approach.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Restructuring middle management, and bringing accountability to the actual role of Manager. Working as closely as I do with City of Toronto Officials, its very easy to see that there are far to many people in charge in the same roles. Further when a manager is compensated with bonuses and raises regardless of performance it clearly shows a lack of organization efficiency which directly affects the value received by taxpayers.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I think a better structure would be to have the same amount of councillors city wide, they can all participate at their respective community councils and three councillors from each community council can represent that community council at city hall.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    It seems that contracting out garbage 4 years ago saved taxpayers money and service remained stable and effective. I would like to further explore contracting out of other services across all city departments. The taxpayer expects their elected officials to look at delivering services with the best possible value.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Although I just recently purchased a home in Ward 5, and had to pay the Toronto portion of the land transfer tax, which was not fun, I cant see eliminating the tax until we find revenue to replace it.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Raise the minimum wage to $15.00. Seattle did the same and they are now the fastest growing city in North America. When people have money they spend it. When they spend it, it means news Jobs.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Funding transit for Canada’s largest city requires investment from all three levels of Government. I believe a transit system that utilizes all forms of public transportation (Subways, Buses, LRTS, Trains) is best.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    have the negotiator compare city employee performance levels to private sector union  employee performance.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    There is a lot of talk of public private partnerships. Mayor Ford talked about it last campaign and he’s talking about it this campaign and the past four years I really don’t know that any meaningful partnerships flourished. The city IS NOT business friendly. Its actually almost impossible to get anything through the city in a way that makes sense for business. It is a direct result of 4 levels of management that serve to slow the process down, and end up with decisions and policies that are not friendly to business and the best interests of residents. I do not think the circumstances are there at the city for real effect private public partnerships to flourish.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    for a full look at the issues in Ward 5, please visit www.justindiciano.ca

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I support a property tax cap. As a property tax payer for the past ten years, I feel that most people do not want and cannot afford an increase in their property taxes. Many feel they have very little left once mortgage payments, utilities, and family expenses are paid.

    Most homeowners want property tax increases to be implemented at the rate of inflation.

    As your councillor, I would fight for the cap to be put in place.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I would like to see how we can improve  the types and number of programs the City has to offer. There are always better ways to structure and deliver services. Finding innovative solutions to the way we deliver services needs to be examined in all areas. Seeking solutions that have worked in other parts of Canada and the rest of the world should be explored.

    Our second highest expenditure from the operating budget is Toronto Employment and Social Services. We need to bring down the number of people relying on assistance. While this is not an easy objective to achieve, I believe we need to increase the employment base in Toronto and ensure people have the skills employers desire.  People should be set up in training programs that actually match the jobs available in the labour market.

    Attracting small businesses to Toronto and keeping them here needs to be a priority. Getting youth working is another important component of reducing this part of the budget. Building strong relationships with employers and expanding apprenticeship programs, need to be part of an overall plan.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    A city council consisting of 44 members can be unworkable at times. One significant problem in a ward system is that council members tend to represent the narrower needs of the ward at the expense of the needs of the City.  They sometimes work at cross purposes.  Comparable cities would be Chicago with 50 councillors and NewYork City with 51 councillors.

    We are all very familiar with the conflicts in City Hall. However, reducing the size also reduces a councillor’s ability to adequately respond to the multitude of varying needs of his/her constituents.

    If there were a reduction, I would want to see a very nominal amount reduced.

    We need strong mayoral leadership that can unite the various factions of council. Broad, yet united, vision and purpose can help alleviate many of the squabbles in Council. As your councillor, I see myself as someone who can be a voice of reason, conciliation, and action.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I don’t intend to contract out many of the current jobs in the City of Toronto. However, ensuring a high level of service delivery while balancing costs is the responsibility of a councillor to his/her constituents. I feel that I would be mandated to follow what would be in the best interests of my ward and, ultimately, my city.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The land transfer tax is an important source of revenue for the City.

    At the present time, I lean towards reducing it if the city can find other revenue streams that would offset the cost. We would want to find ways to possibly reduce the tax for first time buyers. It’s difficult enough for them to attain property ownership.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Great cities set up the right environment for entrepreneurs and companies to thrive. Toronto has many of the qualities that are attractive to employers. We already have a number of great qualities that the rest of the world envies. We are a multicultural-multilingual powerhouse. Our location on Lake Ontario is excellent. We have a population base that is one of the fourth largest in North America, and we are a rich source of intellectual wealth.

    However, we need to ensure that commercial property taxes are at a rate that is competitive with other municipalities surrounding the GTA. We don’t want to lose businesses because a neighboring municipality has a more favourable property tax.

    A stable, well run city hall is essential to attracting new business. The world needs to see that Toronto City Hall is a stable, progressive government. Our reputation has been tarnished in recent years.  We need to make it easier for small businesses to choose Toronto. We will need to streamline the bureaucracy for business ventures and continues business growth.

    We need to take a very aggressive approach to attracting employers to invest and start up in Toronto. The new mayor will need to take the reigns and lead this priority. We need to advertise, lobby and develop new relationships with the world’s entrepreneurs.

    Toronto needs to deal specifically with an extremely high youth unemployment rate. We need a very unified approach and it must be a focal point of the new council. Apprenticeship training and mentorship need to be expanded. We need to enhance our working relationships with the business community, and provincial and federal levels of government.

    I certainly don’t have all the solutions. Consulting our business and academic community is one of the best ways to find the most innovative solutions. They are the experts on job creation. Simply approaching problems using the methods we have always used will not work in this highly competitive global economy.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Toronto, both now and into the coming decades, will need to have a vastly larger and well connected public transit system than is currently in place. The Municipal, Provincial and Federal levels of government will need to share in the responsibility for an efficient transit system. The ablility to continue to manufacture subways, Go Trains, and street cars in Canada is a win win for the Private and Public sectors.

    The current council has been arguing about light rail vs subways. I think that we should go with light rail transit in many areas. It’s a more affordable and less disruptive alternative to subway construction.

    Funding from the province and the City will have to continue to ensure we make the large capital investments that are required for long term success of these projects.

    Losing precious time and the inevitable high costs will continue to sky rocket unless we act.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    I think most employees will need to realize that were are in tough financial times. The ability to negotiate very little in the way of increases is the new reality in the economy. An atmosphere of respectful negotiation works for labour and management.  It allows for a satisfactory solution to be arrived at for both parties.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    The data that I have examined on the issue of Public – Private partnerships has had mixed outcomes.  At this point, I do not see any viable opportunities.  I would review the merits of any proposals on a case by case basis.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    After listening to people at the doors while campaigning,  I believe that one of the key areas of concern for many constituents is reasonable condo development.  They would like to see condos that are not too high and  development that suits the buildings that are already in existence.

    I would regularly consult with residents about their concerns with regards to development. I would make it a part of my mandate to push the needs of the community ahead of the developers. I see mixed use development as the most viable and successful way to develop our ward.

    Many residents are concerned with road safety in residential neighbourhoods and finding traffic calming solutions.  There is a real concern to ensure drivers are following the set speeds.

    Public awareness and education of drivers needs to be part of any solution. Police enforcement of traffic laws, and structuring neighbourhoods in a way that naturally improves road safety create a more vibrant and safer community.

    The top issue in the city, I believe, are our infrastructure projects. People want to see city council take action to improve and expand our public transit network with a better system of street cars, subways and/or light rapid transit. Most people are frustrated with how difficult it is to get around the city by car or by public transit.  It’s important to consult traffic experts, engineers and the public to examine solutions to transit problems in our City.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    There should be no hikes whatsoever. Many other options exist.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    The budget process itself is faulty and needs to change.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Yes I do.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes, 100%. All programs should be scrutinized for better value and service.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Eliminate it because it is a disincentive for renters to own their home.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Broad and aggressive new initiatives for economic development.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    The city has huge reserves but pretends it’s a sacred cow. All three levels of government agree to find money.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    We need to be less afraid of union strike threats (look what they did to Detroit!).

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Considering partnerships for TCHC.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    People are fed up with tax! tax! tax! spend! spend! spend! waste! waste! waste! I pledge to introduce “Taxpayers Bill of Rights” at Council and get all councillors to endorse it, then post it in committee rooms and council chambers to guide council’s decision – making.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes I do

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    We need to trim some of the salaries from counsellors. And staff and cut down on the expense accounts

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Yes I do I definitely think more would be done and we wouldnt be constantly postponing and delaying important issues and bickering among ourselves

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes I will I think Parks and Rex should be given to a private contractors to take care of our parks

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Yes I would but we need to find saving somewhere else in order to replace the land transfer tax

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    More tax incentives for small businesses and corporations they’re the ones that they’re going to create the jobs promote Jobs apprenticeships

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Yes that should be priority to change the transit planning

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    There is no more money to be given maybe we need to privatize more city services

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes I do

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    encourage the expansion of care programs for our seniors and the employment programs for our youth safer and quieter neighbourhoods and responsible and consultative development of The Queensway and Six Points.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I believe that at the beginning of every term the City should conduct a budget review to determine where additional efficiencies can be found. The City should also conduct a report to determine which services the City could privatize in order to reduce budgetary pressures.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I support reducing the size of Council to 22 – to match the boundaries of federal and provincial ridings.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street. This has been done in Ward 5 and the services that have been provided function well. The City should explore contracting out park maintenance and cleaning services at public community centres.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I support eliminating the tax.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Council should reduce commercial and business taxes to prevent businesses from leaving Toronto. The City should also address traffic and congestion so that it does not affect businesses from operating in the City.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Transit expansion is the number one issue in this election. A decision will need to be made. It’s time for Council to finally make the right decision by supporting the transit system that will benefit the City the most in the long term. I will be advocating to expand the subway system. It is the fastest and the most convenient method of transportation. Should Council decide to implement a new revenue tool – I will only support it if it is allocated solely for transit expansion.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    I will request to sit on the labour committee so that I can work with the city’s negotiating team to ensure that the best results for taxpayers are accomplished.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    P3′s should always be explored.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    There are several concerns in Ward 5. Beyond traffic and keeping taxes low, development and the high number of illegal body rub parlours continue to be an issue for many residents. As the City Councillor, I will work diligently with the Police to ensure that all illegal body rub parlours are closed once the anti-prostitution legislation is fully implemented. I will also advocate for communities when development applications come forward.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 4 – Etobicoke Centre

The Incumbent:

Gloria Lindsay Luby

The Race

Councillor Gloria Lindsay-Luby is not running for re-election this year after serving as an Etobicoke City Councillor since 1985. This leaves Ward 4 with big shoes to fill and there are many good options in this list of candidates. Across the board, candidates are concerned with aging infrastructure in Etobicoke and intensification of condo developments. Good to note wide support for alternate service delivery.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: John Campbell, Rosemarie Mulhall, William Murdoch, Adam Slobodian

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Carnevale, Angelo No
    Christensen, Niels Yes
    Chun, Tony Yes
    Magno, Mario Yes
    Stockwell, Chris Yes
    Vidal-Calvet, Oscar Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Carnevale, Angelo Alternate service delivery for services such as administration, garbage collection east of Yonge St., and cutting the size of Council.
    Christensen, Niels Savings in the police department.
    Chun, Tony Everywhere, but fire and police departments specifically
    Magno, Mario 10% cut across all departments.
    Stockwell, Chris Privatize non-essential services. Review of middle management staff. Comprehensive review of services provided by the city to assess use by public.
    Vidal-Calvet, Oscar Expenditures must be analyzed in detail


  • Candidate Response
    Carnevale, Angelo Yes
    Christensen, Niels Yes
    Magno, Mario Yes
    Chun, Tony No
    Stockwell, Chris Yes
    Vidal-Calvet, Oscar Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Carnevale, Angelo Yes, also road repair services
    Christensen, Niels Yes
    Chun, Tony Yes, also park maintenance
    Magno, Mario Yes
    Stockwell, Chris Yes, also IT services, administrative services, and any other non-essential service.
    Vidal-Calvet, Oscar Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Carnevale, Angelo Yes to elimination
    Christensen, Niels Yes to reforming the tax
    Chun, Tony Yes to elimination
    Magno, Mario Will consider phasing out
    Stockwell, Chris Yes to reducing
    Vidal-Calvet, Oscar Yes to modifying


  • Candidate Response
    Carnevale, Angelo Offer incentives for small business to expand – property tax credits linked to job growth. Greater support to Business Improvement Areas across the city.
    Christensen, Niels Lower business and industrial tax rates
    Chun, Tony Low taxes, good infrastructure, easy access to Island Airport.
    Magno, Mario Encourage job creation through skilled trades program.
    Stockwell, Chris Competitive business property tax rate, reduce red tape in public service, competitive, educated workforce.
    Vidal-Calvet, Oscar Better education in schools and better training for workers.


  • Candidate Response
    Carnevale, Angelo In the short term, more buses. In the long term, subway expansion.
    Christensen, Niels Restore cancelled bus service in Etobicoke. Halt the proposed cancellation of the seniors' community bus in Etobicoke. Eglinton Crosstown should be underground. Against road tolls.
    Chun, Tony Elected officials must show leadership and vision when guiding the transit process.
    Magno, Mario All levels of government must be involved to create a steady, long-term funding plan.
    Vidal-Calvet, Oscar Build subways with commitments from provincial and federal governments.


  • Candidate Response
    Carnevale, Angelo Negotiate within parameters of budget.
    Christensen, Niels Negotiate to hold the lines on taxes at inflation.
    Chun, Tony Assemble the best possible team of negotiators
    Magno, Mario Fair wages without affecting the quality of service.
    Stockwell, Chris Be resolute in sticking to a policy position when negotiating with unions. Substituting pensions and benefits instead of a pay hike does not produce real savings.
    Vidal-Calvet, Oscar Groups that blackmail the system should not be benefitted.


  • Candidate Response
    Christensen, Niels Will consider but using P3s at the City's 311 centre is a start.
    Chun, Tony Would prefer contracting out as opposed to P3s
    Magno, Mario Yes, for example, land rights over subway stations
    Stockwell, Chris Yes, for example, air rights over subway stations and in social housing
    Vidal-Calvet, Oscar Yes, for example, in building subways and extension of the Gardiner


  • Candidate Response
    Carnevale, Angelo Crumbling city infrastructure linked to the damage from flooding. A community centre for seniors. Increased communication with local representatives.
    Christensen, Niels Intensification that is poorly planned. There needs to be a complete overhaul of the OMB. Local residents need to be respected over planners and developers.
    Chun, Tony Stopping above ground LRT on Eglinton Ave.
    Magno, Mario Aging infrastructure that requires immediate action. Better management of road repairs.
    Stockwell, Chris Public transportation. Lack of community consultation with development projects. Do not reduce number of front-line police officers.
    Vidal-Calvet, Oscar A new seniors home and youth community centre

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    In principle, a property tax cap appears to be a great way to keep a lid on the size of property tax increases, but unfortunately at this point, it is not realistic. The first approach should be to look for ways the city can deliver the services people rely on both efficiently and economically. Once all those options have been implemented, then looking for ways to keep tax increases as low as possible can be put into practice.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    There are many ways in which the city can find savings within the current budget, including finding alternative delivery options for some services. This could include contracting out some administration services, as well as garbage collection east of Yonge Street. Contracting out garbage collection in the west end of the city has resulted in both improved service and cost savings for the city. Another way to realize savings without having a negative impact on residents is to reduce the size of council.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I support reducing the size of city council to half its current size. A smaller council will make for a more efficient council and save money. It will mean that the work will be distributed amongst a smaller council. Each council member would then be more accountable, and with accountability, comes efficiency.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes I support contracting out garbage pick-up east of Yonge.
    I would also support the idea of contracting out road repair services.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I support both the reduction, and eventual elimination, of the land transfer tax. The land transfer tax is an unfair tax which has been placed on the backs of Toronto property owners. This is a punitive tax which is especially unfair to those who cannot afford to pay more in taxes. To ensure that Toronto remains an attractive place to live, we have to look at alternative methods of obtaining tax dollars, and not simply burdening home owners and buyers.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Toronto’s unemployment rate, like the unemployment rate in Ontario is high. To create more jobs, we need to invest more in small business growth. We can consider offering incentive programs making it easier for small businesses to hire and expand. Other areas that might be worth exploring would include offer greater support to the Business Improvement Associations across the city or perhaps offer property tax credits to small businesses and linking them to job growth.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    In the long term, I support subway expansion. Great cities around the world have efficient and well-serviced subway systems and that’s what we need here in Toronto. In the short term, I support adding more buses to relieve traffic congestion in the downtown core, rather than streetcars.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Naturally, I believe in fair wages and working conditions for city workers. I also believe that in order to get the best deal for the city, we have to be mindful of our budget and negotiate within that. The city’s goal should be to pay its bills without running a deficit.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    There are many opportunities for public/private partnerships. Toronto’s proposed subway expansion is a perfect situation in which to engage this discussion. Securing partnerships with developers so that they are required to pay for part of the subway in the location of their new buildings will go a long way to both having the subway expansion built and having that necessary infrastructure continue to grow as it is needed.

    Many of our swimming pools, libraries, parks and skating rinks need funding for maintenance and revitalization. Partnering with corporate sponsors will help pay the costs. A current great example of public and private co-operation is Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment currently building, and paying for, a practice facility at Downsview Park. The public can use the space when it is not in use by MLSE.

    A local example in Ward 4 is Silver Creek Park which is in need of revitalization. So far, the funding for this project is coming from door-to-door donations as well as City contributions. A corporate partnership would be a great boost to the effort. The city should set up a program with corporate Toronto to help pay for these types of projects.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Right now, the biggest issues I hear at the doors are the deterioration of our roads and flooding in the ward. It is my view that these two issues are directly connected. Crumbling city infrastructure, including our roads, contributes to some of the flooding.

    We have to direct tax dollars to fix roads. With proper grading, it will help to alleviate flooding issues, as well as to ease some of the traffic congestion in the Ward.

    Another concern I regularly hear from Ward 4 residents is a general lack of trust of politicians. I want to rebuild that trust through better communication. My plan is to be the link between Ward 4 and City Hall. Within the first six months of being elected, I will mail out a newsletter to all residents in the Ward, asking them their communication preference- email or regular mail.. I will regularly produce newsletters with updates pertaining to City Hall and Ward 4 issues and will send them out to every household in the ward according to their indicated preference.

    Currently, there is no community centre in Ward 4 for seniors. I commit to finding a way to ensure seniors programs are available in Ward 4, including investigating the possibility of using available library space to create a centre for seniors.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Ideally taxes should be frozen, but a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation is a good compromise.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I am a former Police Officer and understand the culture of policing.  I know there are significant savings to be found in the Police budget that will not affect front line policing.  When I volunteered as Community Police Liaison Committee Chair for 22 Division, I oversaw the successful amalgamation of 21 and 22 Divisions.  This action saved millions long-term, but there is a lot more work to be done that has been ignored for too long.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I will support reducing the size of Toronto City Council, but I must be assured the politicians will not be simply replaced by unelected staff and bureaucrats.  During the Humbertown fight, we relied on the politicians to listen to our community but staff were not as receptive to our concerns.  City Hall cannot be run by the unelected and the unaccountable.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I will support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street.  Obviously contracting out garbage collection west of Yonge has proven successful, but there must be a way of phasing out current employees through attrition without high “buy out” costs.  There should be an entire review of alternative service deliveries by looking at contracting out services throughout the City.  Identifying the best service at the best cost is common sense.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    As a Real Estate Broker I know first hand the MLTT is a poor tax and should be eliminated.  This is unlikely to happen because the revenue from the tax cannot be replaced without a significant property tax hike.  At the very minimum the MLTT should be reformed by factoring inflation annually to index the rates.  Right now a systematic increase of the Land Transfer Tax increases annually as property values increase.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Municipal governments cannot do a lot to create job growth unless they go on a massive hiring and spending spree, which I do not recommend or support.  We can, however, make Toronto an attractive destination for business by addressing the high business and industrial tax rates.  We also have to ensure there is adequate planning and protection for our industrial and commercial lands from residential redevelopment as people still need places to work.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Etobicoke has been left out of the City’s Transit Strategy for far too long. Before any expansion we need to restore the cancelled bus service hours especially on Royal York, Islington, Kipling, Dundas, and Eglinton. The TTC is also considering a cancellation of the senior’s community bus in Central Etobicoke, and if elected I am going to try to stop them. When the Eglinton Crosstown finally comes through Etobicoke, it should be underground and not interfere with existing traffic. Unlike one of my opponents, I don’t believe road tolls or parking taxes to pay for expanded transit is a fair request for people from Etobicoke. Etobians will pay the majority of the tolls and get none of the benefits as the transit projects will be directed to Scaborough and Downtown. If Etobicoke is asked to pay, we should receive some of the benefits and be a part of the plan.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    My advice is to get the best deal possible knowing this Council will hold the line on taxes at inflation.  Be prepared to stand firm and deliver. Previous Collective Agreements need to be reviewed and dealt with considering present day reality.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    There is an opportunity for a public-private partnership with the City’s 311 call centre that could be explored.  The onus should be on the private sector to prove that such an arrangement is beneficial to taxpayers first.  I am not willing to enter into any P3s unless taxpayers get a deal that benefits them.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Intensification. For the past four years, I have spent thousands of hours fighting the Humbertown application in my community. Neighbourhoods in Etobicoke are increasingly under siege from high-intensification development and being turned into versions of downtown Toronto – all as a result of the Mixed Use designations the city is applying to neighbourhoods. We are not only seeing poor planning at Humbertown, we are seeing it across Ward 4 and I expect to see similar applications at Richview Plaza, Wincott Plaza, Royal York Plaza and along Dundas and Eglinton. The current planning process is deeply flawed and it needs significant change, including a complete overhaul of the OMB. The process should be local and a significant voice must be had by the community and residents who are deeply affected by these developments. I am going to work hard to change the process and put residents first, not planners and developers.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes.  This will allow City to have authority in demanding salaries and pension of City employees to be pegged to inflation as well.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Everywhere, including Police and Fire Departments.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Current size of Toronto City Council seems reasonable for size of City it serves.  At times, council seems messy but democracy is messy.  Smaller size council will concentrate power and maybe more susceptible to corruption.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes.  My experience of private garbage collection has been good.  Other services can be considered for contracting out such as park maintenance.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I would like to see Municipal Land Transfer Tax eliminated.  Toronto does not have revenue problem.  Toronto has spending problem.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Government does not create jobs.  However, government can create environment to attract businesses to Toronto.  This means good infrastructure and low taxes.  Easy access to Island Airport will be great plus for business travelers.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Major transit projects for largest city in Nation is a priority for all levels of government.  Mayors Office and City Council must show leadership and vision to guide transit planning process.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    City’s negotiating team should always try to get best deal for taxpayers.  However, this has not always been the case.  It is important to assemble best possible negotiators who can achieve fair deal for both labour and tax payers.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I would prefer to see contracting out oppose to public-private partnerships.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Possible LRT on Eglinton Avenue west of Jane.  Eglinton Avenue West is an exit and entry point to 401, 427, 27, 403 and 410.  Take away two lanes and it will be unbearable. LRT must be stopped.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes, would be my easy answer.  Realistically, future situations may demand that we reconsider our revenue sources to alleviate higher costs for services.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I believe each department can save at least 10% on their budget.  Trimming 10% on a 1 billion dollar budget should provide a considerable savings for the current city budget. Budget reduction has been a proven business strategy ensuring that the cost of doing business does not affect the level of service or cost to the  consumer, or in this case, the residents of Toronto.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I believe we should align our current city ward boundaries to more closely reflect that of the federal/ provincial boundaries, thus reducing the size of Toronto City Council.  This would create a more efficient and streamlined council that can maintain honoring the needs of different areas within the city while still ensuring that there was a greater opportunity for consensus.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I fully support the decision the previous council made to contract out garbage collection, and would support it’s expansion.  Any services that can be contracted out resulting in cost savings for Toronto, without affecting the quality of service, deserves significant consideration.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The City of Toronto currently needs the revenues from the Land Transfer tax.  A phase out is something that we should consider, however reducing it at this time is a more reasonable course of action than outright and immediate elimination.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    We made a mistake by downplaying the importance of trades in our culture. I believe getting youth into trades at the high school level is something that all levels of government should be invested in.  As a business owner from the skills trade, I will support all initiatives to help create jobs through the skills trade program.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    The transit plan that the previous City Council passed should not be up for debate.  I believe all three levels of government must be involved to secure a steady long term funding plan, which will include not only Toronto but all other cities within the GTA. I would advocate for keeping the currently approved plan.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    I believe negotiating fair wages, without interrupting the quality of service that the City of Toronto has come to expect, must be part of the mandate for the city’s negotiating team.  I also believe that the City of Toronto cannot afford to be dictated to by the big unions.  A fair deal must be fair for both sides respecting the needs of the organization along with their workers.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I believe that public-private partnerships are a great way to grow the city.  A simple way that was considered last term that was not expanded on is to sell or lease the land rights over future TTC subway stations.  I feel if the city could expand programs such as this we would have a significant opportunity to generate considerable revenue without the full expense of the development costs.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Ward 4, like the rest of Toronto is dealing with an aging infrastructure that requires immediate action. This needs to be a top priority for Etobicoke. Unfortunately, with action does come some level of inconvenience.  Recently Kipling Avenue had one lane closed in each direction from Dixon to North of Burnhamthorpe.  As I drove by three or four times a day I saw the road was closed but there are no workers present. Traffic was affected in this area for over a week without cause.  Regardless of how Torontonians get around, they need access to major roadways even during times of repair. Infrastructure projects need to be managed in a way that maximizes repairs during non-peak times, and facilitates traffic flow in peak times. Ward 4 residents are tired of the mismanaged, over-budget, never-ending projects coming from City Hall.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Firstly, I believe that we can find cost-savings by privatizing non-essential services. I believe certain services can be delivered at the same high quality levels with less cost to the taxpayer.

    Secondly, the reality is that the City is faced with an oversized bureaucracy. It is for this reason that I believe a review of middle management staff should be conducted to determine whether reductions can be implemented, while at the same time ensuring our current level of services will not be negatively impacted.

    Thirdly, a comprehensive review of services provided by the City should be undertaken to determine the necessity of these services including how much they are utilized by members of the public. Once we have this information, we can determine the best course of action.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Yes, I support reducing the size of City Council, and yes, I believe it would improve how council operates.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes. City Council’s decision to privatize garbage collection has been a very successful policy that has saved millions of dollars for the people of Toronto. I believe we need to finish the job and privatize the other half of the City’s waste collection.

    It has always surprised me how our children can be bussed to and from school and that our sick can be transferred between hospitals, both by the private sector, but this is not an acceptable way to handle garbage collection for the City.

    This approach should also be expanded to include other City-managed departments including I.T., administrative services, and any other non-essential services in which savings can be realized.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    As Councillor, I would support a motion that would see a reduction or elimination of the Municipal Land Transfer Tax. However, I believe it may need to be a staged reduction, as I am NOT prepared to hike property taxes simply to eliminate the Municipal Land Transfer Tax.

    Reducing or eliminating the Municipal Land Transfer Tax is something that can be easily accomplished within Councils’ four-year mandate.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Municipal governments do not create jobs nor are they supposed to. The role of any municipal government is to build the right environment that will enable the private sector to create jobs.

    In order assist the private sector and stimulate job creation, the City needs to ensure there is 1) a competitive business property tax rate, 2) a productive public service that works to reduce the amount of red tape that exists today, and 3) a competitive, educated workforce.

    It is a myth that governments create jobs by hiring people.  All this succeeds in doing is creating new taxes.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Yes, the current transit planning process needs to change. The first thing we need to do is petition the provincial government to scale back the long and arduous environmental assessment process. Secondly, City Council must establish a plan, firmly commit to it, seek proper funding models from senior levels of government, and then stick to the plan.

    Transportation initiatives and decision making must also be streamlined so that decision making is not one endless deferral and referral process.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Having served as Minister of Labour, I have learned one thing about labour negotiations: a strong and forceful policy position must be adopted and communicated to the city unions. Once you have established and communicated your position, you must be resolute in sticking to it. I believe the City is a fair employer, but I have never been confused by the fact that a Councillor represents the taxpayer and the union represents the employer.

    Supplementing pay hikes and replacing them with improved benefits and pension entitlements is not creating real savings.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I am not opposed to P3s and I believe there are opportunities on the transit side, including air rights over subway stations, as well as in social housing, in which the City can provide the funding and the private sector builds and owns the brick and mortar.

    P3s are difficult to negotiate but certainly worthy to look at in greater detail

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    I believe public and vehicular transportation is the number one issue in every ward. This has been at the core of the Eglinton rapid transit improvements, and a concern for most Ward 4 residents.

    Infill development is also a very important issue. There is a need to organize and communicate with communities before development applications are too far down the road. The recent development proposal at Humber Town is an example of the importance of community consultation. There are many sites throughout Ward 4 that are similar to Humber Town that have the potential to be redeveloped. I believe it is the job of the Councillor to encourage stronger community consultation where infill development is concerned.

    We are lucky to live in a City in which crime rates are quite low compared to other jurisdictions in North America. However, this does not mean that we can afford to become complacent. We need to continue to ensure our streets are safe. It is for this reason, among many others, that I do not support reducing the number of front-line police officers.

    If I am elected as Councillor for Ward 4, I will be focused on ensuring that reducing crime is a key focus at City Hall.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I do

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Expenditures must be analyzed in detail.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Yes, I think Toronto City Council should be no more than 22-23 this would be convenient and easier to agree in vital matters.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes, of course I would support contracting out garbage collection and other services which may represent savings and efficiency to tax payers.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    If Land transfer tax could not be totally deleted, I proposed this kind of taxes to be paid by the seller.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    To have and provide better education in schools and better training and skills for workers.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Funding should be a commitment done together with the Provincial Government and also help of the Federal Government, we must think in a larger Metro / Subway system.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    We must think in a way to benefit the City of Toronto and not to groups or associations interested in black mailing the system in place.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes, and one example would the building of the Subway, other would be the extension of the Gardener and a review of “The Spadina Expressway” project.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Seniors home (in my personal opinion), and I would advocate for partnership in the building and administration of them and also would be a Youth Community Centre.

    I would ask you to review my Linkdin account for more extensive answer to the above questions.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 26 – Don Valley West

The Incumbent:

John Parker

The Race

In 2010, John Parker slid to victory with just under 500 votes more than his top opponent. The 2014 Ward 26 candidates that participated in our survey have very different views on almost all of the topics discussed in our survey. A few thoughtful and “outside the box” ideas were presented by candidates in this Ward.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Jon Burnside, Wasim Vania

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John Will consider
    Popov, Dimitre Yes
    Sparrow, David No
    Velshi, Ishrath Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John Police, Fire, EMS.
    Popov, Dimitre Reduce number of City employees, Police budget, Negotiations with the unions, proper and open bidding process and making decisions that serve taxpayers' interests rather than special interests.
    Sparrow, David No specifics provided
    Velshi, Ishrath Rationalization of common functions such as IT, Human Resources, Real Estate and fleet management.


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John Would consider restructuring of Council.
    Popov, Dimitre Will consider.
    Sparrow, David No
    Velshi, Ishrath No


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John No – will consider other areas.
    Popov, Dimitre Yes – will consider other areas.
    Sparrow, David No
    Velshi, Ishrath Yes – with conditions.


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John No
    Popov, Dimitre Yes – eliminate.
    Sparrow, David Will consider.
    Velshi, Ishrath No


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John Seek ways to do better with less, root out unnecessary costs, shift the property tax burden off business taxpayers, build a more attractive, vibrant, livable city that attracts and retains businesses and workers, address gridlock, improve/expand  transit and other forms of transportation; shift the property tax burden away from employers, get serious about promoting the GTA as an economic entity, improve collaboration/cooperation with surrounding municipalities as we market our region and develop business growth strategies, protect employment lands so that there will be places for the jobs of the future when population has grown, reduce red tape and bureaucracy, and keep regulation limited and reasonable.
    Popov, Dimitre I will invite the public to send ideas they believe would create job growth in Toronto. I would ask the members of the Council to zero in on that issue, to have thereafter a meeting to discuss it, and to outline possible measures. Offer incentive to companies for any job opening in addition to the number of jobs it has.
    Sparrow, David Clean, Green, creative sector jobs are the future. All three levels of government must work to make this happen. I would also consider reducing taxes on small and midsize business, if we could ensure the savings would be put toward making those businesses stronger and creating more better paid jobs.
    Velshi, Ishrath Work with Province to lower business tax rates, invite creative sources such as communications companies, IT companies, entertainment and film companies amongst many industries to develop relationships with Toronto.  The main thing is that we create an environment which invites companies to locate businesses in Toronto, by maintaining and continually improving the infrastructure and facilitiies available to businesses in Toronto such as our highways, access to the US and upgrades to our transportation infrastructure.


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John Stable, predictable capital funding is a must – transit projects should not be sprung by surprise in each provincial budget. Transit expansion policy must be developed in conjunction with transportation policy and with city planning policy generally.
    Popov, Dimitre I would fund new transit projects from the savings.  Before answering the second question, I need to delve into the issue.
    Sparrow, David I'm 52. My parent's generation should having been building planned transit. My generation should have been building efficient transit. We should have had a vision for the future, for what today would bring. We and our children and our grandchildren deserve an accessible, connected, comprehensive, planned, efficient and affordable transit system. Subways, LRTs, Streetcars, Buses, all of it.
    Velshi, Ishrath Transit needs to be funded by all three levels of govenement.It makes no sense for each candidate to come up with their own plan. It indicates no faith in consultants who have developed plans that address the long-term needs of the city.


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John We have an outstanding labour relations team at the city. The unions must know that the City is prepared to privatize functions if the unions push too hard, and to take a strike if necessary.
    Popov, Dimitre Try to accomplish the best deal for taxpayers if you’d like to receive incentives and be part of the negotiating team. We are watching you.
    Sparrow, David Recognize that employees (labour) are taxpayers.  Good faith negotiations are never one-sided.
    Velshi, Ishrath The parameters given to the negotiating team need to be discussed by Council, with input from all 44 members including the Mayor.  This is an inclusive process and can not be determined by any one member.


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John Big projects are good candidates for P3’s. We effectively did one with the Leaside arena expansion project. We could readily set up Toronto Water or Toronto Hydro to undertake capital projects by way of P3, or move toward privatizing them altogether.
    Popov, Dimitre In contracting out garbage collection and I quite sure that there are more opportunities.
    Sparrow, David I think that where majority ownership can remain with the city and where there is a real public benefit, P3s have their place.
    Velshi, Ishrath Yes, I do see opportunities for public-private partnerships in areas such as Economic Development, social services through Community Development and in the area of Parks and the Environment.


  • Candidate Response
    Parker, John Change. Change means redevelopment of land, heavy traffic, and gridlock. I will continue to do what I have always done: face change forthrightly, speak honestly to my residents as to the practical options, and seek outcomes that produce the best achievable results for the communities I represent.
    Popov, Dimitre Culture at City Hall, accountability, taxes, employment, public transit, development, environmental, nose pollution, water infrastructure, …. The list of actions I would take is long and would be updated based on the circumstances.
    Sparrow, David Traffic infiltration and pedestrian safety are very important, especially given the recent tragic death of a 7 year old girl at Millwood and McRae. Other concerns are jobs for young people, landlord tenant concerns, rental building maintenance, TCHC repair backlogs, jobs for newcomers, Seniors housing, homecare, local school capacity, OMB rulings, development issues, petty crime. We need a representative who will stand with the community and defend the services we require to be an active, healthier and happier community in a dynamic city that works.
    Velshi, Ishrath Issues include quality of life issues, poor rental accomodation, traffic concerns, development issues, safety and security, unemployment, lack of services and programs for the youth and for seniors, flooding issues and a lack of collaboration between the elected representative and the community. My approach would be to develop a strategic plan for each area in collaboration with the stakeholders with the full force of the resources of the City behind me.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I favour a policy guideline to that effect. I do not think a hard cap year-by year is practical, however.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Police, Fire, EMS. Those are big budgets and there is a lot of room for improvement in each.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I favour looking at restructuring council to have local councils with authority over traffic, parking, etc. on local roadways, and an upper tier with authority over more general metropolitan/budgetary matters. The lower tier could have riding by riding representation; the upper tier could be elected district by district. Overall numbers could be reduced but the functions and accountabilities would be altered.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    We should privatize where merited and keep work in house where it makes sense. The current balance in garbage collection between half outsourced and half insourced works well and keeps all parties on their toes.

    We should always look at alternative modes of service delivery in all areas of activity.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    The value of each piece of land in Toronto is primarily a reflection of the benefit that comes from its location vis-a vis the lands around it. That is to say, the mere fact that land in Toronto is surrounded by other Toronto land enhances its value. It is only fair that the taxpayers capture some of the benefit of that value when parcels of land are traded. So the land transfer tax is in that sense fair. Further, we face enormous capital repair and upgrade costs as we look to the future. We need the revenue that the municipal land transfer tax brings, and we are only fooling ourselves if we pretend otherwise. Realistically, municipal land transfer tax is here to stay for a long time. I certainly do not foresee eliminating it, and I do not foresee reducing it until (a) our capital pressures are addressed, (b) we have other sources of revenue to cover the needs, and/or (c) the cost of land rises so high that we can afford to reduce the rate of tax required to generate the needed revenue.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    (a)    Continue the hard work of seeking ways to do better with less;

    (b)    Continue to root out unnecessary costs;

    (c)    Continue the program of shifting the property tax burden off business taxpayers

    (d)    Build a more attractive, vibrant, livable city that attracts and retains businesses and workers;

    (e)    Which means, inter alia, address gridlock;

    (f)     Which means, inter alia, improve/expand  transit and other forms of transportation;

    (g)    Which means improving coordination of planning/transportation services/transit functions.

    (h)    Continue the program of shifting the property tax burden away from employers;

    (i)      Get serious about promoting the GTA as an economic entity;

    (j)      Which means improving collaboration/cooperation with surrounding municipalities as we market our region and develop business growth strategies;

    (k)    Protect employment lands so that there will be places for the jobs of the future when population has grown;

    (l)      Reduce red tape and bureaucracy; keep regulation limited and reasonable;

    (m)  Improve service levels where citizens and businesses come face-to-face with the City – start by making a point of always treating the people at the counter as customers. Help trouble shoot the problems that arise; don’t just stand in the way.

    (n)    A good mayor can be a salesperson for the city – helping to market the City in business capitals worldwide – but the city bureaucracy must follow up by welcoming the resulting enquiries from potential investors.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Stable, predictable capital funding is a must – transit projects should not be sprung by surprise in each provincial budget.

    Transit expansion policy must be developed in conjunction with transportation policy and with city planning policy generally. We are talking about billion dollar investments that determine the shape of the city for centuries to come. We can’t keep  doing it by the seat of our pants. Greater coordination/collaboration is needed. We need to settle on a transit growth strategy that fits with our urban planning goals so that policy in each area supports a comprehensive responsible vision. We talk about these things; we need to do a better job of acting on them. The London idea of an overarching transportation planning and administrative authority is not a bad approach to look into.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    We have an outstanding labour relations team at the city. They already have the respect of the union leadership. They need the full support of council as they approach negotiations relating to disputes and new contracts. The unions must know that the City is prepared to privatize functions if the unions push too hard, and to take a strike if necessary.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Big projects are good candidates for P3’s. We effectively did one with the Leaside arena expansion project. We could readily set up Toronto Water or Toronto Hydro to undertake capital projects by way of P3, or move toward privatizing them altogether.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The biggest single issue is change. Change means redevelopment of land, heavy traffic, and gridlock. It calls on us to improve transportation choices, protect existing communities, and direct the forces of change towards desirable results. I will continue to do what I have always done: face change forthrightly, speak honestly to my residents as to the practical options, and seek outcomes that produce the best achievable results for the communities I represent. We must be prudent with our tax dollars and we must be realistic about our goals. We must make change work for us by directing it towards making improvements in our city wherever possible, and minimize the adverse effects. A growing city cannot avoid encountering challenges; it is important that we never lose sight of the importance of making each challenge serve as an opportunity to make something good happen; we must resist the impulse to turn each challenge into a quixotic battle to protect the status quo.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Absolutely YES.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    a)   Cutting out the deadwood. For the past 7 years, the former mayor has hired nearly 10,000 employees.  If the cost of an employee is $60,000 per year, the total taxpayers pay for 10,000 employees is $600 million annually – expenses that do not seem to justify the value taxpayers receive in exchange.

    b)    Police budget.

    c)    In negotiations with the unions.

    d)    Proper and open bidding process in selecting a third-party contractor.

    e)     Making decisions that serve taxpayers’ interests rather than special interests.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    a)     I would support such reduction only if that would improve the operations of the Council.  I believe, however, that electing people who are capable of making wise decisions and who are hardworking and whose priority is taxpayers and the City of Toronto is of paramount importance.

    b)    I am going to work very hard for changes in the applicable regulation that would give voters opportunity to remove their councillor from office at any time if the councilor loses the support of the 55 per cent who voted him/her in.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    YES, and I would support any contracting out which would be in the interest of taxpayers.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    It should be eliminated. The Municipal Land Transfer Tax is in addition to the Province’s Land Transfer Tax.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    a)    Through my website, I will invite the public to send ideas they believe would create job growth in Toronto.

    b)    I would ask the members of the Council to zero in on that issue, to have thereafter a meeting to discuss it, and to outline possible measures.

    c)    Offer incentive to companies for any job opening in addition to the number of jobs it has.

    d)       After thorough preparation, I would seek face-to-face meeting with the Premier, discus the issue and urge her with compelling arguments to devote resources and efforts so we can accomplish that goal.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I would fund new transit projects from the savings.  Before answering the second question, I need to delve into the issue.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Try to accomplish the best deal for taxpayers if you’d like to receive incentives and be part of the negotiating team. We are watching you.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    In contracting out garbage collection and I quite sure that there are more opportunities.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Culture at City Hall, accountability, taxes, employment, public transit, development, environmental, nose pollution, water infrastructure, …. The list of actions I would take is long and would be updated based on the circumstances.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    I support good fiscal governance, strong oversight and accountability. I support the right of residents to receive quality, consistent, reliable public services. I support the maintenance of our infrastructure and the funding to build the City that future generations will expect from us. I support taxes that reflect the actual cost of providing those services. I support taxes that are applied directly to certain important initiatives and don’t end up in general revenues, leaving important work underfunded. I believe that every level of government should be supporting strong cities. A national housing strategy and transit initiatives would be a great place to start. It irks me that other governments can “balance” their budget by downloading huge files onto municipalities and then crow about a surplus while the same tax payers that support them struggle with daily living. Note: – I do not generally support user fees and other sneaky ways of taking money from our pockets by saying taxes are frozen while our water and hydro rates and other fees go up substantially every year.  (Water 9% each year!)

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    I’m not sure we should be looking at the grass roots municipal level of government to tighten its belt. Cities are where the rubber meets the road. We live here. This is where government and tax dollars (from every level) can have most direct effect. We rely on the transit schedule and the garbage pick-up and the police and fire. We rely on our fellow residents to earn an income that will support local business and keep us employed. I want to see better transit, stronger services, more good paying jobs and excellent cultural events that will attract tourism. This will make Toronto a stronger city and a healthier and happier place to live.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I did not support amalgamation. I believe in local democracy and local voices. A smaller council will just amalgamate us further. Right now the average City Councillor is representing over 60,000 people – development concerns, traffic & public safety, landlord/tenant issues, school concerns, neighbourhood character and much more – Reducing the size of council will just reduce access to advocates & decision makers. We deserve excellent representation. At a time when the Federal government, virtually uninvolved in local community daily living issues, is expanding the number of ridings in the GTA, why would we consder reducing our local voices at council?

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Estimates on the savings generated from contracting out garbage collection West of Yonge range, from what I have heard, from $11M to $25M. This is not in fact a huge savings on a $9B budget. Reports on the standard of care exercised by the private supplier are mixed. So, on the backs of the people who do the work, who live in an expensive city like Toronto, we have gained little and provided a profit to a private collection company. Mr Ford has suggested we’ll never see another garbage strike. Strikes happen at private companies all the time – when workers become dissatisfied with their safety, compensation or working conditions. We have already reduced the employee count to one person operating an automated truck… how much further should we go? As to other services, I’m not sure how service levels can be maintained and/or improved on by building a shareholder or executive profit line into a reduced budget by moving a service from public to private. Something has to give.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    First I don’t mind paying taxes. However, I dislike property taxes; they’re unfair… especially to small businesses. (They’re also not equal across the city.) AND, I hate the regressive nature of the land transfer tax. So, If the Province gives the city other revenue tools with which to fund vital public services and infrastructure maintenance and visionary development, then we won’t need our portion of the land transfer tax and we can get rid of it. Toronto has a larger population and tax base than many provinces. It may be time to go to an income tax model for the city. I would be willing to pay my fare share.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    As the President of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA Toronto) representing 13,000 audiovisual performers here in the city, we have seen Film and TV production rise to $1.15B in 2013 and become the number 2 employer in the city next only to financial services, creating close to 30,000 FTE jobs. Clean, Green, creative sector jobs are the future. We must begin to “Think outside the BIG-box.” and away from the thought that service sector jobs paying $12 or $14/hour are sustainable careers in an expensive city. Newcomers with academic and foreign experience credentials must be given the opportunity to serve our community with their skills and expertise. All three levels of government must work to make this happen. I would also consider reducing taxes on small and midsize business, if we could ensure the savings would be put toward making those businesses stronger and creating more better paid jobs.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I’m 52. My parent’s generation should having been building planned transit. My generation should have been building efficient transit. We should have had a vision for the future, for what today would bring. We and our children and our grandchildren deserve an accessible, connected, comprehensive, planned, efficient and affordable transit system. Subways, LRTs, Streetcars, Buses, all of it – You should be able to board at any station and go in either direction to get where you’re going. We must stop changing our minds on the whims of one or two individuals. The planning and Environmental Assessment dollars have already been spent. Let’s get on with the building! It’s not too late. All levels of government must make transit a priority and build it now.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Recognize that employees (labour) are taxpayers. They have families; they buy products; they support businesses; they send their children to school; they rely on the same services as everyone else. Recognize that just because the media spins unions as being greedy and threatening strikes, 95%+ of union contracts are settled without a strike. Most strikes do not take place over money, but instead respect and safety issues and the threat of large cutbacks by the employer in staffing, wages or benefits. Good faith negotiations are never one-sided.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    I think that where majority ownership can remain with the city and where there is a real public benefit, P3s have their place. I feel it would become silly, however, to have privately sponsored subway stations or such other public venues, especially if the private company can sell its naming rights to someone else and so initiate complicated changes. Skydome, named by the people of Toronto, will always be Skydome to me. Sorry Rogers.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Traffic infiltration and pedestrian safety are very important, especially given the recent tragic death of a 7 year old girl at Millwood and McRae. We need to better enforce the driving laws we have… no rolling stops, pushing yellow and red lights, cutting through parking lots to avoid traffic line-ups. We need better signage and restricted (to local residents only) turns, especially during rush hours. The BIG-box we have now is here to stay, but we need to say “No more!” to BIG-box, one stop shopping and the 10s of 1000s of cars it brings to our neighbourhoods each week.

    Further… jobs for young people, landlord tenant concerns, rental building maintenance, TCHC repair backlogs, jobs for newcomers, Seniors housing, homecare, local school capacity, OMB rulings, development issues, petty crime… there is a lot going on in Ward 26 – Bennington, Flemingdon, Leaside, Thorncliffe & Wynford – It’s a diverse palce culturally, residentially and economically. Some residents have steeper hills to climb than others. There is a lot to do. We need a representative who will stand with the community and defend the services we require to be an active, healthier and happier community in a dynamic city that works.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    The rationalization of common functions such as IT, Human Resources, Real Estate and fleet management.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I don’t support reducing reducing the size of City Council, nor do I support increasing the size of City Council. However,  the enhancement of the 311 service will further support the conerns and issues faced by Toronto residents.  The 311 service should be charged with the responsibility of addressing many of the day to day issues facing residents so that Councillors can focus more on the larger issues which require time and attention to detail.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes, I will support contracting out garbage provided that savings do not affect the delivery of service and the savings are a positive value added to the city.  It is up to the city’s senior management to make this case.

    Fleet services may be an area to look at.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Not at this time. Eliminating this source of revenue will require another source to replace it.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Work with the Province to lower business tax rates, invite creative sources such as communications companies, IT companies, entertainment and film companies amongst many industries to develop relationships with Toronto.  The main thing is that we create an environment which invites companies to locate businesses in Toronto, by maintaining and continually improving the infrastructure and facilitiies available to businesses in Toronto such as our highways, access to the US and upgrades to our transportation infrastructure.

    Toronto is a highly diversified city with a highly educated work force.  What is lacking is an aggressive marketing plan to attract new businesses. We may be the best kept economic secret.  If necessary, we should consider offering tax breaks in partnership with the Province.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Transit needs to be funded by all three levels of govenement.

    Toronto is the economic engine of Canada.  To sustain it, and to make it more efficient we need to address transit issues and it should be a priority of all three levels of government as is the case with London, England and Paris, France.

    It makes no sense for each candidate to come up with their own plan. It indicates no faith in consultants who have developed plans that address the long-term needs of the city.  Rather than stick with it, it is being turned into election rhetoric

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    The parameters given to the negotiating team need to be discussed by Council, with input from all 44 members including the Mayor.  This is an inclusive process and can not be determined by any one member.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes, I do see opportunities for public-private partnerships in areas such as Economic Development, social services through Community Development and in the area of Parks and the Environment.  These include partnerships in the cultural and entertainment industries, social service and health institutions and with grass-roots organizations that operate programming at the local level.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Ward 26 is a highly diverse ward.  There are distinct issues in each of the five areas of the Ward.  They include quality of life issues, poor rental accomodation, traffic concerns, development issues, safety and security, unemployment, lack of services and programs for the youth and for seniors, flooding issues and a lack of collaboration between the elected representative and the community.

    Having dealt with many of these issues over the past 5 years as staff,  the need for a collaborative approach has been sadly lacking. My approach would be to develop a strategic plan for each area in collaboration with the stakeholders with the full force of the resources of the City behind me.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 25 – Don Valley West

The Incumbent:

Jaye Robinson

The Race

It was a tight win for Jaye Robinson who won with just over 500 votes more than her top opponent in 2010. Overall, the 2014 Ward 25 candidates have the will to control property taxes, contract out garbage collection east of Yonge Street, and consider Public-Private partnerships. Two candidates identified development and intensification as the top concern of Ward 25 residents.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Kim Diep

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Yes
    Hostler, Tanya Yes
    Robinson, Jaye Yes
    Streker, Nikola Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Freeze wages in TTC and Police Services.
    Hostler, Tanya Cap salary increases to inflation also, particularly in senior management positions.
    Robinson, Jaye Deliver services more efficiently and effectively (like Toronto EMS) and serious and sustained approach to partnerships with the business and community sectors.
    Streker, Nikola Decrease bureaucracy.


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard No
    Hostler, Tanya No
    Robinson, Jaye Will consider
    Streker, Nikola Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Yes
    Hostler, Tanya Will consider
    Robinson, Jaye Yes
    Streker, Nikola Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Yes – reduce
    Hostler, Tanya No
    Robinson, Jaye No
    Streker, Nikola Yes – eliminate


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Offer tax incentives and be open for businesses to move to Toronto.
    Hostler, Tanya Reform Toronto Employment & Social Services  to move to a more results based job placement system. Also, government should make a more concerted effort to reduce promoting the entrenched senior staff and let qualified unemployed people get their foot in the door, perhaps with job sharing programs or part-time placements.
    Robinson, Jaye Drive innovation, harness new technologies and build partnerships with the private and community sectors.
    Streker, Nikola Work with Provincial and Federal Governments.


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Assistance from all three levels of government to fund new projects for the TTC. Add .01 -.02 cent tax per litre of gas, raise the HST .01 cent, reach out to businesses who want to market their brands or products to TTC riders.
    Hostler, Tanya Funding from Province. Portion of fares or a surcharge of some sort might be created for areas benefitting from the new transit.
    Robinson, Jaye Need transit planning based on expert evidence, international best practices and solid, realistic financial plans.
    Streker, Nikola City Income Rebate plan that Mayoral Candidate Michael Nicula has proposed. More details about the proposal can be found at this link: http://www.mayor4.to/city-income-rebate.html "


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Make sure that both parties, walk away from the negotiation table feeling that they received the best deal and that they were happy with the end result. You want to be fair, because they will be providing a valuable service to the citizens of Toronto and you might be negotiating with them again in the near future.
    Hostler, Tanya Tie wage increases to inflation.
    Robinson, Jaye I served on the Employee and Labour Relations Committee during the last round of successful negotiations and know that it takes strength and resolve.
    Streker, Nikola  A realistic budget limit has to be set and then defended as much as possible.


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Yes
    Hostler, Tanya Yes
    Robinson, Jaye Will consider
    Streker, Nikola Yes – infrastructure and transit


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Value for money, poor road conditions, and better representation.
    Hostler, Tanya  Development and intensification.
    Robinson, Jaye Development and intensification.  A big part of the solution is to shift power to neighbourhoods over planning and development decisions, from rethinking and rebuilding the Committee of Adjustment to moving forward with a Local Appeal Body to creating opportunities for local input and engagement at each and every turn.
    Streker, Nikola Poverty and affordable housing. New units have to be built, existing units have to be maintained and renovated, and all three levels of government should help to finance this type of housing strategy in order to combat the rising poverty levels in the city.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes, I would support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation. I would even go further regarding property tax issue. I would have a four year plan outlining the property tax minimum and maximum amount, so the people of Toronto and Ward 25 would be able to see the cost for the next four years.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    The City of Toronto is the 4th largest city in North America. It takes a lot of money to run a city efficiently. I would look into saving some money by freezing wages in the TTC and Police.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    No I don’t. There is close to 60,000 people in Ward 25, Don Valley West. In order to provide great service to the residents and the City of Toronto, you need to be available for everyone. I don’t think it would improve city council, but I will let you know in a few months.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes I would, only if it would provide a better service and value for the residents.
    Residents understand that everyone pays taxes, they just want to make sure that they are getting good service and value for their money.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I support reducing it, but not eliminating it. The Municipal Land Transfer Tax generates important revenue for the city. I would look into reducing the tax for first time home owners. The prices for purchasing a home in the GTA have gone up substantially over the past 10 years. Toronto needs the tax base. I would look into reducing the tax so young families can find a home in the GTA area.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    To stimulate job growth in Toronto, you need to make Toronto more attractive to business. We need to offer tax incentives and be open to for businesses to move to Toronto. People who live in Toronto believe Toronto is a world class city. Toronto needs to prove to the world that we are open for business and to business.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    You would need assistance from all three levels of government to fund new projects for the TTC. Riders are fed up paying more and more money for less service. A large portion of the capital cost should come from the Federal and Provincial governments. I would suggest adding .01 -.02 cent tax per litre of gas to help fund the cost of TTC projects. Also I would suggest raising the HST .01 cent to help fund the cost of TTC projects. I would also be more aggressive to reach out to businesses who want to market their brands or products to TTC riders.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    My advice would be to make sure that both parties, walk away from the negotiation table feeling that they received the best deal and that they were happy with the end result. You want to be fair, because they will be providing a valuable service to the citizens of Toronto and you might be negotiating with them again in the near future.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes! 100%. The city should be open to improving business relationships with current partners and try to reach out to new business to create greater awareness and revenue for the city. The City of Toronto has many properties and venues to partner with big business.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    The residents in Ward 25, Don Valley West are not getting the services that they should be getting from paying their taxes. Taxes go up and service goes down. They are not getting any value and they are upset. Also the roads conditions and road congestion in the area is brutal. The poor or no communication in the area when some roads are slowly being repaired, is horrible. People want good service. I think people are really upset at the passive representation and the poor communication. They want their new representative to have a strong voice at city hall and provide great service.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    It’s difficult to follow the previous administration’s cuts. FIR data shows property taxes & PILs have decreased overall in 2013. Perhaps we should cap salary increases to inflation also, particularly in senior management positions.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    No. Amalgamation was sufficient in streamlining the 6 previous municipal entities. Regardless of provincial and federal electoral ridings being twice as large as municipal Wards, local government requires more attention to detail and personal interface with the constituents.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Any contracting out of services would have to be supported by studies showing what savings could be achieved at what cost. I would consider contracting out garbage delivery, but I would not commit to do so at this point in time. I would consider contracting out other non-emergency services but would not commit to do so at this point in time.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I don’t like it, but I think we need to keep it for the foreseeable future. Toronto’s financial situation is not currently strong enough to do away with the Land Transfer Tax. Property values are soaring and prohibitive. I’m not a communist but sometimes you have to impose taxes on those who can afford to pay them if you are realistic about building and maintaining adequate infrastructure.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Reforming Toronto Employment & Social Services wold be a good place to start. They need to move to a more results based job placement system, rather than just telling qualified candidates to omit their education and experience from their resume and take a 100% commission job just to get a clothing & transit bonus. 100% commission telemarketing jobs are not jobs – they are a form of slavery that preys upon the most vulnerable people in our society.

    If TESS did more to find innovative partnerships with employers to create paid internships, and training that actually pertained to employable skills, and tried to place people in jobs and give them a hand up rather than a hand out, maybe we would see some improvement.

    Also, government should make a more concerted effort to reduce promoting the entrenched senior staff and let qualified unemployed people get their foot in the door, perhaps with job sharing programs or part-time placements. Unions would have to give concessions for this, but maybe they should consider it.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Obviously, the Province plays a key role in funding any transit capital project, whether it is SmartTrack, LRT or subways. If transit fares came close to covering operating costs, I would suggest issuing bonds against transit revenues. Since fares do not cover operating costs, perhaps a portion of fares or a surcharge of some sort might be created for areas benefitting from the new transit. The transit planning process appears to be in chaos with a million voices and no conductor. We need to do something to improve this process, but I am not sure if creating Metrolinx has done that effectively.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    If we tie property taxes to inflation, we should tie wage increases to inflation. When I worked in the Province the labour unions were always trying to get long-term above-inflation cost of living increases in their collective agreements. That just causes inflationary pressures on everyone else.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes. Even the McGuinty Liberals used P3s after they criticized the Conservatives for doing the same. Non-emergency services are a good place to start with any contracting out – whether operational or capital projects. A comprehensive service delivery review could assist in identifying areas that might be suitable for P3s.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Ward 25 has the top issue of keeping any new development appropriate to the community. The Ward consists mainly of luxury homes, large public parks and premium private recreation facilities. Homeowners care about maintaining their property values and the character of their neighbourhood. Development and intensification surrounds us on all sides and is creeping in around Yonge & Eglinton, Yonge & Strathgowan, Sheppard subway, Lesmill / Upjohn, and now Celestica in Ward 26. While many people enjoy the Shops @ Don Mills, we were all pretty worried about how it would turn out and what comes next!

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Property tax increases need to be kept in check to ensure our city’s ongoing success and competitiveness. Keeping property tax increases at or below the rate of inflation is one of my priorities.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Toronto’s Emergency Medical Services has set the standard for harnessing new and innovative technology to deliver services more efficiently and effectively. A similar approach across all of our city’s first responders – which I have and will continue to champion – would result in significant savings.

    The city could also reduce costs by taking a more serious and sustained approach to partnerships with the business and community sectors.

    Before running for office, I worked in economic development and I understand the power of partnerships first hand – it’s something the city needs to harness moving forward.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Anything that would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of city government is worth exploring.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Yes. The city should continue to look for innovative ways to deliver services efficiently and effectively.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I’m committed to the fiscal agenda and any opportunities to keep our city competitive are worth exploring.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    We need to keep our city competitive by driving innovation, harnessing new technologies and building partnerships with the private and community sectors.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    We need transit planning based on expert evidence, international best practices and solid, realistic financial plans. It’s what I’ve advocated for through each and every transit debate at City Hall, and its absence is one of the key reasons we’ve lost ground over the past term.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    I served on the Employee and Labour Relations Committee during the last round of successful negotiations and know that it takes strength and resolve.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    There are significant opportunities for P3s and, more broadly, for partnerships with both the private and community sectors.

    We need to change the way Toronto approaches partnerships at the municipal level – it’s something we need to think about in the context of each and every decision the city makes.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Development is a significant issue across Ward 25. Our unique neighbourhoods are some of the best in the city, which in turn attracts incredible intensification pressure. Development also has significant impacts on traffic, congestion and green space.

    The city actually has limited control over development – which means it can be a real challenge to protect neighbourhoods’ character and quality of life.

    A big part of the solution is to shift power to neighbourhoods over planning and development decisions, from rethinking and rebuilding the Committee of Adjustment to moving forward with a Local Appeal Body to creating opportunities for local input and engagement at each and every turn.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Besides decreasing the bureaucracy itself there isn’t many other places savings can be found in the city budget. The city services are already underfunded.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    I do support reducing the size but not by a large number. I think 40 Councillors is more than enough. Ward boundaries should be reviewed and changed to accommodate this decrease. I am sure that this would increase focus and decisiveness to some degree.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    I support contracting out services if it gives taxpayers a better deal.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    I support the elimination of the Municipal Land Transfer Tax.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    This is a massive problem that needs to be addressed by working with provincial and federal governments.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    I support the City Income Rebate plan that Mayoral Candidate Michael Nicula has proposed. The issue of taxes needs to be approached from a different angle and this plan offers a fresh angle. The solution is not to raise taxes. Taxes are already high enough. The real problem is that the cities get the smallest percentage of all the taxes we pay. The federal government and provincial get 89% while the City gets only 11%. The money that Toronto needs to solve its Public Transit and Aging Infrastructure problems is already there but billions of dollars are being mismanaged by the Federal Government. It is our money and as citizens of Toronto we should be able to get it back to our city in order to solve our local problems. More details about the proposal can be found at this link: http://www.mayor4.to/city-income-rebate.html

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    A realistic budget limit has to be set and then defended as much as possible.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    There are opportunities in the infrastructure sector. The city’s roads, pipes, and wires are decaying and these are some of the problems that could be addressed by P3s. Public transit is another opportunity where a partnership could work great as evidenced by the Viva Rapid Transit.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Poverty is an issue in Ward 25 as it is in many other parts of Toronto. The most predominant issues that residents have been dealing with for decades is that of housing. There is a lack of affordable and quality housing for many residents. New units have to be built, existing units have to be maintained and renovated, and all three levels of government should help to finance this type of housing strategy in order to combat the rising poverty levels in the city.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 24 – Willowdale

The Incumbent:

David Shiner

The Race

We would have preferred to weigh Councillor David Shiner’s response against his opponents but unfortunately the incumbent did not respond to our questions. Two of his challengers agree on the need to cap property tax at the rate of inflation and the need to find savings in the City budget. Views vary on reducing the Land Transfer Tax and public-private partnerships. The incumbent won handily in 2010. Will it happen again?

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Councillor David Shiner, Randy Ai, Dan Fox.

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Yes
    Galea, Michael Yes

  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Contracting, operating budget, and recreation
    Galea, Michael In the execution of major capital projects. For example, cost over-run at Union Station could have been avoided.


  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela No
    Galea, Michael No


  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Will consider with evaluation of private tender proposals
    Galea, Michael No, but supports proposals to contract out Toronto Parking Authority services.


  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Yes to reducing
    Galea, Michael No to both reducing and elimination


  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Focus on changing work trends. Many jobs can be created from condo construction. More promotions and events to stimulate economy.
    Galea, Michael Set targets for creation of employment spaces. Develop more building ownership options for small business. Establish Business Improvement Area in ward. Streamline Site Plan Application process.


  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Provincial and federal governments need to commit funding. Advertisement on TTC properties could generate revenues.
    Galea, Michael Dedicate portion of land transfer tax revenue to transit fund. Road tolls from 905 commuters. Refine Toronto Parking Authority to generate positive income.


  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Need balance between quality and responsible expenditure within parameters of budget.
    Galea, Michael Introduce performance-based pay in negotiations.


  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Did not provide specifics.
    Galea, Michael Yes for delivery of infrastructure projects that are too large for the City to handle.


  • Candidate Response
    Acerra, Daniela Integrating immigrants in society faster for a more productive city.
    Galea, Michael Inappropriate land development. Must mediate between all stakeholders.

 

The full responses

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    Yes a do support a property tax cap that does reflect not greater than the rate of inflation and i support to find areas that would keep the property taxes even lower than the rate of inflation.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    Contracting , operating budget ,recreation are all  other area that can be improved in savings and efficiency

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Toronto deserve the best Representation : the number of Representations is directly related by the needs of the residents and the City Budget.I believe into proper Representation :not under Represented ,not overly. Pros and Cons should be considered ,presented and decided on the bargaining table and all under an efficient and responsible budget.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    best value for the dollar without sacrificing the quality of services .Consideration should be given to the success of garbage privatization on the West side of Young St. Evaluation of private tender proposals and public Proposals should be careful examineted and best valued for the taxpayer interests e quality assurance

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Double Land Transfer tax in Toronto have driven families to purchase affordable housing outside the City.Reduction would be a great idea or rebates for First Home Buyers .I do not believe in Complete Land Transfer Tax Elimination as it brings in great Revenues.We want attract working families back into the City and we want to keep the City Competitive.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    Creating jobs is a key element for a prosperous City. Work fairs ,directing workers towards needed area ,updating skills,focusing work changing trands ,are some of the areas to create jobs . A typical example is taking a look at the over 200 Condo construction in Toronto : that requires engineers ,construction workers ,contractors ,condo managers and condo management Companies ,cleaning contractors , Elevators Contractors ,snow removals and landscaping contractors ,fire Inspectors ,pool inspectors and so forth. Those new condos will require furniture : from sales ,to administration ,to cabinet making ,delivery,furniture making….:the list is endless.

    The other is studying demographic and baby boomers needs  .Also believe in attracting  Companies in Toronto .Stimulate the private sector and promote it . Create Promotions and events in Toronto that would stimulate the economy like the successful Black Friday or The TIFF. This is just to mention a few.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    The Toronto Transit System has been the key element of the debates of all 3 Levels of Government ,in which all of them have committed to funding aids .Assuring that both the Provincial and the Federal Government live up to their Commitment is a fundamental . And before looking at any taxation i would look at Revenues like for example advertisement on TTC properties and maximize those revenues

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    Quality jobs mean quality life for families in Toronto and money reinvested into the City .A balance between quality and responsible expenditure is always necessary …always within the parameters of the proper assigned budget.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes private sector and public sector can work together hand to hand .The garbage collection can be an example so far .Workers like options ,the City likes options fit within the budget.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    One of the issues in the Ward is the integration in Society of immigrants and language barrier in the East Side of the Ward . By organizing volunteers and increasing Esl and Co-op programs we can integrate residents faster and be part of a productive Toronto.

  • 1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?

    YES, after the current property tax increase associated with funding the Scarborough Subway is implemented and maintained in a fund dedicated to transit expansion. Toronto’s residential property tax rate is the lowest in the golden horseshoe yet we face some of the most costly challenges. Our competitive edge must be maintained but we must also face the up to our responsibilities.

    2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?

    In the execution of major capital projects. The projected budget over-run at Union Station alone is equal to nearly 4% of the entire 2013 City budget. We never should have taken responsibility for a major construction project that included a heritage building of this scope. We need to realize when a project is beyond our abilities and seek outside help that can be held accountable for their budget.

    3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council?

    Absolutely not. Currently, each Toronto Councillor represents more constituents than any other major city in Ontario. We must ensure fair representation for all of our citizens.

    4. Will you support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street?

    Contracting out half of the City’s garbage collection has had an interesting result. Complaints are down and savings are being realized across the entire City thanks to competition between the public and private sector. Given the length of the contract, allowing either control over the entire system puts us at their mercy and could compromise the benefits realized. I’m in favour of maintaining the current split.

    In terms of contracting out other services, I would like to see private sector proposals for services pertaining to the Toronto Parking Authority. As I understand it the current system is revenue neutral. If the system could be refined to offer positive revenues that could be put into transit without added cost to citizens, I am all for it.

    5. What are your thoughts on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax – will you support reducing it or eliminating it?

    Even after you factor in the revenues from the land transfer tax our residential tax rate is still lower than any other city in the Golden Horseshoe. I would keep it in place for the following reasons:

    A/ I believe that it serves as a minor disincentive helping to keep Toronto’s real estate market from overheating in the same way many others have, preserving most people largest investment.

    B/  Funding infrastructure improvements pays significant dividends to citizens by creating opportunities. We need the capital to invest in these improvements.

    C/ It allows us to defer payment of the taxes needed to raise the capital mentioned in B/ reducing our annual tax burden without compromising the growth of our City.

    6. Toronto’s unemployment rate is much higher than the provincial rate. What are your ideas to create job growth in Toronto?

    A/ Use our planning policies to set real targets for the creation of a diverse range of employment spaces throughout the City. Current construction within the City has been too focused on condominiums and retail spaces. They are necessary part of any community but alone they do not meet our employment needs.

    B/ Encourage the development of more ownership options in the buildings that house our small businesses so they can pay into an asset rather than rent. Building asset value will give small businesses the leverage to expand more efficiently when they are ready.

    C/ Establish the first Business Improvement Area in my Ward. We need to take a proactive approach maintaining and improving the quality of our commercial areas before they become an issue.

    D/ Streamline the Site Plan Application process for non-contentious applications. Given Toronto’s new cost recovery program there really should be no need for an applicant to wait up to 120 days before a property even gets looked at.

    7. It seems City Council has been debating public transit forever with little results to show. How would you fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone? Do you feel we need to change the current transit planning process?

    Funding Transit

    A/ Allocating a portion of the land transfer tax and the funding tool established for the Scarborough Subway to a dedicated transit expansion fund.

    B/ I am open to a modest road toll on the commuters from the 905 (only if necessary) provided Toronto residents are exempt and measures are taken to address “toll dodgers” who may further congest City streets.

    C/ Refining the Toronto Parking Authority to generate positive income.

    8. Labour negotiations will be a big part of the next council term. What advice do you have for the city’s negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers?

    I really do like the outcome of partially contracting garbage collection mentioned in my answer to question 4. We need to keep standard wage increases at inflation to be fare but then empower City employees to take control of their future through performance based pay. I find that people produce the best results when they know their efforts will not go unnoticed.

    9. Do you see opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto? Where, specifically?

    Yes. I see potential for P3s in the delivery of infrastructure projects that are out of the City’s scope of expertise like the construction of complex buildings PROVIDED the outcomes are dictated by the City, payment is not made until substantial completion, payment for maintenance is based on performance and the relationship is subject to regular review by the Auditor General. Too often have we failed to recognize our limitations resulting in ballooning budgets. We can’t offer value to citizens if we do not fully grasp the scope of work.

    10. What is the top issue of concern for residents in your ward? What will you do as Councillor to address the issue?

    Simply put, inappropriate land development. I will use my 17 years of experience mediating between developers and communities to negotiate solutions that offer a net benefit to ALL stakeholders. Too often do we neglect to explore our options and miss opportunities by standing in stark opposition to change.