2014 TCDSB Election: Ward 6 – York

The Incumbent:

Frank D’Amico

The Race

Trustee D’Amico was first elected as TCDSB trustee in the last election. His sole opponent didn’t fill out our survey, so here’s what Mr. D’Amico had to say.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Kim Daniel

The Breakdown

 

The full responses

  • 1. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking private investment at the TCDSB?

    I’m an Argo’s season seat holder, I’m always networking looking for partners, sponsors, I’m presently looking into revitalizing the former Borough of York Stadium located next door to one of my high schools, The Loretto College field, the St. Nicholas of Bari yard, a new playground for St John the Evangelist… I can go on, St Mary of the Angels, and St Clare’s green spaces were revitalized with the help of partners and they turned out wonderful. We just have to make sure that the partners are in good standing with society, for an example I don’t think we would search out a partner that runs a sweatshop or exploits children etc.

    2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?

    We’ve balanced four consecutive Billion dollar budgets since I’ve been on the Board,”without any pink slips,” with a decent surplus. I think its important to keep our employees working, Wages make up a large part of the budget, in my first term I noticed we spend about 20 Million more that we’re allotted on Special Education which is very important, we need to somehow involve the Ministry of Health a little bit to see if there’s anything they can do to assist with some Education funding related to Health. Transportation is another area we’re overspending the allotment because we’re doing our best to accommodate.

    3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?

    I will foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large as I’ve been doing the last four years, I listen, listening is important, community partners want to be heard, they want to a part of the solution, I return all calls and emails within 48 hours, I attend as many community events as I can, I don’t need to be a guest of honour, I show up because I live here too, I enjoy interacting with community groups, I have at least two Ward meetings a year where the community is invited, if needed I’ve hosted several meetings to accommodate rate payers at their request.

    4. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically to education. Is this a proposal you support?

    Education is already incorporated into our taxes, everyone pays into it and I’m okay with this system. We’ll have to see how the proposed system pans out, there are tax payers that don’t have children and don’t want to pay taxes for schools, I wouldn’t want to lose that, it will be difficult to make up, but if it works then its something that should be looked at.

    5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?

    I do support an ombudsman, I’m not sure if it should be a full time position, unless full time is necessary because eventually the money comes out of the classroom, I’ve been here four years and haven’t had any constituent complaints where the issues weren’t resolved either at the Principal or Superintendent level, or through mediation.

    6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewellry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?

    Six new Trustees were Elected in 2010 including myself, Individual Trustee expenses are posted on the TCDSB website, Trustees are more careful with what they expense, I find it too time consuming counting Kms everywhere I go, to discern whether its board business or personal when I visit my schools, or go watch my school teams play sports so I pay for my own gas and have been doing so for my entire term, I can’t spend an hour figuring out if I should expense 59 cents, I’d rather be networking, trying to get something good for my students. How will I change the culture? lead by example, set a good example, treat everyone with respect, be a good listener, try to work well as a team, try to bring out their good qualities, everyone can contribute somehow, and in some way, I may not always get my way, but I need to find a positive approach and gain support to make constituents in my Ward happy and give the students the best possible classroom experience.

    7. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    Special Education is a sensitive issue, one dear to my heart as my brother has Downsyndrome and went through the TCDSB system, I’ve partially answered this in my no 2. Answer. To continue, on top of funding, I visit all my Special Ed classrooms, I speak with the Teachers, Principals, and Parents, I don’t just visit once, I’ve made several visits to each classroom over the last four years, and I was impressed with what I saw, I saw elementary special ed students building websites, (I can’t do this) I’ve seen high school special ed students using smart boards, I find that impressive because I don’t know how to use it. I attend the mini olympics when I can, its a wonderful feeling when these special students see me, remember me, and even say hello. Its important to visit classrooms in person, to know what is going on, to see how things work, and not only visit when there’s an issue because all the positive interactions won’t have any weight in making informed decisions.

    8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?

    2% of the budget is allocated towards administration and Governance, most of that is salary for central support services for schools (accounting, purchasing, planning etc). There’s been significant reductions in both funding and expenditures over the years, and the Board is always looking for ways to be more efficient when it comes to saving money. TCDSB is a member of the Catholic School Board Services Association (CSBSA) and have initiated “cooperative services arrangements” and “joint purchasing arrangements” with the 6 member Catholic School Boards. Initiatives include joint purchasing of natural gas, paper products and technology. These initiatives not only saved administrative costs but the Board was able to take advantage of price reductions because of bulk purchasing discounts, these are an example of some of the effective ways to reduce administrative and Governance costs.

    9. What do you think is the best approach for the TCDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    The Provincial Government has initiated Provincial Bargaining, and has taken over the responsibility to negotiate a provincial contract with all unions including teachers, for monetary issues. In the past, school Board negotiated non-monetary local issues with the local union organizations. As a result, the TCDSB (and any other Board in the Province) has minimal impact on the central negotiations. I personally feel teachers have suffered enough, and they deserve an adjustment in pay, although I’d like to see more free training available to all staff in area’s of Special Education, Conflict resolution, and First Aid, this will benefit the school community as a whole.

    10. TCDSB is in the process of developing a parent/student bill of rights. What do you view as one of the most important rights in education for parents and students? Will you support this initiative?​

    Yes I will definitely support the parent/student bill of rights, and will advocate for the right of students to have equitable access to educational opportunities that best meet the needs of the student/parent. I would support any motion that benefits the welbeing of our students and makes their classroom experience that much better.

2014 TCDSB Election: Ward 5 – North York

The Incumbent:

Maria Rizzo

The Race

All but one candidate in Ward 5 offered up their views for our Voting Guide. There is support across all candidates that participated for a Parents and Students Bill of Rights.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Larry Colle

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey Will consider
    Da Re, Louise Yes
    Macdonald, Jody No
    Rizzo, Maria Will consider


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey Examining past budgets to determine results of spending
    Da Re, Louise We need to eliminate wasteful spending and find efficiencies.
    Macdonald, Jody Identify principles to guide decision making
    Rizzo, Maria Cut administration


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey Transparency
    Da Re, Louise E-newsletter, community events, and school visitations
    Macdonald, Jody Attend parent council members, liturgy celebrations, community events
    Rizzo, Maria Always has


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey Will consider
    Da Re, Louise No
    Macdonald, Jody Will consider
    Rizzo, Maria Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey Non-committal
    Da Re, Louise Yes
    Macdonald, Jody Yes
    Rizzo, Maria Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey Adherence to guidelines, publishing expenses
    Da Re, Louise Culture has changed
    Macdonald, Jody Culture has changed
    Rizzo, Maria Culture has changed


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey More resources and more qualified people
    Da Re, Louise Learn from our failures
    Macdonald, Jody Increased funding from province
    Rizzo, Maria Allocate resources


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey More teachers and less bureaucracy.
    Da Re, Louise Look for further efficiencies, streamlining and automation.
    Macdonald, Jody Set an ideal cost for administration
    Rizzo, Maria Too many to list


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey Take a realistic and common sense, non adversarial approach
    Da Re, Louise The best approach is a fair and co-operative approach.
    Macdonald, Jody Collaboration, respect, find common ground
    Rizzo, Maria No advice given


  • Candidate Response
    Abrenilla, Joey Yes
    Da Re, Louise Yes
    Macdonald, Jody Yes
    Rizzo, Maria Yes

 

The full responses

  • 1. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking private investment at the TCDSB?

    I am open to unsolicited support from private agencies to help TCDSB.  However, their offer of support needs to be examined and assessed very carefully and thoroughly, making sure there are no riders or conditions that will compromise the integrity of TCDSB and the Catholic values that we need to uphold.

    2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?

    We can start with the examination of the historical budget and expenses of the TCDSB, focusing on how TCDSB spent its budget – were the money spent necessary and considered to be wise investment for the TCDSB, were the things the money spent on the best choices (were there any other better options), were there surpluses and how were these surpluses spent, were they spent wisely?

    3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?

    Transparency in what we do at the TCDSB.  Involving the parents and students alike in the debates and discussions on crucial decisions that affect TCDSB, Schools and students.

    4. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically to education. Is this a proposal you support?

    I cannot comment on the proposals that I don’t know anything about.  I need to know their rationale and basis for advocating new tax for education.  The proposals need to answer the questions: Is there a need for new tax for education and why? Are the present resources for our education not sufficient and why?  We need to engage everyone in answering these questions.  This is not something that we in the School Board can arbitrarily decide on.  After all the burden of additional taxes will be shouldered by the parents.

    5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?

    It has some advantages and benefits.  I am just wondering whether if this will create more bureaucracy and duplication of mandates that already exist – accounting and auditing departments and guidelines by the goverment.

    6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewellry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?

    I don’t think it has.  By strict adherence to the guidelines prescribed for Trustee expenditures and a quarterly publication of their expenditures for public scrutiny, similar to the web-available expenses of the members of the Parliament of Canada.

    7. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    As an Occupational Therapist who deals children with special needs, this is very sad and frustrating. We need more resources and qualified persons in the Special Education system and a more viable processes that had been fashioned by the Professionals in the field, the Special Education Teachersand input from the parents of Special Education students.  This will be one of my advocacies.

    8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?

    More teachers and less bureaucracy.

    9. What do you think is the best approach for the TCDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    Realistic and common sense approach to bargaining with the teachers, the staff, and the Union, as opposed to the adversarial “We must win in this bargaining process” approach.  The bargaining process must be an open, receptive and honest consideration of the concerns and issues from both sides of the table.  The goal is not to win, but to achieve a realistic and productive strategy and mechanism for the School Board, Schools, and the students.

    10. TCDSB is in the process of developing a parent/student bill of rights. What do you view as one of the most important rights in education for parents and students? Will you support this initiative?​

    I will support this initiative.  The essence of this Bill of Rights must be that the parents and the students are major and equal partners in the present and the future not only of the TCDSB but also of the schools and the students.

  • 1. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking private investment at the TCDSB?

    Yes I support seeking private investment. However any proposed investment must first pass a careful review, the primary concern being how it will affect students.

    2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?

    We need to eliminate wasteful spending and find efficiencies. This must be a goal of every individual within the organization, and ideas should be solicited from all levels. Capital and maintenance projects must be carefully planned, with prudent oversight and consequences for overruns.

    Making a case to the province for additional funding and seeking private investment are ways to increase the monies available.

    3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?

    I intend to regularly send out an e-newsletter, so constituents can read about education issues, community events, and any other relevant news (i.e. from schools,  the school board, the province).  I will hold regular ward meetings where we can discuss the latest issues and hear from speakers on topics of interest. I intend to visit schools as often as possible and look for opportunities to bring people together.

    4. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically to education. Is this a proposal you support?

    No. I do not support a new tax.

    5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?

    Yes. I think an ombudsman plays an important role. I would support this initiative.

    6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewellry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?

    I believe it has. Expenses are posted, making the process transparent. However, we must remain diligent.  After every election, trustees should be educated about expense guidelines and consequences if they are not followed. If they have questions about allowable expenses, they should know where they can be answered. Trustee expenses should also continue to be audited regularly.

    7. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    Special Education is important. These children are the most vulnerable in the school system. We must learn from any failures and see that special education has the resources it needs by training teachers with the most innovative and current strategies. We must foster understanding, acceptance and where possible, integration.

    8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?

    Look for further efficiencies, streamlining and automation. This must be a goal of each individual within the organization, and ideas should be solicited from all levels.

    9. What do you think is the best approach for the TCDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    The best approach is a fair and co-operative approach. We recognize that teachers and staff are critical to maintaining a superior education system, while they need to recognize our budget constraints. Together we can look for efficiencies and consider non-financial incentives as well as financial.

    10. TCDSB is in the process of developing a parent/student bill of rights. What do you view as one of the most important rights in education for parents and students? Will you support this initiative?​

    One of the most important rights is a safe and caring environment that promotes responsibility, mutual respect, and academic success. I support the development initiative.

  • 1. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking private investment at the TCDSB?

    If by seeking ‘private investment’ you mean engaging in private corporate fund raising, this would not fit with my vision for the TCDSB.  I would focus on minimizing waste, identifying  priorities to guide budget decisions, and ensuring a balanced budget.

    2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?

    As well as board priorities, I would encourage the board to identify principles to guide decision making when the budget is being prepared.

    3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?

    Great question!  My first step would be to attend parent council members, liturgy celebrations, sporting and arts events, and get to know the Ward 5 community members.  Working collaboratively, we might be able to identify some areas of common concern and an action plan to respond to the concern.

    4. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically to education. Is this a proposal you support?

    The future depends on our children, and our children depend on their education to prepare for their future. I believe each citizen has a responsibility to contribute to the education of future generations.  Paying taxes is a way for citizens to fulfill this social commitment.  Not sure about a specific tax for education. It might be better to suggest a tax to support the future of society.

    5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?

    Yes, I would an ombudsperson, but the board would need to think about how this fits with our priorities. And how to fund the position.

    6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewellry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?

    I think the board members have responded to concerns raised by the media, the education ministry, and the voters.  My suggestion to continue to improve accountability is simple.  Announce the total expenses submitted by trustees at the beginning of each meeting, thus creating a little peer pressure to ensure that expenses remain reasonable.

    7. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    I would advocate for the Ministry of Education to increase its funding for special education programs. TCDSB has made special education a priority…

    8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?

    I would ensure that the board carefully reviews and then sets an ideal percentage of the budget for administrators.

    9. What do you think is the best approach for the TCDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    Prepare to listen to each side carefully, be respectful of each other and find the common ground and collaborate.

    10. TCDSB is in the process of developing a parent/student bill of rights. What do you view as one of the most important rights in education for parents and students? Will you support this initiative?​

    Yes I will support it, but would encourage including responsibilities as well.

    Parent rights – freedom of religion .. being about to educate our children holistically, so they are supported to grow spiritually, physically, cognitively, and emotionally.

  • 1. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking private investment at the TCDSB?

    Where appropriate. 

    2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?

    Cur administration (conferences, new furniture for offices, etc.  Not programs for kids.

    3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?

    I always have.

    4. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically to education. Is this a proposal you support?

    Anything that would help the funding issues faced today.  We did fund off the property tax base in the past. 

    5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?

    Absolutely

    6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewellry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?

    Much has changed since the scandal/

    7. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    Allocate resources to assist this vulnerable group of students and perhaps reorganize the department.  

    8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?

    Where doo I start?  Too many to list

    9. What do you think is the best approach for the TCDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    Unfortunately that has been taken over by the provinial government.

    10. TCDSB is in the process of developing a parent/student bill of rights. What do you view as one of the most important rights in education for parents and students? Will you support this initiative?​

    Of course. 

2014 TCDSB Election: Ward 4 – North York

The Incumbent:

Patrizia Bottoni

The Race

First term Trustee Patrizia Bottoni declined to participate in our project but a pair of her opponents did participate. Both candidates below present differing ideas on how to reduce the burden on taxpayers, so be sure to consider your options and weigh all the ideas before you enter the ballot box!

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Marina Laccona, Patrizia Bottoni

The Breakdown

 

The full responses

  • 1. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking private investment at the TCDSB?

    I am not opposed to private investments or partnerships.  Like it or not, this is the way of the future.  Big companies have funds that the TCDSB require and can utilize and that we cannot access in any other way. While open to partnerships, I am cautious about how much we allow into the school.  It is a fine balance. I would ask, how are the students benefitting from this? Materials? Equipment? Resources? How will their education benefit from this?  I would be mindful of the messages, subliminal and overt, the sponsors are portraying.  Having a reputable company sponsor a gym and equipment or sponsoring a playground has benefits as it is an extra tool that is not taking funds away from the school.  In this day and age, sponsors are everywhere.  Having a limited amount in the schools would not be negative, if properly controlled.

    2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?

    We need to evaluate all the budget shortfalls and look for savings.  The provincial government has cut  program funding such as the Junior Literacy Intervention. The funding was removed a few years ago but it is a useful tool that the TCDSB continued by taking on the cost itself.  Provincial funding for computers has also been reduced.  We need the provincial government to step up and help and realize that these kids are our future and they need access to proper tools and resources.   We also cannot overspend at the TCDSB, as it puts the school board in debt and forces them to crawl back out of the hole, which is never easy.  We need to budget properly so that future leaders are not left to solve the problem.  We need to examine and re-evaluate ways to create new formulas and ways to generate revenue.   These issues need to be responsibly taken care of now.

    3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?

    The way I would foster and engage school communities and rate payers is by communicating in many ways so that people can access the information.  We need to use as many mediums as we have available to us, to accomplish this.  For example, I wouldn’t just put information in the newspaper as that would limit my target audience.  I need to get my message across different types of media; bulletins at libraries, schools and community centres; social media; related websites and local or community newspapers.  We need to make sure we hit the ratepayers association on the municipal level more than the provincial level, as this hits closer to home.  We must also be mindful that some of these taxpayers may be new to the country and with this comes a new culture of education and a population who may not be used to this culture.  Information should be made available and clear for all, not just those that are educated.  Daycare should be provided at meetings so that all can attend.

    4. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically to education. Is this a proposal you support?

    No, I would not advocate for a new tax.  Toronto residents are already taxed enough.  Education is important and we need to gain more access to funds through other means.  We need to ask the provincial government to provide more funding.  We need to find more savings in the TCDSB and our schools.

    5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?

    No, I do not support this initiative. TCDSB is too top heavy right now as it is. Money could be better spent to benefit students directly.  There is already a system in place that deals with issues that arise. I am, by no means against anything that would endorse and encourage equality and accountability, I just question whether that budgeted money could be better utilized elsewhere.

    6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewellry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?

    Safety nets have been put into place to change this culture.  First and foremost there needs to be clear communication from the start and very clear parameters put in place on what is clearly acceptable and what is not. You get into trouble when you have shades of grey. There has to be accountability on the trustees. Receipts need to be shown. More than one signature should be required on bigger purchases, etc.  The TCDSB has taken very good steps in posting all expenses by Trustees. This shows transparency and is the right direction to cut out frivolous expenditures. The question should always be, “How does this expenditure benefit the students?”  There are some things that are necessary, such as workshops and out of town trips, but we need to make sure they are always within reason.

    7. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    Special Education is a learning curve and a work in progress. There are more children involved with special education every year. The idea that God created everyone equally permeates my beliefs especially with this topic. All students have the right to learn. All special education students need to always have the right to work with trained, specialized individuals and access to all programs and resources that enhance, support, and enrich their learning.  Assistance must be given to all students that require it.

    8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?

    All of us, as citizens of this planet, should be making an effort to reduce our use of consumables (ie. paper, electricity, office supplies, etc.). If administration and governance would take stock of what is really essential in their daily operations versus what is wasteful, excessive or just plain unnecessary, then very easily we could start to make inroads to reducing expenditures. This same philosophy could be applied to other areas within administration.

    9. What do you think is the best approach for the TCDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    The best approach for the TCDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations is to use fairness, transparency and good faith bargaining.  All teachers and administration want safe and good working conditions and these always need to be provided as they also enhance student life at the school. What the TCDSB needs to have is more rigorous standards for hiring practices in future negotiations.

    10. TCDSB is in the process of developing a parent/student bill of rights. What do you view as one of the most important rights in education for parents and students? Will you support this initiative?​

    As clearly outlined in the Education Act of Ontario, every child is owed the right to an education.  Clearly, what that education looks like will be different.  This is, by far, the most important right owed to a parent and their child.  Ensuring that no matter what a child’s needs may be, or how different the programming and delivery must be, all efforts must be made to accommodate.  Every child has the right to learn in the TCDSB. We cannot leave any child behind. We need to foster student achievement and well-being while adhering to our Catholic values.

  • 1. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking private investment at the TCDSB?

    Partnerships – yes but only after careful scrutiny. It must pass the smell test, so ethical considerations and avoidance of conflicts of interest must take precedence over the financial advantages

    2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?

    TCDSB can do the usual but necessary review of all spending practices to avoid duplication of programmes and expenses. Trustee expenses can still be reduced as can some of the staff PD programmes, some of which can be delivered in house by the board’s own qualified staff.

    3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?

    The existing mechanisms need to be better utilized. Do not re-invent the wheel, improve the web site’s interactive qualities and promote school (parents and stakeholders) councils. Send info home with students. Re-jig mechanisms to get feedback via e mail, phone and notes from parents, students and other parties.

    4. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically to education. Is this a proposal you support?

    It is not simple to go back to self-taxing abilities that school boards used to have. With current income based solely on min of ed grants, boards have to claim more but are hampered by the funding formulas. This is something to investigate but there is no simple solution to the never ending need for more in an environment where (extra) taxes are unpopular and have to be justified.

    5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?

    Yes. This discussion has already taken place.

    6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewellry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?

    There has been a great improvement in the culture since the appointment of the supervisors and the egregious acts of several never applied to all trustees. The whole issue of trustees’ roles and duties need re-evaluating. Attending trustee meetings reveals that a great deal of PD, education and training is needed for several of them to see the difference between governance (them) and management (senior staff), the corporate memory and history of the board, Robert’s rules and parliamentary procedure.

    7. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    I have worked with special needs students for over 40 years. I have a son who is developmentally delayed and a grandson who is autistic. I know the value of special education and  continue to be committed to its implementation. But there cannot ever be unlimited funds so the task is in the fair allocation of resources. Quite frankly, some programmes are better than others. Some programmes need expanding, some need closing.

    8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?

    I support constant and regular review of costs and their effectiveness. I support more PD for governors (trustees) and managers but at less cost by using the in house expertise that we have. I also would review allowable expenses and set firm guidelines. An examination of the regional structure of management (4 regions) is overdue to continue to avoid duplication of services

    9. What do you think is the best approach for the TCDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    There is limited room for upcoming collective agreement contract negotiations since major table issues like remuneration and other big cost items are negotiated at the provincial tables with the mini of ed and provincial trustee associations. It leaves only relatively minor local items. In negotiations, I hope both sides show respect, reality and exercise restraint. It is possible to negotiate in a less adversarial manner through mutual interest bargaining. I have had much experience as a union president in these negotiations

    10. TCDSB is in the process of developing a parent/student bill of rights. What do you view as one of the most important rights in education for parents and students? Will you support this initiative?​

    Yes. There should be nothing to fear over any human rights legislation as long as the process is well discussed, lots of consultation with all stake holders and not be hi-jacked by any the the ombudsman is a question that needs consideration. Confessional systems (including Catholic) have a task reconciling some of general “rights” with some of the church’s view and traditions. That is not a reason, not to try.

2014 TCDSB Election: Ward 3 – North York

The Incumbent:

Sal Piccininni

The Race

Unfortunately incumbent Trustee Piccininni declined to participate in the survey, giving the floor completely to his sole opponent in the race. Here’s what Mr. Capisciolto had to say.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Sal Piccininni

The Breakdown

 

The full responses

  • 1. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking private investment at the TCDSB?

    I believe in private investment in reference to sports and the performing arts.  I do feel a need to ensure that funds given are equally spread out through all the schools in the TCDSB to avoid too great of a divide between different social classes.

    2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?

    I am open to suggestions, but, even more so, I am willing to analyze and compare our Catholic School to other boards of various Canadian and American cities.

    3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?

    I am firm believer of developing strong local connections in my ward.  Attending Parent council meetings, visiting the different Catholic Churches in my area, and basically making myself as visible as possible. I hope that the more I am seen, the more I will be perceived as approachable.  The most important role of trustee is to be an advocate for the parents; therefore, people need to feel that a trustee is there to listen.

    4. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically to education. Is this a proposal you support?

    The increasing of taxes, regardless of how they are implemented, need to be a last resort.  There are justifiable reasons to raise taxes but it is too often, in my opinion, a sign of laziness and a lack of understanding of what the real issues are.

    5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?

    I would be cautious in creating new positions that would logically increase the TCDSB budget.  I question the purpose of an ombudsman?  I understand the fear of corruption, however my response is to have faith in the civil authorities.  A greater worry than corruption is the public apathy toward the trustees.  When the Catholic Trustee spending scandal erupted in 2008, the voters across Toronto returned almost all of the trustees in the 2010 election.  As opposed to an Ombudsman we the public need to lose the apathetic attitude and strike fear of accountability through the use of our votes.

    6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewellry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?

    I would hope that all trustees would take their role as a public servant seriously and operate in a transparent matter in regards to all their duties.  If ever in the future there is another spending scandal, then again I believe the public needs to exercise their vote in good conscious and demand the change that question 6 alludes to.

    7. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    I will acknowledge that special education is one of the board’s most noticeable failures, but also represents one of its greatest opportunities for growth and improvement.  I feel through careful examination of other boards we should be able to develop a plan for special education.

    8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?

    I cannot say that I am in favor reducing cost, I am in favor of using our funds more efficiently and therefore strengthening departments that have been the victims of past budget cuts.

    9. What do you think is the best approach for the TCDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    In regards to the teachers and staff contract negotiations I believe salaries should be competitive with other comparable cities.  The reality is that Toronto is the fourth largest North American city and the largest Canadian city.  Therefore I think a competitive salary would rank TCDSB employees among the top 10 North American cities and within the top 3 Canadian Cities.  Cost of living is a consideration, but I believe a comparative salary within these limitations would account for the living expenses normally associated with a city the size of Toronto and the reality of living within a Canadian environment.

    10. TCDSB is in the process of developing a parent/student bill of rights. What do you view as one of the most important rights in education for parents and students? Will you support this initiative?​

    I would completely support a bill that would encourage parents to be more involved in their children’s education.  Parent involvement will result in an increased accountability from all involved, teachers, school administration, as well as the trustees.

2014 TCDSB Election: Ward 2 – Etobicoke

The Incumbent:

Ann Andrachuk

The Race

Trustee Andrachuk has only one opponent who participated in our survey. There seems to be large agreement on the direction the board should take, so be sure to read the full survey responses to help make up your mind when picking a candidate to support.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Andriy Botyuk

The Breakdown

 

The full responses

  • 1. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking private investment at the TCDSB?

    Yes.

    2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?

    Assess Board structure, human resources, review to improve efficiencies and appropriate allocation of GSN funding.

    3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?

    I will continue to meet with school communities on issues of mutual interest and concern. Will maintain Ward meetings to allow information dissemination, networking opportunities and free dialogue. School communities and ratepayers will be encouraged to participate in Board meetings, in person or live streaming, request email notification of Board communications and meeting agendas and minutes.

    4. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically to education. Is this a proposal you support?

    To add an additional tax to ratepayers is unthinkable. I would not support adding any additional burden on the public. This is not the purview or responsibility of this office.

    5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?

    I do not and did not support this initiative. Now that the Government has proposed additional responsibilities for the Provincial Ombudsman I will wait for a final decision on their amendment. The Bill has passed first reading.

    6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewellry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?

    Yes.

    7. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    As a member of SEAC, I work with association representatives to review our Special Education Plan and Budget and provide advice on integration of services for students with special needs. Committee recommendations are dealt with by the Trustees who in turn will solicit additional support from the government, when and where required.

    8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?

    It will be necessary to do a comprehensive review of the administrative structure and determine efficiencies and reductions if and where required.

    9. What do you think is the best approach for the TCDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    There is a central negotiation table attended by the various provincial stakeholders with private discussions at this time. Catholic Boards across the province have representation at that table and will be updated on the state of negotiations.

    10. TCDSB is in the process of developing a parent/student bill of rights. What do you view as one of the most important rights in education for parents and students? Will you support this initiative?​

    Students have the right to access a good education with learning opportunities to expand knowledge and their ability to continue learning beyond the classroom. Parents have the right to expect the school system to be responsive to their children’s needs and to communicate student progress in a clear and concise manner. I always support students and parents and will review the details of the initiative prior to making any final decision.

  • 1. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking private investment at the TCDSB?

    Yes I do, with the sole caveat that the choice of investment partners do not create a risk of “scandal” to the faith of Catholic students, teachers or parents. I would seriously consider private investment/sponsorship from organizations that do not present any moral or ethical controversies to the Catholic community (e.g. some organization or individual who is a big supporter of abortion).

    2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?

    I would push to conduct a line-by-line budget review to ensure there is no waste or redundancy in the board’s operating costs.  If there is insufficient information in certain line items, I would go the extra step of asking administration to provide more details on that line item, so that I and my colleagues are in a better position to assess whether the expenditure is reasonable.  I would support looking at ways to redirect administrative costs so they directly benefit students in the classrooms. I would investigate modern technology that could possibly help reduce overall costs, or increase efficiencies so that more could be achieved by the same teacher/staff levels without having to hire more staff and thus increase the labour and benefits costs. I will push for a review of all programs, in order to identifying expenditures that could be classified as “non-essential” to academic or religious knowledge, and which would make sense to suspend until such time as the board can afford to restart it.

    3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?

    I will start with the principle of local representation.  Too often, trustees focus only on the broad decisions that affect the whole board, and ignore the concerns and suggestions of their local constituents. It is too tempting for some trustees to only be concerned about the ratepayers in the ward at election time.  I will make it a principle I live by to carefully listen to the concerns and suggestions of the people who elected me.  Sometimes, the best ideas come not from bureacrats, government officials, or even school trustees. Sometimes, the best ideas come from the people who are most affected by the decisions.  I will endeavour to promptly return every call and email from constituents.

    4. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically to education. Is this a proposal you support?

    No, I would not support such an idea. In fact, I would fight against it. Working families are already over-taxed and many have serious struggles because of the over-taxation problem. We already pay an “education tax” on our property taxes.  I believe that trustees have a fiduciary obligation to “practice belt-tightening” when necessary.  After all, the average family has to tighten their belt and reduce their spending when times are tough. Why should the school board be an exception?

    5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?

    I must admit I need to do more research on this subject as I am not familiar with this debate.  At first blush however, I think I would oppose the idea as an unnecessary growth in costly bureaucracy. After all, aren’t trustees supposed to do what an ombudsman would supposedly do? If the thinking behind this idea is that we do not have confidence in trustees to do their jobs therefore we need to hire an ombudsman, what happens when we lose confidence in the ombudsman? Will we then be entertaining ideas to hire an advisory panel who oversees the ombudsman and the trustees?  Again, without having familiarity of this subject, I would think that the true solution (and one which respects taxpayers) is to elect trustees who will do their job properly.

    6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewellry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?

    As a regular mom who’s just trying to serve the Catholic Church and students like my own two school-age children, I am not privy to know whether the culture has changed or not.  I am not yet familiar with all of the TCDSB policies, however, I would suspect that a simple solution to curb abuse might be to institute a policy of posting expenses online so that watchdog organizations like yours can help keep folks in line.

    7. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    Sorry but I’m not sure if by “special education” this question refers to “special needs education”. Can you please clarify?

    8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?

    We could look at the possibility of cost reduction through attrition where, upon retirement, admin staff and senior managers would not be replaced and their responsibilities could be assumed by other staff/managers, etc. Of course, this should not be done carelessly or in a way that would impact quality of service to the students.

    9. What do you think is the best approach for the TCDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    The first step should be to restore some of the contract negotiation power that has been taken away from school boards by the Ministry of Education.

    10. TCDSB is in the process of developing a parent/student bill of rights. What do you view as one of the most important rights in education for parents and students? Will you support this initiative?​

    For parents, the right to know in advance what their children are being taught, and especially with respect to sensitive or controversial topics, to be given advance warning so the parent can discern whether there is any potential conflict with their Catholic values.  For students, the right to have one-to-one access to math teachers after class, to get help with math questions they did not understand during class, or which the teacher ran out of time to address to the student’s satisfaction.

2014 TCDSB Election: Ward 1 – Etobicoke

The Incumbent:

Peter Jakovcic

The Race

This race is wide open with incumbent Peter Jakovcic not running for re-election. Only two out of four candidates for election completed the survey for this ward. There is largely agreement among the two who participated, though details were short in the survey responses.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Robert Pella, Wasyl Luczkiw

The Breakdown

 

The full responses

  • 1. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking private investment at the TCDSB?

    yes support private investment

    2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?

    ideas will come when I know the factd

    3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?

    invite parents to board meetings,news letters,visit school communites

    4. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically to education. Is this a proposal you support?

    do not support new education tax

    5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?

    yes to ombudsman

    6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewellry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?

    culture has changed

    7. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    need to find out missing at tcdsb at this point and look at changes that can be made with proper funding

    8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?

    needs to be looked at

    9. What do you think is the best approach for the TCDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    give up as little as possible

    10. TCDSB is in the process of developing a parent/student bill of rights. What do you view as one of the most important rights in education for parents and students? Will you support this initiative?​

    support bill of rights

  • 1. Recently the Canadian Football League and Nissan stepped in to help school boards with the costs of organized sports. Do you support seeking private investment at the TCDSB?

    Absolutely Yes !

    2. What ideas do you have to address the budget challenges that the TCDSB faces?

    Tons; I’m a CPA, CMA and CEO; way too many to list

    3. How will you foster and engage school communities and ratepayers at large?

    Thru Rate Payer Associations and voice broadcasting and automated polling

    4. There are candidates who have proposed advocating for a new tax dedicated specifically to education. Is this a proposal you support?

    Any new Taxes is “Stupid”

    5. TCDSB has debated and budgeted for an ombudsman. Do you – and will you support this important initiative?

    Undecided

    6. Do you believe the culture among TCDSB Trustees has changed after a spending scandal that saw Trustees expense gold jewellry, trips, university tuition, personalized licence plates and lingerie, among other things? If not how will you change this culture?

    No I don’t believe it’s changed; as a CPA, CMA and ex-auditor; I have the back ground in experience and education to push hard for change and hold them accountable

    7. Failures in special education are considered by some to be the greatest failure in the public system. What is your plan for correcting this?

    Too complex of a question for this type of survey ! I have experience with special needs; and would have a number of proactive recommendations

    8. What are your ideas on how we can reduce the cost of administration and governance at TCDSB?

    Again too complex; changes are definitely required; we needed better management and less bureaucrats!

    9. What do you think is the best approach for the TCDSB to take in upcoming contract negotiations with teachers and staff?

    ;)

    10. TCDSB is in the process of developing a parent/student bill of rights. What do you view as one of the most important rights in education for parents and students? Will you support this initiative?​

    Have to see the Bill of Rights first and ideas from stake-holders; but frankly we have far more pressing issues !!!

2014 City Council Election: Ward 44 Scarborough East

The Incumbent:

Ron Moeser

The Race

Long-time politician Ron Moeser is back on the ballot to add to his 26 year career as City Councillor. There’s a large spike in the number of opponents he faces this time around with 15 candidates on the ballot for Ward 44, compared to 4 candidates in 2010. Perhaps, due to a lack of representation during this term? He sqeaked by in 2010 with just under 300 more votes than his top opponent. Ward 44 is sure to be an interesting race in 2014.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Diana Hall, Mirza Mohammed, Marc Proctor, Richard Ross, MarkPaul St.Bishop, Ragu Thanabalasingam, Neethra Vipulanandan

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Allen, Phil Yes
    Beckmann, Graham Yes
    Chhabra, Amarjeet Yes
    Maguire, Paul No
    McKelvie, Jennifer Yes with conditions.
    Moeser, Ron Yes
    Nielsen, Arlene Yes
    Sondhi, Ashley Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Allen, Phil Management positions.
    Beckmann, Graham Paid duty police officers at construction sites.
    Chhabra, Amarjeet Police services budget, specifically paid duty officers at construction sites. Also, current shift system requires review.
    Maguire, Paul  Amalgamation of redundant departments can save money but would cost jobs as well. Attrition and transfers might be acceptable strategies for staffing adjustments. I will advocate for an analysis of expenses to cover all policing costs.
    McKelvie, Jennifer I am for finding efficient and effective means of providing the quality services Torontonians seek.
    Moeser, Ron Staff reduction
    Nielsen, Arlene No Response Given
    Sondhi, Ashley Review of collective agreements that are to be negotiated, overtime and time and a half hours being paid out, maximize efficiency and reducing or eliminating over time for new collective agreements.


  • Candidate Response
    Allen, Phil Will consider
    Beckmann, Graham No
    Chhabra, Amarjeet No
    Maguire, Paul No
    McKelvie, Jennifer No
    Moeser, Ron Yes
    Nielsen, Arlene Yes
    Sondhi, Ashley No


  • Candidate Response
    Allen, Phil Will consider. Snow plowing could be contracted out, janitorial services, grass cutting and many others.
    Beckmann, Graham Will consider
    Chhabra, Amarjeet No
    Maguire, Paul No
    McKelvie, Jennifer Will consider
    Moeser, Ron Yes
    Nielsen, Arlene Yes
    Sondhi, Ashley Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Allen, Phil Will consider reducing or reforming.
    Beckmann, Graham Yes – reduce or eliminate
    Chhabra, Amarjeet Will consider reducing or reforming.
    Maguire, Paul Yes – phase out.
    McKelvie, Jennifer Will consider reform.
    Moeser, Ron Yes – phase out.
    Nielsen, Arlene Yes – eliminate
    Sondhi, Ashley Yes – eliminate or reform


  • Candidate Response
    Allen, Phil  "As for creating new jobs if the public transit debate would ever get resolved this should create many jobs.  I would also like to see government retired people not doubling the earnings by coming back to work after retirement.  These retirees by working may be stopping the progress of other workers moving up and the youth from getting employment."
    Beckmann, Graham Contact every registered business in my Ward. I will help them to get the forms filled out for all provincial and federal employment programs. Part 2 is to get the unemployed in my ward pointed towards those opportunities and others like long-haul trucking, and people from all over the world go to locations in the West not just Fort McMurray.
    Chhabra, Amarjeet We need to look at the tax incentive programs offered by the City for new commercial or industrial developments. Small business owners need to be supported as they are central to the larger economic growth and prosperity of the City as a whole.
    Maguire, Paul One approach to this is to scale commercial real estate taxes in a way that stimulates development outside the downtown core.
    McKelvie, Jennifer I am committed to promoting and fostering local, family-owned businesses such as restaurants and shops in our community.  Across our great City, we need to foster innovation, start-ups and new businesses that create quality, long-term job opportunities.
    Moeser, Ron Has to be a joint effort including Federal, and Provincial.  Need to engage private industry.
    Nielsen, Arlene Toronto needs to become, attractive for businesses to migrate to, as it had been in the past. The scenario:  Cities like Richmond Hill, and Mississauga have in place tax credits as well as other appealing benefits for companies to move there, from Toronto, they have great package deals.
    Sondhi, Ashley Encourage small business development through City led initiatives, joint business and City ventures for development of new projects, Tourism and promotion of the City worldwide, recruiting sports and arts to actively use our state of the art facilities and business expos and conventions to name a few.


  • Candidate Response
    Allen, Phil At this point I do not have enough knowledge on the funding of the proposed transit systems or how the planning process works  to comment.
    Beckmann, Graham I cannot comment directly about the funding mechanisms. Any person that thinks that the end result of the St. Clair Avenue T.T.C upgrade is good should not be planning any transit lines.
    Chhabra, Amarjeet We need to stick with the existing plans to see results. Torontonians currently pay proportionately more than their fair share of the operating costs. We need to engage the provincial and federal governments to commit long-term sustainable funding for public transit and commit to use the funding for specific projects.
    Maguire, Paul We are wasting time and money when we pay the experts, and then fail to follow their advice. All funding measures should be considered. In Stockholm, road tolls raised revenue while reducing traffic volume beneath a tipping point that permitted great improvement in commute times. London’s congestion fees in the downtown core achieved similar results.
    McKelvie, Jennifer Negotiate with our federal and provincial partners, as well as our municipal neighbours, for a long-term dedicated funding plan for building and maintaining transit infrastructure.
    Moeser, Ron Public, Private partnerships including Federal and Provincial (need to get on with it.)
    Nielsen, Arlene I would implement fuel tax for automobiles, I would implement toll fares for driving into the Toronto corridor.
    Sondhi, Ashley Partial funding for new transit projects could come from the renegotiation of current and upcoming contracts for review and negotiation. Yes, I feel the current system should be changed as planning and decision making for this project has become gridlocked.


  • Candidate Response
    Allen, Phil Taxpayers want the smallest tax increase possible so the two sides need to work together to obtain this goal.  Also, when negotiating during bargaining there are other ways to improve the employees lifestyle whether through added vacation time or medical and dental benefits.
    Beckmann, Graham We cannot continue to push government worker salaries beyond the salaries of the private sector. We must stop the activity of having police at every street servicing operation.
    Chhabra, Amarjeet The city's negotiating team needs to know that these residents provide the service we all need and have come to depend on as a City.
    Maguire, Paul Financial transparency can support fact-based negotiation. Equitable deals might be more attainable under the model followed by the IBEW that favours binding arbitration.
    McKelvie, Jennifer The City’s negotiating team should act independently of the Councillor and Mayor, with the exception that Council sets the wage envelope.
    Moeser, Ron Look at inflation rate, work on productivity issues in the contract.
    Nielsen, Arlene Give the leanest amount of pay raise (cost of living level) within the longest amount of time. From this, the labourers would still get a raise, and strikes would be avoided.
    Sondhi, Ashley Allow for fairness not excess (overtime and time and a half) With fair and fiscally conscious negotiating, workers may loose overtime wages in the short term but gain stability of work in the long term by aiding in the development and funding of long term City projects.


  • Candidate Response
    Allen, Phil Yes. Through advertising or partnerships through contracting out work.
    Beckmann, Graham No
    Chhabra, Amarjeet The Sheppard East Maintenance and Storage Facility  is an example of such a partnership where the private partner would have designed, built, financed and maintained certain elements under TTC management.
    Maguire, Paul Will consider. Operation of some municipal services such as Parks and Recreation seem to lend opportunity.
    McKelvie, Jennifer Yes. These can be particularly effective for the roll-out of new technology across the City.
    Moeser, Ron Yes. Along subway routes and business through Economic Development.
    Nielsen, Arlene Yes
    Sondhi, Ashley Yes. Tourism, hospitality, health care facilities for seniors, partnerships for Youth and current students.


  • Candidate Response
    Allen, Phil  "Traffic congestion especially on Port Union Road. Mmaintaining the waterfront and ensuring that the pockets of development that are starting to pop up are developed in such a way that they maintain the neighbourhoods characteristics and that traffic and parking are taken into account when approving these developments."
    Beckmann, Graham Transportation and jobs. To solve the transportation issue I would press to synchronize every stoplight and get rid of 95% of all HOV lanes.
    Chhabra, Amarjeet Attendance! We have an incumbent with the worst attendance record at City Hall who is absent well over a third of the time when council is in session (but is one of the highest spenders). He has missed 26 major votes on very important issues. I am committed to meeting with residents and businesses to ensure that any new developments protect or improve the character of our streets, including heritage buildings and community history. But most important – I promise to show up.
    Maguire, Paul Transit is vital to those who are underserved in the north part of our ward, while a looming fiscal threat to those in the south.  Our incumbent failed to sway council to vote for the preferred, expert-recommended incineration option. I will get the necessary council votes to ensure we do not see several trucks of sludge driving our streets each day.
    McKelvie, Jennifer The Pan Am Aquatics Centre and Rouge National Urban Park attractions will raise the profile of our community and stimulate new development. I’m committed to working for residents to ensure that new business and housing developments maintain the character of our community. I will establish working groups that bring residents and developers together and will hold developers accountable to smart community development.
    Moeser, Ron Transit.  Work on funding issues and establish timetables to assure that transit gets built within the established parameters.
    Nielsen, Arlene The voting constituents of Ward 44 comprise mostly of homeowners, therefore the LTT and property taxes are the primarily concerns.  Therefore there would be a concentration from me to repeal the hated tax.
    Sondhi, Ashley Crime & Safety – this incorporates various factors such as robberies, drug use, mental health, guns, gangs, violence and keeping our streets safe. Over a year ago, in conjunction with MMA World Academy we implemented a cost reduced program for youth, seniors, kids and families to come out and work out together in group Yoga, family Boxing, Muay Thai and nutrition based programming. This was an initiative to bring families and kids together, meeting each other and forming life long friendships and team building that can only work to strengthen our community as one. Programming such as this is a positive step in providing solutions to keeping kids occupied and providing a framework for all community members to meet and get together.

 

The full responses

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

    I would like to see tax hikes limited somehow, whether by inflation rates or another method.  I personally do not have an issue paying a slight increase each year to avoid a drastic tax hike in the future.
    I would love to try and work on a zero % tax hike, similar to a neighboring municipality so long as in the future it wouldn’t require a substantial tax increase due to erroneous accounting.

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

    Without reviewing the city budget it is hard to determine specific areas but I have been on the cities website, the department directory, and I feel that there seems to be a considerable amount of management positions that are usually well paid.

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

    Would reducing the city council be a cost saving measure?  how many would you reduce it down by and how much would this save?  Reducing it would mean changing boundaries which would mean costs to reorganize this, also in the future there could be the possibility of enlarging the city council back to how it was which would mean more costs.
    I am not aware how council operates/cooperates, but a smaller number could lead to a more harmonious council, no guarantee though.

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

    I am not against contracting out if it proves to be cost effective.  I would review how other places such as Etobicoke have faired in this area, based on my experiences with contracted out workers, it can be expensive and the contracted employees do not have the same care as a municipal employee.
    Snow plowing could be contracted out, janitorial services, grass cutting and many others.

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

    From my experience of just moving our municipal taxes are considerable lower than the neighboring municipalities, if this is in part due to the land transfer tax we pay than I am ok to continue with this practice as it kind off gets buried in your real estate deal.  I am all for reviewing it to see if there can be change or improvement to lower the amount, while keeping municipal taxes as they are.

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

    I am not sure how you can compare Toronto to the rest of Ontario.  Toronto has many jobs that are occupied by people that commute from neighboring cities, if all these jobs were occupied by City of Toronto residents what would the unemployment rate be at then?   As for creating new jobs if the public transit debate would ever get resolved this should create many jobs.  I would also like to see government retired people not doubling the earnings by coming back to work after retirement.  These retirees by working may be stopping the progress of other workers moving up and the youth from getting 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?

    At this point I do not have enough knowledge on the funding of the proposed transit systems or how the planning process works  to comment.
    In regards to congestion I would like to see the transport trucks off the 401 during the two rush hours, why could they not be given a reduced rate or free on the 407 during these times?  Maybe we have some kind of electronic toll booths during the morning rush hour for the commuters from out of Toronto.  These tolls could be at certain locations on the 401 and 404 to help pay for the roads/transit.

    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?

    Taxpayers want the smallest tax increase possible so the two sides need to work together to obtain this goal.  To my knowledge pay raises are always given as a percent, 2% of $50,000 is not the same as 2% of $100,000, why cant all employees get the same lump sum increase.  Also, when negotiating during bargaining there are other ways to improve the employees lifestyle whether through added vacation time or medical and dental benefits.

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

    I do not know what current partnerships there are but imagine there could be room to expand in this area, whether it is through advertising or partnerships through contracting out work.  an example may be if the city contracted out garbage the winning bidder would also have to pay the city a fee for a work permit, similar to a taxi fee?

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

    From speaking to residents, their concerns are with traffic congestion, especially on Port Union Road, maintaining the waterfront and ensuring that the pockets of development that are starting to pop up are developed in such a way that they maintain the neighbourhoods characteristics and that traffic and parking are taken into account when approving these developments.

  • 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 would be specifically looking to save money through the reduction of police at every location where service work is being done in the street.

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

    At this time I do not support reducing counsel I support to change the rate of participation. This position is currently part-time this should be changed to full-time. For some counselors organized confusion is the order of the day and distraction is the purpose, and likely will never change.

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

    Moving Toronto’s massive garbage collection is simply too large a project to be run by a city. I am currently not aware what is or is not contracted out at this time. Improvements in savings is an ongoing task that could start with the manager to worker ratios.

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

    YES

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

    Contact every registered business in my Ward. I will help them to get the forms filled out for all provincial and federal employment programs. Part 2 is to get the unemployed in my ward pointed towards those opportunities and others like long-haul trucking, and people from all over the world go to locations in the West not just Fort McMurray. It should be an mandate throughout the province that Educators at all levels stop pushing everyone in into a university degree. Many people ushered in by the education system into degrees that provide them no true advantage in the workplace.

    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 cannot comment directly about the funding mechanisms. We have to keep prices to the level that everyone can afford it. Any person that thinks that the end result of the St. Clair Avenue T.T.C upgrade is good should not be planning any transit lines. From the outside looking in I don’t see a planning process. It takes an hour by bus, to go from Morningside to Young and Eglinton station $5 billion and it only saves 15 minutes and adds to the congestion such that it might be when the Eglinton LRT travels overland through the Scarborough area and stops at every light like a bus what is the point. I think we should be look back for previous reports to see if there is a gondola plan to put in place over the lake we could get a lot for the billions we have wasted . Phase 1 of my transit plan would be to stop making it difficult to drive by car anywhere in the city. But they can’t do that because if the car traveled thru the city like it should, the planners of St. Clair Avenue transit would not have a job. Street cars are a waste in many ways.

    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?

    Let’s hope that the province can keep their wallet closed. We cannot continue to push government worker salaries beyond the salaries of the private sector. A collision course will arrive I suspect sooner than later. We must stop the activity of having police at every street servicing operation.

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

    I believe that P3 arrangements are a total waste of money. The board of directors in every hospital and others have to accept the fact that they must take responsibility for the logistical and mechanical operations of their place of business. Why should we pay 30% more to move the desk across the hall.

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

    Of the issues that I could involve myself in, I believe transportation is number one, and will our children have jobs, is a close second.
    To solve the transportation issue I would press to synchronize every stoplight. Get rid of 95% of all HOV lanes.

  • 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 police services budget, and, specifically with the paid duty officers. Additionally, in order to reduce costs, there needs to be a serious look at the current shift system which has been identified in years past by the likes of former Mayor, John Sewell as a source of savings.

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

    Municipal government is the order of government closest to citizens of a City. While it is true that City Council is dysfunctional at the best of times, how council operates really comes down to the people who get elected to represent our interests. Reducing the size of Council will further disenfranchise the citizenry and will make Council more inaccessible. I am in support of term limits as I do believe, the City is well served with fresh ideas. Furthermore, Council voted to conduct a Ward boundary review in May 2013, the recommendations of which will be reported in 2016.

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

    I believe competition is healthy and allows the residents to benefit from better service.

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

    While the Municipal Land Transfer Tax has helped improve the city’s fiscal health, I am open to the idea of reforming/reducing it but only once we figure out how we could make up for the shortfall. I do not think we can eliminate the tax altogether.

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

    As a former private sector union organizer, I want to see a society and economy that offers good jobs for all. Scarborough in recent years has seen a shift in the type of employment, becoming more service oriented. Having had firsthand experience working with developers in the service sector, I see immense potential to create jobs one can raise a family on, jobs on which one can build a community around. Furthermore, we need to look at the tax incentive programs offered by the City for new commercial or industrial developments. Small business owners need to be supported as they are central to the larger economic growth and prosperity of the City as a whole. As small-business owners, my parents were able to raise our family and enjoy new opportunities. If local businesses are successful, local employment is significantly improved.

    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 of all, we need to stick with the existing plans to see results. We cannot afford to continue debating transit any more. Torontonians currently pay proportionately more than their fair share of the operating costs. We need to engage the provincial and federal governments to commit long-term sustainable funding for public transit and commit to use the funding for specific projects. Any new money raised should be raised in a fair and progressive way so that low income Torontonians do not get burdened. When considering the overall transit strategy, it is important to look at it from an urban planning policy perspective and as a network that uses a combination of transit options.

    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?

    As a taxpayer, I am proud that our public servants are residents who have good paying jobs. The city’s negotiating team needs to know that these residents provide the service we all need and have come to depend on as a City.

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

    The Sheppard East Maintenance and Storage Facility  is an example of such a partnership where the private partner would have designed, built, financed and maintained certain elements under TTC management.

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

    Attendance! We have an incumbent with the worst attendance record at City Hall who is absent well over a third of the time when council is in session (but is one of the highest spenders). He has missed 26 major votes on very important issues. So it is little wonder that some things in our Ward are getting out of control. A good example of this is development which does not reflect the character of our neighbourhoods and is not in keeping with the wishes of the community. I will be a strong proponent of sensible development. I am committed to meeting with residents and businesses to ensure that any new developments protect or improve the character of our streets, including heritage buildings and community history. I will negotiate with developers to build greener, more energy and water efficient buildings. But most important – I promise to show up.

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

    Most important is that money be spent wisely, and that taxpayers get value. I do not believe inflation is necessarily the measure to which property tax should be tethered. Other measures may better address ability to afford desired services. At some point, a max-tax threshold becomes necessary, or government will take all the money.

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

    Constant budget review is necessary. Budget chief and ombudsman are key positions in a transparent process for monitoring and controlling expenditure, and recommending savings. Amalgamation of redundant departments can save money, but would cost jobs as well. Attrition and transfers might be acceptable strategies for staffing adjustments. The biggest budget items promise the greatest potential for savings. Accordingly, I will advocate for an analysis of expenses to cover all policing costs. One component that should be reviewed is the cost of construction of new stations. Another factor is the decreasing crime rate. We seem to get less value for our policing dollar than we should.

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

    Smaller council means more constituents per councillor. Ward 44 has over 60,000 residents, two thirds of whom vote. If each voter wants 5 minutes of my time, I will be busy until the second half of the term’s second year. Smaller councils are also more prone to insular, localized decision making.

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

    Again, budget diligence requires ongoing evaluation of such opportunities. Research consistently shows that contracting out services like this are a false economy based on a misleading presumption of non-monopolistic competition. When this sort of out-sourcing has been tried, savings have appeared early, only to vanish within a few years.

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

    Like all taxpayers, I abhor the MLTT. The extra constraint in the purchase of a home is onerous. Of course, the $350M must be replaced by other means, or offset by spending (and perhaps service) reductions. It should be possible to phase out the MLTT over a few years.

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

    Every government speaks to job creation. If there were a solution, the problem would have been gone long ago. At best, we can create an environment in which business can start and thrive. One approach to this is to scale commercial real estate taxes in a way that stimulates development outside the downtown core.

    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?

    Our biggest transit obstacle right now is the insistence of politicians to be allowed to interfere with the professional planning process. We are wasting time and money when we pay the experts, and then fail to follow their advice. All funding measures should be considered. In Stockholm, road tolls raised revenue while reducing traffic volume beneath a tipping point that permitted great improvement in commute times. London’s congestion fees in the downtown core achieved similar results. We should look closely at whether solutions already discovered elsewhere have applicability here.

    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?

    Financial transparency can support fact-based negotiation. Equitable deals might be more attainable under the model followed by the IBEW that favours binding arbitration. While I endorse a more even distribution of the nation’s wealth, I must balance that with my constituents’ ability to pay.

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

    The inherent risk of P3s places the profit with the private sector while the public sector assumes the risk. They must be approached carefully and fairly. Operation of some municipal services such as Parks and Recreation seem to lend opportunity.

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

    Ward 44 is Toronto’s largest. The chief concern varies with the neighbourhood. Transit is vital to those who are underserved in the north part of our ward, while a looming fiscal threat to those in the south. The region’s professional planners have already offered a viable solution that would make best use of available funds, and would offer service improvements near our neighbourhoods. We also face end-of-life decisions for the Highland Creek Wastewater Treatment plant. Our incumbent failed to sway council to vote for the preferred, expert-recommended incineration option. I will get the necessary council votes to ensure we do not see several trucks of sludge driving our streets each day.

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

    Yes, with the caveat that large infrastructure projects, such as transit, may require funding through the property tax system.

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

    I am for finding efficient and effective means of providing the quality services Torontonians seek. Priority and Participatory Budgeting should be considered during the Budget process. This would objectively determine how to match available resources with community priorities, with the priorities developed by the meaningful engagement of our citizens.

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

    No, I believe that such a reduction would reduce the effectiveness of governance for individual constituents. I would prefer to review the need for councillors’ pensions and any severance which councillors may be entitled to upon leaving office.

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

    I am for finding efficient and effective means of providing the quality services Torontonians seek. I am willing to review the evidence that contracting out provides such long-term savings while not compromising the quality of services provided.

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

    The Municipal Land Transfer Tax contributes a substantial amount of revenue. I would be in favour of reform, in particular for seniors that are downsizing and need the equity for retirement.

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

    I am committed to promoting and fostering local, family-owned businesses such as restaurants and shops in our community. We have seen some new and revitalized businesses in our area, but we need to attract more. Across our great City, we need to foster innovation, start-ups and new businesses that create quality, long-term job opportunities. We also need to strive to create more jobs for our youth.

    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 negotiate with our federal and provincial partners, as well as our municipal neighbours, for a long-term dedicated funding plan for building and maintaining transit infrastructure. Investment in transit infrastructure creates construction jobs in the short term, but importantly also provides enhanced opportunities for our city’s entrepreneurs to open or expand businesses in new areas opened up with better transit.

    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’s negotiating team should act independently of the Councillor and Mayor, with the exception that Council sets the wage envelope.

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

    I support public-private partnerships. These can be particularly effective for the roll-out of new technology across the City.

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

    The Pan Am Aquatics Centre and Rouge National Urban Park attractions will raise the profile of our community and stimulate new development.  We need to foster local, family-owned businesses such as restaurants and shops. I’m committed to working for residents to ensure that new business and housing developments maintain the character of our community. I will establish working groups that bring residents and developers together and will hold developers accountable to smart community development.

  • 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?

    Staff reduction. Work more efficiently. Voted against 2015 budget as we could have done better.

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

    Voted for 22 Councillors.

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

    Yes

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

    Voted against originally.  It should 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?

    Has to be a joint effort including Federal, and Provincial.  Need to engage private industry.

    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?

    Public, Private partnerships including Federal and Provincial (need to get on with it.)

    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 inflation rate, work on productivity issues in the contract.

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

    Yes. Along subway routes and business through Economic Development.

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

    Transit.  Work on funding issues and establish timetables to assure that transit gets built within the established parameters.

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

    While I would vote against any property tax increase, I admit I would entertain a property tax increase that is no greater than the inflation rate.

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

    No Response Given.

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

    I support reducing the current number of Councillors from 44 to 30 Councillors as this would improve efficiencies through the ease of a smaller group being able to reach a consensus faster.

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

    Privatizing garbage pickup west of Yonge Street has saved Toronto $11.9 million dollars.  Therefore, it only makes fiscal sense to privatize garbage pickup east of Yonge Street to further save taxpayer’s money.

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

    I would support eliminating the LTT.

    Ward 44 is primarily comprised of homeowners.  The Land Transfer Tax (LTT) has had a negative impact on homeowners, not only in Ward 44, but in the entire GTA.  Today home ownership is entered more as an investment as opposed to it being entered to create long term roots within a community. Therefore, current homeowners are more likely to sell their homes (investment) to upsize, downsize or to move into retirement.  A study commissioned by the Ontario Real Estate Association estimates there has been a decline of more than 38,000 home transactions since the LTT was implemented in 2008. The LTT is nothing more than a tax grab at a homeowner’s biggest equity, which most of them are relying on for their future years.  I will be fighting to repeal this much hated tax.

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

    Toronto needs to become, attractive for businesses to migrate to, as it had been in the past.

    The scenario:  Cities like Richmond Hill, and Mississauga have in place tax credits as well as other appealing benefits for companies to move there, from Toronto, they have great package deals, difficult to resist, and companies, who are looking to move, take advantage of the tax credits and move to the respective cities leaving behind them vacate offices, and perhaps valued employees.  It’s the bottom line, the return on investment, they weigh the expensive of the move, hiring/training new employees, building up client etc. to what they gain moving out of Toronto to cities previously mentioned.  There are numerous examples of businesses moving from Toronto throughout the years and inevitably the bottom line always wins.

    If companies stay, move to or move back to Toronto, there will be more job opportunities, therefore more people will be hired to fulfill those jobs, therefore there will be less unemployment.

    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 implement fuel tax for automobiles, I would implement toll fares for driving into the Toronto corridor.

    I am in full support of John Tory’s ‘Smarttrack’ plan, it is the only transit expansion plan which makes fiscal and  time line sense. Since the necessary environmental and engineering studies have not been done for the subway plan, the Scarborough subway is not scheduled to start until 2021. It will take an estimated 10 years to finish, undoubtedly at a higher cost than the original $4 billion dollars estimated. In the interim, Scarborough TTC users will be stuck with the Scarborough Rapid Transit (SRT), which will almost certainly break down before the subway is complete.  John Tory’s ‘Smarttrack‘ would use the existing infrastructure, therefore it makes fiscal sense and can be implemented in the foreseeable 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?

    My advice for the city’s negotiating team would be to give the leanest amount of pay raise (cost of living level) within the longest amount of time. From this, the labourers would still get a raise, and strikes would be avoided.

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

    There  are a lot of opportunities for public-private partnerships, the possibilities are endless.

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

    The voting constituents of Ward 44 comprise mostly of homeowners, therefore the LTT and property taxes are the primarily concerns.  Therefore there would be a concentration from me to repeal the hated tax.

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

    As long as the “hike” is no greater than the rate of inflation.

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

    Review of collective agreements that are to be negotiated, overtime and time and a half hours being paid out, maximize efficiency and reducing or eliminating over time for new collective agreements.

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

    No I do not support reducing the size of Council, however appointment of council members to committees where they have no experience or knowledge is something that needs to be addressed to ensure greater efficiency in decision making.

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

    Yes, I support the initiative as long as there is equal or greater service to taxpayers at less cost and no City of Toronto jobs are lost. A stronger business savings model should be applied to all services in the City of Toronto and review and accountability demanded.

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

    I would like to see this Tax eliminated or reformed.

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

    Encourage small business development through City led initiatives, joint business and City ventures for development of new projects, Tourism and promotion of the City worldwide, recruiting sports and arts to actively use our state of the art facilities and business expos and conventions to name 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?

    Partial funding for new transit projects could come from the renegotiation of current and upcoming contracts for review and negotiation. Yes, I feel the current system should be changed as planning and decision making for this project has become gridlocked, with no decision being agreed upon or made, are we planning for short term or long term, cost effective or long term financial investment?

    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?

    Establish the common goal for Union leaders and the City. Allow for fairness not excess (overtime and time and a half) With fair and fiscally conscious negotiating, workers may loose overtime wages in the short term but gain stability of work in the long term by aiding in the development and funding of long term City projects.

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

    Of course. Tourism, hospitality, health care facilities for seniors, partnerships for Youth and current students. The Waterfront and Beaches area are prime examples where partnerships can be fostered to provide revenue and working opportunities for employees in all sectors.

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

    Crime & Safety – this incorporates various factors such as robberies, drug use, mental health, guns, gangs, violence and keeping our streets safe. We had a mass shooting less than two years ago within our ward, our banks have been robbed multiple times and our youth and residents are not safe at the corner plazas even during daylight hours. One of our ward high schools has a high percentage of students using drugs and suicide amongst this young group is cause for concern.  Over a year ago, in conjunction with MMA World Academy we implemented a cost reduced program for youth, seniors, kids and families to come out and work out together in group Yoga, family Boxing, Muay Thai and nutrition based programming. This was an initiative to bring families and kids together, meeting each other and forming life long friendships and team building that can only work to strengthen our community as one. Programming such as this is a positive step in providing solutions to keeping kids occupied and providing a framework for all community members to meet and get together.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 30 – Toronto-Danforth

The Incumbent:

Paula Fletcher

The Race

In 2010, Paula Fletcher sqeaked by Liz West with little over 250 more votes in Ward 30.  Now, in 2014 we see a rematch. Is it time to end over a decade of communist rule in Ward 30?

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Mark Borden, Jane Farrow, Councillor Paula Fletcher, Francis Russell

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Trayes, Daniel Yes
    West, Liz Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Trayes, Daniel Going forward, reduce budget for upper management positions.
    West, Liz  I will look for innovative ways to be more efficient with our resources so that our limited funds can go further.


  • Candidate Response
    Trayes, Daniel Yes
    West, Liz  Would like to wait for Ward Boundary Review to be completed before forming judgement.


  • Candidate Response
    Trayes, Daniel Yes
    West, Liz  Yes. There are some things that the private sector can deliver better and some things that only the city can.


  • Candidate Response
    Trayes, Daniel Will consider after further research.
    West, Liz Will consider reforming


  • Candidate Response
    Trayes, Daniel Key to this issue is working well with all levels of govt.
    West, Liz We need a combination of public transit, safe and connected bike lanes and healthy roads for car and truck traffic that gets people and goods where they are going on time. Development of new areas such as South of Eastern with its film, television and digital jobs and a real commitment to the development of the Port Lands, would both generate highly skilled jobs in the ward.


  • Candidate Response
    Trayes, Daniel I think realistically just as in housing before we start building new we must come up to par with what weve already promised to the ttc riders in Toronto.
    West, Liz Road tolls, vehicle taxes based on either engine size or CO2 emissions, sales tax, gas tax, etc. are potential revenue tools all worthy of discussion by Council. The city also needs to partner with the provincial and federal governments to ensure that we are getting our fair share of funding in the country's largest city.


  • Candidate Response
    Trayes, Daniel I believe if we can get a good core group of people at city hall negotiating whats in the best interest for both the taxpayers and the workers involved then these deals can go a heck of a lot smoother, with less wasted time,less taxdollars being affected, and better services being provided in the long term scheme of things.
    West, Liz You can be confident that I will be able to best represent Torontonians to make sure everyone gets a fair deal in these negotiations. I want to work with our unions to streamline service delivery, increase job satisfaction and provide competitive wages so that our public servants can be the envy of the world.


  • Candidate Response
    Trayes, Daniel Yes. Wherever the private sector can help in the city of Toronto without breaking the rules im all for it
    West, Liz  The 300 acres of unused land at the Portland’s represent perhaps the best opportunity for P3s in this city.


  • Candidate Response
    Trayes, Daniel Transit and housing. I can say to the taxpayers of ward 30 that I will work closely with all levels of govt starting with my fellow councillors at city hall to see to it that everything promised HAPPENS and that everything we agree upon over the coming yrs as new innitiatives goes through as promised.
    West, Liz Public transit and traffic congestion. We need a long-term transit plan that looks 25-50 years to the future.  As City Councillor I will work with fellow Councillors and staff to make sure that we have short term strategies to relieve congestion and long term strategies to ensure that we have the city that we envision and deserve.

 

The full responses

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

    I feel capping the property tax rate gives a much needed sense of stability to homeowners & business owners..i feel capping it at the rate of inflation would actually force the “number makers” to follow through on things already approved,and plan better for the city as a whole moving forward..im not a property tax “expert” as I am a renter, but I did go through the 2014 budget process by attending committee meetings & council chamber meetings,im aware of the numbers posted, and I feel that I could work well with both staff and constituents on this very important issue.

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

    I have actually studied the budget and attended the meetings at city hall this yr that focused on these issues.i believe that we should look at the fact that the majority of most budgets within the city go towards paying higher up staff..do we need those staff? yes we do..should we be cutting jobs?? not necessarily..but I do feel in the future moving forward we must properly address these factors, as well as stop being afraid as a council to ask for help when needed from the different levels of govt.working together is the key factor.

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

    I believe that every councillor in this city is needed. I feel we should focus more on how the city operates in various areas and what we can do to improve upon that.if in the future we actually start to gel as a city working together, then maybe it will be time to further discuss the need.

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

    I live east of yonge..and right now my garbage gets picked up on time and with respect..so my answer would simply be if it saves us $, and the process is done with respect towards the people already involved in this process then im all for saving money..but we in the community must accept that theres a process to things getting done,and im a firm believer of those processes being followed.

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

    As I am a renter and not a current homeowner I believe that I need further consultation with staff,other council members, and the constituents in ward 30 before I make a direct decision on this issue..people haven’t really brought this issue to my attn. this yr as an issue that’s their top priority.i believe further discussions on the matter are a definite need.

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

    Key to this issue is working well with all levels of govt..as we all know a city councillor cant simply snap his or her fingers and create jobs..it takes the hard work and dedication of some1 with the ability to work well with every1 and some1 who is transparent..i have introduced myself to every leader of every level of govt except for steven harper…I believe this is key in the constant reminder that we need people to grow together and not apart.

    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 the planning process with regards to the ttc definetly needs a shake up..i believe andy byford and the frontline ttc workers do a fabulous job getting the people of Toronto around our city.but the reason the ttc is in such shambles is cause 1 group of councillors agrees to do abc…then another group comes in and wants to do xyz..i think realistically,just as in housing,before we start building new we must come up to par with what weve already promised to the ttc riders 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?

    I believe just as in any other corporations there are some form of negotiations that are imperative..in this case I believe if we can get a good core group of people at city hall negotiating whats in the best interest for both the taxpayers and the workers involved then these deals can go a heck of a lot smoother, with less wasted time,less taxdollars being affected, and better services being provided in the long term scheme of things.

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

    With regards to private public partnerships my philosophy is simple..wherever the private sector can help in the city of Toronto,without “breaking the rules” im all for it..i don’t own any stock in any company,and im not solely about 1 particular group or person..im here to do whats best for the community of ward 30 and the city as a whole without biased and with full accessibility and transparency.

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

    Transit and housing are pretty much tied as the issues I have been hearing the most about in OUR community. residents in ward 30 feel that other issues are just as important and I agree.
    but with regards to housing and transit I have over 30yrs of direct hands on experience with both.i promote dedication, and total transparency.i can say to the taxpayers of ward 30 that I will work closely with all levels of govt,starting with my fellow councillors at city hall to see to it that everything promised HAPPENS and that everything we agree upon over the coming yrs as new innitiatives goes through as promised..we need a solid plan. not a 1yr plan..not a 50 yr plan like others want..a solid realistic plan is what the people want and is what they deserve.

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

    Property tax revenues are a necessary measure to help meet budget needs and are too often the “go to” source for additional income, putting an unfair burden on home owners and in particular seniors and other residents on a fixed income.  I believe in investigating all potential sources of revenue with the guarantee that money will be used for the urgent needs facing the city, including investment in transit and infrastructure.  I would hope that Council would work hard to keep increases at the rate of inflation, without compromising the need to invest in public transit and infrastructure. Regular increases tied to the rate of inflation would give homeowners assurance of their ability to meet their obligations over the long term.

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

    Once elected I will sit down with City Hall staff to thoroughly review the budget and determine if and where savings can be achieved.  I will look for innovative ways to be more efficient with our resources so that our limited funds can go further.  As an independent candidate I do not have preconceived ideas based on ideology.   I will review all of the relevant facts before advocating action.

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

    There is currently a Ward Boundary Review being conducted by Canadian Urban Institute. I would like to wait for the conclusion of that study before making a decision.  I think it is important that a review of this nature on the size and effectiveness of Council is being undertaken by experts and not Council.  I believe that petty partisan politics are to blame for this Council’s inability to work constructively in the best interest of Torontonians.  As an independent candidate who has never belonged to a political party I would accept the recommendations put forward by the review.

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

    Yes. There are some things that the private sector can deliver better and some things that only the city can.  As an independent candidate with no ties to political parties or special interests I am in favour of providing residents with the best services at the most affordable price, and I believe that garbage pickup is one of them.  A switch to private garbage pickup in an area west of Yonge Street has saved the city $11.9 million so it makes fiscal sense to implement private garbage pickup east of Yonge Street.

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

    Taxes are the foundation to funding the services that we all need.  At this point in time the city is facing a transit crisis and we require so much investment in it and our aging infrastructure that I do not believe we can afford to reduce the Land Transfer Tax.   I am aware that Toronto is fast becoming unaffordable for first time homeowners, so I believe in a more fair approach where the tax is split evenly between the buyer and the seller.

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

    Toronto is falling behind as a job market, industry hub and destination for investment in part because of our outdated transit infrastructure.  We need a combination of public transit, safe and connected bike lanes and healthy roads for car and truck traffic that gets people and goods where they are going on time.  In addition, I think we need to work with all levels of government to generate high quality jobs.  Development of new areas such as South of Eastern with its film, television and digital jobs and a real commitment to the development of the Port Lands, would both generate highly skilled jobs in the ward.

    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?

    Nobody wants to pay anymore for anything, that is a given.  So the question is how to responsibly generate the funds needed to grow our transit system to match the growth of our city? I believe Council needs to ask what kinds of fees/taxes make the most sense and where are there new opportunities?

    Road tolls, vehicle taxes based on either engine size or CO2 emissions, sales tax, gas tax, etc. are potential revenue tools all worthy of discussion by Council.

    The city also needs to partner with the provincial and federal governments to ensure that we are getting our fair share of funding in the country’s largest city.

    The Portlands has sat idle for decades despite the fact that the Federal government pledged 10’s of millions of dollars for the construction of city services there.  Building up this unused land will create incremental tax revenue that can fund new transit.

    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?

    As an independent candidate with no ties to political parties or special interests you can be confident that I will be able to best represent Torontonians to make sure everyone gets a fair deal in these negotiations.  NDP candidates Paula Fletcher and Jane Farrow cannot be expected to deliver the same results because they are conflicted due to their support from labour unions.  I do however want to work with our unions to streamline service delivery, increase job satisfaction and provide competitive wages so that our public servants can be the envy of the world.

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

    The 300 acres of unused land at the Portland’s represent perhaps the best opportunity for P3s in this city.   I envision a city council that proactively works with the private sector to deliver the service that Torontonians need and doesn’t stand in the way of innovation in the name of ideology.

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

    I have canvassed a lot of this Ward and so many people I meet tell me that their top priority is public transit and traffic congestion. We need a long-term transit plan that looks 25-50 years to the future.  We need to have targets with minimum kms of new infrastructure built each year.  As an independent candidate with no ties to political parties or special interests I would prefer that transit planning was handled by experts and not City Council.  We need a TTC that runs efficiently, bike lanes that are connected throughout the city and properly planned construction that doesn’t jam up our roads constantly.  We need to be able to effectively move people to their jobs and goods to the businesses that employ those people.   As City Councillor I will work with fellow Councillors and staff to make sure that we have short term strategies to relieve congestion and long term strategies to ensure that we have the city that we envision and deserve.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 8 – York West

The Incumbent:

Anthony Perruzza

The Race

Councillor Anthony Perruzza only won by a few hundred votes in both the 2006 and 2010 municipal elections which is why we’re disappointed to note he has not responded to our survey. This year, he faces some unique local challengers. There is broad agreement to decrease taxes and find efficiencies in government. A couple of interesting ideas presented for subway financing and expansion.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Councillor Anthony Perruzza, Thomas Barclay, Suzanne Narain

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Boucher, Princess Yes
    Smitherman, Arthur Against all tax increases
    Vescio, Antonio Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Boucher, Princess Contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge St.
    Smitherman, Arthur 10% reduction across the board and deeper reduction for non-essential services. Cut the size of City Council. Do not cut community services or transit to poor areas.
    Vescio, Antonio Can not determine now but will do what is necessary to find savings.


  • Candidate Response
    Boucher, Princess Yes
    Smitherman, Arthur Yes
    Vescio, Antonio Will consider once elected


  • Candidate Response
    Boucher, Princess Yes
    Smitherman, Arthur Yes and everything should be subject to 'open bidding'
    Vescio, Antonio Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Boucher, Princess Yes to reducing
    Smitherman, Arthur Yes to reducing and elimination
    Vescio, Antonio Yes to reducing


  • Candidate Response
    Boucher, Princess No response provided
    Smitherman, Arthur Cut taxes to lure jobs. Toronto Hydro rates should be in line with other municipalities and provinces.
    Vescio, Antonio Bring manufacturers to Toronto and increase the minimum wage.


  • Candidate Response
    Boucher, Princess Ask the people of the city what they want. Do not change the transit planning process. Move forward.
    Smitherman, Arthur City must be more aggressive with provincial and federal governments so they pay one-third each. Business Improvement Areas should voluntarily raise their property taxes to pay for subways. City should strategically locate subways near business and development.
    Vescio, Antonio (Unstated) Ideas regarding bus stops and shelters which will reduce congestion and help the environment.


  • Candidate Response
    Boucher, Princess Depends on the contract
    Smitherman, Arthur Unions need to be part of the solution. Cut out the grandstanding.
    Vescio, Antonio Will fight hard for the taxpayers


  • Candidate Response
    Boucher, Princess Yes if it ensures employment.
    Smitherman, Arthur Yes, but it should be better defined as Common Sense and Corporate Social Responsibility. For example, subway stops at plazas and other types of business development. City Council must have a service-first mentality.
    Vescio, Antonio Will consider once elected


  • Candidate Response
    Boucher, Princess Employment, particularly for youth in the summer months. Decrease red tape for small business.
    Smitherman, Arthur A subway line across Finch will mobilize labour, move traffic, and make vacant land prime for complex business development. The Jane and Finch corridor is an economically feasible subway line.
    Vescio, Antonio Increasing unemployment

 

The full responses

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

    As City Councillor of ward 8, I would most certainly like to see a cap on Property tax during my four years tenure. Especially for the seniors and low income families.

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

    I believe it is not bad idea to take a look at contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge.

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

    Most definitely, it works for Brampton and I believe it can work for Toronto. Yes it would improve how Council operates.

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

    Yes.

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

    I would support reducing it as it will help balance the books.

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

    No Response Provided.

    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 people are the managers of us council, and in this case I would take to the people and hear what they want. The city is not about us but the people, we are only stewards of the people.

    I do not feel the need to change the current transit planning that is already in process, it is time to move 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?

    I cannot honestly answer that question, as it depends on what contract we will be negotiating for.

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

    If public-private partnership can ensure me that the citizens of Toronto are guaranteed employment on a diverse level, I would have no problem supporting it.

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

    Employment. I plan to Seek Improvement of educational programs in order to be better qualified for employment and to work with the small business in the area to hire youth during the summer months. I also advocate to decrease the amount of red tape small business have to go through to operate business in the city of Toronto, The more business you can attract it would help to solve tax problem and unemployment.

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

    No.  I am against tax increases of any kind, unless it is through a BIA, [Corporation or other entity] and they agree to an increase voluntarily – in exchange for a good, or service.

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

    Flat 10% reduction across the Board, and deeper reductions for non-essential services.  Kill the ‘sunshine lists’ and reduce the size of the City Council for 2018.  I would not cut community services and transit to the poor areas – part of the City’s problem is that resources have been misdirected in the City of Toronto for over 20 years.  We need to make investments in our human capital or poverty will drag down the middle class.

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

    Yes.  See above.  It is too big to function.

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

    Yes.  Everything should be subject to ‘open bidding’.

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

    It has to be reduced or, preferably eliminated.  It is hurting the economy of Toronto as tradesman are not as involved in construction projects as they should be.  Small businesses are precluded from speculating on small real estate deals and home renovations and resale deals, which are good for neighborhoods and economy.

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

    Simple.  Cutting taxes will lure jobs.  Improve Toronto Hydro and get the rates on Hydro in line with other Provinces and Municipalities.

    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 funding model needs to be changed.  The City needs to be more aggressive with the Province and the Federal Governments.  They need to pay one third each, or be sued by the City. ‘Social Engineering’ whereas Governments were taken to Court – was popular through the 30s, 40s, and 50s, multiculturalism has made it ‘politically incorrect’ to sue Government.  Local Business Investment Associations need to be socially responsible and voluntarily raise their property tax bills to fund subways; and so do businesses, developers and most importantly ‘plazas and similar developments’ ….need to step up to the plate.  At the same time the City needs to be more services orientated and locate subways where they will get a chunk of funding from the developers and businesses that stand to profit from subways – which is ‘substantial’.  This is only holding the parties to be ‘socially accountable’ and they profit anyways.

    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?

    Negotiating is a science and the Unions need to be part of the solution.  One on one is a good start, rule out negotiating through the press and public and cut out the ‘grandstanding and posturing’ by both parties.

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

    I don’t like that term.  I see it as ‘common sense’ that the City better facilitate ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’….. in fact, in order for the City to cut and reduce taxes it needs to ensure that Corporations get good value for their investment.  This is entirely responsible and locating subway stops at plazas and other business developments is a good example – where this kind of relationship can prosper.  It needs to be a win-win-win situation for Business, Taxpayers and the City.  City Council needs to work harder at having a ‘service first’ mentality and needs to accommodate this kind of relationship.

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

    We can change the economy and alleviate poverty in Ward 8 by getting a subway line across Finch.  It will mobilize the labor pool, get traffic to numerous large plazas, and make some vacant land prime for business complex development.  The Jane and Finch corridor might be the most economically feasible subway line in Toronto.  I will reach out to community influencers, reach out to elected officials and work with the party riding associations to lobby business and all levels of Government to work in the mutual interests of all residents, businesses and elected officials – to get a subway on Finch.

  • 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?

    At the moment I am not privy to the current city budget. However, once elected I will do whatever is necessary to find savings for the taxpayers.

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

    In order to answer this question I would have to be elected to determine whether to reduce the size of Toronto City Council.

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

    Yes I do support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street, and regarding other services, I would have to investigate whether there are other services that would benefit the taxpayers.

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

    I support reducing 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?

    Bringing manufacturers to Toronto would create jobs and allow the minimum wage to increase, and in particular Ward 8 is in need of well-paying 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?

    Once elected I will make it a priority to review the current transit planning process, but I do have great ideas regarding bus stops and shelters which will reduce congestion and help the environment.

    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 fight hard for the taxpayers.

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

    My staff and I will review all materials concerning this issue once elected.

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

    The increasing unemployment rate in Ward 8 is alarming and would certainly be one of, if not the top issue. This should have been addressed long ago and would most definitely be at the top of my list should I be elected.

2014 City Council Election: Ward 9 – York Centre

The Incumbent:

Maria Augimeri

The Race

In 2010, this was one of the most talked about races in the City with incumbent Councillor Maria Augimeri winning by 89 votes over her nearest challenger Gus Cusimano. In 2014, these opponents face off again with new local candidates. In a ward with many pensioners, there is wide support among candidates to cap property taxes and to find efficiencies in the City budget to keep taxes low. There has been neglect, and there must be improvement, on infrastructure and sewage system repairs. Some good ideas proposed for local job development.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Wilson Basantes, Anthony Fernando

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Augimeri, Maria Will consider
    Cusimano, Gus Yes and move 25 points below inflation
    Hercules, Ances Yes
    Quattrociocchi, Danny Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Augimeri, Maria Eliminate Scarborough subway property tax.
    Cusimano, Gus Line-by-line review of budget; zero-based budgeting; look for public-private partnerships; better purchasing between City, agencies, and boards.
    Hercules, Ances Cut unnecessary spending at City Hall and look for budget efficiencies.
    Quattrociocchi, Danny Reducing the size of City Council; privatizing garbage east of Yonge St; and new labour negotiated deals.


  • Candidate Response
    Augimeri, Maria Yes
    Cusimano, Gus Yes
    Hercules, Ances No but endorses council term limits.
    Quattrociocchi, Danny Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Augimeri, Maria No
    Cusimano, Gus Yes
    Hercules, Ances Yes
    Quattrociocchi, Danny Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Augimeri, Maria No unless public transit and public housing uploaded to province
    Cusimano, Gus Yes to phasing out tax
    Hercules, Ances Yes to elimination
    Quattrociocchi, Danny Yes to reducing and modifying the tax


  • Candidate Response
    Augimeri, Maria Policies can help indirectly stimulate local economic activity and growth. Cancelling Scarborough subway tax will put more money in people's pockets.
    Cusimano, Gus Building subways and a new convention centre would create direct jobs in construction and hospitality. Re-development of Toronto Community Housing would create new jobs. Expansion of Billy Bishop Airport for more business and tourism.
    Hercules, Ances Policies to support more foreign investment in Toronto, reduce red tape, and equal property tax on local business.
    Quattrociocchi, Danny City should work with small business to create jobs for youth.


  • Candidate Response
    Augimeri, Maria Put more money into existing operations such as buses. Don't cancel fully-planned fully-funded transit plans so expansion can start earlier.
    Cusimano, Gus Use public-private partnerships as a revenue tool to expand subway network. Development over subways would increase development charges and realty taxes as another tool.
    Hercules, Ances Supports Scarborough subway but build Light-Rapid Transit (LRTs) because they have a lower budget, better services, and will best serve local business.
    Quattrociocchi, Danny Revenue tools could come from a reformed land transfer tax and development charges. More money from provincial and federal governments.


  • Candidate Response
    Augimeri, Maria The City must adhere to provincial and federal labour laws which will dictate the negotiation process.
    Cusimano, Gus Allow everyone to bid including efficient organizations that are currently excluded from bidding process. City should work in partnership with the unions and let them see the books to propose ideas in the negotiating process.
    Hercules, Ances Along with Council staff I will encourage negotiations deals that are fair to all workers, cost effective and fair to the citizens of Toronto.
    Quattrociocchi, Danny Negotiating team needs to be transparent and fair. Eliminate roadblocks so the process is more efficient.


  • Candidate Response
    Augimeri, Maria P3s "aren't on constituents' minds" but the new hospital in Downsview is an example of a P3 that works.
    Cusimano, Gus Yes, in public transit, TCHC, and infrastructure such as water works. Could also include union pension funds.
    Hercules, Ances Did not provide an answer to this question.
    Quattrociocchi, Danny Yes, for projects such as roads and sewers, transit systems, and affordable housing.


  • Candidate Response
    Augimeri, Maria Scarborough subway tax.
    Cusimano, Gus Funds need to be invested and fairly applied to the ward due to the severe damage caused by sewer damage. Ward is now considered a priority neighbourhood due to missed opportunities with local development and lack of local consultation with community.
    Hercules, Ances Youth unemployment, senior services, affordable programs for our children and regular area maintenance. However, the top issue right now is Downsview Park.  With me as your City Councillor I will stand for an equailibrium of our Green space. I believe a balanced plan including some development would be a great investment for our community; while still keeping most of our park Green.
    Quattrociocchi, Danny Upgrading infrastructure and sewage system especially after damange from floods. Higher density projects in the ward also requires updated infrastructure.

 

The full responses

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

    I support the elimination of the 30-year Scarborough subway tax. My residents are incensed that this property tax hike tax was slipped through to build an unnecessary subway in Scarborough, when the Downsview subway extension in my ward was built without any extra property tax levy. Removing this levy would allow for an honest discussion about property tax tied to inflation rates. However it is an elephant in the room in that discussion.

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

    Eliminating the 30-year Scarborough subway tax will put 1 billion dollars back into taxpayer pockets.

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

    I have always been in favour of decreasing the size of City Council.

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

    We need a check and balance on contracted out services to maintain a competitive environment. Contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge St. may provide a short-term gain, but can prove expensive for taxpayers in the long-run. When a public service is contracted out, and the ability to provide that service is eliminated (sell off all trucks, depots, etc) the government then becomes vulnerable to private contractor price gouging as the ability to bring the service back in-house is virtually impossible without incurring a huge up-front initiation cost. Not wanting to incur these costs or have the difficult conversation, Cities tend to be at the mercy of private contractors. Having half the City’s collection serviced publicly will keep the private collectors honest and costs down. The end goal is to keep the costs down and I believe that is the best way.

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

    I initially voted against the Land Transfer Tax.  I did this because I really believed that the Provincial Government would do its job and begin to un-do the disaster that Premier Mike Harris wrought upon the City of Toronto.  His government stuck the City with all the costs for public transit and public housing– both of which we cannot afford.  Due to the downloaded costs– which are only here in Ontario because nowhere else in the world do municipalities pick up all costs for public housing and public transit, we, as a municipality continue to suffer.  Our residents should not be saddled with costs that are not rightly borne by property taxpayers– public housing and public transit.  Until these items are taken back by the Province, the Municipal Land Transfer Tax cannot be reconsidered.  There is no other way to pay for the additional responsibilities the Harris government imposed on Toronto. The City manager is in agreement with this fact.

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

    Toronto has little power to directly create jobs. However our policies can help indirectly stimulate local economic activity and growth. Eliminating the 30-year Scarborough Subway tax will put more money in people’s pockets, and stimulate the local economy and help job creation.

    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?

    Easing congestion can be immediately established through expanding existing service. Funding a project that is almost decade away with a tax that is 30-years long is the wrong way to get people moving today. Putting more into operations, such as buses, is the best bang for the buck albeit not as much of an exciting solution. Not canceling existing fully-planned, fully-funded, shovel ready plans is the best way to get another expansion project started today. Pandering to a Scarborugh electorate to deliver a subway that will provide less service with a massive tax hike has only proven to delay meaningful transit expansion in that area.   The subway that is being built in Downsview today was voted on almost 30 years ago.

    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’m not a labour negotiator. If both sides feel they can reach a fair deal, I support that. Canadian labour laws and Provincial labour laws dictate the negotiation process.  The City must adhere to provincial and federal laws.

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

    P3′s aren’t on my constituents’ minds as much as the 30-Year Scarborough Subway Tax. They are furious about the “transit levy” they now have to pay, that will triple in 3 years and last for 30 years to pay for an unnecessary subway that they will never use, and serve less people than the original plan.   However, to answer your question more directly, I have been an active supporter and partner in the P3 project in Downsview.  The largest hospital in the City is currently being built on Wilson Avenue with my approval and support.  It is the type of P3 model that works for all concerned.

    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 tax issue for my residents is the 30-year Scarborough subway tax. I have held half a dozen community meetings on this issue and have hundreds of petitioners who are frustrated at the fragile vote, led by some which approved the Tax. With respect, for your survey to omit this issue would render it irrelevant to my constituents, hence the answers I have crafted for you here

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

    Yes, however my goal would be at 25 basis points below inflation, because under David Miller the budget increases exceeded inflation.

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

    I would search for duplication in the system and end duplication. Line by line review of the budget, zero based budgeting, look for private public partnerships. We can do better purchasing between the City and its agencies and boards.  It will be easier to find savings once one is in power.

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

    YES. To 22 councilors plus the Mayor.  Yes it would allow for better and efficient decision making.    It would save money

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

    Yes, provided it gives the tax payer a better deal.

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

    I would phase it out by raising the limit where it becomes payable.  We can increase the lower limit by $100,000 per year for 5 years and then review it.  This would eliminate the tax on the majority of house purchases in Toronto.

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

    Built subways which creates good paying long term direct jobs.  Which in turn brings construction jobs to those areas where the subways would be built.  We have to build a Convention Centre which would bring good paying construction jobs and hospitality jobs.  I would vote in favor of the expansion of Billy Bishop Airport allowing for more business and tourists to come to Toronto.  I would redevelop Toronto Community Housing which would also create construction jobs, provide better housing and reduced repairs to those living in TCHC.  This would save money in the long run.  We should provide local business with incentives to hiring our youth.

    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?

    Talk is cheap, we have to get on with building subways, if we built 1km per year starting 30 years ago, we would have had a better transit system.  I would encourage public private partnerships, naming rights to subway stations, we could sell off air rights over subway stations.  Development over subways would increase development charges and realty taxes.  This would provide for more people using subways as opposed to roads because it would be easy to go from home to work on the subway.  We should avoid another St. Clair Avenue disaster, cost overruns, congestion, unsightly ride of ways.

    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?

    Open up a bidding process to allow everyone to bid including efficient organizations such as LIANA which are currently excluded from bidding on City jobs.  We have to tell the City Unions that we have to hold the line on increases because the City is stretched financially.  Let the Unions see the books and let them propose ideas as well.   Work as a partnership, obviously we can’t spend what we don’t have.  Make them part of the process.

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

    Yes in public transit, TCHC, infrastructure such as water works.  P3s could also include union pension funds and the unions themselves.

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

    Representation, there is no leadership, hundreds of residents suffered sewer backup up and the local councillor could have applied for relief funds from the Provincial government which she did not.    We don’t have infrastructure that should have been place years ago.  The area is now considered a priority neighbourhood, it should have been if investment (tax dollars) were invested in the community.  Missed opportunities such as Downsview Park where the current councillor allowed density in Stanley Green to more than double.  I would work with the community to avoid the poor re-development that the current councillor allowed without community involvement on Wilson Avenue.  We have to have smart development with consultation with the community instead of behind closed doors.

    Crime is an issued, we need more police presence.

    I would stand up for our community insisting that funds are invested in our community.  I would work with other levels of government to try to bring jobs to our area.

    I am going to be a strong advocate for Downsview by working with the Mayor, other levels of government and council to make sure that our area gets the funds and attention that it deserves including improving infrastructure.

  • 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. This will give homeowners some control of their expenses while encouraging new business investments.

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

    Finding savings in our city budget is first cutting unnecessary spending at City Hall and looking for efficiencys within the budget.

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

    I do not support reducing council. I would rather endorse councillor term limitations. Most would agree that a city councillor is a great public service work and shouldn’t be a lifetime career. We need new councillors with fresh ideas and outlooks to solutions effecting ward residents and Toronto as a whole.

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

    I will support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge. This was a great success west of Yonge. It is cost effective and saving taxpayers money is what makes the most sense for me.

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

    I will advocate in eliminating the Land Transfer Tax which is and has been unfair to Toronto home buyers. Of course we will have to find revenue to replace this tax.

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

    Thousands of jobs can be created in Toronto with the support for more foreign investments, the reduction of red tape and equal property tax on local businesses.

    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 Scarborough subway has my support however, Torontorians have demanded for better transportation service for a long time and want it now. LRTs has shown for greater efficiency and reliability in cutting a substantial amount of commute time connecting routes, esspecially to and from the downtown core and Pearson International Airport. They require less time to built, has a lower budget ( saving tax payers more) and better service. This will serve best for our local buisnesses when it comes to advertising and will create thousands of jobs in Toronto. With better transportation, Toronto will gain recognition as a world class transit 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?

    Along with Council staff I will encourage negotiations deals that are fair to all workers, cost effective and fair to the citizens of Toronto.

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

    Did not provide answer.

    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 many issues effecting my ward at this time like youth unemployment, senior services, affordable programs for our children and regular area maintenance. However, the top issue right now is Downsview Park. Many in the community would rather keep Downsview park green while some residents would like to see something done with part of our open Green space. With me as your City Councillor I will stand for an equailibrium of our Green space. I believe a balanced plan including some development would be a great investment for our community; while still keeping most of our park Green.

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

    I do support a property tax cap at no greater than the rate of inflation.  There are many families trying to make ends meet.  There is a growing senior population and many rely on a single pension to get by.

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

    We have to be careful in how we find savings in the current city budget.  If you take away too much, some services will suffer and or diminish.  Some savings can be found by reducing the size of City Council.  Privatizing garbage collection east of Yonge will bring additional savings.  Also, new labour negotiations should result in savings as well.

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

    I do believe in reducing the size of Toronto City Council.  There are too many Councillors and making decisions is taking too much time.  We need a lean and efficient Council that will get down to business for the good of Toronto.

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

    I do support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street.  I live west of Yonge Street and am happy with contracting out garbage.  There have been some hiccups, but overall the service is good.  We don’t have to worry about garbage strikes!

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

    I believe the Municipal Land Transfer Tax is a revenue source that the City needs.  I do believe it is too high at this point.  I support modifying the tax and reducing it.

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

    My platform talks about working with small business to create jobs for our youth.  After all, small business is the backbone of our economy.  When our youth have jobs, they earn money that can further their education and one day buy a home.

    Furthermore, if we can stop the bickering at City Hall and get a transit plan approved, whether subways or LRTs, will create jobs for the next two decade.  Better transportation and less congestion will bring in more investment into the City, which will create 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 believe we can fund new transit projects by asking for money from both the Federal and Provincial Governments.  Toronto is the economic engine of Canada and we deserve to get these funds.  Some money can also come from a reformed land transfer tax as well as from development charges.

    The current transit planning process has not worked.  We continue wasting time with all the bickering at City Hall.  What we need is a new position that will head this process.  This position will oversee the transit planning process and report back to City Council.

    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 advice I would give the city’s negotiating team is to be transparent and fair.  The bottom line is that in the end, you want both sides to be happy.  We need to work together to eliminate road blocks and make the process more efficient.

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

    I believe there are opportunities for public-private partnerships.  In many cases, the private sector offers more expertise and efficiencies.  P3s can be utilized for infrastructure projects such as roads and sewers, transit systems, and building 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?

    There are many issues affecting Ward 9 and they are all equally important.  I would say that our infrastructure, specifically sewer capacity, needs to be upgraded.  I hear over and over again from my constituents about how their basements have flooded, or backyards damaged from water flow, resulting in an increase in their home insurance rates.  Some homeowners can’t even get flood insurance.

    The new Humber River Regional Hospital, proposed residential development at Downsview Park, as well as other high density projects in Ward 9 will put severe pressure on our infrastructure.

    As Councillor, I will work with City Planners and Developers to ensure sewers are upgraded before future residential growth is approved.  We cannot allow growth without improving our aging infrastructure.  I propose that development charges be increased to help fund the upgrades.

    Lastly, I will visit with homeowners and listen to their concerns regarding flooding.  We need to prioritize high risk areas and devote the appropriate resources to address these problems.