2014 City Council Election: Ward 18 – Davenport

The Incumbent:

Ana Bailão

The Race

Ward 18 Davenport is a ward with a median income below the city average with a mix of pensioners and young adult residents. Reasonable taxation should be top of mind for any person representing this ward at City Hall. There is willingness from both the incumbent Councillor and her opponents to find efficiencies in government and explore private partnerships. Would have liked to see more support for cutting the size of City Council.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Bobby Beckett, Joseph Ferrari, Jolene Hunt, Alex Mazer, Jim McMillan, Derek Power, Robert Rodrigues

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Alves, Paul Yes
    Bailão, Ana Supports tax relief rebate program
    Pavao, Dennis Yes
    Romao, Elsa Yes
    Uddin, Mohammed No


  • Candidate Response
    Alves, Paul Stop cancelling funded TTC projects. Councillor constituency offices.
    Bailão, Ana Police services budget and continue to identify departmental efficiencies.
    Pavao, Dennis The city spends more on debt charges than it does Toronto Public Health. Cut overtime paid duty for police officers.
    Romao, Elsa Review the budget and see what is being utilized and what makes sense. Remove the items that don't.
    Uddin, Mohammed Consider savings within the police budget. Dollars can be shifted to housing, parks, transit, infrastructure, and other higher priority services.


  • Candidate Response
    Alves, Paul No
    Bailão, Ana No
    Pavao, Dennis No
    Romao, Elsa No
    Uddin, Mohammed Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Alves, Paul Yes
    Bailão, Ana No
    Pavao, Dennis Yes
    Romao, Elsa Yes
    Uddin, Mohammed Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Alves, Paul Yes to elimination
    Bailão, Ana 10% of the Land Transfer Tax should be dedicated to affordable housing repairs, which improves neighbourhoods.
    Pavao, Dennis Yes to elimination once the city cuts waste and pays off its debt.
    Romao, Elsa Yes to reducing
    Uddin, Mohammed Yes to elimination


  • Candidate Response
    Alves, Paul Create conditions for job growth by relieving gridlock and improve our transit.
    Bailão, Ana Champion Social Procurement Initiatives which assists young people in upgrading their skills. Supports a low commercial tax rate. Increase tax incentives for business especially to under-developed areas of the city.
    Pavao, Dennis Promote entrepreneurship. Ensure companies stay and do business in Toronto.
    Romao, Elsa Technology and smart construction.
    Uddin, Mohammed Create jobs with community infrastructure programs. After-school youth employment programs.


  • Candidate Response
    Alves, Paul Build planned LRT lines instead of subways or more buses.
    Bailão, Ana Supported new transit-dedicated revenue tools at Council because they provide reliable investment. Provincial and federal governments must support transit infrastructure. Set annual construction target, for example, 1km of subway track per year.
    Pavao, Dennis Traffic light synchronization. Push federal and provincial governments for more funding.
    Romao, Elsa Hire more than one construction company and work with more than one union to start 24 hour job sites. The job will get done faster with less overtime.
    Uddin, Mohammed Need a long-term plan for transit development. Build more subways. Provincial and federal governments must aid in funding.


  • Candidate Response
    Alves, Paul This isn't about taxpayers vs city staff, we are all taxpayers and we all rely on city staff to keep the city functioning.
    Bailão, Ana Be fair with employees and work collaboratively to reach solutions that deliver the best service at the best price.
    Pavao, Dennis Considering city debt, there is not room for pay increases. City workers have to do their job efficiently.
    Romao, Elsa More than one union can work at a job site in shifts eliminating overtime. Open to using private labour if they are registered with the city.
    Uddin, Mohammed Does not support cutting wages.


  • Candidate Response
    Alves, Paul Yes, particularly, within subway stations.
    Bailão, Ana Will consider proposals and weigh them on their merits.
    Pavao, Dennis Yes
    Romao, Elsa No opinion


  • Candidate Response
    Alves, Paul Transit and gridlock.
    Bailão, Ana Affordability, especially in transit and housing. For affordable housing – as Chair, partnered with the private sector to deliver significant results without private investment by streamlining permitting and reducing red tape for developers.
    Pavao, Dennis Traffic congestion and eliminating inefficiencies.
    Romao, Elsa Traffic congestion, parking, children's education, elderly care.
    Uddin, Mohammed Transparency and accessibility to elected representative. Bus schedules must be revised to accommodate growing population.

 

The full responses

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

    I do.

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

    First off, we should stop cancelling TTC projects that are already funded.  My team also has a plan to save millions on councillor constituency offices.

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

    No. Absolutely not.  Reducing the size of council would make it nearly impossible for a middle class candidate to even attempt a campaign.  Once elected, their ward would be larger, making an even greater disconnect between council and citizen.  The ward office would have to hire more staff, so the savings wouldn’t be much.  This is a terrible idea.  44 brains are better than 22, any day.

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

    Yes.  the private collection west of Yonge Street has worked great.  For the first time in my life I saw a garbage collector stop and sweep up my sidewalk because he dropped some items.  The service level has gone up in my humble opinion.

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

    This needs to go.  I’ve consulted with a few real estate agents, and they all say the same thing, that this tax is stifling our real estate market.

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

    Government doesn’t create jobs unless they are government jobs. Government creates the atmosphere with the right conditions that allow job growth.  One way to do this is relieve the gridlock and improve our transit.

    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 go ahead with the planned LRT lines. They are cheaper to build, quicker to implement, and faster than buses or subways.  Politicians need to stop cancelling ALREADY FUNDED lines out of spite. It’s cost us hundreds of millions.

    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 best deal for taxpayers is a fair deal.  This isn’t about taxpayers vs city staff, we are all taxpayers and we all rely on city staff to keep the city functioning.

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

    There are lots of opportunities for PPP.  I see opportunites to do more with the TTC, specifically amenities at subway station locations.  We currently have a lack of bathrooms across the system. I’m sure Tim Horton’s or another company would build some bathrooms and maintain them in return for a spot to sell coffee.  Everybody wins.

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

    Transit. Gridlock.  As Councillor, I will push to get TTC projects underway. It’s time to stop talking and start building.

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

    As a Councillor representing an area where the median income is below the average, I have a responsibility to balance the need for affordability with the expansion of new services. This need for affordability also highlights the continued existence of programs such as the Tax Relief Rebate, which I strongly support and which will need to be enhanced.

    With the huge backlog in infrastructure and the continuing growth of our city, delaying repairs can have much higher costs later. I will be a strong and reasonable voice on ensuring that we make responsible financial decision in the best interests of our city and my community.

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

    I believe there are efficiencies to be identified in the Police Services budget without negatively impacting safety in our city. I will continue to support reports at Council to identify departmental efficiencies, which have successfully identified savings in recent years.

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

    Municipal government is the most accessible and transparent level of government and it is in the best interest of Toronto residents for this to continue. I do not believe that reducing the size of Council would result in significant savings and has the opposing risk to reduce service and accessibility to the public.

    By reducing the number of Councillors we would be expanding the area being represented and the number of residents in each Ward. To maintain good service, Councillors would require a larger staff and increased budgets – minimizing any potential savings.

    Furthermore, the additional residents would also make it more difficult to schedule meetings directly with the Councillor. Residents deserve excellent service and access to their elected representatives; until savings can be made without sacrificing this, Council should remain at its current size.

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

    I do not support expanding the contracting out of garbage east of Yonge Street. The current combination of public and private garbage collection service has created a healthy competition, which promotes a high-level of service quality and results in good value for Toronto residents.

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

    Currently the city relies heavily on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax and, without a viable replacement, it would be irresponsible to eliminate it. I do, however, believe strongly in building a stronger relationship between taxes and returns; people have a right to clearly understand how this money impacts them.

    It is for this reason that I advocated for 10% of the Land Transfer Tax to be dedicated to affordable housing repairs. These repairs improve neighbourhoods and, in turn, improve property values for the surrounding homeowners.

    By pegging issue-specific revenue to issue-specific investment we build greater public trust in the responsible spending of public money.

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

    On Council, I have championed Social Procurement initiatives, which assists young people in upgrading their skills and increasing their employability. I also led initiatives to prevent the exploitation of workers through sub-contracting – as temporary and low-wage positions increase employment volatility in our city.

    We must also be strong proponents of our business community. I voted to support a low commercial tax-rate, which allows Toronto to remain competitive with other cities. This keeps jobs in Toronto and reduces the burden on our small-businesses.

    Moving forward, we can continue to achieve this by increasing tax-incentives for businesses, especially to commercially under-developed areas of our city.

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

    I supported our city’s first dedicated, long-term funding of major transit expansion and a voted for a strong transit vision that builds for our city’s current and future needs. For our city to grow, we must ensure sustainable dedicated funding to transit continues. For this reason, I supported new transit-dedicated revenue tools at Council and the next term of Council must finally approve these new tools to reliably invest in building transit.

    We must also recognize the critical role that the Provincial and the Federal governments have in supporting Toronto’s transit infrastructure. We must continue to make the case for their involvement and ensure that these government partners know their responsibility in providing better transit to Canada’s largest city – for economic as well as social reasons.

    While our city is in no position to take on large projects alone, we can absolutely be setting annual construction targets and responsibly allocating sustainable funding towards reaching these transit goals. While 20 kilometres of subway would cripple our current city budget, 1 kilometre per year is manageable.

    We cannot go back in time but we can make changes now and for the future. I believe residents are ready to cut through rhetoric and have a serious conversation about good transit and how it is paid for.

    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 have always believed in paying people a good wage for good work, I believe this is what makes our city strong. We need to be fair with our employees and we need to work collaboratively to reach solutions that deliver the best service at the best price. We must never forget that our employees, and their families, are also our residents and that we all benefit from a good deal.

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

    I am a strong believer in being broad-minded and making evidence-based decisions. It is our obligation to the public to fully investigate every option and Public-Private Partnerships are an important part of this investigation. I would welcome the opportunity to review any such proposal and weigh it on its merits.

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

    Affordability is a primary concern for my area, especially for transit and housing. For transit, I have been able to initiate traffic studies to optimize light-signal timing, create community traffic management committees and deliver new articulating buses for improved efficiency on the Dufferin 29 route.

    For housing, I have worked as Chair of the Affordable Housing Committee to partner with the Private Sector and deliver significant results without public investment. By simply stream-lining permitting and reducing red-tape for developers of affordable housing we have guaranteed the creation of 7,783 new affordable homes and 13,174 new jobs in our city over a three year period.

    Our potential is only limited by our desire to innovate and be good business partners.

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

    I agree with the cap. This should not be a reason to hike property taxes at the rate of inflation every time the city has a shortfall and needs money. It not a spending allowance. The main problem I see with property taxes is equality. You can have 2 similar houses on the same street paying 2 different property taxes.

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

    The city budget spent $428.6 million or 4.4% on debt charges. This is more than the expenditures for Toronto Public Health $246.3 million, long term care homes and services $231.8 million and the list goes on.. As a business entrepreneur, success for me is described as when the “company” has no debit and is generating a profit.

    One example is the paid duty officers that are hired for road construction getting overtime pay.  Cut the overtime and hire more officers.

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

    No. If a city councillor is well informed about his city and takes the initiative to learn and contribute his findings then they would bring something valuable to the table. There is always room for improvements.

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

    Yes, it’s proving to be financially beneficial.  When these contracts go for tender we have to make sure that we have a good pool of companies to get competitive pricing.

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

    This tax was reduced from 1.75% down to 1.25% which generated $11.8 million. Once the city cuts it waste and pays off its debt then I can see doing away with it. One more good reason for living in and doing business in Toronto.

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

    When have to promote entrepreneurship, this is the area where most jobs are created.  At the same time we have to ensure that companies stay and keep doing business in Toronto.

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

    We have to get traffic moving and ease congestion by getting the lights synchronized. The city has to push the federal and provincial governments for funding. In-efficiencies have to be eliminated. Increasing the fair of the TTC would eventually make it un-affordable and result in fewer passengers. I’m sure there was a time when the TTC actually made a profit?

    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 Council has to reiterate that with the debt that its carrying that there’s not much room for pay increases. People working for the city have to remember that at the end of the day they have to do their job efficiently. These city workers who know there job best have to speak up otherwise outsourcing will be introduced.

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

    Yes, as long as it benefits the people of this great city.

    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 with the residents there are a number of concerns that are priority. One of them being traffic congestion and the other is eliminating in-efficiencies.

    I would push for street light synchronizing to get traffic moving. As for in-efficiencies this has to be brought up before the Council and we would have to focus in on every aspect of what it takes to make this city run.

    Note:

    I want to express my sincere apologies on the brief answers. These type questions really do take time to analyze and answer. On a brighter note I totally support the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition.

    I think it’s time to cut waste and make the city accountable on its frivolous spending habits. Spending the taxpayer’s money any way they choose to, is not the way to run a city.

  • 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?

    We need to look at the city budget and see what it being most utilized and what makes sense and then put a motion to remove the items that don’t make sense so that we may save on raising taxes during these economic challenging times we have been facing.

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

    I dont not approve on reducing the size I think we should add more wards and have more councillors and their pay should be based on performance.

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

    At this point it seems financially sound to continue to contract out and save tax payers extra money.

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

    It is a tax we have grown accustomed to thus I would not increase it but would support a reduction.

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

    Technology and smart construction are two ways to create more jobs and eliminate the contract min wage work that is rising in TO.

    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 think that transit is still going to be a hot mess for the next 5 years whether we take one plan or another, what we need to do is hire more than one construction company and work with more than one Union and start 24 hr job sites so that the job gets done faster and eliminating paying overtime to one company only. Thus faster turn around on the job getting done and saving tax payers thousands of dollars by not having to pay overtime, fair wages and decongesting roads faster for easy traffic flow.

    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?

    Reaching a verdict with a timely manner and in case we can not agree in council to have a mediator work with council to get the best results and save tax payers dollars by moving forward.I think that council should vote on keeping standing Union agreements but also add that more then one Union can work at a job site in shifts to eliminate paying overtime and we should open the city jobs to private companies too as long as they are registered with the city we should pay the same fair wages and try to fix city problems in a faster a timely manner by giivng small companies work during the Winter times that are harder to obtain work thus eliminating the Unemployment Insurance use EI.

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

    No opinion.

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

    Congested traffic and parking are a main issue and the children education, elderly care and traffic.

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

    As I believe, taxation is a crucial part to the development of the community’s infrastructure. This funds community programs and development which in turn grows the community. If the tax money is being spent in the right way, paying this property tax will ultimately benefit the people who are paying them. Form the conversations  I had, residents feel that if they are updated on where and how their hard earned money is being spent they do not mind paying it. As a home owner I understand that living in a house can be quite expensive, but if the community surrounding it is better developed the value of the property is greater.

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

    The city budget should be re-evaluated; cutting unnecessary expenses and putting it toward areas where it’s needed the most. One that needs to be considered is the police budget. From every $1 earned, $0.85 goes into it. Some may argue that cutting the police budget will be cutting the front-line officers, but many other cities have reduced their budget successfully without this problem. Shifting a few dollars from within the administration will mean investments in housing, parks, transit, infrastructure development and other services that require a higher priority. Doing so, we can maximize on city development without minimizing its safety

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

    Yes I agree we should cut the size of Toronto city Council to follow in suit with the amount of MPP’s we have in GTA. As a result we will be able save millions of dollars which can put towards city infrastructure, transit and other high priority developments.

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

    I feel that contracting out garbage collection is beneficial to residents. If we compare our current service to the service of when it was public, a better and quality work is being done now. Garbage is being picked up on schedule with very little error. I would rather spend a few extra cents to ease the lives of our community members than save money.

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

    Yes, I support the elimination of the Municipal Land Transfer Tax.

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

    Creating jobs start off with addressing a place where work needs to be done. As we begin to fund community and infrastructure projects many jobs would be created and along with a growing community, local business would grow also creating more local jobs. To aid with youth employment, we would push for after school youth employment programs to increase their experience and knowledge of 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?

    Since February I started knocking doors and as I learned from conversing with ward 18 residents, transit is the no.1 concern all over Toronto including this ward. Now the questions arise of how will we address this? Where would the fundings come from and how can this congestion be resolved?

    The city of Toronto has already been built; we do not have much resource to edit what has been done. The only solution to improve the transit sector is by developing the subway system. Such success can be seen in Munich-Germany, New York, Tokyo and London. Doing so, it would increase traffic flow above ground, create faster commute, make reliable schedules with lower maintenance and operating cost which ultimately will eliminate congestion.

    60-70 years ago the Gardiner Express was built, but now according to experts, within 10 years its validity will be up and needs to be torn down. This would be costing tax payers billions on top of which it would also be creating a hectic scene for commuters. We need a long term plan for transit development so that there are no unnecessary expenses. The solution to which I believe can only be done by developing on top of our current subway system.

    To make such a project come true, we would need to build on the Federal-Provincial and Municipal partnership to aid in funding the Toronto Subway extension plan.

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

    I do not support the cutting of wages of the hard working people who spend day and night working, but still are undervalued. Cutting wages ultimately does not benefit anyone. If Labours are unhappy their work would be of the same quality.

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

    The private sector accepts responsibility and risk of design, financing, construction and maintenance of the project- the city retains ownership of all assets (This is not privatization). P3s engage the expertise and discipline of the private sector to deliver better value of the tax payer’s money with reduced cost and construction time.

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

    Knocking over 30,000 doors, I have had the privilege to talk to ward 18 residents and better understand the common/ high priority issues we are facing now in our community. As a resident here myself, I feel that the issues that really need to be addressed are –

    The transparency and accessibility to elected representative:

    Everyone should feel free to walk in and out of their councillor’s office without an appointment and be able to voice their issues. Routine updates should also be provided to show completed projects and action plans.

    Transit:

    In our area, transit is very congested especially in public transit. Bus schedules should be revised also more busses are needed to accommodate the growing population in our community.  Improvements should be made to the infrastructure so that grid-locks may be avoided