2014 City Council Election: Ward 20 – Trinity-Spadina

The Incumbent:

Ceta Ramkhalawansingh (appointed)

The Race

Former Councillor, and current MP, Adam Vaughan left City Hall. Now, Ward 20 can elect a fresh, new, fiscally responsible voice for this ever-growing community. Not surprisingly, traffic congestion and condo development is top of mind for the slate of candidates running and there are various proposals to deal with density, retaining jobs, and funding transit expansion. We’re pleased to see a couple of candidates support the Billy Bishop Airport expansion – Ward 20 residents, choose wisely!

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Terri Chu, Akeem Fasasi, Sam Goldstein, Leanne Hicks, Anshul Kapoor, Albert Koehl

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Yes
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Yes
    Christoff, Daryl Yes
    Cressy, Joe Yes
    Hollings, Graham Yes
    Kargiannakis, Stella Yes
    Louie, Tonny Yes
    MacDonald, Charles Yes
    Monaghan, Michael No
    Morrison, Philip Yes
    Novak, Sam No
    Shermack, Kat No
    Thomson, Sarah Yes
    Tsai, Susan Yes
    Wright, Nick Will consider
    Yen, Mike Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Going back and forth on Council decisions, reneging on contracts, and re-doing environmental assessments due to Council indecision.
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Council must stick to targeted spending limits. Privatize garbage collection east of Yonge St.
    Christoff, Daryl The new Council should begin with an audit to determine efficiencies.
    Cressy, Joe Believes we have gone as far as we can to find savings without impacts on service.
    Hollings, Graham Stick to transit plans such as Scarborough LRT to avoid wasting money. Reducing police services budget.
    Kargiannakis, Stella Administrative costs, reduce/eliminate Waterfront Toronto and Invest Toronto, stop funding big business through the guise of arts funding, upload planning and development process to provincial government.
    Louie, Tonny Duplication of roles and responsibilities
    MacDonald, Charles Open to reviewing all sides of the budget for savings, as an independent candidate with no ties to special interests.
    Monaghan, Michael Operations and procurement budget efficiencies
    Morrison, Philip Cut the size of City Council and privatize more services.
    Novak, Sam Adopt shift models used in other cities to prevent overlap. Incentives to replace officers with new recruits. Digitize certain paper processes. End paid duty police at construction sites, TCHC security, and TTC.
    Shermack, Kat It is not a priority.
    Thomson, Sarah Change the culture and processes at City Hall. There's 1000 small adjustments/upgrades in every department.
    Tsai, Susan Savings can be found through attrition and eliminating positions that are duplicated. Leaner management.
    Wright, Nick Savings in Police Services and in Municipal Licensing and Standards budget.
    Yen, Mike Eliminate Council General Expense budget, improve management to staff ratio, contract garbage collection east of Yonge St.


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Did not answer specifically
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Will consider
    Christoff, Daryl No
    Cressy, Joe No
    Hollings, Graham No
    Kargiannakis, Stella Yes
    Louie, Tonny No
    MacDonald, Charles Will consider
    Monaghan, Michael No
    Morrison, Philip Yes
    Novak, Sam No
    Shermack, Kat No
    Thomson, Sarah Yes
    Tsai, Susan Will consider
    Wright, Nick Will consider
    Yen, Mike Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Yes
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Yes
    Christoff, Daryl Yes
    Cressy, Joe No
    Hollings, Graham No
    Kargiannakis, Stella No
    Louie, Tonny Will consider
    MacDonald, Charles Yes
    Monaghan, Michael Yes
    Morrison, Philip Yes
    Novak, Sam Yes
    Shermack, Kat No
    Thomson, Sarah No
    Tsai, Susan Yes
    Wright, Nick Will consider
    Yen, Mike Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Yes to elimination if there is a plan for new revenue
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Yes to reducing or elimination if there is a plan for new revenue
    Christoff, Daryl No
    Cressy, Joe Will consider only if there is a plan for new revenue
    Hollings, Graham Overall, no
    Kargiannakis, Stella No
    Louie, Tonny Will consider only if there is a plan for new revenue
    MacDonald, Charles Will consider modifying for a more fairer approach
    Monaghan, Michael No
    Morrison, Philip Yes to reducing
    Novak, Sam No
    Shermack, Kat No
    Thomson, Sarah No without road tolls on 905 residents
    Tsai, Susan Will consider once reviewing expenditures and all revenue
    Wright, Nick Will consider
    Yen, Mike Yes to elimination


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Fix infrastructure and transit so that Toronto is a desirable place to work. Open to the expansion of the Toronto Island Airport because it brings business to Toronto.
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie An efficient transit system and affordable housing are necessary conditions for job growth.
    Christoff, Daryl Support innovation and collaborate with all levels of government.
    Cressy, Joe Leverage our spending to include requirements for local hiring and procurement.
    Hollings, Graham Encourage mixed-use residential and office development. Has spillover effect for job creation.
    Kargiannakis, Stella Depends on zoning, infrastructure, and inventory of real estate. Expand work day hours.
    Louie, Tonny Better tax structure. Bridging program and placement for youth into the workforce.
    MacDonald, Charles Develop and maintain an effective transit system. Expanding the Island Airport will bring more business and tourism in the ward.
    Monaghan, Michael Invest in infrastructure to move goods and services. Target technology to be competitive on world stage.
    Morrison, Philip Mentorship program between professionals and young future entrepreneurs.
    Novak, Sam Gentrify areas with too much unused commercial space. Develop mobile search app to centralize job opportunities. Build partnerships with private employers for training and mentorship.
    Shermack, Kat Rally all innovation that exists in the city from start-ups to entrepreneurs to small businesses.
    Thomson, Sarah Invest in urban farms, Social Impact Bonds for non-profits, and hire local youth to beautify the city.
    Tsai, Susan City should assist residents accessing job programs. Job development programs in departments on a temporary basis. Organizations that do business with the City should be required to hire.
    Wright, Nick Minimize construction inconveniences, responsible development, and promote walkable communities.
    Yen, Mike Keep business taxes low, reduce red tape, invest in infrastructure.


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike We must look at the greater picture and the current divisive arguments that lead to nowhere. Ask provincial and federal governments for transit funding.
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Fully commit to plans recommended by professionals. More funding from provincial and federal governments.
    Christoff, Daryl Re-introduce partnerships with senior levels of government.
    Cressy, Joe Transit planning must be guided by experts and research and not slogans.
    Hollings, Graham Metrolinx has a good strategy and suggested revenue tools. Toronto needs to speed up the planning process. Environmental Assessments can be done faster.
    Kargiannakis, Stella Provincial and federal governments need to put in their fair share of funding.
    Louie, Tonny Better utilize technology for traffic. Make certain streets downtown one-way.
    MacDonald, Charles Listen to experts and develop a long-term plan that doesn't change when a new Council is elected.
    Monaghan, Michael Vehicle Registration Tax should not have been repealed. Could have helped pay for Downtown Relief Line.
    Morrison, Philip Tax revenues from condos should fund transit changes and build subways.
    Novak, Sam Build an LRT network except for Downtown Relief subway. Can be funded by conventional debt and minor property tax increases.
    Shermack, Kat Council must listen to the advice of experts and stop making political decisions.
    Thomson, Sarah Road tolls on 905 commuters using the DVP and a congestion charge on 905 commuters. This could allow us to build more transit and fix backlog of repairs at TCHC.
    Tsai, Susan Greater commitment from federal and provincial governments.
    Wright, Nick Speed up environmental assessments. More funding from provincial government. Consider additional revenue tools.
    Yen, Mike More funding from upper levels of government. Explore possibility of uploading the TTC to the province. Regional coordinating by Metrolinx should be better coordinated with the TTC.


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Listen to all sides and work to find a solution that works for everyone. Must be willing to compromise and listen to each other.
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Work towards a target to meet the City budget.
    Christoff, Daryl Introduce a system of one-term city contracts.
    Cressy, Joe Pay City employees a fair, competitive, and equitable wage.
    Hollings, Graham The best deal doesn't mean the cheapest deal.
    Kargiannakis, Stella Councillors must have information and know the numbers to assess a deal.
    Louie, Tonny Unions should be dealt with according to labour laws and financial status of the city.
    MacDonald, Charles As an independent candidate with no ties to special interests, will seek a balanced goal.
    Monaghan, Michael Best value based on current market indicators
    Morrison, Philip Get a handle on what real people earn and try to be as resourceful as possible.
    Novak, Sam Concentrate on a results-based approach that gets the best deal for taxpayers.
    Shermack, Kat Council must come to the table with respect and appreciation for workers.
    Thomson, Sarah A thoughtful approach much before the contract deadline.
    Tsai, Susan City negotiating team has to stand up for the rights of taxpayers.
    Wright, Nick Provide value to taxpayers and fair, livable wages.
    Yen, Mike Do not agree to rates higher than the rate of inflation.


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Will consider
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Will consider P3s, particularly, in transportation and waste water management.
    Christoff, Daryl Yes
    Cressy, Joe No
    Hollings, Graham Will consider depending on city control and local contracts
    Kargiannakis, Stella No
    Louie, Tonny Yes, for example, waste management
    MacDonald, Charles Yes, for example, the Island Airport
    Monaghan, Michael Will consider
    Morrison, Philip Could not answer
    Novak, Sam Yes, for example, for complex infrastructure and for the Waterfront.
    Shermack, Kat Will consider under the right circumstances.
    Thomson, Sarah No
    Tsai, Susan Will consider for areas of infrastructure.
    Wright, Nick Will consider on an individual basis
    Yen, Mike Yes, to revitalize green space and provide amenities to a community.


  • Candidate Response
    Andreae, Mike Transportation and movability of the ward.
    Carty-Kegel, Stephanie Transit congestion for all of drivers, public transit, cyclists, and pedestrians.
    Christoff, Daryl Green space and sustainable development.
    Cressy, Joe Balancing new development and density with strengthening and preserving neighbourhoods. Must keep eye towards future transit infrastructure needs, livability, and services.
    Hollings, Graham Livability including parks, transit, and good infrastructure.
    Kargiannakis, Stella Status quo on Billy Bishop, use surplus lands for affordable rental housing, playgrounds and green spaces, no increase in taxes for property owners.
    Louie, Tonny Traffic congestion, affordable housing, infrastructure, child-care, and support for community-based programs.
    MacDonald, Charles Public transit, traffic congestion, and pedestrian safety
    Monaghan, Michael Transportation, safety, homelessness, investment in infrastructure, and not selling assets.
    Morrison, Philip Traffic congestion. Residents support Jets at the Island Airport.
    Novak, Sam Attracting and retaining young professionals and new families. Greater oversight of condo development and planning. Get Toronto moving by reducing congestion.
    Shermack, Kat Affordable housing and a guaranteed number of affordable housing units in every condo.
    Thomson, Sarah Gridlock and transit expansion. Building the Downtown Relief Line.
    Tsai, Susan Transit and road congestion.
    Wright, Nick New grid of bike lanes. Expand library and community centre hours.
    Yen, Mike Traffic congestion – it costs the economy money, takes time away from families, and polluting the environment.

 

The full responses

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

    I believe that there should be a property tax cap that links future hikes to the rate of inflation. I believe that the people of Toronto should not be expected to pay astronomical amounts to live in our City. We are a city that welcomes people and that embraces diversity. Ward 20 is a perfect picture of that – many different and diverse communities make up the ward that I am proud to call my home.

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

    The cost of going back and forth on council decisions is often overlooked but can be huge. Useless, unfruitful, and long debates suck up salary dollars and keep council busy thus delaying important decisions. Even worse are the real hard costs in reneging on contracts and re doing environmental assessments.  Indecision in city council has already cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars when the city switched from light rail to subways and now they are considering switching back, at even greater cost to the taxpayer.  If elected, I’m interested in making efficient effective decisions and sticking with them.

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

    I think that there have been many obvious issues with the current Toronto City Council. This council has been confronted with unusual issues and circumstances, things that both Councillors and Torontonians never thought would happen. I think that these circumstances have led to a large part of the issues regarding how City Council operates.  Far too many members of Council have made what is to be a non-partisan space to deal with municipal issues a partisan battleground. If I am elected, I will work to achieve what the residents of Ward 20 want and believe to be the solutions for the issues facing our ward. I will not get caught up in childish, partisan games. I believe that a change to the leadership in City Hall will improve how council operates. When there is a cohesive group of people who want to work together to improve our city and we have a strong leader, City Council can get back to working for the needs of Torontonians.

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

    Yes I support contracting out garbage east of Yonge. Having said that I do support unions because they provide quality, meaningful work and are contributing taxpayers.  However I can see that in this case contracting has maintained quality jobs and quality service.  Anything that provides quality job and services at a fair price I’m in favour of.

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

    I support the elimination of the Municipal Land Transfer Tax, provided that there is an alternate revenue stream to compensate for the shortfall cancelling the Land Transfer Tax would create. The Municipal Land Transfer Tax has created undue punishment for people looking to purchase a home in Toronto; 69% of Torontonians are against the tax as it creates undue pressure on those looking to move and buy a home in the city. I do not believe that anyone looking to live in our city should be punished with this taxß.

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

    To create job growth in Toronto, we need a city that is movable and desirable to businesses. We have an outdated public transportation system, roads and highways that are highly congested, and no real coherent connections between various transportation routes and systems. We need to fix these issues with the infrastructure in Toronto to show businesses that Toronto is a desirable place to work, to live and to start a business.  In Ward 20, there has been a lot of debate on these points, especially the proposed expansion of the Island Airport. While expanding the airport would make flights into the downtown core much easier and would likely encourage more film companies to bring their productions to Toronto by having an airport near where they want to film instead of having to fly into Pearson and then commute downtown, we don’t know that the expansion is environmentally feasible.  If elected, I am committed to exploring the feasibility of an expansion and also looking into all other ideas and avenues to making the city of Toronto as desirable to all types of businesses as possible.

    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, looking at the current City Council; people see that the discussions about transit have become a joke. Nobody on council agrees consistently on what they want, and every decision that has been made has created much debate, little agreement and no progress towards getting the transit we need. We need to improve at speaking cohesively, representing the needs of our constituents and learn to work effectively with our federal and provincial partners to ensure that Toronto has the help that it needs from the other levels of government to improve our transit. Instead of having constant arguments over changing the plan, yet again, and throwing insults and accusations at other councilors, we need to look at the greater picture and begin to treat the needs of all residents equally. There is no less need for transit in any corner of the city, and the current divisive arguments have gotten us nowhere.

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

    I think the most important advice that I could give to the negotiating team to get the best deal for taxpayers is to listen to all sides, and to work together to find a solution and to find the best deal for everyone. Often, negotiations turn hostile because one side is unwilling to compromise or actually listen to the other. We need to keep in mind the most important aspect of these negotiations – the needs of the people. I want to ensure that residents of Ward 20 have a representative that they can trust and that will respect them and their diverse needs. I believe that I am that person.

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

    I feel that public-private partnerships have had a patchy reception in the past. The building and selling of Highway 407 is a decision that is still unpopular, as people see how much money could be coming into the city. At the same time, a private-public partnership was used to build the VIVA transit system, which has been more successful. If I am elected as the Councillor of Ward 20, I think the best path to take concerning public-private partnerships is seeing what opportunities present themselves and what the residents of Ward 20 think about these partnerships. I believe that representing my community and being their voice at City Hall is the most basic responsibility of a Councillor, and I respect that any and all decisions have to reflect their thoughts, wants and needs.

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

    One of the biggest issues in Ward 20 is transportation and the movability of the ward.  We are a large ward with diverse needs, and finding a balance to best fit all of those needs is a difficult task. We need to have public transit that is effective and actually takes you where you need to go, we need to have spaces for cyclists to safely bike across our ward and city, and we need to have roads that are not so congested that it is almost impossible to get from point A to point B in a reasonable amount of time. If I am elected Councillor, I want to work with the residents of Ward 20 to ensure that everyone’s needs are met. I want to hear what people think will fix the problems, and I want to bring the recommendations of the Ward 20 residents to Toronto City Council. Our residents are the ones who know the issues we face the best, and I believe that their ideas should be the basis for the solutions moving forward.

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

    Yes. I strongly support a property tax cap ensuring that future hikes are definitely not greater than the rate of inflation.

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

    I am a firm believer in staying on/under budget. Council needs to be accountable to its targeted spending limits. I will also advocate to investigate cost savings in garbage collection, East of Yonge Street.

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

    I support reviewing the size of Council. Fewer Councillors may contribute to more efficient decision making but we also need to ensure that the needs of the constituents are met (especially if there is a high value for service). If the number of Councillors is reduced, I may support an additional staffer allocated to Wards that exceed a certain work flow threshold. There are currently public consultations in the works and I look forward to reviewing the final report, and hearing from the constituents.

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

    I support contracting out garbage east of Yonge Street, provided that there is reasonable cost savings to tax payers. Before making the decision to contract out other services, I would like to see the multi-year impact on garbage collection (East & West of Yonge Street). If a high level of service is achieved for the contracted garbage and the cost is stable, than I would be happy to investigate other services.

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

    I support reducing or eliminating the Municipal Land Transfer Tax provided that we can find ways to generate revenue/achieve cost savings in other areas of the budget.

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

    One way to create job growth in Toronto is to have an efficient transit system, an effective Council and prioritize Affordable Housing. Efficient transit will allow constituents to expand their geographic job search and allow them to travel efficiently to their place of work (allowing them to spend more time at home with their families). An efficient City will allow barriers to be minimal. Lastly, we must continue to make Affordable Housing a priority and in turn it will create jobs and foster local economic growth.

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

    It is inevitable that we will require the support of the provincial and federal governments to fund new transit projects to ease congestion for everyone. We need a Council that will address the need for efficient transit, fully commit to plans recommended by the professionals (that will sustain the infrastructure and liveability of the downtown core). Lastly, the plans need to be executed without re-opening the debates.

    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 to the negotiating team is to work towards a target so that the City can meet its budget. Our target should strike a balance between our public sector workers and tax payers.

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

    There are several opportunities for using P3s in areas such as public transportation and water/waste water management.  However, now more than ever, the City of Toronto needs to be accountable for all of its spending.  While P3s can help share costs and risks, it will also prolong decision making and give the City less control over planning and potential profit.  This may not be the best idea during these times that require timely decisions and financial reliability.  Having said that, I am willing to discuss any proposal set forth as long as the private partnership is fully aware and respectful of the City’s proposed timelines and spending budget.

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

    In Ward 20, we need to ensure that we address transit and congestion (public transit, vehicle, bike & pedestrian). As a resident who lives in Ward 20, I know first-hand the effects of construction and road closures on the flow of traffic within my ward and to neighbouring communities.  While upgrades and repairs are necessary, I believe the timing and length of these construction projects can be analyzed and adjusted to better accommodate the traffic needs of the city. When elected to City Council, I will advocate to address the issues, fully commit to plans, execute them efficiently and commit to prioritizing transit investment so that we can achieve a Better Toronto Today!

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

    In Principle, I NEVER want to see increases exceeding the rate of inflation.

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

    In the New City Council, we should begin with an Audit to determine efficiencies.

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

    No, I do not support this.

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

    Yes, if savings are realized and services are not sacrificed. Regarding other services, this would require further study.

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

    No to either option.

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

    Support innovation and advocate collaboration with all levels of government to grow the new economy.

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

    It’s simple . Re- Introduce partnerships with senior levels of government such as other world class citirs.eg. New York

    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?

    Start by introducing a system of 1 year term city service contracts. If there are problems with service, then the city puts out new terms to deficiencies.

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

    Yes.Building a successful Toronto is about bringing the 3P’s to the Table and discussing ideas and directions.

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

    Green Space and Development. As a Councillor for Ward 20 , I will work to create more Green Spaces and advocate sustainable development that benefits All members of my Community.

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

    I support a general goal of keeping tax increases to the rate of inflation but I believe that the tax rate should ultimately be set at a rate that ensures the efficient delivery of public services.

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

    I believe we always must be vigilant when managing the City’s budget but I believe we have gone as far as we can with budget cuts and reductions before we see major impacts on public services.

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

    No. I believe a smaller Council would result in poor service to our residents and make Councillors less available to their constituents.

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

    I do not believe contacting out public services nets the gains its proponents claim. I do not believe Torontonians get a better deal by seeking arrangements to underpay their fellow Torontonians.

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

    The Municipal Land Transfer Tax has become an important tool that funds public services. Any attempt to reduce or eliminate it must be accompanied by a sound fiscal plan. Toronto has a revenue problem, not a spending problem. Any attempt to eliminate revenue sources must be balanced with a plan for new revenue.

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

    I believe we can help create jobs as a City by leveraging our spending to include requirements for local hiring and local procurement.

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

    It is time to be guided by experts and research, not political slogans, when it comes to getting our city moving again. Moving people quickly and affordably is good for our quality of life, it’s good for the environment and it’s good for our economy.

    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 feel the premise of this question assumes an adversarial relationship between the City’s work force and their employers. I believe the best deal for the taxpayers of Toronto is to ensure we are paying City employees a fair, competitive, and equitable wage.

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

    I believe adherence to a belief that P3s are the superior ways to fund and carry out work is flawed.

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

    The biggest issue affecting Ward 20 is balancing new development with strengthening and preserving neighbourhoods. We must at all times make sure that we’re building neighbourhoods, not just adding density.

    Making sure that we do developments right is essential to building a great city and a liveable downtown core. That means working with neighbourhoods with an eye towards the present and future infrastructure needs like transit; it means protecting and creating parks and public spaces; it means including community services and facilities like childcare, libraries, recreation facilities, and schools.  And we must make sure that families can continue to live downtown by building family-sized units, repairing our existing supportive housing stock, and ensuring there is new affordable housing.

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

    Holding property taxes to the rate of inflation would be a good thing. And I would work to ensure that property tax increases do not hit vulnerable individuals – e.g. low-income seniors on fixed incomes.  Property taxes, like other forms of tax revenue, are needed to pay for vital city services and infrastructure. And Toronto seriously needs to invest in core infrastructure such as road repairs and transit expansion. So it’s a difficult issue.

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

    (a)         Transit:  The City should stick to a plan.  The City has already invested over $1billion in the Scarborough LRT project (consultations, contracts, etc). Cancelling the Scarborough LRT will cost the City hundreds of millions.  In 2011 the City lost tens of millions of dollars when Mayor Ford cancelled Transit City. Big costly mistakes.  And LRTs are cheaper to build, so we get more bang for our buck.

    (b)         Police: Per capita policing costs in Toronto are much higher ($376 in 2012) compared with other cities in Ontario (median of $290). We need to get this under control so that money isn’t taken away from other vital community services.

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

    It’s vital that residents and business owners are able to reach their local councillor, and that councillors consult regularly with their constituents.  This is already challenging.  Reducing the number of City Councillors would not improve things.

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

    The city as a whole benefits when people – and that includes municipal employees – are paid living wages and are thus able to contribute, by spending their wages, to our economy.  Driving down wages is not “a better deal” for anyone. And when people say privatized garbage collection is cheaper, they are omitting “hidden” costs: garbage collectors are injured more than other municipal workers. When they’re injured and end up not being able to work, we all pay the cost through our taxes. So is it really cheaper?

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

    Faced with a choice between reducing/eliminating the Land Transfer Tax and paying higher property taxes (every year), I think most Torontonians would prefer the status quo.  Nevertheless, the Land Transfer Tax needs adjusting: charging 2% for homes sold at $400,000 or more seems unfair.  Why not a straight 1% across the board?  But if a straight 1% means increasing annual residential property taxes, I think many residents would say no, no, no.

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

    We should continue to encourage development, particularly mixed-use development. Toronto is growing at a rapid pace, especially downtown, and it’s both residential and office development: Large companies (e.g. Coca Cola, Telus, Deloitte) are choosing to locate in the core and more people are moving into the city.  This is good for the economy:  It creates jobs in construction. And when we’re building offices and commercial projects, it provides jobs in banking, research, high tech, etc.

    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?

    Metrolinx has come up with a good strategy to fund transit expansion: It uses a variety of revenue-generating tools (HST increase, gas tax, parking levies, road tolls). Toronto needs to get serious about transit expansion, to shorten commute times and reduce congestion.  We need to speed up the planning process: Environmental Assessments are important but can be done faster.

    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 sure what “the best deal” means.  The best deal does not necessarily mean the cheapest deal.  We all want strong City services (libraries, parks, transit, etc) and, within reason, we need to fund them. But people need to make living wages and that’s good for the city as a whole. Tax fairly, spend wisely.

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

    Metrolinx is using a version of P3s (“Alternative Financing and Procurement”) to build the Eglinton LRT.  The project raises some questions: Why are they bundling contracts and, in the process, making it impossible for many Canadian companies to bid on contracts? Why would we entertain the possibility of local transit being operated by non-local companies? If and when the City is thinking about being involved in a P3, it should first ask: Will this help, or hinder, local job creation?  Will local companies be getting the contracts?  Will the City control the project – and fares – once the project is up and running?

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

    Liveability.  Toronto was recently (again) ranked 4th most liveable city in the world by The Economist magazine. People choose to live downtown, and in Ward 20, because it’s liveable: We have good infrastructure (parks, libraries, transit, etc) but, with rapid growth, we need to work together to ensure our neighbourhoods, and our city, remain liveable.   Our parks could be maintained better and, with rapid population growth, we need to protect and increase green space. We need to expand transit and should promote active transportation (walking and cycling) – which will, in turn, take some of the burden off roads and transit – through streetscaping and improvements to cycling infrastructure. And we do not need an expanded island airport: it will worsen traffic congestion and noise/air pollution, adjacent to lakefront neighbourhoods and parks.  Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina is currently in the middle of some important studies, with the active participation of residents, e.g. the recently completed Dupont Study, the ongoing College Street Study, a Spadina Study coming soon, and others.  These are great opportunities for us to collectively improve our built environment…and our day-to-day lives.

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

    I prefer a FREEZE on existing property taxes.  Additional revenues should come from the elimination or reduction of tax exemptions.  The City must ensure that everyone is contributing his fair share in supporting municipal services.

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

    • Eliminate the duplication of administrative costs.
    • Eliminate or reduce funding for Waterfront Toronto, Build Toronto, Invest Toronto, etc.
    • Stop funding big business and large institutions under the guise of arts funding.
    • Where provincial and municipal objectives clash and where the OMB ignores local preferences with respect to development applications, up-load the planning and development department to the provincial government.

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

    I was looking forward to a decision by the OMB on this matter.

    You should tell us why the president of the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition, Matthew McGuire, withdrew the application to the OMB.

    If our provincial and federal ridings incorporate two municipal wards per riding, there is no reason why municipal council would not be able to operate just as effectively.

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

    I remind you that the employees of the company collecting garbage west of Yonge St are unionised.  Contracting out garbage collection would not reduce the incidence of labour disruptions in the future.

    Short-term savings will turn into unreasonable costs for taxpayers as private operations budget larger profits into their contracts over the long-term.  Contracting out garbage means: a duplication of administrative costs; the loss of flexibility to make changes; added costs for changes that the City may require from time to time; loss of ownership and use of garbage.  As the technology for the conversion of garbage into energy becomes more feasible, garbage will become very valuable.

    Contracting out garbage or other services is not the solution.  If the intent is to address the City’s long-term liabilities for workers’ benefits and pensions, other alternatives should be considered.

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

    The Land Transfer Tax appears not to have had any negative impact on the real estate market in Toronto.  The hot real estate market is partially fuelled by foreign buyers and by speculators who are flipping homes.  I would be prepared to provide a full rebate to those who are Canadian citizens and Toronto residents and who purchase and stay put for five years.

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

    Employment is dependent upon zoning, taxes, infrastructure, and the inventory of freehold real estate that one can have ownership and control over as well as some control over occupancy costs over the long-term.

    Also, employment is dependent upon the visions and determination of leaders to seek out and secure new business and to connect desirable business with appropriate sites.

    In addition, we can expand employment by expanding the official workday.  A 9 to 5 workday no longer meets our needs.  Retailers, including banks, have recognised the advantages of longer operating hours.  Thus, we have had an increase in retail-service jobs.  The same strategy must be applied across all industries, beginning with government administration.

    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 change transit funding.  While we have much duplication of transit planning among the different levels of government and government agencies, senior levels of government do not contribute their fair share to public transit funding.

    Torontonians are not the sole beneficiaries of the City’s public transit system.    Residents of other municipalities and the provincial institutions and federally-mandated organisations which they frequent in the City of Toronto also benefit from our municipal transit service.  Yet, our net receipts from other levels of government are, effectively, “zero”.  While approximately one-quarter of City revenues comes from provincial and federal governments (about $3-billion/yr), the City pays out $2-billion a year in education taxes collected on property taxes.  In addition, the City is losing an increasing proportion of its tax base and potential property tax revenues as a result of exemptions granted under provincial legislation and international agreements signed by the federal government.  It’s time to assess who is actually funding whom.

    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?

    To get the best deal in negotiations, councillors must have information.  They must know the numbers. They must understand the numbers.  They must understand the needs and the financial limitations of Toronto residents – those who the councillors have been elected to represent.

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

    From the perspective of the City of Toronto – NO.

    I remind you that the City does not incorporate profit into its budgets.  If the City were to include private profit in its budget, residents would face higher taxes.

    P3s are designed to be attractive for the public partner only in the short-term.  In the long-term, however, the private partner benefits from the guaranteed stream of revenue and a locked-in customer that can be milked dry.

    If you are a business in the private sector, P3s are very attractive for long-term revenue security and a guaranteed market share.  P3s are an ingenious form of corporate welfare.

    The City cannot afford to enter into P3s.

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

    There is a tremendous amount of diversity in Ward-20.          Issues vary by geographic location, residents’ age, and family structure.  Residents living in the south end are concerned about Billy Bishop Airport.  Those who live around Central Tech are concerned about the sports field and the proposal to install artificial turf and a seasonal dome.  The younger voter is concerned about affordable housing and jobs. The older voter is concerned about taxes and fiscal responsibility. Families with young children are concerned about the location of schools, crosswalks, and playgrounds. Transportation is, also, a major issue among all residents.  Greater investment in transportation infrastructure is desired by those who do not walk to work.  At the top of the transportation wish list is better public transit.  Bike lanes rank second. Well-maintained roads with less congestion are desired by those who work outside the City or in neighbourhoods not well-served by transit.

    Briefly, my responses are:

    • Status quo on Billy Bishop Airport as there is an agreement in place stating no jets and no runway extensions. Airport business expansion has a more feasible alternative;
    • Contamination of Central Tech field will not be remedied by artificial turf and a seasonal dome which would be an eyesore at Bathurst and Harbord;
    • City land – many well-located sites have been declared surplus – could be made available for the development of affordable rental housing. Provincial and federal governments have allocated funds for new housing projects;
    • It is unfortunate that many businesses have re-located their operations outside the City.  We have a few select locations that could accommodate businesses provided that we maintain existing road infrastructure.  No part of the Gardiner Expressway should be demolished.  Remember that roads move products as well as people;
    • I will not be supporting any increase in taxes for those property owners and tenants of private property currently paying property taxes.  Those who wish to contribute more money to the City and specific City programs may do so using the donation form enclosed in their property tax bill. I prefer to maximise revenues and to ensure fairness, accountability and transparency by reducing the number of assessed properties that are currently tax exempt;
    • Playgrounds and green spaces should be an integral part of neighbourhoods;
    • Pedestrians, particularly where children are involved, should be accommodated by signalised intersections or crosswalks;
    • We must build subways that have been in the plans for decades;
    • The TTC’s existing real estate assets could be better utilised to provide an additional revenue stream for operations.  This would NOT involve a sale of assets;
    • I have examined bike lanes (the existing illusion of bike lanes and viable and safe alternatives that would give cyclists exclusive use of part of the road) and conclude that the City could implement a network of bike lanes with an amendment to the Highway Traffic Act.

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

    Yes, if possible, concur to the situation at the time.  But people’s livelihood should be priority.

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

    We will begin by looking at duplication of roles and responsibilities, as well as better management.

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

    This issue shouldn’t be discussed lightly without a thorough inquiry, but I believe the current council is already at its maximum workload.

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

    I support and select the service that would minimize the cost yet maintaining same level, if not better services – a thorough inquiry should be conducted.

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

    I believe this is an unfair and hurtful tax to Torontorians, but at the same time, the city needs its revenue tools to maintain and improve infrastructure, so I believe other revenue sources should be looked at to replace or reduce the Municipal Land Transfer Tax eventually.

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

    First, I believe small business is the backbone of the city, and better tax structure needs to be given to aid the creation of jobs.   Second, young people have a lot to offer and currently does not have an efficient enough path to enter the workforce, I believe we need better bridging program and placement to get them into the workforce.

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

    In terms of the planning process, protocol should be placed, outlining the procedure and timeline of debates, and the steps should not be reverted without good reasons.  In terms of easing congestion, I believe we need to review the efficiency of the roads, for example, making certain streets downtown, such as Queen and King Street, one way to keep the traffic moving.  Also, we should utilize better technology and provide up-to-date traffic report.

    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?

    Unions should be dealt with according to labour laws and the financial status of the city at the time.

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

    Yes, there are opportunities for public-private partnerships., e.g.,  waste management…

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

    Traffic congestion, affordable housing, infrastructure, childcare, and support for community-based programs.  ​

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

    Yes. Though property tax revenues are necessary measures to help meet budgetary requirements, too often home owners are the first to be burdened with hikes to meet those needs. I believe in looking at all potential sources of revenue when additional resources are needed to ensure fair taxation for all residents and business owners in Toronto.

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

    My experience working in government and in the private sector has taught me the value of delivering service on time and on budget. Once elected, I plan to thoroughly review the current budget and determine where the city can achieve savings. As an independent candidate with no ties to special interests, I’m open to reviewing all aspects of our city budget for savings. On the revenue side, I support investing in transit, safer streets, and the expansion of Billy Bishop Airport, in order to promote efficiency, safety, and economic stimulus.

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

    The first way to improve the way Council operates is to cut through the partisan politics that has historically made City Hall ineffective. As the only Ward 20 candidate with experience both in government and in opposition, and in ministries and the constituent’s office, I’ve worked constructively with multiple
    stakeholders to build consensus and get things moving. Additionally, there is currently a Ward Boundary Review being conducted by Canadian Urban Institute, and I’d like to wait for the results of that study before making a decision on the size of Toronto City Council.

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

    Yes. There are plenty of condos in Ward 20 that have been serviced by the private sector at no cost to the City and I would support expanding this throughout the City where possible.

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

    At this point, this tax is one of the only funding mechanisms available to the City of Toronto. The city only collects 8 cents out of every tax dollar, while being responsible for delivering the services citizens depend on the most. As such, I do not believe in eliminating the tax entirely, but rather support a fairer approach of splitting the tax evenly between the property’s buyer and seller.

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

    Developing and maintaining an effective transit system will mean that people have access to places of employment and can get to work easily. Expanding the Billy Bishop island airport will bring more business and tourism right into the heart of our Ward, fueling Toronto’s overall economy and promoting expansion that will foster entrepreneurship, business, and 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?

    The current transit planning process definitely needs an overhaul. I believe we need to listen to the experts and develop both a long-term plan and an immediate strategy to relieve congestion. Then we need to stick to it. We cannot keep revisiting the plan every time a new City Council is elected.

    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 in making sure everyone gets a fair deal in these negotiations. I do not believe that these negotiations need to be a zero sum game. I will pursue a balanced goal that secures the best deal for Torontonians but also supports our dedicated public servants.

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

    The Billy Bishop Island Airport expansion is a perfect example where all three levels of government and the private sector can work together to have a direct beneficial impact on the lives of Torontonians.

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

    Public transit and traffic congestion. CityPlace, where I live, experiences some of the worst traffic congestion in the whole City, especially during rush hour. We need reliable public transit that gets people out of their cars, and roadways without bottlenecks that allow people to get to work on time and without
    hassle – a frazzled driver is a dangerous driver. Another huge issue is pedestrian safety. Some of the roads in our Ward, such as the Lakeshore and Spadina, are wider than most and the walk signals aren’t long enough to safely get across the street. Improvements will help make our City more livable and cost little for taxpayers.

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

    A target tax cap based on predetermined assumptions within a measurement range for goal-setting. A hard cap may sound good but not realistic.

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

    Savings will come from operations and procurement budget efficiencies. Further, refined by examining and extrapolating meaningful data to analyze the flow of processes by department, as well as, department crossover flows to derive efficiencies and maximize productivity.

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

    I do not think reducing Council improves how Council operates. The access to more information allows for a more balanced result overall when dealing with general issues.

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

    Contracting out services is an important tool to get best value for the taxpayer.

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

    The City needs the Municipal Land Transfer Tax. How the City taxes is the issue. System needs an overhaul and restructured in a more meaningful and transparent way.

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

    Infrastructure investing is most important. Goods and Services need to move much quicker in order to increase GDP. Need to get more money in the pocket of business and allow them the confidence to invest in people. Also, need to equally target technology in order to be competitive on the world stage and increase quality of life for residents.

    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 Vehicle Registration Tax should never have been repealed. A DRL could have been started with the funds from this tax and the previously agreed to LRT that was fully paid for should have moved forward to ease gridlock as quickly as possible. Thereafter a more long term strategy could evolve.

    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?

    Labour negotiations need to be fair and balanced. It’s about getting the best value overall qualitatively based on current and real market indicators.

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

    There are always opportunities for P3’s. Where, you ask? The question should be how can we create them? Requires a more focused group or committee designated to create value added P3’s that reports to council quarterly.

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

    Transportation, Safety, Homelessness: Investing in infrastructure and Not selling assets. Community policing by integration on a micro level and being more involved within each community. TCHC needs a complete makeover as well as Social Services (OW, shelters, etc.,) in order to redefine how progressive the City can be tackling the homeless and mental health issues.

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

    Yes.  As a property owner I feel the pressure of tax rate increases.

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

    1. Cut the size of city council 2. Privatize more services so people that are working can’t hide behind a government job.

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

    I do support cutting the size of council.  It’s expensive to pay everybody and the support staff that follows,  and there’s too many people arguing and adding points to each issue therefore creating a state of indecision.  It takes too long to get things done when too many people have a say in every little thing.

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

    I feel that contracting out garbage is more efficient to the city and in the end less costly.  Some other services I would like to look into include snow removal and maintenance projects.

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

    I do support reducing the land transfer tax.  I don’t know how the average working person will ever be able to afford to own a home with the high prices and the huge land transfer bill that comes with it.  Many houses are over a million dollars these days and the transfer tax can get up to $40k.  That’s a lot of money when you are already extending yourself to buy something.

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

    I would like to start a non government run mentorship program between self employed business people and young people looking to start a career.  I think the future of youth lies in self employment.  I started my first business at 17 and have been self employed ever since.  Not only have i employed myself I have created dozens of jobs and regular hire the services of many other entrepreneurs.

    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 with the amount of new tax revenue due to condos should fund the transit changes.  If it wasn’t for the mass development we wouldn’t need to upgrade the system in the first place.  The planning process needs to be focused on the future not a quick fix for now.  In my opinion subways like New York city are required for the amount of growth in this 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?

    Get a handle on what real working people earn and try to be as resourceful as possible.  The city has a reputation for wasting money.  When you constantly have a tax revenue to dip into, one can lose touch with the true value of a dollar, because that dollar isn’t hard earned

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

    I’m not prepared to speak to this issue at the moment

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

    The top issues I’m getting feedback on are Jets at Porter Airlines and transportation and traffic congestion.  I am discovering people are for jets at Billy Bishop airport, and so am I.  I will support having Jets at the airport.  As far as transportation and traffic congestion is concerned I recommend a freeze on Condo building permits until the infrastructure is upgraded.   There are simply too many people living in the downtown core and not enough public transit or wide enough roads to handle it.

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

    The Bank of Canada estimates that inflation will be 1.5% in 2015 and 2.0% in 2016. I would support a property taxes increase in 2015 higher than inflation (2.5%), and in-line with inflation (2.0%) in 2016.

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

    Between 2001 and 2012 the City of Toronto paid landlords $367m in tax rebates for vacant properties. I would support the elimination of the tax rebate, which would save the City approximately $30m annually.

    Additionally, I would advocate for police budget savings as detailed by David Socknaki. These initiatives, with the amount of savings it would bring in brackets, would include:

    • Adopting shift models used in other major cities to prevent staff overlap ($25m);
    • Incentives to replace light duty and retirement-eligible officers with new recruits ($25m);
    • Limited use of one-officer car patrols, in line with other Canadian cities ($15m);
    • Automate and digitize certain paper-based processes ($2.5m); and
    • End paid duty for police. Train security-level units organized by TPS to handle construction sites, TCHC security, and TTC patrol.

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

    There are options available for improving how City Council operates without reducing its size. Toronto is a diverse city made up of dozens of different neighbourhoods and communities, each with its own identity, needs, and interests. In particular, since the creation of the MegaCity, it is important that all of Toronto’s residents have their interests properly represented by their elected officials. Addressing the complex issues Toronto faces requires a full picture of how different groups are affected by the City’s policies and decisions. Moreover, increasing the constituent-to-councillor ratio would make elected officials less available and accessible to local residents.

    To improve how City Council operates, what we need is not fewer councillors, but a greater commitment to governance based on cooperation, sound policy, and decision-making based on evidence, rather than what is politically expedient. What Council has lacked for the past 4 years is a leader committed to these principles and who refused to recognize the diverse needs of Torontonians.

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

    A switch to private garbage pickup in an area west of Yonge Street has saved the City $11.9 million. There is no reason these savings should not be extended to the rest of the City.

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

    Property taxes in Toronto are relatively low compared to surrounding municipalities. For this reason, we need to maintain a municipal land transfer tax to support city services.

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

    There are several innovative ways Toronto can tackle unemployment, often at little or no cost to taxpayers. One way is to use targeted initiatives to gentrify areas with too many vacant commercial spaces. Unused space is not only an eyesore for residents, but it hurts other local businesses. This can result in lost opportunities for economic growth and employment. Other cities around the world have taken creative approaches to this problem that have proven hugely successful.

    For example, in 2009, a residents association in the city of Newcastle, Australia called Renew Newcastle began an initiative that convinced the owners of vacant properties to donate their unused space for one month. Volunteer groups cleaned the space and maintained it as short-term tenants, such as galleries, artisan stores, and other pop-up shops   moved in. In a matter of weeks, the vacant spaces became attractive and the property enjoyed increased exposure and pedestrian traffic. This convinced more long-term tenants to move in, all at no cost to taxpayers, and targeted parts of the city enjoyed a revival.

    At an 18% unemployment rate, the issue of unemployment is most serious among Toronto’s youth. Not-for-profit organizations such as Civic Action have proposed creative, affordable ways to address this problem that the City could help accomplish. This includes developing a mobile search app that centralizes job opportunities, creating community mentorship programs to connect youth with role models, and building partnerships with private employers to encourage training and internship programs.

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

    Transit expansion figures prominently in this election. However, to quote Eric Miller, of the University of Toronto’s Transportation Research Institute,  “There is a real a danger that one could end up locking into a bad idea because its won the day. Clearly there is a political element because we are spending public money, but, there has to be a more technical evaluation of why it makes sense, and an election campaign isn’t the place to do that.”

    The reality is that transit development comes at a cost and so we must be wary where we commit taxpayer money. I believe we should take full advantage of approved, provincially funded LRT plans to expand transit and not build subway extensions where the ridership does not justify it. To relieve congestion on the Yonge subway, I would support the development of a downtown relief line project, to be funded by conventional debt and minor property tax increases. I would also support exploring other funding options, such as a commuter tax on those who work in Toronto but live in the 905 region.

    The biggest impediment to our transit strategy has been the in-fighting in City Council. The best way to create a world-class transit plan is to elect a Council with long-term vision and a commitment to sound transit policy based on expert advice.

    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 would advise the negotiating team that the aim of negotiations is to arrive at an agreement that leaves both parties satisfied. In the recent past, union negotiations have been far too politicized and become a wedge issue among Toronto councillors and residents. The City’s team should concentrate on a results-based approach which accelerates progress in negotiations and gets the best deal for taxpayers.

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

    P3s present a great opportunity for the City to leverage design and engineering expertise in the private sector that could help address complex infrastructure issues. Vancouver’s Canada Line proved to be a successful example of this type of partnership, and I would consider these types of development options for Toronto. In particular, I could see this playing a big role in how we develop the waterfront, with the City providing the vision and planning for a community, and developers bringing their design and engineering experience.

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

    I believe our City’s future success will come from continuing to develop the unique and vibrant neighborhoods that have made Toronto great. Going forward, Ward 20 must focus on attracting and retaining young professionals and new families and continue building our community in a responsible way. Unfortunately, an inadequate supply of affordable family housing in Ward 20, the lack of control Council has over new development, and downtown congestion all pose serious challenges to the future of our Ward. I would address this in the following ways:

    The unchecked condo boom of the last decade has resulted in high-rise residential towers being built before Council could consider how they will shape Toronto in the long-term. The City must take greater control of development and planning in order to build communities and neighborhoods, and prevent poorly planned and constructed condominiums. The difference can be easily seen when comparing projects like Concord Pacific Place in Vancouver and Concord CityPlace in Toronto’s Ward 20. With vision and planning provided by the City of Vancouver, Pacific Place has become a vibrant community for families and young professionals, complete with green space, schools, and a community centre. In contrast, CityPlace has few family-sized units, no public schools, and is relatively isolated from the rest of downtown. We must work with the provincial government to redefine the Ontario Municipal Board’s relationship with the City of Toronto, and allow us to control the planning and oversight that so greatly impacts the communities in Ward 20. Additionally, we need to lobby the provincial government to close the loophole that allows uncontrolled rent increases in buildings built after 1991.

    Lastly, congestion and crowded transit make living in Ward 20 much less attractive. I would support a number of projects to get Toronto moving. This would include: support for a downtown relief line, a safer bicycle grid with more dedicated lanes, phasing out on-street parking on Bathurst and Bloor, developing multi-level Green P parking on existing lots, and creating time-based transfers throughout the TTC to make travel within Toronto more convenient.

    People are key to building communities, and so we must be creative in the ways we can attract young professionals and new families to make Ward 20 their home.

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

    I do not support a property tax cap ensuring hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation.

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

    I do not think finding savings in the city budget is a priority. After four years of making cuts, city council’s priority should be finding ways to invest.

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

    I do not support reducing the size of Toronto City Council. Toronto is a large city that is growing every day. Our extremely diverse population demands enough councillors to represent everyone. The way to improve how council operates is to have councillors who are willing to work with each other and cooperate

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

    I do not support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge, or any other service.

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

    The Municipal Land Transfer Tax is an important source of revenue. I do not support reducing or eliminating it.

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

    This is the most difficult question to answer, and as a recent grad and young person, I’ve experienced this job shortage first hand. In order to create job growth, we need to rally all the innovation that already exists in this city. Start-ups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses need more of our support in order to create the jobs that are inherent within them. More partnerships with these kinds of innovators will allow them to increase their contribution to Toronto’s economy, reduce our rate of unemployment, and help create a more prosperous 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?

    In order to change the current transit planning process, our councillors need to start listening to the advice of experts, and stop making decisions based on what’s best politically.

    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?

    In order to get the best deal for taxpayers, Toronto City Council must consistently come to the table with respect and appreciation for workers. If we demonstrate that we are willing to negotiate and treat all workers with the dignity they deserve, I feel certain we will be treated in kind.

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

    Public-private partnerships can certainly have benefits for the taxpayer. However, in the end, the government is trusting private organizations, who have no obligation to Toronto’s voters and taxpayers, with public infrastructure. Although these partnerships are intended to result in savings and faster completion of projects, this rarely ends up being the case. Under the right circumstances, P3s have the potential to benefit taxpayers, but Toronto City Council should exercise a great deal of caution when entering these partnerships.

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

    The biggest issue Ward 20 faces is affordable housing. As a student, I struggled a great deal to find somewhere to live, and I know there are thousands more who face the same struggle. When I see expensive condos being built in my neighbourhood where affordable housing could just as easily go, I feel not only frustrated, but disappointed in the councillors that are supposed to represent me. The worst part of the affordable housing crisis is that a practical solution is already at our fingertips, but our current city council has failed to put it into practice. As a councillor, I would fight for a guaranteed number of affordable units in every new condo development. Doing this in addition to directing more funding towards maintaining the affordable housing that already exists are two practical ways we can make Toronto a more equitable city.

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

    YES – With 344,000 commuters coming into our city every morning, we should be capturing a congestions charge or toll to help us cover costs.

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

    Savings can come if the new city manager is able to change the culture, allow ideas from the front lines and upgrade the processes at city hall. I don’t believe there is any one area to find the savings but 1000 small adjustments/upgrades in every department.

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

    Yes I do support reducing the size of city council. Like any board it is much harder to get things accomplished with more members.

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

    I don’t support contracting out garbage east of Yonge Street at this time. the city owns the equipment and the financial loss at this stage would not be efficient. I do not believe bigger contracts are always better, because they push small businesses out of competing, and increase the overall cost. I would wait to ensure that there is healthy competition in the garbage collection field to before giving the entire city over to one or two large companies who we might then be at the mercy of.

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

    Unless Toronto is willing to implement tolls on a congestion fee on 905 residents there is no way we can afford to eliminate the Land Transfer tax.

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

    - Investment in urban farms, verticla and roof top gardens

    - Social Impact Bonds to provide investment in  nonprofits that provide social services to the city.

    - Beautify the city program to hire local youth to help plan design and create beautiful communities.

    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?

    NO FREE RIDE FOR THE 905 – Tolls are inevitable, I am simply saying it’s time.  I have called for tolls on 905 commuters using the Don Valley Parkway and DVP as well as a Congestion Charge on 905 commuters. With 344,000 coming into Toronto every morning between 6-9am and using our roads, water and services Toronto can’t afford to invest in transit. A toll and Congestion Charge would allo us to build more transit and fix the backlog of repairs needed at TCHC.

    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?

    Thoughtful balanced approach months before contract deadlines.

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

    I believe we have to be careful about p3s. I think we should try to keep jobs $ in Toronto and worry the large companies involved in them take profits out of our city and leave little for our local contractors.

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

    In Ward 20 the top issue is gridlock and transit expansion. I have succeeded in getting the downtown relief line on the plans for TTC and will continue to push until it is built. I am calling for tolls on the 905 to be dedicated entirely to building the downtown relief line.

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

    I promise to support a property tax cap that is no greater than inflation and in fact find it desirable to keep property taxes below the rate of inflation.  There is a need to make improvements in infrastructure but it is necessary to get provincial and federal support and use other revenue generating tools without putting 100% of costs on the burden of property taxes.

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

    There are many ways to find savings in the current budget.  Savings can be found through attrition and elimination of positions that are being duplicated.  City departments can be leaner in management head count.  Finally, overspending needs to stop across all departments and at city council.  It is very useful to followup on reports and strategies for cost savings.  I also want to be mindful that I am by no means interested in simply eliminating jobs simply to save money because the unemloyment rate in Toronto is persistently at about 7%.  Until the private sector plays a dominate role in our prosperity, I caution about what measures City Hall can take to save money.

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

    I am open to reducing the size of Toronto City Council but serious investigation as to the advantages and disadvantages must be analyzed.  Alot of time and money has been spent discussing this proposal in July 2013 where it did not pass but I am willing to re-open this issue for investigation and discussion.

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

    Yes, I support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street as it was successful west of Yonge.   There may be other services that contracting out would give taxpayers a better deal such as snow removal, street repair and ground maintenance, street sweeping, public relations, IT support, parks and environment and infrastructure projects.

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

    I am interested in reducing municipal land transfer tax although it may be difficult to achieve as there are so many programs and services that depend on this funding.  I would carefully listen to everyone concerned and review all expenditures and revenues to see if there is any possibility of reducing 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?

    In an age where the GDP growth is predicted at 2.5% in 2014, unemployment in Toronto is currently at 8.1%, many people do not see quality of life improving and more and more people are drawn to Toronto believing that job prospects are better than elsewhere in Ontario, the City of Toronto has to address creating jobs.  There are limits to the ability of the city to stimulate job growth as both the province and federal bodies have more tools readily available.  The City of Toronto can assist residents to access job programs.  There should be concrete numbers as to the number of residents that have utilized City’s resources to gain access to job creation programs funded by the province and federal  government.  In addition, job development programs can be put in place in various departments that are not lifelong commitments but positions that develop employee skills.  After a set period of time the employee are encouraged to look beyond the city and into the private or non profit sector.  The city can be a champion to entrepreneurs wanting to do business in the City.   Finally, City should be encouraging the private sector to have development programs or create jobs especially companies that do business with the City.  Finally, organizations that do business with city hall such has construction companies should be obligated to hire so overtime becomes unnecessary.

    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 agree that council has been debating public transit forever with little results because any increases in services require funding and council cannot seem to find money to pay for services without passing the costs to users or tax payers.  There have been improvements which can be provided in detail on the TTC website.  I want to see a greater commitment from the federal and provincial governments in improving public transit.  This would assure money to deal with congestions.  Until the other levels of government views Toronto transit a priority then debates will continue.

    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 has to be able to stand up for the rights of taxpayers and bargain for the best possible contract.  It requires the team to strategize and plan way in advance.  The city finances are cash strapped and taxpayers cannot afford big property tax increases.  It is a troubling situation as everyone is finding that a larger portion of incomes goes to basic essentials such as housing, food and transportation and most recently a report from the Fraser Institute states families spend more on taxes than food and shelter.

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

    I can see opportunities where public-private partnerships (P3s) involving the City of Toronto may be utilized.  It would be an idea to utilize P3s in the building of infrastructure such as the expansion of parts of public transit.  Whereas contracting of garbage has resulted in tax savings for the taxpayer and therefore has been touted as a success, I believe council should consider P3s for infrastructure so that cost overruns do not fall back to the City.  It may require further studies and feedback from consultants to support such endeavors which has been utilized in other cities.

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

    The current top issue of concern for resident has to be transit and road congestion.  A Councillor  evaluates proposals put forth from the Toronto Transit Commission and as part of council approves priorities put forward and decide how to fund it.

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

    I believe that Torontonians deserve fair taxation and good services. Any property tax increase must be justified by the services that it brings to our city.

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

    Some agencies, like the Toronto Police Service, have rapidly growing budgets which I support reducing. Other budgets, like Municipal Licencing and Standards, have spending such as $800,000 for “Corporate Leadership” which could be better spent in more needed areas.

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

    I believe that we should have enough councillors to ensure that residents can have their concerns heard by their representatives in a timely manner. Any proposed reductions would need to be studied with that in mind.

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

    Toronto needs services that are fair to those that provide them, and fair to the taxpayers who fund them. I believe that we should entertain offers from groups that offer a fair wage to their employees and that we should pick the most cost effective option, whether that be public or private.

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

    I do not support cuts that result in a loss of integral community services. If there was a proposal that outlined a method of removing or eliminating the MLTT without any such loss, we would entertain it.

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

    Ward 20 thrives thanks to its many small businesses. I want to work with residents to ensure that there are conditions for local business to thrive such as minimizing construction inconveniences, responsible development, and promoting walkable communities.

    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 should look to speed up necessary and forego unnecessary environmental assessments for many projects, especially transit and cycling initiatives. Funding transit projects will require help from other partners like the provincial government. For Toronto’s part, we have to look at responsible use of existing revenue tools, and consider additional ones if required.

    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 Toronto is one that provides value to taxpayers while providing fair, liveable wages. With these conditions in mind we must select the most cost effective options.

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

    I believe these opportunities are best assessed on an individual basis, and would support those that are cost effective and fair to all parties involved.

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

    We must work to implement a grid of bike lanes that allows cyclists to get around the city safely. We must work with community groups and developers to ensure that new development projects improve our communities, and we must expand library and community centre hours and offerings to promote literacy, employment and vibrant neighbourhoods.

  • 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?

    Eliminating the Council General Expense Budget. Improving the management to staff ratio. Contracting garbage collection East of Yonge Street. Reduce size of government. Maintaining and/or reducing budgets for each department.

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

    Yes. A realignment based on population could reduce the number of councillors.  City services can be improved to make them more efficient and responsive to residents: In this way councillors could represent a larger population.

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

    Yes. All services need to be reviewed to find possible savings which may include “contracting out”.

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

    I support the removal of the Land Transfer Tax.

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

    By creating an attractive environment for private enterprise we will encourage companies to set up/relocate their office in Toronto. Keeping business taxes low, investing in infrastructure, reducing red tape.

    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?

    Finding efficiencies in gov’t and reducing the size of gov’t will help fund transit but pressure must be given to both the federal and provincials levels of gov’t for them to dedicate funding for transit expansion in Toronto. Regional planning by Metrolinx must be coordinated better with the TTC. We should explore the possibility of uploading the TCC to the province.

    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?

    Advice: Do not agree to rates higher than the rate of inflation. Do not be afraid to walk away from the table and explore outsourcing options.

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

    There are always opportunities for P3s. The Dome at Central Tech is a good example. P3s can revitalized unused or unusable public green space in order to provide amenities to the community.

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

    A top issue in Ward 20 is traffic congestion. The best solution for relief is to invest in more transit. Be it subways, rail or busses, it needs to be built and it needs to be built without delay. We are losing time stuck in traffic that could be better spent with family. Congestion is costing the economy and it’s polluting our environment. Congestion affects the entire GTA, not just one part of Toronto vs another. I will work with all of council from across the city to build transit.