2014 City Council Election: Ward 25 – Don Valley West

The Incumbent:

Jaye Robinson

The Race

It was a tight win for Jaye Robinson who won with just over 500 votes more than her top opponent in 2010. Overall, the 2014 Ward 25 candidates have the will to control property taxes, contract out garbage collection east of Yonge Street, and consider Public-Private partnerships. Two candidates identified development and intensification as the top concern of Ward 25 residents.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Kim Diep

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Yes
    Hostler, Tanya Yes
    Robinson, Jaye Yes
    Streker, Nikola Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Freeze wages in TTC and Police Services.
    Hostler, Tanya Cap salary increases to inflation also, particularly in senior management positions.
    Robinson, Jaye Deliver services more efficiently and effectively (like Toronto EMS) and serious and sustained approach to partnerships with the business and community sectors.
    Streker, Nikola Decrease bureaucracy.


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard No
    Hostler, Tanya No
    Robinson, Jaye Will consider
    Streker, Nikola Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Yes
    Hostler, Tanya Will consider
    Robinson, Jaye Yes
    Streker, Nikola Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Yes – reduce
    Hostler, Tanya No
    Robinson, Jaye No
    Streker, Nikola Yes – eliminate


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Offer tax incentives and be open for businesses to move to Toronto.
    Hostler, Tanya Reform Toronto Employment & Social Services  to move to a more results based job placement system. Also, government should make a more concerted effort to reduce promoting the entrenched senior staff and let qualified unemployed people get their foot in the door, perhaps with job sharing programs or part-time placements.
    Robinson, Jaye Drive innovation, harness new technologies and build partnerships with the private and community sectors.
    Streker, Nikola Work with Provincial and Federal Governments.


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Assistance from all three levels of government to fund new projects for the TTC. Add .01 -.02 cent tax per litre of gas, raise the HST .01 cent, reach out to businesses who want to market their brands or products to TTC riders.
    Hostler, Tanya Funding from Province. Portion of fares or a surcharge of some sort might be created for areas benefitting from the new transit.
    Robinson, Jaye Need transit planning based on expert evidence, international best practices and solid, realistic financial plans.
    Streker, Nikola City Income Rebate plan that Mayoral Candidate Michael Nicula has proposed. More details about the proposal can be found at this link: http://www.mayor4.to/city-income-rebate.html "


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Make sure that both parties, walk away from the negotiation table feeling that they received the best deal and that they were happy with the end result. You want to be fair, because they will be providing a valuable service to the citizens of Toronto and you might be negotiating with them again in the near future.
    Hostler, Tanya Tie wage increases to inflation.
    Robinson, Jaye I served on the Employee and Labour Relations Committee during the last round of successful negotiations and know that it takes strength and resolve.
    Streker, Nikola  A realistic budget limit has to be set and then defended as much as possible.


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Yes
    Hostler, Tanya Yes
    Robinson, Jaye Will consider
    Streker, Nikola Yes – infrastructure and transit


  • Candidate Response
    Friedman, Richard Value for money, poor road conditions, and better representation.
    Hostler, Tanya  Development and intensification.
    Robinson, Jaye Development and intensification.  A big part of the solution is to shift power to neighbourhoods over planning and development decisions, from rethinking and rebuilding the Committee of Adjustment to moving forward with a Local Appeal Body to creating opportunities for local input and engagement at each and every turn.
    Streker, Nikola Poverty and affordable housing. New units have to be built, existing units have to be maintained and renovated, and all three levels of government should help to finance this type of housing strategy in order to combat the rising poverty levels in the city.

 

The full responses

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

    Yes, I would support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation. I would even go further regarding property tax issue. I would have a four year plan outlining the property tax minimum and maximum amount, so the people of Toronto and Ward 25 would be able to see the cost for the next four years.

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

    The City of Toronto is the 4th largest city in North America. It takes a lot of money to run a city efficiently. I would look into saving some money by freezing wages in the TTC and Police.

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

    No I don’t. There is close to 60,000 people in Ward 25, Don Valley West. In order to provide great service to the residents and the City of Toronto, you need to be available for everyone. I don’t think it would improve city council, but I will let you know in a few months.

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

    Yes I would, only if it would provide a better service and value for the residents.
    Residents understand that everyone pays taxes, they just want to make sure that they are getting good service and value for their money.

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

    I support reducing it, but not eliminating it. The Municipal Land Transfer Tax generates important revenue for the city. I would look into reducing the tax for first time home owners. The prices for purchasing a home in the GTA have gone up substantially over the past 10 years. Toronto needs the tax base. I would look into reducing the tax so young families can find a home in the GTA area.

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

    To stimulate job growth in Toronto, you need to make Toronto more attractive to business. We need to offer tax incentives and be open to for businesses to move to Toronto. People who live in Toronto believe Toronto is a world class city. Toronto needs to prove to the world that we are open for business and to business.

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

    You would need assistance from all three levels of government to fund new projects for the TTC. Riders are fed up paying more and more money for less service. A large portion of the capital cost should come from the Federal and Provincial governments. I would suggest adding .01 -.02 cent tax per litre of gas to help fund the cost of TTC projects. Also I would suggest raising the HST .01 cent to help fund the cost of TTC projects. I would also be more aggressive to reach out to businesses who want to market their brands or products to TTC riders.

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

    My advice would be to make sure that both parties, walk away from the negotiation table feeling that they received the best deal and that they were happy with the end result. You want to be fair, because they will be providing a valuable service to the citizens of Toronto and you might be negotiating with them again in the near future.

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

    Yes! 100%. The city should be open to improving business relationships with current partners and try to reach out to new business to create greater awareness and revenue for the city. The City of Toronto has many properties and venues to partner with big business.

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

    The residents in Ward 25, Don Valley West are not getting the services that they should be getting from paying their taxes. Taxes go up and service goes down. They are not getting any value and they are upset. Also the roads conditions and road congestion in the area is brutal. The poor or no communication in the area when some roads are slowly being repaired, is horrible. People want good service. I think people are really upset at the passive representation and the poor communication. They want their new representative to have a strong voice at city hall and provide great service.

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

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

    It’s difficult to follow the previous administration’s cuts. FIR data shows property taxes & PILs have decreased overall in 2013. Perhaps we should cap salary increases to inflation also, particularly in senior management positions.

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

    No. Amalgamation was sufficient in streamlining the 6 previous municipal entities. Regardless of provincial and federal electoral ridings being twice as large as municipal Wards, local government requires more attention to detail and personal interface with the constituents.

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

    Any contracting out of services would have to be supported by studies showing what savings could be achieved at what cost. I would consider contracting out garbage delivery, but I would not commit to do so at this point in time. I would consider contracting out other non-emergency services but would not commit to do so at this point in time.

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

    I don’t like it, but I think we need to keep it for the foreseeable future. Toronto’s financial situation is not currently strong enough to do away with the Land Transfer Tax. Property values are soaring and prohibitive. I’m not a communist but sometimes you have to impose taxes on those who can afford to pay them if you are realistic about building and maintaining adequate infrastructure.

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

    Reforming Toronto Employment & Social Services wold be a good place to start. They need to move to a more results based job placement system, rather than just telling qualified candidates to omit their education and experience from their resume and take a 100% commission job just to get a clothing & transit bonus. 100% commission telemarketing jobs are not jobs – they are a form of slavery that preys upon the most vulnerable people in our society.

    If TESS did more to find innovative partnerships with employers to create paid internships, and training that actually pertained to employable skills, and tried to place people in jobs and give them a hand up rather than a hand out, maybe we would see some improvement.

    Also, government should make a more concerted effort to reduce promoting the entrenched senior staff and let qualified unemployed people get their foot in the door, perhaps with job sharing programs or part-time placements. Unions would have to give concessions for this, but maybe they should consider it.

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

    Obviously, the Province plays a key role in funding any transit capital project, whether it is SmartTrack, LRT or subways. If transit fares came close to covering operating costs, I would suggest issuing bonds against transit revenues. Since fares do not cover operating costs, perhaps a portion of fares or a surcharge of some sort might be created for areas benefitting from the new transit. The transit planning process appears to be in chaos with a million voices and no conductor. We need to do something to improve this process, but I am not sure if creating Metrolinx has done that effectively.

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

    If we tie property taxes to inflation, we should tie wage increases to inflation. When I worked in the Province the labour unions were always trying to get long-term above-inflation cost of living increases in their collective agreements. That just causes inflationary pressures on everyone else.

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

    Yes. Even the McGuinty Liberals used P3s after they criticized the Conservatives for doing the same. Non-emergency services are a good place to start with any contracting out – whether operational or capital projects. A comprehensive service delivery review could assist in identifying areas that might be suitable for P3s.

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

    Ward 25 has the top issue of keeping any new development appropriate to the community. The Ward consists mainly of luxury homes, large public parks and premium private recreation facilities. Homeowners care about maintaining their property values and the character of their neighbourhood. Development and intensification surrounds us on all sides and is creeping in around Yonge & Eglinton, Yonge & Strathgowan, Sheppard subway, Lesmill / Upjohn, and now Celestica in Ward 26. While many people enjoy the Shops @ Don Mills, we were all pretty worried about how it would turn out and what comes next!

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

    Property tax increases need to be kept in check to ensure our city’s ongoing success and competitiveness. Keeping property tax increases at or below the rate of inflation is one of my priorities.

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

    Toronto’s Emergency Medical Services has set the standard for harnessing new and innovative technology to deliver services more efficiently and effectively. A similar approach across all of our city’s first responders – which I have and will continue to champion – would result in significant savings.

    The city could also reduce costs by taking a more serious and sustained approach to partnerships with the business and community sectors.

    Before running for office, I worked in economic development and I understand the power of partnerships first hand – it’s something the city needs to harness moving forward.

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

    Anything that would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of city government is worth exploring.

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

    Yes. The city should continue to look for innovative ways to deliver services efficiently and effectively.

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

    I’m committed to the fiscal agenda and any opportunities to keep our city competitive are worth exploring.

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

    We need to keep our city competitive by driving innovation, harnessing new technologies and building partnerships with the private and community sectors.

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

    We need transit planning based on expert evidence, international best practices and solid, realistic financial plans. It’s what I’ve advocated for through each and every transit debate at City Hall, and its absence is one of the key reasons we’ve lost ground over the past term.

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

    I served on the Employee and Labour Relations Committee during the last round of successful negotiations and know that it takes strength and resolve.

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

    There are significant opportunities for P3s and, more broadly, for partnerships with both the private and community sectors.

    We need to change the way Toronto approaches partnerships at the municipal level – it’s something we need to think about in the context of each and every decision the city makes.

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

    Development is a significant issue across Ward 25. Our unique neighbourhoods are some of the best in the city, which in turn attracts incredible intensification pressure. Development also has significant impacts on traffic, congestion and green space.

    The city actually has limited control over development – which means it can be a real challenge to protect neighbourhoods’ character and quality of life.

    A big part of the solution is to shift power to neighbourhoods over planning and development decisions, from rethinking and rebuilding the Committee of Adjustment to moving forward with a Local Appeal Body to creating opportunities for local input and engagement at each and every turn.

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

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

    Besides decreasing the bureaucracy itself there isn’t many other places savings can be found in the city budget. The city services are already underfunded.

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

    I do support reducing the size but not by a large number. I think 40 Councillors is more than enough. Ward boundaries should be reviewed and changed to accommodate this decrease. I am sure that this would increase focus and decisiveness to some degree.

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

    I support contracting out services if it gives taxpayers a better deal.

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

    I support the elimination of the Municipal Land Transfer Tax.

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

    This is a massive problem that needs to be addressed by working with provincial and federal governments.

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

    I support the City Income Rebate plan that Mayoral Candidate Michael Nicula has proposed. The issue of taxes needs to be approached from a different angle and this plan offers a fresh angle. The solution is not to raise taxes. Taxes are already high enough. The real problem is that the cities get the smallest percentage of all the taxes we pay. The federal government and provincial get 89% while the City gets only 11%. The money that Toronto needs to solve its Public Transit and Aging Infrastructure problems is already there but billions of dollars are being mismanaged by the Federal Government. It is our money and as citizens of Toronto we should be able to get it back to our city in order to solve our local problems. More details about the proposal can be found at this link: http://www.mayor4.to/city-income-rebate.html

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

    A realistic budget limit has to be set and then defended as much as possible.

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

    There are opportunities in the infrastructure sector. The city’s roads, pipes, and wires are decaying and these are some of the problems that could be addressed by P3s. Public transit is another opportunity where a partnership could work great as evidenced by the Viva Rapid Transit.

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

    Poverty is an issue in Ward 25 as it is in many other parts of Toronto. The most predominant issues that residents have been dealing with for decades is that of housing. There is a lack of affordable and quality housing for many residents. New units have to be built, existing units have to be maintained and renovated, and all three levels of government should help to finance this type of housing strategy in order to combat the rising poverty levels in the city.