2014 City Council Election: Ward 32 Beaches-East York

The Incumbent:

Mary-Margaret McMahon

The Race

In 2010, Mary-Margaret McMahon achieved a landslide victory when she was up against then incumbent, Sandra Bussin. They are facing off again in 2014. Development seems to be the top issue of concern for residents of Ward 32 which is going through a period of transition. The second most important issue identified is transit which all candidates have very differing views on.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Bruce Baker, Jim Brookman, Alan Burke, Michael Connor, Eric de Boer

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra No
    Dawson, Sean Yes
    Garcia, Maria No
    Graff, Brian No
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret No
    Sears, James No – cap is not enough
    Suttor, Carmel No


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra No specifics provided.
    Dawson, Sean  "Most savings would come from small improvements within all departments that would still be rather substantial. Some larger opportunities would be within the Toronto police services and their paid-duty assignments that came in over $26 million last year."
    Garcia, Maria It is best to put savings in the current city budget to BANKS in order maximize benefits of the city budget.
    Graff, Brian Toronto Police Services and contracting out garbage.
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret  "Stream-lining services and eliminating redundancies. We do not need multiple audit functions in different departments nor multiple communication centres. We can also find savings by increasing our energy efficiency in all city facilities."
    Sears, James Trim the fat from the Sunshine List, cutting funding of all special events such as gay pride and caribana, and eliminating fluoridation.
    Suttor, Carmel We've all been maddened by seeing construction jobs with more supervisors than workers, or transit supervisors standing en masse around bunched up streetcars.  Like everyone else, I see that as waste and should be eliminated.


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra No
    Dawson, Sean No
    Garcia, Maria No
    Graff, Brian No
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret No
    Sears, James No
    Suttor, Carmel No


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra No
    Dawson, Sean Will consider
    Garcia, Maria Yes
    Graff, Brian Yes
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret Will consider
    Sears, James Yes
    Suttor, Carmel No


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra Will consider reform
    Dawson, Sean Will consider
    Garcia, Maria Will consider reform
    Graff, Brian Yes – reduce and reform
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret Supports increasing first-time home buyers rebate.
    Sears, James No
    Suttor, Carmel No


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra Support and encourage the work of the City's Economic Development Department in its efforts to secure community and private partnerships with the corporate sector to enhance and create new employment opportunities.  See my response to the Art Vote 2014 for strategies in growing our film, arts and cultural sector both locally, provincially, across North America and Internationally.
    Dawson, Sean Implement a non-resident worker tax on Toronto businesses for every employee that lives outside of Toronto. The revenue from this would go towards improving infrastructure that makes us lose business.
    Garcia, Maria I would suggest ideas of creating jobs such as the acquisition of ownership of Linkedin.ca to promote Canadian highly skilled professionals as Top Influencers and display of jobs in North America.
    Graff, Brian I would make substantial cuts to the tax rate on industrial properties, because much of the industrial land in Toronto is being poorly utilised for things such as indoor used car lots or self-storage, that do not create jobs.
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret Improving transit, creating affordable housing, and ensuring childcare is affordable helps attract and keep employers. We also need to encourage local shopping and strengthening our commercial areas. We have to foster skills training initiatives for youth, such as the Central Ontario Building Trade's Hammerheads program which trains marginalized youth in construction. Finally, we need to protect our employment lands.
    Sears, James  "Slashing property taxes is the most effective way to create jobs."
    Suttor, Carmel Remove the tax breaks that commercial landlords get for having an empty store, and replace that with tax breaks that encourage them to take a risk on a new small business.  Make participation in the BIA optional rather than mandatory in the first few years.


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra The 3 stop Scarborough subway has resulted in a .5% increase this year. This new tax will ramp up to 1.6% for next 30 years starting in 2016.  This is the biggest single tax increase since the amalgamation of Toronto.
    Dawson, Sean We need to evaluate councils role in transit planning. If the TTC is the agency in charge of public transit it seems more appropriate that they propose new projects by priority and the method of transit by review studies. Councils role should be to approve the funding and the method of funding. For funding new transit I point to my non-resident tax from answer 6.
    Garcia, Maria I would suggest to request government funding of new transit projects to eas congestion and the removal of too many old cable cars and polluted parking trucks in Kew Beach, Ward 32.
    Graff, Brian Reduce the cost of projects by running new transit in Hydro Corridors, or promoting a shorter cheaper Downtown Relief Line that would run from Castle Frank Station then under Parliament Street. Buses (including electric trolley buses) are much cheaper than streetcars, LRTs and Subways, and will relieve traffic congestion faster and more easily. I oppose road tolls, and would try to increase funding with development charges or from the economic benefits gained on land close to new transit.
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret I am proud to say that I was one of the few Toronto City Councillors to support dedicated transit revenue tools to pay for transit expansion. I am not afraid to say that transit is not free. We need to explore many options including a charge on large parking lots in suburban areas and Tax-Increment Financing.
    Sears, James Put a moratorium on new projects until we slash the breadth of salaries at the TTC.  Let's get the expenses down and get tokens reduced to $2.50 each so that the poor can afford to ride.  Once we do so, and ridership is up (which in turn will increase revenue), then we can self-fund transit expansion without new taxes.
    Suttor, Carmel We need to make a plan and stick to it aggressively.  We could implement a congestion tax similar to London's and dedicate it to transit.


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra  That all parties bargain with the best interests of the city at heart.
    Dawson, Sean  "I think the best practise would be to set an expectation of what we want to achieve and be as honest and equally among all organizations."
    Garcia, Maria If there are labour negotiations on labour dispute, I would advice to consider the unemployment rate and hire more workers and refuse unauthorized laborers and non-taxpayers.
    Graff, Brian  "The negotiating team needs to understand fully the consequences of all contracts and not continue to make mistakes that inflate pay levels in ways that are unjustified."
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret I believe that we can secure financial security for the City and our labour unions through mutual respect, collaboration and transparency.
    Sears, James Kick the fucking Marxists off the negotiating team.  I will deal with the unions.
    Suttor, Carmel I don't know, and won't pretend to.


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra There are a number of private-public partnerships, garbage contracts are the most notable.  In some cases these types of arrangements do work well, especially where specific expertise is required, i.e.  management of bio-solids.
    Dawson, Sean A lot of the P3s here are actually government agencies setup to administer a project or just a single aspect of the overall project. I believe parks and arenas could be provided additional features based on a simple acknowledgment of a providers name i.e. naming rights.
    Garcia, Maria Yes, there are opportunities for Accountants like me in public-private partnerships posted online in Linkedin.com, Workopolis.com, HR agencies and other recruitment websites in Google.com.
    Graff, Brian If it makes sense the city should work with the private sector. Ultimately, it is up to City Council and staff to ensure that the best interests of the city are being served,  providing needed services and facilities, and financially, by managing its affairs properly and exploring every realistic option to do things better.
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret I am open to exploring opportunities for P3s for the City of Toront‎o provided they are in the best interest of Torontonians.
    Sears, James No – does not support
    Suttor, Carmel No – does not support


  • Candidate Response
    Bussin, Sandra Development. Let's make the Provincial Planning Act work for neighbourhoods. I pledge to fight hard to make this a reality!
    Dawson, Sean Development. Issue is that the construction happening isn't offering benefits to the community. We need to do a better job to steer the direction of construction to ensure it is providing a benefit to the neighbourhood it's located. To be more specific I purpose making minimum requirements of LEED gold for new developments to ensure the neighbourhoods health as a whole is considered. LEED gold certification would typically require considerations such as green roofs helping manage storm water.
    Garcia, Maria The major events like Beach Metro Easter Parade, Beaches Arts Crafts & Show and Beaches Jazz 26th International Festival are top issues and attractions in Ward 32. Another issue is the garbage collection and disposal due to the lack of funding by Toronto City Hall.  A major issue is the police activities around Ward 32 and the voluntary and forced activities of civilians like me such as monitoring activities in Woodbine of Hollywood, U.S.A. tourists such movie, TV stars, screenwriters, producers (seeking remuneration) and on web.
    Graff, Brian Growth and change. The concerns focus on the issues of traffic congestion, public transit, parking and infrastructure that is no longer adequate or as good as in the recent past.
    McMahon, Mary-Margaret Transit and Development. I am committed to building the Downtown/Yonge Relief Subway Line to reduce gridlock. Using our GO train system more efficiently by reducing fares at Danforth Go Station and electrifying the lines. We need to improve the city's consultation process so that residents are heard and their views incorporated into developments.
    Sears, James Development.
    Suttor, Carmel Transit.  I support the immediate transit relief that's been proposed by the TTC and needs to be passed by Council – better technology to time streetcars with lights, to reduce bunching, more express buses, more all night routes.

 

The full responses

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

    Council should spend our taxes wisely.  $100 Million dollars was wasted in stopping the work on Transit City which was completely funded! Image what you could achieve with this money.  I am opposed to the new tax to build the 3 stop subway to Scarborough which will be the biggest, specific tax for the next 30 years imposed by Council since Amalgamation.  A new dedicated tax of .5% has been applied this year to every property taxpayer. In 2016 this tax will be increased to 1.6% for the remaining 30 years.  A totally unnecessary tax since the Light Rail Transit Line was fully funded!

    The best way to build is collectively through taxation to meet the financial needs of the city. Therefore, I am flexible but would set a goal to keep taxes at the rate of inflation.  I believe we need to have new revenue tools like 1 cent of the provincial sales tax to do the work that a city must do to keep it vibrant and effective.

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

    The process of budget setting is a complex one and my preference is to commit my time and effort to setting the best budget for the city using the rate of inflation as a benchmark.

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

    Toronto is the 3rd largest city in North America with a multiplicity of communities and needs.  I do not support the reduction in the number of members of Council.  In relation to other councils across Ontario the ratio of Toronto citizens to representatives is high, approximately 50,000+ constituents per Councillor.  Democratic elected representation is at the very heart of Democracy.

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

    I support the public delivery of key services to our residents, including policing, fire and emergency services, water and waste water and public transit to name a few.  Presently the city does contract out commercial garbage pick-up and community garbage pickup in several areas.  I do not support the complete release of this service to the private sector, since as  the city divests itself of its equipment and facilities, the private delivery costs will go up for the City.

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

    Certainly the Land Transfer tax has proven to be a major funding source for the budget needs of the City.  However, I do believe this tax does need to be modified as it is having an impact on the natural mobility in properties.

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

    It is important to support and encourage the work of the City’s Economic Development Department in its efforts to secure community and private partnerships with the corporate sector to enhance and create new employment opportunities.  See my response to the Art Vote 2014 for strategies in growing our film, arts and cultural sector both locally, provincially, across North America and Internationally.

    We need to work harder to provide employment starts for the youth and graduates of post-secondary institutions who are struggling to find work.  We must also address the growing sector of mature individuals who need gainful 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?

    There is a great debate raging in this election about the best way to provide new transit systems for Toronto. Should we have a network of light rail transit Lines (LRT) or subways? Some Background: In-depth technical studies recommended the 2010 Transit City plan for a network of light rail lines throughout the city.  The plan included a light rail system for Scarborough with seven stops along its route.  Last summer, City Council voted to stop work on the new seven-stop LRT and voted to build a subway line with 3 stops.  What does this decision mean to you?  The LRT was fully financed, including ongoing maintenance by the province through Metrolinx. All risks were assumed by the Province of Ontario.  The plan calls for a fast train on a dedicated grade-separated right-of-way. The 7 stop LRT would reach 2 post-secondary campuses. The Environmental Assessment was completed, the design work was almost done, and the project was scheduled to be finished by 2020.  THE SHELVING OF THIS WORK CREATED A $100 MILLION FOR TAXPAYERS AND FURTHER DELAYS.

    The 3 stop Scarborough subway has resulted in a .5% increase this year. This new tax will ramp up to 1.6% for next 30 years starting in 2016.  This is the biggest single tax increase since the amalgamation of Toronto.

    The $100 million plus dollars that was wasted would have been better spent on the much needed and highly recommended Downtown Relief Line – a major solution to help alleviate future capacity constraints on the Bloor-Danforth and Yonge–University subway lines.

    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?

    That all parties bargain with the best interests of the city at heart.

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

    There are a number of private-public partnerships, garbage contracts are the most notable.  In some cases these types of arrangements do work well, especially where specific expertise is required, i.e.  management of bio-solids.

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

    Beaches-East York, Ward 32 is at a pivotal point with respect to development. Do we want to keep our unique village character OR LOSE TO THE COOKIE CUTTER CONDO DEVELOPMENT MUSHROOMING ACROSS PARTS OF THE CITY? In the last 4 years, new development applications are negatively reshaping our community.  Let’s make the Provincial Planning Act work for neighbourhoods. I pledge to fight hard to make this a reality!

  • 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 equal to the rate of inflation. I think we should automatically add the rate of inflation to property tax barring any special circumstance that the city revenue is out pacing services costs. However, to say that we don’t want to increase our taxes at all would also prohibit us from saying as a group that we want add any additional services not currently provided.

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

    The city budget has been reviewed internally by the city of Toronto as well as by private sector services, employed through the city, and has been found to be in-line with most cities of Toronto’s size. I think most savings would come from small improvements within all departments that would still be rather substantial. Some larger opportunities would be within the Toronto police services and their paid-duty assignments that came in over $26 million last year. Improvements to our employment rate would also drastically save on programs offered to the unemployed.

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

    City Council’s size seems appropriate for Toronto currently. The issue I have is with the staff budget of $224,264.25 divided between staff of up to 4 full-time employees and $30,815.40 for an office budget. I think we need to evaluate grouping wards and have these groups share a reduced staff. An example would be to have 4 neighbouring wards share 12 employees total, rather then the current 16 employees between 4 wards.

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

    I would consider contracting out the garbage collection east of Yonge street. A C.D. Howe report, from 2012, estimated Toronto could save close to $50 million from contracting out services. It appears the trial in the west end has proved successful so I don’t see why we shouldn’t try to replicate that success.

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

    The Land Transfer Tax should never have been implemented on existing residents. It seems like an arbitrary tax for selling a home but isn’t applied to a cost burden on the city for the transaction. New developments would make more sense as the city would have a new cost with a new resident that didn’t previously exist. However, the tax has been implemented and generates well over $300 million. That is a lot of money to replace if the city were to eliminate the tax or reduce it. Reports suggesting that eliminating the tax would create other revenue opportunities well above what the land transfer tax brings in just don’t seem to add up. I think it’s a tax in place that is an easy consideration to weigh in a decision to move. That being said, any suggestion for a tax that was more appropriate than redistributing the current funds generated by the LTFT to property tax I would consider it.

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

    Toronto has created over 1.3 million jobs. Unfortunately, a lot of workers come from neighbouring municipalities causing grid lock and taking employment away from Toronto residents. So when non-resident workers come to Toronto they are essentially being subsidized by tax payers through transit and other infrastructures paid by resident property taxes. We need to adjust for the large scale this is happening in a city environment.  I purpose we implement a non-resident worker tax on Toronto businesses for every employee that lives outside of Toronto. The revenue from this would go towards improving infrastructure that makes us lose business. This may seem like an attack on outside workers, but they are more then guest when they use services subsidized by Toronto tax payers 5 days a week.

    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?

    City Council has caused more confusion for the general public around what transit is needed and where. The result has stalled projects and created uncertainty for other projects. We need to evaluate councils role in transit planning. If the TTC is the agency in charge of public transit it seems more appropriate that they propose new projects by priority and the method of transit by review studies. Councils role should be to approve the funding and the method of funding. The only exception would be projects to design or change a neighbourhood based on transit in the hopes of achieving something not in the metrics that the TTC uses.

    For funding new transit I point to my non-resident tax from answer 6.

    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 are tough. The tone has been established by the treatment from previous years. I think the best practise would be to set an expectation of what we want to achieve and be as honest and equally among all organizations. When departments appear to be favoured the non-favoured ones will resist all compromises. All negotiations should be considered under one plan and tweaked for the minor variances between the groups.

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

    P3′s are not easily classifiable. A lot of the P3s here are actually government agencies setup to administer a project or just a single aspect of the overall project. These agencies are given controls to do things governments might not be able to, out of fear that the public wouldn’t approve, and I believe this take accountability away from elected officials. Other P3s can risk services based on revenues generated. A more straight forward revenue stream is advertising. I believe parks and arenas could be provided additional features based on a simple acknowledgment of a providers name i.e. naming rights.

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

    I hear a lot about new construction, in the form of condos, changing the neighbourhood for the worst. I feel that the real issue is that the construction happening isn’t offering benefits to the community. We need to do a better job to steer the direction of construction to ensure it is providing a benefit to the neighbourhood it’s located. To be more specific I purpose making minimum requirements of LEED gold for new developments to ensure the neighbourhoods health as a whole is considered. LEED gold certification would typically require considerations such as green roofs helping manage storm water. Another example would be minimum requirements for green P parking in either an underground garage or easily accessible parking.

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

    Yes, I support property tax cap to regulate price increase in Toronto properties.

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

    It is best to put savings in the current city budget to BANKS in order maximize benefits of the city budget.

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

    No, the Toronto City Council should not reduced its size and consider adding new Councillors in order to improve the Council performance and achievements.

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

    I will support contracting out garbage collection in Yonge St. similar to Kew Beach and Ashbridge Bay in Ward 32 but suggest to transfer garbage disposal to the ravine or forest canal in Ward 32. I also suggest for   garbage collection around residence homes, apartments and business establishments into disposal and recycling area which may need small funding from the Municipality of Toronto.

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

    Municipal Land Transfer Tax pertains to tax imposed on sale of land properties, donation of land properties and bequeth or transfer of ownership of properties. I will support reducing the Municipal Land Transfer tax  especially on donation and bequeth  because these does involve cash outlay but may only involve the transfer of ownership. I will not eliminate the Municipal Land Transfer Tax  because it is necessary for the success of the various projects in the Municipality and in our Ward 32.

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

    In order to reduce unemployment rate in Toronto,  I would suggest ideas of creating jobs such as the acquisition of ownership of Linkedin.ca to promote Canadian highly skilled professionals as Top Influencers and display of jobs in North America.

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

    I would suggest to request government funding of new transit projects to eas congestion and the removal of too many old cable cars and polluted parking trucks in Kew Beach, Ward 32.

    In addition, I would like to recommend for Toronto Transit Commission to participate freely thru donations or sponsors ads or even offer free ride to City Hall candidates. Also, I would propose the removal of phone texting and phone line by TTC available to commuters who receive messages about the traffic conditions such as defective buses, transit late arrival hours, bad weather conditions, all these which create mental disturbances such as facebook chatting or google or yahoo conversation, resulting to one’s lost direction in transit and sleepiness inside TTC. Thus, TTC should advertise DO NOT USE CELLPHONE INSIDE TTC, NO TEXTING, CELLPHONE OFF.

    Further, I would like to recommend the removal of texting along air traffic, voluntary and forced activities thru assistance in air travel traffic by helicopters, private jet plane, small commercial airplanes around Toronto East York; support assistance while at work to transit operators thru use of my phone numbers without notice, street car and bus drivers in Transit Commission.

    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 there are labour negotiations on labour dispute, I would advice to consider the unemployment rate and hire more workers and refuse unauthorized laborers and non-taxpayers.

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

    Yes, there are opportunities for Accountants like me in public-private partnerships posted online in Linkedin.com, Workopolis.com, HR agencies and other recruitment websites in Google.com.

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

    The major events like Beach Metro Easter Parade, Beaches Arts Crafts & Show and Beaches Jazz 26th International Festival are top issues and attractions in Ward 32. Another issue is the garbage collection and disposal due to the lack of funding by Toronto City Hall.  A major issue is the police activities around Ward 32 and the voluntary and forced activities of civilians like me such as monitoring activities in Woodbine of Hollywood, U.S.A. tourists such movie, TV stars, screenwriters, producers (seeking remuneration) and on web.
    As a Councillor Candidate and a concerned Citizen of this country, I am helping the government promote the City parks by helping paramedics in monitoring of immigrant Canadian TV writers, scriptwriters & newsmen; helping the transfer and resizing of legal tourists in Canada to Toronto Island and Ward Island by policewomen; helping the reinstallation of legal cable connection of Toronto Hydro & CIKTEL in Toronto East York; and monitoring as Neighborhood Watcher (without remuneration) of visitors at Norwood Park.

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

    Property tax freezes and arbitrary caps are the reason previous councils resorted to the Personal Vehicle Tax and the Land Transfer Tax. I will not “play games” and keep the property tax rate low while raising revenue in other, less sensible, ways. We need to think long term. We need to build infrastructure properly rather than cheaply, while finding savings where sensible.  We need to maintain the infrastructure we have so we aren’t wasting money because of inadequate maintenance. Cutting spending on road repairs and raiding reserve funds, costs us more in the long run in the same way not fixing a leaky roof costs more in the long run. There should be no more short term gain for long term pain.

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

    The police force is the largest item in the budget, and with a new Police Chief, I would expect we can find savings in areas that do not risk public safety. I would likely vote in favour of expanding privatised garbage pickup into areas east of Yonge Street.

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

    No. Fewer politicians result in less democracy and less accountability. A smaller council shifts power to unelected staff and lobbyists. Though the full two-tier structure we had before the “Megacity” cannot be recreated, we need to restructure the City Council to shift decisions closer to local communities, and to undo the problems inherent in the current structure. Elected councillors must be responsible for decision making, and too much power should not be in the hands of unelected staff.

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

    I will support expanding the contracting out of garbage collection, as long as it saves money and services are reasonably maintained.

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

    I propose we reduce the amount collected each year, by gradually increasing the threshold at which the tax is payable, so that eventually the tax will apply only to very expensive properties, and then it might be eliminated. I would start by changing the rate of tax on the first $55,000 to 0% from 0.5%, then increase the $55,000 threshold every year so that the amount of tax collected is less with each passing year.

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

    Toronto has lost many jobs to the 905 and other areas. I would make substantial cuts to the tax rate on industrial properties, because much of the industrial land in Toronto is being poorly utilised for things such as indoor used car lots or self-storage, that do not create jobs. This is particularly true in the inner suburban areas. Jane Jacobs was correct in saying that cheap space in buildings spurs innovation. Tax cuts would encourage independent entrepreneurs and reinvestment. To pay for this, I would slow down the pace at which tax rates on commercial properties are being cut each year. Shopping malls and Downtown office buildings are thriving with current tax rates, but we need to make better use of the industrial land, particularly to create jobs for people currently living in poverty.

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

    The transit planning process is a mess. I would find ways of reducing the cost of projects by running new transit in Hydro Corridors, or promoting a shorter cheaper Downtown Relief Line that would run from Castle Frank Station then under Parliament Street. Buses (including electric trolley buses) are much cheaper than streetcars, LRTs and Subways, and will relieve traffic congestion faster and more easily. I oppose road tolls, and would try to increase funding with development charges or from the economic benefits gained on land close to new transit.

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

    It is impossible to run a city with a large public sector workforce being paid high wages, with generous benefits (pensions, etc.), while wages and benefits in the private sector are stagnant or being reduced. Ultimately, the province needs to examine arbitration rules. The negotiating team needs to understand fully the consequences of all contracts and not continue to make mistakes that inflate pay levels in ways that are unjustified.

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

    If it makes sense the city should work with the private sector. However, P3’s are can be overrated. There can be additional costs with a P3 that can offset any savings. The City can borrow money for long-term capital projects cheaper than the private sector, and the City need not pay dividends or earn a profit. P3s can also be a poor choice if the contracts are poorly negotiated and contain loopholes.  The city’s record on issuing tenders has not always been good. Remember the computer scandals and the untendered Boardwalk Cafe lease in The Beach?  Ultimately, it is up to City Council and staff to ensure that the best interests of the city are being served,  providing needed services and facilities, and financially, by managing its affairs properly and exploring every realistic option to do things better.

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

    Ward 32 is a diverse Ward, with each neighbourhood having unique issues. However, in every area—from The Beach to Leslieville to The Danforth—residents are concerned about the impact of growth and change. The concerns focus on the issues of traffic congestion, public transit, parking and infrastructure that is no longer adequate or as good as in the recent past. When compared to different cities world wide Toronto remains at the top of many lists. Despite this Toronto is no longer the leader it once was, particularly compared to some cities south of the border which have equalled or surpassed Toronto in key areas. Toronto is increasingly becoming a city with the extremes of rich and poor, while the middle class is being squeezed out. A weakening economic base, high population growth and policies designed to limit sprawl make this city less affordable and less liveable compared to recent times.

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

    No. Without knowing what the City’s finances will look like it would be irresponsible to guarantee a cap to increases. However I have, and will continue to, support responsible tax rates that do not burden taxpayers.

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

    As the Chair of the Audit Committee, I have worked with the Auditor General to find savings in various departments across the city. There are efficiencies to be found by stream-lining services and eliminating redundancies. We do not need multiple audit functions in different departments nor multiple communication centres. We can also find savings by increasing our energy efficiency in all city facilities.

    I have been pushing for LED streetlights in the city, which will save millions a year and provide better quality lighting.

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

    I do not support reducing the size of council. Councillors are swamped with work and reducing their numbers would only serve to reduce customer service.

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

    We need to wait till we have all the facts before making a decision on this. We need to explore the private garbage collection experiment on the west side of the city and determine if it has been cost effective, provided good customer service and achieved our waste diversion targets.

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

    I support increasing the first-time home buyers Municipal Land Transfer Tax rebate to keep home ownership viable for young Torontonians.

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

    To create jobs in the city we need to make Toronto and attractive place to start and grow businesses. Improving transit, creating affordable housing, and ensuring childcare is affordable helps attract and keep employers. We also need to encourage local shopping and strengthening our commercial areas. We have to foster skills training initiatives for youth, such as the Central Ontario Building Trade’s Hammerheads program which trains marginalized youth in construction. Finally, we need to protect our employment lands. We cannot create jobs if we build condo towers on the land set aside for employment.

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

    I am proud to say that I was one of the few Toronto City Councillors to support dedicated transit revenue tools to pay for transit expansion. I am not afraid to say that transit is not free. We need to explore many options including a charge on large parking lots in suburban areas and Tax-Increment Financing.

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

    I believe that we can secure financial security for the City and our labour unions through mutual respect, collaboration and transparency.

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

    I am open to exploring opportunities for P3s for the City of Toront‎o provided they are in the best interest 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?

    The top issues in Ward 32 are Transit and Development.

    Transit: I am committed to building the Downtown/Yonge Relief Subway Line to reduce gridlock. Using our GO train system more efficiently by reducing fares at Danforth Go Station and electrifying the lines. We also need to expand and speed our bus and streetcar service to connect our area with downtown.

    Development: We need to improve the city’s consultation process so that residents are heard and their views incorporated into developments. And, we need to plan ahead by studying and creating specific planning rules for each of our areas.

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

    A property tax cap is NOT good enough.  I have an idea which will result
    in an immediate 2% SLASH in property taxes.  I was studying mathematics at
    U of T before I went to medical school.  Did you know that there are 8,000
    people on the Sunshine List employed by the City of Toronto, and with
    benefits, they account for $1B of expenses?  We collect $3.7B in property
    tax.  Those 8,000 people account for 27% of our property taxes!!!  If each
    of them took a $10K pay cut, then we can drop taxes by over 2% across the
    city.

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

    Please see my web site where I have a DETAILED platform, but I would start
    by trimming the fat from the Sunshine List, cutting funding of all special
    events such as “gay pride” and “caribana”, and eliminating fluoridation.

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

    No, I would not reduce the size of council because I believe that a
    councillor’s job is and has always been PART-TIME.  Therefore, they should
    be managing a geographic area just large enough for a part-timer to
    handle.  Instead, I want them to be paid as part-timers.  I support an
    immediate slash in councillor salaries to $70,000 per year, which is the
    median wage in Toronto.  Also, I am the ONLY candidate running in this
    election that has promised NOT to accept the $105,000 salary, out of
    principle.

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

    Yes, I support contracting out garbage and any other service, provided the
    person doing the negotiations on behalf of the city plays hardball on the
    contract.  There’s no point in contracting out services if the city gets
    screwed in the process.

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

    No, I think we should leave the land transfer tax where it is.  Until we
    get our property taxes under control, we cannot afford to slash it.  I am
    a VERY honest person and will not promise to cut it until we can afford to
    do so.

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

    Slashing property taxes is the most effective way to create jobs.

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

    We cannot afford new transit projects right now.  Instead, I would put a
    moratorium on new projects until we slash the breadth of salaries at the
    TTC.  There are 1,400 TTC workers on the Sunshine List, and the CEO makes
    over $300,000 per year with benefits!  Let’s get the expenses down and get
    tokens reduced to $2.50 each so that the poor can afford to ride.  Once we
    do so, and ridership is up (which in turn will increase revenue), then we
    can self-fund transit expansion without new taxes.  In the same way that
    slashing taxes creates jobs, slashing fares will increase ridership and in
    turn increase revenue.

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

    Kick the fucking Marxists off the negotiating team.  I will deal with the
    unions.

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

    Public-private partnerships are VERY overrated because the public is
    always left with the short end of the stick, both in regards too being
    shortchanged in the profit equation, and by being forced to take all the
    risk.  I will not sell the treasure of the citizens in exchange for short
    term gain.  Any business that wants to jump into bed with the city of
    Toronto will have to take most of the risk and put up most of the money.

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

    The top concern in Ward 32 is out of control real estate development which
    is destroying the quaint nature of our community.  Mary Margaret McMahon
    is a useless Marxist that is getting eaten alive by developers.

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

    I do not support a cap on taxes at the rate of inflation.  While property taxes are not a progressive way to raise revenue for a city, at the moment they are all we have.  We are paying a high cost to low taxes (lower than most of the GTA.)  I know many people who have paid hundreds in extra insurance for basement flooding or thousands to repair damage done by floods and falling trees because we have not kept up our infrastructure.

    I think focusing on property taxes leaves out Toronto’s biggest problem: we pay far more tax to the provincial and federal governments than we get in return.  This has left Toronto holding the bag.  We need more cost sharing on transit and affordable housing, at least to the point where Toronto is getting as much as it is giving.

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

    Of course we’ve all been maddened by seeing construction jobs with more supervisors than workers, or transit supervisors standing en masse around bunched up streetcars.  Like everyone else, I see that as waste and should be eliminated.  However, Joe Pennachetti, the City Manager, has said that “anyone who promises savings of a billion dollars by finding efficiencies is telling an untruth.”

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

    I don’t know whether reducing the size of city council would solve any of Toronto’s real problems.  Many citizens find it hard to get their councillor’s attention as it is.

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

    I do not support contracting out of garbage or other city services.  I support a living wage for all, and jurisdictions that have unions tend to have better wages in non-unionized jobs too.  Unfortunately, many people do not know the role that unions played in getting us weekends, paid vacations and safer work conditions. As so many people are losing well-paying jobs, they’ve been persuaded to be furious at the people who still have them, rather than to look for the real causes.

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

    I support keeping the land transfer tax until a fairer way to get revenue for Toronto is found.

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

    Good question!  We need to encourage more local businesses.  We could do a few things to make starting a small business easier.  One is to remove the tax breaks that commercial landlords get for having an empty store, and replace that with tax breaks that encourage them to take a risk on a new small business.  We need to make participation in the BIA optional rather than mandatory in the first few years, as this can be one expense too many if the BIA charges hefty fees and does not act in the interest of the new business.

    We also have the combination of many bright, well educated and unemployed young people and some areas of the city that fail to attract businesses.  I believe we could put the two together, give tax breaks to the property owner, loans to the young entrepreneurs, and foster a tech incubation centre.  This is an investment in our young people and not a waste of money.  If only 1% of the startups come up with a useful product or application, all the money invested will be repaid, not only directly, but by encouraging more young people to do the same.

    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 make a plan and stick to it aggressively.  We could implement a congestion tax similar to London’s and dedicate it to transit.

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

    I don’t know, and won’t pretend to.

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

    I think that P3s can go horribly wrong.  We need to keep assets that produce revenue in the public domain.

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

    Transit is at the top of the list here in Ward 32.  I support the immediate transit relief that’s been proposed by the TTC and needs to be passed by Council – better technology to time streetcars with lights, to reduce bunching, more express buses, more all night routes.