2014 City Council Election: Ward 33 Don Valley East

The Incumbent:

Shelley Carroll

The Race

After over a decade in the Councillor’s chair for Ward 33, Shelley Carroll is looking for another election win. All of Carroll’s opponents note transit as a top issue in Ward 33 with two candidates pledging their support for subways.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Dina Karzman

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul Yes
    Carroll, Shelley Yes – outside of increase to fund the Scarborough subway expansion
    Inthisorn, Khamphay Yes
    Nayak, Divya Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul Responsible spending decisions
    Carroll, Shelley Line-by-line review by Budget Committee to find efficiencies.
    Inthisorn, Khamphay Should always strive for added savings and efficiencies, but savings from service efficiencies have all been tapped out. New revenue generating strategies are needed to support existing city services.
    Nayak, Divya Construction projects being planned properly and fulfilled efficiently.


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul Yes
    Carroll, Shelley No
    Inthisorn, Khamphay No
    Nayak, Divya No


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul Yes
    Carroll, Shelley Will wait for City Manager's report.
    Inthisorn, Khamphay Yes
    Nayak, Divya Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul Yes – eliminate
    Carroll, Shelley No
    Inthisorn, Khamphay Will consider reform
    Nayak, Divya Yes – eliminate


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul By investing in infrastructure and not over-taxing the productive, the City will create an environment that will attract investment. Jobs follow investment, not taxation.
    Inthisorn, Khamphay Toronto needs to have a long term vision to prepare our workforce for increasing automation, the technology for which is already being used across the globe. This is an inevitable reality, and it is best to be proactive and ensure that Torontonians continue to have the necessary skills to fill great jobs.
    Nayak, Divya We must collaborate with the Provincial as well as Federal governments to ensure we have a strong, favorable business climate in Toronto where businesses may be competitive and in turn incentivize them to create and maintain well-paying permanent jobs for Torontonians.


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul Wherever subways are built, development and prosperity follows. There is money on the table from both the Federal and Provincial Governments to fund subways. By earmarking section 37 funds to build stations and focusing City spending on infrastructure we will be well on our way to ending the stagnation that has dragged Toronto’s transit development down for decades.
    Carroll, Shelley No specifics provided
    Inthisorn, Khamphay Council needs to stop blocking and flip-flopping on projects already under way. The wasted time is frustrating for residents, and money required to pay penalties for breaking contracts already in progress nullifies most of the “savings” switching is purported to incur.
    Nayak, Divya The Province has committed $15 billion dollars to GTHA Transit and infrastructure and it is important that we collaborate with the province as well as the Feds to get the funding for Toronto the commercial capital of Canada.


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul Toronto needs a Council who supports taxpayers. By electing Councillors who have capitulated to the demands of unions and associations, taxpayers have failed themselves.
    Inthisorn, Khamphay City’s negotiating team and council should reach out to residents, local businesses and  the community leaders for consultations on issues that matter to Torontonians prior to bargaining and all labour negotiations should be conducted in good faith with the interest of Toronto’s taxpayers in mind.
    Nayak, Divya Collaborate and work for the greater good of Toronto.  In short, a unified approach for the benefit of the masses is necessary to succeed in getting the greatest value for the taxpayer.


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul While P3s are expedient and reduce exposure to risk, I prefer private tenders.
    Carroll, Shelley We do P3's wherever there is a willing partner and all of our partnership projects with other orders of Government go through their P3 screen.
    Inthisorn, Khamphay Due to my unfamiliarity with the subject of Public-Private Partnerships, I would like to refrain from taking a stance until I review the subject matter in more depth.
    Nayak, Divya Yes. Large scale infrastructure improvements and Transit.


  • Candidate Response
    Bell, Paul Current representation. I will represent the people of Don Valley East’s interests over personal ambition. I will bring civility and transparency to Council. I will return all calls or other correspondence. I respect that public service is a calling, not a career.
    Carroll, Shelley Infrastructure. There only IS a flooding mitigation implementation plan because my colleague Councillor Del Grande and I fought tooth and nail for it and have dogged it constantly to ensure it happens.
    Inthisorn, Khamphay Transportation and traffic congestion. Traffic congestion must be eased, with long term goals of affordable and effective transit services. I will also promote cycling as an alternate mode of travel, and advocate for Bike Share Toronto (formerly Bixi) to be expanded into my ward.
    Nayak, Divya Gridlock.  If elected councillor my first goal is to ensure a balance in development and infrastructure improvements.  Subways can achieve the need of a quick, efficient and safe commute. I want to ensure that residents of this ward receive a good long-term solution not a cheap short term alternative.

 

The full responses

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

    Absolutely I do. Any property tax hike should be earmarked to provide services for property owners. As this is not the case, I oppose arbitrarily raising people’s property taxes to provide more money for the City to mal-invest.

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

    Financing programs like BIXI, unneeded signage to recognize Nelson Mandela, and $600,000 public bathrooms are the types of spending that can not continue. Council is toying with the notion of bidding to host the 2025 World’s Fair and the 2026 World Cup of soccer. Proposed spending on schemes such as those or the Pan-Am Games are not expenditures that I support.

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

    Los Angeles maintains itself with 19 Councillors. Toronto would be better served by fewer Councillors. Currently, many Wards consist of core groups of like minded voters. When their views are not in the best interest of the GTA, in order to represent their constituents, the local Councillor opposes motions that would improve the City. Reducing the size of Council would reduce NIMBYism because larger Wards would logically have a more varied constituency. Under such a revision Councillors would need to hire larger staffs to serve their larger Wards but their raised public profile would result in more scrutiny and accountability. Perhaps the re-election rate for a City Councillor would no longer hover above 80%. Few politicians can claim an 80% approval rating.

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

    Contracting out garbage collection West of Yonge St. has been a huge success, both in value to the taxpayer and in the quality of service. Contracting out garbage collection East of Yonge is something I strongly support. Regarding other services, it is my observation that competitive bidding results in better value to customers than the imposition of government appointed monopolies. I support free-market economics.

    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 a disincentive to development and an impediment to prosperity. I strongly support eliminating this counter-productive cash grab.

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

    The only jobs that Councils or governments create are supported by tax dollars. By investing in infrastructure and not over-taxing the productive, the City will create an environment that will attract investment. Jobs follow investment, not taxation.

    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?

    Wherever subways are built, development and prosperity follows. There is money on the table from both the Federal and Provincial Governments to fund subways. By earmarking section 37 funds to build stations and focusing City spending on infrastructure we will be well on our way to ending the stagnation that has dragged Toronto’s transit development down for decades. If there still is a need for more funding, The Bank of Canada was established to provide interest free loans to municipalities to build infrastructure. If that option is unavailable I propose we borrow today, from charter banks, at favourable interest rates, to fund subways that will serve for generations. We borrow money to buy our homes and to pay for our children’s educations; we can borrow to build a transit system that will inspire growth and prosperity throughout the GTA.

    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?

    Toronto needs a Council who supports taxpayers. By electing Councillors who have capitulated to the demands of unions and associations, taxpayers have failed themselves. An informed and engaged electorate will elect Councillors who will put people before politics.

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

    While P3s are expedient and reduce exposure to risk, I prefer private tenders. If a project has value to the private sector I would rather a transparent bidding process be implemented than a P3. If a project has little value to investors but is necessary, it becomes an expense incumbent upon the taxpayer.

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

    Listening to people in Don Valley East (Ward 33), the issue that has been brought to my attention most frequently regards the disconnect people feel with their Councillor. I have been told many times that the sitting Councillor promotes partisan party politics over their concerns. They support the completion of the Sheppard subway but the incumbent supports LRTs. They don’t have calls returned personally, they only see the incumbent attend events for political gain, and they feel ignored. I will represent the people of Don Valley East’s interests over personal ambition. I will bring civility and transparency to Council. I will return all calls or other correspondence. I respect that public service is a calling, not a career.

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

    Mayor Ford and 22 other Councillors adopted a motion to add a .5% property tax on top of the budgeted increase, every year for 30 years, in order to fund three subway stops that have not yet been properly studied. I did not support that but once Council has taken a position, I am unable to reverse it on my own. What I can commit to is holding the budgeted increase outside of the Ford Subway Tax Levy to inflation.

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

    During my tenure as Budget Committee Chair, my committee enacted $350 million in efficiencies. My committee and I preferred to be more surgical than the current administration, engaging the whole committee in teams of 2 to go line by line. In this method, ‘no’ is less an option for staff. We can push back to say that we are coming back at this one next year so’ make the necessary adjustments to your org chart. We’re going to come back to this item in the next budget’. Using this method, reductions accumulate over time and they are truly permanent in that they result in organizational change as opposed to just deferring actions until the damn bursts a few years down the road.

    The key to this approach is an agreement within the Budget Committee that all will apply themselves rigourously to the process and all will stand by the Budget without tinkering unless the change is in reponse to considered input and is unanimously supported by Budget Committee. I feel very fortunate to have had that. The current term’s Budget Chiefs have not enjoyed that same level of dedication.

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

    I do not feel it is necessary to increase the size of Council in keeping with recent Conservative Federal Government imposed changes but I do not support a decrease. My concern is populating the number of agencies, boards and commissions that Council is responsible for. Mayor Ford has had a great deal of trouble achieving quorum in his committees, including Executive Committee and has pretty much run out of willing Committee Chairs as the 4 years draws to a close. Accountability suffers.

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

    I prefer to wait for the City Manager’s upcoming report before proceeding on the East side. We have had some difficulty with current west side contractor, GFL, so we need to know more. In the mean time, I have never had any issue with delivering all Capital Projects through contracting out. I also supported and helped establish contracted services in all other areas of solid waste besides curbside collection. I also delivered partnership service contracts such as the Street Furniture contract whereby Astral contracts transit shelter maintenance in exchange for ad space but also pays the city revenue as well as the water metering contract whereby the provider of the meters was given the installation and service contract s opposed to Toronto Water staff.

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

    I represent a ward that is full of senior homeowners and struggling new Canadian homeowners. They cannot afford to have me reduce a revenue stream they are not paying into and put the burden on them trough their property tax bills.

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

    I have worked very hard and very vocally to create an attractive business proposition out of our fair City. As a result of my input on the Economic Development Committee and my pitch for my suburban business park while on the InvestTO Board, 2000 financial service sector jobs from abroad are moving into Consumers Road Business Park in September.

    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 disagree. Currently, the finishing touches are being put on a subway expansion to Vaughan that was adopted in my first term of Council. The Federally incented Rail link to the Airport is under construction. Lastly, the largest infrastructure project in the entire nation, right now, is the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. These are real. Moreover, the only reason the Sheppard LRT won’t be ready to serve the Pan Am games is Mayor Ford’s cancellation.

    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 a part of every term of Council. Toronto has been a leader in breaking free of the dreaded 3% merry-go-round. We did this in 2009, prior to the current term of office. With the exception of the First Responder contracts, we have continued to negotiate contracts below inflation and below the annual contract increase clause with our private garbage contractor, GFL. With inflation still low, I’ve no doubt we will continue to do so. The final frontier is engaging the Province in a discussion about moving the essential First Responder contracts to Province-Wide bargaining in order to reduce or eliminate the whipsaw effect happening across Ontario and driving costs up.

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

    We do P3′s wherever there is a willing partner and all of our partnership projects with other orders of Government go through their P3 screen. Recently, most firms have been reluctant to work in the large city arena, favouring less ‘built out’ cities in working with the Federal P3 Fund.

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

    Infrastructure. We continue to adapt water infrastruct to meet the demands of extreme weather as we are a flood-prone ward. Further to that, we are following water projects with road reconstruction and hydro renewal as these types of infrastructure were put on hold for almost a decade while the flooding mitigation study was implemented. What Am I doing about it? There only IS a flooding mitigation implementation plan because my colleague Councillor Del Grande and I fought tooth and nail for it and have dogged it constantly to ensure it happens.

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

    Yes. I support a property tax at the rate of inflation for properly accessed properties.

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

    We should always strive for added savings and efficiencies, but a recent study from the Munk’s Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) corroborates the Toronto City Manager’s assertion that savings from service efficiencies have all been tapped out.

    I am of the opinion that existing city services are already stretched too thin. We cannot cut or reduce any more existing city services without negatively impacting the overall state and liveability of our city

    New revenue generating strategies are needed to support existing city services. I am always looking for new ways and would be more than happy to review new revenue generating strategies.

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

    No. I do not support reducing the size of Toronto City Council. People rely on their municipal governments for more of their day-to-day services and concerns than they do with their provincial and federal representatives.

    While reducing the number of councillors and re-drawing of ward boundaries may be a viable and cost saving option in smaller cities and municipalities. I believe that implementing this same strategy would prove disastrous for our city.  In 2006 the city of London, Ontario re-drew its municipal boundaries and reduced its wards to 14. The average number of constituents per ward is now approximately 33,913. Compare this to an average of 59,433 constituents in each of Toronto’s 44 wards. Toronto has a population density more than five times that of London, Ontario, while also being a much more diverse and multicultural city.

    Re-drawing the boundaries to 25 wards would increase the average to 104,602 citizens per councillor, not taking into consideration future population growth. The increase workloads on councillors would result in inefficiencies and other forms of redundancy over what already exists in the current system, possibly leading to a net increase in office budget expenditure for the city.

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

    Yes. I do support contracting out garbage collection east of Yonge Street, but we need to be realistic about this process and understand the nuances of the situation. The success of the contracting out garbage collection west of Yonge Street and the historical success of Etobicoke indicate that this is an intelligent and worthwhile plan. However, the city of Toronto has job security provisions as part of its collective agreement, which Etobicoke never had to deal with. Even if we were to contract out garbage collection to a private company, current and any Toronto waste management worker with more than 10 years of service would still be employed by the city — they would be shuffled around the city, thus increasing administration costs in the short term, and not doing much to decrease the city’s overall personnel expenses.

    The reality of the situation is that these particular set of cost savings are a long term strategy, but that does not make it less worthwhile to pursue.

    I would also like to see the cleaning at police facilities re-negotiated at a better price. The savings were ⅓ of what was promised, mainly due to city council dragging its feet about the matter.

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

    Toronto needs revenue to provide infrastructure and services to our residents, and attract business with our quality of life. Housing prices and employment opportunities are intrinsically linked to the quality of life that the city is able to provide to residents. Outright eliminating a source of revenue would negatively impact the costs of houses long term, as Toronto would be unable to pay for infrastructure and services, making it a less appealing place to live.

    While eliminating any land transfer tax would be short-sighted, lowering the tax rate for first-time home buyers could encourage equal opportunity land ownership among our citizens.

    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 provide people with an accessible path into work and onto higher paying jobs. We also need to reward work by making low wages go further, and help people forward.

    Toronto needs to have a long term vision to prepare our workforce for increasing automation, the technology for which is already being used across the globe. This is an inevitable reality, and it is best to be proactive and ensure that Torontonians continue to have the necessary skills to fill great jobs.

    We also need to create a culture that makes it easy to start and operate an enterprise.

    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?

    Council needs to stop blocking and flip-flopping on projects already under way. The wasted time is frustrating for residents, and money required to pay penalties for breaking contracts already in progress nullifies most of the “savings” switching is purported to incur.

    It is interesting that after the metrolink report was released, its flaws were quickly pointed out by other experts and largely ignored by council. In the interest of substantial long term savings, we should offer small rewards for peer-reviews of plans that can demonstrate a substantially more efficient way of proceeding. This investment in planning would have the potential to save a lot in the long term.

    We also need to look towards automation of some transit services in the future.

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

    City’s negotiating team and council should reach out to residents, local businesses and  the community leaders for consultations on issues that matter to Torontonians prior to bargaining and all labour negotiations should be conducted in good faith with the interest of Toronto’s taxpayers in mind.

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

    I am always supportive of cost saving strategies, and willing to explore all of the options available. There has been some academic research questioning the cost benefits of P3s. Due to my unfamiliarity with the subject of Public-Private Partnerships, I would like to refrain from taking a stance until I review the subject matter in more depth.

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

    Transportation and traffic congestion continues to be a top concern for residents in ward 33.  Traffic congestion must be eased, with long term goals of affordable and effective transit services. I will also promote cycling as an alternate mode of travel, and advocate for Bike Share Toronto (formerly Bixi) to be expanded into my ward.

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

    Property tax is the single most important source of revenue for the city. Likewise for the taxpayer, mortgage payment is the largest monthly expense. Ontario’s current CPI is at 3%, a record high in Canada. I support a property tax that is capped at the rate of inflation, or at 2%; whichever is lesser.

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

    With my educational background in Mathematics, I am confident that I can bring about a positive influence when it comes to money matters and budgeting. I believe the council and mayoral budget needs to reign in on frivolous expenditure. If we are able to limit our non-priority expenditure and focus on the issues that need immediate attention, the council will get a lot more work done in less time. As well we must try to find efficiencies in the city structure in a manner that ensures tax payer dollar does not go to waste. For example, during infrastructure improvements make it a point to ensure
    a project’s long-term sustainability through proper coordination of all city services.
    Currently in our ward we face this problem of wastage. If construction is taking place on a street make sure all necessary renovations are fulfilled efficiently in a given timeframe so that we will not have to face intensive excavation a few weeks later. Millions of dollars will be saved in these small logical measures.

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

    Toronto is a mosaic of different communities and it is essential we get strong
    representation for each segment in order to progress as a city on the whole. Toronto City council should be the epitome of democracy through the diverse range of communities having their voices heard at City level. The frustration arises when we see our elected representatives using hard earned tax payers’ dollars for expenditure that does not meet the requirements of the constituents. I believe the solution lies in the proper allocation of funds and the right policy initiatives. In my opinion, this can only be achieved through adequate community consultations. The only way people can have a voice is if their elected officials are willing to listen. If elected, the first thing I will do is
    act on what this ward’s constituents need. We have been ignored far too long.

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

    Given that the city has identified savings of $11 million dollars annually by contracting out garbage west of yonge; it will be a good idea to consider contracting out garbage collection east of yonge. We have to be creative in identifying savings and revenues.

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

    I support eliminating the municipal land transfer tax. The good people of Toronto pay the highest taxes in all of Canada, We need a break. We work day in and day out to pay off our mortgage. We pay provincial land transfer tax. And we have to pay an additional Toronto land transfer tax. If the City doesn’t help us pay off our mortgage they shouldn’t be first in line to gather the fruits of our labour.

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

    There is no easy fix. We need to establish a more determined and aggressive approach from the city, province and the Corporate sector. We must collaborate with the Provincial as well as Federal governments to ensure we have a strong, favorable business climate in Toronto where businesses may be competitive and in turn incentivize them to create and maintain well-paying permanent jobs for Torontonians. When I was meeting the small business owners in my ward, I was shocked to see how much energy costs impacted the overall profit margin. Collaborating with the Province and reigning in the energy costs can tremendously benefit our small business owners who will then have more assets to generate jobs. We should also work with the private sector and encourage them to employ our youth with special needs. Corporations have a corporate social responsibility and they need to walk the talk. Investing in our people is a must and this can be ensured by securing the right amount of private investments and sustaining a favorable business climate.

    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?

    Investing in infrastructure especially public transit is essential to ensure and improve the quality of life for Torontonians. The Province has committed $15 billion dollars to GTHA Transit and infrastructure and it is important that we collaborate with the province as well as the Feds to get the funding for Toronto the commercial capital of Canada.

    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?

    Collaborate and work for the greater good of Toronto. This applies not just to the city officials but also to the union leaders. Union leaders are not as opposite on the spectrum as believed to be. Although all concerns should be brought to the able during negotiations, there must be a constant reiteration that any policy implemented by the city is in the best interest of the taxpayer. In short, a unified approach for the benefit of the masses is necessary to succeed in getting the greatest value for the taxpayer.

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

    Absolutely. Private organizations are not the demons we portray them to be. With the right amount of oversight and guidance we can see through City projects in an efficient and cost-effective manner. When large scale infrastructure improvements and Transit are concerned, it would only be in our favor that we try to maximize our assets to best fit budgetary requirements and at the same time ensure the best possible bang for our buck.

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

    Gridlock – We are seeing unbridled condominium construction in our community. This will put a lot of pressure on our roads, schools, hospitals, community centers and Hydro grid to keep up with the sudden population densification. If elected councillor my first goal is to ensure a balance in development and infrastructure improvements. I will ensure the high standard of living for residents in this ward is not endangered in the midst of city politics. The transit solution for our community will go a long way to ensure we manage traffic and have community members get around the city in a timely manner. In my opinion, subways can achieve the need of a quick, efficient and safe commute. I want to ensure that residents of this ward receive a good long-term solution not a cheap short term alternative.