2014 City Council Election: Ward 39 Scarborough-Agincourt

The Incumbent:

Mike Del Grande

The Race

We’re sad to see Mike Del Grande leave City Hall. We can only hope that his successor continues to carry the torch of fiscal responsibility. With a slate of nine candidates vying for Del Grande’s chair, the residents of Ward 39 have some homework to do. Hopefully, reading what the four candidates below have to say will help.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Cozette Giannini,  Clayton Jones, Jim Karygiannis, Derek Li, Franco Ng

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Blueman, Christopher Yes
    Coutinho, Jude Yes
    Rivers, Janet Yes
    Sinclair, Patricia Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Blueman, Christopher I will utilise my education and experience by using various negotiation techniques, applying efficiency methods, submitting resolutions and petitions for support while introducing alternative financing options and competitive procurement strategies.
    Coutinho, Jude A  more detailed study will need to be made to find savings  in the Current city budget
    Rivers, Janet Privatizing parks, forestry and recreation it; like with the garbage, will save many dollars in the long run.
    Sinclair, Patricia We need a strong City Manager who understands efficiencies and is committed to working to amalgamate departments, reduce duplication and bring the government of Toronto into the modern age.


  • Candidate Response
    Blueman, Christopher No
    Coutinho, Jude Yes
    Rivers, Janet No
    Sinclair, Patricia Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Blueman, Christopher Will consider
    Coutinho, Jude Will consider
    Rivers, Janet Will consider
    Sinclair, Patricia Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Blueman, Christopher Will consider
    Coutinho, Jude Yes – reduce or eliminate
    Rivers, Janet Yes – reduce
    Sinclair, Patricia Yes – eliminate


  • Candidate Response
    Blueman, Christopher We, as an entire city, province and country, need to create new employment opportunities thereby providing entrepreneurial incentives created for youth and young families to increase independent businesses.
    Coutinho, Jude The jobs in Toronto are more and more outsourced, by providing employers by a ratio to adhere to in terms of outsourcing jobs that will help to ensure a balance.
    Rivers, Janet I believe with the PTC in place it would allow for businesses to hire more employees with that money they would save, and it would also encourage others to start up new businesses
    Sinclair, Patricia Governments create the economic conditions for the private sector to invest and create jobs.  If we are lacking in jobs that is because the conditions are not right and the whole picture needs to be looked at critically.


  • Candidate Response
    Blueman, Christopher We may revitalize our transit expansion and other infrastructure asset management objectives through community focused investment sponsorships and incremental development reimbursements including committed funding by provincial/federal governments. Let’s stick with the current plan, expand public transit including subways for Scarborough and get on with it so we can continue to build and develop Toronto together!
    Coutinho, Jude In favour of Scarborough subway plan.
    Rivers, Janet I’ve noticed, with all the planning, the city is focused on the North and West. Those who live in the East also need transit and it shows in all the proposed plans that they are neglected.
    Sinclair, Patricia City Council is for the most part supporting ideology not sound transit planning. Metrolinx is not working and should be shut down. We need to upload the capital costs of subway infrastructure to the province because our subway system is a GTA wide asset.  The Ministry of Transportation should take back its role in aiding the transit planning process in collaboration with the city.  We need the federal government to come on board as a partner with a National Transit Strategy.  And, very importantly, we need to harness land development to help offset the cost of construction.  The taxpayer should not solely fund the build and let the developers reap the rewards.


  • Candidate Response
    Blueman, Christopher We need to investigate each person’s objectives and needs before wants while looking at the current economy, planning for the foreseeable future and understand that a mutual perspective must be attained.
    Coutinho, Jude I feel empathy to labourers who have To pay big bills with rising cost of living so we need to ensure everyone gets a decent wage
    Rivers, Janet Before telling them what you’re willing to do for them, listen to what they have done and are willing to do.
    Sinclair, Patricia The Taxpayers pay the bill.  In Scarborough 83.1% are low to very low income earners  – that should be their guide.  Everything is on the table.


  • Candidate Response
    Blueman, Christopher If private sectors can efficiently deliver services to the City of Toronto in which ownership or voting power essentially remains in the hands of the government (the public) this option could possibly be investigated in more detail as well.
    Coutinho, Jude Yes.
    Rivers, Janet Yes for garbage collection and parks maintenance.
    Sinclair, Patricia Yes.  Transit in particular–example London, UK. Crossrail.  Affordable housing, arts and culture projects.


  • Candidate Response
    Blueman, Christopher We need community leaders that are not only here to win another election, but those who will strive to serve the next generation.  We need to keep our neighbourhoods as a safe and engaging, affordable place to live, to raise our children and grandchildren.
    Coutinho, Jude The top issue is the moral decay of our society – to have more awareness of the sanctity of life The sacredness and dignity of every human life and to defend human life from conception to Natural death: To raise the dignity of human sexuality and promote moral values in our Schools and to have compassion to our needy brothers and sisters in our community.
    Rivers, Janet Safety and transit. As Councillor I would make sure our neighbourhood is safe for all concerned, also making transit accessible for all the residents, and ensuring that our malls continue to develop and strive in our community.
    Sinclair, Patricia Gridlock and jobs; being able to get to a job if you get one.  Part of gridlock reduction is better transit infrastructure but also traffic signal co-ordination, truck lanes on our highways.  See #4 re jobs.  As a citizen I have been working on the transit file for too many years.

 

The full responses

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

    Council in the City of Toronto is currently, in my opinion, actively engaged within infrastructure gridlock and decision making deadlock. Most recently, massive pending tax increases are on the horizon while negative bickering and bullying tactics continue frequently. The decisions of the current council are going nowhere fast except for most recent unexpected and massive increases such as the recent extra 9% council approved water charges. Council is currently playing “catch up” and 1-2.5% increase per year is adequate and understandable, NOT 9% at one time.

    The City of Toronto desperately needs leaders who have indispensable local government experience, democratic leadership, conflict resolution, cooperation and negotiation skills to make City Hall more efficient and Toronto more affordable while protecting taxes to remain just below inflation.

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

    I will continually strive for complete accountability, fiscal responsibility and transparency while creating added value for every tax dollar at all times. By initiating consistent cost saving approaches and efficiencies while expanding value prior to all budget approvals, this will reduce property and utility taxes from unexpected major increases. With full intention to decrease and protect our tax rates to remain below inflation, I will seek the valuable input of others to pursue more affordable and innovative ways to better deliver city services for you.  To accomplish this, I will utilise my education and experience by using various negotiation techniques, applying efficiency methods, submitting resolutions and petitions for support while introducing alternative financing options and competitive procurement strategies.

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

    I firmly believe in action versus distraction. To me, leadership is about listening and learning while building mutually beneficial friendships and partnerships. Let’s put an end to the infrastructure gridlock, decision making deadlock, enormous sudden tax increases, the rising unemployment rate, political bickering and abusive Bullying, together! We do need to be able to represent all areas of the city efficiently and effectively and possibly could expand the boundaries however, the size of council isn’t as important as the quality of innovative thinkers, democratic leaders, listeners and those that actually show up each and every day to work hard and collaborate together in the best interests of the city. The rest of them we can trim if not effective or needed, certainly!

    I may also propose a radical change in remuneration during the campaigning cycle as well. All current councillors (including the mayor) shall immediately stop being paid by the public in terms of their salary once they submit their nomination for re-election. Their staff continues to be paid to continue day-to-day operations, however, a councillor does not once they register as a candidate and must dedicate their time in their current position to give back to the community on a volunteer basis just as any other candidate would be expected. The added tax savings to the rate payers every four years could be incredible (and may also serve as a way to weed out certain self-serving and entitled individuals too!)

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

    I’m in support to consider motions that can make City Hall more efficient and Toronto more affordable while protecting taxes, local healthcare and expanding public transit, community development and engagement initiatives.  If private sectors can efficiently deliver services to the City of Toronto with added value and less cost than this option could possibly be investigated in more detail as well. I will continually strive for complete accountability, fiscal responsibility and transparency while creating added value for every tax dollar at all times.

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

    At this current time, I’m personally interested in reviewing the benefits and value of such taxes to make sure that they are in fact needed and thereby forming a specialized team to investigate alternative funding scenarios.  Once it is determined to what extent the Municipal Land Transfer Tax contributes, we must collectively reach an educated consensus while offering affordable yet valuable added services that are continually required in our community.

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

    An employee contributes labour and/or expertise to an employer and is usually hired to perform specific duties which are packaged into a job. An employee is a person who is hired to provide services to a company on a regular basis in exchange for compensation and who does not provide these services as part of an independent business.

    Reported “Unemployment numbers” are only correct when everyone, even the unemployed actually are counted. Unfortunately, not everyone who is “unemployed” joins this report willfully so in reality it is most likely a much higher and staggering (even scary) number than the current 10% figure. The rising inequality gap of incomes including part-time and very little non-paid intern and volunteer positions is increasing therefore making this situation much worse. We, as an entire city, province and country, need to create new employment opportunities thereby providing entrepreneurial incentives created for youth and young families to increase independent businesses.

    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?

    As mentioned, Council in the City of Toronto is currently, in my opinion, actively engaged within infrastructure gridlock and decision making deadlock. We may revitalize our transit expansion and other infrastructure asset management objectives through community focused investment sponsorships and incremental development reimbursements including committed funding by provincial/federal governments.

    We need action – not constant distraction. Let’s stick with the current plan, expand public transit including subways for Scarborough and get on with it so we can continue to build and develop Toronto together!

    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?

    Negotiation is a dialogue between two or more people or parties intended to reach an understanding, resolve points of difference, to gain advantage for an individual or collective, or to craft outcomes to satisfy various interests.

    Labour negotiations are no different. A simple analogy follows: we cannot keep paying off our Visa with our MasterCard. Instead, we need to investigate each person’s objectives and needs before wants while looking at the current economy, planning for the foreseeable future and understand that a mutual perspective must be attained. With unemployment numbers on the rise and senior, disabled assistance programs in high demand, the reality of the situation in today’s marketplace must be evaluated. In my own words, fiscal responsibility isn’t just about saving money; it’s also about investing wisely.

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

    A public service is a service which is provided by government to people living within its jurisdiction. The term is associated with a social consensus (usually expressed through democratic elections like this one) that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income. If private sectors can efficiently deliver services to the City of Toronto in which ownership or voting power essentially remains in the hands of the government (the public) this option could possibly be investigated in more detail as well.

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

    We need community leaders that are not only here to win another election, but those who will strive to serve the next generation.  We need to keep our neighbourhoods as a safe and engaging, affordable place to live, to raise our children and grandchildren. As one of the most ethnically diverse and expanding wards in the City of Toronto, local government must work together and closely with community partners and local service groups while securing additional newcomer settlement, disabled  and senior assistance services to manage expanding needs. We need a community-minded leader to improve our social well-being, protecting taxes, local healthcare and expanding public transit, employment opportunities through community development and engagement initiatives while seeking consensus and successfully negotiate for improved services in North Scarborough in order to receive our fair share while serving the residents first and always, respectfully.

  • 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 ensuring future hikes are no greater Than the rate of inflation

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

    A  more detailed study will need to be made to find savings  in the Current city budget

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

    The size of the Toronto City Council is driven by the volume of  the issues Being handled and I would try to get it done with a reduction in members.

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

    I would need to review the feedback of the residents and also of The employees before supporting contracting our garbage collection East of yonge street and the same applies for other services too.

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

    Yes  I support reducing or eliminating 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?

    The jobs in Toronto are more and more outsourced, by providing employers by a ratio to adhere to in terms of outsourcing jobs that will help to ensure a balance.

    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 favourable for  the subway line for Scarborough and the existing subways in Scarborough needs a facelift

    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 negotiation is always a big challenge. I feel empathy to labourers who have To pay big bills with rising cost of living so we need to ensure everyone gets a decent wage

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

    Yes I see opportunities for public- private partnership – more study will need to be done

    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 issue is the moral decay of our society – to have more awareness of the sanctity of life The sacredness and dignity of every human life and to defend human life from conception to Natural death: To raise the dignity of human sexuality and promote moral values in our Schools and to have compassion to our needy brothers and sisters in our community.

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

    Yes, I fully support a Property tax cap. I believe it would provide many benefits to homeowners and small businesses.

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

    I believe that by privatizing parks, forestry and recreation it; like with the garbage, will save many dollars in the long run.

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

    No, I do not support reducing the size of council, the city is too large. I also believe it would do more harm than good, in regards to how Council operates.

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

    I think it might be a good if it saves the City money and doesn’t cost the taxpayers.

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

    I am in support of reducing the Municipal Land Transfer Tax; although I believe eliminating it would not be wise.

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

    The unemployment rate is absolutely horrible, but I believe with the P.T.C in place it would allow for businesses to hire more employees with that money they would save, and it would also encourage others to start up new businesses.

    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?

    Public transit is a big thing in the city. I agree that we need to expand it North and East. It would ease congestion on our highways and streets. It would provide more jobs for the unemployed, and also provide safety for those who have to talk a distance from bus stops because transit does not go the distance needed. As a mother of girls I wouldn’t want them walking a long way from the closest stop alone. I’ve noticed, with all the planning, the city is focused on the North and West. Those who live in the East also need transit and it shows in all the proposed plans that they are neglected.

    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?

    Before telling them what you’re willing to do for them, listen to what they have done and are willing to do.

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

    Yes I do, for both Garbage Collection and Parks & Recreation. If privatized, it would save the city millions.

    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 issue of concern for many residents is safety and transit. As Councillor I would make sure our neighbourhood is safe for all concerned, also making transit accessible for all the residents, and ensuring that our malls continue to develop and strive in our community.

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

    In principal yes.  However, no one can predict the future.  We have aging infrastructure which may from time to time need to be funded by a temporary property tax hike.  Toronto does have the lowest residential property tax rate in the GTA.  We do have some wriggly room, if necessary.

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

    We need a strong City Manager who understands efficiencies and is committed to working to amalgamate departments, reduce duplication and bring the government of Toronto into the modern age.  The City Auditor’s reports should be used as a guide. The city should be managed as well or better than the best private sector company.

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

    Absolutely. I hope it would end the “it’s not in my ward” mentality and force councillors to think more as a region and that region’s relationship with the city as a whole.

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

    If it shows cost savings and good service then yes.  It may be better to keep one side union one side not to keep both sides honest!  Cleaning of TTC Stations would be a good example–heck it cannot be worse privately done.  Do we really need unionized grass cutters?  I am not a union basher but our union leaders need to understand that they must ensure the unionized workforce is highly productive in return for higher than average salaries and benefits.

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

    It should be eliminated.  We have very quickly gotten use to this cash flow.  Measures will need to be taken to offset the loss of this money.  Good management should have no problem doing this.

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

    Governments create the economic conditions for the private sector to invest and create jobs.  If we are lacking in jobs that is because the conditions are not right and the whole picture needs to be looked at critically.  I don’t think its appropriate to say do A, B or C to solve this problem.

    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 is for the most part supporting ideology not sound transit planning.  Getting factual information and not hogwash is very difficult.  We have not had a proper debate about which transit technology, long term investment, lost opportunity costs if we choose the wrong transit technology, clear facts about how to create a network system, connecting our transit systems, bus, subway, GO, roads.

    It seems to me that City Council is no longer capable of making these decisions rationally.

    Metrolinx is not working and should be shut down.

    We need to upload the capital costs of subway infrastructure to the province because our subway system is a GTA wide asset.  The Ministry of Transportation should take back its role in aiding the transit planning process in collaboration with the city.  We need the federal government to come on board as a partner with a National Transit Strategy.  And, very importantly, we need to harness land development to help offset the cost of construction.  The taxpayer should not solely fund the build and let the developers reap the rewards.

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

    The Taxpayers pay the bill.  In Scarborough 83.1% are low to very low income earners  – that should be their guide.  Everything is on the table.

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

    Yes.  Transit in particular–example London, UK. Crossrail.  Affordable housing, arts and culture projects.

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

    Gridlock and jobs; being able to get to a job if you get one.  Part of gridlock reduction is better transit infrastructure but also traffic signal co-ordination, truck lanes on our highways.  See #4 re jobs.  As a citizen I have been working on the transit file for too many years.  I would hope to be able to get Holey and Moley in the ground as Councillor.