2014 City Council Election: Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge River

The Incumbent:

Raymond Cho

The Race

In 2010, Raymond Cho had no problem edging out his top opponent in Ward 42 with a significant vote difference. Now they are both back in 2014, along with a new cast of other candidates. Based on the responses we received, transit is the top issue. The candidates that responded also agreed that the MLTT needs to be reduced.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: Dwayne Chin, Councillor Raymond Cho, Ganesh Kulasegarampillai, Kabirul Mollah, Venthan Ramana, Neethan Sabaratnam, Neethan Shan, Sherri-Anne Williams

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Jeffers, Ken Yes – with conditions
    Mohamed, Gulam Yes – with conditions
    Mondal, Somu Yes


  • Candidate Response
    Jeffers, Ken I am advocating a review of the effectiveness of the public service with a view to reallocating budgets and resources to where they are most needed
    Mohamed, Gulam I need to look more closely at the city budget before I answer this question. There are a number of departments that have a lot of money going to them, these should all be reviewed.
    Mondal, Somu Use of police officers at construction sites where there are no major traffic issues, and construction planning.


  • Candidate Response
    Jeffers, Ken No
    Mohamed, Gulam No
    Mondal, Somu Will consider


  • Candidate Response
    Jeffers, Ken No
    Mohamed, Gulam Yes
    Mondal, Somu Yes, along with parks maintenance.


  • Candidate Response
    Jeffers, Ken Yes – reduce
    Mohamed, Gulam Yes – reduce
    Mondal, Somu Yes – reduce


  • Candidate Response
    Jeffers, Ken We need to provide creative and innovative incentives to attract new business investment from foreign investors who are connected to some of our diverse communities.  We also need to change some antiquated zoning policies and bylaws that have become obstacles for investment
    Mohamed, Gulam Encourage investment by building infrastructure throughout Toronto, especially in Scarborough, and 'market' our city world wide, not just South of the border.
    Mondal, Somu I strongly feel that jobs can be created and offered locally within the community through Community Benefit Agreements. Companies should be given incentives to hire and train youth during the summer, the work experience gained by the youth will assist them in their future endeavours.


  • Candidate Response
    Jeffers, Ken I support subways for Scarborough. It is also my view that residents will be prepared to pay a progressive tax to pay for this efficiency that cuts down the time for travelling.
    Mohamed, Gulam We need to build partnerships at all levels of government, federal, provincial and municipal and we need to come up with a transit plan that, once voted on, everyone is on board with and can be presented with confidence.
    Mondal, Somu I will engage with corporations to source direct investment into the transit strategy for mutual benefit.  The needs of average residents are not taken into consideration when planning for transit. We need to change that.


  • Candidate Response
    Jeffers, Ken We must first create an environment of mutual respect [which cannot be explained in few words].  As a former union worker and manger in labour relations, Imfeel that I have some insights that would be helpful to the process
    Mohamed, Gulam First of all, we need to have the best team to be a part of our negotiating team and we need to know our budget and other facts before entering into talks. This way, we know how far we can go to make win-win situations for everyone.
    Mondal, Somu The city’s negotiation team should continuously remind themselves and workers representatives the following: -> The Taxpayer pays our salary <-


  • Candidate Response
    Jeffers, Ken Yes
    Mohamed, Gulam Yes. Subways are the first and most obvious locations for P3s. Other areas of transit also come to mind, such as highways and other road ways.
    Mondal, Somu There are opportunities for P3’s as P3 projects are more likely to be completed on time and budget.  Specifically in large infrastructure projects where the city is lacking immediate upfront funds.


  • Candidate Response
    Jeffers, Ken Transportation and road safety, with particular reference to the frequency of buses, particularly in the newer areas where young families complain of travelling time and the lack of speed bumps and stop signs. We need to speak and address in a greater way, a five pronged approach including TTC, GO, Viva, Autoshare options and taxi stands.
    Mohamed, Gulam Transit. Our residents need a subway to connect their communities to the rest of Toronto and to bring development to many underdeveloped areas. I will encourage our residents to participate in this conversation so that we can reach our goals.
    Mondal, Somu Transit. I would be the champion for Ward 42 to get more connectivity to the rest of the City.

 

The full responses

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

    On condition that there is an annual review and evaluation to be approved by City Council during budget discussions.  We must pay attention to the recent report by Enid Slack and Andre Cote which concluded that the City has a “revenue problem” not a spending problem

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

    There are Departments that have been operating “under the radar” without results orientede monitoring, therefore, I am advocating a review of the effectiveness of the public service with a view to reallocating budgets and resources to where they are most needed

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

    No it would not.  Neighbourhoods are no longer “homogeneous” and have become more complex with a new diversity of needs that require new knowledge and subsequently new approaches to deliver information, services and activities.  Representation of larger neighbourhoods would be overwhelming

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

    I will  not support contracting out garbage east of Yonge Street.  Efficient and safe garbage collection depends on effective and cooperative partnerships with other unionized Departments of the City and we will always run the unnecessary risks of cooperation between unionized and non unionized workers, especially if there is a labour disruption

    I believe that some community based agencies can deliver some services more efficiently and more cost effective than some City Departments.  This already exists with unionized workers in some AOCC community agencies.  There is a need for further exploration

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

    I will support reducing it pending on an impact report from staff

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

    Innovative approaches to business investment, working with diverse communities is relatively nonexistent within the City.  There is a sense of “the old boys network” when it comes to tendering and encouraging investment.  I was involved in a promising initiative to address this in the past and it was unfortunately terminated.  We need to provide creative and innovative incentives to attract new business investment from foreign investors who are connected to some of our diverse communities.  We also need to change some antiquated zoning policies and bylaws that have become obstacles for investment

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

    I support subways for Scarborough which will likely take fifteen to twenty years for completion.  In the interim, we need to increase the frequency of bus service with dedicated lanes.  It is also my view that residents will be prepared to pay a progressive tax to pay for this efficiency that cuts down the time for travelling.  We should be careful not to make the assumption that all jobs will be focussed in the downtown area of the City.  My plan, as previously mentioned, is to attract business investment in the Scarborough area, ward 42 in particular, that would minimize travel to the downtown area to work.  I have spoken to possible business investors who are anxious to explore development that would bring jobs for all ages of residents

    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?

    We must first create an environment of mutual respect [which cannot be explained in few words].  As a former union worker and manger in labour relations, Imfeel that I have some insights that would be helpful to the process

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

    I have already made this known in my former responses.  The City cannot survive economically unless there is cooperation and partnerships.  I was intrigued by Bill Clinton’s analogy of the most effective and efficient small creatures such as ants and bees that establish colonies that are sustained because of cooperation in attaining a common objective that benefits all concerned

    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 road safety, with particular reference to the frequency of buses, particularly in the newer areas where young families complain of travelling time and the lack of speed bumps and stop signs. One of the areas is around Staine Street and Morningside Heights.

    On the issue of public transit, we need to speak and address in a greater way, a five pronged approach including TTC, GO, Viva, Autoshare options and taxi stands.

    The disrespect of not involving residents in decision making .  This used to occur until the termination of community advisory committees on everything from youth to business , the management of community centres., the management of neighbourhood programs for families in partnership with professional staff from the City.

    Seniors in ward 42 have relatively few programs and activities that would accommodate  seniors who perform family duties of taking care of the children during the day.  Seniors can take leadership in the greening of ward 42 through indoor and outdoor community gardens and other activities that reflect their heritage in a shared experience.   This proved to be very successful under my leadership in other parts of the City.

    It is also important to note that community based agencies in ward 42, with their expertise in supporting and providing services for their own communities, are chronically underfunded.

    I will call for a review to implement a fair process for grants allocastions.

    We need to reopen City Hall together!

    I think this is ‎very good. I would only add to #7 on the issue of public transit a 5 pronged approach that looks at TTC, Go, Viva, Autoshare options and Taxi stands, especially because you are on the borders of Markham and Pickering.  This week is Smart Commute week, so it would also be good to have some green options in your plan!

    There might be opportunities for partnerships with green businesses to fund small road projects. Would also see if developers could be encouraged to fund transit lines. Some condo developers are already giving incentives for owners who purchase units (IE metro passes).

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

    I like the idea of a cap but there should be some flexibility when the revenues are being used for subways and other large investments.

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

    I need to look more closely at the city budget before I answer this question. There are a number of departments that have a lot of money going to them, these should all be reviewed.

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

    No. Toronto is a big city and if you reduce the size of the council then our residents will not get the services they deserve. Already, each councillor is responsible for a very large number of people.

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

    I think the services in Toronto need to be harmonized. Since garbage collection is privatized west of Yonge, in a gradual way we should phase in privatization east of Yonge as well.

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

    I would support reducing it. We need the money for large investments, especially in Scarborough.

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

    Encourage investment by building infrastructure throughout Toronto, especially in Scarborough, and ‘market’ our city world wide, not just South of the border.

    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 build partnerships at all levels of government, federal, provincial and municipal and we need to come up with a transit plan that, once voted on, everyone is on board with and can be presented with confidence.

    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?

    First of all, we need to have the best team to be a part of our negotiating team and we need to know our budget and other facts before entering into talks. This way, we know how far we can go to make win-win situations for everyone.

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

    Subways are the first and most obvious locations for P3s. Other areas of transit also come to mind, such as highways and other road ways.

    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 the top issue of concern for residents in our ward. Our residents need a subway to connect their communities to the rest of Toronto and to bring development to many underdeveloped areas. I will encourage our residents to participate in this conversation so that we can reach our goals.

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

    I do. We need to be mindful of the fact that many taxpayers do not get an annual salary increase at the rate of inflation. Full-time jobs are disappearing and many taxpayers are holding more than one part-time job to make ends meet. Council should explore other ways of increasing revenue beyond the time tested property tax. We need to think outside of the box.

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

    Many areas can be made more efficient. The use of police officers at construction sites where there are no major traffic issues; like a parking lot, residential side streets. Construction planning for example in our neighbourhood; sidewalks ripped up and fixed in late 2009, Then 6 months later same sidewalks ripped and new power cables installed and 3 months later ripped up and new sidewalks installed. New sidewalks were installed twice in 12 months.

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

    I support a gradual reduction in the size of city council. I believe this would improve how council operates. Currently one councillor is representing 45,000 residents and another councillor is representing 80,000 residents. We should be looking at trying to achieve a balance of 100,000 residents per ward by means of re-drawing ward boundaries after every census. The first step would be to balance the wards by equal population.

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

    I support contracting out garbage east of Yonge Street. We can also look at contracting out parks maintenance like grass cutting.  Specific outside city property maintenance where safety is not an issue.

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

    Many Real Estate professionals have expressed their thoughts to me about it. They are not in favour as it adds another tax on top of a very large purchase. I am in favour of gradual reduction of this tax.

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

    I am very much interested in the Community Benefit Agreements and strongly feel that jobs can be created and offered locally within the community.  A great start would be to challenge and recognize companies that meet a benchmark of 10% of employees that live in the Ward that the company is located in. Companies should be given incentives to hire and train youth during the summer, the work experience gained by the youth will assist them in their future endeavours.

    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 will continue to advocate for an expansion of the Bloor-Danforth line to Scarborough and beyond. I think it is possible to have a mixture of subways and other forms of efficient transit. I will engage with corporations to source direct investment into the transit strategy for mutual benefit. We need to take down the walls beyond the city boundaries. We need to collectively look at transit as a region. We have an inefficient transit system unless you are headed downtown. The needs of average residents are not taken into consideration when planning for transit. We need to change that.

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

    The city’s negotiation team should continuously remind themselves and workers representatives the following: -> The Taxpayer pays our salary <-

    Keeping this front and centre should remind all parties that they have a duty to the taxpayer and not themselves.

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

    There are opportunities for P3’s as P3 projects are more likely to be completed on time and budget.  Specifically in large infrastructure projects where the city is lacking immediate upfront funds. The biggest benefit to the taxpayer is the fact that in a P3 project payment is conditional upon delivery whereas in a public sector project payment is done throughout the construction.

    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 the major issue in Ward 42. Our population has grown by over 30% in the last 20 years. So we are sending more money than ever to City Hall yet our return on services like transit has not seen such an increase. In the past four months as I have walked the streets and spoken to many residents in my Ward, views were mixed, however all expressed that we must stop talking and start building and get shovels in the ground. I would be the champion for Ward 42 to get more connectivity to the rest of the City.