2014 City Council Election: Ward 7 – York West

The Incumbent:

Giorgio Mammoliti

The Race

This race shows the return of 3 candidates who participated in the 2010 ward election. One of whom is high-profile Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti. There is wide agreement in keeping property taxes low and contracting out city services that could be operated through private partners. This ward has diverse needs and the candidates have a range of opinions on how best to attract jobs and investment.

Candidates Who Did Not Participate: John Chambers, Nick Di Nizio, Keegan Henry-Mathieu, Chris Mac Donald

The Breakdown

  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Yes
    Brar, Harp Yes
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Yes
    Perlman, Larry No


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Benefits, expense accounts, management, donation rebates, and reducing severance pay
    Brar, Harp Will not take a position until informed by experts, auditors, and city departments.
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Amalgamate social housing departments
    Perlman, Larry Zero-Based Budgeting whereby all managers must justify the costs to provide services. Onus for justifying expenses would lie with those managing the funds.


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott No
    Brar, Harp Will consider, but ward boundaries should change according to unique services required locally.
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Yes
    Perlman, Larry No


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Yes
    Brar, Harp Yes
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Yes. Consider contracting out city planners, lawyers, and inspectors>
    Perlman, Larry Yes. Consider contracting out services such as security, cleaning and maintenance, legal, administrative, IT and computer services. Use a temporary staff pool instead of agencies.


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Yes
    Brar, Harp No to reducing or eliminating but would consider an amended formula that would divide the tax between purchaser and seller.
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Yes to elimination
    Perlman, Larry Yes to reducing


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Only business can create jobs.
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Re-visit the concept of a casino for jobs and tourism. Build highway above highways and more subway lines.
    Perlman, Larry Post-Secondary Education – initiate an internship program in the ward.


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Less management and bonuses. Riders should pay operating costs.
    Brar, Harp City Council should take an independent view of the suggestions of retained experts. Council and Mayor should not over-ride expert opinion because they are lawmakers not urban developers. Build Finch West – Humber – Pearson SkyTrain modelled from other cities.
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Designate corridors that will be for subway lines. Public-private partnerships will work for transit development.
    Perlman, Larry Transit planning should be taken away from City Council. Put TTC under umbrella of Metrolinx where it will link with a regional transportation strategy.


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Reduce benefits, perks, and pensions.
    Brar, Harp Negotiations should occur within the limits imposed by tax increases. No more than inflation rate.
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Councillors should not be part of negotiations. Leave to bureaucrats.
    Perlman, Larry Eliminate essential services except for police and fire. City's negotiating team should not be afraid of striking workers.


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Yes. Exceptions are hydro and water.
    Brar, Harp Yes, in park maintenance, snow removal, and administrative work at City facilities.
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Yes, in funding transportation. Also, Business Improvement Areas should form larger P3 initiatives.
    Perlman, Larry No


  • Candidate Response
    Aitchison, Scott Less condos in the community. A more responsive Councillor.
    Brar, Harp Depends on the resident. Every issue should be a top issue.
    Mammoliti, Giorgio Property taxes followed by transportation. Proposed Finch LRT should be a subway or buried form of transportation. The province should create a better home care system.
    Perlman, Larry Complacency that has resulted in a lack of municipal services and resources for families, seniors, and the most vulnerable. Commits to hold regular community events and to invite city staff and agencies.

 

The full responses

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

    Yes.

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

    Benefits, Expense accounts, Management, Donation rebates, And reducing
    the months severance pay for each year of service especially for those who quit.

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

    No and I don’t believe it we did it would improve Council

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

    Yes and yes

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

    Yes and I don’t believe we need more revenue tools.

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

    Government can’t create jobs only business can and the will only hire on need. People with disposable income spend money creating a need for business to
    hire to deal with demand

    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?

    It doesn’t seem that way it is that way.
    Less management and bonuses, It’s not popular but riders need to pay operating costs which  are way to high due to union demands, Employees need to pay a reduced fare not ride for free  to start with

    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’s time to claw back the benefits, perks and pensions those in the private can only dream about, The City pays it’s employees good money already

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

    If the private sector can do it contract it out. Exceptions are of course Hydro and water, I believe they must be kept public.

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

    There wishes are never followed. Who asks for more condos in their community adding to traffic congestion and transit needs. No notice unless you live within 200 feet of a project. Negative option voting, (If you can’t get a majority of people out to vote for something they don’t want it)

    No respect, Not answering the Councillors phone or returning messages.
    I could spend hours on what’s wrong with Government.

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

    Council’s job is to balance the budget, provide services, and raise revenue for these activities. Council needs to shift the tax burden from tax depleted vacant properties in the suburbs to income generating and progressive communities. What is the point of a 10 Million dollar building empty in Ward 7 that should generate $300,000.00 but cannot due to the access tax burden? We all lose. Residential taxes should remain in bay with inflation, but it is my position that commercial taxes should be apportioned according to income potential. However, a condition of my position would be contingent on insuring rate payers that the City’s expenditures also remain at bay with inflation. This may anger unions and contractors. But the reality is how can the City afford to pay more while leveling less

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

    Toronto’s current budget is vast, complex and dynamic. It would be a disservice to all voters for a single Councillor to take a positions on what services, expenditures or benefits need to be trimmed to find savings. As a Councillor I will not take firm position on saving measures until I am well informed by the experts that our City has retained to study where to trim the fat. After reviewing measures proposed by auditors, city departments and retained experts, I would invite Council to engage in an intellectual debate in order to come to a compromise of which taxpayer expenditures can be reduced or eliminated while still providing the quality of life that Torontonians and our visitors from around the world have come to expect.

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

    1. Do you support a property tax cap ensuring future hikes are no greater than the rate of inflation?Council’s job is to balance the budget, provide services, and raise revenue for these activities. Council needs to shift the tax burden from tax depleted vacant properties in the suburbs to income generating and progressive communities. What is the point of a 10 Million dollar building empty in Ward 7 that should generate $300,000.00 but cannot due to the access tax burden? We all lose. Residential taxes should remain in bay with inflation, but it is my position that commercial taxes should be apportioned according to income potential. However, a condition of my position would be contingent on insuring rate payers that the City’s expenditures also remain at bay with inflation. This may anger unions and contractors. But the reality is how can the City afford to pay more while leveling less.2. Where, specifically, do you advocate finding savings in the current city budget?Toronto’s current budget is vast, complex and dynamic. It would be a disservice to all voters for a single Councillor to take a positions on what services, expenditures or benefits need to be trimmed to find savings. As a Councillor I will not take firm position on saving measures until I am well informed by the experts that our City has retained to study where to trim the fat. After reviewing measures proposed by auditors, city departments and retained experts, I would invite Council to engage in an intellectual debate in order to come to a compromise of which taxpayer expenditures can be reduced or eliminated while still providing the quality of life that Torontonians and our visitors from around the world have come to expect.3. Do you support reducing the size of Toronto City Council? Do you believe this would improve how Council operates?The size of City council should not be based on the number of electors present in Wards. Ward boundaries should be divided according to the needs of the diverse and unique services required locally. As a Councillor I will look beyond the established Ward boundaries to put an end to the gerrymandering that has made our City waste resources needlessly. The question that should be asked is why the current City Council consistently over rides the advice of Elections Canada on a continued basis. The operation of Council will improve if it can set aside its own political aspirations and adopt recommendations proposed by those individuals at Elections Canada that have vast expertise in just and proper representation

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

    Over the past 3 years the City’s taxpayers west of Yonge Street have enjoyed a more efficient, healthy and consistent service of garbage collection through the public and private venture established with Green For Life and the City. Why should the residents east of Yonge Street be deprived of this improved service while imposing a tax burden on the entire ratepayers of our City. The answer is simple. Yes.

    Once again, there are many services that maybe contracted out that the will improve services while cutting costs. As a Councillor, and as a lawmaker it would be my job to review reports, recommendations and public input to decide what is best for our City. To take an uneducated position would be a disservice to all residents 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 has proven since its implementation in February 2008 to be an excellent stream of revenue for the city while at the same time taking away further tax increases on residents that decide to remain in this City as ratepayers. It has helped keep real estate speculator at bay providing for more affordable housing to loyal residents and newcomers.

    I would not support reducing it or eliminating it. But I would support drastic changes to the way it is implemented and levied. I would support a formula that would divide the tax between purchaser and seller that would be equitable to all while fostering the growth of our City based on public, private and expert consultations.

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

    Diversify. Diversify. Diversify. Pundits have always said that the key to a prosperous economy in limiting monopolies and engaging capitalism with a close collaboration
    between labour and management. In a global economy we need to attract diversified commercial, industrial and service investments. We need to attract and retain a diversified work force. And last but not least we, need to have diversified programs to retain and reincorporate all those residents willing to work to make Toronto the great city it has become.

    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?

    Once again, the City should retains experts to study, develop and support all transportation facilities within the city. The role of City Council should be to take an independent view at the suggestions of the retained experts and come to an educated and voted compromise that serves the residents of our City for generations to come. Forty-four Counsellors and one Mayor should not be engaged in overriding the expert opinions of over 440 experts. Councillors are lawmakers’ not urban developers. Let’s keep it that way while contemplating that why has anyone not thought of building a Finch West – Humber College –Pearson SKYTRAIN like Vancouver, Delhi, Athens, and many world class cities have done. Does our Mayor and City Council lack world class experience to look beyond the current agenda.

    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?

    Simple. Labour negations should occur within the limits imposed by our tax increases. No much and no more than Statistic Canada’s inflation rate for our region.

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

    The recent past has shown that garbage P3s have been a successes. I do look forward looking into other city service in which P3s can be involved. Park maintenance, snow removal, and administrative duties at City facilities are just a few areas that I will examine if elected to represent the people of Ward 7 and Toronto.

    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 7 depends on who you ask. The single mother living in the Jane and Finch area or the widow living on the Islington and Humber River boundary. To answer this question would be a disservice to all residents of Ward 7. As every issue should be their elected representative top issue.

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

    Yes.

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

    I believe there is room to find savings in the current City Budget by amalgamating social housing departments and putting it under one roof. It would be more efficient for the City financially and for the client operationally to deal with 1 counsellor instead of 8 or 9.

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

    Yes, I believe reducing the size of Council would make for a more collegial environment and condense our 4 day meetings down to 2 days so that we as Councillors can spend more time in the community.

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

    I support the contracting out of garbage East of Yonge and I also believe there is savings to be had in contracting out our planners, lawyers and inspectors.

    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 and revisiting every social program we have to find efficiencies in order to cover the costs.

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

    I have always advocated for a casino and I think it’s time to revisit the concept as it will create jobs and generate tourism which is an industry of it’s own. I also think a plan to create highways above our highways and the building of a stronger transit infrastructure including more subway lines will create many 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 need to designate which corridors are going to be for subway lines so that the whole city understands where they will be and what it will mean for transportation in the City as a whole. In terms of funding, I still believe that public private partnerships can work if there is effort at City Hall to make it work with the agenda.

    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?

    With regards to labour negotiations I don’t believe that anyone who has made up their mind on any side of the equation, left or right, should play a part. I believe the bureaucrats should be instructed to work out the best deal possible and to work with the next mayor in achieving the best deal. Councillors should not be part of the negotiations.

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

    The main opportunities for public-private partnerships involving the City lie in funding our transit system and in helping fund a transportation plan for the City as a whole – such as building new highways above our existing highways. I also believe our BIAs should form a larger public-private partnership initiatives

    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 for residents of Ward 7 is property taxes, followed by transportation. I always have and always will advocate to make sure property taxes stay low and I’ll be asking for the proposed Finch LRT to be a subway or other buried form of transit. Seniors in Ward 7 and all over the City need stronger support programs and I believe there is room for the province to create a better home care system so they don’t have to move to publicly funded institutions that cost more than in home services. Spending $300/day per client in a home care system makes more sense to the taxpayer than $1500/day for the same client in an institution where they have no independence.

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

    No, but with an explanation.  There will always be a need to raise property taxes beyond the rate of inflation based on numerous factors such as expanding the TTC or to deal with other capital investments that provide the City with a long term benefit​​s​ ​(such as improving TCHC housing stock).  However, in the 2010 election I signed a pledge with other candidates not to increase the City’s budget in 2011 as a symbolic gesture after out-of-control tax increases became the norm.  There must be times when the City budget provides relief to weary taxpayers, but it should not be at the expense of important investments in City infrastructure.​

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

    There are many places to find savings in the current city budget, but the approach would lead to a situation where services are cut based on political factors (say savings in vulnerable areas where there is little political support) rather than being the best interests of the City.  I am a strong advocate of using “Zero-Based Budgeting” (ZBB), where all managers would be responsible for providing the Budget Committee with a report justifying their costs to providing the services within their responsibility, starting with no funds at all.  The onus for justifying expenses would shift from the committee and Council to the ones managing the funds.  It is a long-term solution that would require at least four to seven years to implement, but once started would expose managers to a level of scrutiny and transparency that minimizes waste.  Many municipal and state governments have implemented ZBB to various levels of success.  However, given the high caliber of managers in Toronto, I am confident ZBB is the best approach here.​

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

    In fact, I would support an increase in the size of Council to include an addition four regional Councillors to represent each of the four community councils (Etobicoke York, Scarborough, Toronto East York and North York).  Toronto residents and businesses are not being well-represented by their current member of Council overall and the need for a Councillor to look at things from a regional perspective provides the City with a valuable knowledge and alternate representation.  Reducing the size of City Council will result in a greater distance between taxpayer and politician​, and municipal governments require a far closer relationship.

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

    Yes, absolutely.  In fact, there are many services today that can be contracted out at significant cost savings.  For example, 1. Security firms instead of Police at construction sites; 2. Cleaning and maintenance services throughout the City that have not done so yet; 3. Legal services; 4. Administrative services, including mailings; 5. IT and computer services; 6. A temp staff pool instead of using agencies.  The City should introduce an efficiency committee to allow staff and residents to suggest savings.  If successful, the person should receive a reward in the form of a percentage of the savings over a number of years (with a cap of course).  Many large organizations have this type of program in place and the savings are significant.

    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 the perfect example of an unfair tax that was brought forward for political reasons, as it found little opposition.  Unfortunately, this tax relies on a robust housing market which is true today but may not be in the future.  I would support reducing the tax but not eliminating it, since it represents an important revenue source.  In fact, I am a strong advocate for relying less on property taxes to fund our budgetary expenditures and introducing other tax sources for a more diverse approach, currently provided to Toronto as part of the City of Toronto Act.  Alcohol taxes, cigarette taxes, hotel taxes, license renewal taxes and other forms of taxation is important for the future fiscal health of the City.  I would also push for an introduction of a municipal sales tax.

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

    Unemployment rates in large cities typically are higher than the provincial/state averages due to the concentration of residents and businesses and economic and social factors that minimize one’s mobility to other places.  The key to job growth in Toronto is EDUCATION.  Toronto is blessed with three Universities, numerous Colleges and other post-secondary institutions that helps build careers rather than simply jobs.  Torontonians need to take control of their careers rather than expect their municipal government to find them jobs.  I am also a big advocate for internships and would initiate an internship program in my Ward to help get those ready to work a first start in the working world.​

    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?

    Not only should the transit planning process be changed, I believe the whole process should be taken away from City Council entirely.  Transit is far too politically sensitive and sophisticated to leave in the hands of Council.  I am a strong advocate for putting the TTC under the umbrella of Metrolinx (a provincial transportation agency) and allowing professionals to design a regional transportation strategy that includes the GTHA (ie GTA plus Hamilton).  Only professionals have the skill and desire to push forward a transportation strategy that benefits those in Toronto…sooner rather than later.​

    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?

    Unfortunately, the City’s negotiating team has their hands tied when negotiating the best deal for taxpayers, since some important services are currently labeled “essential” and are decided with an adjudicator.  Once the essential service contracts are made public, other service staff demand similar pay and benefits, creating a bad cycle.  If anything, I would propose eliminating essential services altogether (except for police and fire) and telling the City’s negotiating team not to be afraid of striking workers.  The City of Toronto has been on the weak end of most negotiations with staff collective agreements…it is time to push back.​

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

    Most residents and business people do not understand the concept of P3s, thus complicating matters significantly.  It is not as simple as bringing in private interests to help fund some infrastructure and the City saves money.  Private interests expect a significant return on their investment and, while willing to take some risk, understand as well that partnering with various governments is not easy to do.  In many cases, agreements require a minimum return on investment built into the agreement (and paid by the government to the private interest).  Having said that, there are many successful P3s (at the provincial and federal levels), while others such as Union Station and the Vaughan subway station will be a showcase at the municipal level.  It is most difficult at this time to identify special P3 opportunities in Toronto. ​

    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 residents in my ward is complacency that has resulted in a serious lack of available municipal services and resources for families, seniors and those most vulnerable in our society.  Far too many residents have given up looking for help from their municipal government and are fearful of losing what little they currently have by remaining quiet.  As Councillor it will be my first priority to eliminate the fear and tell everyone that they deserve more and better.  This must start at the community level, and I would hold regular community events to identify what is unique about their specific community and bring out the agencies and city staff to speak out to those looking for more.  There are ten unique communities within Ward 7, each with its own identity, history and opportunities.​