Notes and Followup from the Ward 18 All Candidates Meeting

Here are my notes from the May 19 2009 Ward 18 All Candidates Meeting, held at Casa da Madeira on Dupont St. in the Junction Triangle. These notes are just an attempt to capture what the candidates said, and how they responded to questions. I'm keeping personal opinion out of it for now, although I might follow up with some of that in the comments. Apologies if it's long-winded, but I tried to scribble down as much as I could. I obviously missed many things that were said too.

Thankfully, the professional reporters were there too. For a much better writeup of this meeting, check out the article in The Villager: Ward 18 candidates introduce their campaigns. Local blog The Bloordale Press also has a writeup, including some video from the candidates' opening remarks.

I'd love to hear other peoples' opinions and reactions to this meeting. And of course, if I made any mistakes in these notes, please feel free to correct me. I also encourage the candidates to post any followup comments here too.

All eight registered Ward 18 candidates were present: Ana Bailão, Kevin Beaulieu, Frank de Jong, Nha le, Kirk Russell, Jack Triolo, Hema Vyas, and Ken Wood.


Debate Host: Jack Fava
Time Keeper: Joan Tintor
Moderator: Virginia Novak

Opening Remarks


Ken Wood:

  • Commented that this slate of candidates is "better than last time"
  • Regarding Adam Giambrone: Won us over with "charm and promises"
  • Lives at College and Lansdowne, with low income, and disability
  • One of the main problems now is that "nobody is consulted"
  • Promises to listen to the residents and host regular town hall meetings
  • Need to communicate to people in more languages. Rise up to meet diversity.


Hema Vyas:

  • Has spent many years working and volunteering in communities
  • Has a passion for community work
  • Hopes to increase the quality of life for residents
  • Says that decisions in the next 5 years will affect us for 50 years and beyond
  • From speaking to people and canvassing the ward, people have said:
    • Need to do something with empty storefronts and lots
    • Need more green spaces
    • People want to be more involved in community and political process
  • Regarding being a councillor: "First job is to listen to the people they represent".


Kirk Russell:

  • Joked that he is not the actor
  • Born, raised, and grew up in Jamaica
  • Something he likes about Canada: Colour of skin does not matter
  • Has lived in Davenport for 7 years
  • Main concerns:
    • Small businesses
    • TTC, and lack of parking
    • Traffic, Transit, and Taxes. "The three Ts"


Nha Le:
(Note: Unfortunately, I had a very difficult time understanding what Nha Le was saying, so my notes about him are very sparse, definitely incomplete, and possibly wrong/misunderstood)

  • Three main points: Leadership, stronger Toronto, stronger community
  • "Vision for the future"
  • "All around the world, Toronto is becoming the 'loser city'".
  • Stressed that we are a Canadian city


Jack Triolo:

  • Two main points: Represent the people of the ward, leadership aspect is missing at city council
  • Has no pre-set agenda: wants to work with people
  • Is council supposed to be managing for the people or for special interest groups?
  • Lack of choice in previous elections. Glad to see so many running in Ward 18.


Frank de Jong:

  • Moved to Ward 18 in 1997
  • Not an immigrant himself, but a child of immigrants from the Netherlands. Understands immigrant experience
  • Ward 18 is a "fabulous place to live". It's a "microcosm of Toronto".
  • Not happy about two main issues: Transportation and Development
  • Supports bike lanes
  • Cyclists, pedestrians, transit users are all traffic too. Everyone needs to be accommodated with Complete Streets.
  • Major roads in our ward should not be freeways for people from outside.
  • Streets should be focused on people. "People Streets".
  • Regarding development:
    • The Active 18 group in the south part of the ward set a good precedent for citizen-influenced development
    • Citizens need to be active in development planning
    • When bad development happens, we're stuck with it for 100 years
    • Need to be people-centred


Kevin Beaulieu:

  • Lives in Ward 18 on Gladstone Ave.
  • Moved to Toronto 10 years ago to Russet Ave. in Ward 18
  • Volunteered with a local organization to get people more involved with local politics
  • Says that contacting City Hall his first time was intimidating. This needs to change so that people have comfortable access.
  • Transportation: Strongly supports Transit City
  • Development: Lots of pressure to develop along rail corridors and school properties. Needs to be done right.


Ana Bailão:

  • Has lived in Canada since she was 15 years old.
  • Says her family relied on communities and networks to settle into their new home.
  • Her grandmother is her role model: She always encouraged people to get involved in their community.
  • Community engagement is a key priority
  • Other priorities: Public transit, job creation, "community vision".
  • Wants Ward 18 to be the "safest, greenest, cleanest"
  • Has experience working with local non-profits
  • Will be a "strong voice"
  • Wants new blood, new ideas, and to question the status quo

Question #1

Development: A person commented that he thinks there are too many housing units and people moving in to the developments on Wallace Ave., and has concerns about the future developments at the former Glidden Paint site on Wallace Ave. Wanted to know what the candidates' positions on development are.

Ana Bailão:

  • Need a "community vision"
  • Must keep artists and affordable housing
  • Active 18 is a good example of positive development, with the community pushing the process

Kevin Beaulieu:

  • Mentioned that the City's Official Plan for the former industrial lands keeps them designated as employment lands. Can't just put up more housing there. Will try to attract business, jobs.
  • But pressure from developers can change this
  • Development must be sensible, with reasonable density, and include parks and other amenities

Frank de Jong:

  • Development must be democratic. Citizens should have a say. E.g. Active 18.
  • "People-centred development", not car-centred.
  • Developments must be walkable
  • No parking lots
  • More live-work spaces
  • More space for parks and gardens

Nha Le:

  • Sorry, I could not understand what he said.

Kirk Russell:

  • Would use a "Five Point System": Get five people involved in the community and five people from local businesses to speak to each other about the developments

Jack Triolo:

  • It's a difficult question to answer. Planning takes years, and is difficult to stop.
  • Community must be aware and involved in planning stage.

Hema Vyas:

  • Before development starts, there must be a meeting with the residents, developers, etc.
  • Must stay within the context of the community.
  • Allow for green space, infrastructure, transit, etc.

Ken Wood:

  • Feels that the city tries to run like a business, trying to take in as much money as possible.
  • Some wards have better development than others.

Question #2

Dupont St. Bike Lane: Someone asked, "Will you remove the Dupont St. bike lane"?

Kevin Beaulieu:

  • Supports the Toronto Bike Plan
  • Need to get people into alternative modes of transportation, or congestion will get worse

Frank de Jong:

  • Supports the bike lane
  • Yes, there are traffic problems
  • More lanes = more cars
  • Design communities for local citizens, not just for traffic flowing through from elsewhere
  • Leave the car at home

Nha Le:

  • Give the roads back to cars.
  • Car = freedom

Kirk Russell:

  • We have the Railpath
  • Need to integrate

Hema Vyas:

  • Has been talking to many people about this issue
  • Need more bike lanes in the city
  • Need to plan together, and figure out how the street will work for all of us.
  • Can't be cars, vs. pedestrians vs. cyclists all the time
  • Need a plan and vision

Ken Wood:

  • Need complete streets
  • Not just cars or cyclists
  • "Everyone needs to give a little bit"

Ana Bailão:

  • This is an urban centre and bikes / bike lanes are a reality
  • Need complete streets
  • Some concerns about bike lanes: Not always designed safely. Need to be planned in advance.
  • We need a major education campaign for everybody: motorists, cyclists, etc.

Question #3

Dundas St. West: Someone from the Dundas West BIA, I believe her name was Silvia Fernandez, commented that they had previously supported Adam Giambrone and even worked to get him elected. But now so many things have gone wrong on their street that they have lost confidence in him: Loss of parking spaces, disruption due to streetcar track replacement and water main replacement, etc. She asked, "What would you do different?"

Fran de Jong:

  • Rides his bike through there frequently
  • The city process for these projects is often much too long. Other examples: St. Clair, Roncesvalles.
  • Mentioned that he supported the Lansdowne narrowing
  • It's important that citizens stay involved and are heard

Nha Le:

  • This is bad for business

Kirk Russell:

  • Spent three days walking and talking to people on Dundas West
  • Says it is poorly planned
  • Owners were not informed
  • Promises to help the businesses: Look for grants to assist businesses, have a festival, do sidewalk improvements, etc.

Jack Triolo:

  • Would consult and plan with the community

Hema Vyas:

  • Spoke to residents and businesses in the area
  • The process was not good, no opportunity to talk about changes
  • A councillor must be thorough

Ken Wood:

  • He is known as "The Tree Guy" (referring to when he chained himself to a tree on Lansdowne Ave.). Says nobody should have to do that.
  • Need to consult early
  • Compensate for loss of business

Ana Bailão:

  • Briefly described the issue on Dundas West for those who were not aware: The BIA lost 42% of their parking, plus streetcar tracks and watermains were replaced recently, but not coordinated to happen at the same time.
  • Businesses are losing money. E.g. people not stopping to pick up a cake because they get ticketed.

Kevin Beaulieu:

  • Need to take a step back and have a conversation with BIA and residents
  • "Small businesses are the heart of the community"
  • Also, cannot punish streetcar riders

Question #4

Vision: This question came from the anonymous question box: What is your vision for Ward 18?

Nha Le:

  • Jobs, work in the city
  • Vote for a councillor who will work for us

Kirk Russell:

  • Make Ward 18 an icon for all of Canada
  • Respect, empower, and include everyone

Jack Triolo:

  • Represent the community
  • Do what the community wants

Hema Vyas:

  • More green space and local businesses
  • Development that fits in
  • Engaged community members
  • Response from the councillor

Ken Wood:

  • Engage with people
  • People should be involved in political process
  • Green space, gathering spaces, meeting places
  • Says he has some "far out ideas"

Ana Bailão:

  • Participation from residents
  • Green, clean, and safe
  • More grass-roots / bottom-up approach: e.g. Dufferin Grove Park
  • Improved public transit
  • Electric transit on the Georgetown rail corridor
  • Residents are first and foremost

Kevin Beaulieu:

  • Vision is based on the strengths of today
  • Optimism
  • Current strengths are the work of many groups over the years. Nurture, protect, and expand upon this.
  • Transit improvements are more than just transit city. Local example: Dufferin Bus.

Frank de Jong:

  • This area is "no longer a sacrifice zone"
  • Get rid of the strip clubs on Bloor. They are a magnet for drugs and prostitution.
  • Ban hand guns from the city. Only have one purpose, to kill.
  • Change happens, and we need "the old welcoming the new"
  • Transportation designed for us
  • Live and work locally

Question #5

Narrowing of Lansdowne Ave.: A resident from the Bloor and Lansdowne area asked, "What do you feel about the Lansdowne narrowing?"

Kirk Russell:

  • "Intimately involved with the Bloor-Lansdowne project"
  • Will convert it back
  • "Not safe for you, me or children"

Jack Triolo:

  • Has been dishonesty from Adam Giambrone
  • Promises fair representation

Hema Vyas:

  • Was door knocking on Lansdowne this past weekend.
  • There are concerns with crossing the street.

Ken Wood:

  • Was initially in favour of the narrowing, but now sees problems with it.
  • Need people involved in the decision making

Ana Bailão:

  • "Easier to divide than to bring people together"
  • Problem with the bike sharrows (street is too narrow, planners would not use sharrows in this situation if it were done again)
  • Problems with the process
  • Will bring leadership and consultation

Kevin Beaulieu:

  • Won't be looking to the past
  • A leader does listen to the community
  • "I am a consensus builder"
  • "Can't say I will reverse it"
  • Thinks the result is good

Frank de Jong:

  • 50% of the trips taken in this ward are not by driving. At this point he asked the audience how many people do not have cars and do not drive. A large portion, probably close to 50%, raised their hands.
  • Why do we design our roads for people outside of the area?

Nha Le:

  • It now looks like a "highway to hell".

Question #6

Goals and edges: I believe it was Eli Malinsky who brought this up: "Public consultation is usually a farce. ... There's no single opinion." Two-part question: 1) What will you specifically do when you take office, 2) What do you have as an edge over the others?

Jack Triolo:

  1. Not thinking for people
  2. Trust, vision, etc.

Hema Vyas:

  1. Development that will fit within the context of the communities
  2. Experience working with communities and government processes, with a fresh perspective at City Hall.

Ken Wood:

  1. Promised to spend $20,000 of his salary plus bulk of office budget to communicate with residents
  2. Not in it for the money, and want to see positive change

Ana Bailão:

  1. Gentrification is happening, but she wants to maintain arts and diversity. Also city-wide issues, like keeping the budget in order and maintaining essential services.
  2. Knowing the area, her own perspective, and challenging the status quo.

Kevin Beaulieu:

  1. Need buy-in and consultation with residents. Make a blueprint for the neighbourhood, and maintain it as a living document. Build Transit City.

Frank de Jong:

  1. People-centred urban design that accommodates children, parents, social cohesion, safety, etc.
  2. Passion and vision for Ward 18.

Nha Le:

  1. Improve public transit

Kirk Russell:

  1. Have all communities working together
  2. "Not running for City Hall, running for Ward 18"

Question #7

Question directed to Ken Wood: Regarding your disability: How would you deal with working in a bureaucratic position?

Ken Wood:

  • Lots of previous management experience
  • Volunteer work, member of various boards, etc.

Question #8

Managing city budgets, etc.: A resident who is a local business owner for 42 years asked, "Are you able to manage a large city budget and debts., how would you save money, etc."

Hema Vyas:

  • Have worked and volunteered with non-profits. "Can stretch a dollar".
  • Works with large budgets at current job.

Ken Wood:

  • Will surround himself with the right people to help.
  • Start with basic values, then consult with people, experts, etc.

Ana Bailão:

  • Not a business owner, but a homeowner. Much experience with family budgets.
  • Make sure we have services that we need.
  • Strong business background.
  • Go through budget line-by-line and bring it to residents.
  • Question the budget.

Kevin Beaulieu:

  • Councillors have a responsibility with the budget
  • Has small business experience
  • Not every councillor is an accountant
  • Community priorities must be discussed and respected
  • Ensure that money is not spent irresponsibly

Frank de Jong:

  • Get rid of the Ontario Municipal Board. It costs the developers, city, and residents huge amounts of money.
  • Save $50million per year by stopping flouridation of the drinking water.
  • Save money by removing the redundant school boards: Merge public and catholic boards.

Nha Le:

  • Need to work harder
  • Make cuts

Kirk Russell:

  • Money should be equally distributed
  • Spend on necessities, not waste

NOTE: The last few questions were intended to have a short answer to fit in at the end of the meeting. Not all candidates answered all questions.

Question #9

Personal Improvement: A resident asked, "What is an area of your own life that you would like to improve on?"

Ken Wood: "Passion carries me away"
Hema Vyas: Improve my running time back to what it used to be
Kirk Russell: Stubbornness
Nha Le: "Soft about myself"
Kevin Beaulieu: More time spent enjoying arts and culture
Ana Bailão: Being a workaholic

Question #10

Bike lane loading zones: Would you support a loading / unloading zone in the bike lanes on Dupont St.?
Ken Wood: Can make an exception
Jack Triolo: Too much money is spent on the process with tickets
Kirk Russell Yes.
Frank de Jong: Need to serve the local businesses
Ana Bailão: This needs to be addressed
Kevin Beaulieu: "Probably". Need to get together to discuss solution.

Question #11

Professional candidates and future ambitions: A resident wanted to know the future political aspirations of the candidates who are associated with a party (Beaulieu/NDP, Bailão/Liberal), and whether they would stick around for their full term if elected. Ken Wood also wanted to hear from Frank De Jong who has also run provinically for the Green Party.

Frank de Jong: Would definitely stay. Local politics is the most interesting, satisfying, and superior.
Ana Bailão: Running locally. Has never worked for provincial or federal parties. Has worked for public sector for 7 years, plus local volunteering.
Kevin Beaulieu: "Absolutely committed"

Closing Remarks

Ana Bailão:

  • Need to increase participation, community commitment, vision, engagement, accountability, etc.
  • "Your voice will be my voice at City Hall."

Kevin Beaulieu:

  • This meeting itself is a consultation process
  • "I have learned alot today"
  • Focus on positive things that this community already does, and build on strengths

Frank de Jong:

  • Need to go farther with waste /garbage reduction. Work together with province and feds.
  • Election reform, ranked ballots, and "Better Ballots" movement.
  • We're at a critical juncture with urban renewal. Have opportunity now.
  • Get involved, stay involved

Nha Le:

  • "Came to Canada with no money, but still I am strongest, most capable"
  • "Toronto will become champion city"
  • "I came from hell. I used to live on the streets of Toronto"

Kirk Russell:

  • "Listen first, act second"
  • Promises to "Give you respect, empower you, include you"
  • "New direction"

Jack Triolo:

  • Represent the community
  • Be a leader

Hema Vyas:

  • Passion for city building
  • Moving forward
  • Strong tack record

Ken Wood:

  • Need to be tougher in this ward about what we let happen on our streets
  • "I'm not the same"
  • "Believe me, I saved a tree!"

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Indifference

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.
– Elie Wiesel

All Candidates writeup and video in The Boordale Press

The Bloordale Press has a writeup about the meeting, including some video of the candidates' opening remarks:
http://thebloordalepress.wordpress.com/politics/640-2/

Positive news: Tuesday's all-candidates debate

I went to Tuesday's all-candidates debate at Casa da Madeira. Virginia Novak was the moderator. All things considered the event went well. Jack and Virginia deserve credit for a job well done. It wasn't perfect but I left feeling I knew who were the strong candidates (in my opinion Kevin Beaulieu, Frank de Jong and Ana Bailao) and who wasn't. Ken Wood isn't a strong candidate but he was articulate and had some interesting things to say for which I give him credit. I saw Vic assiduously taking notes so I'm guessing we can expect a full report soon. There was a good turnout. The room was almost full. It would be nice to have a view more of these, but that would require someone to take the initiative and do the work. It won't be me. :-)

Debate notes coming soon

Michael's right about the assiduousness of my note-taking. :) Have lots to post..hopefully will get around to it later today or tomorrow. Will quickly comment that this was a well-executed event.

Ken Wood asked me to post an email on his behalf

Hi Jack,

I just tried to post the following on http://www.junctiontriangle.ca/node/719 and got "The spam filter installed on this site is currently unavailable. Per site policy, we are unable to accept new submissions until that problem is resolved. Please try resubmitting the form in a couple of minutes."

Could you please post for me? Thanks
Ken

Re: Ward 18 All Candidates Meeting

Just want to say I appreciated all the hard work done by the organizers and the promotion done by all the candidates, as well as on this website.

A major concern of mine is Jack's comment that: "When I was delivering the flyers I had many residents say, they don't trust politicians and it won't make a difference who is in"

This is the core of our growing voter apathy - or is it disenchantement/disgust? with elections.
I suggest we all need to do more to sell the importance of voting and we to get the message out something like:

* You certainly won't make a difference if YOU don't vote
* Not voting can hurt you more than voting - YOU will have to live with the consequences of other people's choices.
* You may not trust politicians, but sometimes the untrustworthy politicians who get elected trust YOU not to vote

Still working on this, but maybe some of you have better arguments for the importance of voting. I really want to see a better voter turnout than last time.

Voter turnout isn't everything

I'm not that concerned about voter turnout. I would rather see city councillors elected by a small number of informed voters than a large number of people who are just voting because they feel they have to. For that reason I don't like get out the vote campaigns. Politics and public policy aren't for everybody. If some people would rather watch a hockey game or a movie than go to a political meeting, I say leave them be.

Low turnout

Low turnout does not relate to higher quality of decision making.
It sends a message that few people care. The result is more likely to be corruption than wisdom.
However I would agree that there is more to it than turnout. A vote that follows a robust discussion is likely to have both a higher level of thought and a higher participation rate.
It is important to find good information. I have been amazed at the number of news agencies that picked up a story that there was an "expert" recommending using a nuclear bomb to stop the oil spill in the gulf. Imagine using a hand grenade to stop a leaky faucet. This guy is no expert, just someone looking for media coverage.
I do believe that when we demand politicians lie to us they will oblige - we can hardly blame them.
They are so afraid of the Jimmy Carter cardigan image that they will avoid meaningful discussion of energy. Nobody thinks about WHY we are drilling 18 thousand feet bellow the Gulf of Mexico and ripping up half of Alberta for bitumen when light sweet crude used to be easy to get. Politicians are not going to tell us. They don't have to.
So education and discussion are important.
But simple attention is also worth something. If they are left unattended, politicians will start rolling back the rights that we think we have won. Slowly at first. Maybe using DRM to get our computers to rollback our privacy. Then maybe they might try a "non-controversial" rollback on reproductive rights.
I think it is important to keep many eyes on politicians. Voter turnout is a symbol of that.

Democracy has come to mean in

Democracy has come to mean in most cases the right not to vote, not to be informed, not to participate at all. This works when those that do vote represent a picture of the whole but can be subverted when a particular issue drives people to the polls (read "What's Wrong With Kansas?" which explains how so-called "culture wars" were manufactured to encourage voters to go to the polls and vote Right, even though it was not in their economic best interest to do so).

Unless there is 100% mandated voting, the wishes and mindset of the un-voters is basically unknown and nobody can be accused of anything if less than 100% of the population participates because you just don't know. The people who chose to be involved should never be blamed for those who don't (although its a common smear).

Another way of looking at

Another way of looking at this is through the lens of history. Do we owe it to those who fought for our right to vote to exercise our right to vote? I think we do. What did my grandfather and Uncles and all the other men and women who fought and suffered and died in WW2 do it for, if not our right to vote? They didn't go to Europe to defend our right to processed food, they did it to defend democracy from a maniacal dictator. Our vote is the fundamental basis of this system. Flawed as it may be it's a lot better than having Hitlers grandson rule over us. For all the women out there, do you remember the Suffragettes? They fought for the right to vote for women and it wasn't that long ago. They were jailed, beaten, ostracized and worse so women today could vote.
I believe it is disrespectful to all of the people mentioned above, their suffering and their memory not to vote. And really, how hard is it to take 20 minutes every 2 years or so to go put an 'X' on a piece of paper?

Jeff

I think many people vote because it's there duty and want to

To me voting is a gift. We live in a democracy and you should have a say who runs your Country, City or Ward. Yes, for some it's a chore to go out and vote, but many feel that want to vote. Not only is this a right, but a privilege. Many countries around the world don't have this right. Others that do, will line up for hours just to vote, they feel it's their duty. We need to encourage citizens to vote. Mike some politicians might support your idea of a small group of informed voters, this is how some might get elected. For me having as many voters out there gives the area a more diverse opinion. I will do all I can to make sure we get as many residents to get out and vote. Plus it gives them bitching rights.

At the same time trying to inform them and getting residents involved and empowering to care for their hood. JF

RE:Ken's comment

I agree with Ken, When I heard the comments from residents. I told many that I disgree with them and that there votes can make a difference and that this is a privilege living in a democracy. There are many reason's I guess why many don't vote for municipal election. For some, many associate people and party. I remember people asking, which party is so and so associated with.

I hope the City does a better job in promoting the election and the importantance for voting and that they do that as many languages as possible. WE keep hearing about how low the turn out is for Municipal Elections, then let's change that. JF

Thanks Mike for the feed back

Hey Mike thanks for you input. Yes both Virginia and I tried very hard. I should also include Joan Tintor the Time Keeper in this who had the hardest role inthe debate. I won't lie, it wasn't easy not saying anything, but this wasn't about us, but the residents. I was also glad to see a good turn out, we recieved good response and out of the 1500 flyers we distributed, we had a hand full of complaints and everyone read them on the SJT website. Now seeing the success of this debate. I am now trying to organized a Mayor's Candidate debate in Ward18/Davenport. I am now working on the scheduling with each camp. So far I have a few committments.
So if anyone has any input or suggestions, please pass them along. This won't happen till September unfortunately. Thank you for all those who came out. JF

Debate

I too was at the debate and agree that Virginia did a good job as mediator. I have to disagree that the turn out was good. I saw a lot of empty seats in the back. This is proof that not everyone reads their mail or is willing to contribute. It was also unclear for me who the interpreters were. Having arrived a little late I might have missed that announcement. For the Mayoral Debate it might be a good idea that each interpreter hold a double sided sign identifying them with the language they are interpreting for and seated some where near the back so as not to interupt others by talking/ interpreting. They do something of this fashion at the TDSB meetings.

The turnout - glass half full?

When the debate started I counted 40 people including some people who were there with the candidates, but when I looked behind me later the room had filled up. There were still empty seats but there were at least double as many people as at the beginning. Let's be conservative and say there were 80 audience members. I consider that a good turnout for an event like this because in my experience political meetings don't attract a lot of people.

To Be Fair

To be fair to Katie's observation "...that not everyone reads their mail or is willing to contribute.", approx. 80 people showing up from 1500 flyers being sent out still means that it's hard to get people to participate in community meetings.

I wanted to go the debate but couldn't because my partner worked late and I had to care for our kids.

Re: To be fair

It's hard to tell with meetings how will residents will react and how many will show. Like Mike said, 80 people showed, to me that is good.

Other reason for the low turn out:
-Could be the negative feed back from others.

-Maybe seeing it was Virgina and I organizing it, they didn't know what to expect and people were protesting.

-Could be the location, been the north tip of the ward.

-When I was delivering the flyers I had many residents say, they don't trust politicians and it won't make a difference who is in.

When I was talking to Donna early today, we suggested maybe Kent or Bloor Street school for the Mayor's Debate. Making it close to the subway. Central for everyone.

I have a list of people who are in media, who might make a good moderator. I think Virginia did a good job, but she agreed with me today about getting someone professional for the Mayor's debate.

Katie asked about the interpreters, yes all 5 Interpreters were there, but sent away after no one needing any Interpreters. They were not upset, as I warned them ahead of time that we many or may not them. But I did meet some good people for future meeting.

At least we informed residents about the meeting, regardless if they decide to show or not. My mom was happy to get it in Italian and so were her neighbours.

I got feed back the candidates and only one mentioned how great it was that I reconized others in the neigbourhood. JF

It sounds like a very good

It sounds like a very good turnout considering the election is still 5 or 6 months away.