Junction Triangle Municipal Election Issues Forum

Municipal Election Issues Forum
Boo Radley’s
1482 Dupont Street
(1 Block East of Symington)
Thursday, August 26
8-10 p.m.

Taverns and saloons have played an important role in politics over the years. Often social and economic hubs, these are the places where people mix and exchange ideas. Political movements and a few rebellions have arisen at the edge of a bar.

With a fall election on the horizon, Boo Radley’s in the Junction Triangle takes up its traditional role and plays host to the Municipal Election Issues Forum on Thursday, August 26 from 8-10 p.m.

Meet the candidates for City Councillor in Ward 18-Davenport over a drink and discuss issues one-on-one in a casual environment.

Elections are too important to ignore. Political events don’t have to be stuffy or choked by the rigidity of traditional All Candidates debates.

Join us for a lively discussion and share your concerns for the future of the Junction Triangle.

A special thanks to Michael and Shelly at Boo Radley’s for hosting this important neighbourhood event!

(Note: Comments are now closed on this thread. To comment on the followup to this event, please go here. For general conversation about the election, go here.)


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Election meeting at Boo's - 1 week away

Looking forward to this. Thanks to everyone who put it together.

What do you think the hot topics of conversation will be?

Lots of interesting topics...

We're always prone to ask the candidates direct questions - and so we should...

At the same time, I'm wondering what we could learn (in a roundabout way) by asking the candidates to take ten minutes to write a one-pager entitled: Ward 18: The Past Four Years - and the Next Four Years. I suggest "writing" since the first couple of speakers might be at a disadvantage with an open question like that...

Hearing what they have to say about the the recent past (especially off the tops of their heads) could provide unscripted insight into what they truly think has been important (good or bad) over the past little while.

Hope to make it to Boo's.

Posting an email question to

Posting an email question to Ward 18 candidates, on behalf of Jutta Mason
September is almost here and I'd like to post some material about your various positions on public space issues (e.g. parks). We have a (still almost empty) section here: http://celos.ca/wiki/wiki.php.

I'd like to send you a practical public space issue from time to time over the next few weeks, and post your replies, linking them on the Dufferin Grove website, and then in October, on the cityrinks website too. I'm hoping you're interested and can make the time to respond. We'll advertise the link in the park newsletter and by word of mouth.

Here goes the first 'issue':
What's your position on city staff collaborating with park users when public funds are being spent for repairs or renovations to public facilities? Are you aware that City Council passed a non-consultation policy last year http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2010/ex/bgrd/backgroundfile-26065.pdf, regarding spending on Stimulus Funds projects AND state-of-good-repair projects? (That can include even million-dollar projects.)

Here is one example of what this means in practical terms in Ward 18:
The MacGregor field house Stimulus Fund renovation includes virtually boarding up the windows, NOT because of vandalism but because of a design error. This is what can happen when there is an explicit policy of not working with park users. It will make the building much less useful for programming and for community events.

If you could send your comments about this non-collaboration policy, including what you would do to remedy the bad consequences of central rather than local control, I'll post whatever you send.

Thanks for working for the public good!

Jutta Mason

Hot and Not-So-Hot but Should-Be Election Topics

In my opinion, the consistent hot topics in ward 18 are:

1. Respect for citizen consultation, councillor-community relations (same thing). We need a representative who will inform and involve us before things happen that affect us. "Don't Do Things TO Us... Do THings WITH Us"
2. Development and Planning. Just look at the heavy emphasis on the 'Brownstones on Wallace" discussions, the concerns about revitalizing business in our ward, the closing of schools like West Toronto. Obvious to me, residents want not just a say but some power in what will happen.
3. Taxes, User Fees, Budgets... MONEY issues: Mayor hopeful Rob Ford is popular because of his 'penny-wise' ways but is a swing to the right a good thing for ward 18? We need more spending on programs to improve our ward but where and how will that happen?
4. Transit, just getting around, bike lanes, complete streets: A common theme for the whole city but is this really a local issue for ward 18? Still, it does affect us too.

The "Not-So-Hot but Should-Be" topics:

5. Pedestrian Safety: Our population is aging dramatically, lots of seniors slowing down the 'car-centric' city we live in, too many injuries and deaths - many which have happened within our ward. Which candidate has the solutions?

6. Poverty, affordable housing, homelessness, food bank hunger issues: 1/3 of our residents have to less than $30,000 a year in an expensive city. Many of our residents are extremely low income, living on less than $12, 000 a year and/or may work in insecure temporary, no benefits, seasonal jobs. Housing costs are rising yet abandoned properties in the ward are everywhere. A LOT of people use food banks to survive but the food banks have supply issues that can't match rising demands.

7. Better Ballots, Changing How We Elect Representatives, Democracy, Voter Apathy:
Last election only 35% of us voted! Elected people get in with as little as 15-20% of the ward wanting them. The system is skewed towards property owners, not residents. Did you know that someone who lives outside our ward but owns property here can vote? Worse, their spouse can vote too. Rental people, tenants are second class voters. How is this a fair representative system?

8. Animal/pet bylaws, overpopulation of abandoned, stray and unwanted feral cats. This is a city-wide issue as evidenced by this recent documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9x1sOzaYU0 We must all have seen the scandals with the old Toronto Humane Society and the OSPCA. Don't pet owners vote?

9. G20, civil rights issues: We had a summer of blatant civil rights abuses with the G20 protests. Sure, it didn't reach much into our ward, but shouldn't we all be concerned with this?

This is the problem with elections. There is a push to boil things down to at most the top three issues and ignore the rest. We should remember we are electing someone to power over us for many years. I think it's silly to decide on a few issues... we need to know we can TRUST the winner to handle issues well that haven't even cpome up yet!

Bloor/Dundas City Report

Last year the City of Toronto produced a report about community services and facilities located in the area. The study provides an excellent overview of everything from schools, daycare, libraries, parks and social services. It concludes with a number of recommendations about improvements including more non-profit daycare facilities, the expansion of parkland in the neighbourhood and community access to the pool and playing field at Bishop Morracco Secondary.
With the municipal election on the horizon, it would be interesting to learn if the candidates for councillor in Ward 18 have plans to make some of these good things happen? You can view the entire report at http://www.toronto.ca/planning/pdf/bloordundas_csf_assessment_may09.pdf

Excellent link

Thanks for posting that. I do hope that the candidates are (or will become) well aware of the contents of this document. I'll have to take a closer look myself.

One thing that makes our neighbourhood's location interesting is that we're in the north-western edge of Ward 18, so our local services have some major overlap with other wards in the city (Ward 14, Parkdale - High Park, Gord Perks; Ward 17, Davenport, Cesar Palacio; Ward 13, Parkdale - High Park, Bill Saundercook; and Ward 11, York South-Weston, Frances Nunziata).

There's some good stuff to discuss here over beers with the candidates :)

Language / demographic discussion moved to its own topic

I created another forum over here, specifically for discussing this topic, since it seems to come up all the time.

Please post followups there, and NOT here. Let's keep this page focused on the Municipal Election Issues Forum event on August 26th.