My endorsement for councillor

Let’s start with this: Frances Nunziata is an excellent retail politician. If you call her, she will call you back. If you need something done, she’ll get it done.

But Weston has been suffering under her watch. Stores along Weston Road are struggling. Transit is gasping. We seem to be in a constant state of construction and disruption, and our town is getting very little out of work that will benefit everyone but us. Something is wrong.

And though this is not entirely Nunziata’s fault (she did not invent the digital camera that killed Kodak), Nunziata’s politics are not helping.

Frances—can I call her Frances?—is part of Ford Nation. She believes in subways, cars, and low taxes. She believes in business, the little guy, public-private-partnerships, and small government. And these are good things. Except for Weston.

They’re not what Weston needs right now. Weston needs public infrastructure and public goods. These are things that increased taxes buy.

What kind of public goods? Things that will make Weston a more pleasant place to do business and a more delightful place to live. Off the top of my head:

  •  Childcare
    • A city-subsidized childcare would make this a more desirable neighbourhood for young couples. We used to have one.
  • Functioning, funded transit
    • Buses, buses, buses. Bus infrastructure. Express buses. Articulated buses. Decent bus shelters (why do we wait outside in the winter?)
  • Bike paths
    • Join the Humber gap, create safe bike infrastructure to get to the GO, and build a bike path along Wilson to join North York and Toronto.
    • Build a path south to the Junction and Bloor. It’s impossible to get there now by bike.
  • Public art
    • Work with the BIA to make Weston Road lovely again
  • Trees and parks
    •  Trees along Weston Road and Jane Streets would calm traffic and noise and create a nicer pedestrian environment
    • The dilapidated houses on Weston must be expropriated and demolished.
  • Indoor community spaces.
    • A YMCA would be great, but let’s start small. There are no community programs at schools in Weston. Why not? The Elms and Amesbury have them. Weston could too.

These require taxes, government, patience, and cooperation. These are not the beliefs of Ford Nation.

You might then think that Dory Chalhoub would be my endorsement.

He is not.

Calhoub has guts. He’s running on a shoestring budget against an entrenched opponent. He shows up, he campaigns, and he tries. And he ought, above all, to be commended for that. I salute him wholeheartedly for his noble, and Quixotic, campaign.

But I cannot endorse him.

While Chalhoub he has put himself forward as the person to fix the riding he, too, appears to be fiscally conservative, and as long as he thinks that we can fix our problems without working together—and that’s just another way of saying “taxes”—then he is mistaken.

He has no experience. Chalhoub says that every new candidate starts off without it. True. But other candidates prove themselves in the minor leagues before trying out for the majors: Chalhoub, as far as I know, has not been much involved in the riding, certainly not in Weston or Mount Dennis.

Dory—can I call him Dory?—also lacks vision. He did not respond to PositionPrimer or InsideToronto to give details about his platform. (Nunziata did.) Dory did not even disclose which mayoral candidate he would back—surely the shortest cut to a platform he could take. His website is incomplete (the links to his policy pages are broken), he has no social media, and even the photos on his website are clipart: in this beautiful town, he chose a picture from Hamilton to represent neighbourhood beauty.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say he’s running on a very simple platform: “Not Nunziata. But close.” The lack of policy could be intentional. Like staring at clouds, we can see what we want to.

Our choice, then, is between two unsatisfactory candidates, neither of whom seems to have a long-term vision for Weston.

I cannot endorse either.

Author: Adam Norman

I am raising my two children in Weston.

12 thoughts on “My endorsement for councillor”

    1. I will vote. I hope there is a difference between endorsing and voting, even though I suspect that the distinction is bad faith.

      I will be interested to see what the turnout is, how many people vote for Jose Garcia, how many spoiled ballots there are. I think that all of those are in some way protests.Report

  1. What to do, what to do??? Please someone tell me. I agree with everything you said Adam, but I can’t not vote. Woe is me…

    You should run next time around. Everyone knows you and (as far as I know) likes you. This time, it’s a wash 🙁Report

    1. Thank you, Mr Chalhoub, for replying. I’m sorry that I got out ahead of you. I waited a day for a response, but I assure you, I’ve been thinking about these issues and my endorsement for a long time. I would still be interested in hearing your answers to the questions I sent you:

      My questions were:

      • Who do you endorse for mayor? If you do not endorse someone, with whom do you disagree most?
      • What are the problems facing Weston–Mount Dennis? What concrete plans do you have to mitigate those problems?

      • What do you think can be done to improve the streetscapes in Weston and Mount Dennis?
      • What will you do to improve incomes and jobs here?
      • Do you live in the riding?
      • What are the best parts of Weston and Mount Dennis? What advantages do we have?
      • And, what the heck: what do you think of Rob Ford?

      I’m very glad that you have released a more detailed platform. I will review it and report on it. While your platform does respond to some of the questions in general terms, the questions in bold remain unclear.

      But thank you, and, indeed, good luck.

  2. Dear Mr. Chalhoub:

    Glad you’ve taken the time to join the forum here. I have my own question:

    Since a huge part of your limited public profile centred around your self-proclaimed business experience and acumen and the resulting attention to details and client expectations, etc., could you explain how a registered corporation that lists you as its sole director was “dissolved for non-compliance”?
    Here’s the relevant link on the Industry Canada website:

    It would appear the business failed to submit annual filings.

    I don’t want to cast aspersions, but if you can’t run a business within the established regulatory framework, how can you expect to represent the interests of 60,000 people who are, in effect, shareholders in a $10-billion a year enterprise known as the City of Toronto?


    A concerned voter

    PS Note that I’ve already voted for Mr. Garcia because I’ve lost confience in Ms. Nunziata and, frankly, felt that you were too much like her in your publicly-expressed views.Report

  3. I don’t live in Weston, but I have volunteered here for a long time, and as an objective observer I am astounded by this article. One need only walk along Weston Road, to see countless reasons why Frances Nunziata has been a disaster for your neighbourhood. Perhaps the urban blight which is prevelant in this area has become a familiar background, which you no longer notice, but as one who sees it only once a week, let me assure you, this is now the worst neighbourhood in Toronto.

    The ugliness of its store fronts, its languishing empty stores and desolate garbage strewn lots scream of a management which is not just neglectful. This type of urban decay, in a city which is brimming with development and vibrant activity, indicates active obfuscation. There have been no positive changes in Weston for the last 30 years, which is about as long as, Frances has been Mayor and councillor.

    If Frances will “get things done when you call her”, might I suggest you call and ask for a cleaner more attractive area.

    You delineate a long series of needs to make Weston “a pleasant place too live”. Most of these are not difficult and do not require large amounts of funding, so why does this community have none? Will Frances magically provide them after this election? One of Dr. Phil’s few good quotes is “insanity is constantly doing the same thing, but expecting different results.” You may not be endorsing Frances, but by casting aspersion on Dory Chalhoub, you are in fact, if not in words giving her your endorsement.

    I don’t know much about Dory, but your criticism of him smacks of an attempt to indirectly defend Frances’ abysmal record, by prejudging the man, shrugging your shoulders and implying that it is better to keep the devil you know.

    You may not know who Dory supports as mayor, but you do know who Frances has supported for the last four years. He may not have been involved much in the ward, but neither has Frances and that has been her job since 1988. He may think “that we can fix our problems without working together”, but Frances does not even acknowledge that there is a problem. Frances, unlike Dory, may have responded to PositionPrimer or InsideToronto, but who would believe or trust anything she says?

    Dory’s website may be incomplete, but Frances’ professionally constructed web site has no bearing on your neighbourhood, unless you are planning to enter a virtual reality world.

    Ultimately, Adam, I have read article after article on this blog decrying and describing the problems of Weston. But now, by endorsing no one, you are tacitly endorsing an incumbent who has provided no positive change in 26 years. In this campaign she does not even find it necessary to hide her disdain for all her constituents, which includes you, Adam. She is not even campaigning for your vote; she has spent her time promoting her brother’s bid for a council seat.

    In the words of Hegel, there can be no masters without willing slaves.Report

  4. Wow! Thank you for this outsider’s view, one which screams at us every time we walk along Weston Road or Jane or Lawrence.

    This is desolation, and it seeps into our pores. I have not found Frances able to do anything but promise action which result in nothing.

    We can do better without her disregard.Report

  5. Thank you Westonite. I’m glad you and perhaps a few others were able to read my comment. I have a feeling Adam the Disemvoweller, will soon make short work of us both. se la vie, my consolation is I don’t have to live in Weston Village, or as many of its residents call it the ghetto sandwich.

    Isn’t it sad that after all the focus on crime, poor infrastructure, and lack of decent public facilities on Weston Web, Adam cannot bring himself to cut the Nunziata apron strings. I truly can only understand this through the eyes of Hegel.Report

  6. I don’t know why there seems to be the belief that Adam was endorsing Frances. I didn’t read it that way at all. He’s saying neither option is palatable. And pmprnl, your comments are extremely offensive. I don’t care how long you’ve volunteered in Weston, you obviously know nothing about the neighbourhood and don’t value our home so keep your comments to yourself.Report

Comments are closed.