Today in (Greater) Weston. August 14, 2018 (from Twitter).

Unfortunately, both Mr Tory and Ms Nunziata recently voted against a storm management strategy that would have reduced runoff water so their sympathy rings a little hollow. This problem has been with us for years and fixing it will require a modicum of political courage that has been lacking to date.

Letter of the Week from ‘Red Alert’.

This week’s letter comes from reader, ‘Red Alert’ responding to this article and is somewhat representative of a mindset that inhabits the comment section of the Sun and National Post. The usual mantra of ‘hardworking taxpayers’ is mixed in with the prospect of us becoming like Venezuela.

‘Red’ opens his letter by mocking the article’s suggestion that Frances Nunziata and Frank DiGiorgio are right leaning. Then he gets to the meat of his argument, the waste of taxpayer money on unnecessary ‘socialist’ programs.

Right leaning? Who wrote this nonsense. They are all socialists talking platitudes, promising SOCIALIST  welfare programs and services on the backs of hardworking taxpayers in order to get elected by enslaving you. The City should not be in the business of managing Provincial or Municipal social programs or infrastructure. The city should not be in the housing business, retirement/long term care home business, children’s services business , social welfare business. They only know how to run businesses into the ground.  If you want your property taxes to remain low and lowered, demand the city follow it’s original mandate of providing basic services that everyone uses, like police, fire, sewer & water, roads, emergency services, etc. and spending within it’s means and operating any services at a zero sum gain and not a loss. The TTC operates at a colossal loss, it’s mind blowing; More than half of the gross TTC budget is made up of revenue the TTC takes in from fares. Discounting that revenue, the city will spend $576.8 million to SUBSIDIZE with your taxes, conventional service this year ( to pay for the loss) and a staggering $143.4 million to subsidize Wheel-Trans, that often sits idling, moving one person at a time to go shopping or other errands. What a life, hey? What a joke!   Spending billions of dollars the city doesn’t have on services offered at a loss demonstrates politicians gone mad to keep their jobs and stay in power.  It’s a page taken out of SOCIALIST Venezuela, currently going bankrupt and in the mist of hyperinflation which brings poverty and misery. Do you want this for Torontoians? Wake up before it’s too late for you.

Let’s take a few of these points and expand them. ‘Red’ thinks that the city should not spend money on:

  • Infrastructure
  • Transit including Wheel-Trans
  • Public housing
  • Retirement/long term care homes
  • Children’s services business
  • Social welfare

I’m assuming, ‘Red’, that you drive everywhere, never take transit or visit a park. It sounds like you have been lucky enough in life to never need any social services, either personally or for a family member. I’m assuming that you don’t plan on getting old or needing a long term care home. Presumably you would have been ok with letting the AIDS and SARS outbreaks run their course and don’t use the library.

Red, did you know that  if Toronto’s property taxes were increased by 24%, that would bring them up to the average level in the GTA? That must make you feel good.

Here’s a couple of pie charts outlining what the city does and where the money comes from. A lot of the stuff the city does is because no other level of government will. For example, community housing used to be a provincial responsibility until Premier Mike Harris arbitrarily downloaded it to municipalities in 1998 (while stiffing them for adequate funds).

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

Every country in the world subsidizes transit. There is no shortage of scholarly articles to show that subsidizing transit not only makes life better for people, it lowers pollution and keeps cars off the road. If it’s any comfort, Red, Toronto at about $1 has the lowest per fare subsidy level of any city in North America yet despite that, one of the most threadbare subway systems in the free world. Ka-ching; more money for hard working taxpayers like you.

Mayor Tory reacts with astonishment on seeing a real subway map while travelling on the London Underground. (From the Toronto Star.)

Try and imagine what would happen if subsidies ended and single fares rose to the cost recovery level of $5. People would go back to their cars causing gridlock. Less travelled bus routes would be cancelled and bus and subway schedules would be trimmed leading to further loss of ridership forcing even higher fares.

As for Wheel-Trans, you seem to resent that it’s used for shopping or personal errands. Well duh; if you were unlucky enough to be disabled what would you use Wheel-Trans for? How do you suggest disabled people buy food or get to appointments?

Incidentally, if you truly believe that Frances Nunziata and Frank DiGiorgio are ‘socialists’ in the way you understand the term, I’ll have to vigorously defend them. The Toronto taxpayer, labouring under the lightest tax load in the GTA has no greater friend than these two. Just look at Wards 11 and 12 and you can tell that a great deal of effort has gone into saving taxpayers money over their combined six decades in office. Poverty is everywhere, litter is everywhere, basements are flooding, buses are crowded, many storefronts are shabby and often unoccupied, public housing is run down and they’ve kept our streets free of business-killing, traffic-pinching bike lanes used by unlicensed hipster freeloaders.

I think you owe them an apology.

Lastly, ‘Red’, next time you want to use the term socialism, you should understand that it refers to a system where the people own and / or control the means of production and distribution. I think we’re still light years away from that. Maybe if we had socialism, there would be less need to tip the scales in the other direction.

Nunziata challenged to refuse corporate and developer donations

It’s well known that a small number of people finance the election campaigns of most councillors in this city, especially incumbents. In Ward 12, much of this money comes from outside the ward and is no doubt given in expectation of future considerations. Brave are candidates who refuse such money as it’s harder to collect small amounts from a larger number of people.

Strictly speaking, only individuals can donate to a councillor’s election campaign and the cap on such donations is $750. In effect though, wealthy business owners can exert an undue influence as very few people can afford to donate so generously – even with the rebates that the city gives to donors. Toronto keeps track of complete donation lists on this website.

Here is a list of $400+ and/or well known donors to Councillor Nunziata‘s 2014 campaign. Few of these people lived in the ward the time and in fact more than a third of her donors didn’t even live in Toronto. Ward 11 residents are marked in blue.

  • Constantine Alexiou, (Ward 11), $600
  • Palvinder Aujla, (Mississauga) $750
  • Pritpal Aujla, (Mississauga) $750
  • Alex  Bela, (Richmond Hill) and Jack Matrosov (North York) $2000 – Checker Taxi
  • Maurizio Bicci, (Ward 17) $400
  • Gloria Bielak, (Forest Hill) $750 – St Helens Meat Packers
  • Adam Brown, (Yonge/Sheppard) $500
  • Roslyn Brown, (Downtown Toronto) $750
  • Fran Caplan, (York Mills / Yonge) $400
  • Frank Caruana, (Mississauga) $500
  • Paul Caruana, (Junction) $400
  • Chau Yan-Thoai, (Etobicoke) $400
  • Carlo Corsetti, (Richmond Hill) $400
  • Ettore Corsetti, (Newmarket) $400
  • Patrick Corsetti (East Guillimbury) $400
  • Manuel DaCosta, (King City) $750
  • Debra DeMonte (High Park) $400
  • Rueben Devlin, (North York) $200 – Former President & CEO Humber River Hospital
  • Robert Deluce, (Summerhill) $300 – President of Porter Airlines – Donated $3930 to 10 candidates (Holyday, Colle, Minnan Wong, Kelly Crisanti), 8 of whom won.
  • Sean Didierserre, (Forest Hill) $600
  • Thomas Erlich, (St Clair East / Mount Pleasant Road) $600
  • Bob Foley, (Ward 11) $400
  • Karla Ford, (Etobicoke) $750 – Doug Ford’s Wife
  • Masum Hossein (Mississauga) $200 – Weston BIA Chair
  • Gabriella Galli, (Ward 11) $400
  • Mitchell Goldhar, (North York) $350 – SmartCentres Real Estate Income Trust. Donated a total of $3300 to 9 candidates, all of whom won.
  • Khalid Irshad, (Milton) $400
  • Cameron Johnstone, (Georgetown) $600
  • John Johnstone, (Ancaster) $400
  • Jose Lourenco, (Davenport / Dufferin) $750
  • Terry Mantzukis, (Ward 11) Realtor $400
  • Alex Matrosov (Richmond Hill) Wheelchair Taxi business $750
  • Bela Matrosov (Richmond Hill) $750
  • Pina Morelli, (Woodbridge) $750
  • Holly Murdoch (Mississauga) $400
  • Tim Neeb (Mississauga) $400
  • Aleksander Nikolovski, (Eglinton / Spadina) $400
  • Frances Nunziata, $20
  • Frances Nunziata, $1613.42 – Signs and office supplies from previous campaign
  • Cormac O’Muiri, (Mississauga) $500
  • David Paiva, (Dufferin / Dupont) Luso Canadian Masonry Ltd. $750
  • Matthew Pantalone, (Etobicoke) $750 – Developer
  • Pat Pelosi, (Woodbridge) $750
  • George Politis, (Bolton) $400
  • Frank Raso, (Etobicoke) $400
  • John Ruddy, (Gloucester, ON) $750 Ottawa developer
  • Dero Sabatini, (Etobicoke) $400 Mississauga – TD Bank VP
  • Marvin Sadowski, (North York) $500 – Former Developer?
  • Stacey Scher, (Aurora) $600  – All Canadian Self Storage
  • Bruno Schickedanz, (Kettleby, ON) $750 – Developer and Woodbine horse owner
  • Conrad Schickedanz, (North York) $250 – Developer
  • Tony Scianitti, (Maple) $750 – Developer
  • George Seretis, (Thornhill) $400 – Easy Plastic Containers Vaughan
  • Darryl Simsovic, (Oakville) $400 CEO – Trillium College (Private career college)
  • Marcel Stirpe, (Woodbridge) $200 Toronto Chrysler
  • Paul Sutherland, (Grafton ON), $200, Former Toronto Councillor, now lobbyist. Involved in TPA Emery Village land purchase.
  • Tim Tallon, (Etobicoke) $400
  • Alan Tonks, (North York) $200 – Former YSW MP
  • Chris Tonks, (North York) $300 – TDSB Trustee
  • Alan Tregebov, (Deer Park) $200 – Architect
  • Steven Upton, (East Toronto) $600 – Tridel
  • Lou Vavaroustos,  (Woodbridge) $750 – Old Mill Cadillac
  • Susan Vavaroutsos, (Woodbridge) $750
  • John Ward, (Etobicoke) $500 – Ward Funeral Home
  • Jack Winberg, (North York) – $200 – Weston Hub Developer
  • Hua Yang, (Downtown Toronto) – $500
  • Don Yuill, (Ward 11) $500

Oddly, none of Ms Nunziata’s 135 donors donated less than $200.

The generous rebates offered to donors – even those living outside the city.

Chiara Padovani is  running against Councillor Nunziata (and if Doug Ford has his way, Ward 12 Councillor Frank DiGiorgio). She has stated that she will not accept donations from any business interests including developers.

One can ask if this is a strategic mistake that will hamstring Ms Padovani’s campaign or will voters choose to reward a candidate who does things differently?

United ward spells trouble for Nunziata and DiGiorgio

From CTV News.

Under the proposed new municipal setup, councillors will represent federal ridings and as a result, Wards 11 and 12 will become one. In York South-Weston, two incumbents, Frances Nunziata and Frank DiGiorgio will be battling for the same job and will likely split the vote since they are both right-leaning, developer friendly and often vote in unison with Mayor Tory. Left-leaning Chiara Padovani has been mounting a solid campaign, canvassing extensively in old Ward 11 and from today will no doubt begin to make an impression on voters in old Ward 12.

If Ward 11 largely votes for Nunziata and Ward 12 for DiGiorgio, depending on the strength of the votes and the turnout, Padovani could scoop the progressive Ward 11 and 12 votes and come through the middle – even with a relatively small percentage of York South-Weston’s overall vote.

No doubt Ms. Padovani will join the chorus of protests at Doug Ford’s move to shrink council but it should work in her favour. Look for strategists on both incumbent teams to set their sights on Ms Padovani once campaigning gets under way in earnest. It won’t be pretty.

Nunziata supports smaller council

Frances Nunziata supports Doug Ford’s plan to shrink Toronto City Council.

Nunziata and 10 other incumbents held a press conference lending their support to Ford’s plan. Doing so, they sided against John Tory, the mayor.

Wags on Twitter suggested that they could immediately make City Council smaller  by resigning.

Ford disrupts Toronto Council

So it’s official; Doug Ford, disrupting in the style of Donald Trump, will soon present legislation to axe the number of Toronto wards from what would have been 47 to 25. Ford, looking confident and as if he is hitting his stride, made the announcement at a press conference this morning. Calling Toronto Council, ‘The most dysfunctional arena in the country’, he  revealed that city wards will be gone; instead, councillors will represent areas that are identical to federal / provincial ridings. After the next election, Wards 11 and 12 will be known as York South-Weston and represented by just one councillor.

Locally, Frances Nunziata and Frank DiGiorgio represent York South-Weston at Council and one of those two will not be returning after October if they both choose to fight for the YSW seat.  Many other familiar faces will not be back after October. The bad news is that it might be harder to get in touch with a councillor who will now have twice as many constituents. On the plus side, a smaller number at council meetings will find the process of passing legislation quicker and easier. A smaller number will mean greater name recognition, scrutiny and accountability for individual councillors.

There will be a lot of people very disappointed with the decision. There will be worries about a loss of democracy and representation. There may be a legal challenge. The bottom line is that in Ontario, city councils are ‘creatures of  the province’ and the higher level of government holds sway.

I don’t think anyone will miss a larger council’s decisions despite the recent flurry of common sense legislation coming from the rotunda this week (apart from ShotSpotter). Frankly, the record of Toronto Council is lousy. These are the people who have brought us neglect and mismanagement of public housing and transit, a subservience to developers, a proposed one-stop subway, threadbare infrastructure and dangerous streets for pedestrians and cyclists. On that basis alone, at least half deserve to be turfed. Will fewer councillors produce a less democratic council? With many wards failing to achieve a 50% election turnout, probably no less democratic than it is today.

Nominations for council have been extended until Sept 14 but the election date will still be Oct 22.

Today in Weston July 26, 2018

Weston lawyer and political activist, Saron Gabreselassi talks to reporters before her campaign launch tonight. Ms Gabreselassi is a candidate for mayor of Toronto in October’s civic election.