New Year’s Resolutions for 2015

There is a saying that ‘All politics is local‘. Here in Weston, we are blessed with politicians and three levels of government that don’t neglect to tax us in various ways yet seemingly invest little in our neighbourhood.

This is my personal list for our politicians and even for the citizens of Weston. Readers are encouraged to add their own contributions.

There is much that is wrong with Weston and at the same time reason for optimism. Weston looks tired and could be so much more. Nobody likes to shop in a run down area yet customers are the life blood of stores. The type of main street layout seen along Weston Road is the basis of revitalization in Bloor West Village and other parts of the city. It’s one thing to attack political opponents for criticizing Weston’s appearance but as recent Council candidate Dory Chalhoub pointed out, the reality of litter strewn streets, empty stores and dilapidated signage stares us in the face every day.

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Bicycle (and skate) maker CCM went bankrupt in 1983 and yet we still use the slogan ‘Home of the Bicycle’.

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Our slogan could just as legitimately be ‘Home of the Skate’ or ‘Home of Bankruptcy’, or even… ‘Home of the B.I.A. (Weston Village Business Improvement Area is one of the oldest and has been going since 1979).

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Weston BIA Resolutions:

1. Come up with a plan to replace the tired bicycle logos and ‘Home of the Bicycle’ slogan with something more meaningful to Weston – perhaps along the lines of our proximity to the Humber and beautiful parkland.

2. Encourage BIA members to take advantage of the City of Toronto’s financial support for sign replacement.

3. Members should keep their properties in good order and clean up litter on a daily basis.

3. Work on schemes that will boost attendance at the Weston Farmers Market.

4. Stores that sit vacant for months on end do nothing for the community and lower custom in remaining stores. Contact owners and find creative ways of beautifying vacant storefronts and using empty space.

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Frances Nunziata: Resolutions:

1. Focus on the appearance of Weston through the B.I.A. and similar organizations as well as money from the City.

2. Work to reduce litter and visual pollution along Weston’s business areas.

3. Revitalize the Weston Farmers’ Market.

4. Find ways of dealing with empty storefronts that plague our business districts.

5. Continue to look for ways to bring meaningful and well paid employment to Weston.

6. Encourage and facilitate completion of the Humber Trail from Mallaby Park northward.

7. Encourage 12 Division officers to get out of their cars and walk the streets of Weston.

Laura Albanese: Resolutions

1. Use your position to get the Weston Farmers’ Market in on the LCBO pilot project (even though it’s now beginning its second year). This would surely boost attendance.

2. Continue to press Metrolinx to electrify the UP Express and the Kitchener GO line. Also continue your efforts to lower fares on the UP Express with the goal of creating an above ground commuter line that will serve communities along the way.

3. Look for grants that will elevate the poorer parts of the riding and encourage education and prosperity.

4. Look for a way to establish a government office in Weston. This will boost employment and stimulate local business.

5. Investigate the possibility of attracting a community college or university campus to Weston.

6. Work with Councillor Nunziata to encourage and facilitate completion of the Humber Trail from Mallaby Park northward.

Mike Sullivan: Resolutions

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1. It’s great that you have a constituency office here in Weston. Set an example by freshening the paint and landscaping its exterior. Use the business directly across the street as your model.

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2. Continue to bring matters pertaining to Weston to the attention of the community and the appropriate representative. No, your party is not in government; we get that. Yes, we understand you’re a federal politician, not a provincial politician or the city councillor. As an MP, your mandate is to help and facilitate matters for all your constituents and not be hung up about jurisdictions.

3. Work in conjunction with colleagues from the other levels of government to reduce the levels of crime and poverty in Weston.

4. Call attention to the role of payday loan companies and their predatory effects on the poor.

4. Continue to call attention to the Harper Government’s attack on the environment with particular emphasis on how it affects Westonians.

Citizens of Weston: Resolutions

1. We need to stop lamenting the past glories of Weston and move on. We have an active Historical Society that helps us celebrate the past. The only thing we can change is the future.

2. A vibrant shopping district needs people who will take the trouble to patronize its stores. Don’t expect stores to sell us what we want without actually visiting and spending money.

3. Crime levels in Weston are lower than in many areas of Toronto. Get out of the SUV. The walk will do us good.

4. Politicians have no idea what we think unless we tell them. Don’t be shy.

Weston Business Improvement Area: Phone: 416-249-0691

Laura Albanese: Phone: 416-243-7984

Frances Nunziata: Phone: 416-392-4091

Mike Sullivan: Phone: 416-656-2526

 

11 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolutions for 2015”

  1. Good for you for asking us to care. Another area to think about is to support Weston and local neighbourhood community services. We can use Pelmo Park Community centre and other Centres more often. Our city offers great programs for us to enjoy. You might meet more of your neighbours too as I did.

  2. I really love this post. I read through the whole thing starting to feel really hopeful and excited.. Especially the resolutions for the citizens of Weston; nailed it.

  3. Adam:
    Thank you for mentioning the Weston Historical Society. We are always trying to educate people on Weston’s past, not to “lament the past glory”, as you say, but to learn from it and appreciate it. Learning your roots helps a person know their neighbours and when you know your neighbours it is a safer neighbourhood.
    You can’t go back, and who would really want to, but history gives you roots and with your resolutions the future could give us wings.

  4. Cherri: Actually, I’m guilty of authoring this one. I specifically mentioned the WHS because it is so strong, active and useful. My point was that some people seem to regard Weston’s past as something golden and sacred to the extent that they seem to have abandoned hope for the future. In fact, in the Weston of days gone by there was poverty, crime and many of the issues that we deal with today. In addition, many Weston residents (such as myself) have roots elsewhere and we should try to find ways to make them feel included.

  5. This is a great post! Completely agree with resolutions for citizens, the BIA and Nunziata.

    A few comments on the other two:

    Laura Albanese does not have the power to enact 1, 2, 4, or 5 other than to advocate. 1 would be a decision of the LCBO, not a political one and actually I don’t think it would be a good idea to have liqour out in the open. We have enough drunks walking the streets and it would be a safety issue. 5 in particular she has no power over. Why and where would a school open in Weston anyway? I don’t see how it makes sense to any of the public colleges/universities and begging a private school to take the space would be the job of a real estate agent. 3 -people have to apply for grants. Urban Arts for instance has received many.

    Instead of freshening the paint, maybe Mike Sullivan could afford to have regular hours. I went there during the day and it was closed. 3, he has no power over, give this one to Nunziata. Too bad there isn’t more for him to do.

    1. “Laura Albanese does not have the power to enact 1, 2, 4, or 5 other than to advocate”. Of course Albanese does not have the power to enact any of the resolutions proposed, she isn’t a monarch. For that matter any individual MPP – including the premier – cannot act alone, so therefore they are all useless? No, they are not. It is their advocacy role that makes them so important to lobby their caucus for support and pass legislation. Seeing as the Liberals have a majority government, Mrs. Albanese is in a prime position to do so.

      #1. The LCBO certainly has a say where it plans to open a store, however it is a crown corporation and if the state wants a store open somewhere, it is going to open. Albanese, being a tool of the state has the ability to make this happen with the consent of her colleagues.

      There are a lot of drunks throughout the city, maybe prohibition is the answer…

      #2. See #1. This is quite blatantly in the provincial government jurisdiction…

      #3. If people are not applying for money, that is very much available as you seem to put it, perhaps she should try to educate those that would be eligible on how to apply.

      #4. See #1-2. Totally possible.

      #5. Find the space? Seeing as there is so much vacant lots throughout the riding, land could be redeveloped into a school? Maybe you do not see how it makes sense to have a university or more likely, college open up in the riding. But there are plenty of young people living in the riding that could benefit. At one time George Brown was looking taking up space in the old Kodak Lands, however that deal fell through… well done elected representatives.

      As for begging a private schools to move in, I don’t think that would really be an issue as post-secondary schooling is overwhelming non-private, receiving public funding in the great province of Ontario.

      Good point on Sullivan’s office hours.

  6. Happy to disagree. A few more points:

    1. I really doubt politicians make specific decisions such as locations. This is a bureaucratic process. It has to make sense from a business perspective and don’t see that it does.

    Plus as a Westonian, IMO I do not think it is a good idea whatsoever to have open liquor in a former parking lot from a SAFETY perspective.

    2. From what I understand, the government has already said that it would electrify the line and Albanese has pressed for lower fares several times.

    3. If people are looking for grants, call her office and they will help you. I enquired about one last year and they were helpful. Also, her monthly newsletter notifies people about grants.

    4. Again, I’m not sure what is meant by “government office”. She has a constituency office but it is not in Weston – are you saying that she should move?

    She would have no control over where they put Service Ontario’s as this is not a political decision whatsoever. Demand dictates supply.

    5. Surrounding students would benefit wherever a school opens up. That is a given. You have not answered the WHY.

    If a public post-secondary is looking at locations to expand, they have many things to consider and I doubt that they would care that some MPP is telling them where they should go. The government funds schools – they do not dictate. This is very clear.

    With private schools it is even more so a cost-benefit analysis and a politician would have no say.

    I think there is much confusion over what politicians actually do. When they are in power, they help write laws, advocate for their community in parliament, and assist their constituents as best they can.

    When they are not in power, they complain a lot against government in power, advocate for their community in parliament, and assist their constituents as best they can.

    Of course, I’m simplifying things but that’s basically it.

    1. Sarah, just a quick clarification about ‘liquor in parking lots’. This is an ongoing pilot project whereby Ontario VQA producers are being allowed to sell wine at farmers markets across Toronto. This link explains the process.
      Weston’s Farmers Market was not in the pilot presumably because wineries thought our residents wouldn’t generate enough sales. Ms. Albanese’s role in facilitating this might be to provide some encouragement.

    2. “I think there is much confusion over what politicians actually do. When they are in power, they help write laws, advocate for their community in parliament, and assist their constituents as best they can.”

      And cancelling an energy project that would end up costing the public well over a billion dollars. This notion that elected officials sitting on the government side of the benches are simply advocates for their communities, assisting constituents with local problems, paints them as sweet innocent little mares. Their substantial power to write laws does not include the main function they are detailed with, which is spending our money.

      Working as a body, a majority Liberal government can do anything it pleases as long as the federal government does not veto it and legislation passed does not conflict with the Constitution Act of 1867 and 1982. Otherwise, any statutory obstacles can be erased. This power is illustrated through creating government contracts, mandates and bodies. This is seen with Metrolinx and Ornge (the air ambulances that fall apart in the sky).

      If you think that when it comes to schooling, governments just hand over money to institutions, you are sorely wrong. The public funding that goes to public post-secondary schools comes with many strings attached with. This ranges from how many seats are in an auditorium, to how many lights have to be in a classroom. If the government were interested in bringing a school to YSW they could bring those voices to the table. As for why a school? Name the nearest comprehensive college? Post-secondary institutions bring bright minds to a community and investment, two things that can help spur gentrification and improvement in YSW.

      As for #2… Again, still in her jurisdiction and responsible for the outcome of her attempts.

      #3 it is silly to think that she has done her part by sending out a newsletter. Many people in this riding do not know who their representative is let alone their office phone number. This ranges from new immigrants to new families. If you think a newsletter addresses the issue of civic disengagement then that is your good right to.

      #4 obviously “government offices” does not relate specifically to her constituency office but potential government bodies and departments. The Ontario government is much bigger than just Service Ontario; well-paying public sector jobs can be located in the riding if the government decides so. Kind of just like how the federal government built those new jails in – shocker – Conservative ridings.

      I do not know if you support the Liberals or not. But I am tired of politicians and their minions trying to paint themselves as powerless, folksy, naive individuals that constantly act like they have their hands tied behind their backs and nothing is their responsibility. But when it comes to rolling out tax cuts, while freezing wages or privatising a highway, they have the gonads of Hercules himself to bring about change…

      Of course, we will carry that change on our backs.

  7. I stopped reading after you said the federal government could veto the provincial government. As long as it is under the provincial government jurisdiction this is not possible. They are equal in power. That is what is called federalism. Civics class 101.

    What I am trying to say is that not everything could be changed by political influence especially by someone who is not a Minister of that certain Ministry.

    Of course a Minister could change what s/he wants in their Ministry as long as it does not conflict with existing laws.

    If there is a process set in place then that is what bureaucrats do – follow the process. Politicians (especially backbenchers) aren’t gods that could just do whatever they please. If they could Albanese would probably make UP Express part of the TTC just to shut Weston up. Does not work that way.

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