Chiara Padovani told The Star that she will run again in the next municipal election.
Padovani came in third in 2018 with a very strong showing against the two incumbents, Frances Nunziata and Frank Di Giorgio. She received 20% of the vote. Since the election she has remained very active in the community as a tenant organizer, among other activities.
The Etobicoke York Community Council will consider whether to lower the speed limit on all “local roadways” in Ward 5, which covers Weston and Mount Dennis.
“Local roadways” are the great majority of streets—the last meters between major roads and driveways. In these maps, they are the black streets. Blue and red streets will not have their speed limits changed. (I may have copied the maps for all all of Mount Dennis and Weston. If your street is missing, let me know.
The speed limit changes come from the “Vision Zero” plan the city adopted in 2017.
City Council voted unanimously this week to adopt the Vision Zero 2.0 program, which aims to end pedestrian deaths in Toronto. Version 1.0 was, at best, only partially successful: 47 pedestrians and cyclists were killed in Toronto in 2018, two more than in 2017.
The 2.0 plan will “reduce speed limits on dozens of arterial roads across Toronto, install more sidewalks and implement more pedestrian head-start signals, among other measures”.
Frances Nunziata acknowledged the challenges councillors face: “it’s just constantly people wanting traffic calming, speed humps, they want stop signs, they want lights, because it’s really an issue throughout this city.” And Nunziata has been very good about getting speed humps and slowing traffic. Her office has also been working on a cycling plan for the ward.
However, in discussion, she blamed distracted cyclists and pedestrians for their own deaths.
I think it’s important that pedestrians are educated as well, when they’re crossing the street and cyclists as well. You see so many pedestrians crossing the street at an intersection, texting on their phone, talking on their phone, with their earphones, and they’re walking across the street, red light, or they’re not even crossing at an intersection, and that’s very dangerous as well. And you know, continues to happen, and you know, I know a few years ago, I put a motion through that they should be fined. The province did not support that at that time, but if you… a lot more of them are not paying attention to the roads, the pedestrians, and I think there’s a lot of fatalities as well because there’s no education and they’re not paying attention and the cyclists as well, when they’ve got the earphones, and they’re not hearing, and they’re not paying attention the road safety. So I think it’s not just for the motorists, it’s for the pedestrians, the cyclists, all of us have to share in making our streets safer.
Frances Nunziata ended up with egg on her face after a Twitter blast yesterday from Chiara Padovani, her former rival for the Ward 5 seat.
Padovani pointed out that though Nunziata had promised to support affordable housing during the campaign, she voted against several homelessness and affordable-housing motions this week at City Council.
1/5 Today at City Hall our #YSW councillor broke several housing promises she made during her campaign as she consistently voted against the #right2housing in Toronto.
Nunziata voted against declaring a homelessness a state of emergency. She was following city staff advice–and voting with a substantial majority–when she did so. Staff said that Wong-Tam’s motion was a panicky reaction to “social and economic problems of an ongoing systemic nature that cannot be resolved in days, weeks or months.”
Nunziata also voted against making many new developments rent controlled, and against an amendment that would have made more of those units affordable and doubled the number of very deeply discounted units–and done so at enormous expense.
What to make of this? On the one hand, Padovani’s criticisms are sharp, and Nunziata did march with ACORN, the way-left anti-poverty group that was championing the amendments to the Housing Now plan.
Ebony from #Weston doing some fine tuning on her speech calling for improvements to Housing Now. Mayor Tory and Council must do more for low and moderate income families! Rent control on all developments on public land! pic.twitter.com/GIV3ymYVQc
The results are in and the unfair effect of name recognition was once again an overwhelming factor in Toronto elections. The two incumbents in newly created Ward 5 topped the poll despite spirited campaigns, especially from Chiara Padovani and Lekan Olawoye. Even Frances Nunziata must have realized during her campaign that there was a yearning for change. Indeed, the vast majority of voters chose another candidate. About 68% of electors who bothered to vote, chose someone other than her.
Now for the more depressing part; voter participation was significantly down across the city and fewer than 38% of YSW eligible voters bothered to vote according to my calculations. The average for Toronto was about 41%. In effect, Ms. Nunziata retained her job thanks to about 12% of electors.
Given the march of time, Frances Nunziata only has a few years left at council before she retires or a more compelling candidate beats her in an upcoming election. What will be her legacy? Frances herself struggled to list her accomplishments when debating other candidates. Many pointed to the decline in Weston’s fortunes over the past several decades of her tenure. Weston and Mount Dennis are slowly beginning to emerge from years of neglect and disinterest, mainly thanks to the UP Express, all day GO Train service and the expansion of the city to the suburbs; none of which she can legitimately claim credit for.
It’s not all bad; there are some minor achievements – will she be remembered for the Weston Common / Hub / Storage Unit? Remember, the original concept was for an arts and cultural centre and year round (indoor outdoor) farmers market. What about the car-focussed community centre at Black Creek and Eglinton? There are critics of both of these projects while others have a legitimate claim to shared parentage.
There are some notable failures on her record. The persistent flooding in parts of the ward surely should have been fixed by now. The shabby public domain and the lack of progress on a bicycle network are two others that quickly come to mind.
Frances began her political career as a corruption fighter, exposing and taking on crooked politicians. That reputation is long behind her. Now she is best known for her role as Council Speaker. There are many critics of her voting record which was the closest of any councillor to that of Mayor Tory – over 90% of the time. This blog has long criticized some of her positions which often seem to work against residents who are struggling.
Speakers are chosen by a council vote. Given the dramatic changes to Council, it will be interesting to see if Ms Nunziata can win a third term in that prestigious yet challenging position. Now that Mammoliti has gone, the job may be a lot more attractive to others in the chamber. Losing the Speaker’s job would certainly give her more time to work on the larger ward she now governs.
Regardless; for this new term, Ms Nunziata needs to find bold projects that inspire and uplift our community if she is to be remembered for anything other than her long years in office. Whether she can do this over the next four years remains to be seen.