Councillor Nunziata; it’s legacy time.

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.

The original Weston Hub concept as it was sold to the community. (Click to enlarge)

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.

I for one hope she can.

Unless we’re wrong!

Lekan Olawoye issued a press release saying that he was not included on a recent poll of York South–Weston residents. The poll, by Forum Research, showed Chiara Padovani pulling even with Di Giorgio, and Nunziata’s lead slipping.

The published results include long-shot candidates Fred Fosu (4%) and Deeqa Barre (3%), but make no mention of Lekan Olawoye, who almost certainly polls much higher. It certainly seems like he was not included in the survey.

In related news, Frances Nunziata says that she responded to CycleToronto’s survey, but that her results were not included in the published results. CycleToronto said she did not respond.

In Nunziata’s defense, she has been an advocate for cycling of late, and created a pedestrian and cycling committee for the ward.

Padovani seeks advanced poll extension

Candidate for the new York South-Weston Ward 5 council seat, Chiara Padovani has requested an extension of the advanced polling deadline. Advanced polls are set to close at 7:00pm today but Padovani says that residents have had difficulty in reaching the polls (both in the former Ward 12) because of traffic congestion.

Today in Weston: September 8, 2018

A stream of people could be seen arriving today at the official opening of Chiara Padovani’s campaign headquarters at 1289 Weston Road. Ms Padovani is running for a seat on Toronto Council in the new Ward 5 which comprises old Wards 11 and 12.

Lots of political talk today at Chiara Padovani’s newly opened campaign headquarters.

Ms Padovani is running against two incumbents, Frank Di Giorgio and Frances Nunziata as well as a handful of not so well-known hopefuls. For the full list, check out Adam’s unscientific reader poll.

Welcome to Ward 5. Nominations for Toronto Council extended.

The new ward map of Toronto. Wards 11 and 12 have merged to become the new Ward 5.

One of the quirks of the new ‘slimline council’ legislation is that nominations for Toronto councillors (and trustees) were re-opened on Monday. People who feel that their chances might be better running in the larger York South-Weston ward (now Ward 5) have another chance to throw their hats in the ring and face off against incumbents Frances Nunziata (formerly Ward 11) and Frank DiGiorgio (formerly Ward 12). There are a few well known politicians living in York South-Weston Ward 5 who no doubt will be mulling over the possibility of running; taking advantage of the vote being split between the two incumbents. Current main opposition to the incumbents, Chiara Padovani is mounting a vigorous campaign and has set up headquarters in Mount Dennis while a former Ward 12 contender from 2014 is Lekan Olawoye who has withdrawn.

I’m running for City Councillor in York South-Weston but I’m doing things differently. #ItsTimeForChange #TOpoli #YSW

Since I’m not accepting donations from corporate interests or developers, every $25 donation counts that much more. Join our movement: https://t.co/VJXDu3cYYY. pic.twitter.com/o4xjyjPMPJ— Chiara Padovani (@chipadovani) August 21, 2018

Will any of Weston’s political figures be tempted to step into the fray? Strange things can happen in the midst of chaos. For the latest list of candidates use this link.

Previous 47-seat council nominees are required to declare their intention to remain as candidates and all nominations will close at 2:00 pm on September 14 – less than six weeks from the election date of October 22.

Incidentally, Ms. Padovani should do her supporters a favour and ask for contributions over $25 – small contributions over $25 get a 75% rebate. The full rebate table is here.