Canada's Beaches—East York (Ward 32) city council candidates speak

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Toronto municipal election, 2006


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Beaches—East York (Ward 32)
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Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward's councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto's ridings is Beaches—East York (Ward 32). Four candidates responded to Wikinews' requests for an interview. This ward's candidates include Donna Braniff, Alan Burke, Sandra Bussin (incumbent), William Gallos, John Greer, John Lewis, Erica Maier, Luca Mele, and Matt Williams.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

Sandra Bussin (incumbent)

Sandra Bussin is the incumbent for Ward 32, Beaches—East York.

Q: Describe the three most important issues in your campaign.

A:
1. A Safe Environment and Our Community Health: Our community worked hard to shut down the incinerators at Ashbridges Bay Sewage Treatment Plant -the biggest producer of carbon-dioxide emissions and other significant airborne contaminants of all of the City's facilities. Today, our community's health and environment is greatly improved because of this shutdown. However, the need to find a garbage solution for Toronto has placed a spotlight on this site as a potential location to build a garbage incinerator. It is important that our community play an active role to ensure that thoughtful decisions are made.
2. Planning Development Change: The popularity of the Beach has currently stimulated significant developer interest in land assembly. The need to protect the unique character of our neighbourhoods is a critical and key concern. The new Official Plan will be put to the test in upcoming development applications verses the over-arching Provincial Planning Act and the Ontario Municipal Board. I will push for "fine grain" tools that recognize the need to protect mature neighbourhoods, as well as to provide design guidelines to support the unique character of our neighbourhoods. Strongly enhancing community engagement in all aspects of the planning process is also needed.
3. Clean Beach and Waterfront Renewal Strategy: The development of Toronto's waterfront is a key goal. The success of the Beaches-East York community is attributed, in part, to its interface with Lake Ontario. I am proud of the work underway to create significant landscape improvements at Ashbridges Bay which will be included in the expansive 750 acre Lake Ontario Park, stretching from the eastern border of Scarborough to the westerly edge of Etobicoke. I will push the major clean-up of Coatsworth Cut/Ashbridges Bay. The Balmy Beach area is also earmarked for the "Clean Beaches Strategy" which is a priority for me.
The major skateboard park I am building for the youth and young-at-heart is to be completed in 2007 -for all to enjoy.

Q: What one election issue do you feel is most relevant to your ward in this election?

A: The looming garbage solution is a key issue. The expansive lands at Ashbridges Bay and the Eastern Portlands are zoned to accommodate such heavy industrial uses. Our community and I will be vigilant and active in the process underway by a citizen selected advisory team (CEAT) to recommend both the technology and the site for the method of disposing of the City's residual waste.
We lived through the long years of incineration at the sewage treatment plant, and know first-hand what the impacts can be on human health and the host community's environment. We know the struggles that ensue to make change.

Q: Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process?

A: I love my community and my city. I feel I can make a difference and I have the skills and ability to bring citizens together to make positive change. My professional experience spans assignments as a legislative researcher at Queen's Park for Members of Provincial Parliament, to elected Public School Trustee and City Councillor. Finding funding partners and convincing City Council to approve projects for our ward is my forte. I bring creative problem-solving skills, combined with a sense of vision, toward the determination of the path we should take --this makes me feel that I am contributing to the improvement of the quality of life in our City.

Q: Why do you want to represent this particular ward on council?

A: I want to represent Beaches-East York, Ward 32, because it is the community I was raised in and where I have raised my family. I know the people, I know the streets, and I know the neighbourhoods. It is an honour to be receiving the confidence and trust of the people in my community to represent their interests. I have a vision of where we should go as a City and a community, and believe I have the skills to achieve results.

Q: How are you currently involved in the community?

A: I am currently the City Councillor and a Deputy Mayor. I have achieved many successful projects in the Ward, drawing together the right partnerships to make things happen. Listening to residents, I learn what people want. For example, improvements to the Beaches Branch Library were suggested. I was successful in getting this request put on the priority list for the Library Board with the required funding. The result is glorious! Today, the Beaches Library is restored to it past splendour and improved with an attractive and fitting expansion.
Every day as the City Councillor, I am at work for my community, taking care of the calls, correspondence and e-mails from the local constituents. Bringing together citizens to help set the path on local urban planning matters, designing playgrounds or developing local consensus on traffic planning matters are some of the types of activities that I am involved. At the Council level, I am engaged in the setting of City policy on matters ranging from the way be pick of solid waste to decisions related to public transit options and the allocations of city-wide budgets. I am a Deputy Mayor, T.T.C. Commissioner, Chair of the Mayor's Roundtable on a Beautiful City, Member of the Policy and Finance Committee and Budget Advisory Committee, Secretary of the Board of the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, Member on 3 local Business Improvement Areas, among a number of other responsibilities.

Q: Which Council decision since the 2003 election do you feel the city/ward should be most proud of and least proud.

A: There are many decisions that I am proud we made both locally and city-wide. For the ward, the development and selection of a citizen team to choose the direction for the future method of disposal of residual waste will be selected; as well as providing recommendations on a potential site is the most important decision made this term. Secondly, the success in receiving significant funding from the city to build the newest and biggest skateboard park in the city together with a private sponsor is a great success for the youth of the ward and city.
The political composition of the Council wherein the majority of the suburban councillors struggle, to support initiatives which reflect the needs of the inner city was a major drawback of this past Council. The art of compromise to receive Council approval on a series of initiatives like the City budget for example, led to the reduction in the effectiveness of the Toronto Transit Ridership growth strategy. Recommended spending for the Beautiful City campaign was cut as a result of a "them-and-us" voting attitude. However, changes to the Council procedural rules for the next term will allow for greater decision-making, in some cases at the local community council level, and by an Executive Committee of Council in order for the Mayor to enact bylaws that reflect the Mayor's Vision for the City.

Q: What does Toronto mean to you?

A: Toronto is where I live, where I grew up, and where I have raised my family. It's my home. I am inspired by the opportunities that present themselves here in our City. This is a thriving, growing and developing young City. Recently, growth in the downtown areas has been very strong. Locally, our communities are stable but in some cases challenged by change. Making change work positively for the city and local neighbourhoods is an exciting everyday activity for me as a City Councillor.

William Gallos

William Gallos candidate city council for Ward 32, Beaches—East York.

Q: Describe the three most important issues in your campaign.

A: Ward 32 is a unique family community within a major city. In order to preserve our quality of life, we must be ever vigilant to ensure we aren't overrun by city by-laws, poor transportation and parking issues, unsafe environmental issues due to sewage treatment plant drugs/crime and unsafe streets and park management. My aim is to have the community work with me to help economic gross with in the bussinesses[sic], provide safe streets, clean up and maintanence[sic] of your parks and boardwalk, establish Sewage Treatment Plan, and much more...

Mr. Gallos did not respond to numerous questions. Instead of emailing Wikinews with his sole answer, as was asked, he posted it directly to Wikinews.

Erica Maier

44-year-old Erica Maier is general manager of Kathite Industries, makers of a chimney cleaner; "As Kathite is a seasonal occupation, I am also a full time Letter Carrier for Canada Post, I love the exercise and could certainly use it, and it keeps me in touch with the public."

Q: Describe the three most important issues in your campaign.

A: Ward 32 is a unique family community within a major city.
In order to preserve our quality of life, we must be ever vigilant to ensure we aren't overrun by oversized building developments, graffiti, vandals or petty crime.
My aim is to hire a graffiti removal team that would be available daily. Eradicate the graffiti and keep it away. Continue to work with police and have police more visible in the area, walking along our streets, parks and school yards. Police would get to know our neighbours, business owners and the local children which would return a sense of well being to our inhabitants.
I encourage taking art to the streets. Have billboards in various locations that locals can contribute to monthly. Thus promoting our area and the artists of our community. We need additional programs for teenagers that get them involved and keep them interested in community development.
Finally I would continue the work of preserving the heritage of our neighbourhoods, while helping the local businesses get the much needed assistance to grow and develop into thriving commerce This could be achieved by having events and venues that add to our uniqueness and increasing consumer traffic and spending.

Q: What one election issue do you feel is most relevant to your ward in this election?

A: At present I feel graffiti is my biggest concern. It is a small issue that has been left to fester and could balloon into all sorts of problems for our area and the city. If graffiti is left as a ‘broken window'

Q: Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process?

A: I am a person who involves myself in my community. If things need to be done, I am a volunteer for the job. This has always been fine in the past, as we have a terrific area with very few needs. Unfortunately, things have changed, although crime is down for Toronto, petty crime is ever increasing. Vandals attack cars, spray paint graffiti everywhere, and if left unchecked, it will escalate to major crimes. Citizens are concerned and feel the need to stay indoors and not enjoying their neighbourhoods as they have in the past. I intend to retire in my neighbourhoods, but it won't be a happy retirement if I don't act now and stop this neglect.

Q: Why do you want to represent this particular ward on council?

A: This is not only a Ward, but it is my home. I would be honoured to represent my home and ensure it is looked after to the fullest of my abilities.

Q: How are you currently involved in the community?

A: Currently I am a volunteer for Community Centre 55, helping with whatever they need and in their Christmas hamper efforts for many years. I have worked with the Lions Club on occasion helping in their Easter Parade work. I also have helped for many years in trash cleanup of the area, and have been a leader for Girl Guides of Canada for a local unit for over 10 years.

Q: Which council decision (since the 2003 election) do you feel the city/your ward should be most proud of, and which was least desirable?

A: I was very happy when have bid for Olympics and the World's Fair. I have been to other countries and attended such functions. Toronto needs something like this to help the city financially and promote what a wonderful place Toronto is. I hope in the future we are awarded such an honour.
Least Desirable - Having the current city council administer themselves an 8% wage increase has to be the worst decision they have made to date. Their wages and increase should be decided by a non-patrician group with council kept out of the process.

Q: If you were elected as a "rookie" councillor, What would you bring to the table beyond the incumbent?

A: I hope that I may bring a regular citizens outlook to city council. We need a balanced budget, after all everyone else in the general public has to work with the money they have. Lastly, we have to realize that we are paid by the people, we work for the people and we should all be accountable to the people on a daily basis.

Q: What does Toronto mean to you?

A: Toronto is my home. It a city full of diversity, and different cultures. I have traveled the world and discovered that all that I have purchased is already available to me in Toronto. I love the mix of cultures, and the many different restaurants I have frequented. I have friends from all over the world. I was lucky enough to have a visiting princess meet me in 1979; she wanted to meet the most diversified high school in Toronto, and that was my own. As a student council member I was formally introduced! Then later in 1990 I was present when Princess Diana came through my hospital. Where else in the world could you meet a two princesses but in Toronto!

Luca Mele

22-year-old Luca Mele is the leader of the "Ecumenical Tribune Party" and recording artist/singer of signed band No Assembly Required.

Q: Describe the three most important issues in your campaign.

A: My main three points are crime, pollution and corruption. Crime and Pollution are a result of Corruption, and both corruption and pollution are crimes in my political party's platform.
I will enforce a 100% change of laws that are currently in support of the crime and pollution in the city of Toronto.
It is time we assemble groups to go out AT LEAST a few times a week to clean up our neighborhoods so that our crime and pollution reduces, 20 minutes to clean a day can make a huge difference when everyone is involved and working together to be the change.
Have members of each neigborhood[sic] come to the city hall council chamber meetings as often as possible and host weekly meetings in the ward for those who do not show up to city hall for the updates and info of what is being taking place at city hall.
Not enough people in the city are personally involved with the desicisons[sic] that are made for them and their community and I will cause that to change dramtically[sic].

Q: What one election issue do you feel is most relevant to your ward in this election?

A: All issues are relevant, however not for too much longer. The current structure is too unstable to generate issues of that level without a collapse.

Q: Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process?

A: The best way to get things done is to do it yourself. Nobody has been able to make a change in politics, ever. The Political world is an immature joke, and it will learn to grow up soon.

Q: Why do you want to represent this particular ward on council?

A: I feel ward 32 is one of the most beatiful[sic] water fronts of Ontario, and I want to improve on that by reducing the pollution and crime.

Q: How are you currently involved in the community?

A: I belong to the G13 Mission of God, Church of the Universe, which started up in 1969 and now have a chapter of this church in the beaches neigborhood[sic]. Our work there is the same outside of the church and that is to help people by healing them with sacrements[sic], meditations, cyrstals[sic], and other forms of prayer.
I'm also releaseing[sic] a CD in stores across North America through Spinerazor and Universal records with my band 'No Assembly Required'. The CD is titled 'The Great Tribulation' and it is in relations to what you and everyone else are witnessing within this election and the events to come. We have toured around North America and have been playing in Toronto for over 7 years. Going to sell over 10,000 records in that time,
My success with the band has gave me the power to start my own political party, called the Ecumenical Tribune Party aka The ETP, in June 2005. I now have over 10 active levels of my political party system membership with over 1300 members around the city.
My political party has been empowering people to bring about justice to those in our community who have been increasing the crime activity as long with the abuse of our environment.
My work with the community has been paying off and will continue to do so for years to come.

Q: What does Toronto mean to you?

A: Toronto is filled with energy that has the pontenial[sic] to present a peaceful way of life to the rest of the world. Toronto is great because of what we have done for it and it means everything to me to be inside of all this action in these times. Toronto has always been a city of growth and inspiration. Despite the wrong turn the city has taken in the last few decades, it will always be a home to me because of the energy it holds.

Q: Which council decision (since the 2003 election) do you feel the city/your ward should be most proud of, and which was least desirable?

A: Extending the subway line from Downsview station north to Steeles Avenue in York Region was a smart move to agree on by the city, because it will help the traffic flow of the city and I'm very happy for that. It will give more people a chance to work and not just be limmited[sic] to an area that does not support their field of work.
However, the decision I am least proud of would be changing the elections from every 3 years to 4 years. That will only support the corruption within the conversative[sic] government, and in result will grow to fit the United Nations plan to unite North America into one superstate. That would strip Canada of all our indepedent[sic] laws and values. Which will also come to result in a revival lead by my political party, The Ecumenical Tribune Party before 2016.

Q: If you were elected as a "rookie" councillor, What would you bring to the table beyond the incumbent?

A: My way with being honest and fast would change the actions and mind frame of all in office, resulting in 100% changes in crime and corruption. Reducing all problems to nothing.
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