VOTE LARRY PERLMAN FOR COUNCILLOR

TORONTO WARD 7 (YORK WEST)


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Below you will find an (almost) daily blog of my campaign.  The blog begins on the second stage of my campaign (October 10, 2006) and should end by the election (November 13, 2006).  If you would like more information on the campaign, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Tuesday November 14, 2006 - My Last Blog Entry And New Ward 7 Website

This election campaign was a wonderful (although tiring) experience for both my wife Teresa and myself.  We met a great many people throughout the Ward and, hopefully, made some new friends and neighbours.  As in any progressive platform, I wanted to affect positive change throughout my community and the Ward -- I know for a fact that my ideas have reached the right people in Ward 7 and things will get better over time.

I did not win the election, but my influence in Ward 7 will not diminish.  A series of initiatives will be brought forward in the near future and the Incumbent will be held responsible for his actions and lack of commitment to his constituents.  That is why I have started a new website, called "Do Your Job Mammoliti".  It is found on the following website:

http://doyourjobmammoliti.googlepages.com

Please be patient as I need some time to design it and add the intitiatives that I and many others in Ward 7 will be bringing forward.  There will be an opportunity to sign up for regular email updates and a phone number will be made available for residents and businesses who do not have Internet access to contact me (it will be my old campaign number 416-556-6407).  As I stated on my November 10 Blog entry, the Ward's "Quality Of Life" issues will also be listed, dealt with one-by-one, and problems will never be tolerated.  It is a vision I intend to keep.

If you have any problems that has been ignored by the Incumbent (or you do not wish to contact the Incumbent), please do not hesitate to contact me and let me know what needs to be done.  Not only are you helping yourself, you will be helping your neighbours, your community, your Ward and eventually, your City.  It will be my honour to help.


Monday November 13, 2006 - Why Vote?

I invite all readers to view a 60-second video, made by Dave Meslin, called "Why Vote".  Its found on the following website:

www. whorunsthistown.to

As I stated early on in my campaign, if you do not vote, you have no right to complain.  The video takes a softer approach, but emphasizes the fact that your vote makes a difference.  It will certainly make a difference, today, on election day. 

 

Friday November 10, 2006 - Identifying Ward 7's "Quality Of Life" Issues

As promised, I have prepared a list of Ward 7's current "quality of life" issues.  The list can be viewed HERE.  The list is by no means exchaustive, as dealing with the quality of one's life (let alone one for a whole Ward) is an on-going struggle.  However, identifying them, dealing with them progressively and never tolerating on-going problems is, in my view, the best way of making our lives better.  

Please let me know if you have any further issues to add to this list (I know there will be many).  It will be my honour to help solve them together, hopefully as your Councillor.

The municipal election for the City of Toronto takes place on Monday November 13.  Over the weekend I will make myself available to as many residents and businesses as I can.  If you wish to see me or speak to me before the election, please call my campaign phone number (416-556-6407), send me an email (larry.perlman@gmail.com) or visit my website and send me a note (http://larry.perlman.googlepages.com).  I will make every effort to accomodate you.

Thank you for taking the time to read my Blog and visit my website.


Thursday November 9, 2006 - The North York Mirror Endorses Me For Ward 7 Councillor

The North York Mirror endorsed my candidacy for Ward 7 Councillor in their Wednesday November 8 issue (click HERE to read the article).  The paper listed my potential advocacy in the community and awareness of illegal pocket bike use for their choice.  However, they also felt that Ward 7 needs a replacement for Councillor.

As I continue canvassing throughout the Ward, please do not be surprised if I start asking you, the residents of Ward 7, questions about the election.  I started accumulating a list of "quality of life issues" that will feature prominently in Stage 4 of my campaign (I am now at the tail end of Stage 3).  That list will be the start of a new phase in problem-solving involving myself, the 10 individual communities that comprise Ward 7, and all residents within each community.  Whether I win or lose on November 13, that list will be tackled one-by-one.


Wednesday November 8, 2006 - The Toronto Star Endorses Me For Ward 7 Councillor

In today's Toronto Star, I received their endorsement for Ward 7 Councillor.  You can read the article HERE.  The paper mentioned my social conscience and record of service in my community & charity work as the main reasons, but also made it clear that the Incumbent does not deserve another term.  I will continue my canvassing all week long throughout the Ward and hope to speak with as many residents as possible.

 

Tuesday November 7, 2006 - Getting More Residents To Vote On The Last Days Of The Campaign

Over the last four days, I have noticed significant changes in the way residents are looking at the election and communicating to me:

  • I am more easily recognizable and thus easier for residents to acknowledge when I come to their door
  • Residents want to spend more time talking to me (in fact, many wonder how I have time to spend with them)
  • There is a much better choice of candidates (more competition), thus enlivening the election
  • Residents are pointing out problems in their community more assertively and telling me how the Incumbent mishandled the issue
  • I am getting significantly more hits on my website, along with quick notes of encouragement
  • The language barrier is becoming less of an issue with residents of Italian, Punjabi and Hispanic descent

One of the greatest pleasures of the campaign came yesterday, when a Sikh couple walked their granddaughter home from school.  I introduced myself, passed them a flyer and when finished the girl told me that she recently read about me in school - she was 10 years old and attends the public school in my neighbourhood.  If that doesn't motivate residents to take the time to vote, nothing will!

By the way, tonight my wife and I will be attending the World Wildlife Foundation's (WWF's) Annual Public Reception at the Eglinton Grand (Eglinton & Avenue Rd).  We have volunteered at the WWF for many years and find it to be a worthy cause.

 

Monday November 6, 2006 - An Analysis Of Fred Cutler's Platform, Division 31 Meeting

An analysis of Fred Cutler's platform is found HERE.  Mr. Cutler is the last candidate for Ward 7 Councillor to be analyzed by myself.  It is my hope that the voters in Ward 7 will be more informed about the issues and begin to ask more questions of their potential representatives.  If there is something I missed or should emphasize in future Blog entries, please let me know.

By the way, 31 Division's Monthly Community Meeting will be held at the 31 Division Police Station (40 Norfinch Dr.) at 7:00pm tonight.  I will be attending the meeting and would encourage all residents to attend as well (the pace is a bit slow but the community information is very useful).  If you need further information, please contact either myself (416-556-6407) or 31 Division (416-808-3133).


Friday November 3, 2006 - Insufficient Media Coverage, No All-Candidates Meetings

Although things have been getting busy in my campaign, the one thing missing throughout the municipal election in Ward 7 is a thorough discussion of the issues among the four candidates.  In my opinion, the media has virtually forgotten the candidates running here, making it more difficult for the challengers to get recognized by the voters.  In many of the neighbourhoods I have canvassed over the last week, residents have only heard my name for the first time.  A large part of it is my fault (I only have so many lawn signs), but without the newspapers, radio and television to identify the choices available, it becomes difficult for candidates to be noticed (and gives the Incumbent an advantage).  Things will change over the weekend as my team will be doing a major blitz of signs and canvassing, but I would prefer the residents of Ward 7 to read my platform and understand that my intentions are sincere.  Hopefully, the last week or so will bring further stories from our local media, in time to allow voters to consider their choices.

In addition, Ward 7 has not had an All-Candidates meeting throughout the election.  Although most residents would not attend such an event, the opportunity to debate the other candidates is part of the political landscape and enhances democracy in the Ward (it would also give me bragging rights, as my debating skills were developed in University and are pretty good).  It is too late to put one on at this time, but hopefully my analysis of the other candidates' platforms would be an opportunity for voters to ask the same questions I would ask of the candidates myself.

 

Thursday November 2, 2006 - An Analysis Of Sandra Anthony's Platform

My analysis of Sandra Anthony's platform is available HERE.  I would also encourage all residents of Ward 7 to go to her website (http://www.sandraromanoanthony.com) and read through her promise, projects and commitments.

By the way, I attended the GTAA's Noise Management Committee Community Forum last night.  Unfortunately, it was not well-attended, but there were many familiar faces from the GTAA who have responded to my initiatives over the past 12 months.  It is my understanding that the City of Toronto has finally set the process for appointing a resident representative to the Noise Management Committee (after a two year absence) and this will take place shortly (advertisements should appear in local papers).  If any residents are interested, please let me know and I can get the application/interview information for you when it becomes available. 


Wednesday November 1, 2006 - A Correction In Yesterday's Blog

My apologies again to Fred Cutler, this time for incorrectly stating that he did not participate in the Rogers Cable 10 clips.  When I wrote the Blog yesterday, I based my assumption on the fact that his clip was not available on the Rogers Television website at the time.  Upon viewing the clips on television last night (and his phone call to me), I was incorrect.  Mr. Cutler's two minute clip will be available on the Rogers Television website shortly (go to www.rogerstelevision.com).


Tuesday October 31, 2006 - See Ward 7 Candidates On Rogers Cable 10

Rogers Cable 10 is showing two-minute clips of three out of the four candidates for Ward 7 Councillor (Fred Cutler did not participate).  The viewing times are listed below:

  • Tuesday October 31 (today) at 10:30am
  • Tuesday October 31 (today) at 10:00pm
  • Wednesday November 1 (tomorrow) at 2:00am (for taping at night)

In addition, you can view the three clips on the Internet.  Please go to www.rogerstelevision.com and press the Municipal Elections button.

By the way, I will be attending Pearson Airport's GTAA Noise Management Committee Public Forum.  Representatives from the GTAA, Transport Canada, NAV Canada and the airline industry  will be available to answer questions with respect to the Airport's Noise Management Program.  Time and location is found below:

  • Wednesday November 1, 2006, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
  • GTAA Administration Building
  • 3111 Convair Drive, Toronto, Ontario L5P 1B2

If anyone is annoyed by aircraft noise coming from your neighbourhood, I would highly recommend attending the session.  The Noise Management Committee hears complaints from residents who are annoyed by the incessant aircraft noises and residents deserve to be informed and educated about the problem.

If you require any further information, please let me know and I will put you in touch with the various members of the committee and/or their staff.


Monday October 30, 2006 - Are Voters Really Looking For Change?

This past weekend was a very busy time for all candidates running for office.  Our team in Ward 7 were almost bumping into canvassers from other candidates and we were delivering flyers in buildings and houses that were recently covered by other candidates as well.  Unlike previous Municipal campaigns, there appears to be more attention to the other choices available; in fact, I am getting into the habit of saying "if you are looking for another choice, please consider me".

However, are residents in Ward 7 really looking for change in their City representative, or are they content with the services offered by the Incumbent?  In many of the communities I have visited, it all depends on where they live:

  • In the Humber Summit area (where I live), the animosity towards the Incumbent is high, due mainly to his unwillingness to return phone calls, new housing developments that ignore their input, and his lack of concern over issues of crime, traffic and garbage.  There are, however, many of his supporters who feel very comfortable with him (mostly seniors from Italian descent).
  • In the Sheppard/Weston area, there is no animosity per se, but a fear of encroaching problems in the future as the community changes.  Without a strong community coming together, there is fear that things will get worse.  They do not see the Incumbent helping them.
  • The Jane/Wilson area is an equal mix of strong support for the Incumbent, a lack of interest (mainly from tenants in high-rises), and a desire for new blood.
  • The Finch/Weston area is somewhat difficult to ascertain, due to their uncertainty coming from the new developments taking shape in the area, combined with their frustration over nothing being done in the area for so many years.  Overall however, there is suspicion of the Incumbent and his intentions.
  • Finally, the Albion/Wilson area is the most open-minded of all the areas, as they are quite supportive of the Incumbent on one hand, while being willing to look at the other choices on the other.

The verdict?  The next two weeks will certainly be difficult for the challengers in the Ward 7 race.  The Incumbent has strong support in many areas within the Ward, but there is a strong upswelling of support for change.  Yes, there is a desire for change, but there is also the safety of leaving things the same.  How exciting!!!

By the way, I was quoted in the October 26 issue of NOW Magazine (their "Best Of" Edition).  On page 58, under "Best political event", I wrote the following:

    • THIS YEAR'S MUNICIPAL ELECTION - Never before has there been such a desire to unseat incumbents and make necessary changes at City Hall.  Candidates are diverse, many highly educated and with clear and focused agendas.  Despite media grumblings, I predict a significant number of upsets throughout Toronto!

Hopefully I will be correct, come November 13th.  You can view the original source HERE.


Friday October 27, 2006 - My Analysis Of The Incumbent's Platform

First, my apologies for not keeping up with the Blog.  I have been actively canvassing the Ward over the last two days and felt it was better postponing these entries.  I will endeavour to add my comments on a regular basis from now on.

I have completed an analysis of the Incumbent's platform.  You can read it by clicking HERE.  Unfortunately, without a website or detailed platform to work with, I had no choice but to use a recent campaign flyer that included his vision, experience and commitment (available on my webpage).  My intention in the analysis is to bring out the issues and minimize any negative tone in my commentary.  I only ask that you compare the Incumbent's platform to mine, and judge for yourself.


Thursday October 26, 2006 - Correction

I received an email from a resident of Ward 7 informing me of an error on my Blog.  On my last entry (October 24 below), I stated that I was the only candidate for Ward 7 who supplied this information to TCAT.  Fred Cutler has responded to the questionnaire as well and you can read it on their website.  When I wrote the Blog on Tuesday morning, Mr. Cutler's responses were not online and I assumed that he did not respond.  I am sorry for the error and have apologized to the resident and Fred Cutler. 


Tuesday October 24, 2006 - My Position On Pedestrian & Cycling Issues In Ward 7 & Toronto

The Toronto Coalition For Active Transportation (TCAT), according to their website (http://www.torontocat.ca), is "a coalition of transportation, environmental and health groups from across Toronto looking for a better cycling and pedestrian environment in the city."  TCAT asked me to respond to their questionnaire and my response is found on the following webpage:

http://biketoronto.ca/vote2006/show/can/39.htm

As many people in Ward 7 know, I have been an advocate of cycling and walking in my community:

  • You can always see me bicycling in my neighbourhood and use my bicycle for quick trips to the store and library;
  • I have made many attempts at putting speed humps, crosswalks, bicycle lanes and other traffic-calming measures in my neighbourhood in order to make walking and cycling a more pleasant experience;
  • I believe that an evening walk or bicycle ride with your family (especially in the Summer) is not only good exercise, it is a great opportunity to meet your neighbours and connect with the community;
  • Each community in Ward 7 has an opportunity to "take back the streets" by showing automobile drivers that the streets and sidewalks are for use by cyclists and pedestrians, respectively.

TCAT has some wonderful ideas and they advocate positive change in Toronto.  I may not agree with all their initiatives (as stated in my responses), but their ideas would improve the "quality of life" in Ward 7 and Toronto.

Please note that none of the other candidates for Councillor in Ward 7 completed the survey, nor do they have a position on cycling and walking at all.

 

Monday October 23, 2006 - What Is Stage 3 Of My Campaign?

My campaign has followed a number of Stages, based on timing, opportunity and the competitive political  environment since deciding to run as Ward 7 Councillor.  In Stage 1, I provided Ward 7 residents with a transparent platform and a commitment to provide the voters of Ward 7 with a viable alternative to the incumbent.  In Stage 2, I added a Blog of my views and experiences, added a number of initiatives I will try to do after the election, and met with many of the community leaders in the Ward.

In Stage 3, my strategy will be somewhat more aggressive.  First of all, a greater emphasis will be placed on reaching the non-voter and make attempts to provide them with reasons to vote (a daunting task, but necessary).  The reason is simple:  The more votes placed, the greater the chance that there will be change in Ward 7 (not only with the Councillor, but with the Ward as a whole).  

In addition, I will be analysing the platforms of the other 3 candidates for Councillor, beginning with the incumbent (coming soon).  Without regular all-candidate's meetings to debate the issues, I feel the best opportunity is to look at each of my challengers' platforms and, without being too negative, provide the voters of Ward 7 with the information they need to ask the candidates.

Finally, I will be using Stage 3 as an opportunity to build the list of "quality of life" issues from voters (ie. find the day-to-day things they want to change in Ward 7) and show them how I can fix these problems with my platform.  In Stage 4 (after the election), I will bring the list to City Hall...


Friday October 20, 2006 - "Keeping It Simple" In My Campaign

An important message provided to me by the many residents, friends and family I have been in contact with is to keep my campaign simple.  It is easier said than done, unfortunately, since I have so much to say and even more to do once elected Councillor.  For example, the design of my website took many days of detailed work, not for the design (that was the easy part), but communicating my ideas so that the reader would maintain interest.  When I started distributing a simple version of my website on paper (a regular sheet, no colour, folded in half to look like a booklet), the response was positive due to the simplicity of the message (ie. just the facts).  The readers wanted to know my name, where they can contact me and what I stand for.  That's it!  I ran out of my first run so early on that I had to print more copies.  In the meantime, the flashy colour flyer that is on order will be one of many campaign ads residents will probably ignore and then throw away.  It is a tip I will take to future election campaigns (remember, this is the first time I am running for political office).

By the way, my wife and I will be volunteering for the United Way's CN Tower Climb tomorrow (Saturday October 21) from 5:15am to 9:15am (yes, the morning).  We will be at the base of the CN Tower, putting times on t-shirts and congratulating the climbers.  Of course, the event goes to a worthy cause:  Funds from the United Way have been used throughout Ward 7 for community-based projects.  If you have time to go, please come over to our table and say hello.


Thursday October 19, 2006 - "The Incumbent Has No Clothes", And Other Political Musings

For those of you not familiar with the phrase "The Emperor Has No Clothes", it is based on a Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tale titled "The Emperor's New Clothes".  In political speak, the phase is defined as follows (from Wikipedia):

    • "The Emperor Has No Clothes" is often used in political and social contexts for any obvious truth deemed by the majority despite evidence of their eyes, especially when proclaimed by their government.

Last night (October 18) I witnessed a most unhealthy dose of the above while watching a team of workers, obviously paid for by the incumbent (or one of his corporate supporters), erecting dozens of election signs on my street (against clearly-defined election laws) - hundreds in my community.  In addition, the largest-possible signs were erected as close to my home as possible, most certainly in an effort to send me a message.  The message:  He is the Emperor of Ward 7.

However, the Incumbent really has no clothes:

  • He has no election platform
  • He has no website or election newsletter
  • He has no intention of debating the issues or commenting on the state of the election campaign in Ward 7 (witness his absence from the all-candidates debate last Friday)
  • He has shamelessly promoted his name (and the name of his side-kick running for Catholic School Trustee) for name recognition rather than substance 
  • He has regularly violated election laws in order to take advantage of the situation and prevent a "level-playing field"
  • He has ignored all the negative media attention given to him for many years and even recently in the North York Mirror  (unless, of course, it becomes an embarassment)
  • Most importantly, he will not change, given all the above points.

He is aware of it, his staff are aware of it, his challengers are aware of it, the City Elections Office and Property Standards Department are certainly aware of it, and the media is slowly seeing the light (hopefully there will be photos soon showing the eyesore of signs he has erected - by the way, the signs at St. Judes Catholic School are down due to the media attention surrounding it).

There are residents who still see something in the incumbent (one person told me:  You either hate him or love him, there is no middle-ground).  However, if name recognition and signs are all he has to offer, even the majority should see through the haze.  The incumbent surely has no clothes. 

 

Wednesday October 18, 2006 - Royson James, Have You Finally Started Listening To The Councillor Candidates?

Today's column by Royson James in the Toronto Star is quite an eye-opener (to read the article click here).  I have been critical of Mr. James' negative tone in his articles on the Municipal election for the last few months (in my view it resulted in more cynicism), but the one written today includes some positive ideas, such as:

  • A 3-term limit (12 years) for Councillors
  • Encourage political parties
  • A level-playing field for incumbents and challengers by ending the advantages given incumbents
  • Allow the voting age to drop to 16 and for landed immigrants to vote 
  • Create more ethnic diversity among the aides and stand-in Councillors
  • Have the City promote the election better and set up an elections office sooner, with the voter in mind

 I am in full agreement with the first two ideas (clearly stated on my website), while disagreeing with his fourth idea (stated in my blog below).  His other ideas are less controversial, but would result in more positive election campaigns in the future.  For example, it was disheartening to know that the incumbent for Ward 7 provided a glossy newsletter to residents of Ward 7 in late September (one week before the cut-off date), paid for from his office budget (over $55,000 per year), and claiming to be a newsletter for Fall 2006 (what happened to Summer 2006, Spring 2006, Winter 2005, Fall 2005...) - his website has been out of service for years as well and his campaign website is non-existent.

Yes, a level-playing field would be the best solution in future elections.  Hopefully, the actions taken by incumbents and the media attention in reaction to these shenanigans will result in a more level-playing field in the future.  That is, of course, if there are less incumbents returning to office...

By the way, I will be filming a two-minute speech of my platform later tonight at Rogers Cable 10.  I will let you know when it is aired on Cable 10 on this blog.


Tuesday October 17, 2006 - Am I A Progressive Candidate? (And Other Political Party Matters)

Last night I was surprised to read my campaign vision published in a recently-started newspaper called The Canadian National Newspaper (see http://www.agoracosmopolitan.com/Larry_Perlman.html).  According to their website, the paper is inspired by past Canadian leaders such as Tommy Douglas and Pierre Trudeau, and in the latter case his pursuit of a "socially progressive just society".  My page is one of many for candidates that provide a "progressive vision for the City of Toronto".

Unfortunately, the term "progressive" has been an overused term without a clear definition, and put in the same "radical" category as liberals are in the United States.  Recent definitions I have come across include the following:

  • An NDPer (according to a Toronto Star reporter - one I do not agree with)
  • An impatient Liberal (my favourite)
  • A forward-thinking, ideas-oriented person willing to change things for the better (the most common definition) and,
  • A movement started after World War 1 by farmers and unions to fight traditional Parties at a time when power rested with urban-based business interests (the historical definition)

For the record, I consider my platform and beliefs "liberal-progressive", based on the last three definitions mentioned above (ie. flexible).  The small "l" and small "p" are significant, as I am not a member of either the Liberal Party or any other party for that matter.  The reason is simple:  The traditional political parties do not have an idealogical platform that I can support at this time and the recent actions by Belinda Stronach and David Emerson are proof of that.

However, I am in favour of a political party system in the City of Toronto, especially one that is not attached to the other traditional parties and can define its platform on local issues.  If Montreal and Vancouver can have local political parties, why is it so hard for Toronto to establish the same?  Today's column by John Barber in The Globe and Mail raises the issue as well -- it is certainly an idea worth pursuing.

By the way, my wife Teresa and I will be volunteering at the United Way's CN Tower Climb on Saturday October 21 from 5:15am to 9:15am, issuing shirts with time scores and congratulating all the participants who successfully climbed the stairs.  Its a great event and the money goes to a worthy cause.


Monday October 16, 2006 - The Good And Bad Of City Employees In Toronto

Over the last three years in Ward 7, my experiences with Toronto City employees has crossed the full spectrum, from the surly and lazy on the one hand, to the professional and helpful on the other.  Just like understanding your friends and neighbours, however, there is a human face behind them and as residents of Toronto, we need to understand the position they are in.

This was made clear to me on Friday morning, when I noticed the garbage man has decided not to take one of my homes' recycling bins full of cardboard boxes.  I went outside to talk to him about it and he was more than willing to explain the situation (while putting the bin on the garbage truck as a courtesy).  He told me that he was not allowed to take the bin (the cardboard must be tied up and in smaller sizes), but in his many years working for the City he made exceptions for people who came out to talk to him, as he felt that once they understood the regulations they would comply the next time (a reasonable rationale).  He also explained that many residents have taken advantage of the rules far too often, while complaining to their Councillor or the Waste Management office that they are not doing their job.

Although there are some exceptions, most City employees truly understand their job and work hard to accomplish it.  The key to understanding them is to put yourself in their place and having them put themselves in your place -- they, just like you, are residents themselves and expect a certain level of service.  However, they are human as well and can not be expected to break the rules to meet your needs.  

The exceptions are somewhat difficult to deal with and yes, I have met many exceptions in the last three years.  It is for that reason that I have decided to initiate a move to appoint a Toronto Ombudsman.  Both the Provincial and Federal Governments have an Ombudsman's office, and given Toronto's size, recent scandals (and potential for more), it is a small price to pay for greater efficiency in Toronto.  Residents and City employees can provide concrete evidence of wrongdoing to the Ombudsman's office and the Ombudsman can report regularly on the current health of the City's administration.  It also provides for greater transparency of information, as the media is always quick to report on any ongoing investigations from an Ombudsman.  Lets hope that this initiative is put in place before another scandal costs the City of Toronto millions of dollars.

If anyone from Ward 7 tried to attend the all-candidates meeting on Friday night at the Oakdale Community Centre, I can sympathize with you over its cancellation in the last minute (the event was limited to Ward 8 candidates).  Fred Cutler, Sandra Anthony and I were present at the event (not the incumbent) but the organizer did not tell us that our presence was not wanted (the organizer being the Elspeth Heyworth Centre For Women).  Adding insult to injury, there was a camera crew there as well (journalism students making a project to be placed on the CBC website), and they had interviewed me a few hours earlier.  In an email, I asked for an explanation from their Executive Director (Veena Dutta) and informed her as well that the co-ordinator for the event was not too sympathetic to the situation.  If there is a formal explanation and apology coming, I will post it on this blog.

 

Friday October 13, 2006 - Dealing With Voter Apathy

One of the greatest hurdles so far in my campaign is convincing the people in Ward 7 that their vote can make a difference.  When I was young, my Father always told me how important it was to vote, simply because it meant something - when he lived in Eastern Europe (Poland) his vote meant nothing (there was only one person to vote for, it was decided by the Communist Party and he was forced to vote or deal with the consquences).  On top of it, the riding of York West (Ward 7 &  8) has one of the lowest voter turnouts in Canada, making things even worse.  I can sympathize with residents who are new to the country and have difficuties understanding the process, but if long-time residents have given up their right to vote, how can they have the right to criticize and complain about their political representatives?  One organization sent me a questionnaire recently asking my views on lowering the voting age to 16 and allowing non-citizens (recent immigrants) the right to vote -- I was against both ideas, because these two groups still need time to fit in with the responsibilities of voting and it is too simple a way to get more voters to go to the polls.  By refusing to vote, the people of Ward 7 are hurting themselves and will have to deal with the consequences of a deteriorating quality of life, as nothing new will get done.  Its your choice!

By the way, I will be interviewed on radio station CHRY-FM 105.5 on Monday October 16 at 5:15pm, dealing mainly with my election platform.

 

Thursday October 12, 2006 - Talking To Post-Secondary Students

It was quite a surprise to learn that both a radio station and journalist, each one from different schools, would like to interview me on the issues mentioned in my website.  When I was at University my priorities were somewhere else (Fraternity, dating, studying for exams, etc.).  It looks like our post-secondary students are getting more in tune with what is important in their lives -- I won't disappoint them.

When everything is confirmed, I will let you know. 

By the way, on Friday October 13 (tomorrow) I will be attending the All-Candidates Meeting sponsored by the Civic Engagement Committee of the Elspeth Heyworth Centre For Women (North York).  It takes place at the Oakdale Community Centre, 350 Grandravine Drive from 7:00 to 9:00pm.

 

Wednesday October 11, 2006 - Talking To Judy Sgro & St. Judes Catholic School Election (Non) Signs Issue

I found out today that July Sgro (our MP - York West) had endorsed the incumbent Councillor in Ward 7.  After contacting her office to confirm and view the endorsement letter, I had a surprise phone call from her personally later in the day.  We spoke for almost 45 minutes.  We had only met once before but she was familiar with my name given the many inquiries made to her office for information.  She provided me with a great deal of advice (she started out in municipal politics), along with her experiences when she started out.

The issue with (non) election signs at St. Judes Catholic School was mentioned today in both the Toronto Star and North York Mirror (their front page).  The issue was nothing new, as the signs have been up for weeks - the City's Property Standards office was notified but could do nothing about it as it did not defy the letter of the law (the spirit of the law on the other hand...).  I made two similar complaints to Toronto's Property Standards office in September, as the incumbent's campaign office was illegally posting election signs (the incumbent responded by putting stickers on the words "re-elect" to stay within the law).  It looks like the posting of campaign signs are getting him negative publicity -- all the better for his three challengers.


Tuesday October 10, 2006 - Dealing With Questionnaires Sent By Email

A barrage of questionnaires were emailed to me over the last week, dealing with issues such as the Environment, TTC, Youth, Immigrants and Toronto's sewers & water supply.  Although I have responded to almost every one, it is unfortunate that I did not have a chance to sit down with representatives from each organization to personally discuss the issues.  The problem with email responses is that it puts my opinions down without a chance for discussion and/or clarification.  On the other hand, these organizations are better able to digest the opinions of more candidates and easily post their thoughts online.  If anyone wishes to read the responses I made, please let me know which issue and I'll be glad to send you my response.

I had a long chat with Managing Editor Steve Houston at Toronto Community News today, after noticing the North York Mirror (one of his papers) had a one-page advertisement from the Emery Village BIA.  The BIA office and its Chair had been quite difficult for me to reach and they responded to my inquiries with a letter from their lawyers telling me to send all questions via letter or email and that any further information will not be available to me until their next meeting (ie. after the election).  At the same time, they wholeheartedly supported the incumbent, making him their guest speaker at their open meeting on October 11.  The advertisement must have cost the BIA thousands of dollars (nothing for an organization getting $600,000 per year from the City of Toronto), and the timing of the meeting so close to the election may imply a co-ordinated effort by the incumbent and the BIA (you be the judge).