VOTE LARRY PERLMAN FOR COUNCILLOR

TORONTO WARD 7 (YORK WEST)


Homepage Blog Background  In The News Accomplishments  Promises  Vision  Contact Me

INTRODUCTION 

Once elected, my activities as Councillor will be split into two separate but equally important strategies:

  •  Fulfilling promises that can easily be done  by myself or my staff, and,
  •  Putting together initiatives that must eventually be presented to City Council for approval that I will fight hard for but can not be guaranteed.

To that end, this section of the website will detail both strategies.  As Councillor, you can be assured that I will pursue both strategies vigourously.  Period. 

 

PROMISES

Promise 1:  Voluntary Maximum Two-Term Limit (Eight Years Total):

  • If elected Councillor, I will not stay longer than eight years in office.  It is my belief that a great deal can be done in the first four years.  If I were to run for a second term (and honoured to be chosen again) it would be to finish old business and prepare Ward 7 for the next Councillor.
  • Although I have the deepest respect for many career politicians, I have no intention of retiring a Councillor.  I believe most politicians do their best work in the beginning with passion, but passion diminishes to routine over time (with few exceptions).  Any experience gained should go to other roles, such as Mayor, provincial or federal representative, or better yet, the world of business.

Promise 2:  Give Back 20% Of My Salary To Ward 7:

  • I am not running to be Ward 7 Councillor for the money.  City Council recently increased Councillor salaries to $95,000, a decision I am not in favour of.  Since I would not give the money back to the City if elected, it would be best to give a reasonable amount (20%) back to Ward 7.
  • The amount of my donation would be $19,000 before taxes per year for four years to start immediately (repeated if I were to run again).  A transparent bank account would hold the funds until a registered incorporated non-profit organization is set up (my donations would then be tax-deductible and any additional benefits go to the non-profit organization).
  • The use of the fund would be for the benefit of Ward 7, decided by committee.  A "Ward 7 Committee" would be formed after the election, made up of one representative from each of the ten communities that comprise Ward 7 (see promise 3 below for more information).  I would have one vote on the committee but no veto.
  • Project ideas would be submitted to the committee and approved by majority (terms of reference, goals and division of funds would be decided after the committee is formed).

Promise 3:  Divide Ward 7 Into Ten Separate And Distinct Communities:

  • Toronto has always been a city of communities.  Although there are currently many active communities in Ward 7, its connection to the Ward and City is fragmented and without organization.
  • I propose dividing Ward 7 into ten separate and distinct communities (see community map HERE), each with it own voice.  One representative from each community would be elected by its members to a Ward 7 Committee (see promise 2 above).  If there isn't an active community group, I will put together the necessary meetings in order to have one formed.
  • Like a Ratepayers Association, each community would be informal, yet democratic.  Thoughts and Ideas would flow from its members to the community leaders to the Ward 7 Committee , to the Councillor and back to its members, not necessarily in that order.
  • Residents and businesses would then deal with issues either through their community, the Ward 7 Committee or the Councillor, whichever is able to respond best.

Promise 4:  Respond To the Needs Of Residents And Businesses To Make Ward 7 Better:

  • Promise 3 above will not diminish my role as your City representative (it provides more choice).
  • I will always be visible in the Ward and in each community to say hello and listen to your thoughts, ideas and complaints.
  • More importantly, I will always respond to you, always return phone calls and emails, and ensure that my office is always professional and responsive to the needs of everyone.  Period.

Promise 5:  A Councillor Newsletter Will Be Sent Semi-Annually And A Website Updated Regularly:

  • It is impossible for any political representative to communicate with constituents effectively without a regular newsletter and website.  It is done by our provincial and federal representatives.
  • A Regularly-updated Councillor website will be established, providing constituents with news and resources, along with the option to receive an email newsletter on a regular basis.
  • Email provides the simplest means of communication, but not all constituents have access.  Therefore, I will send out semi-annual paper newsletters to all constituents who request one.
  • If possible, I will look into combining a regular newsletter with our provincial and federal representatives in order to minimize costs.

 Promise 6:  Establish A Ward Internship Program For University & College Students:

  • As a University student, I studied the theory of political leadership and participation, but did not gather any experience dealing with political issues.  It was a missed opportunity.
  • By connecting with our local Colleges and Universities, I would initiate an internship program, allowing all students to get involved in Ward 7 issues (either part time or by semester).  Interns would help residents and businesses set up regular community meetings, write proposals for the Ward 7 Committee, help the Councillor's office with motions, and communicate with various members of City Government.  Councillor staff would be available to offer support and guidance.
  • As an internship program, it would add to the student's resume, get students valuable work experience, exposure to local politics, and provide Ward 7 with a wealth of skills.
  • Preference would be given to Ward 7 residents and match the multicultural nature of the Ward.

 

INITIATIVES WHEN ELECTED COUNCILLOR


After Election Initiative 1:  Community Festivals Across Ward 7:

  • Ward 7 is made up of 10 separate and distinct communities (8 residential, 2 industrial).  What better way to promote their uniqueness than with a festival in each community.
  • I was on a steering committee for the Humber Summit Community Festival at Gracedale Park in September 2005, celebrating youth.  More than 600 people attended and it was a success.  I would like to bring that success to the other communities in Ward 7.

After Election Initiative 2:  Put Together Joint Programs With Provincial & Federal Representatives in York West:

  • In York West (Toronto's Ward 7 & 8), the offices of both our current MPP (Mario Sergio) and MP (Judy Sgro) are a wealth of information and assistance.  Regular contact with them is a must for any Councillor (not simply for endorsements), as services to many groups are available from all three levels of government, including:
    • Seniors
    • Recent Immigrants
    • Individuals Speaking English As Their Second Language
    • The Handicapped
    • New Business Owners or ones in need of assistance to do business 
  • Joint strategies in York West are possible and can be co-ordinated better than the past, as long as there is a common goal to help provide those services.

After Election Initiative 3:  Establish Toronto Ombudsman's Office

  • An Ombudsman's Office provides residents and businesses with assistance when it becomes difficult cutting through the "red tape" at City Hall.  In many cases, simply suggesting to City Staff that an Ombudsman is ready to resolve an outstanding issue is pressure enough to get things moving better and faster.
  • There are times, however, when issues become so entangled that an Ombudsman's office is a must, especially in cases when City Staff are reluctant to respond effectively to complaints.  Even a good Councillor may not have the time or energy to tackle internal complaints at the top of the City Bureaucracy.
  • Both the Provincial and Federal Governments have Ombudsmen in place (as well as many large cities in North America).  Given Toronto's size and importance, having an Ombudsman directly report to City Council and issue regular reports on the status of city programs and services would be a benefit for the City as a whole and hopefully prevent any future scandals and gross inefficiencies.

After Election Initiative 4:  Full Transparency From Toronto's BIAs

  • Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) are made up of a number of businesses within a community with a goal of benefitting the community and/or the businesses themselves.  A special levy is collected by the City (based on a portion of their property tax) and distributed to the BIA.
  • The BIA in Ward 7 is called the Emery Village BIA and is unique in that it is made up of industrial businesses (as opposed to retailers which is the norm) and enlists more than 1,000 businesses.  This BIA receives more than $600,000 per year and is thus a significant presence in Ward 7
  • Unfortunately, the BIA is quite secretive with their information, and my inquiries directly to their Executive Director and Chair of the Board of Management were not hospitable (to say the least).  Although I had received a great deal of information from City Staff about this BIA, a simple request from myself for a 15-minute meeting with BIA staff was responded to with letter from their lawyers instructing me to communicate only via letter or email (not very hospitable given their goal of benefitting their community)
  • If elected Councillor, I will be requesting full transparency of information from ALL BIAs, including an updated website as well as the public release of all financial statements, capital projects, meeting minutes and future plans.  A BIA is a quasi-public institution, funded by a mandatory levy by the City of all its members (whether they wish to or not).  In many cases they operate outside the direct knowledge of the residents of their Ward (except for promotional purposes).  It is now time to bring their operations to the forefront.

After Election Initiative 5:  Eliminate Community Councils Altogether

  • Before bylaws reach City Council, they must go through one of the many committees and community councils that would hear the initiative, debate it, then decide whether it is worth bringing to the floor of City Council.  There are currently four community councils:  Etobicoke York (West Toronto), North York (North Toronto), Scarborough (East Toronto) and Toronto & East York (Central Toronto).  Councillors representing these geographic areas sit on their respective community council.  The community council structure is broken.
  • By broken, I mean they have become ineffective as a means to seriously consider initiatives.  All one has to do is attend a community council meeting and it becomes clear that a few Councillors dominate the agenda, that discussion becomes unprofessional and ineffective, and that delays and rhetoric are the normal course of business.  On the other hand, committees are more widely representative of the city as a whole and are generally more cordial.
  • There have been many ideas suggested for improving the community council structure, most involve increasing the number of councils to better reflect their importance.  A better solution is to eliminate the structure altogether, dividing all required initiatives among the existing committees and adding more committees that better reflect the diversity of the City.

After Election Initiative 6:  Mandatory 3-Term Limit For Councillors

  • As a candidate for Councillor in Ward 7, I promised a voluntary two-term limit, as I do not wish to retire a Councillor, nor do I feel that many Councillors could possibly be passionate about their position if they stay longer than is necessary to accomplish their platform.
  • Therefore, if elected I will be advocating a mandatory 3-term limit for ALL Councillors, grandfathered of course to allow current Councillors not to be forced out so soon.
  • Unfortunately, the current process of electing our municipal representatives tends to favour the incumbents.  Potential voters have become cynical, turnout is lower than it should be and candidates running against incumbents are at a clear disadvantage.

After Election Initiative 7:  Roll Back Councillor Salaries

  • The recent increase in salaries to Toronto Councillors was not popular, nor was it justified.  It has become too controversial an issue and can easily be solved by rolling back the salary.
  • Until an increase in salaries can be justified by the electorate, salary increases should only be increased with inflation. 

After Election Initiative 8:  Bring Back Party System To Toronto

  • I am not advocating the barring of independant candidates for Councillor or Mayor, simply the return of a designated party system specifically made for the City of Toronto
  • In many ways this is already apparent, with the media and the Councillors themselves being identified by their Canadian party affiliation (Liberal, Conservative, NDP).  All I am asking is that parties be established for Toronto, similar to that in Vancouver.
  • A party system would be effective in providing a check of candidates vying for political office and give voters an easier time to distinguish the best available.  Given that Councillors are now voted in every 4 years, this would provide greater security for voters that their choice was the right one (and may eliminate "Councillors for life").