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Toronto Election 2010: Ward 18

October 17th, 2010 · No Comments

Ward 18 has a dozen registered candidates. Councillor Adam Giambrone is not seeking re-election. The Gleaner was not able to contact or find any information on candidates Mohammmed Muhit and Joanna Teliatnik.

Ana Bailão: Ran in Ward 18 in 2003; worked for five years in MP Mario Silva’s office (Davenport). Aims to increase the level of participation between councillors and their community, and ensure the councillor supports community initiatives. “When you work in partnerships with the residents, the best results come.” www.anabailao.ca

Kevin Beaulieu: Was executive assistant to Adam Giambrone. Aims to improve transit service with expansion, electric trains, and stabilizing fares. “I have been knocking on doors in this neighbourhood and have found that residents of Ward 18 believe in Mayor Miller’s vision of liveability, prosperity, and opportunity for all.” Source: kevinbeaulieu.ca.

Doug Carroll: Software developer and lifelong Toronto resident. Aims to “restore citizen control of our city,” by implementing changes that will increase transparency and public review for city services, and disclosure and consultation for city planning. “A regrettable class interest has developed since Megacity [sic], separate from that of residents.” Source: dougcarroll.ca.

Frank de Jong: Past leader of the Green Party of Ontario, TDSB teacher. Aims to institute self-funding infrastructure (the Bloor Street reconstruction between Avenue Road and Church Street was funded this way). Also supports a ban on handguns and merging the Catholic and public school boards. “Davenport badly needs more public squares, more parks, more car-free pedestrian walkways, and more walking bridges over the railway tracks.” Source: votefrankdejong.ca.

Abdirazak Elmi: Could not be reached for comment. Was previously running in Ward 7, but dropped out and re-registered in Ward 18.

Nha Le: Ran in the 2003 and 2006 elections in Ward 18. Has worked closely with Davenport MPP Tony Ruprecht for the last four years. Aims to ensure that all parts of the ward receive the same benefits. “Elder people, they need the parking spot. Handicapped people, they need the parking spot. You have to have a parking permit to park on the street. You took the money and you took the parking away. That’s illegal.”

Joe MacDonald: Has been involved in government and public affairs at all three levels of government, including campaign manager in more than 20 NDP election campaigns, in eight provinces. Platform centres on importance of public parks, good design for new developments, and more provincial funding for public transit. “As the Partnerships & Public Affairs Manager for the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area, I was involved in the process of bringing the downtown community together to revitalize Barbara Ann Scott Park.” Source: joemacw18.ca.

Kirk Russell: Owner and manager of a construction company. Platform centres around the “Three T’s” (traffic, transit, and taxes). Wants city hall to compensate the Dundas West BIA for loss of business due to the reduction in street parking. “For too long the concern of business owners with respect to the availability of parking, the request of vehicle drivers for more road space, the demand of transit users for the expansion of the public transportation system, and the right of cyclists to have their own bike lanes have been portrayed as being irreconcilable with one another.” Source:voteforkirk.ca.

Hema Vyas: Currently works for the Government of Ontario, advising on program efficiency for the Ministry of Training and Colleges. Aims to stimulate community involvement through non-traditional avenues and make meetings more convenient for the community. “From talking to people in the ward, they have issues and they’re not single issues. They have ideas about their ward and they’re crosscutting.” hemavyas.ca

Ken Wood: Has worked in several ‘middle management’ positions, but is currently on disability for severe depression. Worked as a city worker in prior federal and provincial elections and helped campaign for Giambrone in 2003. Aims to find alternative ways to bring supply trucks into the city to help alleviate congestion, and look further ahead with city’s financial planning. “You’ve got people wanting to contribute, wanting to spend their time, making suggestions, being constructive—and they’re being not only ignored, but sometimes when they bring things up they’re being labelled the ‘Lansdowne loonies’ or something like that.” davenportdemocracy.blogspot.com

—Compiled by Rebecca Payne


Who’s the boss: Four people who want Giambrone’s job

This article, about Ward 18 Davenport, was published in the April 2010 edition of the Liberty Gleaner.

By Jacob Arnfield

The biggest question regarding the future of Ward 18 (Davenport) was cleared up after incumbent Councillor Adam Giambrone announced that he will not be seeking re-election this fall, leaving the candidates field wide open.

“This was a difficult decision to make. While I will miss working for the neighbourhood and for the people of Toronto as a whole, I am excited about future opportunities to build the future of our city,” wrote Giambrone in a written statement.

There was much earlier speculation in political circles as to whether Giambrone would try to win his ward after dropping out of the mayoral race due to his recent scandal, or leave politics altogether.

Looking back on his time as a councillor, he said he felt he had accomplished much of what he originally planned to do.

He said there was still plenty of work to do for a future candidate, but “I ran in 2000 and I lost, so we did a document about what we wanted to do in the ward, and it’s kind of reassuring to go back and look at that document, and basically it [has been] done.”

He indicated that he would like to return to politics some day and will continue to be civically engaged. “I am excited by the possibilities a return to private life brings for new opportunities for activism and advocacy to help bring about a better tomorrow for all Torontonians,” he wrote.

When the Gleaner spoke with Giambrone last month, he defended his record of engagement with the community — something that each candidate mentioned as a main criticism they had heard from constituents they had spoken to. He said that because of a tremendous amount of change that occurred in the ward the last seven years, it was very difficult to appease all the interested parties and with so many projects, like the Dufferin Jog, the railpath, and many others nearing completion, there will be an opportunity to refocus on public consultation.

“The next councillor … is really going to have to think about maybe focusing—instead of leading change, or consulting on a new community centre—engaging back at a local level on norm[al things. You know you get sidetracked on a big project,” Giambrone said.

Giambrone’s executive assistant, Kevin Beaulieu will be running in place of his boss. We were unable to contact him by press date, but we spoke to four of the five other candidates who are registered: Ana Bailao, Hema Vyas, Ken Wood, and Nha Le. We were unable to contact Jack Triolo in time for this story.

Bailao ran in Ward 18 in 2003. She worked for five years in Mario Silva’s office, the previous councillor and current federal MP for Davenport.

Since then she said she has worked in communications and marketing in several sectors. Bailao immigrated to Canada when she was 15. Before working for Silva, she held jobs at local newspapers and radio stations. After leaving the public sector, she remained active in the community, working with DIG IN, Friends of Dovercourt Park, The Working Women’s Community Centre, and the Portuguese Canadian Business Federation.

Bailao has chosen to come back to municipal politics for the 2010 election to help increase the level of participation and partnership between city councillors and their communities. “I truly believe that the good work that is done in our neighbourhoods, in our community, is in partnership with the residents. When you work in partnerships with the residents, the best results come,” she said.

She said she wanted to ensure that the local councillor supports community initiatives, such as the excellent work done at Dufferin Grove Park. “We need a councillor that is up in arms with those community groups,” she said. “You have to help them get organized, even at the beginning.”

Some of her goals for the ward include more LEED buildings, encouraging local green initiatives, improving the settlement process for immigrants coming to Toronto, and helping the community continue to fight for the electrification of the Georgetown rail corridor.

The other candidate with previous experience running in Ward is Le. Le ran in the 2003 and 2006 elections in Ward 18. Le said he worked closely with Davenport MPP Tony Ruprecht for the last four years. He is now working full time to save for the campaign. Le does not want to solicit contributions because he has decided if he does not win this time around, he will return to China. “This time I will not ask anybody for a penny, because if I lose, I walk away,” Le said.

He said he wants to make sure that all parts of the ward receive the same benefits, and also spoke of the legal obligation the city has to its constituents that it does not always uphold.

He referenced the lane closures on Lansdowne Avenue and the reduction of parking on Dundas Street, “Elder people, they need the parking spot. Handicapped people, they need the parking spot. You have to have the parking permit to park on the street. You took the money and you took the parking away. That’s illegal. You break the contract already. You are the government but you don’t break the contract with the people,” Le said.

Vyas has not previously run for office. She currently works for Government of Ontario, advising on program efficiency for the Ministry of Training and Colleges, and is no stranger to community service. Vyas has worked with the June Callwood Centre for Women and Families, Culturelink, and Pathways to Education.

Vyas said her previous experiences in community building and policy creation give her transferable skills that will help find new approaches to problem solving for a city councillor. “From talking to people in the ward, they have issues and they’re not single issues. They have ideas about their ward and they’re crosscutting. When you get someone at a time that works for them, in an environment that works for them, it’s different than being in a hall in front of a hundred people where not everyone wants to get up and ask a question, or say what their perspective is,” Vyas said.

She wants to bring a new approach to the job. She said that she would try to stimulate community involvement by using non-traditional avenues—be they lunch teleconferences, MSN chats, or just meetings scheduled when it’s convenient for the community rather than the councillor. She also said she believes the key to good development

She wants to bring a new approach to the job. She said that she would try to stimulate community involvement by using non-traditional avenues—be they lunch teleconferences, MSN chats, or just meetings scheduled when its convenient for the community rather than the councillor. She also said she believes the key to good development is getting the public’s input, not just on what they would like the building to be, but also how they currently use the space in and around any proposed development. She would want the community to tell her how they commute, where they go on the weekends to shop, and so on. “A lot of those questions that don’t actually relate to the building itself are really important to the planning,” Vyas said.

Wood said he never had any political ambitions of his own. After being involved in politics at University he was turned off by “the backroom stuff that goes on.”

He said he has worked in several different “middle management” positions, but is currently on disability for severe depression.

He has stayed engaged with his community, working with Daily Bread Food Bank and Mainstay Supportive Housing. He worked as a city worker in prior federal and provincial elections and helped campaign for Giambrone in 2003.

However, he became upset with how Giambrone involved the community in decision making for the ward, and became the focus of a 2007 news story when he chained himself to a tree that was going to be cut down during the lane reduction project on Lansdowne Avenue. The tree still stands today.

He feels that the Lansdowne project could have been a success for everyone involved if residents had had an opportunity to be heard.

“It angers me no end. That’s probably why I’m running. It doesn’t seem like this should be the way that people live in a neighbourhood. You’ve got people wanting to contribute, wanting to spend their time, making suggestions, being constructive—and they’re being not only ignored, but sometimes when they bring things up they’re being labeled the ‘Lansdowne loonies’ or something like that,” Wood said.

Wood said he was quite interested in looking at some of the electoral reform ideas proposed by betterballots.to and ivotetoronto.org because, “there’s so many issues that need to be addressed here and they’re conveniently ignored by politicians that frankly, are in office way too long. When you hear decades of people being in office there’s something wrong. It’s a bad recipe.”

He said he wanted to look at alternative ways to bring supply trucks into the city to help alleviate congestion, and to encourage a better election in the ward by focusing the debate on specific local issues with a diverse group of candidates, rather than name recognition and the hot button citywide issues.

He said he would try to help the city begin looking further ahead with their financial planning and pay more attention to derelict properties in the ward.

There are still several months before the election will kick into high gear. Stay tuned for more election coverage.

If there is an issue or a question you hope to hear about directly from the candidates that will influence your decision on election day, please let us know by contacting gleanerinfo@ gmail.com.

[“How do the candidates feel about the way the Cineforum has been treated, i.e. its closure after Adam Vaughan praising its value?” BOLD]
[—Reg Harrt, Local artist, writer and Filmmaker ITAL]

[Vaughan: BOLD] One of the ways you revitalise a business district is through lots of little space for culture to thrive. It creates almost a self financing marketing draw, people come to cultural activities across the city if there is something special happening and its why I’ve created 20,000 square feet of new, non-profit cultural space. I think this is how you create business environments that are healthy. Reg had a particular problem because he was in a house. Houses can sometimes be re-imagined and reused for that kind of capacity, but you’ve got to talk to your neighbour and he was running a theatre with no exits. The city gets nervous about that, particularly in ward 20, with our rash of really tough fires. We tried to work with Reg to see if we could fix it, but he’s kind of a unique character. The reality is that what people like reg need is not a re-zoning, they need a non-profit commercial space. On the TIFF block, we put in 5,000 square feet of exhibition space for artists, as part of the film environment. Reg’s spot was a particularly difficult location and as much as I value his film library, there are fire regulations that have got to be met, because what we see in these older areas is that when one building goes up, it takes five or six with it and its just not something that as an elected official you feel very comfortable turning a blind eye to.
[Maher: BOLD] We need to go by the municipal bylaws. That’s the main thing. We need to look at when he actually started his business. Maybe he didn’t realize it’s been open an x number of years, or this turned out to be a small business where people do it out of their home. I want to go by the book when it comes to municipal bylaws, and then in these specific situations, these will be what I consider “one-offs,” look at this one individually and see what would be the impact on neighbours, on the residential [zone]. When you are on Bathurst Street, you can call it residential, but Bathurst is pretty much commercial, regardless if you own a house or not.
[Osadchuk: BOLD] It’s a total abuse of power, that’s all it is. You should just leave the guy alone. They’re doing it just because they can, it’s the same bullshit when some kid is flying their kite in the park and the city bylaw officers comes over and tells him they cant fly their damn kite. All of a sudden, you give these guys a little power and they become little dictators, they’re totally out of control. I’d tone the bylaw officers down for sure [and] quit persecuting these people.
[Yen: BOLD] I fully support our local entrepreneurs like that. The film industry, especially the local film industry, I’m really pushing. You have a small operator like this, who is willing to screen films and give exposure to the local filmmakers, I think that is awesome. If there’s some silly law in the way, it’s the law that needs to be removed—unless, it’s an issue that the community doesn’t want it to be there’s or there’s a safety issue. If he is running a safe operation, where people can watch the movie and there is not a brick falling on their head, then awesome. If the community wants it there, and you enjoy the films, then let’s do it. Supporting local independent films is done at the grassroots level and it’s amazing. If there is some stupid law, I would get rid of the law.

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