Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hey Ana Bailao - Take Note

Recurring Issues and Ramping Up for Change?

* PEDESTRIAN SAFETY: We should all be disturbed that being a pedestrian in Toronto can be a dangereous - and increasingly so - activity. SIXTEEN Pedestrians Hit Over Two Days - One of Them KILLED: http://www.cp24.com/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20101118/101118_hit?hub=CP24Home That pedestrian killed was a 50 year old woman at Dundas and Dupont ( http://www.insidetoronto.com/news/local/article/905077--pedestrian-struck-killed-near-dundas-and-dupont ). It angers me that every time the media report on this, the message seems to be blaming the pedestrian, not the rushing drivers that hit them. In a related Spacing story, the often quoted Sgt. Tim Burrow comments that the media are the ones that seem to blame pedestrians, not the police: http://spacingtoronto.ca/2010/11/19/sharing-responsibility-for-pedestrian-safety/ In a big city increasingly becoming car-centric and cyclist/pedestrian unfriendly, I fear things will get much worse. Despite having a 'Pedestrian Charter' and some inroads on building a sensible cucling structure, we now have to deal with the Ford agenda. Who will stand up for the people in ward 18, many of whom are like the rest of the city aging and slowing down ?

* METROLINX- ELECTRIC TRAINS ? Yes this is still an ongoing fight. It seems everyone does NOT want polutting diesel trains running through our ward (and others), yet it is still being rammed down our throats by the non-elected entity. http://www.junctiontriangle.ca/node/915#comment-2767 My fervent hope is that Ana doesn't take the expedient political manoeuver of saying - 'oh that's a provincial issue'... kind of hard when she is a Liberal and it is the Dalton McGuinty driven initiative at its core. I actually know of a resident who is considering moving away because of this. I suspect there are more. How exactly will Ana stand up for the people of ward 18 in this matter? (Better than the non-entity Tony Ruprecht, I hope)

* DAYCARE DILEMMA: Yes,. I know it's across the street from ward 18, but the city-run Dovercourt Child Care Centre just north of College Street gave notice it is quite suddenly closing in just 6 weeks. http://www.parentcentral.ca/parent/education/article/895033--toronto-parents-angered-by-closing-of-city-run-daycare We all know that most families have two parents working to be able to afford living in the city, so this is an unacceptable hardship and a step backward for Toronto. In the past we've seen closings of daycars the other direction for ward 18 near High Park (unbelievable community complaints there were 'too many' daycares on the street). This needs to be dealt with FAST by incoming council. There is a great fear that the Rob Ford administration in its crusade against "the gravy train" will cut many city services... What will Ana Bailao do?

* VOICE OF RESIDENTS: Ana Bailao during the election campaign, like everyone else running, said that community-councillor relations and representing the voice of the ward to city hall (and not vice-versa) was a priority issue and promise. (Reconfirmed in today's Toronto Star article http://www.thestar.com/news/torontocouncil/article/895074--city-hall-rookies-2010-ana-bail-o ). Ana "plans to launch a community advisory board made up of residents who have a mix of ideas and a mix of experience, including local business people, planners and environmentalists". This was said in relation to local residents having a say in future development in ward 18 - but I hope she expands it to become an advisory panel on other issues, not just development. If there was one key thing that the people are looking for to be different in the ward, it is to be the exact opposite of Adam Giambrone when it comes to timely consultation with ALL the ward and allowing input to inform actions at council.

* Some recommendations for her 'Community Advisory Board": Frank de Jong (environmentalist); Please NOT Spiro Koumoudouros - Bloordale BIA and strip club owner (He is simply speculating on tons of properties in Bloor Lansdowne area); I don't klnow exactly who, but it would be nice to reach out to the NDPers... Kevin Beaulieu? ... at least, I hope all members live in the ward or have an active interest in it. What about Hema Vyas as someone who knows multiple cultural interests? And just what sort of mix of ideas is Ana looking for? Doug Carroll had some interesting things to say about city governance. There have also been many engaged people in the ward, like: Dyan Marie, Jack Fava, Sam Galati, Steve Barbosa, Kirk Russell, (and me)..... AND what about HIMY SYED who ran for mayor, is a Muslim, lives in the near area and is the most civic engaged person I have ever met with tons of knowledge and wisdom? How will she put such minds to work?

* DUNDAS PARKING RESTORATION: Again quoted in the above referenced Toronto Star article, Ana says that's the first thing she'll do on council. It shouldn't be hard, given Rob Ford's love affair with anything that involves individual motor vehicles. Yet, it is a double edged sword, since TRANSIT (TTC) is also an important issue for most of the ward. 41% of the work trips in ward 18 are by transit - an often reported statistic in profiles of the ward: http://torontoist.com/politics/ward18.php As well. pretty much all of the runnbers up in the election were in favour of 'Complete Streets' where we give equal weight to the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, cars, transit, seniors, disabled, etc. How will Ana handle the TTC issues at council?

* POVERTY: In an article from the Hamilton Spectator about provincial (non) reponse to poverty issues, they said: " The City of Hamilton is tied with TORONTO for the highest poverty rate in Ontario, at 20 PER CENT of its population " Source: http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/277949--ten-things-queen-s-park-needs-to-know-about-hamilton-s-demographics Now whther that is accurate or not, we know that ONE THIRD of ward 18 residents live on less than $30,000 a year in our very expensive Toronto - and that many live below the poverty line on less than $12,000 a year. All you have to do to see the need is visit a Food Bank or see tha constant dire warnings that demand is outpacing supply. HUNGER, HOMELESSNESS, POVERTY, WORKING POOR do exist in ward 18, Ana. Despite the ongoing gentrification of our area and the rise of upscale yuppie-artsie boutiques and eateries, there is still those left behind. What will Ana do to respond to this?

* CONSTITUENCY OFFICE: So, I am wondering where Ana will locate her ward constituency office - if she has one. There is no requirement for councillors to do this, and in today's The Star article she says she "will hold weekly open office hours at community centres across the ward". Not a bad idea if she can do it and it is well publicized and equally rotating. I actually favour heving city-owned lodgings located in a central geographic area of the ward that is wheelchair/disabled accessible and close to public transit. (This stops politicians from favouring one part of the ward over another). But... rotating is good if equitably done.

Davenport Deserved Better - Did We Get It?
The NEW City Council meets December 6-7.
We shall see... If We Watch....