Saturday, October 30, 2010
What Does Ana Bailo Stand For
* UNDECIDED on... Do you support making the TTC an essential service to prevent future strikes? Others = 10 yes; 13 no; 9 undecided; 12 won't say
* UNDECIDED on... Do you support contracting out residential garbage service? Others = 11 yes;10 no; 11 undecided; 12 won't say
* UNDECIDED on... Do you support cutting city funding to Gay Pride and other parades such as Caribana? 2 yes; 17 no; 13 undecided; 12 won't say
* UNDECIDED on... Do you support cutting the size of council from 44 to 22? 7 yes; 17 no; 8 undecided; 12 won't say
* UNDECIDED on... Do you support eliminating the fair wage policy? 6 yes; 14 no; 12 undecided; 12 won't say
The cagiest councillors who "won't say" are the ones who did not respond to The Star survey:
Mark Grimes, Anthony Perruzza, Josh Colle, Karen Stintz, John Filion, David Shiner, Jaye Robinson, Paula Fletcher, Michael Thompson, Mike Del Grande, Norm Kelly and Ron Moeser.
What is Ana's plan? To see what goodies she might get by voting for the Ford team? Or will she wait to see which bandwagon is the most popular at City Hall so she can be on the winning side?
Friday, October 29, 2010
Post Election Blues
In Ward 18 -
As with every election, no matter who wins, I always notice a bizarre feeling of "Is this real?" after the results are in. For those who lost - and expected to win - like Kevin Beaulieu, the shock and grief is understandable. For those who won, there is always the same degree of shock, just in a different direction.
Ana Bailao won big. She campaigned hard and long and had everything going for her. Despite that, the sneaky tricks, primarily by her campaign, stood out in the last week of the election. I have no doubt she exceeded maximum campaign limits (just by looking at the glossy literature that hit my mailbox all year). I have no doubt she had her election signs up (slightly) early. I have no doubt she engineered and authored supposedly neutral stories in the Portugese only media, and probably exceeded expense limits here too (you are supposed to claim for value of offered goods and services). But then, all those questionable tactics have always been the trademark of big Liberal party politics in Davenport, so were they Ana's doing or did it just come with the territory of her backers? It will be interesting to se if anything comes of these anti-democratic tactics through the normal channels of Toronto Election services.
Despite the tactics, Ana won big. Her shock is likely of the "Oh my God, I won! This is serious!" variety and I hope it sits with her throughout her time on council so that she is constantly thinking - "Now I have to live up to my promises and represent ALL my constituents". The absolute worst thing Ana could do would be to cater to her big development dollar donors and/or her ethnic Portugese community.
* 75% of the ward is NOT Portugese. Our City Councillor must represent ALL of ward 18
* Everyone in the ward is concerned about getting the right kind of development, 100% of the ward wants in on community consultation and real input BEFORE things happen in the ward.
* There are several disparate lobby groups of special interests in the ward: cyclists, artists, BIA's, self-defined resident groups - and the as-always forgotten margianlized poor, homeless and hungry. Ward 18 is complex and will need a careful hand to achieve all the compromises necessary.
For those that came in as 'also-rans', the loss was likely expected, or should have been. Media defined the race as a two person, two party one the moment Kevin Beaulieu announced his intention to run on April 13, after his former boss Adam Giambrone had self-destructed in the mayoral race and finally decided not to run again in ward 18. So for the last 7 months the writing was on the wall for all to see.
Still, we should all ask what will become of the 'also-rans', 90% of whom made a serious try at campaigning. At the 8 meetups and debates, they all offered differing ideas to improve the ward as well as cemented the unifying theme of more and better community consultation. They exhibited their various skills and abilities, which would be a shame and loss to the ward if they all did not continue to contribute to improving the quality 0f life in the community.
Frank de Jong, the Green Party candidate will likely take a run again at the provincial MPP race expected in just under a year, so we can probably count on his staying involved.
Hema Vyas although living within walking distance of ward 18 constantly told us she cared for and was involved in the ward 18 community. She came with impressive cultural and non-profit credentials. Will we see her just as active post-election?
Joe MacDonald promised us he would not be a career politician and came with impressive academic and insider political experience. Hw will he stay involved in ward 18 life?
Kirk Russell stayed very much in the centre of discovering and bringing to light alleged and real infractions of electioneering by the two front-runners. He had some extremely detailed and well-researched ideas about traffic that bears further consideration by those now in power. How will he stay involved?
Nha Le, the perennial election campaigner and supporter of the big Liberal party machine is nothing if not persistent in trying to be involved in ward18 politics. Will he be of use to Ana as he has been to Tony Ruprecht? Is he just a Liberal hanger-on or will he contribte to ward 18?
Doug Carroll was an eloquent and ideas driven person, even if those ideas did not resonate within the ward. Will his interest in city governance continue and be listened to by Ana?
Ken Wood, Mohammed Muhit, Joanna Teliatnik and Abdirazak Elmi - how will they be involved in future ward 18 life, if at all? Time will tell.
I hope Ana Bailao continues to read my blog and considers seriously her promise of better and real community consultation. She has been quoted as saying "Now the work begins". If she doesn't govern well, the next election results could be very different, yet again.
Monday, October 25, 2010
1. Ana Bailao = 6,277 votes = 44 %
2. Kevin Beaulieu = 4,911 votes = 34% 1,366 votes behind
------------------ Top 3 candidates belong to political parties
4. Hema Vyas = 776 votes = 5%
5. Joe MacDonald = 669 votes = 5%
6. Kirk Russell = 326 votes = 2%
7. Nha Le = 154 votes = 1%
-- Above all had significant election signs and/or campaign offices
9. Mohammed Muhit= 74 votes = 0.7% ???
10. Joanna Teliatnik= 70 votes = 0.5%
11. Doug Carroll = 54 votes = 0.4%
12. Abdirazak Elmi= 42 votes = 0.3%
----------- TOTAL VOTES = 14, 346 out of 26,737 eligible voters
Sunday, October 24, 2010
WHERE TO VOTE
Saturday, October 23, 2010
LAST CHANCE WEEKEND - and My Predictions
... or is it the other way around?
It's Saturday before the Monday vote, and I see signs of desperation in campaigns everywhere.
* An old guy by himself in a purple Smitherman T-Shirt exorting busy shoppers outside No-Frills at Dundas and Lansdowne to vote for George....
* The sudden appearance of 'Ford for Mayor' signs in bizarre locations, outside coin car wash at College/Lansdowne, on vacant offices ... along with home-made signs on hydro poles telling us "Ford is the Man"
* A sudden influx of "newsletters" and announcements of endorsements that appear at first glance to be delivered by The Star or The Villager
* Mailboxes jammed with flyers, cards and notices trying to be seen and read
* Call after call on my home phone as well as my cell phone telling me why I should vote for Joe MacDonald in ward 18 or for Kirk Russell in ward 18... or Smitherman... or - you get the picture.
* The sudden appearance of never before heard Twitter accounts telling us why Kevin Beaulieu or Ana Bailao or Hema Vyas are the greatest
* Tweet after tweet reminding everyone who endorsed whom in this elections (even if the endorsements came at the last minute or from predictably partisan sources like the Liberal Toronto Star or the NDP Spacing or Now sites)
* Candidates standing outside busy subway stations in the cold rain trying to buttonhole voters who rush by heads bowed, their body language saying 'leave me alone'
What a strange thing an election campaign is!
10 months for candidates to get out their platform, be seen and heard. Some 70 debates for the Mayors (with not much new said after the first one) and 8 opportunities for voters in ward 18 to get out and see candidates. I hesitate to call them 8 "debates" because the first 6 were really coming out parties where everyone was oh-so-Canadian and polite. It wasn't until the 7th gathering - the on air live Rogers TV debate, "The Local Campaign" where any fireworks ensued and any attempts were made by candidates to challenge competitors' platforms. The very last debate ended with a vitriolic attack and the words, "...You lying bitch!" after some equally testy moments.
Throughout this campaign, everything has been defined by the MEDIA, not the candidates or the voters' wants. Big news media from the beginning told us there were only a handful of people running for Mayor, and we all watched as they self-destructed or dropped out one by one due to poor polling - usually an indication no one is interested in them. Yet, big news media kept the field restricted as it shrank to what most Torontonians think are choices between disasterous, terrible and least worst.
PREDICTABLE PREDICTIONS ?
In the local ward 18 campaign, Ana Bailao bought the election from even before day one. She lined up all her Liberal ducks and donors, raised at least twice the maximum expense limit and proceeded to deluge ward 18 mailboxes with expensive and glitzy multi-colour flyers, brochures, cards and letters. Of all the candidates, she must have done at least 20 mailings per household, judging by the mailboxes at my place. Ana used her big red Liberal machine to its maximum capacity and had kids erecting election signs before the start date/time and made sure her campaign was seen everywhere by the important people. She used the Portugese ethnic card to maximum advantage (possibly even exceeding use of resources, a la Senso) and got everyone to buy in that Ana is the only community activist and city builder worth paying attention to. She is the Goliath in the ward, but it will come with a price when she is elected: favours requires payback. Developers are 'partying hardy'over her positioning and licking their lips in anticipation. If she doesn't win this, I'll be surprised.
The likely second runner-up, Kevin Beaulieu, never really let himself be known to those that didn't already know him. As the NDP 'medium-big' party machine choice, his campaign seems terribly tightly controlled by backroom politicos and co-campaign managers. getting (and proudly proclaiming) both Adam Giambrone and Mayor Miller endorsements likely will hurt more than help him in a divided ward with pockets of real hate-ons for the Miller-Giambrone twins. During the campaign, I've learned Kevin does have a solid grasp of details of how city hall works, and likely some creative ideas of his own, but alas - his soul belongs to the NDP as much as Ana's belongs to the Liberals. If Kevin wins this, I'll be (slightly) less worried for ward 18.
Who comes in third or 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th,11th, 12th (Ward 18 can never say they didn't have choices!) is a toss-up.
While Hema Vyas is liked and loved by the Maytree-cultural-diversity-fixer lobby, as an individual she has not yet stood up to challenges. In a Metro Morning radio interview she admitted to being scared of debates. Not bad in itself as all candidates who are human have a twinge of fear at being in the spotlight, but in my view she has not performed well in challenging situations. Having seen countless council debates, our political representative has to have the warrior beast in them to stand up for the ward and for their principles. She needs a lot of seasoning; a campaign is not just about reading a resume or a list of endorsements.
Frank de Jong is probably the most comfortable campaigner I have ever met. I suppose he should be given his 13 or so runs at office at all levels and his stint as President of the Green Party, but I got a really good sense of him as a person. He really is WYSIWYG : "What You See Is What You Get" - a genuine person comfortable in his own skin and happy with himself. Would he ever get elected, I'm pretty sure voters would re-elect him and be happy with his work. Why he can't break the ice is a puzzle to me.
Kirk Russell is an enigma to me. He seems the dark horse candidate in the race. A serious contender, he went all out with e-signs, campaign office and web presence and was smart enough to get himself a Portugese speaking campaign manager with a lot of street smarts. Yet, although he seems to have a major problem with Ana Bailao (youtube videos calling her a liar, always on the scene when Ana did something scandalous or bordering on it) - he appears to be a fellow Liberal in many aspects of his candidacy. Contrast this with his last minute support of Rob Ford for Mayor (huh ?) and I really wonder what his game plan was. A nice guy whom I admire, but still don't get. Ana Bailao is being mostly slagged for her ties to the development and construction industry - yet Kirk is IN that industry?
Joe MacDonald was a relative latecomer to the campaign and his beginning presence was only felt in the Big on Bloor Festival in the summer. Despite his many protestations that he is not a 'career politician' or part of the big NDP party machine, he is really exactly that. Just because the party chose to back Kevin rather than him doesn't negate that he was in the inner power circles of the Big Bob Rae NDP government. His self-proclaimed credentials tells us he was involved in many party campaigns. What he has contributed to this campaign most positively is an intelligent and experienced-backed knowledge of what it takes to be a political representative. He has honestly spoken about his views and challenged other candidates. What is unfortunate was his attacks on Hema Vyas for not living in the ward she wants to represent and questioning her motives for running in ward 18. It wasn't the challenge, which was fair, it was the way and tone in which he delivered it. He probably lost himself a lot of potential support there. His e-signs were very underplayed with muted purple on white but his website was professional and well done.
Doug Carroll is someone who was clear on the area of the campaign he wanted to contribute to: the process of government and city-building. He is an articulate man with a depth of understanding that at times was amazing. He didn't really campaign in the same way as the election-sign-proven-candidates above, didn't really have a website to speak of, or any campaign literature I saw - yet he still made a significant positive impact on the quality of debate.
NHA LE is persistent, I'll give him that, but not much else. He's run a few times before, getting about 250 votes and although he has real English language communication problems, he impressed me as sincere about his wants for ward 18. I just never got a good handle on what those were. That he lives outside the ward, is a card carying Liberal and proud to have been working and mentored by Tony Ruprecht, the do-nothing Liberal MPP for Davenport makes me automatically reject him. His recent promise to cut down trees on Lansdowne to beautify it was a killer too.
Abdirazak Elmi was about the strangest candidate I've ever run into. Opening his introduction at the last debate with "I have two wives...." says it all. Although I stress that he did at least try - he spent his own money on flyers and delivered them, he could never have won. He lives WAY outside the ward, only jumped in here because it was a non-incumbent ward and Mammoliti had dropped out of the mayor race and returned to the ward he was originally going to run in. He has zero understanding of what is going on in ward 18 and was constantly calling me to ask about how he should campaign. A nice guy, but very confused about elections here.
Joanna Teliatnik is perhaps the second strangest candidate I've run into. She joined at the last minute, lives way out at Kipling and 401 and - told me she was "trying to run a campaign under the radar" when I met her campaigning on my street. Over coffee I got the impression she was a career bureaucrat who wanted to change things, but didn't know how. Why she ran here, I'll never know.
Mohammed Muhit had better get last place in votes! He was absolutely invisible in the ward, although I discovered his email address and that he lived a few streets over from Joe MacDonald in the ward. Zero campaigning, no literature, no show at debates, no response to any news media enquiries. Why?
KEN WOOD - I'll leave it to others to describe or remember me in this election.
All I know is that when I first registered to run 20 minutes before we knew if Giambrone would run in the ward or for mayor, what I wanted was:
1. To See Adam Giambrone out of office (Thanks, Adam)
2. To have an impact on the issues and nature of the debate in the ward
3. To offer a real choice to voters of someone truly independent
4. To contribute to increasing voter response and turnout
5. To test myself to see if I could be more than what I was
Whatever happens on Monday, I hope the results are conclusive and the winner remembers that:
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Ken Wood's "Full Platform Jacket"
* Fair Taxes: Reduce where possible, No more User Fee tax grabs for things like parks & rec; Hold the line on any property tax increase beyond inflation at a minimum
* Smart Budgets: a FIVE year budget plan cycle, which starts with a declaration of VALUES that would inform the rest of the budget cycle.
* Independent Audit of City Budget by January 31 of any year in which an election is to be held with results released publicly
* More transparency: Better involvement of citizens, with an interactive website that encourages budget saving ideas, city-wide; More town Halls explaining the budget process and situation
* Ranked Ballots: Where voters can select preferences by priority (1,2,3,...) to ensure the person elected truly represents voters' wish; No more 'Strategic Voting' confusion
* Term Limits: No City Councillor may sit for more than two terms consecutively; Person can take off one council term and then run again for the position; Encourages accountable political representation and respects the size and diversity of the city by giving fresh ideas a chance; No term limits for Mayor as this is the city's key recoignizable spokesperson and requires experience.
* Ban Polls: No public release of polling in the last two months of a campaign; Individual parties may poll but may not release results during election blackout period; This respects the democratic process and right of voters, not the media or partisan parties to choose *Update: As @enzodimatteo tweeted: "Poll after insufferable poll. They diminish our democracy and add nothing meaningful to the political discourse. They should be banned."
* NO - To Lowering the Voting Age: This may be appropriate at a later date, once civic education and the youth vote actually improves in terms of turnout.
* VOTING EQUITY: Right now if you own a property in a ward and live anywhere else, you get TWO votes - owner and spouse. Remove the 'spouse' vote, so that a resident or property owner each have but one vote.
* NO - To Extending the Vote to Permanent Residents: Citizenship should NOT be devalued; The issue is the 3-5 years it takes to gain Canadian Citizenship - we should push to reduce this time to 2-3 years.
* NO - to Online Voting: Technology is still too prone to viruses, hacking and manipulation; The time-proven method of many eyes ensuring a legal vote is working
* Mandatory Voting: With financial penalties for not performing a civic duty for anyone without a medical waiver; This MUST however include the option of 'None of the Above' to allow accurate voter intentions
* Publish Donor Lists: Of all campaigns at least one week before the first Advance Voting date; Would not require disclosure of finances, just names and locations.
* Ban Election Signs: For reasons that they are uninformative and hostile to the environment; Replace with temporary 'Election Kiosks' that would be erected at key points such as parks, community centres, outside subway stations, etc.; Permit candidates to only list their platforms on 8x10 pages with contacts
* Election Support: Permit candidates to link websites on accessible city website designed for ease of use with ELECTION button - would seamlessly direct inquiries to candidate sites; Allow 311 to route inquiries in a similar fashion; Require all candidates to list at a minimum their contact address and telephone number.
* Monthly Town Halls: To be held just after the monthly city council meetings to allow incumbent to report on activities and seek direction for the next monthly council meeting; Must be held in central, easily accessible location and be well publicized.
* Multi-Lingual Communication: In order to rise up, meet and cherish diversity in our city, I would allocate $20,000 of my first year's City Councillor salary to an initiative to reach constituents in their own most fluent home language. This is essential to increase civic engagement and is the price of democracy in our new society.
* Community Grants Program: Forbid City Councillors from using their office budgets to arbitrarily support lobby voting blocks; transfer a portion to a community grants program that is administered by a neutral, independent community council on a points system that ensure fairness, equity and that the community gets the best 'bang for the buck'.
* Constituency Office Designation: Every ward should have a central, easily accessible office that is owned and maintained by the city; would reduce the likelihood of politicians cherry picking locations to cater to only a segment of their ward.
* Protect Public Assets: No sell-off of city assets like Toronto Hydro, but also find a way to reclaim Schools that have been designated toi close (example: West Toronto). These lands and structures belong to the taxpayers - it doesn't matter if they are administered by school boards, the province or the city. They belong to the citizens. Find solutions, whether that be long term leases, rebranding as community centres/disaster relief centres/out of the cold/cooling centres.
* Smart Development: Change and gentrification is inevitable. We need to manage that change, which requires local neighbourhood resident input at early stages so that the change is balanced and positive for all the community. Ensure constituents are kept in the loop for all changes at every stage in their communities. Explore the possibility of local planning councils.
* Mixed-Use Buildings: No more single use buildings - ensure ground floors allow for commercial applications; Ensure housing is available for mixed--use as well: singles, families, low-income, seniors, etc.
* Smart Zoning: Ensure city zoning allows for better designed communities; Do not allow situations that would create deserts like what happens in Flemingdon Park where residents do not have easy access to food stores, banks, etc. More involvement of the community to build villages within neighbourhoods within cities.
* Expropriation Template: There are too many abandoned and wasted properties in our ward. We need an easily accessible process whereby a single citizen can identify such properties and start a process of review that eventually cause better use of such buildings and lands. Again, keeping constutuents informed and engaged is important.
* POVERTY: We need a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy that includes reducing poverty through intelligent social programs and spending money where it has real, proven positive effect. The City needs to work more closely with non-profits in this sector to make better use of their skills, research and networks.
* HUNGER: The City's Food Strategy needs a restart. Community Gardens are a help but not a solution. Food banks are struggling to keep up with demand and need city help with rent and space. Why not have food banks located in schools after hours?
* HOMELESSNESS: Streets to Homes is a good start but it is not enough. We still have homeless everywhere. Increase Toronto Rent Bank supports to all who need it (they give no interest loans for people in dangers of losing housing, now limited eligibility). More rigourous research on the efficiency of the shelter system likely will lead to city subsidies in market rent housing.
* AFFORDABLE HOUSING: The city's Toronto Community Housing Corporation needs a major investigation! It is not doing the job expected - poor maintenance, poor support of marginalized tenants, bedbugs, etc. We need a restart on this portfolio as well. Improved safety for rooming houses and more frequent inspections.
* ANIMAL/PET BYLAWS: There is a feral cat crisis in Toronto (See Cat City ). We need mandatory spay-neuter bylaws and a low cost downtown accessible spay neuter clinic. I support Dean Maher's )e\ward 20) call to ban sales of dogs and cats from retail pet stores, as it supports backyard breeding and animals are not properly cared for. "Why Buy or Breed when Rescue Pets are Euthanized". The City has to patch up relations with Toronto Humane Society and reach out to all the shelters and rescues to provide a coordinated effort.
* PUBLIC PARKS: We need more green spaces in ward 20 and need to support community initiatives like Dufferin Grove Park. Bureaucracy should not get in the way of innovation and community activism.
* ENVIRONMENT: We need to increase the tree canopy of the city to battle global warming and to increase the health of out citizens. More green strategies in every sector of city building.
* PROTECT THE WATERFRONT AND ISLANDS: Stop the condomization of the waterfront and the cutting off of the lakeshore from the rest of the city. Reclaim space as public space. No fixed link to Toronto Islands.
* CANCEL VEHICLE REGISTRATION TAX: But institute Road Tolls for rush hours coming into city core. Those that use the roads should pay for them fairly.
* COMPLETE STREETS: Where the rights of all are respected: pedestrians, cyclists, cars, transit, disabled, seniors, families, children, etc. Smarter design with separate bike lanes in a network that is connected city wide. Support and extend the BIXI initiative to a larger area.
* PEOPLE ORIENTED DESIGN: Think ahead. Design streets for our aging population with rest stops, benches and proper safety lighting.
* SMART DELIVERY OF GOODS: Encourage rail delivery inter-city with satellite hubs where goods are offloaded to smaller trucks. Restrict truck size in inner city. Institute Just in Time delivery so that deliveries are not happening during rush hours.
* ELECTRIC! not Diesel Trains: For the Georgetown corridor. Let's not build the transportation of the past or some unknown future. Electric is proven safe for our health. Do not cut costs by risking citizens' health.
*Update: Some good press on THE major election issue in Ward 18:
* SMART PARKING: Create parking hubs in business communities such as Dundas West BIA, Green 'P' Parking, multi-level buildings or underground. Parking is not for the main streets but is still needed in key locations.
* TTC an ESSENTIAL SERVICE: Getting around the city is the lifeblood of our economy. We cannot allow service disruptions on such catastrophic levels.
* TRANSIT CITY: Not the 'perfect' solution, but there is no time nor sense in debating further. We need it now. Build it!
* SUBWAY BUILDING: We should have been doing a few kilometers a year every year since the 1980's. Too expensive to catch up too quickly, but we must commit to building subways on an annual basis.
* FREE TTC TRANSIT: We need a vision now to see free transit within 25 years, funded by all levels of government
* SEPARATE ELECTED TTC CHAIR: Given the enormous portfolio of this position, both in terms of budget and the vision expected, we should have a separate elected position for the TTC CHAIR, which requires skills and experience going into the job, similar to how the USA electes Sherriff or Judge positions. No more handing out plum appointments to rookies. We cannot afford this.
As you can see, "Full Platform Jackets" are complex and comprehensive. Laying out a platform like this is almost impossible in an election campaign where the media want 30 seconds sound bytes, but we live in a big, complex city and society.
Voters should expect no less information on a candidate, because...
Monday, October 18, 2010
WHO FUNDS WHO in Ward 18
Back on September 29, 2010 during a live TV debate broadcast by Rogers Cable 10, "The Local Campaign", a caller asked for candidates to reveal their donor lists one week before election day.
Although this was prompted by caller Scott Dobson's complaint that Liberal Ana Bailao's past donors raised questions (published on Junction Triangle residents' website: http://www.junctiontriangle.ca/node/441#comment-2202 ) that Ms Bailao was indebted to the powerful construction industry lobby, primarily from outside the ward, the debate host, Dale Goldhawk extended the question to all the candidates. Unanimously, we all agreed to reveal our donor lists one week prior to election day.
Well... voting day is a week away now, so here is the information promised by your candidates:
Note: Final reports will show individual candidate filing fee of $100 each, not included below.
The Maximum Expense Limit for any candidate is
$ 28,747.30 for running in ward 18 (city bases on number of eligible voters x x cents)
* KEN WOOD, residing at 355 Lansdowne Avenue in ward18: Dan McAran (Toronto); Sam Galati (Toronto); George Lee (Toronto); Linda Lamb (Ottawa - my sister) and Ken Wood (Toronto). As I said on in the debates, I am running a "Poor Person's Campaign" and do not have big party machine backing - or favours to repay. I am as independent as I can be. My money raised amounts to less than $1,000.
In addition, I promised to say who has my support for the mayoral race: I voted in the Advance Poll yesterday for: HIMY SYED - the why is explained in a previous post
* NHA LE, residing at 23 Sullivan Street in ward 20: Said at the last Oct 14 debate that he has accepted no monies from anyone else and is completely financing his campaign himself. No amounts divulged.
* ANA BAILAO, residing? at 9 Southview Avenue in ward 18 (parents' home?): posted on her website at 9pm Mon Oct 18: http://www.anabailao.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=97&Itemid=83 Home page has a clear button saying "Donor Disclosure" on main website. List shows name (no location) and amounts given. 35 people gave the maximum allowable $750 donation, 1= $650; 1 = $550; 32 = $500; 2= $350; 20= $300; 8= $250; 5 = $150; 18 = $100; 1 = $80; 1 = $75; 7 = $50; 1 = $40; 1 = $30; 4 = $25; 1 = $20.
TOTAL = $ 56,395 (feel free to check my figures on Ana's website)
* KEVIN BEAULIEU, residing at 593 Gladstone Avenue in ward18: Posted on his website at 9:40pm: http://kevinbeaulieu.ca/donate Click to see list of those who contributed $100 or more. No amounts divulged, but Kevin says the list of 98 people (no locations given) represents 92% of those who donated to the campaign. Message is that he also has another 8% who gave less than $100.
* DOUG CARROLL, residing at 46 Boustead Avenue in ward14 (very close): Sent email at 11:32am Oct 19 (one day late): " Hi folks. I have no campaign donors. My few expenses were paid out-of-pocket - about $250. I'll post details on my site later today" http://www.dougcarroll.ca/
? FRANK de JONG, residing at 23 St. Helen's Avenue in ward 18: Broken promise, no list of donors released.
? ABDIRAZAK ELMI, residing at 275 Shuter Street in ward28 (east of Yonge): Broken promise, no list of donors released.
* JOE MacDONALD, residing at 34 Pauline Avenue in ward18: Released list at 12:19pm Oct 19 (one day late): Link here http://joemacw18.ca/site/ Lists 46 people on main home page, including Howard Hampton. (no locations given) No amounts divulged.
* MOHAMMED MUHIT, residing at 667 Brock in ward 18: (note - was not at any debates and made no promise to reveal list of donors)
* KIRK RUSSELL, residing at 34 Edna in ward 14? (just other side of CN tracks): Posted on his website at 9:49pm: http://www.voteforkirk.ca/donors-kirk-russell-movement No amounts divulged, but shows a list of 28 donors (no locations given).
* JOANNA TELIATNIK, residing at 11 Michael Power Place in ward 5 (near Kipling and 401) - (note: was not at any debates and made no promise to reveal list of donors)
* HEMA VYAS, residing at 54 Alhambra in ward 14 (other side of Roncesvalles): Advised at 10:31pm she had posted on website since this afternoon: http://hemavyas.ca/donate.html Can click to see who has donated $100 or more to her campaign = 33 people (no locations given) and No Amounts Divulged.
Wondering when, where and IF candidates will publish donor lists and keep their public promises..... It's good for Davenport voters to know who backs the candidates, because...
How to Fix An Election
TEN IDEAS for next time we try the democratic thing, so that the choice of the majority actually gets elected and we have a level field for all:
- Ban newspapers from deciding on who they call the front-runners: require that they report on all the candidates at the start of the campaign when registrations close. Short profiles.
- Use a Ranked Ballot system where voters prioritize who they'd like to see elected... 1,2,3, etc. This might avoid 20% deciding who gets elected - the way it is now.
- Ban public polling being released from January 1 to Election Day: candidates may have their own polls, but would be severely financially penalized if they released information.
- Make voting day a statuatory holiday, but make voting mandatory with financial penalties, only exceptions require valid medical waivers. Advance polls would still be available. Would require a 'None of the Above' option for voters to express dissatisfaction.
- Ban political parties from endorsing candidates and close the loophole whereby paid party staffers can work on campaigns as 'free volunteers' and inflate election war chests.
- City should erect 'Election Kiosks' at intersections and in public spaces like parks, libraries and community centres. Require candidates to post 8x10 sign outlining their platform, same size for all. No more waste production than necessary.
- Ban anyone from doing outside work (erecting signs, dispensing litereature, etc.) unless they are over 18 years of age. No more oops! mistakes about flouting election laws.
- City of Toronto Election Website should devote a web page to each of the candidates to upload their platforms and information. Allow 311 or a voicemail service to connect callers to 60 second audio pitch of candidates running in their wards.
- Limit mayoral debates to one a week in each of the city's 44 wards.
- Prohibit a sitting Mayor from publicly endorsing any candidates.
*Update: More voices being heard in the major disappointment the media has been in this election: http://oct25.ca/mediamessup
Saturday, October 16, 2010
National Feral Cat Day
A U.S.A. site about the history of the day: http://tinyurl.com/2dgctp8
Toronto Sun article about the exploding population of tens of thousands of unwanted, abandoned, lost, stray and wild cats and kittens on our streets, back alleys and hidden places: http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2010/10/16/15716966.html
The internationally acclaimed documentary CAT CITY by Justine Pimlott thattalks about what is happening right now in our city of Toronto: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9x1sOzaYU0
This video should rate mandatory watching by all of our elected politicians at City Hall. There is a real problem in our city that is invisible to most of the population (as starving animals try to hide from what they perceive as human predators).
The city's Toronto Animal Services and the newly branded and 'under new management' Toronto Humane Society non-profit charity, as well as the dozens of small rescue and shelter operations throughout the GTA need to work together to find a humane solution to the problem.
One step is to have mandatory spay-neuter of all animals, except for licenced breeders, so we do not promote the cycle of animal suffering and abuse.
Another step is to join with Dean Maher, candidate for City Council in Ward 20, who wants to ban the sale of dogs and cats from retail pet stores. An excellent idea, given that some retail stores get their stock from unqualified backyard breeders and often animals in such environments are not well cared for.
Still another step is to have a low cost spay-neuter clinic located n downtown Toronto. Spay-neuters can cost anywhere from $200-$600 depending on the business practices of local veterinarian clinics, yet can be and are provided for a flat $50 fee by the non-profit spay-neuter clinic now running in Newmarket. http://www.spayneuter.ontariospca.ca/
If you want to see and feel the raw emotion and terrible situation that abandoined cats experience, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7FMVMmp7KA
Caution: Can be disturbing to anyone without a soul.
INCLUSION A PROBLEM IN WARD 18
I refer to the Friends of Dufferin Grove Park website: http://www.dufferinpark.ca/home/wiki/wiki.php which for the past two months has had on its main page a photo of only 8 of the registered 12 candidates for City Councillor for ward 18.
(The photo is from the Active18 so-called "All Candidates Debate" which in fact the organizers only invited and allowed into the debate 9 of the 12 candidates - another exclusionary exercise by a seemingly public community group)
In addition, there were only 6 in depth interviews done (Ana Bailao, Kevin Beaulieu, Doug Carroll, Frank de Jong, Joe MacDonald and Hema Vyas).
Missing is any mention of: Abdirazak Elmi, Nha Le, Joanna Teliatnik, Mohammed Muhit, Kirk Russell and myself Ken Wood).
*Update: As of Monday, Oct 18 the Friends of Dufferin Grove website indicates 7 not 6 interviews and rediirects to the CELOS site where my additional written response interview is posted. Still missing is any mention of the 5 other candidates.
I had communicated via emails with Jutta Mason, the central force behind much of what is great about Dufferin Grove Park, who has a website that receives support from celos.ca through the Trillium Foundation (public tax dollars at work). My concern was that the heavily accessed website was passing on a perception of limited choice of candidates and that was neither fair nor possibly legal.
The CELOS ( Centre for Local Research into Public Space) website http://celos.ca/wiki/wiki.php shows 9 of the 12 local ward 18 city councillor candidates and if you follow the cues to Read More, you will come across a detailed survey response from 7 of the 12 candidates running. The response is regarding the MacGregor Park field house and the situation it finds itself in with federal stimulus funding not really helping where the community needs it most.
To her credit, Jutta had intended to include all of us in the interviews, which are a LOT of work to be transcribed and posted, but volunteer time is at a premium with so many wonderful things going on at Dufferin Grove Park. I offered an alternative suggestion: that questions be posed and response from the six who were not able to be interviewed be posted on the website.
Although I sent in my response October 6, it seems the best we can do is to have it posted on the wall at the park clubhouse. An uneven playing field. Unfair.
*Update: Informed via email from one of Jutta's volunteers that my interview and photo is on the wall at Dufferin Grove (Oct 17). On the website by Oct 18.
It seems this election, exclusion has become the norm in much of the visibility that candidates might get. At the mayoral level, there were 40 people running, but we still see the media focussing on their arbitrary 6..5...4...3 peoiple without including any other choices. When voter apathy has been so low (35% in ward18 last election), shouldn't we be encouraging MORE choice rather than less?
I went back to 2003 and was intrigued to see what happened with Friends of Dufferin Grove Park and came across this:
The line which stands out and needs to be featured prominently on any discussion of Who To Vote For or anything dealing with discussing or presenting candidates during an election is:
PARTY POLITICS AT CITY HALL and MY CHOICE FOR MAYOR
I visited YIMBY (Yes in My Back Yard) today and all I got was ... a lot of energy! Passionate people who'd done their research and could back up their stands on their diverse concerns.
YIMBY website: http://www.gladstonehotel.com/events/exhibitions/yimby
Wouldn't it be great if before the elected City Council took the stage and began their motions, votes and changes - they held a city-wide YIMBY at City Hall with the same flavours?
Call it Job Preparation Training, required for all councillors before they even took an oath of office. That way, once the business of being a councillor began, they would each and every one be starting on the same page insofar as what the communities saw as concerns.
Yes, election campaigns are also supposed to be about candidates listening at the doors of every voter - and many proudly proclaim they have done that - but how can we be sure they've heard all the voices and reasearch that is out there?
We all remember a famously short-lived Conservative Prime Minister who said "Elections are not a time to discuss serious issues" - and yes, she paid dearly for that. But the context was that some issues take more than superficial campaign debates with simple slogans and not much depth.
It concerns me that at the Mayoral level, the media-chose so-called front-runners have been given an enormous amount of media attention while providing little of substance. There are so many holes in their respective platforms that some media do backup stories to investigate bold claims with no depth of truth. http://www.thestar.com/Topic/smelltest
That's why after a lot of inner conflict that involved questions I think most Torontonians share:
- should I vote strategically, pick the least worst of the bad front-runners I see?
- will strategic voting even work to keep out the one I dislike the most?
- should I vote with my heart or with my head?
I have decided to use BOTH my head and my heart and will vote for and have endorsed
He has a very well thought out platform and is extremely knowledgeable about the city ( and I mean city-wide not just a section or two). He believes in himself and the power of the people in Toronto and is an articulate, intelligent man who would represent Toronto well on the world stage. An element, albeit not an over-riding one, is that he can help to represent the diversity that is Toronto and can be proof that our Toronto includes everyone.
I urge voters to have a look at him as an antidote to the same old party political 'bash the other guy' that Ford, Pantalone and Smitherman have been doing. I want a Mayor with depth not silly sound bytes.
To learn more about HIMY SYED : http://oct25.ca/aobtd and http://himysyed.com/
Torontoist's Historicist does a great look back to 1969 when power-player Liberal Keith Davey tried to initiate full blown party politics at the municipal level http://torontoist.com/2010/10/historicist_looking_for_a_liberal_to_lead_us.php
'BigWig' Davey argued that " a slate of candidates running on a common program would provide voters with a higher quality of choices than picking out the platforms they liked the best from the divergent personalities that tended to run for office... We'll end the era of two-bit politics"
* Really? two-bit politics? That's 25 cents worth and seems to say local politics is kid stuff.
Read the article for the full story, but in essence because of backroom promises and power brokers, it failed miserably. This should be a lesson we need to remember, not re-learn by making new old mistakes.
I particularly like the phrase " divergent personalities ", because that is exactly what we have in pretty much every local ward level campaign, as voters try to get to know the candidates at a core level, past the slogans. platitudes and promises.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we knew as much about the character, behaviour and tendencies of the people we welect as we do about contestants on reality/survivor shows? Then voters would how they might vote on things that affect us that have not happened or been dreamed of yet.
Until then, let us at least learn from the past that party politics do not belong at City Hall in its current structure. We need a City Councillor who is notr beholden to any party machinery, because...
Friday, October 15, 2010
Endorsements Tell a Lot About the Candidates
As the final post-debate days wind down to voting day on October 25, we see a flurry of endorsements and testimonials and recommendations to vote for this or that candidate from some well-connected politicians and lobby groups.
In my opinion, what is most telling is where a candidate's support comes from, and that the character of the person giving the support is inevitably tied in with the character of the person they praise. As well, the people who endorse you almost always come with a price: future loyalty should you win the seat.
Cases in point: The two media-chosen front-runners
Ana Bailao: Endorsed by = Cesar Palacio, ward 17 - who is a Liberal; Vic Dhillon, Brampton - who is a Liberal; Charles Sousa, Mississauga - who is a Liberal; Peter Fonseca, Mississauga - who is a Liberal; Mario Silva, her former boss when he was city councillor - whio is a Liberal; Frances Nunziata, ward 13 - who is the sister to former Liberal John Nunziata; Dyan Marie - who isn't sure which party she belongs to since she also endorsed Kevin Beaulieu (keeping her future art grant options open, I guess). Do you sense a trend here? Yet Ana refuses to say who she endorses for Mayor: Liberal George Smitherman, Conservative Rob Ford or NDP Joe Pantalone. Hard to believe, isn't it? *Update: Both George Smitherman and Ana are endorsed by The Toronto Star on October 18th. Oh yes, The Star is a Liberal paper
Kevin Beaulieu: Endorsed by - Adam Giambrone, David Miller, Gord Perks, Adam Vaughan, - all NDP or part of the left wing Miller voting block in the last council. At least Kevin is consistent - he states his support for NDP Mayor Joe Pantalone. Also strongly endorsed by NDP left-leaning NOW magazine.
From my perspective, there is no need to weigh the endorsements of either candidate. If either wins, they will come into office day one with baggage, and can be expected to toe the line voting with either of the party's preferences. Voters can choose from a Liberal ignoring the ward or an NDP ignoring the ward. Some choice.
OR - they can choose from anyone else who will not have the baggage coming into office, and maybe, just maybe - they won't ignore the ward.
I hope voters don't get sucked in by big party promises yet again, because....
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Last Ward18 Debate and - Another Scandal ?
Just got home from a spiritied, sometimes vicious debate and find this tidbit on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MTSG0pr0-g Titled Kevin Beaulieu Campaign: Caught Red-Handed shows 42 seconds of what looks like very young Kevin supporters getting caught taking other candidates literature as they drop their own?
Unverified - you be the judge. ( rbmorra on Twitter posted the link. )
It's got to be hard when the two media-chosen frontrunners have such (seemingly) immature youth doing their utmost to help their star win. (Ana was in trouble for her team getting caught putting up election signs too early). I guess hero/heroine worship can go too far...
72 Perth Church of the Firstborn Debate Held tonight
Too tired right now, will post more tomorrow..
*Update: Covered by Toronto Observer: http://www.torontoobserver.ca/2010/10/15/residents-demand-greater-attention-from-ward-18-candidates/ who seem to think only 4 candidates are running - there are 12. (sigh..)
10 Candidates who attended: Abdirazak Elmi; Ana Bailao; Doug Carroll; Frank de Jong; Hema Vyas; Joe MacDonald; Ken Wood; Kevin Beaulieu; Kirk Russell; Nha Le. (the way they were seated from left to right frfom audience perspective).
Missing and have not attended ANY of the 8 debates held:
Mohammed Muhit; Joanna Teliatnik.
From my recollection, here's the short and sweet:
35 or so audience, Most of the 12 candidates there, Detailed audience questions, several bouts of fireworks and passionate accusations and rebuttals, sometimes like a World Wrestling Matchup, a few choice swearwords, people really got to see their choices under fire (some more than others) - covered by various social media types...
ended with most making nice at Zocalos over a brew or coffee.
Surreal in a way but comforting to be reminded every one of the candidates are real people underneath with something to contribute... I'm hopeful for ward18's future with such substance....
*Update: Here's what did NOT happen at the debate.... (maybe we can all learn something from them)
ANA BAILAO IN TROUBLE - AGAIN
There are a LOT of questions being asked about Liberal-connected Ana Bailao and the company she keeps. It's not just the questionable financing from outside the ward which may be mostly the construction-developer industry that Scott Dobson has uncovered ( see his comments on the Junction Triangle website: http://www.junctiontriangle.ca/node/441?page=1#comment-1931 ).
It's also whether she has subverted any supposed journalistic integrity amongst Portugese- only newspapers. AND perhaps is skirting Toronto Elections campaign limit laws?
NOW Magazine has uncovered another questionable tactic by Ms Bailao alleging that she herself is writing 'news stories' that appear in supposedly separate, hopefully neutral publications. http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=177246
"SENSO was founded by its current editor-in-chief Jack Prazeres, a co-owner of Trican Masonry and a director of the Masonry Contractors' Association of Toronto. Although he's donated to multiple campaigns, including Bailao's, he also declines to speak saying "I don't get involved in politics"
Troubling as well is that many members of SENSO seem to also be key volunteers on Ana's campaign - and - were also part of a company Ana used to design her signs, flyers and website: a company called Creative7 (C7).
Toronto City Council had passed motions that prohibited corporations and unions from directly funding election campaigns to level the field for candidates and make the process more transparent. Ms. Bailao it seems has found a lot of ways to do an end run around those laws.
Some questions it raises in my mind about Ana:
- Can we trust her? If she is so willing to use at the very least questionable tactics and at the worst, possibly illegal tactics, now during a campaign - what kind of councillor will she be?
- Is she saying one thing to Portugese-speaking only residents and another to the rest of the ward? (This has always been a Liberal trick when dealing with French in Quebec)
- The big construction and developer ties she obviously seems to have must mean that she is heavily indebted to them. In 2003 she raised about $70,000 to run a campaign. Limits this year are supposed to be $28,747.30 per candidate, and she has raised twice the limit. If she gets in power will ward18 be ignored as she votes to pay back her big development buddies?
- Just how much might Ana be hiding from Toronto Elections in regard to what is spent on her campaign? She is indeed supposed to diligently track the 'goods and services' that might be donated to her campaign, giving them a reasonable market fair value as part of that campaign limit. When she deals in a language most of the ward cannot understand, what other 'free help' might she be getting?
If this kind of behaviour were to happen with Ana as Councillor, she'd no doubt be investigated by the Integrity Commissioner. In an election campaign, does she just get away with it?
*Update: Other blogs writing about this: http://marcio9.wordpress.com/
*Update: Letter by local resident and well know activist:
" As a resident of Ward 18, I am very distressed that Ana Bailao has been allowed to publish an article in the Potugese magazine, Senso, and distribute it, just before the election. It is not a secret that the Liberal Party supports heavy real estate development, and that Ana has a potential conflict of interest between construction firms, developers and the best interests of a priority Ward, which is truggling with a massive diesel rail expension by Metrolinx, and the closing of Ward 18 schools. There are two conflict of interests in Ana Bailao's campaign - the first between party and municipal politics, and the second, between the best interests of citizens and business lobbyists. Both are significant and legitimate problems and her campaign costs are much higher than permissible levels as well.
As a citizen who has been trying to protect the health and welfare of Ward 18, and its parks and schools, I believe this must be investigated legally. "
We need attentive minds and investigative approaches with Ana Bailao it seems... Can we really trust her? Questions need answers because...
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
MAYORAL RACE BIG MOMENT
Twitter is all a-twitter with speculation that Rocco Rossi is going to announce at his 9pm news conference that he is going to drop out of the race.... It is 8:57pm as I type this... You okay, Toronto? Breathe, just breathe...
New poll out today says Smitherman at 31%, Ford at 30% , Pantalone at 11% and Rossi at 4% and going down. They also say 25% of Torontonians are undecided (I think the undecideds were higher, based on all the people I talked to).
Do you like Liberal George Smitherman who will bring his big party political machine to City Hall.... or Rob Ford who will (try) to bring a big Conservative party political machine to City Hall.... or Joe Pantalone, who will continue on as is with the NDP-leftist party machine at City Hall?
Or maybe now the media could realize there are other mayoral candidates in waiting like Himy Syed? Nah, that would be expecting a media that does real journalism.
Of course, both Sarah Thomson and Rocco Rossi names will still be on the ballot..... Toronto could still vote for one of the two as a 'None of the Above-I am not happy with my choices' vote.... hmmmm ?
Seriously. We have NO CHOICE of not having big partisan party politics at City Hall now?
I can just see candidates across the 44 wards drooling at the thought they might suddenly be CONNECTED because of their big party machine ties.
In Ward 18:
Ana Bailao must be dancing thinking her man Smitherman will give her some juicy plum job...
or maybe she's waiting to inherit Ruprecht's old job (plan B)?
Kevin Beaulieu must be praying that Joey Pants suddenly wakes up and campaigns for real so he can get a plum insiders job - again.
If ever there was a time we needed an INDEPENDENT CITY COUNCILLOR in ward 18 it is NOW ! We need someone with the guts to stand up for all groups in our community, not someone who might toe the party line and hide in the shadows.
Does it Matter if a Candidate Lives in the Ward or Not?
(I checked into their publicly available qualifying addresses on their registration forms at Toronto Elections. City Hall, shows date of registration)
Ana BAILAO = 9 Southview Avenue M6H 1T3 January 27, 2010
* YES lives in ward 18 near Dovercourt Park.
Kevin BEAULIEU = 593 Gladstone Avenue M6H 1T3 April 28, 2010
* YES lives in ward 18 just north of Gladstone Library
- Doug CARROLL = 46 Boustead Avenue M6R 1Y9 May 27, 2010
* NO lives in ward 14 High Park the other side of Roncesvalles
Frank de JONG = 210 St. Helens Avenue M6H 4A3 April 23, 2010
* YES lives in ward 18 near MacGregor Park
- Abdirazak ELMI = 275 Shuter Street M5T 1B8 July 14, 2010
* NO lives in ward 28 the other side of Moss Park east of Yonge, Jarvis
- Nha LE = 23 Sullivan Street M5T 1B8 January 5, 2010
* NO lives in ward 20 near Grange Park east of Spadina
Joe MacDONALD = 34 Pauline Avenue M6H 3M8 ?
* YES lives in ward 18 just northwest of Gladstone Library
Mohammed MUHIT = 667 Brock Avenue M6H 3P1 June 11, 2010
* YES lives in ward 18 just northwest of Gladstone Library (close to Joe)
Kirk RUSSELL = 433 Jarvis Street M4Y 2G9 ?
* YES lived in ward 27 near Allan Gardens, east of Yonge when papers filed, but now lives in ward18 on Edna (updated after talking to Kirk)
- Joanna TELIATNIK = 11 Michael Power Place M9A 5G3 ?
* NO lives in ward 5 near Kipling and the 401
- Hema VYAS = 54 Alhambra Avenue M6R 2S6 February 9, 2010
* NO lives in ward 14 High Park the other side of Roncesvalles
Ken WOOD = 355 Lansdowne Avenue M6H 3Y2 September 10, 2010
* Yes lives in ward 18 across from West Toronto at College & Lansdowne
This interest was sparked by the National Post article by Peter Kuitenbrouwer of October 12th called " Representation From the Outside " http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/10/12/peter-kuitenbrouwer-representation-from-the-outside/ as wells as by residents and candidates wondering where other candidates actually live.
Of the 35 incumbent councillors seeking re-election, about ONE THIRD do not live in the wards they represent. People like: Gord Perks, Adam Vaughan, Cesar Palacio, Giorgio Mammoliti, Shelley Carroll and more.
Many voters are not aware that anyone can run in their wards, even if they don't live there.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Election Signs Confusing?
Maybe because I, like most Torontonians, have suddenly seen so many big, small, coloured, creative and bland election signs of late - I've been thinking a lot about them.
In the Ward 19 debate I attended a while ago, one resident was really angry that Mike Layton (son of Jack in Ottawa) had on a corner of his sign: Re-Elect Chris Bolton School Trustee. His point was that people saying okay for a Layton sign were not asked about incumbent Chris Bolton (who was in some trouble of his own, having used school children to send campaign literature home).
The more I though about this the angrier I became. I think its because it is clearly underhanded and does not respect the right of voters to choose. Or - perhaps it is the sense of entitlement Mr Layton exercises even though he is not yet elected. Or both.
I also think of the little CBC Toronto news snippet done a week or so ago in which they talk about the sudden proliferation of signs, using ward 18 as an example. They spoke with Hema Vyas (who has a link on her website that seems dead now * ) who appeared proud of the fact her signs were out there, as well as Frank de Jong, who commented as a seasoned politician that in the home stretch it is an important sign to voters that a candidate has widespread support.
* Here is a better link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eE8cU0UnFI
The telling downside of this was that the CBC news reporter interviewed a woman who had a sign on her lawn and asked "Will you be voting for that person?" Her reply was, "I will vote, for sure not for him!" (no mention or view of which him it was.)
Previous posts have dealt with whether election signs really work http://davenportdemocracy.blogspot.com/2010/10/election-signs.html ...
But today I am wondering if they are sensible. Certainly there is the environmental arguments to consider... This Star story talks about an eco-conscious ward 16 Beaches candidate, Sheila Cary-Meagher, who goes to creative lengths to try to make e-signs useful after e-day: http://www.thestar.com/news/elections/article/874190--election-ephemera-candidate-attacks-himself
I've seen comments on a lot of sites where people suggest outright banning of election signs.
What are we saying as candidates to voters when we just put BIG NAMES on their lawn with nothing else, except perhaps a colour choice (Liberal RED, NDP Orange, Green - Green, Conservative - BLUE - except for some strange reason, NDPers Layton and Beaulieu?). Are we just thinking voters can be programmed if we just pound our names into their heads over and over and over and... you get the picture. Where is the respect for voters?
Some do have slogans, but pretty meaningless ones when you think of it:
Committed to Our Community (you'd better be if you want my vote)
Change for the Better (Rob Davis in Moscoe's old ward - prove it I say)
Works With Us, Works For Us (Isn't that a given for the job?)
and even my own, which is at least a hope: Davenport Deserves Better
There is not a lot of pertinent information given out on e-signs.
Maybe they should be banned - or at least better controlled.
We should also remember that with the city campaign contributions rebate program, 3 out of 4 signs you see for any candidate are likely paid for by taxpayers. Is it right that citizens should pay for candidates to get name recognition? Often a local candidate is just building recognition for another office at more senior levels. Or to get more business connections.
Thinking about it all confuses me. Are we confusingvoters too?
*Update: Here's a wonderful YouTube video that shows some greart post-election uses for all those election signs: http://tinyurl.com/2besre9 (My personal favourite is the frisbee)