TTC votes on revised plan to reduce service
Hours reduced on 41 routes
$4 mil to be reallocated to increase buses elsewhere
(Written Feb. 3 for Town Crier.)
Christine Miller's commute is getting more difficult as two of her bus routes are among service reductions. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.
The TTC voted late last night to cut off-peak service on 41 bus routes despite pleas from residents.
In January the commission proposed reducing service on 48 routes, but delayed a vote in order to get feedback from riders. The revised proposal, approved on Feb. 2, includes maintaining current service on seven routes and various reductions to 41 routes.
These routes were chosen as they fell below the TTC’s minimum ridership threshold of 15 riders per hour.
However, some disputed the commission’s numbers on specific routes.
Councillor Josh Matlow told the commission that he counted 95 people riding the 74 Mt. Pleasant bus between 7-9:30 p.m. one evening, 52 more than official TTC numbers indicate for that route at that time.
Councillor Josh Matlow (right) talks with a bus driver on 74 Mt. Pleasant bus about service reductions. Photo by Karolyn Coorsh/Town Crier.
Mitch Stampler, TTC service planning manager, explained the commission employs 28 full time employees to do accurate ridership counts on all routes.
“It’s true there are some variations in ridership from day to day,” Stampler told the commission.
In the end service was cut on the 74 Mt. Pleasant bus after 7 p.m. seven days a week as recommended.
Posted in Toronto transit
Tagged bus, Christine, councillor, cuts, Josh Matlow, Karen Stintz, Kris Scheuer, Miller, Mitch Stampler, Mortimer, Mt. Pleasant, Pape, reductions, service, Town Crier, TTC
Residents, business people have their say on 2011 budget
Opinions vary widely on priorities
(Written for Town Crier Jan. 21)
Margaret Watson advocates to sub-budget committee to not increase user fees for recreation. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.
Councillors got an earful from residents, businesses and community groups who came out to speak on the city’s budget at North York Civic Centre.
New councillor Doug Ford, brother to Mayor Rob Ford, chaired the meeting at times with occasionally humourous results.
He mistakenly introduced Margaret Watson from the Canadian Pensioners’ Concern as a deputant about prisoners’ issues. He made a joke of it by saying he needed glasses and playfully referred to former budget chief Councillor Shelley Carroll as “the warden”.
For her part, Watson gave a feisty presentation about preserving services.
“Many seniors are tenants who receive pressure from landlords. We are disappointed you have cut $100,000 from the tenant defence fund,” she said at the Jan. 19 public meeting. “We hope council doesn’t want to put more tenants at risk of homelessness.”
Posted in Toronto News
Tagged 2011, budget, Carol Wilding, city, Denzil Minnan-Wong, deputations, Doug Ford, John Cartwright, Josh Matlow, Kris Scheuer, Margaret Watson, public, service, taxes, Toronto, Town Crier
Commission delays vote on bus service reductions
Cuts would impact 1.2 mil transit rides a year
(Written for Town Crier Jan. 12. Feb 1 UPDATE.)
Councillor Josh Matlow updates his website with a list of the 48 bus routes where service could be reduced. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.
Yesterday it was fare increases that were cancelled, today the TTC voted to put on hold a decision to cut service on 48 bus routes.
The plan was to shorten hours on nearly 50 underused routes starting March 27 and reallocate money to improve service on busy, but unnamed routes this fall.
Residents, transit advocates and councillors made deputations pleading for the commission to reconsider.
“This isn’t the kind of efficiency people are looking for,” said ex-Ward 17 councillor candidate Jonah Schein, who uses the Davenport bus.
Resident Walied Khogali said he found out yesterday his daily Wellesley 94 route was on the list for reductions.
“I talked to people (on the bus) coming to and from work and they had no clue about the service cuts,” he told the commission. “Ride the buses and find out how people will be affected.”
In the end, TTC commissioner and councillor Cesar Palacio moved the motion that deferred a decision on the reduced bus hours until the Feb. 2 commission meeting. Continue reading
Posted in Toronto transit
Tagged buses, Cesar Palacio, chair, commissioner, councillor, cuts, Gary Webster, Joe Mihevc, Jonah Schein, Josh Matlow, Karen Stintz, Kris Scheuer, reductions, routes, service, Toronto, Town Crier, Transit, TTC
Residents push the TTC to give up land for park
(Written for Town Crier Dec. 20)
Residents push for a section of TTC yards to be annexed to expand park. Image courtesy of Friends of Oriole Park.
Ulli Rath wants the TTC to give up a portion of their Davisville yard to expand Oriole Park.
The local resident and his group, Friends of Oriole Park are putting out the feelers to see if an expansion is possible. He says it’s a natural choice, given that the Davisville TTC yards at Yonge and Chaplin Crescent neighbour Oriole Park.
Rath wrote to TTC for its Dec. 15 board meeting, and says the next step is to get the matter added to a future commission meeting so residents can plead their case.
Rath is quick to point out the request has merit: A 2009 TTC report indicating Davisville likely won’t be adding to its storage yard.
“There will be even less (TTC vehicles) parked there,” Rath said. “The yard wasn’t designed for the new generation subways.” Continue reading
How schools strive for homework, life balance
(Written for Town Crier’s Education Guide Dec. 6)
How much homework is too much? Photo courtesy of Evil Erin.
Homework shouldn’t be the focus of a kid’s life. They need time for family, friends and extracurricular activities that help develop them into a well-rounded child.
While theories abound about how much homework is best, schools are working hard to help students achieve a work/life balance.
“About 10-12 years ago the Ministry (of Education) had a new policy for teachers to cover a lot of materials in schools across Ontario,” said Fieldstone Day School’s head of grades 7-12 Josephine Parody. “So there was lots of homework. Then the pendulum swung another way (less homework).”
In fact, it was complaints by parents about the amount of after school work students were given that led the Toronto District School Board to rethink its homework policy.
“The main concern was there were too many hours in the evening assigned to homework, which took away from family time and learning opportunities to participate in extra curricular activities,” said former trustee Josh Matlow, who helped push the policy forward. Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Andrea Fanjoy, education, homework, Josh Matlow, Karen Grose, Kingsway College, Kris Scheuer, Michelle Johnson, policy, Royal Academy, TDSB, Toronto, Town Crier
(Written for Town Crier Dec. 17)
Councillor John Parker voted to cut offices expenses.
Another stop on the gravy train has been eliminated as Mayor Rob Ford and council voted on Dec. 16 to cut councillor office budgets by over $20,000.
The vote was 40–5 in favour of reducing the expense accounts from $50,445 to $30,000, which will save a total of $899,580 a year.
“This reduction is highly symbolic of the will of Toronto city council to listen to the voice of the public and demonstrate leadership in fiscal restraint and respect for the taxpayer,” said Ford in a statement.
In 2009, when the office budget maximum was $53,100, Councillor John Parker was near the top that year, but voted to reduce the amount to $30,000.
One thing he’ll no longer be able to afford is his constituency office on Laird Drive, which cost over $7,000 in 2009 but he’s not mourning that loss.
“I live in the ward, so my front door is my constituency office,” he told theTown Crier. “It was more productive and satisfactory for me to meet with them in their homes, offices, factories.”
Posted in Toronto Politics
Tagged budgets, councillor, Denzil Minnan-Wong, expenses, Joe Mihevc, John Filion, John Parker, Josh Matlow, Karen Stintz, Kris Scheuer, Mayor, office, Rob Ford, Town Crier
Mayor-elect’s biggest support in suburbs
Downtown not a fan, Midtown voters were luke warm
Will a Ford administration be good for Midtown Toronto?
(Written for Town Crier Nov. 4)
Mayor-elect Rob Ford. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.
New mayor Rob Ford got mixed reaction from voters in midtown, but one’s thing for certain: This is definitely not his core electorate.
So his sweeping victory — he won easily with 383,501 votes — has midtown wondering: what will he do for us?
Overall, there’s a cloak of secrecy surrounding Ford these days as he bunkers down with his transition team lead by Councillor Case Ootes.
What campaign policies will Ford stand by and which will he soften?
Calls to Ford’s team were directed to Ootes, who said he could not discuss any policy direction now. Period.
“The objective of the mayor is to deliver on his commitments and to get costs under control,” Ootes said earlier this month. “I won’t get into what’s doable and what’s not doable. That’s what the transition team is discussing now.”
And while they’re behind closed doors talking, so is midtown.
There’s mixed feeling among business owners, residents and Ford’s midtown council counterparts: fear, hope or downright uncertainty of what a Rob Ford Toronto will mean for midtown.
Posted in Toronto Politics
Tagged Athey, Brian, business, Case Ootes, city, David Miller, Eglinton, election, George, Joe Mihevc, Josh Matlow, Karen Stintz, Kris Scheuer, LRT, Mayor, Milbrandt, Petroff, Rob Ford, Steven, Town Crier, Transit
Matlow wants to end bickering at city hall
Ready to work with others on common goals
(Written for Town Crier Oct. 29)
Josh Matlow greets a resident at a Younge and Eglinton farmers' market days after his election. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.
On Oct. 29 councillor-elect Josh Matlow had but one task on his mind: Re-stocking his fridge with groceries.
Just days after the election that put Matlow in the council seat for St. Paul’s Ward 22, the 34-year-old could be found at a Yonge and Eglinton farmer’s market with wife Melissa, meeting residents and trying to get groceries into a home that’s served as a campaign office for the past two months.
But in all likelihood, his job for the next four years wasn’t too far from his mind.
Indeed, in a Town Crier interview a day earlier, Matlow said he is anxious to roll up his sleeves and get to work.
Rob Ford elected new mayor
Some incumbent councillors lose
New faces on 45-member city council
Mayor-elect Rob Ford at the Town Crier's editorial board. Town Crier file photo.
Here’s a run down of the winners, upsets, and top place results for the Oct. 25 vote.
Of the possible 1,546,732 eligible voters, voter turnout was about 52.6 percent, which is up from the 2006 election with 39.3 percent.
RESULTS: Toronto here’s your new mayor and 44 councillors.
Are you pleased with the results for mayor and council seats? Please let me know…
Mayor-elect is Rob Ford with 383,501 votes for 47.11 percent followed by George Smitherman in second with 289,832 for 35.6 percent, according to the city’s website. Of course, 38 other mayoral candidates were on the ballot and results for each can be found here and may vary as the city updates the election results.
Here are the councillors-elect for all 44 wards with a list of each winner and closest runner-up. For a full list of all candidates votes in each race, click here.
Etobicoke-North Ward 1: Vincent Crisanti won with 40.75% of the vote ousting incumbent councillor Suzan Hall, who got 36.96%.
Posted in Toronto Politics
Tagged Adam Vaughan, Ana Bailão, Anthony Perruzza, Cesar Palacio, Chin Lee, council, David Shiner, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Doug Ford, Doug Holyday, election, Frances Nunziata, Frank Di Giorgio, Gary Crawford, Giorgio Mammoliti, Glenn De Baeremaeker, Gloria Lindsay Luby, Gord Perks, James Pasternak, Janet Davis, Jaye Robinson, Joe Mihevc, John Filion, John Parker, Josh Colle, Josh Matlow, Karen Stintz, Kris Scheuer, Kristyn Wong Tam, Maria Augimeri, Mark Grimes, Mary Fragedakis, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Mayor, Michael Thompson, Michelle Berardinetti, Mike Del Grande, Mike Layton, night, Norm Kelly, Pam McConnell, Paul Ainslie, Paula Fletcher, Peter Milczyn, Raymond Cho, results, Rob Ford, Ron Moeser, Sarah Doucette, Shelley Carroll, Toronto, Vincent Crisanti
St. Paul’s school trustee to be next ward councillor
Chris Sellors comes second in hard-fought contest
(Written for Town Crier Oct. 25)
Newly elected Ward 22 councillor Josh Matlow gets a celebratory hug from his mother Elaine Mitchell. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.
The battle for Ward 22 is over and school board trustee Josh Matlow has come out on top.
Matlow won with 11,892 votes while Chris Sellors came second with 8,037 votes.
At his victory celebration councillor elect-Matlow, surrounded by supporters including his wife Melissa, father Ted Matlow and his mom Elaine Mitchell, expressed his gratitude to all those who helped him during the campaign.
“I am deeply appreciative,” Josh Matlow told the Town Crier tonight after his victory speech. “I woke up this morning knowing I was going to win because of the response we had at the door.”