Karen Stintz opts out of mayor’s race

Stintz won’t run for mayor of Toronto in 2010
She plans to run for re-election as Eglinton-Lawrence councillor
By Kris Scheuer
(Written Nov. 8 for Town Crier.)

Local rep Karen Stintz is no longer considering running for mayor, but she has no shortage of priorities to tackle if she’s re-elected as councillor.
“It looks like it will be a crowded playing field running for mayor,” says Stintz, who had openly mused about running for the top job. “I can best serve in another way by promoting new ideas and getting issues discussed.”
Stintz is in her second term in office and has carved out a place for herself as one of the main spokespeople for the Responsible Government Group, which was formed in opposition to Mayor David Miller.
With Miller not returning again, it will be a wide open race although few have declared themselves as official mayoralty candidates so far. Stinz has now declared she will be seeking her current seat as councillor for Eglinton-Lawrence’s ward 15.Here are just three of the top issues she’s focused on: getting a subway along Eglinton that links to the airport, tackling the park state of good repair backlog and bringing back businesses to the Yonge Street strip.
“I think the TTC and its schedule and management will be a challenge in the next term,” she says in her city hall office.
She stresses the need for a closer relationship between TTC and the province’s Metrolinx regional transportation organization. And wants to make a big push for the often talked about proposal for an Eglinton subway line.
“For sure Eglinton needs to be a subway (line) and it needs to go to the airport,” says Stintz Nov. 5.
“The Spadina-York subway has been stalled so we to get that connected.”
Another hot issue is local parks. There are ongoing investments in green space, she says, but there’s a growing backlog making it hard to maintain and enhance parks.
According to Toronto Auditor General Jeff Griffiths’s report in October the capital backlog for Parks, Foresty and Recreation will grow from $233 million in 2008 to $600 million by 2018 despite an investment of $400 million in those ten years.
“We have to come up with a strategy to tackle the parks backlog,” says Stintz, a member of the Parks and Environment Committee.
Another issue top of mind is enticing more businesses back to the Yonge and Eglinton area.
“We have a lot of empty stores,” says Stintz, who sits on at least three local business improvement associations.
When it comes to the 2010 election, she is aware she will have some competition for her seat. “I think there will be interest in running for the seat I hold,” says Stintz, who was first elected in 2003 beating out veteran councillor Anne Johnston.
In the 2003 race, Stintz garnered 42.9 percent of the vote to Johnston’s 30.6 percent. In 2006, as an incumbent Stintz did even better getting 64.5 percent with five other candidates splitting the remaining ballots.
In that race Stintz campaigned by collecting $45,260 in financial contributions from individuals only and declined any donations from unions or corporations. The issue of election finance reform will be debated this year in time for council to make a decision before the 2010.
“I think it will be newcomer (candidates) who will be most restricted,” she says. “Incumbents already have a community on which to draw on. We want to make sure we don’t disadvantage people who want to get elected.”
Stintz is married to Darryl Parisien and they live in the ward with their two children Jackson, 5, and Hailey, 3.
“I don’t think I am different from any other working parent,” says Stintz of balancing family and work. “You need to have a job that challenges and inspires you. You want to feel you are doing something meaningful at work when you are away from your family because the job does take you away from them.”

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