Monthly Archives: February 2010

Monarch Park school pool saved

Deal struck to keep east end high school pool open
Swim facility to serve high needs students plus community
By Kris Scheuer
(Written Feb. 9 for Town Crier newspaper.)

Teacher Jay Arrington with students Ravi Mahara and Daniel Costa celebrate having their pool back. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

Monarch Park CI students Daniel Costa and Ravi Mahara were all smiles when talking about how their school pool has been saved from being drained.
This pool was on the Toronto District School Board’s chopping block unless the school and larger community rallied to raise permit revenues to keep it open.
Costa, Mahara and 36 fellow students with physical and intellectual disabilities or special needs were unable to make use of their school pool for several months while the community raised money.
This meant they travelled by bus to Variety Village in Scarborough for swim classes in a pool that could meet their requirements. Continue reading

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Bruce Baker takes on Councillor Bussin

Beach resident running in area Sandra Bussin reps
Bruce Baker a former TTC driver is a council candidate
By Kris Scheuer
(Written  Feb. 10 for Town Crier.)

 

Bruce Baker is running for council in Beaches-East York Ward 32. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

 

Bruce Baker wants to be Ward 32’s next councillor.
Not surprisingly, the former TTC bus driver names transit as a key issue he’d like to tackle if elected.
“(The TTC) can’t even solve the problem of the Queen streetcar,” said Baker, who worked for the commission in the 1970s.
After years of customer complaints, the TTC implemented different solutions to curtail short-turning streetcars including splitting the Queen Street route in half. As well, he was not impressed that current councillor Sandra Bussin secured $400,000 from the TTC as a community benefit for a local skateboard park in exchange for a new streetcar storage yard being housed in the ward. Continue reading

North Toronto voters’ high expectations

Coun. Karen Stintz governs a very politically active ward
Residents put pressure on politicians to side with them
(Column written Feb. 5 for Town Crier.)

Eglinton-Lawrence Councillor Karen Stintz represents a very politically engaged Ward 16 that has high expectations of their local reps.
The ward has six ratepayer organizations as well as tenant associations, condo boards and co-ops.
On top of that is the very active Federation of North Toronto Residents’ Associations that represents three dozen ratepayer organizations in the broader midtown area. And they are a politically active bunch.
Stintz says this is a blessing not a curse.
“One of the strengths of the North Toronto community is they are highly engaged and relative to the city there’s a higher than average voter turnout,” she says. “The community is very engaged and that’s not just during an election year it’s throughout a person’s (political) term.” Continue reading

Toronto Danforth Ward 29 candidates

Councillor Case Ootes not running in To-Danforth
Four candidates running to be new Ward 29 rep
By Kris Scheuer
(Written Feb. 11 for Town Crier.)

Former Leaside councillor Jane Pitfield is running in Toronto Danforth’s Ward 29 and I wrote about her on Jan. 6 the day current rep Case Ootes announced he would not seek re-election. But she’s not the only one seeking this seat.
Now meet a trio of candidates running here: Chris Caldwell, John Richardson and Mike Restivo. Scroll down to read each profile.

Chris Caldwell for Toronto-Danforth Ward 29

Chris Caldwell wants to involve residents more in planning process. Photo courtesy of Chris Caldwell.

Chris Caldwell registered as a candidate on Jan. 4 before Ootes made a decision not to run.
I looked forward to running against him,” Caldwell said from his home 180 metres outside Ward 29. “There’s a lot I didn’t agree with (Ootes) on but it runs deeper than that. It is how people are engaged in the planning process. They want to see their desires reflected in policy.”
He wants the community to be involved in any development planning application from beginning to end.
“We make better decisions with more information,” said the 41-year-old business analyst and consultant with a background in urban planning. Continue reading

Case Ootes not seeking re-election

Toronto Danforth councillor calling it quits in 2010
Ootes reflects on 21 years in public office
By Kris Scheuer
(Written Jan. 14 for Town Crier.)

Coun. Case Ootes not running for re-election in Ward 29. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.

With thoughts turned to a possible career in academia, Case Ootes is foregoing another run at council after two decades representing Toronto-Danforth’s ward 29.
On Jan. 6, Ootes announced his retirement from municipal politics, saying he will not be seeking re-election this year.
The father of four sat down with the Town Crier in his East York Civic Centre constituency office Jan. 13 to discuss how the area he’s represented has changed, life after city hall and a possible new career as a professor.
“I decided some time ago – a year ago,” he said of his decision not to run again. “I have been an elected official for almost 22 years. It has been rewarding, but I want to move on.” Continue reading

Increasing Toronto’s voter turn out

Don’t like your choices for council, mayor?
Run, encourage good candidates to register, then vote
By Kris Scheuer

What if no one voted in the next election? What if we boycotted the election as a political statement and thumbed our noses at the whole lot? What would happen then?
Sure it has never happened yet, but you have to wonder what is at the root cause of why more people don’t go to the polls.
Voter apathy is nothing new, as anywhere from 36 to 47 per cent of those who have the legal right to elect a provincial rep choose not to show up to the party.
In the 2006 Toronto election voter turn out was a lousy  39.3 percent across the city.
Some circumstances appear to shift this such as in ward 26 where there was no incumbent and 15 candidates ran. In that ward, voter turn out was 52 percent, which was the highest anywhere in the city that election.
So why do so few eligible voters exercise this right? Is this because citizens don’t care who is elected? Or is it a political statement? When we don’t vote are we trying to send a message “why bother to cast my ballot when none of the candidates vying for my vote represent my views?”
So why is Toronto’s voter turn out is so low? What motivates you to vote? Continue reading

Adam Giambrone out of mayor’s race

Giambrone’s week long campaign to be mayor of TO ended today
His personal affairs aired in public, force retreat from mayoral race
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Feb. 10)

Adam Giambrone at a press conference apologizes for his "relationships" with women other than his live-in partner. He's no longer running for mayor. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

Adam Giambrone’s out of the mayor’s race.
At a hastily called press conference at 11 am Feb. 10, Giambrone apologized for his indiscretions without naming Kristen Lucas specifically.
He did not directly announce his departure from the mayor’s race. However, a few minutes after Giambrone refused to answer questions about the affair and his political future, an executive assistant made the announcement: “His mayoralty campaign ends today.” Continue reading