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 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.
“The Toronto Transit Commission is in a mess,” he said in a Feb. 9 interview from a café at city hall. “Back in the 1970s and 1980s, there was a sense of professionalism with TTC drivers and employees. There was a sense of pride,” he said.
He also said the number of suicides at subway stations is a serious issue he’d like to see addressed more publicly.
“They have had this problem for 50 years,” he said.
Beside the TTC, Baker’s also concerned with development in the ward he has called home for more than two decades.
“The city should be responsible for hiring the best people to a fight an (inappropriate) development at the (Ontario Municipal Board),” said Baker, who was a real estate agent for 23 years.
He suggested if the city put up a stronger fight, residents wouldn’t feel the need to raise funds to hire their own lawyer and experts to battle along side the city against a development.
Baker was embroiled in a battle of his own with former councillor and Beach resident Tom Jakobek. Baker was a consultant on a series of projects for sites Jakobek owned but where Jakobek wanted to remain behind the scenes. The two countered sued each other over money and other issues, but in the end Baker said Jakobek’s lawsuit “was frivolous and he dropped it”.
Baker is focused on running a strong campaign between now and Oct. 25. Current councillor Bussin plans to run for re-election but as of Feb. 22 had not registered. Baker hopes to give her a run for her money.
“No one has ever made the commitment to run against her for 8-9 months,” said the 58-year-old. “It comes down to knocking on doors, getting their (voters) input and giving them my feedback.
“I will do my best job for the ward,” said Baker.
As of press time Albert Castells was the only other registered candidate in Ward 32.
Craig, you asked Bruce Baker, ward 32 candidate, to email you. Since he may not check my site often, you may want to email him directly at email@example.com the email he used to comment on this site in the past.
Bruce, It’s was encouraging to read your comments and the possibility of change should be a rallying point for those who want it in Ward 32. Could you please email me with some information in regards to assisting with the campaign.
I do not really think this was the intent of section 37. This is a project that could easily have been funded or partially funded by the private sector. The TTC is in no position to have to pay for this particularly when they are asking the province for money. Anyway what really bothers me about this is that Sandra Bussin promotes this project on her website without telling us where the money came from.
Thank you for your comment Mr. Baker and I hope to meet you soon. My friends and neighbors feel the same way and we want change in Ward 32.
I went to Coun. Bussin’s website and her press release on this does say where the money came from: the Commission.
She states the she advocated for a community benefit, in this case $400,000 towards a skateboard park in the neighbourhood, because the TTC’s new streetcar storage yard at Leslie and Lakeshore represented a loss of green space for the community.
By the way, I am always happy to hear from people who live in the neighbourhoods I write about.
But I am curious if you are working on any candidate’s campaign?
Jerry, thanks for the comments. When I look at this years budget it appears that the Budget Committee used the Bernie Madoff method of playing Ponzie with the taxpayers money. We face a water rate increase of 9% that is supposed to be for upgrading the infrastructer and yet we find Parks asking them to fund hookups that should be paid or by parks, Water is spending millions of of the 9% increases to fund other projects. We are hundreds of millions behind in Parks maintenance and yet They aprove raiding and depleting the reserve fund by 17 million to go buy another park boardering Pickering. 4% increase and 53 pages in this budget to cover increased user fees. David Miller is spend crazy and Sandra Bussin has supported each and every item of Miller’s agenda. She falls just short of declaring that he walks on water.
Sounds good. I would like to know Mr. Bakers thoughts on the upcoming budget. I was surprised to hear where the money from the skateboard park came from. Sounds like robbing peter to pay paul.
We really need a change in Ward 32.
perhaps Bruce Baker will comment on the city’s budget as his campaign moves forward.
As for the money for the skateboard park, the TTC did pay what’s called a community benefit, as part of it’s plan to build a new facility to house the new streetcars at Leslie and Lakeshore. The community benefit aka Section 37 in the Planning Act is not unusual but usually it is a private developer paying for the new park, artwork, community centre as part of a new development. In this case it’s the TTC, owned and operated by the city, paying the city. So in this case it is taxpayers’ money one way or another.
In terms of a change in Ward 32, why? And what are you looking at in terms of deciding who to vote in?