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.