Robinson runs in rematch against Councillor Jenkins
The two faced off in heated ’03 Toronto election battle
By Kris Scheuer
(Written May 31 for Town Crier.)
Seven years after she lost to Cliff Jenkins by only 80 votes Jaye Robinson is back again to challenge the Ward 25 incumbent for his seat on council.
Robinson, a former senior manager in the city’s economic development department, said Toronto is in decline and needs fresh blood and new ideas to set it on the right course.
“There’s a lack of vision and long term thinking,” she said. “When you see what’s happening in other cities compared to Toronto, it feels like they are moving forward and we are going backward.”
To get the city back on what she sees as the right track, Robinson says you don’t have to look any further than the city’s purse.
“It’s all rooted in your financial situation,” she said. “We need to get (city finances) back on track so the city can be livable.” Robinson helped head up a city department that focused on the economy, tourism and culture and partnered with many private corporations and government divisions on events such as Nuit Blanche.
She is a big fan of private-public partnerships where a corporation will help sponsor a city event. This makes running events more affordable for the city, she said.
Robinson also wants to see councillors working together more.
“We need to work collaboratively. That is what I can bring to the table,” she said. “I have 20 years of municipal experience. I know how to navigate the complexities of the city. I’ve worked with all city departments as a director.”
And she stresses the need to involve residents in the planning, decision and execution of city decisions.
“Residents are very disillusioned,” said Robinson, vice president of the Lawrence Park Ratepayers’ Association. “They are disconnected and disenchanted.”
She said one way to bring residents back into the fold is by being courteous and respectful of their concerns and comments and for the city to improve custom service.
“I did customer service training. It’s a critical part of service delivery,” she said.
As chair of the social justice committee of her church, she organized the My Life, My City speakers series that focused on topics of crime, making neighbourhoods work and being good corporate citizens.
Speakers included Police Chief Bill Blair; Frances Lankin, President and CEO of the United Way; former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory as well as provincial and federal politicians.
“It was a very inspiring project,” she said. “It played a role in encouraging me to run (for councillor).”
The mother of three said she thought seriously about running in 2006 but opted not to as she was working on some important and interesting initiatives for the city.
While it may have been almost seven years since she last ran for office, Robinson says that residents of Ward 25 have welcomed her candidacy with open arms.
“The response to my announcement I’m running has been overwhelming,” she said. “We have a strategy to engage residents throughout Don Valley West.
“People are hungry for change. That’s what I’ll deliver,” she said. “It’s about experience, fresh ideas and action.”
Do you think Jaye Robinson can beat Cliff Jenkins who is now the incumbent councillor?