By Kris Scheuer
(Published in the Town Crier Aug. 16)
If elected, Ward 31 council candidate Donna Braniff would focus on safety and opportunities for youth.
She helps run an eight-week Toastmasters’ youth leadership program where young people can come in weekly for individual help on speech writing and chairmanship skills.
But her big focus is on making each community safer based on its specific needs.
“We need to focus on community safety. This is a concern of every individual in this area,” she said. “Every individual has the right to walk the streets without fear.”
Braniff wants to see more community cops, with police walking the beat and getting to know residents and business people.
“In some areas they have increased crime,” she said. “We have to look at why they have increased (problems) and deal with it on a community by community basis.”
While problems vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, she pointed to a few examples.
“On the Danforth near subways, it’s been hit and run, grab a wallet and run,” she said. “Historically, you could walk through a (neighbourhood) park and someone hits you over the head. How can we resolve that? Is it better lighting? Community parties, community policing?”
She’s also focused on improving services so roads are fixed, there’s better street cleaning and snow plowing.
Braniff helped form the Danforth East Association of Ratepayers, Danforth Business and Professional Association (now the Danforth Village BIA) and a community-police liaison committee.
She ran for election in Ward 32 against Sandra Bussin in 2003 and 2006. Braniff said the issues she ran on then such as community safety, are still the same but have shifted north into Ward 31 where’s she running in the 2010 race.
“I joined Toastmaster in 2003 specifically to become a better speaker and impromptu thinker,” said Braniff, who’s in the property management business.
She is running against incumbent councillor Janet Davis and plans to increase her own name recognition by knocking on doors.
“Change is good,” Braniff said. “It makes things better. You get new ideas, new blood.”