Joe Pantalone’s mayoral campaign

Veteran councillor says he’s lone leading progressive candidate
Pantalone would continue Miller legacy but with less taxes
Kris Scheuer
(Written fo
r Town Crier Sept.1)

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Mayoral hopeful Joe Pantalone during a Sept. 1 Town Crier editorial board meeting. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.

Joe Pantalone says he’s running against four right wing candidates in the mayoral contest, which will bode well for him on Oct. 25.
Pantalone told a Town Crier editorial board he offers a clear choice for voters whereas Rob Ford, George Smitherman, Sarah Thomson and Rocco Rossi offer varying degrees of the same.
“I’m the only progressive candidate for mayor,” Pantalone said.
“I’m running against a bunch of mini-Mike Harrises. All of them want to sell something. All of them want to contract out something. All of them want to shrink the city in terms of what we spend while the population is growing.”
Pantalone railed on several of his opponents’ ideas, including Smitherman’s idea to privatize some TTC bus routes, Rossi’s pledge to sell Toronto Hydro and what he says is Ford’s unrealistic notion of spending.Meanwhile, the left-leaning Pantalone insists he’s not a prototype of Mayor David Miller but does share a similar vision for Toronto.
“I consider myself the heir of David Miller, Mel Lastman and Alan Tonks. In our society you build on the past,” he said. “(But) I am quite different than David Miller.”

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Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.

Pantalone was quick to point out he supports several Miller initiatives and will continue to foster them.
Under Miller, the city has introduced an integrity commissioner, ombudsman, lobby registrar, and a new code of conduct.
But Pantalone said he will differ on Miller on taxes, vowing as mayor to phase out the personal vehicle registration tax and keep property tax increases at the rate of inflation.
Pantalone pointed out the city’s financial woes are due to a lack of revenue coupled with downloading.
“We are still suffering from the downloading of (former premier) Mike Harris. We have $500 million we spend on services the provincial government used to provide that Mike Harris downloaded and they have never been uploaded.”
Pantalone also stressed senior levels of government collected most (92%) of the taxes but haven’t reinvested enough in Toronto.

Joe Pantalone marks his 31st year on city council this year. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.

“As mayor of Toronto I want to insist they (senior levels of government) invest in our community.”
The current deputy mayor is pushing for investment in Transit City. He railed against the province for postponing $4 billion that would install new light rapid transit lines connecting the suburbs to downtown.
In fact, he said he’ll know he’s been successful as mayor if Transit City is well on the way by the end of his first term.
He said the city’s doing well when it comes to completing most (98%) construction projects on budget but has a problem getting work done on schedule.
One quarter of construction projects are late and he plans to change that by implementing what he referred to as project leaders.
“(The project leader) will have the ability to say no. So if Toronto Water says, ‘gee whiz you are digging that street? I forgot to tell you, I want to put in some additional pipes.’ They can say, ‘sorry that will delay the project, come back five years from now.’”
Pantalone has been on council for 30 years and likes his chances of becoming mayor.
“The present polls show Ford first, Smitherman second and me third,” said Pantalone.
“Six years ago at this time in the schedule when Miller ended up winning closely over John Tory the person first was Barbara Hall, second was John Nunizata and then this guy Tory and this other guy Miller.”
“By election day, it had been completely reversed,” said Pantalone.
He also points out every Toronto mayor since 1902 started off as a councillor first.
“In 108 years there has not been a mayor of the City of Toronto who had not been previously a member of city council,” said Trinity-Spadina Councillor Pantalone.
He also said he’ll have an easier time reaching consensus as mayor than his opponent and current mayoral candidate frontrunner, Councillor Ford.
“Toronto city council is a team sport,” said Deputy Mayor Pantalone. “The mayor has to be a team captain.”
“Of all the votes at city council, Mr. Ford has been on the winning side 14 percent of the time, 86% of the time council voted against him. He’ll be a team captain without a team.”
When Ford came to a Town Crier editorial board Aug. 24 he said there will be 20-25 new councillors elected on Oct. 25.
Currently, nine councillors are either retiring or running for mayor. Pantalone said Ford is off-base in his calculations another 10-15 incumbents will be defeated.
“Rob Ford is dreaming in technicolour. He has his own dream and none of us are part of it. In the history of Toronto, the people who get defeated are rare.”
Pantalone also disputed the perception that most of his support is in the downtown.
“The Italian community is not downtown it’s North York, parts of Etobicoke and Weston,” he said the same of other ethnic communities he expects to support him.
“I’ve spent more of my time in Scarborough for example (in the election) than any other municipality accept where I sleep, downtown.”
Pantalone, who advocated the BMO soccer field, said he’s pushing for a cricket stadium, which he said will be popular draw for many immigrants living in the suburbs.
He’ll also push for voter reform so the 250,000 permanent residents who aren’t Canadian citizens can vote in future city elections.

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7 responses to “Joe Pantalone’s mayoral campaign

  1. Sheldon, thanks for your insightful comments. I hope people think about what you have said. It’s important voters turn up Oct. 25 (let’s see a turnout over 40 % please). And Torontonians need to think about choosing a mayor candidate with a vision to deliver a better city. And as Mayor Miller said when he announced his retirement last fall, “you can’t have a great city for free.”
    But a lot of people, okay some people, are saying they think city hall wastes money and has a spending problem not a revenue problem. So cutting taxes is enough for some even without specifics on what services will be cut in order to fill the hole when less revenues is available.

  2. What everyone is forgetting is that Toronto has the lowest tax rate of all the GTA yet Toronto has the most infrastrucure to support.
    By some estimates, if Toronto’s tax rates were equivalent to those of Mississauga, and Vaughan, there would be a surplus budget. We Torontonians do not get it…we want a first class city while paying taxes that would be expected from a third world country.
    And Ford wants to cut spending? Do not come crying when he slashes the services you use to meet his targets. Either that or he falls back on his election promises….my guess is that he will do the latter because noone is going to stand for subway service on weekdays only, or garbage pick up once a month.
    Wake up Toronto…anybody but Ford!

  3. Joe Pants just doesn’t get it. A progressive is a over spending socialista by any other name. Miller has spent our way into economic hell. We can never repay the debt he has heaped on the taxpayers. Whining about Harris is pathetic. If he downloaded 500 million onto the city, then how come city spending went up 4 billion under Comrade Miller. Where was Pants while this was happening. Pants should come clean and tell the people what cozy job the socialists will give him when he loses the election. There has got to be something at the end of the rainbow for being the lamb led to slaughter on behalf of the socialists.

  4. When the new mayor comes in there will be many councillors to choose from for his/her cabinet. The new mayor will have the same staff at city hall.

    As far as I am concerned Moscoe, Walker and Rae were part of the reason people want change.

    • Nussy. If Moscoe, Walker and Rae are why people want change, then is it enough they are retiring? So do you think voters want overall change beside the seven not running (Rae, Walker, Ootes, Ashton, Giambrone, Moscoe, Feldman) plus two running for mayor so their council seats are open (Ford, Pantalone)? In other words, are incumbent councillors in danger and if so who do you think is at risk of losing their seat?

  5. Pantalone just does not get it. Yes he has all that experience. Yes all the others are not progressives. But thats what the people of Toronto are trying to tell him that its time for a change. He is the last person I would want as a mayor. I hope he has a good time going fishing with his good friend Moscoe.

    Still blaiming Mike Harris….how sad.

    • Nussy,
      So you think Moscoe and Pantalone will have time to go fishing soon?
      Yes people are calling for change, so this doesn’t bode well for Pantalone. But with Moscoe (31 year on council), Ootes (21-22 years), Walker (28/29 yrs), Rae (19 years) all gone people aren’t going to necessarily want a rookie council run by a mayor with no experience. So do you think experience at the helm will appeal to some voters?

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