Journalist makes a run for politics
(Written for Town Crier Sept. 11.)
Broadcast reporter Liz West wants to trade in the microphone for a seat on city council.
The Toronto-Danforth candidate is running in Ward 30 against incumbent Paula Fletcher.
“I’m a working mom, a taxpayer and local resident. I’m just as disillusioned as my neighbours with city hall,” said West, who is currently a freelance journalist with a makeover show on Cosmo TV.
She’s put her broadcast career on hold while she campaigns for public office. The fact she’s been an on-air reporter for 15 years with City News, CP24 and Canada AM gives her a certain level of name recognition and visibility, she said. But so does the fact she is a local resident.
“I’m pretty visible in the community,” West said Sept. 10 in between campaigning. “I’ve been in the area for 12 years. I shop locally. I have two young kids and when you have young kids you are mixing with other families. I am out using the parks.”She’s supported a series of charities including Rethink Breast Cancer, Canada Blood Services and Voiceprint.
West is not relying on her name recognition alone and is knocking on doors, has a website, is using Twitter, has a campaign team and endorsements. Ward 29 Councillor Case Ootes is scheduled to attend her campaign launch Sept. 11.
One of the key issues she’s hearing at the doors is people want better communication from city hall.
“The community doesn’t feel they are being listened to, so being a good listener is important,” she said. “People feel they are being told something is happening (at city hall) versus being consulted.”
And when someone emails or calls city hall, they want a response, West said.
Another hot topic on the campaign trail is getting services delivered for the tax dollars being collected.
“People are saying they are paying taxes but not getting basic services,” she said. “Roads are not taken care of, TTC systems are inadequate and need maintenance.”
West proposes a two-term limit for elected city officials. She is pushing for greater transparency and accountability on how money is spent at city hall.
“Money is spent that the city doesn’t have. The new hockey arena (the city voted for) costs $88 million. The city has $30 million, it can get $20 (million) and needs another $30 (million),” she said.
“I don’t look at houses I can’t afford. The city needs to operate the same way.”
There are eight candidates running in Ward 30, including one who signed up on the last nomination day, Sept. 10.