Monthly Archives: November 2010

Josh Colle ready to get to work

New councillor for Ward 15 will work closely with dad, MPP Mike Colle
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Nov. 18)

Eglinton-Lawrence Councillor Josh Colle.

When he’s sworn in as the new councillor for Ward 15 Eglinton-Lawrence on Dec. 1, Josh Colle will be working closely with his provincial counterpart  — who just happens to be his father, MPP Mike Colle.
“We’ve already had some meetings that are constituency-driven,” Colle said in a recent interview following his election win.
“I don’t always agree with him. You probably don’t always agree with your parents. But it’s good to know there will be a collaborative relationship there.”
Part of the ward boundary includes sections of St. Paul’s provincially and federally so Colle’s also spoken or met with those political reps in the weeks since the election.
Colle the younger is also busy attending community meetings to get up to speed on ward issues.
But he’s looking forward to rolling up his sleeves and getting to work at city hall. And there’s no reason the 45-member council can’t work collaboratively, he said.
“I get that it’s politics with inherent drama and conflict that goes along with it,” he said. “But it’s the responsibility of the mayor and council to do that (work collaboratively).”

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Mayor Ford picks team players

Ford announces key roles for councillors
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Nov. 29)

Mayor-elect Rob Ford announces his picks among councilors for key roles. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.

Mayor elect Rob Ford announced this afternoon the team that will help guide Toronto for the next few years.
The were no surprises in the appointments to head the seven council standing committees nor the spate of other plum posts as Ford’s choices had already been widely reported in the media.
The geographic and ideological composition of the group also offered no surprise. There are reps from the suburbs and midtown, but no one from downtown. Leftie councillors were shut out but two newbie female politicians are on Ford’s team.
“This is the team that’s ready to get down to the hard work of bringing accountability and respect for taxpayers back to city hall,” Ford said. Continue reading

Mayor David Miller’s legacy

Miller on his successes and hope for city’s future
An except from an exit interview with mayor
Kris Scheuer
(Written Nov. 24 for Town Crier)

Mayor David Miller gets ready to wave goodbye to politics. His second term ends Nov. 30, 2010. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.

In November 2002, before he was elected as mayor, David Miller told me as a Town Crier reporter he’d know if he was successful as a leader if “everyone feels that city hall is honest, trustworthy and if in every neighbourhood people can point to positive change.”
Based on that, he said he’s succeeded.
“My first campaign was … about taking a city government that had unfortunately slid into being a government that if you knew where the backrooms were you could get your business done,” he said today in an interview. “It (city hall) wasn’t there for the people of Toronto.”
Miller was one of the few councillors who pushed for an inquiry into the MFP computer leasing scandal that included allegations of bribery against a former politician.
In her final report Justice Denise Bellamy recommended a series of accountability offices such as an integrity officer, lobbyist registry and city ombudsman that Miller later created.
He also argues that compared to the past his administration has been virtually scandal-free.
“The city government has come under some criticism for relatively minor things like a councillor renting a squirrel costume, which I suggest rather pales in comparison to the MFP scandal where hundreds of millions went out the back door (in contracts) because people were connected to people in power and paid them off,” said Miller

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Karen Stintz mum on TTC chair gig

Ward 16’s councillor talks transit plans
But quiet on possible appointment to head transit commission
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Nov. 22)

Councillor Karen Stintz may be the next TTC chair.

Councillor Karen Stintz may be mum on whether she’ll be the next TTC chair, but she has plenty to say about transit.
The Ward 16 rep is rumoured to mayor-elect Rob Ford’s choice to replace outgoing TTC head Adam Giambrone.
And while Stintz has said she’d like to serve on the transit commission she’s not saying if the rumour she’ll be its next chair is true.
Coincidentally, Ford’s communications rep Adrienne Batra was meeting with Stintz this afternoon directly before the Town Crier sat down with Stintz in her city hall office.
The TTC is a challenging portfolio with no shortage of controversies and opportunities but Stintz says progress can be made on the problems of the past.
“We can make a difference and improvement in customer service,” said Stintz. “(TTC) effects people’s lives everyday and it effects how to get home on time, to work on time.”
She’d like to see cleaner stations, the implementation of the regional electronic fare PRESTO card and with it the re-examination of zone based fares. Plus that provincial investments are used to build a TTC system for both present and future needs.  Continue reading

David Miller before he was mayor

One of my first interviews with Miller back in 2002
A year before he became mayor, here’s his vision for Toronto
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Nov. 7/02. UPDATE.)

David Miller in his councillor days before becoming mayor in Nov. 2003.

“I think the city faces a great future, but only if we have great leadership and I don’t think we do now,” Parkdale Councillor David Miller told a small crowd, who had gathered to hear him speak at a Rosedale gallery.
Miller, who wants to be the city’s next mayor, spoke and answered questions on Nov. 6 2002 at D&E Lake Limited on Yonge St. north of Summerhill subway station.
“I have no idea who else is running. I’m the only one who has announced candidacy publicly. I think Mel Lastman wants to run again. It’s possible he will run again. If he doesn’t, there could be four or five candidates come forth,” he told the Town Crier.
“I do know that City Hall has a lot of problems now,” he said referring, in part, to the MFP computer leasing scandal, which is being investigated by police and through a public inquiry.
“I’m worried about where the city is going,” Miller said in an interview. “I am running because Toronto needs to move forward. It’s been stagnant for the last 15-20 years. I think City Hall needs to be more open and honest and citizen-centred.”
He mentioned the need to enhance public space along with development.
“In my ward, Windemere by the Lake is building a day care in it for the public, not just residents of the building.”
“I think this election is a crux of whether the city stays vibrant or doesn’t,” Councillor David Miller.

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Fragedakis takes over Ward 29

Mary Fragedakis to tackle city and ward issues
New councillor will be shift from retiring Case Ootes
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Nov. 11)

L-R: Second place candidate Jane Pitfield congratulates councillor-elect Mary Fragedakis. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.

Councillor-elect Mary Fragedakis may be a new face at city hall, but she’s fairly familiar one in the community she will represent beginning Dec. 1.
“I’ve lived my whole life in ward 29,” said the new Toronto-Danforth rep. “My friends, family and neighbours are here. I started the Broadview Community Youth Group because of the lack of affordable programs. I understand the context of the area.”
And Fragedakis arguably made history on election night, introduced at her victory celebration as the first woman of Greek background to win a seat on council.
She captured over 41 percent of the vote, beating out runner-up Jane Pitfield and five other candidates. Continue reading

More women on Toronto council

A total of 14 councillors now women
Seven of the newly elected reps are females
Kris Scheuer
(Column written for Town Crier Nov. 4)

Move over, Mr. Councillor.
Toronto has elected more women to council.
The 45-member city council now has 15 females, up from the 10 elected in 2006. So city council is now 33 percent female.
This is impressive when you consider the United Nations has called for governments worldwide to have at least 30 percent of the political representatives as women.
I’d argue having more women means council is more reflective of Toronto’s population. Elected officials should bring the perspectives of the many people they represent to the decision- making table.
And what’s great is the current crop of female reps are a diverse group themselves.
There are lefties like Paula Fletcher, Pam McConnell, Maria Augimeri and Janet Davis. There’s more right-of-centre councillors like Francis Nunziata and Karen Stintz, and even they can differ immensely in their views. Gloria Lindsay Luby was part of Mayor David Miller’s executive committee and so was budget chief Shelley Carroll.
These eight re-elected female councillors are all very opinionated and passionate politicians who speak up for the causes they believe in. I love that.

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