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Tag Archives: City Hall
Beach councillor faces hot issues in election year
(Written June 11 for Town Crier.)
Beaches-East York Councillor Sandra Bussin has come under fire lately over a series of hot button issues in her Ward 32.
There’s the firestorm over 204 Beech Avenue, where the owners bought the property with the intention to tear it down and build an accessible home only to find out it is a candidate for heritage protection.
Bussin got caught up in heated meeting on that issue. A clip depicting her as unsympathetic to the owners subsequently ended up on video streaming site YouTube, and made the rounds via Twitter.
And there’s the controversial 20-year, sole-source contract that awards a lease extension to Tuggs owner George Foulidis for his Boardwalk Café at Ashbridges Bay. Some feel Foulidis got too sweet a deal.
Though she removed herself from any city staff discussions surrounding the Boardwalk Café in 2009, Bussin was a vocal supporter of the sole-source contract for Foulidis back in 2006.
And this is now an election year.
“I am a strong person. I represent this community with integrity,” she told the Town Crier referring in to the criticism she is facing lately.
Dean brings provincial policy work to candidacy
Local resident running in Toronto-Centre Rosedale
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier April 28)
Evan Dean is running for public office for first time, but the Ward 27 candidate already has a long history of government work.
He currently works in the provincial attorney general’s office ensuring funds are available for victims of crime. He’s also worked for Ontario’s ministry of health and long term care and on government-based literacy programs.
“I grew up in politics,” said Dean whose mother Linda is Chief Administrative Officer for the County of Dufferin. “The vast majority of my career has been in Ontario government and my interest lies in local politics.”
The ward resident is one of 13 candidates running in Toronto-Centre Rosedale to replace outgoing Councillor Kyle Rae.
“With Kyle stepping down, I thought this was a good opportunity,” said the 32-year-old. Continue reading
Bonavota’s running for second time against Councillor Moscoe
Eglinton-Lawrence candidate concerned about local crimes
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier April 22.)
When Rosina Bonavota was helping run the family business Bonamico Cafe, everyone from teenagers to grandmothers would chat about their concerns.
Lending an ear, Bonavota became known as the neighbourhood problem-solver in the Oakwood and Vaughan community she’s lived in since age seven.
Now as an Eglinton-Lawrence ward 15 candidate, Bonavota wants to tackle issues from within city hall.
The school bus driver has lived in the area since she was seven and says she has keen knowledge of local issues. One of the persistent problems in the area is crime, she says. It was a personal tragedy that hit very close to home last November.
“My friend’s son died six months ago, shot by a stray bullet. He was studying to be a police officer,” said Bonavota, who has two grown sons of her own.
She’s referring to the murder of 18-year-old Robert Flagiello, who was fatally wounded as he stood on Vaughan Road. He was not the intended victim.
Toronto election to produce shake-up
Some wards feature no incumbent as councillors retire
(Column written March 31 for Town Crier.)
We are guaranteed new political faces at city hall.
Here’s a sampling of the changes, why it will make these election races exciting and should increase voter turn out but may make it hard for constituents to choose new reps.
In midtown, councillors Kyle Rae and Michael Walker are retiring and in the east end Case Ootes is doing the same. Councillors Joe Pantalone, Rob Ford and Giorgio Mammoliti are running for mayor rather than re-election in their wards. As of April 1, a total of 36 candidates are registered in these six races with no incumbent councillors.
But the absence of incumbents, doesn’t mean newcomers will have an easier time getting elected. In fact, they may have to fight just as hard.
Toronto Centre Rosedale Councillor Rae’s Ward 27 is a prime example. His name won’t be on the ballot, but 12 candidates have registered here so far to try and replace him.
Name recognition can still be a factor in races with no incumbent, says University of Toronto political science professor Larry LeDuc. Continue reading
Toronto veteran politician announced he’s not running again
Walker is calling it quits after nearly three decades in politics
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier March 11.)
After months of speculation on his political future, veteran councillor Michael Walker announced today he is calling it quits after nearly three decades in municipal politics.
The St. Paul’s rep made his announcement at 11 a.m. in the press gallery at city hall.
“I am announcing my intention not to stand for re-election as city councillor,” said Walker, who turns 70 this June.
“I do this with mixed emotions,” he said, at times getting misty eyed. “I have been most fortunate and honoured to have represented the residents of Toronto for 28 years.
Over that period I have been privileged to serve the interests of astute, discerning and highly engaged constituency for which I was deeply grateful.”
“The time has come now for me to step aside from that role now, which I will dearly miss as most of you know,” he said. “I thank the people I have represented for the remarkable level of trust they have placed in me over the years.”
Although he sees himself as “her majesty’s royal opposition” to the mayors he’s worked with, Walker spoke fondly of Art Eggleton, June Rowlands, Barbara Hall, Mel Lastman and current mayor, David Miller. Continue reading
Pantalone takes a run for Toronto’s top political post
Has been on city council for almost 30 years
By Kris Scheuer
(Written Feb. 25 for Town Crier.)
Trinity-Spadina Councillor Joe Pantalone has worked with five mayors and three Metro chairmen since he was first elected in 1980.
He served with mayors Art Eggleton, June Rowlands, Barbara Hall, Mel Lastman and David Miller plus Metro chairman Paul Godfrey, Dennis Flynn and Alan Tonks.
Now after 29 years as a councillor, Pantalone is running to be the next mayor of Toronto.
“I’ve shown I can work with anyone,” he says in an interview from city council chambers. “You either work logically or there will be a mess here.”
Pantalone said with the city responsible for some much from police, roads, transit, forestry, libraries, child care, public housing, water, sewage and so on, it’s important for council to function well.
“If city hall is working, it means the city is working,” he says. Continue reading
Giambrone’s week long campaign to be mayor of TO ended today
His personal affairs aired in public, force retreat from mayoral race
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Feb. 10)
Adam Giambrone’s out of the mayor’s race.
At a hastily called press conference at 11 am Feb. 10, Giambrone apologized for his indiscretions without naming Kristen Lucas specifically.
He did not directly announce his departure from the mayor’s race. However, a few minutes after Giambrone refused to answer questions about the affair and his political future, an executive assistant made the announcement: “His mayoralty campaign ends today.” Continue reading
Guide to who’s running for city’s top political job
Mayoral candidates in Toronto election
By Kris Scheuer
(Updated Oct. 21.)
The Toronto election campaign officially began Jan. 4 and *40 people are registered for mayor’s race.
Coun. Rob Ford registered March 25.
Coun. Joe Pantalone made it official Jan. 13. Former MPP George Smitherman filed his nomination papers Jan. 8.
They are not alone.
As of Sept. 10 (last day to register or withdraw), here’s the list: lawyer Rocco Achampong, Michael Alexander, George Babula, Christopher Ball, Michael Brausewetter, Douglas Campbell, Jaime Castillo, Kevin Clarke, Keith Cole, Charlene Cottle, Diane Devenyi, James Di Fiore, David Epstein, Selwyn Firth, Michael Flie, Councillor Rob Ford, Abdullah-Baquie Ghazi, Howard Gomberg, Barry Goodhead, Monowar Hossain, Dewitt Lee, John Letonja, Colin Magee, Carmen Macklin, Joseph Pampena, deputy mayor Joe Pantalone, former MPP George Smitherman, Vijay Sarma, Mark State, Tibor Steinberger, Himy Syed, Weizhen Tang, Phil Taylor, David Vallance, Ratan Wadhwa and Daniel Walker.
And Gerald Derome who, on his website that he links to from his Twitter account, has written some disturbing passages about wanting to have sexual contact with girls as young as nine (see blue shaded post with heading Ecto Gamma.)
Also running is Don Andrews, who is head of the Nationalist Party of Canada and a white supremacist. You should know he is a proud racist. I interviewed him when he ran for mayor in 2003. He has been convicted and done time for hate crimes in the 1970s.
*Businesswoman Sarah Thomson withdrew after the nominations closed, so she’ll remain on the ballot.
*Liberal strategist Rocco Rossi dropped out on Oct. 13, but will still be on the ballot.
Other Withdrawn candidates: Giorgio Mammoliti officially withdrew his candidacy July 9. Adam Giambrone held a press conference Feb. 10 to apologize for affairs while maintaining a committed relationship and by March 10 had withdrawn from the race. Perpetual mayoral candidate Kevin Clarke withdrew March 31 but is now registered again. Stephen Feek, Ange Maniccia, Mark Cidade, Mell Findlay, Wendell Brereton, Nasseb Husain, Carmen Macklin, Jim McMillan, Sonny Yeung and Andrew Barton.
Who do you like for the next mayor?
Former councillor Jane Pitfield to run for election
She registered as candidate in east end ward
By Kris Scheuer
(Written Jan. 6 for Town Crier.)
Jane Pitfield wants back into city hall and she’s chosen to run in Toronto-Danforth Ward 29.
Case Ootes the current local rep held a media conference this afternoon announcing he won’t seek re-election in this east end ward.
And at 3 pm today, Pitfield registered as a candidate for the ward she has political roots in.
“I was very surprised when councillor Case Ootes announced his retirement,” she told the media at the city’s election offices.
She met with councillors Ootes, Cliff Jenkins and Michael Walker weeks ago indicating her interest in running if any of them choose not to run.
“All of them said they thought they’d return,” she told the Town Crier today.
Then last night, councillor Ootes called to tell her he would not seek re-election.
“I felt my interest is so strong in coming back. Why wait?” she said in an interview. Continue reading