How to impact change in Toronto
(Column written for Town Crier Dec. 22)
“You say you want a revolution,” the Beatles sang. “Well, you know, we all want to change the world.”
Even if it’s not a revolutionary change you are seeking, here are some tips on preserving a cherished service or advocating for a new policy at city hall.
As I wrote in a previous column, you can achieve small changes by calling 311, your municipal councillor, or by making a deputation at city hall.
But if you are seeking larger policy changes or want to protect services from being slashed, you’ll need a stronger game plan.
Do your research
Councillor Gord Perks is no stranger to activism, dating back to 1987 when he was involved with Pollution Probe, Greenpeace Canada and Toronto Environmental Alliance — all before he entered politics.
“You will have opponents so your information has to be as good or better,” he said.
So know your facts: why does it make economic, social and political sense for policymakers to agree with you? Continue reading
Council candidate takes on current rep Joe Mihevc
(Written for Town Crier Sept. 16)
Candidate Beth McLellan decided rather than complain to challenge incumbent Councillor Joe Mihevc. Photo courtesy of Beth McLellan.
St. Paul’s resident Beth McLellan felt compelled to run for council despite warnings the odds are stacked against her.
“I threw my hat in the ring September 3,” said the Ward 21 candidate. “So many people are complaining in our ward saying they were unhappy and (yet) they said absolutely no one could beat Joe Mihevc.”
While aware that beating any incumbent is no easy task, McClellan said she’s ready for the challenge.
“I have been handing out flyers,” she said. “I am going to businesses and homes and talking to people.”
McLellan said she’s not happy with the way city hall spends money, including allowing city employees to ring up millions in credit card charges with little accountability. She noted the price tag for the St. Clair Right-of Way grew exponentially during construction. Continue reading
Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma misses city’s July 31 deadline
City demanded a written agreement to fix outstanding disputes
Government could revoke operating agreement with Kiwanis
By Kris Scheuer
(Written Aug 4 for Town Crier.)
What's next? Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma fails to meet city's ultimatum ti make changes. Future of contract up in the air. Town Crier file photo.
The city is weighing its options now that Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma has failed to respond in writing to a series of demands for major changes to the way the group runs the historic building by the July 31 deadline.
“Council required a written response to specific actions in writing,” said city spokesperson Patricia Trott on the afternoon of Aug. 4. “That written response to the city’s direction never happened.
“The city is still reviewing its options.” Continue reading
Posted in Toronto News
Tagged agrement, board, Casa Loma, chair, contract, Councillor Joe Mihevc, deadline, Gerschkow, Joachim, Kiwanis, Kris Scheuer, Richard, Town Crier, Wozenilek
Kiwanis has run city-owned Casa Loma for over 70 years
City not pleased with Kiwanis lately, may seek new agency to take over
(Written July 8 for Town Crier. UPDATE HERE.)
The city's done millions in external renos, but Kiwanis behind on some of the internal repairs agreed to in current contract. File photo/Town Crier.
Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma has until July 31 to fix its relationship with the city or lose its contract to run Toronto’s famous castle.
Kiwanis has operated the city-owned castle since 1937, but disputes over the current 20-year management agreement have put that partnership at risk.
On July 7, the city voted to give Kiwanis until the end of the month to agree in writing to a series of actions, including developing a financial plan on how the group plans to fulfill its contract obligations to fix up the castle’s interior.
The city contends Kiwanis is woefully behind on a commitment to spend $1.6 million fixing the hunting lodge, visitors centre, dining facilities, and flooring.
Posted in Toronto
Tagged Casa Loma, contract, Councillor Joe Mihevc, David, Kiwanis, Kris Scheuer, Mayor, Miller, Richard, Town Crier, Wozenilek
TTC driver takes on incumbent Councillor Mihevc
(Written July 2 for Town Crier.)
St. Paul’s council candidate Peter Nolan wants the TTC to become an essential service.
It’s a hot button issue, considering Nolan is a transit driver.
Declaring the TTC essential would require the province’s permission, and mean removing the union’s right to strike.
“I work for the TTC. I’m part of the union. I’m a (bus) driver. I believe in the right to strike. I like unions,” said the first-time
candidate. “But to run the city, the TTC is essential. The city shuts down without the TTC.
“Obviously, you have to deal with added costs.” Continue reading
Narrower sidewalks,street furniture make patios more difficult
City staff reject some applications, local councillor makes exceptions
By Kris Scheuer
(Written May 28 for Town Crier.)
Pain Perdu on St. Clair Ave W will soon have a new patio.
There’s may be a growing patio culture along St. Clair West, but not all businesses are having and easy time joining in the fun.
In some cases construction has resulted in narrower sidewalks and new garbage bins, bus shelters, trees and utility poles have made it a challenge for cafes and restaurants to get patio approvals due to the minimum clearance required on sidewalks to accommodate pedestrians, strollers, carts and wheelchairs. Continue reading
Posted in Toronto
Tagged approved, Aquolina, construction, Councillor Joe Mihevc, Kris Scheuer, Pan Perdu, patios, Prop, rejected, restaurant, St. Clair West, Town Crier
Local residents creation a plan to improve neighbourhood
West end Toronto vision for Toronto spurs improvements
By Kris Scheuer
(Written April 28 for Town Crier.)
Oakwood residents and council reps have found new ways to engage the community, including hosting movie nights and potluck dinners at Laughlin Park. Photo courtesy of Tamara Massey.
Oakwood Village residents Tamara Massey and Josh Colle see ways to improve the neighbourhood they love.
They’ve put their passion for the community into a plan that could see the once-troubled neighbourhood become a thriving arts district.
Massey and Colle are members of the 5 Points Community Action residential association that’s produced an Envisioning 2010 document with the help of neighbours, local business, police, politicians, charities and service agencies.
Don’t expect this report to sit on the shelf collecting dust – it’s already producing results.
“It’s become a second job on nights and weekends,” said Massey of the action
plan. “When I started this in January 2009 with (councillor) Howard Moscoe
it was an envisioning exercise with maybe 12 people at the meeting.”
Massey and Colle, co-authors of the document, spent a year planning, and
this January 70 people showed up to participate in brainstorming session on
how to improve the neighbourhood. Continue reading
Posted in Toronto News
Tagged 5 Points Community Action, arts district, Belvidere Avenue, Councillor Howard Moscoe, Councillor Joe Mihevc, Josh Colle, Kris Scheuer, Laughlin Park, MPP Mike Colle, Oakwood Avenue, Tamara Massey, Town Crier newspaper, Vaughan Road, Village
The election campaign already heating up
Who is retiring, running, playing coy in TO election
By Kris Scheuer
(Updated Oct.25- Election Day.)
Joe Mihevc is one of the incumbent councillors seeking re-election.
One thing is certain in life – that’s change. And we can count on that in this city’s election. The vote is Oct. 25.
Of the 44 incumbent city councillors so far 35 current Toronto politicians have signed up for re-election in their own ward. Of the remaining 9 incumbents: 2 are running for mayor instead and 7 aren’t running at all. Want to see for yourself?
Check the city’s election website that shows all 477 candidates running for mayor, councillor and school trustee positions.
Here’s the scope on where all the candidates stand as of Sept. 10 the final nomination day.
Mayor David Miller is not running for re-election. There are 40 candidates registered to run for mayor.
Council races – there are 279 candidates running for 44 council seats
Ron Moeser (Scarborough East Ward 44) has registered and so have three others: Diana Hall, Heath Thomas and Mohammed Mirza.
Paul Ainslie (Scarborough East Ward 43) is running again and has four challengers: John Laforet, Benjamin Mbaegbu, Bhaskar Sharma and Samuel Getachew.
Posted in Toronto Politics
Tagged 2010 election, Bruce Baker, campaign, candidates, Chris Sellors, city, councillor Adam Giambrone, councillor Adam Vaughan, Councillor Adrian Heaps, Councillor Anthony Perruzza, Councillor Bill Saundercook, Councillor Brian Ashton, Councillor Case Ootes, Councillor Cesar Palacio, Councillor Chin Lee, Councillor Cliff Jenkins, Councillor David Shiner, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, Councillor Doug Holyday, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, Councillor Gloria Lindsay-Luby, Councillor Gord Perks, Councillor Howard Moscoe, Councillor Janet Davis, Councillor Joe Mihevc, Councillor Joe Pantalone, Councillor John Filion, Councillor Karen Stinz, Councillor Kyle Rae, Councillor Maria Augimeri, Councillor Mark Grimes, councillor Michael Thompson, Councillor Michael Walker, Councillor Mike Feldman, Councillor Pam McConnell, Councillor Paul Ainslie, councillor Paula Fletcher, Councillor Peter Milczyn, Councillor Raymond Cho, Councillor Rob Ford, Councillor Ron Moeser, Councillor Sandra Bussin, Councillor Shelley Carroll, Councillor Suzan Hall, Enza Anderson, James Pasternak, Jaye Robinson, Jennifer Wood, John Parker, Josh Colle, Kris Scheuer, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Mayor David Miller, Mike Layton, Mohamed Dhanani, Peter Li Preti, Redmond Weissenberger, Retiring, Robert Meynel, Robert Walker, Roman Danilov, running, Sarah Doucette, Susan Gapka, Toronto, trustee Josh Matlow, Trustee Rob Davis, Vicki Breen, William Molls